Monthly Archives: October 2010

Further Proof the ‘90s Really Did Suck

 

Seriously: Spin
Doctors, Meredith Brooks, Tonic, Blind Melon, Live… need we say more?

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Of course, if we were programming all this, we’d call it Worst Nineties Compilation… Ever!, but
that’s just because we’re smartasses. Anyway, if you’re reading this, you don’t
need us to tell you how badly the ‘90s sucked; for all you kids, don’t believe
your parents when they single out the ‘70s, because WE lived through both
decades and we know of what we speak.

 

In a timely move, then, EMI will be releasing, on Nov. 9,
the latest in its popular, multimillion-dollar selling NOW That’s What I Call…series of anthologies, and this one’s a
doozy. It brings together 18
of the decade’s top chart hits, including New Radicals’ “You Get What You
Give,” Spin Doctors’ “Two Princes,” Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week,” Meredith
Brooks’ “Bitch,” Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy,” Joan Osborne’s “One Of
Us,” Lisa Loeb’s “Stay (I Missed You),” Des’Ree’s “You Gotta Be,” Duran Duran’s
“Ordinary World,” Shawn Mullins’ “Lullabye,” Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be,” Tonic’s
“If You Could Only See,” Vertical Horizon’s “Everything You Want,” Everclear’s
“Father Of Mine,” Live’s “I Alone,” Collective Soul’s “Shine,” Blind Melon’s
“No Rain,” and Sublime’s “What I Got.” The full track listing is below.

 

Truly, a
turd that is polished, is a turd that glistens! Can we have our ten years back?

 

 

1.  New Radicals                                               You
Get What You Give

2.  Spin Doctors                                                Two
Princes

3.  Barenaked Ladies                                         One
Week

4.  Meredith Brooks                                           Bitch

5.  Sheryl Crow                                                  If
It Makes You Happy

6.  Joan Osborne                                              One
Of Us

7.  Lisa Loeb                                                     Stay
(I Missed You)

8.  Des’Ree                                                       You
Gotta Be

9.  Duran Duran                                                 Ordinary
World

10. Shawn Mullins                                              Lullabye

11. Edwin McCain                                              I’ll
Be

12. Tonic                                                           If
You Could Only See

13. Vertical Horizon                                           Everything
You Want

14. Everclear                                                     Father
Of Mine

15. Live                                                             I
Alone

16. Collective Soul                                            Shine

17. Blind Melon                                                 No
Rain

18. Sublime                                                       What
I Got

 

Read: Anil Prasad’s “Innerviews”

Just published by
Abstract Logix,
Innerviews: Music Without Borders is, like the companion website, a thinking person’s mecca.

 

By Mary Leary

If the layout of the Innerviews:
Music Without Borders
book and website bear some resemblance to a
clergyman’s somber attire, the grey-area choices make sense after spending a
few hours with Anil Prasad. Interested in the mind and spirit; as present as a
journalist can be, he’s single-handedly forged a unique category:
Scribe/witness as high priest. 

 

Page after page of depthy chit-chat with an assortment of relatively
normal (at least re: conduct/rep.) minstrels could seem a dry, rather daunting prospect.
And no more fireworks are promised by Prasad, founder of Innerviews.org, the ‘net’s longest-running music rag. The
journalist’s approach is miles away from the sparkling repartee of
reporter/subject sit-downs in Interview,
Details, or Vanity Fair. Prasad isn’t after sound bites or sensation. Still,
one takes a grateful breath upon realizing that the plod-ish, at times
redundant prose of the three-page introduction isn’t indicative of the tome’s meat
and potatoes. Prasad’s painstaking attention to detail serves him well in
researching and conducting interviews; not so much when the cheese stands alone.

 

The site’s basically a thinking person’s mecca. If the web
were truly a world, one imagines Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford booking rooms in
this particular niche. Indeed, a site search reveals a 1994 interview with the brilliant
percussionist. In the accompanying photo he sports a tightly closed, brown
jacket–almost a perfect match for the site’s no-nonsense graphics and color
(or lack thereof) scheme (Bruford is also represented, by two more interviews,
in the book).

 

This assemblage embraces a wide enough gamut – including Bjork,
McCoy Tyner, Tangerine Dream and Leo Kottke — to tempt an array of music
lovers. If those lovers have inquiring minds and spirits; hungry for in-depth analyses
of creativity, Innerviews: Music Without
Borders
provides a fortifying, 23-chapter banquet.

 

Players who are weary of being treated like products by the
industry, or being pushed into static categories by fans, greet Prasad’s
thoughtful questions with some extraordinary admissions. Responding to the
query, “What are some of the most stirring musical moments in your life that
have influenced your journey as an artist?” Jon Anderson provides an especially
stirring passage:

 

“I think the first one was when I heard Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’
from The Enigma Variations at age five.
It’s as if the music went right through my whole body. I remember leaning up
against the speaker and having it take me on this incredibly uplifting journey…”
and “Another key moment was when Yes was halfway through recording Close to the Edge and I realized how
creative and special the music was. We had worked into the wee hours. I was
exhausted, but I decided to walk home from the studio. I saw the sun come up
and at that moment I said to myself, ‘I think I can officially call myself a
musician now. I’m not just the singer in the band.’ By the time I got home, I
was in tears. I opened up my passport and wrote ‘musician’ on the page where
you were supposed to describe your occupation. I had left it blank up until
that point.”

 

I don’t know about you, but that’s not the level of intimacy
I glean from most music interviews. And I’m definitely going to check out that
Elgar piece. Maybe I’ll even give Close
to the Edge
another shot, with my ears tuned to a new frequency.

 

Other highlights include Stanley Clarke on turning down invitations
to join The Doors and Miles Davis. John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain’s
discussion on the challenges of the Shakti project provides intriguing
revelations. Ani DiFranco delves into her methods for integrating politics with
music. And Prasad gives Joe Zawinul the opportunity to defend his position as hip-hop’s
inventor.

 

 

 

Meet Apex Manor!

Ex-The Broken West
musician gears up for 2011 debut, due Jan. 25 from Merge. Check out the free
MP3, below.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

The Year of Magical
Drinking
is the title of the debut album from Apex Manor: Ross Flournoy,
Adam Vine, Brian Whelan, and Andy Creighton. Flournoy founded Apex Manor after
the 2009 demise of The Broken West. Named after his Los Angeles “zen place,” Apex Manor was the
idyllic apartment of his close friend and long-time collaborator Vine.

 

Having relocated from the Silver
Lake neighborhood of Los
Angeles to Pasadena,
Flournoy was battling a case of writer’s block. Enter an unlikely source of
inspiration: an online songwriting contest. NPR’s Monitor Mix was soliciting
original songs from readers, giving the prospective songwriter one weekend to
write, record, and submit. Flournoy decided to give it a go and set about
writing and recording at home. At least he would be doing something with his
time. The song, “Under the Gun,” turned out to be about the process itself.

 

Free MP3:

 

Now feeling inspired for the first time in months, Flournoy
began writing, penning more than 25 songs, nearly a third of which were
co-written by Adam Vine. Flournoy then teamed up with former Broken West
bandmate Whelan to record some proper demos, and Apex Manor was born.

 

The Year of Magical
Drinking
was recorded at three different studios around LA and was produced
by Dan Long (Film
School, Local Natives)
and Brian Whelan. The full-band Apex Manor plans to tour extensively in 2011
including SXSW.

 

 

 

Crocodiles Mum on Tour Cancellation

Citing family emergency, string of fall dates is
cancelled but with an eye towards rescheduling.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Late yesterday BLURT faves
the Crocodiles, whose recent album Sleep
Forever
is a clear contender for year-end Top Ten status, circulated a
message via their publicist that read thusly:

 

“Due to a serious family
emergency Crocodiles have had to cancel the remaining dates of their U.S. tour. The
band would like to apologize for any inconvenience and they look forward to
rescheduling these dates. Refunds will be available at point of purchase.”

 

The canceled dates for the
Crocs/Dum Dum Girls tour are listed below. (The band was supposed to play Hoboken tonight.) As of yet there has been no
elaboration on the exact nature of the emergency, so plan on speculation to
start running rampant throughout the blog-o-verse.

 

Meanwhile, if you’re not
up to speed on the band itself, you can go here to read our interview with the
band’s Charles Rowell, and then go here to read our review of the album. As we
put it so nimbly, Sleep Forever is equal parts fuzzed-out glam
slam, Krautrock boogie and latterday disco-punk… this astonishing record serves
up pop’s head on a platter and makes for one bloody good buffet.”

 

Canceled dates:

 

10.26: Hoboken, NJ-
Maxwell’s

10.27: Philadelphia PA
– Johnny Brendas

10.28: Washington DC
– Rock N Roll Hotel

10.29: Carrboro NC
– Cat’s Cradle

10.30: Atlanta GA –
The Earl

10.31: Birmingham AL
– Bottle Tree Cafe

11.02: Orlando FL –
The Social

11.03: Miami FL –
Grand Central

11.04: Tallahassee FL
– Engine Room

11.05: New Orleans LA
– One Eyed Jacks

11.06: Houston TX –
Mango’s

11.07: Austin TX – Fun Fun Festival

 

 

 

Cage The Elephant Shed Their Indulgences

 

Well, long enough to record a new album, at
least!

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Cage The Elephant
will release their sophomore album, Thank
You, Happy Birthday
(Jive
Records), on January 11. Produced
by Jay Joyce and recorded at Tragedy/Tragedy Studios in Nashville, TN,
the album is the band’s follow up to their critically acclaimed 2009
self-titled debut. The young five-piece from Bowling Green,
KY,  Matt
Shultz (vocals), Brad Shultz
(guitar), Daniel Tichenor (bass),
Lincoln Parish (guitar) and Jared Champion (drums),
accumulated  80 songs worth of ideas during a 2-year period touring around
the globe and living abroad in England
supporting their eponymous debut.

 

According to the label:

 

“As they began sorting
through their arsenal of songs upon returning to Kentucky to record album two, they were
unwavering in their devotion to making a record that reflected their vast
musical growth and interests as a band.

 

Although Cage The Elephant has made more fans
and has sold more records than most recent bands on their debuts, they have
engaged in indulgences that took them off track and battled their share of
demons and creative doubts. Their adversities forced them to take a fresh
approach with their new album, and their lives. The band locked themselves away
in a remote Kentucky
cabin, listened to and discovered old albums from The Pixies, Mudhoney and
Butthole Surfers, and studied interviews with songwriting greats like Bob Dylan
and John Lennon.  Cage the
Elephant were re-energized, and ready to lay it all down on the
line-inhibition free. After just two weeks, Cage The Elephant emerged with a set of songs that blast through your
speakers with ferocity, while at the same time reflect their clever lyrical and
melodic gifts.

 

Hey, we are all about melodic gifts! Not to mention, er, “indulgences”….

 

Prior to the LP’s release, fans can get an early taste of
the album when Cage The Elephant releases
a 7″ vinyl of “Shake Me Down”/”Aberdeen” available
exclusively during Record Store Day’s
“Black Friday” event on November
26.

 

MP3/UPDATE: Crystal Castles Meet Cure

 

Cult heroes all around….

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Crystal Castles
have recorded their next single with  Robert Smith of The Cure. A new version of “Not in Love” will be released December 6th through Fiction Records. B-sides for the
single will include early acoustic demos of “Celestica” and “Suffocation.”

 

MP3 free download: Not In Love

 

Crystal Castles new album “(II)” has notched substantial critical acclaim, and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore remixed
the track “Celestica” while No Age remixed “Baptism”.  Not bad for a band that just a few months ago was
pegged as cult heroes. Hey – maybe Robert Smith could work that notion into a
song sometime, hmmm?

 

Currently on a sold out tour of the UK and Europe,
the band returns for ATP in December and a 2011 North American tour in March.

 

March 2    San Diego
CA            
House of Blues
March 3    Pomona CA               
Fox Theatre
March 4    San Francisco
CA        Warfield Theatre
March 6    Portland, OR   
          Roseland Theater
March 7    Vancouver, BC   
       Commodore Ballroom
March 8    Seattle, WA   
           Showbox at the MArket
March 11  Minneapolis, MN   
     First Avenue
March 12  Chicago, IL       
        Riviera Theatre
March 13  Royal Oak,
MI            Royal Oak
Music Hall
March 15  Philadelphia, PA   
     Theater of Living Arts
March 16  Washington
DC          9:30 Club
March 18  New York, NY   
         Terminal 5
March 19  Boston, MA       
        House of Blues
March 26  Miami, FL       
          Ultra Music Festival
April 2       Toronto,
ON             Sound Academy

Listen: 2 New Lykke Li Songs

 

By Blurt Staff

 

With the followup to 2008’s acclaimed Youth Novels reportedly nearing release, Lykke Li has unveiled a
new single, the jungle-pounding, almost big band-on-spaghetti-twang “Get Some,” which
contains such provocative lines as “Like the shotgun needs an outcome/ I’m your
prostitute, you gon’ get some…” It’s backed by the decidedly restrained moody
ballad “Paris Blue.”

 

Full details can be found at her official website – she also
has a short music film about her by Moses Berkson, Solarium, posted there that you should check out, particularly if
you like black and white images of blonde vocalists lounging seductively on the
beach – and you can listen to the tracks below (via The Stark Online).

 

MP3:

 

MP3:

 

[Photo Credit: Marcus Palmqvist]

 

Smokey Robinson Integrates CrackerBarrel – WTF?!?

 

Famed singer joins an
all-star roster of musicians to sing for the notorious restaurant chain. Maybe
a lunch counter sit-in would’ve been a better idea.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Ya know, they don’t call it Cracker Barrel for nothing, kids.

 

Even by my own skewed standards, the promotional postcard
that arrived in the mail announcing a new Smokey Robinson compilation
courtesy that bastion of soul, funk and urban sounds, Cracker Barrel – made me
do a double take. Now And Then, arriving Nov. 1 and available exclusively at the venerable roadside eatery
chain or via mail order at the CB online store, will feature six tracks from
2009’s Time Flies When You’re Having Fun plus six live classics including “Tracks of My Tears” and “The Tears of a
Clown.” (If you pre-order the CD “you could be one of the lucky ones to receive
a signed copy,” by the way.)

 

What the fuck? Smokey Robinson at Cracker Barrel?

 

Let’s see, Cracker Barrel Music currently lists 24 artists
and releases, among them Dolly Parton, Charlie Daniels, Merle Haggard, Amy
Grant, Kenny Rogers, Alabama, Alan Jackson, George Jones and the Zac Brown
Band. We ain’t exactly talkin’ Chocolate
City here. And while it
is admirable that Smokey is willing to step up and integrate this particular musical
school… whew. Was Starbucks not an option?

 

Literally two days after I got the postcard in the mail, the
following news story
appeared at CNN.com: “Plea deal in beating at Georgia
Cracker Barrel,” about a racially motivated attack at the Morrow, Ga., Cracker
Barrel in 2009 by one Troy Dale West Jr., a white man, upon Tasha Hill, a black
woman. You can read the entire story here; it’s pretty self explanatory.

 

The fact that it occurred at a Cracker Barrel would normally
be incidental, except for the nagging fact that the restaurant chain has a
shameful history regarding race relations dating back many years. One could go
as far as suggesting that perhaps people like Troy Dale West Jr. feel empowered when they walk through the
doors of Cracker Barrel. For example, in 2001, a $100 million federal lawsuit
was filed
against Cracker Barrel alleging “systematic discrimination” and “acts
of alleged racism in 175 cities in 30 states” – specifically, denying African
American customers service and effectively segregating them by seating them in
the smoking section. The company later settled in 2004 with the Justice
Department for a reported $8.7 million.

 

Then in 2006 Chris Rock’s mother sued the chain over
allegedly ignoring her and her daughter during a visit to a South Carolina
Cracker Barrel. It doesn’t take much Googling to find other such incidents,
complaints posted online by present and former employees, and more. Cracker
Barrel is, like, the George Wallace of restaurants chains. You youngsters
reading this may have to look up the name “George Wallace”…

 

In an interview at BrandWeek.com, Robinson acknowledged the
chain’s regressive image, offering a somewhat tepid explanation – that reads
suspiciously like a p.r. agent’s spin terminology – for his decision to do the
CD: “It’s time to change that imagery of Cracker Barrel. I’m very happy to be
the one breaking that ground with them. It’s progress.”

 

Shit man, are you
fucking kidding me?
C’mon Smokey – like I said, there’s a reason the joint
is called Cracker Barrel. Hope you’re
getting a sweet payday when all is said and done, ‘cos your credibility just
received a foreclosure notice.

 

Where’s George Clinton when we need him?

 

 

Read: Cheetah Chrome Dead Boys Memoir

 

A Dead Boy’s Tale: From the Front Lines of Punk Rock, recently published by Voyageur Press, is a
fly-on-the-wall account of Ground Zero-era punk. You can read an excerpt from
it in the current issue of BLURT.

 

By John B. Moore

In the
late 1970’s, Sire Records tried to reinvent itself as the American label for
punk rock and new wave, signing a slew of bands that bounced between CBGBs and
Max’s Kansas City,
including The Ramones and The Talking Heads. At the suggestion of CBGB owner
Hilly Kristal, the label also snapped up The Dead Boys (who were conveniently
being managed by Kristal at the time).

 

While The
Ramones and The Talking Heads went on to sell millions of albums and quickly
cemented their reputations as founding groups of the American punk rock sound,
The Dead Boys were relegated mostly to footnote status.

 

Since their founding in Cleveland,
it appears as if the Dead Boys were always destined to be the Rodney
Dangerfield of punk rock. They had the chops, but never really got the respect
or credit they deserved for their role serving on the front lines of the New York punk scene. They
shared stages, groupies and drugs with The Ramones, but never quite got the
amount of fame that their buddies achieved.

 

The Dead Boys are finally getting some of the credit they
deserve, thanks to the memoir by founding guitarist Cheetah Chrome.

 

 

In his book, Chrome does a great job of throwing in just
enough about his childhood – growing up poor in Cleveland, raised by a
supportive single mom – to add context to the group, but not enough to bore the
reader (like most musician’s autobiographies). Chrome spends the bulk of the
book discussing his time in Rocket From the Tombs, one of Ohio’s first great punk rock bands, and
finally the Dead Boys.

 

 

Chrome is honest about his alcohol and drug use, and more
than a little defensive about getting kicked out of the band, but that’s to be
expected. He also shares plenty of stories about the ‘70s music scene at CBGB’s
and Max’s Kansas City and run-ins with Johnny Rotten (annoying at first, but a
decent enough guy on a second meeting), Sid Vicious (funny, when he was awake
and away from Nancy Spungen) and Patti Smith (not Chrome’s favorite person).

 

 

The Dead Boys have finally gotten the acknowledgement they
deserve for their role in the early days of punk rock… too bad it had to be
from one of their own.

 

 

Read an excerpt from
Chrome’s book in the current issue of BLURT.

 

 

 

Nine Inch Nails’ 1989 Debut Reissued

Latest remaster of the
industrial-pop classic contains a lone bonus track.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Posted this weekend by Trent Reznor at the official Nine
Inch Nails website:

 

I’m happy to finally
announce the re-issue of the first Nine Inch Nails record “Pretty Hate
Machine,” releasing worldwide 11/22. UMe and Bicycle Music Group managed to
locate the original mixes, so I went in the studio with Tom Baker and
remastered it for a greatly improved sonic experience. In addition, Rob
reinterpreted Gary Talpas’ original cover to make for a fresh new package.

It’s been an interesting trip watching the fate of this record float from one
set of hands to another (a long and depressing story) but it’s finally wound up
in friendly territory, allowing us to polish it up a bit and present it to you
now. We had fun revisiting this old friend, hope you enjoy.

 

Recall that the band’s TVT Records debut was originally
released in 1989 (see the original cover, below; the new cover is at the top of
the page), subsequently seeing a remastered reissue in 2005. This latest
iteration will contain one bonus track; can an expanded Deluxe Edition be far
behind?

 

 

Tracklisting:

 

1 Head Like a Hole
2 Terrible Lie
3 Down In It
4 Sanctified
5 Something I Can Never Have
6 Kinda I Want To
7 Sin
8 That’s What I Get
9 The Only Time
10 Ringfinger
*11 Get Down, Make Love (Queen cover bonus track, originally 1990 B-side to “Sin”
single)