Monthly Archives: September 2009

Left Lane Cruiser Gets Ready to "Eat"

 

BLURT-approved
blooze-punk miscreants serve up a heapin’ helpin’ o’ fun.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Coming to a BLURT review near
you: Fort Wayne, Indiana’s Left Lane Cruiser, whose new album
is All You Can Eat Alive Records. The
two-man band features Freddie J Evans IV (aka Joe) on slide guitar and vocals, and
Brenn Beck (aka Sausage Paw) on big-ass bass drum, harmonica and a toolbox full
of percussive gear. Evans provides the firey fingerpicking and husky vocals.
For Beck, everything is an instrument: trash cans, washboards, paint trays,
hubcaps, ladders, you name it.

 

Learning their craft by playing
at house parties, at the corner streets of their home town, and rehearsing in a
heatless garage, they have developed their personal take on the North
Mississippi Hill Country sound. They have toured relentlessly, sharing the
stage with artists such as Black Diamond Heavies, T-Model Ford, and Bob Log
III. They have also appeared at the infamous Deep Blues festival in River Falls Wisconsin
in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

 

All You Can Eat is the latest release from the super blues duo. It
showcases the band’s high-voltage punk blues style they’re known for and it is
everything fans of their Alive debut expects and a lot more. A follow up to
their acclaimed 2008 release “Bring ‘Yo Ass To the Table,” this new
album was recorded in Detroit
at the infamous Ghetto Recorders, and produced by legendary Jim Diamond.

 

Watch for the review very soon.
The band is hitting the road in October too, so you have been warned:

 

 

US Tour Dates

Oct 5 @ The Northside Tavern – Cincinnati, OH
Oct 6 @ The Green Lantern – Lexington, KY
Oct 7 @ Hal and Al’s – Columbus, OH
Oct 8 @ The V Club – Huntington, WV
Oct 9 @ The Garage – Winston Salem, NC
Oct 10 @ The Bohemian – Greenville, SC w/ Black Diamond Heavies
Oct 12 @ The End – Nashville, TN
Oct 13 @ JJ’s Bohemia – Chattanooga, TN
Oct 14 @ The Hideaway – Johnson City, TN
Oct 15 @ Visulite Theater – Charlotte, NC
Oct 16 @ The Star Bar – Atlanta, GA
Oct 17 @ Knoxville, TN

 

European Tour Dates

Oct 30 @ La Boule Noire – Paris, France
Oct 31 @ La Peniche – Chalon s/Saone, France
Nov 1 @ Le Galion – Lorient, France
Nov 4 @ Peniche Sonic – Lyon, France
Nov 5 @ Queen Kong Club – Neuhatel, Switzerland
Nov 6 @ Caves Du Manoir – Martigny, Switzerland
Nov 7 @ Le Transformateur – Fribourg, Switzerland
Nov 8 @ El Lokal – Zurich, Switzerland
Nov 9 @ My Way – Freibourg, Germany
Nov 11 @ Cortinan Bob – Berlin, Germany
Nov 12 @ The Paradison – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Nov 13 TBA – Stockholm, Sweden
Nov 15 @ Popdium – Sneek, The Netherlands
Nov 16 @ Little Devil – Tilburg, The Netherlands
Nov 18 @ Club Keller – Frankfurt, Germany
Nov 19 @ DB’s – Utrecht, The Netherlands
Nov 20 @ Grand Wazoo – Amiens, France
Nov 21 @ L’Appel D’air – St Brieuc, France
Nov 22 @ Le Chalan – Binik, France
Nov 24 @ St Eupery – Bordeaux, France
Nov 25 @ Sant Des Seins – Toulouse, France
Nov 26 @ Cafe De Paris – Perpignan, France
Nov 27 @ Barakason – Nants, France w/ Black Diamond Heavies
Nov 28 @ Festival Blues Hauts De Seine – Mantes La Jolie, France w/ Black
Diamond Heavies

 

 

 

 

Bitch Fight! Black Lips versus Wavves!

 

Most creative use of
the “F” word all week, yo.

 

By Fred Mills

 

The much-anticipated “Neurotics Of Rock” tour abruptly
crumbled this weekend when representatives from proposed co-headliners the
Black Lips and Wavves had what some observers are describing as “a falling out.”

 

As reported by both Pitchfork and Brooklyn Vegan, the Black
Lips’ Jared Swilley and Wavves’ Nathan Williams got into a fight during the wee
hours of the morning at Brooklyn bar Daddy’s (Wavves had performed Friday night
at the Market Hotel, while the Lips had played at Roseland Ballroom).

 

You can read the accounts yourselves, but we have in this
corner, one person reporting that he observed “people dragging Nathan and Jared
apart, and then Jared and a popular DJ running at Nathan again” – this
presumably stemming from some internet shit-talking that went on between the
two a few months ago.

 

Then in the other corner, Williams is saying that it was unfortunate
that matters escalated but he [Swilley] got what was coming to him”.

 

And in yet another corner, Swilley comments that he didn’t
attack Williams at all; instead, he was the one assaulted by the Wavves tour
managers and others. Said Swilley, “What happened was, after we finished our
set I went to Daddy’s with some friends and saw that faggot from Wavves talking
to a photographer friend of mine. The only thing I did was walk up to him and
say “You’re that faggot from Wavves and I don’t like you”. He smiled
a bit but didn’t say anything. After that, I went outside and saw their tour
manager hanging around with some guys. They started getting all chuckles with
me and so I told them I wasn’t gonna have it. After that, Wavves tour manager
hit me square in the face with a bottle. Blood started pouring out and six
dudes fucking started kicking me until I blacked out.”

 

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who’s a faggot? Who’s not? Who
cares! Sob! Where’s Rodney King when we need him? Can’t we all just get along?

 

Proof that indie rock has its idiots and assholes just like
every other genre.

 

Fuck all that, let’s go watch some TV:

 

 

 

 

 


SoundExchange Pt.3: Marsh, Wilhelms, Etc. Respond

 

Letters from the
mailbag reveal that the controversy surrounding SoundExchange is an ongoing
one.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Last week when we published our editorial on SoundExchange
and the RIAA-funded organization’s efforts (or “lack thereof,” as one of our readers put it) to distribute
royalties to artists (“Digital Dollars Due”), we didn’t know we were poking a
hornets’ nest – or, more accurately, giving a nest that had already been poked
numerous times an additional shaking.

 

First came SoundExchange Executive Director John L. Simson’s
reply/rebuttal to the original editorial along with some additional comments on
our part
in which we suggested a few means by which SE could more efficiently
do its job.

 

Then
the emails started coming in from readers, all of whom hold opinions (strong,
it seems). Some folks didn’t want to be identified if we reported further on
the matter but encouraged us to include the info they provided, while others –
noted rock critic Dave Marsh in particular – indicated we could treat his email
as a letter to the editor. I’ve posted Marsh’s letter in full below, along with
excerpts from others.

 

One
common theme running through the correspondence is that whenever this matter surfaces in the media, SoundExchange (usually through Simson) restates the
same arguments and the same defenses, but that one central fact
remains: SE doesn’t do the job it’s being funded to do, doesn’t live up to its own mandate.

 

So I
encourage everyone  to research this on
their own and educate yourselves on a hugely important issue. Then if you’re not satisfied with the situation raise a stink – or at least let your concerns be known, in
the interests of getting some of these artists paid and paid on a timely basis.
(Like, NOW, rather than later.) Because all controversy and finger pointing aside, that’s the bottom line.

 

***

 

From Dave Marsh:

 

I really admire what you wrote in
response to John Simson’s misleading statements in defense of Sound Exchange’s
incompetent malfeasance as representative of artists due digital royalties, as
well as appreciating the Rev. Keith Gordon article that incited those
statements.

 

There was one flaw, which is the
idea that Sound Exchange’s efforts to find artists ought to be done by
volunteers and interns. In fact,  using interns and entry level employees
is probably most of the problem with what scant effort SE does make. The idea
that people should volunteer to do one of the only two important tasks
SoundExchange has is preposterous, even though it’s also true that a large
percentage of the “obscure” artists identified and signed up over the past few
years are entirely due to volunteer effort. John Simson is paid a six figure
salary, which entirely comes out of creators and copyright-owners pockets and
if he won’t go out and find every last one, the very damned least he can do is
pay someone a living wage for tackling the task. Although he likes to make it
sound that way, this is not an incidental part of the business he’s in.
It’s one of its foundations.

 

As far as I can see, almost
everything that needs to be done after SE has the names (sign-up is so
much bullshit, it certainly does NOT “need” doing at all-they need name,
address and a fair amount of confidence that the Bootsy Collins they’re in
touch with is not the imposter) can be done by machines, with minimal oversight
at this point. I mean, what the hell does John Simson do if he’s not up on the
Hill lobbying for more control, more money, et cetera? Why should there be more
than him and a lawyer and a couple people to answer the phones, in case it
turns out that Lloyd Price’s actual existence is not just a rumor?  Unless
they’re trying to service their clientele, which starts with knowing who that
clientele is. If Sound Exchange is paying anyone for anything, this work ought
to be their highest priority.

 

And if it’s not their highest
priority, then everything else Sound Exchange claims to be true ought to be
called into question until the company’s priorities change.

 

Dave Marsh

 

 

***

 

From name/address withheld:

 

You
can see the obvious problem here when $100+ /million/ is going “unfound” and SE
gets to absorb the missing monies — and then blow that cash on lobbying via MusicFIRST
and whatever other front group they’re backing lately. Actions speak louder
than words here.

 

This
link may interest you: http://www.p2pnet.net/story/15761 [Ed. note: links to “Project Unfound
Artist” by Jon Newton, of P2PNet, who writes about entertainment lawyer Fred
Wilhelms’ efforts at chronicling the “efforts” of SoundExchange.
]

 

This
other link also may interest you even more: http://www.p2pnet.net/story/18864 [Ed. note: links to “$101 Million ‘stuck to
SoundExchange’s fingers'” by Fred Wilhelms, who examines the finances of
SoundExchange.
]

 

If
you or your magazine follow up with Mr. Simpson @ SoundExchange, the latter
link may certainly be of more interest than the former, and worthy of more
attention

 

***

 

From Fred Wilhelms:

 

I have been forwarded Rev. Keith Gordon’s original note and
your exchange with John Simson in response.  As someone who has been
hearing the exact same answers from Simson for four years, it is a shame to
know he still thinks he can get away with that stuff. 

 

 If you feel like taking up his invitation to talk, you
might want to focus on actual numbers.

 

Here are the numbers he cannot dispute:

 

Since July, 2008, when the last grassroots campaign to
locate artists ended, SoundExchange, left to its own devices, has removed FIVE
artists from the list of over 7,500.  That’s all.

 

In June, 2008, in a speech at Harvard Law
School, John Simson
admitted that SoundExchange had received royalties for over 40,000 artists who
had not registered.  At that time, SoundExchange was claiming to represent
32,000 artists, so they had failed to register over half the artists they were
supposed to be serving, even after six years.

 

According to their own filings with the Copyright Royalty
Board, as of March, 2009, SoundExchange still hadn’t distributed one-third of
the artist royalties for the year of 2006 because the artists were not
registered.  Those unpaid royalties rise to over half for the first
quarter of 2008. 

 

According to the reports filed with the IRS, at the end of
2007, SoundExchange had accumulated over $101 MILLION dollars in undistributed royalties. 
I have information that leads me to believe the current balance in that account
has risen to over $180 MILLION since that report.

 

The problem with these numbers is if you mention them to
Simson, he will ignore them, and you…. [To
summarize
], if you do take up
Simson on his offer for more discussion, have him explain these numbers:

 

Five.  The
number of artists taken off that published list on their website since July,
2008.

 

32,000.  The
number of artists John Simson said were registered at SoundExchange in June
2008 in a speech at Harvard.

 

40,000.  The
number of unregistered artists Simson admitted to in the same speech.

 

One-third. 
The fraction of artist royalties collected for the year 2006 that were still
undistributed in March, 2009, according to documents SoundExchange filed at the
Copyright Royalty Board.

 

One-half. 
The fraction of undistributed artist royalties for the first quarter of 2008 as
of March, 2009 from the same filings.

 

$101,000,000. 
The total amount or undistributed artist royalties that SoundExchange
was holding as of the end of 2007 (according to their IRS filings.) 
I am told that Simson has recently stated the current amount is over
$180,000,000.

 

Substantiation for these numbers can be found in various
pieces I have posted at p2pnet.net.  Just go there and
search SoundExchange. 

 

Thanks for picking up the good fight.

 

Fred Wilhelms

 

 

 

 

 

I DON'T WANNA GROW UP / JOHN MOORE

 

 

Damn! BYO Records turns 25

Pete Wentz wasn’t even wearing eyeliner when brothers Shawn and Mark Stern decided to start BYO (Better Youth Organization) Records 25 years ago. The label, which put out releases by Youth Brigade – the Brothers Stern’s own punk band – went on to put out seminal punk releases from bands like Leatherface and 7 Seconds.

To quote the band, BYO was founded as “part political movement, part business venture that began as a way to organize punks to take positive action to help sustain their scene and their way of life.”

To commemorate their 25th anniversary – not bad considering how many other labels have come and gone during that time – BYO is putting out a 31-song box set, featuring a who’s who of American punk rock. Groups like Bad Religion, Dropkick Murphys, NOFX, Anti-Flag and the Bouncing Souls all took turns covering BYO bands. The set also comes with the documentary Let Them Know, which looks at the influence of the label through interviews with Ian MacKaye (Fugazi, Minor Threat, founder of Dischord Records), Fat Mike (NOFX, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, founder of Fat Wreck Chords) and Steve Soto (Adolescents, Manic Hispanic), among others.

Shawn Stern, in the middle of a Youth Brigade tour, took some time recently to answer questions about the label, the band and punk rockin’ as a 40-something.

Are you surprised that the label is still up and running 25 years later?
I’m surprised that we were able to put out one record, let alone nearly 120! When we started I never thought I’d be playing music in my 30’s let alone my 40’s and approaching 50. For us to last this long is kind of amazing to us and we feel extremely lucky.

So how do you think you’ve able to keep it going for so long when so many others have folded?
Pure luck! (laughs) Well, I think we just put out good music that we like and people seem to respond well. We never did this to make money; we never had any business plan or really any plan at all. We put out records ‘cause we had a band and we put out other bands’ records ‘cause we liked the band, the music and what they had to say. I guess we’re doing something right, otherwise we wouldn’t have survived.

Do you think its easier running a business with your brothers or ultimately harder?
My brothers and I are all very close, so I think it’s really easy to work together. I mean we’ve been doing it all our lives, so it’s pretty natural. We can argue – and we do – but we don’t take it personally, we just go eat lunch or go have a drink after.

Ever get into any Kinks style fist fights over the band or the label?
Nah, our punching each other out ended in our teens. Screaming arguments once in awhile that we usually end up laughing about is the extent of it.

Have you always had a defining principle or set of principles that BYO was founded on?
Well, like I said, we never had a plan we just did things as they came up. The principles have always been those that our parents and grandparents instilled in us as kids, think for yourself, life is about learning and giving back, helping people. From that we devised our own ideals about what punk rock is to us, that one should question everything and decide for yourself what makes sense. Don’t be a sheep, don’t follow anyone. I was heavily influenced in my senior year in high school by an existential lit class I took. I read Dostoyevsky, Kierkegaard, Sartre and Camus and the next semester I had an entire class on Herman Hesse. They all had a profound effect, but Albert Camus’ “The Stranger” and the “Myth Of Sysiphus” were almost life changing for me. I think those ideals will always stick with me.

What was always the deciding factor in putting out a band’s music?
We put out bands that we like as people, whose music we like and believe in and we feel we can help them. There’s lots of bands that we like and would like to work with over the years but for one reason or another it just didn’t work out.

Do you get a sense of enjoyment of watching major labels falter and grasp to stay relevant?
Hmm, I’m not really someone that takes pleasure in other people’s failure. I don’t really worry about other labels, it’s not something I can control or be a part of. But I’m not gonna lose sleep over the fact that a multi-national corporation leaves the music business, because in my view they only look at music as nothing more than a way to make money and I think that is not good for anyone. So the more of them that leave music, the better it is for music and all of us.

Was it difficult deciding who would be on the album that comes with the box set? More important, was there a fight between bands to cover “California is Sinking”?
We just asked all the bands we like and they all said sure. Now getting them to actually get in the studio and record, well that’s another story. Everyone is busy, when they are recording a new record they are concentrating on that and putting together a cover sometimes isn’t at the top of their list of things to do. Picking songs was up to the band, there were a few that wanted to do a certain song but someone had already picked it, but there were no “fights.” Worked out really well I think. Well, I guess everyone can listen to the record and decide for themselves, but it’s a pretty amazing record.

A lot of folks cite you guys as influences in starting their own labels. Did you really have anyone to emulate or learn from when you were starting BYO records?
No, there were very few labels at the time doing punk rock on the level we did it when we started. Slash and Dangerhouse were about it in L.A. but we just sort of figured it out on our own. Ask questions, call around, talk to the guys at the pressing plant about how to do things ‘cause they had been in the record business for years and they knew the basics. A lot of it was just logic, go around to stores and ask them to take the record. That was our early distribution.

Why did the band ultimately decide to call it quits?
Adam had left the band to go back to school in ’84, we got Bob Gnarly in the band and changed the name to The Brigade and our sound got a little more “poppy” I guess you could say. The punk scene was dying, the hair bands were taking over the sunset strip and we were burnt so we just decided it wasn’t fun anymore.

So was it an easy decision to get the band back together and tour?
Yeah, we were all playing music again in different bands. I had a band, That’s It and my brothers had all started the band Royal Crown Revue and met up on tour in Germany. People had been asking about Youth Brigade on both our tours, so we talked about doing a “reunion” and I said if we wrote new songs and make a record then I would do it. We all agreed, it was pretty easy and we’ve been going strong ever since.

Did you find that you missed playing together?
I think we found that we had fun playing together. Mark (Stern) and Adam (Stern) and our other brother Jamie were all playing together for a few years in Royal Crown Revue and having fun. That’s the bottom line, it has to be fun. Otherwise what’s the point!?

Was it surreal participating in the documentary?

No, not surreal. We put it together but we tried to not involve ourselves too much in the planning. We wanted to let the film makers make the movie, not us. We told them people they should talk to and gave them a chronological line of what/how things happened, but we let them put it together. I think they did an amazing job.

Listening to the interviews, were you surprised at how influential the band was to so many?
I’m flattered. I don’t know if I’m so much surprised ‘cause I think there was only a handful of bands in the punk scene that have lasted all these years and odds are they have lasted because people like the music and that’s ‘gonna influence bands that are coming after.

Any chance you’ll revive the BYO split series?
Oh it isn’t dead, just been on hiatus. The box set was such a huge undertaking, the biggest project we’ve ever done, so it took up nearly three years of our time. We’ve had quite a few bands interested, just haven’t managed to work it out. But we will hopefully soon.

In Short: September 2009

You know the drill but indulge me for a little reminder here….

We know, for example, that fans prize souvenirs — a tactile take-away that reminds you of the feeling you have when listening to music. It’s kind of like what we’re doing with The Daily Dose — further enhancing the “sensory experience” with rock ‘n roll wine and cheese picks so as to emphasize “more than music.” Certainly, a recommendation isn’t exactly “tactile,” but it does bring us closer, drawing upon multiple aesthetic experiences and uniting them in one place. So, perhaps upon purchasing the wine or cheese of the day, upon tasting them, you’ll conjure up the associated songs, thereby giving the taste an added, well, taste.

All of that, the long way of saying: multiple aesthetic experiences rule the day. And things that you associate with music are likely the same things other people (who like the same music as you) might be curious about. It’s a Tribes-thing.

Hence, this month’s semi-random compendium:

1. Dunder Tchotchkes

office

Perhaps one for everyone you know this Christmas? Plus they have action figures, star mugs (sans Jim and Dwight), Office Clue… it was really hard for me to not buy one of everything. And it’s totally overpriced. I don’t care.[]

A Triple-A radio programming veteran, Kate has served as Music Director of the Loft at XM, Midday Host at WYEP, Evening Host at both WNCS and WUIN, as well as Content Supervisor for Pump Audio. Currently, she’s the CEO of Outlandos Music, a new-music discovery service for grown-ups. Kate has been nationally recognized for her ardent presentation of music and her ability to champion talented, compelling artists.

Rhino Records R.I.P. ?

 

Reports of the
venerable archival label’s immediate demise seem somewhat exaggerated, but
there have been massive layoffs.

 

 

By Fred Mills

 

Bloggers and music forums erupted late yesterday with rumors
of the shuttering of Rhino Records. One sample posting:

 

“I have it on good
authority that Rhino as we know it does not exist anymore as of 5:00 PM PST.
Fifty or more employees have been eliminated suddenly, including almost all the
marketing, editorial and art departments. This is absolutely devastating news.
I am shocked and saddened, as I’m sure you all are, too. Any music lover will
feel this way. I feel so badly for the people who have so lovingly curated
music history, presenting us with exceptional releases over the years.”

 

While the sentiments are absolutely right on – I’ve had
nothing but the utmost respect for Rhino and Rhino Handmade over the years, and
feel privileged to have reviewed many of their titles, including some of the
most elaborately designed box sets (collector catnip at that) on the planet – the
specifics seems a bit premature.

 

Variety indicates that yesterday
afternoon Warner Music Group laid off “between 30 and 40 staffers” with cuts
made across-the-board “in all departments, including A&R, marketing,
promotion and publicity.” The magazine quoted from a statement issued by Rhino
that “cited a ‘fundamental transformation of the physical new release and
catalog business” as a reason for the cuts. Rhino will evolve into an
entity that ‘handles WMG’s global digital catalog initiatives, film, TV,
vidgame and commercial licensing, and name and likeness representation for
legendary artists.'”

 

Variety added that Rhino’s core
market for “high ticket items” such as boxed sets, had declined steeply
alongside the general decline of physical product in general.

 

So clearly, change is afoot at Rhino. Does this mean those fantastic boxes
and in-depth retrospectives are a thing of the past? It’s too early to say, and
judging by the vague wording of the Rhino statement, it appears the label is
entering a transitional phase that we can only sit back for and see what
happens.

 

All that aside: just recently Rhino issued massive, comprehensive boxes on
Big Star and Los Angeles Nuggets (both reviewed in the new, Winter 2009, issue of BLURT, by the way) – but if
the label is to go the way of the dinosaurs, let it be in such fine style as
these.

 

Rhino Records, I salute ya.

 

 

 

 

194 dB / BRYAN REED

 

No. 2: Quite excited

 

By Bryan Reed

 

I first saw Black Cobra (above)
about two years ago. They were opening for Pelican in a double-bill at Tremont Music Hall
in Charlotte.
What I remember most about the show was thinking that Black Cobra was
monumentally more captivating than Pelican – which put on a good set, just not as good – and feeling bummed about not
having enough cash for records. So to say I was excited when the Cobra’s third
record (first for Southern Lord), Chronomega arrived in the mail is a mild understatement: I was quite excited.

 

Having settled into Chronomega, the new jams fail to
disappoint. Opener is a blunt-force stomp indicative of the rest of the album –
sharp riffs, gruff grooves and a driving, sludgy feel somewhere between High on
Fire and early Mastodon. This is no kind of reinvention, but the collection
hits its mark without getting stale. I still prefer Bestial (Black Cobra’s 2006 debut), but I wouldn’t have even mentioned
Chronomega if I weren’t suggesting
it’s at least worth a listen.

 

Lately, though, I’ve found my
attention drawn elsewhere, to three albums, each playing within the black metal
spectrum, though not necessarily completely: Azaghal‘s Teraphim, Merrimack‘s Grey Rigorism and Mount Eerie‘s Wind’s Poem.

 

Azaghal’s latest, Teraphim, out Tuesday via Moribund Records, comes closest to the
sound of the Norwegian first-wave, putting chaotic blast beats behind expansive
guitar melodies. This corpsepainted quartet from Finland doesn’t stretch the
boundaries of what black metal is, but even as it colors inside the guidelines
the band adds shades of nuance by way of thrash riffs and – on the record’s
most divergent cut, – by way of synthesized orchestral arrangements that are
simultaneously cheesy, endearing and adeptly atmospheric. It’s telling that the
first three seconds of almost every track sounds the same – immediate blast
beat that gets ripped open with an introductory roar from vocalist Varjoherra.
It’s also telling that when it doesn’t, as is true of “Filosofi,” we can expect
a slight but important shift in approach as the song adopts a steady riff and a
strong chorus that reminds somewhat of Boris in its melody and vocal pairings.

 

 

The Merrimack record, also released by Moribund,
has been out for some time now, but has kept my attention because it doesn’t
seem to settle. Black Metal, for me anyway, is a dish best served with a
healthy portion of unrest, lest the waves of guitar become sedative white
noise. Like Texas’ Absu, or Illinois’
Nachtmystium, Merrimack (who, by the way, hail from France) relish elements from all
stripes of heavy metal: death metal’s bottomed-out groove, sludgy textures and
thrash urgency to scratch the surface. I’ve seen the term black ‘n’ roll used
when describing black metal bands that pack a Motörhead-style hook, and even
though I think the term sounds stupid, it fits Merrimack. Check out and notice how from the first notes it finds a
solid midtempo groove and rides it insistently, even as the guitars float in
like an ominous fog to wrap the song into a dark haze.

 

 

That haze is pretty much the only thing Mount Eerie’s
so-called black metal album shares with its European counterparts. This is less
br00tal, more br00ding, like Phil Elverum, the perennial indie-dude, discovered
a Xasthur record and informed his
entire picture of what “black metal” is from that. But – and this is a crucial
“but” – Elverum’s seemingly shallow venture into the kvlt realm serves this
project well, making an album that is good both as a lo-fi indie entry (hey,
this is Blurt, not Terrorizer) and as a metal entry. Folks
familiar with the plaintive, melancholy folk Elverum’s been peddling for years
might be startled at first by opener “Wind’s Dark Poem,” and its
harsh-if-muffled roar. But Elverum’s not donning corpsepaint or switching his
quiet croon to a strangled yelp, he’s appropriating textures from the insular,
claustrophobic and somehow broad-stroked bedroom black metal of Xasthur and
Leviathan, stretching their bleak sounds capes over his own mournful singing
and poetic songwriting. the
final word in Wind’s Poem, is not at
all unlike much of Elverum’s work, even as it sustains its chords like worn ,
grayed tulle behind him, and even when he recasts last year’s profoundly
intimate “Lost Wisdom” (here as “Lost Wisdom Pt. 2”) as a droning, blackened dirge,
it’s Elverum’s voice, the sad clarity of it, that grabs us even in the darker,
harsher environs he’s masterfully created for this effort. That, if you ask me,
is quite exciting.

 

ALSO IN ROTATION: Lightning Bolt – Earthly Pleasures (Load); Horseback – MILH IHVH (Turgid
Animal); Baroness – Blue Record (Relapse); Pyramids with Nadja – Pyramids
with Nadja
(Hydra Head); Chord – Flora (Neurot); Iron Age – The Sleeping Eye (Tee Pee); Landmine Marathon – Rusted
Eyes Awake
(Prosthetic, reissue); Title Fight – The Last Thing You Forget (Run For Cover)

 

***

 

Bryan Reed is from
North Carolina and, despite his best efforts, he still hasn’t grown out of the
racket that irritated his friends and family in high school, and continues to
irritate them in the present. Stalker-types should know that they can follow Bryan on Twitter
@subparrockstar.

 

 

[Photo Credits: Black Cobra, bu Shannon Corr; Merrimack, Vertigo; Mount
Eerie, Mount Eerie]

 

 

 

Dan Deacon Tour, Wacky Contest

 

ID all the cartoon characters in the tour poster and win a glorious prize
package, including a portrait of yourself painted by Dan Deacon
.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

Dan Deacon is heading back out on tour next week with his pals
Nuclear Power Pants – they’re traveling once again in his veggie oil bus
(they’ll need veggie oil this time too, same offer stands from the last tour if
you’re able to help provide them with veggie oil along the way). Complete,
final and updated tour dates are listed below. 

 

To celebrate this tour, Post Typography designed a new poster l-
be the first one to ID all of the 243 cartoon characters portrayed within it,
pictured above, and you’ll nab a fabulous prize. You can download the relevant
materials (reproduced below) at Deacon’s website here: www.dandeacon.com/contest/contest.html . Then you can email your submission to: postercontest@whamcity.com

 

 
THE PRIZE:

1. $500 cash
2. A Portrait of you
painted by Dan Deacon
3. One of the last copies
of Wham City Box set #1
4. A Copy of each of Dan
Deacon’s first 8 impossible-to-find releases (silly hat vs egale hat, meetle mice,
goose on the loose, a green cobra is awesome vs the sun, porky pig, twacky
cats, live 2003, acorn master)

 

 

Tour Dates:

10-01 Chapel Hill, NC – Cat’s Cradle *
10-02 Atlanta, GA – Eyedrum *
10-03 Athens, GA – 40 Watt *
10-04 Birmingham, AL – Bottletree *
10-05 Nashville, TN – The End *
10-06 Memphis, TN – Hi Tone Café *
10-07 New Orleans, LA – Big Top *
10-09 Austin, TX – Emo’s Alternative Lounge Outside *
10-10 Marfa, TX – The Shade Structure*
10-14 Irvine, CA – Pacific Ballrom (UC Irvine) *
10-15 Los Angeles, CA – Echo *
10-16 Los Angeles, CA – Eagle Rock Center for the Arts *
10-17 San Francisco, CA – Treasure Island Festival
10-19 Sacramento, CA – Fungarden *
10-21 Eugene, OR – Agate Hall (University of Oregon) *
10-22 Portland, OR – Worksound *
10-23 Portland, OR – Holocene *
10-24 Seattle, WA – Vera Project *
10-27 Denver, CO – Rhinoceropolis *
10-29 Northfield, MN The Cave (Carleton College) *
10-30 Chicago, IL – Logan Square Auditorium *
11-01 Gambier, OH – The Horn Gallery *
11-03 Toronto, Ontario – Sneaky Dees *
11-04 Toronto, Ontario – Great Hall *
11-05 Montreal, Quebec – Il Motore *
11-06 Montreal, Quebec – Eastern Bloc *
11-07 Middlebury, VT – Middlebury College *
11-08 Boston, MA – Pozen Center (Mass. College of Art) *
11-09 Pawtucket, RI – Machines *
11-10 Northampton, MA – Pearl Street Nightclub *
11-13 Troy, NY – Experimental Media & Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute *
11-14 Worcester, MA – The Grind (Clark University) *
11-15 Ithaca, NY – Emerson Suites (Ithaca College) *

* with Nuclear Power Pants

 

 

 

Saul Williams Takes Afro-punk on Tour

 

Afro-punk Hits The Road For
First National Tour Featuring Saul Williams & Guests, Including The London Souls, Hollywood
Holt, Krak Attack, Activator,The Smyrk, J*Davey, Irradio, American Fangs.

 

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Inspired by the the seminal film Afro-punk (2003),
spotlighting Black Punks in America, Afro-punk is
a growing cultural movement giving a voice to thousands of multi-cultural kids
fiercely identifying with a lifestyle path-less-traveled. Not unlike the early
days of Hip-Hop, the scene is a touchstone for tens of thousands of urban
progressive kids across the nation (and the globe) who, tired of feeling like
outsiders, have sought out  Afropunk.com, where thousands of users, bands,
bloggers, and activists gather to and connect with the Afro-punk community.

 

 

After spending the last five
years presenting an annual week-long arts festival at the world-renowned
Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York,
Afro-punk is now ready to take the festival on the road in 2010. So to warm
things up they will be hitting several major cities this fall. Expect an “explosive
mix of music, Xtreme sports, and visual art.”

 

 

Described by the New
York Times
 as putting “rock and rebellion squarely in the category of
African-American music,” Afro-punk is ready to break nationally. The festival
has a history of presenting new artists before they hit it big, such as
Grammy-nominated Santogold, The Noisettes and Janelle Monae, who performed at
the 2008 festival. The 2009 Afro-punk Tour Lineup will be headlined by Saul
Williams (“The Niggy Tardust Experience”) and will feature at select
dates The London Souls, Hollywood
Holt, Krak Attack, Activator,The Smyrk, J*Davey, Irradio, American Fangs, along
with additional artists added in each local market. 

 

 

Full details, including the background of Afro-punk at the official
website
, natch.

 

Tour Dates: