Monthly Archives: July 2009

BLURT Video Series: Jesus Lizard & More

 

 

The Awkward Hour with Brian Staker, featuring Vivian Girls, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Thermals, Jesus Lizard’s David Yow, and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips

 

By Blurt Staff

Rockers say the darndest things, especially when they’re looking into the lens of Brian Staker, host of the aptly-titled podcast “The Awkward Hour,” in which Staker takes the often-spoofed (see Tim & Eric, Bob Odenkirk) model of awkward, unprepared interviewers and well, runs with it in the “be who you are” spirit. 

Earlier this month, Blurt sent our schlubby bundle of nerves to the Pitchfork Festival for special on-the-spot interviews where he cornered artists for on-the-spot (and we do mean on-the-spot) interviews. Today we add Vivian Girls and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart to the list of victims, which includes The Jesus Lizard’s David Yow and The Thermals (posted earlier this week) and, coming up, The Flaming Lips, Built To Spill, and The Black Lips. 

If interviewing David Yow wasn’t intimidating enough, putting Staker on the spot with attractive ladies cranks the Awk up to eleven. Hit with ubiquitious queries like “How would you describe your sound?” and likewise hackneyed references (My Bloody Valentine), Vivian Girls respond monosyllabically (“cool” and “nice”) after a charitable comment from Ali: “Someone said we sound like the Zombies with bigger balls.” (To which, Staker replies with a goofy Beavis and Butt-head guffaw.) His follow-up, the even more trite question about the band’s moniker, gets a curt comeback from Cassie Ramone (who spends part of the interview, plucking grass from the lawn): “Because it was… the only name that wasn’t stupid.” It’s only downhill from there, as the Girls entertain questions about the Internet and whether they plan to put out more albums…

Staker kicks of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart interview by tardily cutting into the same leadoff question (“–describe your music?”) but gets better results, especially when he infers a Teenage Fanclub influence on the band. The success only lasts so long, ’cause his next question is about playing a big festival on a big stage–not like they haven’t heard that one all… festival… long. Then he asks, “Any other big festivals coming up?” Here, talk turns to European fans and “Do they know your music?” The reply? “Yeah, I think the Internet helps.” Ah, the Internet. A series of tubes chock fulla boobs. Check out the (dare we say pained) look on Kip Berman’s face when he finishes talking about that. 

We’ll post the Lips (Black and Flaming) and Built to Spill soon. Staker’s epic talk with Coyne should be something special… it’s a two-parter.

Now let’s R-Awk! Go to:

 

http://www.blurt-online.com/video/

 

David Yow

 

Thermals

 

Vivian Girls

 

 

The Awkward Hour with …the Vivian Girls

The Awkward Hour with the Vivian Girls/Pitchfork Festival 2009

 

Interview by Brian Staker

 

The Awkward Hour with Brian Staker,
featuring Vivian Girls, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Thermals,
Jesus Lizard’s David Yow, and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips

 

Rockers say the darndest things, especially when they’re looking
into the lens of Brian Staker, host of the aptly-titled podcast “The
Awkward Hour,” in which Staker takes the often-spoofed (see Tim &
Eric, Bob Odenkirk) model of awkward, unprepared interviewers and well,
runs with it in the “be who you are” spirit. 

Earlier this
month, Blurt sent our schlubby bundle of nerves to the Pitchfork
Festival for special on-the-spot interviews where he cornered artists
for on-the-spot (and we do mean on-the-spot) interviews. Today we add
Vivian Girls and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart to the list of
victims, which includes The Jesus Lizard’s David Yow and The Thermals
(posted earlier this week) and, coming up, The Flaming Lips, Built To
Spill, and The Black Lips. 

If interviewing David Yow wasn’t
intimidating enough, putting Staker on the spot with attractive ladies
cranks the Awk up to eleven. Hit with ubiquitious queries like “How
would you describe your sound?” and likewise hackneyed references (My
Bloody Valentine), Vivian Girls respond monosyllabically (“cool” and
“nice”) after a charitable comment from Ali: “Someone said we sound
like the Zombies with bigger balls.” (To which, Staker replies with a
goofy Beavis and Butt-head guffaw.) His follow-up, the even more trite
question about the band’s moniker, gets a curt comeback from Cassie
Ramone (who spends part of the interview, plucking grass from the
lawn): “Because it was… the only name that wasn’t stupid.” It’s only
downhill from there, as the Girls entertain questions about the
Internet and whether they plan to put out more albums…

Staker
kicks of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart interview by tardily cutting
into the same leadoff question (“–describe your music?”) but gets
better results, especially when he infers a Teenage Fanclub influence
on the band. The success only lasts so long, ’cause his next question
is about playing a big festival on a big stage–not like they haven’t
heard that one all… festival… long. Then he asks, “Any other big
festivals coming up?” Here, talk turns to European fans and “Do they
know your music?” The reply? “Yeah, I think the Internet helps.” Ah,
the Internet. A series of tubes chock fulla boobs. Check out the (dare
we say pained) look on Kip Berman’s face when he finishes talking about
that. 

We’ll post the Lips (Black and Flaming) and Built to
Spill soon. Staker’s epic talk with Coyne should be something
special… it’s a two-parter.

Now let’s R-Awk!

SONIC REDUCER / CARL HANNI

 

ROAD-DOGS,
HEAT, AND VINTAGE GEAR: Wiyos on the Dylan/Nelson/Mellencamp Tour

 

By Carl Hanni

 

July 27, outside Duck, Outer Banks, NC: Leaving
New York City four days ago in a driving rain, the signs of rock ‘n’ roll start
immediately, with billboards for Creed and AC/DC. If this is a signifier of some
sort, it’s a bit obtuse: we’re off for 2 1/2 weeks of touring, and there will
be some rock ‘n’ roll, but little of the hard-rock varietal.

 

I’m
here on a 17 day run with The Wiyos, NY-based vaudevillian string band
extraordinaire. They are booked to play 28 out of 33 dates as the opening act
on the Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp summer tour, which started
in Sauget, IL,
July 2, and finishes in Stateline,
NV, August 16. With a couple of
exceptions, the tour is playing minor league ball parks/stadiums all across the
country. I jumped on the tour five days ago, in Lakewood, NJ, and will ride it
through the show in Dallas (really Grand Prairie) TX August 7, as Wiyos tour
manager, publicist, merch wrangler and all-around boy-Friday. I’m delighted to
be here in such fine company and out of my scorching home base of Tucson. Not that it’s
much cooler out here, as I soon realize…

 

The
Wiyos played to a remarkably enthusiastic bunch of die-hards the other evening at
First Energy
Park in Lakewood, bunched up in front of the stage
trying for some respite from the downpour, faces framed by a rainbow coalition
of colored ponchos and soggy cowboy hats. The Wiyos have 1/2 hour every tour
stop, from 5:30 till 6 pm, to play, make new fans, greet friends from the stage
and put in a plug for their new CD. Then there’s a quick 10 minute turnaround
before Willie Nelson takes the stage for an hour, followed by John Mellencamp,
followed by Bob Dylan. The exact same routine every show, different venue, for
6 weeks. The whole production is as smooth and tight as a long-running Broadway
show or a military parade. This is a professional operation in every possible
detail.

 

After
three shows (Lakewood, NJ;
Aberdeen, MD,
outside of Baltimore; and Norfolk, VA),
truisms and patters quickly manifest. For one thing, the catering is
incredible. Cast and crew are fed lunch and dinner every day, and it’s had to
overstate how great the spread is. Copious, endless amounts of tasty, healthy
and inventive food, drinks and deserts appear twice daily, including fruit,
cheeses, coffee and teas, soup, salads, cold drinks, multiple deserts,
vegetarian fare, vitamin supplements and more. I mean, really.

 

So
far, the crowds have really been digging The Wiyos. They generally play to
600-800 concert-goers in front of the stage, with thousands more filing in and
spread around the bleachers. Most in the crowd may not know who they are coming
in, but they sure do going out, and CD and t-shirt sales have been steady. The
Wiyos, versed in everything from busking on street corners to playing to
sit-down crowds in theaters, know how to work a crowd, and needless to say they
are making the most of a fortunate situation that most other acts would love to
find themselves in. They do what they need to do and what they have been hired
to do: connect with the crowd and warm them up, give them a taste of what they
are all about (think a 1930’s vaudeville act crossed over with a modern take on
old-timey music), then bust everything off the stage lightening fast and make
way for Willie. Come back the next day and do it again.

 

For
the most part everyone on the tour (to one degree or another) is friendly,
helpful and supportive. Production and promotion staff, stage crews, sound and
security are all working like clockwork. As the next act up after The Wiyos, we
see lots of Willie’s people, especially his stage crew and harmonica player
Mickey Raphael, a prince of a guy. Members of Mellencamp’s and Dylan’s band
have been stopping by to chat and talk shop. The Wiyos definitely have a curiosity
factor going for them: who are these young lads with the vintage clothes,
washboard, standup bass, steel and resonator guitars?

 

Willie’s
show is as loose, casual and intimate as a camp-fire sing-along for 10,000
people. He plays the hits (“Crazy,” “Nightlife,” “Whiskey River”) and the crowd sings along
and revels in his Willienesss. Willie Nelson occupies a completely unique space
in the popular culture, and it is this: EVERYONE digs Willie Nelson. How does
he do this, the great leveling of all the country into his corner?

 

Well,
he’s WILLIE NELSON, and no one else is. As has been pointed out over the years,
he could probably run for president and win in a landslide.

 

John
Mellencamp’s show is rocking. The
volume goes up – way up – when he takes the stage, and all of a sudden we’re at
a rock concert. Girls in halter-tops
and skin tight jeans suddenly appear, butts suddenly begin to boogie. This guy
has enormous populist appeal, a bunch of hit songs that are also cultural
signifiers, and an ace band. When he’s not on stage he hangs out in his
Airstream trailer (the one with the motorcycle in front) in the holding area in
back.

 

I’ve only
seen one entire Dylan show so far, in Norfolk.
We watch the show with The Maybelles, friends of The Wiyos that appeared just
in time for the beginning of his set. Bob looks incredibly natty in his
tailored country gentlemen attire and white, flat-brimmed hat. His band, a casually
road-worn bunch of veterans, is almost as sharp in matching white jackets and
black hats. Dylan’s voice is somewhere between well seasoned, ragged and
deliciously ravaged in a sexy, older guy kind of way. In Norfolk he kicked in
with “Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35” from Blonde on Blonde; in Aberdeen it was “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box
Hat” from that same joyful record from 1966, a good sign for sure.
Tonight’s songs run from older numbers like “Highway 61 Revisted,”
“It Ain’t Me Babe” and “Like a Rolling Stone” to more
recent ones like “The Levee’s Gonna Break” and “Tweedle Dee and
Tweedle Dum” plus “Jolene” (from his new Together Through Life CD).

 

The
title seems telling; if there’s anyone we’ve been together through life with in
America,
it’s Bob Dylan. He switches from guitar to keyboard; he cues his band with
glances; he does not, of course, address the audience. Dylan’s “stage
presence” in front of an audience is much like it is off stage, an
impenetrable wall that only lets out or takes in exactly what Dylan chooses.
He’s earned the right to be and do exactly as he chooses to be and do. The
quality of his song-writing both over the years and in the last several years
pretty much puts him beyond reproach. 
What you take away from one of these shows is in a large part determined
by what you bring to it; he’s certainly not going to tell you what to feel or
think.

 

We’re
here on the coast relaxing with a couple of days off before picking up the tour
again tomorrow in Durham.
Will report more down the road.

 

***

 

Carl Hanni is a music writer, music publicist,
disc jockey and vinyl archivist living in Tucson, AZ. He  hosts the
vinyl-only Scratchy Record Show every Tuesday night at the Red Room in
downtown Tucson, and spins records wherever and whenever he can. He
believes that in a better (all analog) world all records would be
released on vinyl, but takes good music from wherever he finds it–even
on CD. His feature piece on legendary bass player/record producer
Harvey Brooks was recently published in Goldmine.

 

 

Pixies Announce US “Doolittle” Tour

 

Some shows on sale as
early as August 1 for November tour.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of
their classic 1989 album Doolittle, the band
– Black Francis, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering – will kick off
US leg of the Doolittle tour at the Palladium in Los
Angeles on Wednesday, November 4.  The U.S. tour will hit a total of nine cities,
including three dates in New York City.
 On-sale dates will vary city to city, but some tickets go on sale as
early as this Saturday, August 1 via Ticketbastard. See below for full
itinerary and on sale information.

 

On this tour, the Pixies will perform all of the songs from Doolittle and
its related B-sides, “Weird at My School,” “Dancing the Manta
Ray,” and “Bailey’s Walk” among them.  Doolittle, the band’s third album and the
first to chart on Billboard’s album charts, includes classics
such as “Debaser,” “Wave of Mutilation,” “Here Comes
Your Man,” “Hey,” and “Gouge Away.”

 

“We wanted to do something special for Doolittle’s 20th
anniversary,” said Black Francis, “and we thought his was a good
opportunity to play all of the songs from that album, something we don’t
normally do at a regular gig.”

 

The US
dates will follow the seven-city/12-date “Doolittle” trek of the UK and Europe.
 Kicking off on September 30 in Dublin,
most dates have already sold out, including a four-night stand at London’s Brixton
Academy, where some
20,000 tickets vanished in about an hour.  In addition, on August 29, the
band will perform a straight-ahead Pixies set of their classic songs spanning
their entire career at the Virgin Festival at Burl’s Creek Park outside of
Toronto.

 

The Boston-formed Pixies disbanded in 1993 and launched their
reunion tour in April, 2004.The US Doolittle tour will be the band’s first American trek since 2005. It coincides with
the release of the massive Minotaur box
(details HERE) which ships in October.

 

Dates and on sale info
for the Pixies US
“Doolittle Tour” are as follows:

 

NOVEMBER

4 The Palladium, Los Angeles, CA
– on sale TBA

8 Fox Theater, Oakland, CA
– on sale August 16

9 Fox Theater, Oakland, CA
– on sale August 16

12 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA
– on sale August 1

13 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA
– on sale August 1

14 Hult Center, Eugene, OR
– on sale August 14

16 The Fillmore, Denver,
CO – on sale September 12

20 Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL
– on sale September 12

21 Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL
– on sale September 12

23  Hammerstein
Ballroom, New York, NY – on sale August 14

24 Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
– on sale August 14

25 Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
– on sale August 14

27 Wang Center, Boston, MA
– on sale September 12

30 Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C.
– on sale September 11

 

 

Pixies V Festival and
UK/European “Doolittle Tour” dates are:

 

AUGUST

29 V
Festival, Burl’s Creek Park,
Ontario, Canada

 

SEPTEMBER

30    Olympia,  Dublin, Ireland
– SOLD OUT

 

OCTOBER

 1
Olympia,  Dublin, Ireland
  SOLD OUT

 2
Olympia,  Dublin, Ireland SOLD OUT 

 4
SECC – Hall 4, Glasgow,
Scotland

 6
Brixton Academy, London,
England   SOLD
OUT

 7
Brixton Academy, London,
England SOLD OUT

 8  Brixton Academy, London,
England SOLD OUT

 9  Brixton Academy, London,
England SOLD OUT

11 Jahrhunderhalle, Frankfurt, Germany

13 Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Holland

14 Forest National, Brussels, Belgium
  SOLD OUT

15 Zenith, Paris, France  

16 Zenith, Paris, France

 

 

 

 

 

New David Sylvian Rec En Route

 

Erstwhile Japan
frontman and all-round musical polymath returns on Sept. 15

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Following up 2003’s Blemish,
composer David Sylvian will drop his new solo album Manafon on September 15 via his own SamadhiSound label. It’s being
described as “a
work of nuance and stern musicality that is also intriguing, suspenseful, and
horribly beautiful.”

 

The
details, per Sylvian and the label:

 

 

A completely modern
kind of chamber music. Intimate, dynamic, emotive, democratic, economical. In
sessions in London, Vienna,
and Tokyo,
Sylvian assembled the world’s leading improvisers and innovators, artists who
explore free improvisation, space-specific performance, and live electronics.
From Evan Parker and Keith Rowe, to Fennesz and members of Polwechsel, to
Sachiko M and Otomo Yoshihide, the musicians provide both a backdrop and a
counterweight to his own vocal performances – which, minus one instrumental,
are nakedly the center of each piece.

 

Sylvian’s voice has
never been so dominant or so striking, and his resonant tenor and deliberate
vibrato captivate the listener from the start of “Small Metal Gods.”
Its prominence would come off as egotistical – except that each performance is
an exercise in self-exposure, and each character study is written in the
third-person, to allow the maximum detachment.

 

“It’s like a
one-man monologue in which every change of light and backdrop is crucial to the
carrying of the central performance. It’s an ensemble work even though there is
a central performance.” Though the setlist is all ballads, romanticism is
out, and no percussion provides a pulse. All the melody and rhythm rest in the
voice. Aside from overdubs of acoustic guitar or John Tilbury’s somber,
Feldman-esque phrases on piano, Sylvian enhanced but did not reconfigure the
improvisations, giving himself just the skeletons of songs to guide him.

 

When an instrument locks with the lyrics – as
when Fennesz introduces a texture that clinches the disaster of “Snow
White in Appalachia” – the moment is
indescribable; when it dissolves, Sylvian doesn’t pause. Neither a complement
nor a Greek chorus, the instrumentalists maintain an ambiguous attitude to the
singer, and what he’s saying. When Sylvian’s delivery implies sympathy or
mockery on “The Greatest Living Englishman,” the music is
cantankerous but dry, and Otomo Yoshihide’s abrupt snippets of classical vinyl
may or may not share the joke.

 

The closing track, “Manafon,” depicts
the British poet R. S. Thomas. Sylvian explains that it is “a description
of a man of faith, who struggles with that faith, who imposes an order on the
external world in the hope of finding it internally. A man who embraces the
morals and values of his faith and lives by them but who also struggles with
the silence that burns inside his own heart and mind. God’s silence. He’s a man
out of time who begins to look, on the surface, more like some tragicomic
figure as time passes. While he seems to be an insufferable individual in many
ways there’s a quixotic element in his quest for knowledge, for upholding
morals and values that even he struggles with when it comes to believing in
their efficacy.”

 

Manafon‘s contradictions lay at the heart of its excellence. It’s
driven not just by the tension between improvisation and composition, frontman
and ensemble, or in Sylvian’s words, “intimacy and solitude.” Manafon captures the dilemma of a man
who studies himself clincically, but cannot truly understand himself; who’s
disillusioned, but maybe laughably so. The most common sensation, which hangs
in almost every note, is a feeling of suspense. The sole instrumental – to
which Sylvian also contributes – sounds less like a performance, and more like
a wellspring of possibilities.

 

The album ends simply on a phrase and a breath.
But there’s a happier ending in its other theme: Manafon also explores the creative process. Intuition drew
Sylvian to these pieces and these players, and the surprises they bring: a
cello visiting like a warm hand on a forehead, the unpredictable use of
unadulterated sine waves, the brassy path of Evan Parker’s soprano sax solo. Manafon has a forbidding core, but
aesthetically, each piece is an engrossing discovery.

 

“Maybe I’m attracted to the stories of
individuals who search for meaning on their own terms,” says Sylvian.
“But what I’m fascinated by is the devotion to a creative discipline. The
meaning with which the work imbues the life regardless of its reception and, to
a certain extent, its importance.”

 

 

 

Levon Helm’s “Ramble” Comes to PBS

Sept. 2008 concert in Nashville gets national
airing.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

On most Saturday nights since January 2004, Levon Helm has
hosted evenings of music at the “barn,” his home studio in Woodstock, New
York. These magical nights are called The Midnight
Ramble Sessions. On September 17, 2008, Helm took the Midnight Ramble on the
road to one of America’s
treasured venues, Nashville’s
historic Ryman Auditorium, where — accompanied by guests who include Buddy
Miller, John Hiatt, Sheryl Crow and Sam Bush — the Levon Helm Band gave birth
to a night of stage magic. Captured in pristine high definition Levon Helm – Ramble At The Ryman is part
of special programming airing on PBS in August 2009 (check local listings).

The performance features tunes from Helm’s tenure with The Band, as well as
selections from the 2008’s Dirt Farmer and classics from artists such as Chuck Berry, the Carter Family and more. (Helm
recently released his new album Electric Dirt (Dirt Farmer Music/Vanguard.)

The Ryman taping came on the heels of
Dirt Farmer, Helm’s first solo recording
in 25 years, which won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. Meanwhile, Rolling Stone hailed his Midnight Ramble
as “2008’s Best Jam Session” and the Americana Music Association
bestowed on him the Artist of the Year Award.

See below for a preview clip of the PBS program.

Songs featured in the broadcast:

“Ophelia”
“Back to Memphis
“Fannie Mae”
“Baby Scratch My Back”
“Evangeline”
“No Depression in Heaven”
“Wide River to Cross”
“Deep Elem Blues”
“Rag Mama Rag”
“Time Out for the Blues”
“The Shape I’m In”
“The Weight”

 

PJ Harvey Unveils New Songs Live

 

See video clips below.
Can a collaboration with They Might Be Giants be that far off now?

 

By Fred Mills

 

The NME is reporting this morning that PJ Harvey performed a
pair of brand new tunes during a solo show (sans John Parrish, with whom she collaborated earlier this year for the A Woman A Man Walked By album and
subsequent tour). It took place Saturday (July 25) at the Camp Bestival
show in Angland and the songs were apparently titled “The Last Living Rose” and
“Let England Shake.”

 

Harvey played electric
guitar, piano, electric harp and a drum machine during the show, and for “Let
England Shake,” according to NME.com, she played the harp while sampling musical
chestnut “Istanbul
(Not Constantinople)” by The Four Lads (which has been covered by numerous acts
over the years, most famously They Might Be Giants).

 

 

 

 


Leonard Cohen Isle Of Wight CD/DVD Due

 

Classic 1970
performance long in the can, finally being released. See video clip, below.

 

By Fred Mills

 

With the recent news of a fall tour of the U.S. from Leonard
Cohen (most cities have tickets going on sale August. 3) fresh in mind, word
also arrives that the bard’s celebrated performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight
Festival will finally see the light of day.

 

According to MusicTap, it will be a 2-disc CD/DVD set “with
the complete audio of the concert on the CD, and the complete visual experience
on DVD that also includes newly shot interviews with Kris Kristofferson, Joan
Baez, and Judy Collins.”

 

The projected title is My
Sad and Famous Songs: Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of
Wight – 1970
and it’s slated for a September 29 release on
Legacy. Fans who’ve seen the previously released Isle of Wight 1970 documentary film, of course, know this will be a must-see, as the clip of Cohen from that film, below, illustrates.

 

 

 

 

 

Bottle Rockets: The Official Poop

 

Kickass new album en
route in two weeks….

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Aw, you just gotta love press releases like this. It pretty
much sums up how we here at BLURT feel about this band. Plus anything with
Roscoe’s involvement floats our boat as well. Watch the website for a review of
the album soon, too. It’s due August 11 from Bloodshot. Read on…

 

***

 

In a country where interstates don’t take you to new places,
but to the same places, where everywhere you go you’ve already been or you’ve
just left, The Bottle Rockets’ new
album absolutely nails a sound and a vibe with a palpable sense of place. Lean Forward is suffused with the
determination and resilience of their distinctly midwestern roots; theirs is a
celebration of pragmatism and tempered optimism, not the delusions and
exhortations of glassy eyed zealots-they aren’t going to fall for that. Oh,
it’s a flat out, smoking rock record, too.

 

Lean Forward continues the Rockets’ creative resurgence ignited by
2006’s Zoysia. Reunited with producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (who ran the knobs on the Bottle Rockets’
seminal albums The Brooklyn Side and 24 Hours A Day), the Bottle
Rockets do what no other band does better–look into the hearts and minds and faces of the dying small towns in
America and craft populist anthems with the sympathetic eye of Woody Guthrie
and sonic stomp of Crazy Horse. They are songs that demand the windows
be rolled down and the volume turned up. And with the hooks, you’ll wonder how
they make such problems sound so good …

Lean Forward is stacked with a sharp lyricism and gritty fatalism that
looks off the front porch for inspiration, and has the locked down groove of a
band on top of its game. “The Long Way” looks on the bright side of the path
not intentionally taken and works into a joyous song-ending jam. Songs like
“Done It All Before” and “Get on the Bus” shine with an irresistible buoyancy,
as does “Shame on Me” which gets to the meat of the relationship matter that,
despite our best intentions, we’re all gonna screw up. “Hard Times” whips up a
ZZ Top-inflected boogie with effortless mastery and a dual guitar attack
that’ll put some much-needed flare back in your jeans.

On “Kid Next Door,” the lyrics bypass protest in favor of simple commentary on
a war coming home, making it a far more powerful song no matter where one
stands on the issue. It’s a stone cold classic and handled with the deftness
and conviction that speaks to the Rockets’ sober-minded realism. To see that
they’ve still got scruffy punk moxie to spare, look no further than “The Way It
Used To Be” and the channeling of Bo Diddley via the Stooges on “Nothing but a
Driver.”

With their 15th anniversary now in the rear view mirror, the Bottle Rockets
show no signs of letting up. Lean Forward is an album that celebrates
the forces of erosion not earthquakes, of the marathon not the sprint. Honed in
their towns and on their back roads, it is distinctly the Bottle Rockets. 
Rather than be confining, this identity broadens the appeal and strength of
their music far from their backyards into our own.  Their specificity
speaks universally and the message is a simple one: Lean forward, man, because
it beats falling back.

 

 

 

 

LaMontagne Tour to Aid Cancer Society

 

Kicks off with a pair of
Symphony shows in October.

 

By
Blurt Staff

 

 

Ray
LaMontagne announced his North American fall tour schedule today, starting with
two dates with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on October 15 in North Bethesda, MD
followed by an October 16 show at Meyeroff Symphony Hall. Following the
orchestra shows, LaMontagne’s next dates will offer a polar opposite experience
in which the Maine singer-songwriter will play
stripped-down solo acoustic shows, starting November 1 at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre.

LaMontagne is also working with Tickets-for-Charity to offer fans a unique
opportunity to buy front row seats while supporting leading charities. A
portion of each package purchased on TicketsforCharity.com will automatically
benefit The National Children’s Cancer Society plus up to three partner
charities of the fan’s choice.

This will not be the first time LaMontagne has played accompanied by an
orchestra; he recently appeared in front of a sold-out crowd earlier in July at
the Hollywood Bowl with the Bowl’s Orchestra.

The tour marks LaMontagne’s third tour in North America
in support of his top 5 album Gossip In
The Grain
.

 

 

Tour Dates:

October 15          North Bethesda,
MD    Music Center at Strathmore
October 16          Baltimore,
MD             
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
November 1        Atlanta, GA  
   
            Fox Theatre
November 4        Boston, MA  
   
            Wang Theatre
November 7        Upper Darby,
PA  
        Tower Theater
November 9        New York,
NY      
        Beacon Theatre
November 12      Chicago, IL      
            The
Auditorium Theatre
November 13      Minneapolis,
MN  
       State Theatre
November 15      San Francisco,
CA       Nob Hill Masonic Center
November 17      Denver,
CO      
           Ellie Caulkins
Opera House
November 20      Los
Angeles, CA  
       Orpheum Theatre