Monthly Archives: January 2010

Unseen Hendrix Art Graces New Rec Sleeve

Guitar god goes back
to high school for inspiration!

 

By Blurt Staff

 

With the recently-announced news of a previously unreleased
Jimi Hendrix Experience album due soon still fresh – March 9 brings Valleys of Neptune; details here – we
now learn that the sleeve art combines a 1968 photo of the guitar god taken by
Linda McCartney (at the time, Linda Eastman) and an original watercolor drawing
that Hendrix did back in 1957 when he was in school.

 

According to the Hendrix camp, Experience Hendrix CEO Janie
Hendrix commented, “Before he became a musician, Jimi wanted to be an
artist.  He went through a phase doing watercolors at school and this was
one of the 110 drawings of his that our father kept. When I saw this one from
1957, it screamed ‘Valleys of Neptune’ so we just knew we’d use it for this
project.”

 

MSN “Reverb” blogger Mark Brown elaborated in a recent
posting
, noting that sleeve art to the first single (the title track) from the
album, released this week, resembled a known Hendrix painting. He checked with
Janie Hendrix, and she indicated it is in fact “a new, unseen” painting he did
in high school, adding that the Valleys
of Neptune
CD art will incorporate the
painting and the McCartney photo. The full-length art is above; the other two
images are reproduced below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

MP3: New We Are Wolves

 

Acclaimed Canadian
oddballs release their album next week and we are all the better for it.

 

By Blurt Staff

Montreal’s We Are Wolves drop
their third album next week, Feb. 2, via Dare To Care. Titled Invisible Violence, it’s produced by Radwan
Moumneh (Three Silver Mt. Zion, Pas Chic Chic) and Hadji Bakara (Wolf Parade,
Megasoid and is being described as “a punch of raw, danceable, electro post-punk
rock.”

 

Hey, we are all about danceable post-punk!
We have a teaser track for you to check out:

 

Free MP3:

 

The band offers this self-description: “Un
gang de trois, quatre avec le rock. Nous sommes Loups impose une musique
honnête et libre comme la foudre céleste sur la montagne mystique. C’est un paysage
post-punk avec des arbres analogues. C’est comme le rock après l’explosion
post-moderne.”

 

Er, let’s try that again:

 

“A gang of three, four
including rock. We are Wolves imposes a music that’s both free and honest, like
the celestial lightning on the mystic mountain. It’s a post-punk landscape
filled with analogue trees. It’s like rock after the post-modern explosion.”

 

That’s more like it.
Incidentally, the band has three shows next week, in Boston,
Brooklyn and NYC then will be doing selected
dates in March and April. Details at their MySpace page.

 

 

 

Surfer Blood Expands Tour

Riding high on
across-the-board praise for just-released album, bookers lining up to get ‘em
before their fees escalate.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Twee-rockers Vampire Weekend may be getting all the
attention and the hype over topping the Billboard charts (which ain’t hard to do depending on how you time a new release),
but Florida’s
Surfer Blood is getting the real press
kudos. New album Astro Coast, which
arrived in stores last week, has critics utterly smitten – including our own,
who enthused thusly in the BLURT review:

 

This is gonna be
2010’s Shins or Band of Horses, so mark these words. Yes, it may be a little
early for such proclamations, but these boys make lofty postulations like this
easy. It’s safe to assume the members of the band were raised on a steady diet
of Weezer, The Pixies, Built To Spill, as well as various influences in the
outer regions of indie rock. But they’ve managed to absorb all of this and more
and regurgitate something all their own.

 

Other, er, tastemakers like BLURT were similarly chuffed. A
sampling:

 

 

“But
even after so many listens, its snowblind-ish reverb is still disorienting–
especially contrasted with its crisp, power-chord hook. It may sound like
they’re hitting you with their best shot, but after an impassioned “oh oh
oh!” from singer John Paul Pitts,
Surfer Blood explodes into an
even bigger chorus and “Swim” becomes almost overpoweringly fist-pumping.”
– Pitchfork [Best New
Music]

 

“Crunchy
riffs, sunny harmonies, inscrutable humor, occasional strings, and Afropop
touches. Adolescent anthems like “Swim
(to Reach the End)” and “Catholic Pagans” show latter-day Rivers Cuomo who’s
daddy.” – Spin

 

“They
dress up their guitar-mad escapades in a stadium-echo kick that Nineties indie
kids were too grumpy to try. ” – Rolling Stone

 

“They’re
young, and so is their music, but we all could use a little Vitamin D this time
of year.” – Vanity Fair

 

“The
way Surfer Blood balances
escapism and grit is a neat trick, and one that never really loses its sense of
wonder.”- The Onion

 

 

So anyhow, the band already had a tour set to kick
off next week with a handful of UK
dates, followed by a U.S.
trek starting Feb. 16 that would steer towards SXSW in March. They’ve now
expanded the tour so it’s effectively doubled in duration and stretches well
into April. Here are the dates:

 

 

02-03 London – Hoxton Bar and Kitchen

02-04 Kingston – Hippodrome 

02-05 London – KOKO

02-09 London – Scala 

02-16 Orlando, FL  – Backbooth
 %

02-17 Deland, FL –
DaVinci %

02-18 Tallahassee, FL
– Engine Room %

02-19 Atlanta, GA
– Drunken Unicorn %

02-20 Nashville , TN
– The End  %

02-22  Charlotte,
NC – Snug Harbor
– %

02-23 Morgantown, WV
-123 Pleasant Street %

02-24  Washington DC
– Dc 9 %

02-26 Hanover,
NH – Dartmouth College  !

02-27 Brooklyn, NY
– Market Hotel *

02-28 New York, NY
– Mercury Lounge *

03-01 Philadelphia,
PA – The Barbary *

03-02 Allston, MA  – Great
Scott *

03-03 Providence, RI  – AS220
*

03-05 Montreal – Il Motore *

03-06 Toronto
– Sneaky Dees *

03-07 Geneseo, NY – Suny Geneseo
College *

03-08 Meadville, PA
– Allegheny *

03-09 Detroit MI –
Magic Stick  *

03-11 Bloomington, IN
– the Bishop  *

03-12 Columbia, MO
– Mojos *

03-13 Lawrence, KS
– Replay Lounge  *

03-14 Oklahoma City – The Conservatory *

03-17 Austin, TX –
SXSW

03-18 Austin, TX –
SXSW

03-19 Austin, TX –
SXSW

03-20 Austin, TX –
Mohawk  [ Panache Booking SXSW Showcase ] *!

03-24 Phoenix, AZ – Trunk Space *
03-25 Claremont, CA
– Pitzer College @

03-26 San
Diego, CA – Bar Pink
Elephant @

03-27 Los
Angeles, CA –
Echoplex @

03-28 Las
Vegas, NV – The
Beauty Bar *

03-29 Isla
Vista, CA – Biko
Garage *

03-30 Visalia,
CA – Howie and Sons *

04-01 Santa
Cruz, CA – Metamusic *

04-02 San
Francisco, CA Bottom
of the Hill * $

04-02 Portland,
OR – Doug Fir *

04-04 Seattle,
WA – Vera Project *

04-05 Vancouver,
BC – Bitmore Cabaret *

04-06 Missoula,
MT – The Palace *

04-08 Minneapolis,
MN – 7th Street Entry *

04-09 Madison,
WI – Der Rathskeller *

04-11 Columbus, OH – The Summit
*

04-12 Ithaca, NY – The Shop (Ithaca
College) *

04-13 Buffalo,
NY – Big Orbit Soundlab *

04-15 Princeton, NJ – Terrace Club @ Princeton
*

 

* w/ Turbo Fruits

^ w/ Holiday Shores

& w/ Monotonix

# w/ Drums

! w/ Small Black

% w/ Turbo Fruits
& Holiday Shores

@ w/ Best
Coast

$ w/ Ganglians

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: Saint Etienne CDs, Haiti Auction

 

Deluxe editions of Tiger Bay and Finisterre announced, plus new Twitter
presence, a fun remix, and a rarities auction to benefit Haiti.

 

By Fred Mills

 

And the Saint Etienne
world takeover via achival releases continues apace. A year or so ago the band
started issuing remastered/expanded 2CD deluxe editions of titles from its back
catalog, a project that extended throughout 2009. There was the Foxbase Beta album, comprising a
complete remix/overhaul of their classic debut album from the early ‘90s Foxbase Alpha; deluxe editions of both Alpha and 1997’s Continental; even a fanclub-only freebie of vintage live material, the
Trumpton Comes Alive EP.

 

Now comes word they’re
putting the finishes on deluxe editions for 1994’s Tiger Bay and 2002’s Finisterre, and plans at
the moment are to release them at the end of March. According to the band,  “We’ve spent most of January digging through
tape boxes and orange crates from the Tiger Bay and Finisterre eras which will be coming out soon. It’s
unbelievable how much we started and discarded.

 

“[There is] a
‘sequel’ of sorts to ‘Mario’s
Café’ called ‘Drinking At The Black Horse.’ It switches the locale and the time of
day, and features some ‘tight axework’ from Mr Ian Catt. It was (half) recorded
before we decided on the direction for Tiger Bay.
Some of the most intreeging outtakes yet. Plus the usual glut of b-sides, and –
for digital completists – the first CD appearance for ‘Highgate Road Incident,’ ‘You Know I’ll Miss You When You’re Gone,’ ‘Sushi Rider’ and ‘Gimp
Crisis.’ My favourite
demo so far is ‘The
Wedding Of Stacy Dorning,’
a tribute to the legendary Black Beauty actress. What were we thinking?”

In other Etienne news, they how have established a Twitter feed here and promise “music, competitions and up-to-the-minute(ish) news.”

 

The band also remixed
Pains Of Being Pure At Heart not long ago and the track can be heard at their MySpace page.

 

Lastly, they want
folks to know the following:

 

“We’re helping raise some cash for Oxfam’s Haiti Earthquake Appeal by
auctioning off a selection of rarities and memorabilia – click this link to see what’s on offer and get bidding, all in a very
good cause.”

 

 

Here’s some of the swag you can get (current bid, with 3 so far and 5 days left, is £421.00):

Sarah Cracknell’s Feather Boa
1 x signed copy of the the bands legendary ‘I Love To Paint” fanclub CD from 1994 – long deleted and highly sort after
1 x rare limited edition Saint Etienne 6″ Subbeteo player and Foxbase Alpha deluxe set – rare and deleted
1 x copy of Boxette – fanclub only 4 disc set – rare and deleted
1 x copy of Foxbase Beta numbered double disc CD – rare and deleted
2 x fanclub EP’s – rare and deleted
1 x signed triple disc Best of CD and DVD.
Plus assorted badges, posters and signed pictures.

 

 

 

Indeed, get clicking,
and get bidding, fans.

 

 

Kim Salmon/Surrealists Return w/New LP

 

Oz mainstay from the
Scientists/Beasts of Bourbon revs up his other classic outfit for March album;
Scientists will be doing ATP as well.

 

By Fred Mills

 

A little over a year ago we sat down with Australian guitar
god Kim Salmon, of the legendary Scientists (an influence on Mudhoney, Sonic
Youth and scores more) and Beasts of Bourbon. For that “Blurting With…”
interview
he talked primarily about his then-current project, the Darling
Downs, a collaboration with Died Pretty vocalist Ron Peno. However he also
brought us up to date on the Scientists, who’d gotten back together briefly in
2007 for a European reunion tour. And he added that the band he formed
following the Scientists’ initial split, the Surrealists, had a new lease on
life as well, following some dates they’d done in 2006. Offered Salmon:

 

“It has been great revisiting what the Scientists did, and it has rekindled
something that I
can pursue with the
Surrealists, who never actually broke up and are, I believe, able to grow and
evolve. For me,
Blood Red River [Scientists, 1983], The Human Jukebox [Scientists, 1987] and Hit Me with the Surreal Feel [Surrealists, 1988] follow a natural path that I got diverted from
throughout the nineties. Anyway, it put me back in touch with what I was trying
to do back then, and a lot of ideas that have been mulling over in my head for
a decade and a half have just fallen into place since doing the Scientists
tours. I’d never get any of it past some of the Scientists members and they’re
just not the right people for it now – and I’m not knocking them either, just
saying it like it is.

 

 “The Surrealists, on the other
hand, have just picked up all the ideas and run with them. It’s amazing. We’re
definitely going to do another album and it’s going to follow on seamlessly
from
Hit Me
With The Surreal Feel,
which
was so far ahead in time compared with anything I’ve done subsequently that it
won’t be a step back in time.” 

 

The Surrealists essentially had picked up the ball from the Scientists,
although the Surrealists were a bit jazzier and more freeform than their
decidedly skronky, swampy predecessor, and in a very real sense, the
Surrealists were able to make greater commercial inroads too, touring Europe
and America with bands like the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and the Cramps. Key
release: 1993’s Sin Factory, which did
quite respectably at college radio.

 

So today news arrive that, indeed, the Surrealists are back on the boards:
due March 6 in Australia
(early May in the US)
is Grand Unifying Theory, on the Low
Transit Industries label. According to the Salmon camp:

 

With the 2006 reunion of the
Surrealists, for the Spanish Azkena Festival, Kim was re-acquainted with the
free jazz/noise/ fusion bug and resolved to get the band back together for at
least long enough to work through what it started back in the late 1980s.
Recorded throughout 2008 and 2009 over a series of live sessions, ‘Grand
Unifying Theory’ has the band given some framework compositions by Kim. The
band – Kim, Stu Thomas and Phil Collings – then takes these ideas to the outer
limits of punk/jazz/ thrash freakout!. The results are taken by Kim and
producer Mike Stranges and assembled into the most far out music Kim Salmon has
been responsible for to date! ‘Grand Unifying Theory’ with its polyrhythmic
beats, its atonal keys, its heavy funk/punk grooves, its spaced out use of
equipment buzz and Dictaphone is coming on Low Transit Industries.

 

The album also will features appearances by Dave Graney and Clare Moore
(from the late, great Oz band The Moodists), both of whom had pitched in on
Darling Downs records.

 

 Incidentally, sharp-eyed readers will recall that Salmon and the Scientists
will be performing at All Tomorrow’s Parties New York series with The Stooges
& Mudhoney later this year – and now, apparently, a special U.S.
Surrealists show is also in the works, so stay tuned for details on that.

 

 

Track listing:

 

Turn Turn

Order Of Things

RQ1  

Grand Unifying Theory I

Grand Unifying Theory II

Pathological

Predate  

Childhood Living

Kneel Down At The Altar Of Pop

 

 

 

 

Jeff Beck Announces Album, Tour

First studio album in 7 years due in April; tour, including
dates with Eric Clapton, begins in March.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Jeff Beck, has announced plans for
a worldwide tour beginning in Seoul, South Korea on March 20th before
heading onwards to Hong Kong, Australia, Japan
and the United States. 
The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee will be showcasing songs from
his latest studio album, Emotion & Commotion, his first in seven
years.  The first leg of the U.S. tour will begin on April 16th in San Francisco and wrap up at the world famous New Orleans Jazz Festival on
May 1st, with more dates for the second U.S. leg to be announced
soon.

 

Just prior to the start of his world
tour, Beck will unite with fellow Hall of Fame guitarist, Eric Clapton, in
February for a series of exclusive shows in London,
New York City, Toronto,
and Montreal.
The guitarists – both former members of the Yardbirds – will each play
separately before taking the stage to perform together.

 

Accompanying Beck at these special
engagements, as well as the World Tour, will be a brand new touring band,
including the Grammy award winning producer and songwriter, Narada Michael
Walden on drums, Rhonda Smith on bass and Jason Rebello on
keyboards.  Walden has collaborated with Stevie Wonder, Aretha
Franklin and Tom Jones.  (He was also featured on and composed four tracks
for Beck’s classic 1976 album Wired.)  Smith has played bass for
Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Prince, while Rebello has performed previously
with Beck, as well as Sting and Chaka Khan.

 

“I’m thrilled to be working with
Narada Michael Walden, he’s an inspiration to me,” Beck said, in a statement. “I’ve
been lucky enough to have been working with Jason since 2006 and Rhonda came
highly recommended by Narada; I was blown away when I heard her play.”

 

 

 

Jeff Beck Tour Dates (with Eric Clapton)

 

February

13        London     
            O2 Arena

14        London                 
O2 Arena

18 
      New York City     
Madison Square Garden

19 
      New York City     
Madison Square Garden

21        Toronto   
             Air Canada
Center

22        Montreal   
            Bell Centre

 

 

Jeff Beck’s Emotion & Commotion Tour (First
Leg of U.S.
Tour):

 

April

16        San Francisco  
      Nob Hill Masonic Centre

17        Los Angeles     
      Nokia Theatre LA Live

18       
Temecula   
            Pechanga
Resort & Casino

19        San
Diego        
      4th & B

24        Houston                 
Verizon Wireless Theatre

25        Dallas  
     
            Nokia
Theatre at Grand Prairie

27        Tulsa                      
Brady Theatre

28        Kansas City            
Starlight Theatre

29        St. Louis                 
Fox Theatre

30 
      Memphis   
             Beale
Street Music Festival

 

May

1          New Orleans     
      Jazz Festival (Gentilly Stage)

 

 

 

 

MP3: New Tunng Teaser

 

Song nabbed from
forthcoming album due in April.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

London’s
Tunng is set to drop their fourth album in April via Thrill Jockey. Titled …And Then We Saw Land it’s described by
bandmember Mike Lindsay as “full of
adventurous spirit. We wanted to make a record that would be a great live set. My
friend described it as ‘Epic Folk Disco Brass Magnificent,’ and I’m not sure
you could call any other Tunng record that.”

 

Free MP3:

 

The  band have been on adventures both personal
(Mike went to India,
Ashley moved to Somerset) and shared – such as their ten-day voyage of
discovery with Malian desert bluesmen Tinariwen, a unique collaboration that
aimed to fuse the sounds of the two bands together.  An experience that
helped shape Tunng’s approach to the new album, “We learned that you don’t
always need structure!” added Mike. “As long as there is presence, emotion and
groove. It taught us that everything is open and adaptable…”

 

Three songs contain what
the band describe as The Mega Chorus – a 15-strong group of collaborators
and drinking buddies who lent their voices to the album one rainy night in an
abandoned school hall in Old Street.  The same blend of rustic acoustic
based folk, kitchen sink experimentalism, delicate electronics, and pop
melodies that don’t let go still pervade and remain the core of Tunng’s musical
approach.

 

 

Tony Allen Gets His Secret Agent On

 

Legendary drummer is vying for the title of “Hardest Working Man in
Showbiz”…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Tony Allen-best known for his work as drummer and musical director for
Afrobeat kingpin Fela Kuti-makes his World Circuit/Nonesuch
debut with Secret Agent, on April 13. Following its European release
earlier this year, Secret Agent has received generous critical praise.
The Guardian proclaimed, “There is no question that Tony Allen is
a genius, one of the greatest percussionists in the history of popular
music,” while Observer Music Monthly said, “If you’re
wondering why Afrobeat is hip, start here.”

 

Allen’s been pretty busy of late, having teamed with Jimi Tenor for the
album Inspiration Information soon. Go here for
details, along with a promo video clip on the project, and here for the BLURT
review we recently published.

 

Together with Fela Kuti, with whom he played for 15 years, Allen co-created
Afrobeat-the hard-driving, horns-rich, funk-infused, politically
insurrectionary style that became such a dominant force in African music and is
now one of Africa’s most popular styles among international listeners.

Allen produced Secret Agent, which was recorded with his touring band
of musicians from Nigeria, Cameroon, Martinique and France. The
music is four-square in the Afrobeat tradition-rhythmic tenor guitar, funky
keyboards, call and response vocals, and full-throated horns-with a few twists
(including keyboard player and arranger Fixi’s accordion on some tracks).
Allen’s playing meanwhile draws on four different styles-highlife, soul/funk,
jazz and traditional Nigerian drumming. At Afrobeat’s heart is the beat, even
more prominent now than it was in Fela Kuti’s legendary Afrika ‘70 band.

Secret Agent is Allen’s first solo release since he became a founding
member of The Good, The Bad and The Queen (alongside Damon Albarn, Paul Simenon
and Simon Tong). This association has helped encourage a recent upsurge of
interest in Afrobeat. Over the years Allen has appeared on dozens of albums and
his continued relevance in 2009-fans of hip-hop, funk and jazz clamor for his
recordings-speaks to the staying power of the Afrobeat music that he helped
create in the 1960s.

 

 

 

 

 

Krautrock Alert! Curious about Cluster

 

Key reissues from
Cluster plus members Roedelius and Moebius guaranteed to tickle your inner
krautrocker.

 

By Ron Hart

 

Much ado is made about the ‘70s output of German electronic
music pioneers Cluster. And as it should, given the wealth of adventure and
innovation Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius presented to avant-garde
music fans over the course of that entire decade, both on their own and in
collaboration with the likes of Brian Eno and Can’s Holger Cuzkay as well as
Michael Rother from Neu! as part of the Krautrock supergroup Harmonia.

 

However, as the excellent Bureau B label continues to
deliver the goods with their reissue series of the Cluster family’s Sky Records
catalog, it should be well noted that the dynamic duo’s ‘80s output is well
worth one’s attention, too. We’ve got a look at four of those key reissues
today in our CD review section, so check it out and dig deep.

 

Cluster pictured above in a recent picture; below, in the ‘70s.

 

 

Least-Anticipated CDs Poll Results In!

Nick Jonas & the
Administration tie with Lil Wayne, with Vampire Weekend a relatively close
second place.

 

By Fred Mills

 

The BLURT readers have spoken: for our most recent poll we
asked you to select, from a list of a dozen first-quarter ’09 new releases
currently being hotly hyped by record labels and trendy/tastemaker bloggers
alike, which titles were the least anticipated.

 

As you can see from the stats tally below, Nick Jonas &
the Administration’s Who I Am and Lil
Wayne’s Rebirth, both of which arrive
in stores next week, Feb. 2, were the clear frontrunners, and it’s interesting
that they were tied for first place with 26% of the total vote apiece. (Given
Lil Wayne’s token status as a Pitchforkian hipster, maybe this represents a
reactionary vote aimed at Pitchfork – the Jonas nod was kind of a no-brainer,
after all, and we have to admit that record’s inclusion in the poll was kind of
a setup. Hey, go take your OWN poll if ya don’t like it!)

 

 

Band du jour Vampire Weekend is currently ripping up the Billboard charts with 100k-plus first week sales and counting (must have been a slow
first week – apparently every person on the planet has already bought Susan
Boyne and Taylor Swift, and the only thing that’s left to do, marketing wise,
is airlift copies of those two monster sellers to Haitian refugees). So it’s
not surprising a backlash has already started, and we’re chuffed to report that
V.W.’s Contra officially comes in at
second (or third) place. Natalie Merchant’s Leave
Your Sleep
, due March 2, comes in next. Sorry Vampire Weekend and Ms.
Merchant, it’s not us, it’s you.

 

 

 

Everything else is pretty well evenly spread out, although
since Liars’ Sisterworld, due March
9, received zero votes, that makes the band technically the winners here. We’re eager to hear that
one too, to be perfectly honest, so congrats to Liars, who have won an
all-expenses paid trip to Orlando to see Nick Jonas & the Administration
open their world tour – don’t forget to cover up first, boys.

 

 

Poll Results (54
votes total)

 

15% w/8 votes Vampire
Weekend – Contra (1-12)

4% w/2 votes OK
Go – Of The Blue Colour of the Sky (1-12)

2% w/1 vote Editors
– In This Light and On This Evening (1-19)

6% w/3 votes Spoon
– Transference (1-19)

26% w/14 votes Nick
Jonas & the Administration – Who I Am (2-2)

26% w/14 votes Lil
Wayne – Rebirth (2-2)

2% w/1 vote Hot
Chip – One Life Stand (2-9)

2% w/1 vote TobyMac
– Tonight (2-9)

4% w/2 vote The
Game – The R.E.D. Album (2-16)

9% w/5 votes Natalie
Merchant – Leave Your Sleep (3-2)

6% w/3 votes Butch
Walker – I Liked it Better When You Had No Heart (2-23)

0% w/0 votes Liars
– Sisterworld (3-9)