Monthly Archives: June 2010

Antony CD & Book Details Unveiled

 

Album from Secretly
Canadian; book by Abrams Image; meanwhile, Bjork turns up on a track.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Antony and the Johnsons
will release their new album, “Swanlights”, on October 12th (a week later from the original date announced) in
the US
via Secretly Canadian.  Abrams Image will simultaneously release a
special edition of “Swanlights” which
will include the CD inside a 144-page hard cover book containing Antony’s paintings,
collages, photography and writing.

 

The
album only version of “Swanlights” on
Secretly Canadian will also include the song “Flétta”, a duet with Björk. The
album and book are a continuation of Antony’s
work exploring his connection to the natural world.

 

 

Below
you can read what the label has to say about the eagerly awaited project:

 

 

While I Am a Bird Now is
compelling in its vulnerability, and
The
Crying Light is a masterpiece of
austerity,
Swanlights may be Antony’s most wide-rangingly emotional work
to date. It is a record that is at moments heartbreakingly  tender, and at
other times has a joyful gleam to its teeth. Unlike previous work, which was
often quite sparsely voiced, on
Swanlights the vines in the garden are overgrown and the sound palette has
become more exotic; strange percussive elements, John Cale-esque string drones,
heavily distorted guitars and symphonic winds and strings thread the song
cycle together.

“Everything is New” opens the album with a newborn piano melody that
quickly gathers in momentum and excitement. Strings and bursts of percussion
carry the song forward in a feral cacophony of sound. Later on the album, the
title track  
“Swanlights” finds
us navigating a primordial and hallucinatory world of hazy guitar tones. The
enigmatic layered melody of “Swanlights” emerges from a glistening soundscape.
A central image on the album, Antony
explains what he means by the word “Swanlights”:  “It’s the reflection of
light on the surface of the water at night. It’s the moment when a spirit jumps
out of a body and turns into a violet ghost.”  On “Thank You For Your
Love”, Antony
expresses a soul-infused sentiment of gratitude, but the song progresses into
urgency, leaving behind the 4/4 rhythmic structure and breaking into an
emotional gallop that reveals an underlying pathos.

 

The Swanlights book is a
collection of thought-provoking paintings, drawings, collages, photography, and
writings. Dreamlike and often bleakly environmental, Antony depicts a natural and spiritual world
under siege. Much of the work aches with a forlorn romanticism. In some pieces,
the artist draws together fragments of the past, the present and the future to
create a ghostly sense of omniscience. One image features a portrait of the
artist with his great grandmother’s face projected upon his own, creating a
ricochet through time and genealogy.  Found images of natural landscapes
are stained with scrawls of ink, indicating invisible presence and movement.
Some pieces are more conceptual; in “Cut Away The Bad”, the artist removes
corrupted elements in an attempt to restore balance.  In pieces like “I
Want To Help” Antony
sews a torn landscape back together with a magical intent.

 

Music and visual art intersect in these two presentations
of 
Swanlights to create an arresting vision of the
world through the artist’s eyes.

 

Tracklisting:

 

1. Everything
is New
2. The Great White Ocean
3. Ghost
4. I’m In Love
5. Violetta
6. Swanlights
7. The Spirit Was Gone
8. Thank You For Your Love
9. Flétta (with Björk)
10. Salt Silver Oxygen
11. Christina’s Farm

 

 

Matador Bash to Reunite Guided By Voices

 

Said to be the “classic
era” lineup from the Matador salad years.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Matador Records dropped a bomb yesterday at the label’s
Matablog
:

 

Matador will be
celebrating the label’s 21st anniversary this October and this much we can
finally confirm : there will be 3 nights of shows starting Friday October 1,
and concluding Sunday October 3 at the Palms Casino & Resort In Las Vegas,
NV. We’ll be dropping further hints about the amazing lineup in the days ahead,
but a final announcement and information about how to purchase tickets will be
made here at the trusty Matablog on July 5.

 

Fair enough. As you can see from the poster (below), it’s a
killer lineup, what with Pavement
headlining, plus Sonic Youth, Belle & Sebastian, Spoon, Cat Power, Yo La
Tengo, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the New Pornographers, Girls,
Superchunk, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Guitar Wolf, Fucked Up, Shearwater,
Harlem, Cold Cave, Kurt Vile, Jeffrey Joe Jenson and
more.

 

 

But what’s really getting the indie world all in a dither is
the Guided By Voices notation – specifically the “classic ’93 to ’96 lineup.”
That would roughly mean the Robert Pollard, guitarists Tobin Sprout and Mitch
Mitchell, bassist Greg Demos and drummer Kevin Fennell incarnation and the Bee Thousand – Under the Bushes Under the
Stars
era, prior to the arrival of John Petkovic and Doug Gillard (it’s
unlikely those two would be getting back with Pollard anytime soon).

 

And Pollard himself posted on his website the photo at the
top of the page along – just 4 of the 5, but perhaps not tellingly so – with a
notation that the classic lineup would be getting back together without
specifically naming names.

 

So – start booking those Vegas plane tickets, folks. We
already know of at least one west-of-the-Missisissippi-based BLURT editor who’s
making his reservations right now…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Michael Lavine]

 

 

First Look: New Alejandro Escovedo Album

 

Street Songs of Love, featuring
Al and his band the Sensitive Boys and produced by Tony Visconti, is out this
week on Fantasy/Concord. It’s the sound of triumph.

 

By Fred Mills

 

As visceral and uncompromising as his early solo outings were
cerebral and widescreen, Street Songs of
Love
makes a strong case for Alejandro Escovedo being one of our
pre-eminent rock ‘n’ roll artists now operating well outside the parameters of
the so-called Americana realm. That the man voted No Depression magazine’s “Artist of the Decade” for the ‘90s should
submit such a powerhouse set will come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen him
perform with his band during the past year or so (or, going all the way back,
is familiar with Escovedo’s exploits during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s with the
Nuns and the True Believers). However, this is also a man who will turn 60 in
six months and spent several years during the ‘00s recovering from a near-fatal
duel with hepatitis, so it’s unlikely anyone would raise an eyebrow if he’d
opted for a kinder, gentler brand of strum ‘n’ twang and settled into the
sunset-years role of Americana
godfather.

 

Not Al. To hear him exploding out the gate on Street Songs of Love with material that
recalls classic raveups from the Stones, Mott the Hoople and the Clash is to
bear witness to the eternal fountain of (mental) youth that rock ‘n’ roll has
always represented. Small wonder that a couple of other bonafide survivors,
Bruce Springsteen and Ian Hunter, neither of whom has ever indicated a desire
to fade away quietly, turn up on a pair of tracks to contribute guest vocals.
Here, the cat sounds positively possessed: the anthemic, Mott-like “Anchor,” which boasts a biting guitar solo
(courtesy longtime axe foil David Pulkingham), randy-but-right female vocal
harmonies and a string of memorable lyric metaphors (“If your love was a ship/
I’d pull your anchor and christen it” goes one particularly juicy one); punk
romp “Silver Cloud,” which actually sounds like a Clash outtake; swaggering manifesto “Faith,” with its Keef-styled meaty
riffs and, in lieu of a cameo by Mick, The Boss growling into the mic at just
the right spots.

 

True to the album title, these are songs about affairs of
the heart, the joys and aches alike. Escovedo, he’s had a few, and there are
moments of sheer bliss (“First time I saw you I thought I must have dreamed you
up,” he exults, in the raucous, pounding “Tender Heart”) alongside
paranoia-fueled angst (“This bed is getting crowded/ Baby, something feels
wrong,” from “This Bed Is Getting Crowded”). And there are also moments of such
poetic beauty that you want to go grab the nearest stranger and jam your
earbuds onto his head:

 

“She said her first
love was her last

So she cries when she
hears Johnny Cash

All she wants to do is
fall apart with me

All I want is to fall
apart with you…

We know that nothing
ever lasts.”

( – “Fall Apart With You”)

 

It’s also a precisely-paced album that provides a subtle yet
insistent dynamic flow. Five songs in, on the heels of a brace of rockers,
comes the insistent yet gentle reverie of “Down In the Bowery” (the one
featuring Ian Hunter); and then a couple of songs later comes a spooky slice of
New Orleans-flavored swamp rock, “Tula,” one of the highlights of the set
precisely because it’s unexpected and so different from the rest of the record.
There’s also a lovely instrumental, “Fort Worth Blue,” to close the record, and
in its nocturnal, subtly Spanish ambiance (just Escovedo and Pulkingham on
guitars, plus distant percussion) it supplies the perfect coda; worth noting is
that the arrangement was inspired by the late Stephen Bruton, who frequently
worked with Escovedo, and the meditational vibe is profound.

 

Escovedo and his band the Sensitive Boys worked out the new
material over a series of regular weekly gigs in Austin, building the songs from the ground
up, acoustically, then gradually fleshing them out. But credit for much of the
album’s thematic and sonic cohesion, no doubt, is due to producer Tony
Visconti, behind the glass for a second time following the commercial and
critical success of 2008’s Real Animal;
he and Escovedo are clearly simpatico in the studio, in tune with one another
both generationally and philosophically. Also returning for an encore is Chuck
Prophet, who while not playing guitar as he did last time co-wrote fully half
of the album, testimony both to the vitality an outside vision can bring to a
project and to Escovedo’s keen instincts in sussing out a valuable
collaborator. (Tellingly or not, the album’s heaviest tunes – “Anchor,” “Tender
Heart,” “Faith,” “This Bed Is Getting Crowded” – bear the Escovedo-Prophet
songwriting credit.)

 

Still, Street Songs of
Love
represents as pure a distillation of Alejandro Escovedo Mk. 2010 as
one could imagine or hope for. That sweet taste you get in your mouth while
you’re listening to this record? That’s the nectar of triumph, my friends.

 

[Photo Credit: Rosco Weber]

 

 

Blurt’s Video Guide #6: Green Day etc.

 

Announcing the latest installment in our
“Play For Today” series of video game reviews. This time out we take on Green
Day: Rock Band, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Toy Story
3, The Sims 3: Ambitions; plus Nintendo 3DS

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Head over to
BLURT blogger Aaron Burgess’ “Play For Today” blog – he’s just posted some
action-packed (term used relatively and literally) reviews of a slew of more
top-rated games. Included are his own ratings plus screenshots – like the ones
below – and trailers. Game on!

 

Green Day: Rock
Band (above); Super Mario Galaxy 2 (below)

 

Metal Gear
Solid: Peace Walker

 

Toy Story 3

 

The Sims 3:
Ambitions

 

Cave Singers Prepping Next Album

 

Signs
with Jagjaguwar for an early 2011 release.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Jagjaguwar has just announced that Seattle’s Cave Singers will
have their next album on the label. The quirky NW  folksters (guitarist Derek Fudesco, singer
Pete Quirk and drummer Marty Lund) plan to enter the studio this summer with
Seattle producer Randall Dunn, the man behind the boards with bands like Sunn
O))), Boris and The Cave Singers’ friends Black Mountain. “In working with
Dunn,” the label tells us,  “the band
hopes to give its sound some added weight and a soaring ferocity more akin to
The Cave Singers’ incredible live show. The recording session will manifest
itself as The Cave Singers’ Jagjaguwar debut early next year.”

“Everything’s more electrified on this record, and just louder,”
Fudesco recently told Seattle Weekly.
“We wanted to work with someone who we felt could have a bit thicker
production, and working with someone who does a lot of heavier records, [we
thought] even our quieter songs would probably come off more like we play ’em
live.”

The band will unveil some of the new songs in August at Happy
Valley, Oregon’s Pickathon and
then at the No Depression Festival in Redmond,
WA. Between the two festivals The
Cave Singers will share the stage with Dr. Dog, Bonnie Prince Billy, Lucinda
Williams, The Swell Season, Alejandro Escovedo and many more. And in September,
the band will go abroad to tour China
for the first time.

 

TOUR DATES:

08/06 Happy Valley, OR-
Pickathon Festival

08/07 Happy Valley, OR-
Pickathon Festival

08/08 Happy Valley, OR-
Pickathon Festival

08/21 Redmond, WA-
Marymoor Park- No Depression Festival

 

On the web:

The Cave Singers Myspace

 

 

 

Current 93 Gets Close to the Edge

 

New album arrives next week. Meanwhile, what
about those belt buckles?

 

By
Blurt Staff

 

Finally
hitting U.S. stores next week, July 6,  is the new Current 93 album Baalstorm, Sing Omega , via the Coptic
Cat label
– which describes it, somewhat floridly (but not necessarily
innacurately), as “the most raw, powerful and hallucinatory album yet by
multi-million selling Baptist Satanist Toy Boys and Toy Girls.”

 

In
addition to leader David Tibet the current formation of the group includes
Eliot Bates, James Blackshaw, John Contreras, Baby Dee, Andrew Liles, Melon Liles,
Alex Neilson, Bea Taylor and Isabel Taylor.

 

The
CD comes in a full-color digi-pack with a booklet including all the lyrics and
photos of the banned band; the cover art is a new Tibet painting entitled “She Is
Naked as the Water, at the Door.”

 

 

Track Listing:

 

1. I
Dreamt I Was Æon

2.
With Flowers in the Garden
of Fires

3.
December 1971

4.
Baalstorm! Baalstorm!

5.
Passenger Aleph in Name

6.
Tanks of Flies

7.
The Nudes Lift Shields for War

8.
Night! Death! Storm! Omega!

9. I Dance Narcolepti

 

 

Antibalas Gears Up For 12”, CD, Tour

Exactamundo! Ain’t no
better Afro-beatmeisters on the planet.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Brooklyn Afro-beat music collective Antibalas has been pretty busy of late, arranging and performing the
musical score for the acclaimed Broadway musical FELA!, about the life and times of Fela Kuti. Now the group is
planning to mark its twelfth year together with two releases in the
summer of 2010, as well as a week-long tour including a West Coast run
supported by The Sway Machinery and
East Coast dates in Philadelphia and New York City.

 

 

The first release comes from the group’s newly-formed Exactamundo imprint.  Rat
Race/Se Chiflo
is a 12″ limited
edition vinyl pressing of two of the band’s hottest live songs. Produced
by Victor Axelrod (Dap-Kings,
Dub Side of the Moon, Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse), “Rat Race” is a
fierce, driving interpretation of the Bob Marley classic, while “Sé
Chiflo” (translation: “Everything’s Gone Mad”) is a swinging,
Spanish critique of the absurdity of the recent global financial crises,
featuring vocals by Marcos García (Chico
Mann).

 

 

On August 17th, 2010 Antibalas will also celebrate the
re-release of the 2004 critically acclaimed album Who Is This America? on Ropeadope Records. Recorded
and produced by Antibalas and Bosco
Mann (Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Amy Winehouse) at Daptone Records’ “House of
Soul” Studios in Brooklyn, the
politically-charged album features nearly 80 minutes of Afrobeat epics with
many contributions from Antibalas’s extended family, including members of the Dap-Kings as well as TV on the Radio front-man Tunde Adebimpe.

 

Tour Dates:

 

Wed, July 14 – San Diego, CA – Casbah*
Thu, July 15 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echoplex*
Fri, July 16 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall*
Sat, July 17 – Garberville, CA – Reggae on the River
Mon, July 19 – Portland, Or – Berbati’s Pan*
Tue, July 20 – Seattle, WA – Neumos*
Thu, July 22 – New York City – River to River Festival, Castle Clinton
Thu, July 29 – Philadelphia, PA – Kimmel Center, Perelman Theater
*With the Sway Machinery

 

 

 

 

 

Antony CD & Book Details Unveiled

 

Album from Secretly
Canadian; book by Abrams Image; meanwhile, Bjork turns up on a track.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Antony and the Johnsons
will release their new album, “Swanlights”, on October 12th (a week later from the original date announced) in
the US
via Secretly Canadian.  Abrams Image will simultaneously release a
special edition of “Swanlights” which
will include the CD inside a 144-page hard cover book containing Antony’s paintings,
collages, photography and writing.

 

The
album only version of “Swanlights” on
Secretly Canadian will also include the song “Flétta”, a duet with Björk. The
album and book are a continuation of Antony’s
work exploring his connection to the natural world.

 

 

Below
you can read what the label has to say about the eagerly awaited project:

 

 

While I Am a Bird Now is
compelling in its vulnerability, and
The
Crying Light is a masterpiece of
austerity,
Swanlights may be Antony’s most wide-rangingly emotional work
to date. It is a record that is at moments heartbreakingly  tender, and at
other times has a joyful gleam to its teeth. Unlike previous work, which was
often quite sparsely voiced, on
Swanlights the vines in the garden are overgrown and the sound palette has
become more exotic; strange percussive elements, John Cale-esque string drones,
heavily distorted guitars and symphonic winds and strings thread the song
cycle together.

“Everything is New” opens the album with a newborn piano melody that
quickly gathers in momentum and excitement. Strings and bursts of percussion
carry the song forward in a feral cacophony of sound. Later on the album, the
title track  
“Swanlights” finds
us navigating a primordial and hallucinatory world of hazy guitar tones. The
enigmatic layered melody of “Swanlights” emerges from a glistening soundscape.
A central image on the album, Antony
explains what he means by the word “Swanlights”:  “It’s the reflection of
light on the surface of the water at night. It’s the moment when a spirit jumps
out of a body and turns into a violet ghost.”  On “Thank You For Your
Love”, Antony
expresses a soul-infused sentiment of gratitude, but the song progresses into
urgency, leaving behind the 4/4 rhythmic structure and breaking into an
emotional gallop that reveals an underlying pathos.

 

The Swanlights book is a
collection of thought-provoking paintings, drawings, collages, photography, and
writings. Dreamlike and often bleakly environmental, Antony depicts a natural and spiritual world
under siege. Much of the work aches with a forlorn romanticism. In some pieces,
the artist draws together fragments of the past, the present and the future to
create a ghostly sense of omniscience. One image features a portrait of the
artist with his great grandmother’s face projected upon his own, creating a
ricochet through time and genealogy.  Found images of natural landscapes
are stained with scrawls of ink, indicating invisible presence and movement.
Some pieces are more conceptual; in “Cut Away The Bad”, the artist removes
corrupted elements in an attempt to restore balance.  In pieces like “I
Want To Help” Antony
sews a torn landscape back together with a magical intent.

 

Music and visual art intersect in these two presentations
of 
Swanlights to create an arresting vision of the
world through the artist’s eyes.

 

Tracklisting:

 

1. Everything
is New
2. The Great White Ocean
3. Ghost
4. I’m In Love
5. Violetta
6. Swanlights
7. The Spirit Was Gone
8. Thank You For Your Love
9. Flétta (with Björk)
10. Salt Silver Oxygen
11. Christina’s Farm

 

 

John Lennon’s Back Catalog Overhauled

 

It’s always a great
day when we can drop the word “Beatles” into a new item!

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Beatles auteur and solo provocateur John Lennon would have
been 70 on October 9, so naturally that provides some great marketing opps: eight
of Lennon’s classic solo albums and other standout recordings have been
digitally remastered, and while this is hardly the first time the legend’s back
catalogue has been revisited for remastering, these are being promoted as
coming from Lennnon’s “original mixes.”

 

Overseen by Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” campaign
will launch on October 5 with the worldwide release of those eight remastered
studio albums and several newly-compiled titles.

 

Double Fantasy,
1980’s GRAMMY Award winner for Album of the Year, will be presented in a newly
remixed ‘Stripped Down’ version remixed and produced by Yoko Ono and Jack
Douglas, co-producers of the original mix with John Lennon. The new stripped
down version of the album comes in an expanded 2CD and digital edition pairing
the new version with Lennon’s original mix, remastered. 

 

The campaign’s other new collections include:

 

  • A hits compilation in two editions titled Power To The People: The Hits
  • A 4CD set of themed discs titled Gimme
    Some Truth
  • A deluxe 11CD collectors box with the remastered albums, rarities, and
    non-album singles, titled the John Lennon
    Signature Box

 

All of the remastered albums and collections will be
available on CD and for download purchase from all major digital service
providers

 

Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono issued a statement: “In this very
special year, which would have seen my husband and life partner John reach the
age of 70, I hope that this remastering / reissue programme will help bring his
incredible music to a whole new audience. By remastering 121 tracks spanning
his solo career, I hope also that those who are already familiar with John’s
work will find renewed inspiration from his incredible gifts as a songwriter,
musician and vocalist and from his power as a commentator on the human
condition. His lyrics are as relevant today as they were when they were first
written and I can think of no more apposite title for this campaign than those
simple yet direct words ‘Gimme Some Truth’.”

 

The albums have been digitally remastered from Lennon’s
original mixes by Yoko Ono and a team of engineers led by Allan Rouse at EMI
Music’s Abbey Road Studios in London and by
George Marino at Avatar Studios in New
York.  All of
the remastered titles will be packaged in digisleeves with replicated original
album art and booklets with photos and new liner notes by British music
journalist Paul Du Noyer. The albums to be reissued are:

 

  • John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)
  • Imagine (1971)
  • Some Time In New York City (1972)
  • Mind Games (1973)
  • Walls and Bridges (1974)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll (1975)
  • Double Fantasy Stripped Down (2010) / Double Fantasy (1980)
  • Milk and Honey (1984)

 

YOKO ONO added:  “Double
Fantasy Stripped Down really allows us to focus our attention on John’s amazing
vocals. Technology has advanced so much that, conversely, I wanted to use new
techniques to really frame these amazing songs and John’s voice as simply as
possible. By stripping down some of the instrumentation the power of the songs
shines through with an enhanced clarity. Double Fantasy Stripped Down will be
complemented by the original album in the 2CD format. It was whilst working on
the new version of this album that I was hit hardest emotionally, as this was
the last album John released before his passing.”

 

Power To The People:
The Hits
gathers 15 of Lennon’s most popular songs, and will be available
as a 15-track single-disc and digital package, and as an Experience Edition with additional content.  Both versions will be packaged in digisleeves
with booklets including a new liner note essay by Du Noyer.

 

Gimme Some Truth,
to be packaged in a slipcase with rare photos and a new liner notes essays by American
music journalist and author, Anthony DeCurtis, presents 72 of Lennon’s solo
recordings on four themed CDs:

 

  • ‘Roots’ – John’s rock ‘n’ roll
    roots and influences
  • ‘Working Class Hero’ – John’s
    socio-political songs
  • ‘Woman’ – John’s love songs
  • ‘Borrowed Time’ – John’s songs about life

 

The John Lennon
Signature Box
is a deluxe 11CD and digital collection of the eight
remastered albums, a disc of rare and previously unreleased recordings, and an
EP of Lennon’s non-album singles. The CDs will be housed in digisleeves within
a deluxe box including a collectible limited edition John Lennon art print and
a hardbound book featuring rare photos, artwork, collages, poetry, and new
liner notes by DeCurtis.

 

 

 

 

Vince Neil Falls off the Wagon

 

 

Told reporters last
week that he’s been sober for years. With that little detail out of the way, it
was time to start partying THIS week, apparently. Love that barbed wire in the
photo above, btw.

 

By Fred Mills

 

You gotta love those deliberately provocative, mildly
misleading headlines that folks use on the internet to get your attention… at
any rate, cutting to the chase: Billboard.com reports this morning that Motley
Crue’s Vince Neil was busted in Las
Vegas late Sunday evening for DUI. He was pulled over
by police while driving his Lamborghini near the Strip, then was released on
Monday after posting bail. He’s due in court Sept. 27.

 

The mug shot:

 

 

 

His attorney declined to issue a statement yet, and the
Vegas police said they would not be releasing details of the arrest.

 

Billboard.com reports:

 

“In an interview last
week with the Associated Press about a tell-all book due out in September, Neil
said he hadn’t used drugs in 20 years and had stopped abusing alcohol. ‘There’s
just a point in your life where you kind of stop, that’s what happened with me,’
Neil had said. ‘There’s other things in life than just drugs and alcohol.’


“Neil said he admired the sobriety of top performers today. ‘Those are the guys
that are doing it right,’ he said. ‘It’s the ones that self-destruct with the
drugs and alcohol that have gone by the wayside many years ago.'”

 

Apparently there are other things in life than just drugs
and alcohol – for example, there’s “just alcohol”….