Monthly Archives: April 2010

UPDATE First Look: New Flying Lotus LP

 

UPDATE: THE ALBUM IS STREAMING IN ITS ENTIRETY NOW AT THE FLYING LOTUS MYSPACE PAGE.

 

Due next week from Warp, the latest from West Coast
hip-hopper Steve Ellison opens up a brave new world while embarking upon some
seriously cosmic jams. Guests include Thom Yorke (you may have heard of him),
string arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Ellison’s cousin Ravi
Coltrane.

 

By Ron Hart

 

Every decade or
so, an artist comes into the public periphery and just changes the way we
collectively perceive how music is created. Steve Ellison, who goes under the
name Flying Lotus, has been that
artist for the late part of the 2000s. Given his familial lineage, it should
come as no surprise. Ever since FlyLo burst onto the scene in 2006 with his
debut 1983 (named for the year of his birth), it has been duly noted in the
press that his great-aunt is legendary jazz pianist/harpist Alice Coltrane. And on his latest
album, Ellison delivers a fitting tribute to his auntie on his amazing new
album Cosmogramma, expanding upon the
nature of his unique IDM-gone-B-Boy sound that has earned big fans in everyone
from Thom Yorke of Radiohead to Lil’ Wayne.  

 

Through the
utilization of live instruments threaded into the mix of this 45-minute “space
opera”, FlyLo maps out a sonic genealogy directly inspired by the genius of the
late Mrs. Coltrane by employing many of the meditative and spiritual approaches
to musical composition his great aunt had employed on in her own work. Several
tracks here, most notably album opener “Clock Catcher”, “Intro/A Cosmic Drama”
and the mesmerizing “Recoiled”, feature the nimble excellence of harpist
Rebecca Raff intertwined within the experimental polyrhythms FlyLo delivers
here; elsewhere Ellison and Raff work in tandem with in-demand West Coast
string arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson,
famous for Suite for Ma Dukes, his
stirring tribute to noted FlyLo hero J. Dilla, on such numbers as “Zodiac Shit”
and a second revision of “Auntie’s Harp” (here paired with a track called
“Drips”), which originally closed out Lotus’ 2008 Warp debut Los Angeles. Atwood-Ferguson also lends
his lush stringplay to “Do the Astral Plane”, featuring orchestral swells so
rich they sound as if they were sampled off an old Alfred Newman MGM film
score.

 

However, the pair
of cuts that serve as the most fitting testament to his jazz heritage and
surely have Auntie Alice smiling down on her great nephew from up in Heaven
have to be the ones featuring FlyLo’s elder cousin Ravi Coltrane on tenor saxophone. Both “Arkestry” and “German
Haircut” find Lotus digitally manipulating free-form drum breaks that echo his
aunt’s and Great Uncle John’s old bandmate Rashied Ali as Ravi delivers some of
the most celestial blowing of his near-twenty year career, temporarily
transforming Cosmogramma into a 21st century version of Trane and Ali’s 1967 duo masterpiece Interstellar Space. Those jams between the two cousins are
undoubtedly the finest moments on here, far surpassing the one track that
everyone is making a hoopla over, “…And the World Laughs With You”, a murky
dubstep ditty featuring guest vocals from the aforementioned Mr. Yorke that is
decent enough, but it barely fits in with the overall thread of the album on a
thematic level.

 

While many
multigenerational artists tend to shy away from the shadows of their elders, it
is nothing short of incredible to hear this immensely talented figure in the
brave, new world of West Coast hip-hop embrace his legacy with open arms and
usher his legendary aunt’s message of universal consciousness for a whole new
generation.

 

 

 

Watch: New Grace Potter Video

 

“Tiny Light” comes
from the new self-titled album, due in June from Hollywood
Records.

 

By Fred Mills

 

BLURT faves Grace
Potter & the Nocturnals
have the first video from their forthcoming album,
and you can watch it below. Produced by Mark Batson, the album represents, in
Potter’s words, “a stylistic epiphany. We realized we’re not the kind of band that’s
ever gonna fit neatly in one genre, and this time we just let the songs be the
songs. We just naturally wound up playing them in a certain way – they all have
that beat to them, a physicality and a mood. You have to either want to dance
to it or cry to it. But there’s also a feistiness to these songs that’s
completely unapologetic.”

 

Meanwhile in regards to the video, be patient  – while there’s a lot of arty camera stuff
going on, there’s also a killer live band raveup near the end of the clip. The
song’s pretty damn good, too.

 

 

Wendy O. Williams Gets Her Bobblehead

 

Make that “throbblehead,”
actually…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

First we warned you about those GG Allin and Tesco Vee bobbleheads,
er, throbbleheads, which instantly became collectors’ items. Next came the
twin-threat Dwarves throbbleheads,
apocryphally complete with a faked death. Now, just to allay the obvious
accusations of propagating a misogynist agenda, the good folks at Aggronautix are
releasing their
very first female throbblehead, Wendy O. Williams “1982”, in
the limited capacity of 2000 numbered units.

 

The figure captures Wendy’s 1982
look, stands at 7 inches tall, and is made of a lightweight polyresin.
Displayed in a tri-windowed box, here she is accurately sculpted right down to
the platinum blonde mohawk, spiked arm bands, and tattered threads.

 

Aggronautix figures are available at  www.aggronautix.com or www.seeofsound.com and will also be
available at many independent retailers, comic shops, tattoo parlors, and
Walmart (just kidding).

 

 

RFSC w/Free Chesnutt & Chilton Tributes

 

Victoria Williams, Syd
Straw, Nicholas Hill, and Peter Holsapple each contribute a track to a free,
downloadable EP. Meanwhile, members of the crew got together to cut Big Star’s “Thirteen.”

 

By Blurt Staff

 

We previously brought you the news about Radio Free Song Club, a free new
monthly podcast featuring some decidedly cool folks making music for, like,
free. Now they’ve posted a new EP in tribute to the late Vic Chesnutt. The EP “Four
Songs for Vic Chesnutt”
features performances by Victoria Williams,
Syd Straw, Nicholas Hill, and Peter Holsapple.

 

Radio Free Song Club comments on the EP by saying, “Vic
Chesnutt’s death was a sobering event for us all. We’d like to share this
collection of songs from the first few shows that were an unplanned response to
the sad news. Victoria sent us ‘Vic on Vic,’ Syd Straw brought ‘You Had Your
Chance’ to play live on the show, Nicholas Hill sings Vic’s song ‘Lucinda
Williams,’ and Peter Holsapple brings us home with ‘Don’t Ever Leave.'”

 

Listen to the EP at http://radiofreesongclub.com/songs (Incidentally, they’ve also provided at link at the site where you can make a
donation to Chesnutt’s family – please consider doing so.)

Radio Free Song Club features music from veteran songwriters Freedy Johnston,
Laura Cantrell, Peter Blegvad, Kate Jacobs, Victoria Williams, Dave Schramm,
Freakwater, Jody Harris, and Peter Holsapple, and is hosted by Nicholas Hill. The
premise of the song club is for each participating songwriter to write, record,
and submit a new song each month; the songs are then highlighted in the
one-hour radio show.

The fourth show in the series, which goes live this week, includes special guests
Beth Orton and Sam Amidon performing alongside Dave Schramm and David Mansfield
on Alex Chilton’s song
“Thirteen.” They recorded the song just a few hours after learning
about Chilton’s death. It was recorded for Radio Free Song Club, and is now up
for free download at http://radiofreesongclub.com/songs. Radio Free Song Club comments about the fourth show, “In addition to a set
of contributions from the regular writers, this show got a little crazy in the
live realm. It was St. Patrick’s Day, and Alex Chilton had just died, and there
were all these people in the room, and everyone wanted to sing.”

 

 

Viewed: “Avatar” on DVD

 

James
Cameron’s b-b-blockbuster gets a bare-bones home viewing release last week, and
while it looks spectacular, it can’t possibly do justice to the big screen
theatrical experience.

 

By Chris Zimmerman

 

When James Cameron smashed box office records with the now
infamous Titanic, fans eagerly
anticipated what he would do for an encore. A dozen years later, the growing
shift in technology present in movies has drastically shifted and Avatar is
perhaps the best example of this. When James Cameron first set about on his
quest to achieve technical perfection many believed there were no effects that
could do his dream justice. With an army of visual effects technicians backing
him, Cameron once again proved naysayers wrong, demonstrating to the world that
he is the unchallenged king of the cinema.

 

Despite the gorgeous computer generated scenery and state of
the art motion capture science, Avatar at
its heart is a love story, pitting man against the unknown to create a
multi-layered romance every bit as believable as anything that has come
before.  To Cameron’s credit, he relies
very little on said technology to tell his story, allowing the actors and an
already enchanting script capture the audience. While it’s true the
breathtaking landscapes and fantastical creatures help, it’s the actors who
make the film believable, never allowing themselves to be outshone by their
elongated blue counterparts. Every minute detail of their performance shines
through and is perfectly captured.

 

The film takes place 150 years in the future; corporations
from Earth have set their eyes on Pandora, a planet that contains a priceless
energy source known as “unobtainium”. Pandora is also home to an alien race
called the Na’vi, 8 feet tall, cat-like creatures sporting human features who
want nothing to do with the humans and their customs. In a break from most
modern sci-fi, the humans are the ones wielding the technologically superior
weaponry, posing a huge threat to the Na’vi and their home.

 

In order to establish relations with the Na’vi, the “Avatar”
program was created, allowing humans to the link their consciousness to the body
of a cloned Na’vi from the comfort of a metallic shell. Marine Jake Sully (Sam
Worthington) is once such recruit, having been paralyzed in the line of duty;
he signs on in the hopes of being able to regain his legs if successful. Along
with Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), the two travel into the heart of
the forest, coming into contact with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the princess of the
Na’vi.

 

At first, Sully’s sole priority is to observe the native
people with the deceit of creating a more peaceful planet. Instead his true
mission is gathering and sending intelligence back to the corporations so that
they can later use it against the Na’vi if need be. Over time Jake grows
accustomed to their ways and finds himself falling in love with Neytiri as she
schools him in the ways of her people. The two join their hearts and become as
one. As Jake finds himself being taken in by the joys of the Na’vi, the
corporate mercenaries sent to retrieve the unobtainium grow restless and
unleash an all out assault on the natives, forcing Jake to choose between his
fellow humans or the Na’vi whom he has grown to love.

 

Through it all, Cameron injects his own brand of magic,
filling the screen with hypnotic colors and soaring dragons. Using every visual
tool at his disposal, he takes the viewers on a wild finale that is sure to
leave his audience breathless.

 

 

On the technical side of things, the Avatar DVD – a 2D release that was synched to arrive in stores on
April 22 in conjunction with Earth Day – fails to do the film justice; while
image and sound quality are spectacular, this is the best example of a
barebones release. The only thing buyers will find here is the film, opening up
the possibility of a potential director’s cut later on down the road. Focusing
on the movie itself, the visuals pack quite the punch and are sure to challenge
even the best home theatre systems. Colors are bright and the image is crisp.
Even in 2D this is a fantastic movie to behold.

 

After 12 years of dormancy, Cameron unleashed what can only
be referred to as an experience on the film going public. With the success
achieved by Avatar, the question for
James Cameron now becomes: What’s next?

 

 

Film Preview: “Trash Humpers”

 

Put-on, or performance art? Werner Herzog
meets
Jackass in a repellant, not-so-teenage wasteland.
Due in theaters May 7. And no, the trailer (see below) doesn’t make any sense either.

 

By Jonah Flicker

 

Harmony Korine‘s
new film, Trash Humpers, is either a
put-on or performance art, but it’s definitely not a narrative and it’s dubious
as to whether there’s even any meaning to the film, such as it is. That is not
to say it is without value, I suppose, but it’s sure to divide evenly between
admirers and haters. So sure, that perhaps it’s almost too easy to dismiss this
bizarre new feature from the one-time Werner Herzog protégé. There is no doubt
that Korine knew what he was up to.

 

The director summed
it up quite succinctly in the press release: “A film unearthed from the buried
landscape of the American nightmare, Trash
Humpers
follows a small group of elderly ‘peeping Toms’ through the shadows
and margins of an unfamiliar world.” In layman’s terms, that means a couple of
guys and one girl, including Korine himself (who is behind the camera most of
the time), dressed up as old people and humping trash, screeching, destroying
shit, and talking and singing nonsense.

 

The film is shot
in the style of an old VHS tape, often falling out of tracking and occasionally
superimposing “rewind” or “pause” over the images. The visual quality, the
summertime Nashville
at night setting, and the burn-victim makeup of the main characters bring The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to mind, as
these old, pervy Leatherfaces go about their business. John Waters, Herzog’s Heart of Glass, Jackass, and Lars Von Trier’s The
Idiots
also seem to be points of reference.

 

 

It’s hard to
imagine that this film would even be under discussion if Korine did not make
it, whose hipster cred and provocative reputation are both his blessing and his
bane. Amidst all the simultaneously repellant and hypnotic images of humping
trash cans, destroying baby dolls, and eating pancakes covered with dish soap
lies a deeper meaning. Maybe. Maybe Trash
Humpers
is a statement on the destructive nature of American society, our
tendency to waste pretty much everything, the white trash Southern Gothic, and
the decaying wasteland of suburban heartland America. Then again, maybe it’s
just a piece of trash.

 

 

Go to IMDB.com for more details – don’t
forget to check the comments section (“worthless, punishing swill”) at the
bottom, as they seem to confirm our reviewer’s worst fears.

 

 

 

Motor City Legend Scott Morgan Returns

 

The “Godfather Of Detroit Rock ‘N’ Soul” set
to release new solo album on May 18.

By Blurt Staff

 

Scott Morgan, one
of the most influential and important vocalists to emerge from the Detroit scene of the ’60s
returns with his first true solo album, appropriately titled Scott Morgan. The album sees Scott
joined by some of the Motor
City’s finest talent both
in the band and handling production. His one-of-a-kind style comfortably
straddles the Detroit soul and Ann Arbor high energy rock realms as he
delivers a battery of six classic soul covers and five rocking originals that
touch on almost every aspect of his storied career.

The backstory:

Morgan first became a part of the then-burgeoning Detroit music scene in 1964 as the teenage
lead singer for The Rationals.
Widely considered to be the roots of the high energy rock and roll sound
pioneered by fellow Detroiters the MC5 (who opened for the Rationals on numerous occasions), the band recorded a
string of singles over the next few years and released one album before
disbanding in 1970. In the mid-’70s, he teamed up with former MC5 guitarist
Fred “Sonic” Smith, Stooges drummer Scott Asheton and Lightnin’ bassist Gary Rasmussen to form the Detroit supergroup Sonic’s Rendezvous Band. The ’80s saw
the formation of Scott’s Pirates,
which featured Rasmussen and Asheton. In the mid-’90s Dodge Main rolled out with the triple threat of Morgan, Wayne
Kramer (MC5) and Deniz Tek (Radio
Birdman),
and at the end of the decade Morgan partnered up with Nicke Royale
(Hellacopters) and Tony Slug (Nitwitz) to form the European-based high energy
group The Hydromatics. Keeping one
foot on either side of the pond, he started Powertrane in Detroit
in 2003 (who continue to record and tour today), and the Scandinavian 
soul-rock all-star band The Solution in 2004.

 

The first Solution CD charted in Germany
and Sweden,
and Morgan was looking to capture some of that vibe back here in the States.
“I did two records in Sweden
with The Solution,” he explains, “so I wanted to pursue the same plan
but do it in Detroit.
We got together some of the best musicians here and we went into Jim Diamond’s
studio. We just went in every day for about a week and knocked stuff out; we’d
never played together as a band before the record. We were gonna call it The
Irrationals because my first band, The Rationals, had a two CD set come out on
the UK label Ace last year. But since it’s not the Rationals, we decided to
drop that idea and call it Scott Morgan.”

 

Scott Morgan, the album, was produced
by Diamond, Matthew Smith (of Outrageous Cherry) and Dave Shettler (Sights,
SSM) – respectively, they play bass, guitar and drums -who’ve been responsible
for producing The White Stripes, The Go, Nathaniel Mayer and scores more bands. The record’s due May 18 from Alive Naturalsound, natch.

 

 

Watch: MGMT On “SNL”

 

Clips of the band
performing 2 songs this past weekend.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Currently on a North American tour that runs through next
week then resumes in late May, MGMT did Saturday Night Live the other
night, performing “Flash Delirium” and “Brian Eno” from the new Congratulations album – reviewed at
BLURT here.

 

 

 


Photos: Stagecoach Festival 2010

 

Live from Indio, California, April
24 and 25: Avett Brothers, Victoria Williams, Bobby Bare, Carlene Carter, Oak Ridge Boys, Brooks
& Dunn, Sugarland, Keith Urban and more.

 

By Scott Dudelson

 

Ed. Note: Coachella
ain’t the only thing that happens this time of year out at that Polo Club in Indio, Calif.
How about the “premier country music festival,” for example? Our
Stetson-rocking shutterbug (and Blurt blogger) Scott Dudelson was on hand this
past weekend, April 24 and 25, and filed this photo report.

 

(above) Avett
Brothers

 

(below) Victoria
Willams

 

 

 

Prior to founding Firefall in 1975, guitarist /
vocalist Jock Bartley was Gram Parson’s touring guitarist in his Fallen Angels
band.

The Oak Ridge Boys were founded in 1945 and its longest standing member
– William Lee Golden – has been with the group since 1964

2010 will mark the end of Brooks & Dunn as this Stagecoach event,
and their subsequent tour is being dubbed as the “Last Rodeo” before
the split.

 

Baxter Black

 

 

Billy Currington

 

 

Black Prairie

Little Jimmy Dickens is the oldest living member of The Grand Ole Opry
(89 years old).

In 2002 Bill Anderson became the first ever country musician to earn
BMI’s icon music award for songwriting excellence.

Bobby Bare is widely credited as introducing Waylon Jennings to RCA
records, effectively giving Jennings
his start.

 

Doyle Lawson

 

 

Heidi Newfield

 

 

Jason Aldeen

 

Carlene Carter – daughter of June Carter – was married to English
pop-rocker Nick Lowe, and had a long term relationship with late Tom Petty bass
player Howie Epstein up until his death.

Mary Gauthier’s classic 1997 debut album Dixie Kitchen was named after a
restaurant that Guathier owned in Boston (and subsequently sold after she
decided to pursue music full time).

Less than two months after surgery for lung cancer in 2008 Merle Haggard returned to the stage to perform at Buck Owen’s Crystal Palace
(talk about a tough dude!).

Stagecoach marked Nick13 – singer of Tiger Army – first solo country performance
ever.

 

Joey & Rory

 

 

Keith Urban

 

 

Phil Vasser

 

 

Ray Price

 

 

Sugarland

 

 

Waddie Mitchell

 

 

Lefsetz Has No Taste

Oh, I know… I’m being obnoxious. But he’s dead wrong on this one.

And here’s how strongly I feel about it.

You can pre-order hard copies of the new Silver Seas album Château Revenge here. If any of you are inspired to buy a CD and you don’t like it, I’ll buy it back from you.

I’m totally serious.

Why?

Daniel Tashian is by far and away one of the most talented songwriters and performers alive today []

 

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.