Monthly Archives: January 2011

Skull Defekts Go Skull-fuggin’ w/Higgs

New album in February,
U.S.
tour in March/April.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Since their creation in 2005, The Skull Defekts have taken
their base of classic rock with massive guitar riffing, and infused it with
their interest in circular composition, drone, tribal music, Indian ragas, ’60s
minimalism, and experimental music from numerous ages. The Skull Defekts are Sweden’s answer to the States’ Sonic Youth and
the Netherlands’
The Ex and one of the centerpieces of the Swedish experimental rock
scene.  The band’s members having served time in Union Carbide
Productions, Kid Commando, Alvars Orkester, Satan Power, Oceans of Silver &
Blood, Anti Cimex, Cortex, Trapdoor Fucking Exit, 8 Days of Nothing and more.

 

Check out a free MP3:

 

With a new album, Peer
Amid
, dropping on Feb. 15via Thrill Jockey, the band arrives on these
shores once again in March and will be hitting the road with their new fifth
member Daniel Higgs (of Lungfish) for all of these dates. Zomes (Asa
Osborne of Lungfish) will be opening.

 

Tour Dates:

 

Mar 27  Minneapolis, MN
Turf Club w/Zomes

Mar 28  Madison, WI    
TBA w/Zomes

Mar 29  Iowa City, IA  
Mission Creek Festival w/Zomes

Mar 30  St. Louis, MO  
Lemp Neighborhood Arts
Center w/Zomes

Mar 31  Chicago,
IL     The Hideout w/Zomes, Mountains

Apr 1   Pittsburgh, PA 
31st Street
Pub w/Zomes

Apr 2   Buffalo, NY    
Soundlab w/Zomes, Mountains

Apr 3   Brooklyn, NY   
Littlefield w/Zomes

Apr 4   Boston, MA     
Great Scott w/Zomes

Apr 5   Providence, RI 
Machine With Magnets w/Zomes

Apr 6   Scranton, PA   
Embassy Vinyl w/Zomes

Apr 7   Philadelphia, PA       
Danger Danger Gallery w/Zomes

Apr 8   Baltimore, MD  
TBA w/Zomes

Apr 9   Chapel Hill, NC
Nightlight w/Zomes

Apr 10  Knoxville, TN  
The Pilot Light w/Zomes

Apr 11  Atlanta, GA    
The Earl w/Zomes

Apr 12  Asheville, NC  
Harvest Records w/Zomes

 

 

Charlie Louvin 1927-2011 R.I.P.

 

Country music legend
was one-half of The Louvin Brothers.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Charlie Louvin – Charlie Elzer Loudermilk, Country Music
Hall of Famer and one-half of The Louvin Brothers – has died today (Jan. 26) at the age of 83,
at his home in Wartrace, Tenn. According to news reports he had been
battling pancreatic cancer for some time; despite having surgery for the
disease last July, an expected recovery did not occur and he subsequently tried
alternative treatment methods. There was also a benefit and auction held in Tennessee for Louvin in
October.

 

Louvin and his brother Ira, of course, were hugely
influential in the country music world as The Louvin Brothers, their tight
vocal harmonies making for a distinct signature. Frequent performers at the
Grand Ol’ Opry, their hits included “I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby” and “The
Christian Life.” They broke up in 1963 and Ira died in a car accident in 1965.
Charlie continued as a solo star, and starting in 2007 experienced a
late-career revival with several albums on the Tompkins Square label, notably the
self-titled Charlie Louvin featuring collaborations
with younger artists such as Elvis Costello, Jeff Tweedy, Mac McCaughan and
Clem Snide.

 

His most recent album was released in November, The Battle Rages On, and he continued to
tour right up until the time of his death. In concert he was charismatic though
at times idiosyncratic – his comments both on- and offstage about women, race
relations and contemporary culture could sometimes be charitably described as “unfiltered”
– but his musical and vocal gifts remained undiminished by time. He will be
missed.

 

 

 

First Look: New Iron & Wine Album

 

Our critic’s
assessment: a confident, beautiful masterpiece. Kiss Each Other Clean is out
this week on Warner Bros. Link to tour dates, below.

 

BY MICHAEL TOLAND

Musicians, in interviews, constantly talk about artistic
growth, trying new things, getting better. With all the bravado scattered about,
it’s no wonder fans are disappointed when bands and solo artists don’t up their
games with every album. But there are those that can, and do, improve every
time they set foot in the studio. Even when you think she/he/it has reached an
apex, they surprise you.

 

Iron & Wine seemed to have hit a career-defining peak on
its last album The Sheperd’s Dog. The
combination of leader Sam Beam’s literate, melodic folk-pop songs with
arrangements that incorporated African rhythms and busy but not cluttered
arrangements took I&W to a new level, pushing it far beyond the intimate
indie folk for which it had become known. It’s a landmark work that raised the
stakes in an already acclaimed career. Surely, one could be forgiven for
thinking Beam would never make a better record.

 

But Kiss Each Other
Clean
is, in fact, a superior LP. Expanding on the developments of The Sheperd’s Dog, Beam and stalwart
producer Brian Deck construct another intricate, engaging backdrop for a
ridiculously strong set of tunes. Beam’s love of ‘70s California rock/pop remains intact, and his
flirtation with African rhythms continues apace. But Beam, Deck and their
musicians plunder music history further, from ‘70s funk and soul to ‘00s
electronic indie pop, subsuming everything into serving the song at hand. On
“Rabbit Will Run,” for example, the musicians layer a 6/8 melody over African
grooves, peppering the track with flute, muted trumpet and distorted organ
solos. The vibraphone-inflected “Glad Man Singing” explores spacey pop not unlike
Air, if that duo had grown up in the American South instead of France. The
band spices the enigmatic “Monkeys Uptown” with clavinet and electronic
percussion, while “Big Burned Hand” goes straight for the acid funk jugular,
like an unusually contemplative theme for a ‘70s black action flick. The
seething, odd “Yr City is a Sucker” blends soul guitar, Afrobeat groove, meaty
baritone saxophone, Euro disco atmosphere and a noisy coda into an epic that
sounds like Giorgio Moroder producing Fela Kuti.

 

For longtime fans, the pair is smart enough to include
plenty of more traditional (i.e. more easily accessible) I&W pieces. The
folk popping “Tree By the River” boasts a Simon & Garfunkel vibe, while
“Half Moon” wouldn’t sound out of place on an Emitt Rhodes record. “Walking Far
From Home” may have a distorted edge on the guitars, but it’s a singalong piece
of folk rock that’s a natural single. The almost impossibly lovely “Godless
Brother in Love” breaks hearts as surely as it soothes brows, like Leonard Cohen
donating a ballad to the Beatles for Abbey Road.
Beam also drops his lyrical smart bombs with casual aplomb, like “He’s an
emancipated punk and he can dance” from “Me and Lazarus” or “Those monkeys
uptown told you not to fuck around” from “Monkeys Uptown.” And, of course,
Beam’s breathy vocals remain a constant no matter what the setting. 

 

If it almost sounds like ambition run wild, rest assured
that Beam and Deck keep firm control of the proceedings, never letting any
arrangement get out of hand. The song always rules, no matter how dizzying the
musical filigrees, and these tunes are some of Beam’s strongest. The marriage
here of song and sonic is heady and addictive, the sound of an artist using
both old and new tools to evolve beyond his prior achievements. There aren’t
many musical artists that can be counted on to get better with every record.
With Kiss Each Other Clean, Iron
& Wine firmly, confidently, beautifully steps into that rarified pantheon.

 

Iron & Wine play Los Angeles tonight and tomorrow then go to New York for a show on the 29th – a tour of Europe follows. Dates at the MySpace page.

 

 

Explosions In The Sky Return & Take Care

 

Nothin’ but net: album
drops April 26.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

The long-awaited (like, over three years) new Explosions In
The Sky album, their fifth, is finally en route. Take Care, Take Care, Take Care arrives April 26 on Temporary
Residence Ltd. in the U.S. and Bella Union in the UK (April 25). Recorded at
Sonic Ranch in El Paso TX by John Congleton and produced by the
band,  it’s the followup to 2007’s All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone. The
record was mixed by Congleton at Austin TX’s Public Hi Fi studio and features
artwork by longtime visual collaborator Esteban Rey.

 

Keep your eyes peeled for the spring issue of BLURT magazine
as we’re planning a big EITS feature – long overdue on that count, too, no lie.

Meanwhile, tickets are on sale now for Explosions In The Sky’s biggest
headlining show to date: April 6 at New York City’s
Radio City Music Hall
featuring special guests Low and a first ever solo piano performance by
Eluvium. The Radio City date is the first confirmed stop on Explosions In
The Sky’s forthcoming 2011 tour, whose UK/Europe leg commences May 16 in Dublin and runs through May 25 in Amsterdam. Further dates will be announced as
they are confirmed.

A second snippet of music from Take Care, Take Care, Take Care can be previewed
at http://explosionsinthesky.com.
A first 47-second sample appeared on the site in conjunction with the
announcement of the Radio
City show.

Track Listing:

1.  Last Known Surroundings
2.  Human Qualities
3.  Trembling Hands
4.  Be Comfortable, Creature
5.  Postcard From 1952
6.  Let Me Back In

Tour Dates:

April 6     New York, NY, Radio City Music Hall
May 16    Ireland, Dublin, Vicar St
May 17    UK, Manchester, Academy
May 19    UK, London, Roundhouse
May 20    France, Paris, Bataclan
May 22    Germany, Berlin, Postbahnhof
May 23    Germany, Koln, Essigfabrik
May 24    Belgium, Brussels, Ancienne Belgique
May 25    Holland, Amsterdam, Paradiso

 

 

[Photo Credit: Kurt Volk]

 

 

First Look: New Iron & Wine Album

 

Our critic’s
assessment: a confident, beautiful masterpiece. Kiss Each Other Clean is out
this week on Warner Bros. Link to tour dates, below.

 

BY MICHAEL TOLAND

Musicians, in interviews, constantly talk about artistic
growth, trying new things, getting better. With all the bravado scattered about,
it’s no wonder fans are disappointed when bands and solo artists don’t up their
games with every album. But there are those that can, and do, improve every
time they set foot in the studio. Even when you think she/he/it has reached an
apex, they surprise you.

 

Iron & Wine seemed to have hit a career-defining peak on
its last album The Sheperd’s Dog. The
combination of leader Sam Beam’s literate, melodic folk-pop songs with
arrangements that incorporated African rhythms and busy but not cluttered
arrangements took I&W to a new level, pushing it far beyond the intimate
indie folk for which it had become known. It’s a landmark work that raised the
stakes in an already acclaimed career. Surely, one could be forgiven for
thinking Beam would never make a better record.

 

But Kiss Each Other
Clean
is, in fact, a superior LP. Expanding on the developments of The Sheperd’s Dog, Beam and stalwart
producer Brian Deck construct another intricate, engaging backdrop for a
ridiculously strong set of tunes. Beam’s love of ‘70s California rock/pop remains intact, and his
flirtation with African rhythms continues apace. But Beam, Deck and their
musicians plunder music history further, from ‘70s funk and soul to ‘00s
electronic indie pop, subsuming everything into serving the song at hand. On
“Rabbit Will Run,” for example, the musicians layer a 6/8 melody over African
grooves, peppering the track with flute, muted trumpet and distorted organ
solos. The vibraphone-inflected “Glad Man Singing” explores spacey pop not unlike
Air, if that duo had grown up in the American South instead of France. The
band spices the enigmatic “Monkeys Uptown” with clavinet and electronic
percussion, while “Big Burned Hand” goes straight for the acid funk jugular,
like an unusually contemplative theme for a ‘70s black action flick. The
seething, odd “Yr City is a Sucker” blends soul guitar, Afrobeat groove, meaty
baritone saxophone, Euro disco atmosphere and a noisy coda into an epic that
sounds like Giorgio Moroder producing Fela Kuti.

 

For longtime fans, the pair is smart enough to include
plenty of more traditional (i.e. more easily accessible) I&W pieces. The
folk popping “Tree By the River” boasts a Simon & Garfunkel vibe, while
“Half Moon” wouldn’t sound out of place on an Emitt Rhodes record. “Walking Far
From Home” may have a distorted edge on the guitars, but it’s a singalong piece
of folk rock that’s a natural single. The almost impossibly lovely “Godless
Brother in Love” breaks hearts as surely as it soothes brows, like Leonard Cohen
donating a ballad to the Beatles for Abbey Road.
Beam also drops his lyrical smart bombs with casual aplomb, like “He’s an
emancipated punk and he can dance” from “Me and Lazarus” or “Those monkeys
uptown told you not to fuck around” from “Monkeys Uptown.” And, of course,
Beam’s breathy vocals remain a constant no matter what the setting. 

 

If it almost sounds like ambition run wild, rest assured
that Beam and Deck keep firm control of the proceedings, never letting any
arrangement get out of hand. The song always rules, no matter how dizzying the
musical filigrees, and these tunes are some of Beam’s strongest. The marriage
here of song and sonic is heady and addictive, the sound of an artist using
both old and new tools to evolve beyond his prior achievements. There aren’t
many musical artists that can be counted on to get better with every record.
With Kiss Each Other Clean, Iron
& Wine firmly, confidently, beautifully steps into that rarified pantheon.

 

Iron & Wine play Los Angeles tonight and tomorrow then go to New York for a show on the 29th – a tour of Europe follows. Dates at the MySpace page.

 

 

Quintron Cuts LP in a Museum

Sucre du Sauvage is due
out April 12 on Goner. Ben Stiller was not involved.

 

By Blurt
Staff

 

Outsider keyboard maestro Quintron has a new
album incoming: it was recorded last year, from January 29th through May 2nd,
at the New Orleans Museum of Art in a public gallery space and as part of an
exhibit (which also included a Drum Buddy retrospective and enormous Miss Pussycat puppet display) titled “Parallel Universe – Quintron and Miss
Pussycat Live in City Park.”

 

Quintron says his intent behind the exhibit was
not to entertain museum-goers, but rather to ignore them completely and record
the new album.  When needed however, viewers would be called in to be part
of the process and used for backing vocals, hand claps, and other background
noises, sounds, and effects.

 

During the last seven days of the recording,
Quintron chose to roam the museum grounds, also known as “New Orleans City Park,”
making field recordings which would eventually be woven into the album’s final
mixes.

 

The end result is a schizophrenic two-part
album.  

 

Part 1 finds the usual Quintron, writing
straight ahead jams but using far more instrumentation than usual (tympani,
drum loops, vibraphones in addition to the Drum Buddy and electric organ)
including two dreamy Miss Pussycat tracks “Banana Beat” and
“Spirit Hair”) all w/ the aforementioned field recordings creeping
in.

 

Part 2 is where the field recordings completely
take over.  Electronic and acoustic instruments blur together w/ the
sounds of ducks, insects, birds, water, and even museum elevators until they
become brutal hypnotic madness.

 

Quintron explains:  “The NOMA
sessions produced literally thousands of hours of tape.  What you have
here is the cream of that crop – the sucre du sauvage.  There was no post
production of overdubs.  When the exhibit closed, the album was finished.
 It is what it is and it probably ain’t happening again anytime
soon.”

 

Quintron and Miss Pussycat will head out on a
series of dates next month alongside Ty Segall, Cave, Jeff The Brotherhood and
more, and will also be performing at Miami’s “Bruise Cruise” to the
Bahamas (w/ guests The Black Lips, Vivian Girls, Thee Oh Sees, Surfer Blood and
more) as well as performing at Mardi Gras w/ The Black Lips, Turbo Fruits,
Cave, and others. Tour itinerary tba.

 

Track
Listing:

 

1. Ring The
Alarm
2. Face Down in the Gutter
3. New Years Night (Boogie Children)
4. Kicked Out of Zolar X
5. Banana Beat
6. Sucre Du
Sauvage
7. All Night Right of Way
8. Spirit Hair
9. Elevator
10. Deer in the Clouds
11. Bells
12. Train Ride
13. Jazz Bar
14. Morning

 

 

 

Explosions In The Sky Return & Take Care

 

Nothin’ but net: album
drops April 26.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

The long-awaited (like, over three years) new Explosions In
The Sky album, their fifth, is finally en route. Take Care, Take Care, Take Care arrives April 26 on Temporary
Residence Ltd. in the U.S. and Bella Union in the UK (April 25). Recorded at
Sonic Ranch in El Paso TX by John Congleton and produced by the
band,  it’s the followup to 2007’s All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone. The
record was mixed by Congleton at Austin TX’s Public Hi Fi studio and features
artwork by longtime visual collaborator Esteban Rey.

 

Keep your eyes peeled for the spring issue of BLURT magazine
as we’re planning a big EITS feature – long overdue on that count, too, no lie.

Meanwhile, tickets are on sale now for Explosions In The Sky’s biggest
headlining show to date: April 6 at New York City’s
Radio City Music Hall
featuring special guests Low and a first ever solo piano performance by
Eluvium. The Radio City date is the first confirmed stop on Explosions In
The Sky’s forthcoming 2011 tour, whose UK/Europe leg commences May 16 in Dublin and runs through May 25 in Amsterdam. Further dates will be announced as
they are confirmed.

A second snippet of music from Take Care, Take Care, Take Care can be previewed
at http://explosionsinthesky.com.
A first 47-second sample appeared on the site in conjunction with the
announcement of the Radio
City show.

Track Listing:

1.  Last Known Surroundings
2.  Human Qualities
3.  Trembling Hands
4.  Be Comfortable, Creature
5.  Postcard From 1952
6.  Let Me Back In

Tour Dates:

April 6     New York, NY, Radio City Music Hall
May 16    Ireland, Dublin, Vicar St
May 17    UK, Manchester, Academy
May 19    UK, London, Roundhouse
May 20    France, Paris, Bataclan
May 22    Germany, Berlin, Postbahnhof
May 23    Germany, Koln, Essigfabrik
May 24    Belgium, Brussels, Ancienne Belgique
May 25    Holland, Amsterdam, Paradiso

 

 

[Photo Credit: Kurt Volk]

 

 

John Wesley Harding Re-Opens His Cabinet

 

Monthly residency in NYC will
offer an embarrassment of musical, writerly and comedic riches, natch.

 

By Fred
Mills

 

BLURT’s
fave literary guru (and none-too-shabby tunesmith and uke wielder) John Wesley
Harding
will open up his famed Cabinet Of Wonders once again as he kicks off a
new residency at NYC’s City Winery.

 

The first
show on Feb 11 features John Wesley Harding and The English UK, along
with Harding’s evil twin, comedian Eugene Mirman (you may have heard of him…),
plus the musical talents of Ted Leo, The Fiery Furnaces, Ben Ottewell (of
Gomez) and Evan Dando & Juliana Hatfield. Also along for the ride – and a
ride it shall be – are writers Patrick McGrath and Rivka Galchen.

 

The
second show on March 11 features these equally astonishing
entertainers : Josh Ritter, Tift Merritt, and
other musical acts shortly to be announced;  writers Jonathan Coe, Paul Muldoon
& Sean Wilsey,; The Jessold Consort; and of course the good Mr. Mirman
again, all aiding and abetting John Wesley Harding
& The English UK.

 

The third and last show of the series on April 22 is still “under construction,” says Harding, but
thus far he’s got Mirman and writer Rick Moody lined up.

 

Incidentally,
JWH, as Wesley Stace, has a new novel Charles
Jessold, Considered as a Murderer
” to be published by Picador on
February 1st.

 

 

 

 

 

Watch: Don Letts’ Punk: Attitude DVD

 

 

Despite inevitable omissions, the 2005 documentary,
now bolstered by a bonus disc’s worth of extras, is a crucial look at a crucial
movement. Released this month by Shout! Factory. Check out a video interview
with filmmaker Don Letts, below.

 

By John B. Moore

Fuck You. That pretty much sums up the punk
ethos according to everyone from Henry Rollins to Siouxsie Sioux in Don Letts’ stellar
2005 documentary Punk: Attitude. 

 

The film had a decent following when it first
hit the indie festival circuit, and spent some time hanging around IFC, but has
since been a little hard to find. Shout! Factory thankfully dusted off the doc
and threw in a slew of extras for this re-release.

 

Though not exactly exhaustive (no mention of
Bad Religion or Redd Kross nor any of the British Oi! Bands, and no interviews
with Johnny Rotten, Iggy Pop, Malcolm McLaren or any of the Ramones),Letts did
manage to snag a decent collection of interviewees – folks like The Clash’s
Mick Jones, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, the Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra and New
York Dolls front man David Johansen and covers the basics of the genre pretty
well. Once you get past the great war stories and man on the scene accounts
from those who were there at the beginning though, it’s Henry Rollins and Sonic
Youth’s Thurston Moore that really provide the most thoughtful explanations of
all things punk rock (if VH1 ever takes a stab at “Remember the 70’s/80’s: the
Punk Years!” These two are your break out stars).      

 

Surprisingly (and thankfully) just about every
one interviewed for this punk rock 101 film manages to ignore the now exhausted
geographical debate of who started punk rock (New York vs. London), and more
importantly spends time covering the  genesis of late 70’s punk to early 80’s
hardcore ending right to Nirvana and the early 90’s pop/punk resurgence.

 

While Punk:
Attitude
is a great primer for the oft-misunderstood and constantly
exploited genre (remember emo?), it’s the second DVD Shout Factory! adds to
this collection that really deserves the bulk of your time. Using cutting room
footage scraps, the extras DVD covers punk’s role in fashion, important shows,
the role of record companies, women in punk rock and the introduction of fanzines.
There is also a solid, if too short, film from Dick Rude on the step-child of
the genre: the L.A. punk scene.

 

Tokyo Police Club w/Tour Mashup

 

You can join two Clubs
for the price of one.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

In honor of their winter tour together, Tokyo Police Club has mashed up a
track of their own, “Breakneck Speed”, with one from Two Door Cinema Club,
“Something Good Can Work”. The track premiered late last week via The
Onion AVClub.com and is available for free download now here.

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

1/25/11 –
Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade *
1/26/11 – Tampa, FL @ Crowbar *
1/27/11 – Orlando, FL @ The Social * – sold out
1/28/11 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
1/29/11 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbit’s
1/31/11 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
2/1/11 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
2/2/11 – Austin, TX @ La Zona Rosa
2/3/11 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
2/5/11 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
2/7/11 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note
2/8/11 – St. Louis, MO @ The Firebird
2/9/11 – Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall
2/10/11 – Covington, KY @ The Mad Hatter
2/11/11 – Bowling Green, OH @ Howard’s Club
* w/ Two Door Cinema Club