Monthly Archives: May 2011

Gil Scott-Heron R.I.P. 1949-2011

The black Bob Dylan,
or the godfather of rap? Both, actually.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Legendary musician, poet and spoken-word provocateur Gil
Scott-Heron passed away yesterday at the age of 62 at New York’s St. Luke’s Hospital. No immediate
cause of death has been announced yet, although he had recently returned from Europe and subsequently fell ill. The Associated Press
reported
that a person answering the phone at Scott-Heron’s Manhattan recording company could not
elaborate, noting, “We’re all sort of shattered.” He is survived by a wife and
daughter.

 

By all accounts, the man’s last decade was fraught,
involving arrest and imprisonment on drug possession charges and at least on
one occasion leaving rehab prematurely; it was also rumored that he was HIV
positive. Yet by 2009 and 2010, things seemed to be back on track for
Scott-Heron, and with the February 2010 release of I’m New Here (followed up this year with a remixed version of it, We’re New Here), he once again generated
considerable critical acclaim.

 

Scott-Heron’s influence cannot be overstated: early on, he
was called “the black Bob Dylan” and would eventually be dubbed “the godfather of rap”
thanks to his unique and idiosyncratic blend of music and spoken word – as evidenced
on his classic 1971 hit “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” It’s testimony
to the man’s timelessness that that song title eventually entered the lexicon
as a standalone catch-phrase. He crossed over between the rock, jazz and soul
worlds; 1974’s Winter In America,
with keyboardist Brian Jackson, was a hit among aficionados of all three genres.
And while his heyday was in the ‘70s, he continued to perform to appreciative
crowds throughout his life, his music and his lyrics being discovered by successive generations every few years.

 

 



Mastodon Working on Next Album

Selected touring
throughout the summer as well; band’s frontman also set to release two-disc set
of solo material.

 

By Fred Mills

 

The next Mastodon album is in the works for a projected
release sometime later this year, according to a RollingStone.com report. Cut
with producer Mike Elizondo in Atlanta,
the still-unnamed album “sounds pretty different than anything we’ve ever done –
it’s un-comparable,” frontman Brent Hinds is quoted as saying.

 

Meanwhile, Hinds has a 2CD collection of “two separate side
projects” due out June 7 via Rocket Science titled Brent Hinds Presents
Fiend Without A Face/West End Motel
. Rolling Stone describes the release as a “departure
from Mastodon’s heavy metal thunder – Fiend touches upon
whacked-out surf sounds, while Motel is all about boozy poetry.”

 

Mastodon is touring selected European festivals this year as
well as a high-profile appearance July 30 at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Wash. – featuring
Soundgarden, Meat Puppets and Queens of the
Stone Age.

 

Legendary DC Band Scream w/New Record

 

Pictured above: Scream
in 1986.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

After nearly 30 years since first emerging from DC’s punk
underground, Scream – the band that gave the world Dave Grohl (you may have
heard of him) – has returned with the release of Scream’s Complete Control Sessions. A seven song EP recorded live
in Grohl’s Studio 606 this past February (with John Lousteau and Scream behind
the board), it picks up where the band’s 1993 swansong, “Fumble” left
off. Known for their incendiary live shows, urgent mix of punk, Bad
Brains/Clash-inspired dub, and rock-and-roll swagger, Scream 2011 features the
original lineup of vocalist Pete Stahl, guitarist Franz Stahl, bassist Skeeter
Thompson, drummer Kent Stax and newcomer guitarist Clint Walsh.

Scream’s Complete Control Session will be the second in a series of studio recordings that air on SideOneDummy
Records co-owners’ nationally syndicated all punk rock “Complete Control
Radio” show. The music will be released on 10″ vinyl and via digital
download on August 16th via SideOneDummy.

 
Scream is currently playing shows in North Carolina
with Corrosion of Conformity and in Washington,
DC with OFF! The band will be
announcing more tour date this summer around the release of the new album.

Head over to the band’s web site to check out a new song and in the studio
video of Scream recording their Complete
Control Session
.

Lingua Musica/Blurt Say: Dehlia Low!

Taped Thursday, May 26
at the Grey Eagle club in Asheville,
NC. Catch the band in concert
tonight at the same venue.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Here’s a good ‘un you should check out: our good buddy and
collaborator Joe Kendrick, of the Lingua Musica web show, interviewing Asheville
American/roots/bluegrass combo Dehlia Low
about their new album Ravens & Crows, about their
intricate and unique sound, and more. Special thanks to Jesse Hamm for the
camera and video action.

 

The album was produced by Travis Book of the Infamous
Stringdusters and is officially released nationwide on Rebel Records on August
2, but if you happen to be in the Asheville
area tonight for their show there’s a good chance you’ll be able to pick up a
copy. Meanwhile, you can find out more about the band and pre-order the CD at
their official website. Tell ‘em BLURT sent ya.

 

The videotaped conversation marks the second in the new
Lingua Musica Interviews series and we’re looking forward to many more in the
very near future. (Go here to see the previous installment, featuring Ryan
Montbleau.) BLURT is a proud co-sponsor of Lingua Musica and you can expect to
see our on-camera participation at various points to boot (you have been
warned). Please visit the LinguaMusicaAlive.com
website
, and meanwhile, check out the video!

 

 

Video Exclusive: New Sam Phillips

“Broken Circle” comes
from her new album, out June 7.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

A little over a year ago we featured songstress Sam Phillips
in an extensive interview (see “It’s Not All In Her Head”), and we’re proud now
to be able to bring you a new video from Phillips. Titled “Broken Circle,” it’s from her new album Solid State which drops June 7 on her
Littlebox Recordings label (pre-order available exclusively through http://www.samphillips.com

 

The
“Broken Circle”
clip is directed by Eric Gorfain and Phillips explains its genesis: “Just a few blocks away from the first street art
exhibit at MOCA in downtown Los
Angeles is an evolving wall of street art. For the music
video, we wanted to document this wall.”

 

That they
certainly did – and the song itself is the perfect soundtrack. Check it out:

 

Sam Phillips – Broken Circle from Sam Phillips on Vimeo.

Photos: 2011 Rock On the Range Festival

 

May 21 and 22, Columbus,
Ohio: the heaviest of the heavy
convened (along with no shortage of strippers), and our shutterbug Scotty D
lived to report back to us. Among the performers: KORN, A Perfect Circle, Black Label Society,
Hinder and Puddle of Mudd.  Official website:
RockOnTheRangecom.

 

Photos by Scott Dudelson

 

(above) Jonathan Davis of KORN

 

Alter
Bridge

 

A Perfect
Circle

 

Black Label Society

 

Black Veil Brides

 

(topless stripper. Duh.)

 

(pink monkey crowdsurfing)

 

Damned Things

 

Greek Fire

 

Hinder

 

Puddle of Mudd

 

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

 

Rev Theory

 

Staind

 

Trapt

 

Big Shock: Hendrix Not Murdered!!!

 

Whew. Glad to get that
shit cleared up, yo…

 

By Fred Mills

 

It’s always a fine day when there’s some Jimi
Hendrix news – or non-news, as the case may be – to report, and today is one of
those days. Apparently, it’s also one of “those days” for half the friggin’
music media in the galaxy, too. Let me explain.

 

Copy and paste this phrase into your search engine
of choice:

 

Jimi Hendrix
wasn’t murdered by his manager, says former business partner

 

Notice how you get something like a zillion hits for
that exact group of words! A Hendrix story written yesterday by Joe
Bosso
, of musician-centric website MusicRadar.com, was quickly picked up –
and in many cases, reprinted, excerpted, cannibalized, and even plagiarized – because,
well, after all…. see the first paragraph, above.

 

And people are worried about spam in their email inboxes.
How about that subtler form of spam known as aggregated news? How often have
you been doing a search for one topic or another and found yourself being
sucked down a rabbithole of hyperlinks that ultimately all lead back to the first
story that set you off on the search initially? (Kinda like that Kurt Cobain
unreleased early demos story that some fly-by-night website published last year…)

 

At any rate, here’s our “aggregation” of the Hendrix piece,
since we know you’re itchin’ to find out: In 2009 a former Hendrix roadie,
James “Tappy” Wright, published a memoir titled Rock Roadie in which he claimed that Hendrix’s UK manager Michael
Jeffrey confessed in a drunken rant to have murdered Hendrix by giving him a
bunch of pills and booze. The yarn got a lot of press at the time and no doubt
helped move a bunch of books. So this latest twist has Hendrix’s former US manager, Bob
Levine, saying that Wright’s book is a load of bullshit and that the death was –
as any sane person knows, not counting all of you CIA conspiracy theorists out
there – accidental.

 

See what we mean about a “non-story”? At any rate, here’s
the MusicRadar.com piece
if you have a few minutes you don’t mind wasting….. but far be it for us to jump on the gossip bandwagon.

 

 

 

 

MP3/Video: Awesome New Centro-matic

 

 

Album due June 21. You
will not be disappointed. The video, below, ain’t so shabby either.

 

By Fred Mills

 

As previously announced, Centro-matic will release Candidate
Waltz
on June 21. You can keep your eyes peeled for a BLURT feature on the
band in which interviewer John Schacht probes the ever-restless mind of Will
Johnson. Among the bon mots from WJ:

 

Working long distance
with the band members, who live in various cities:
“It’s kind of cool that
after all these years of friendship we can still finish each other’s sentences and
read each other’s minds, even electronically.”

 

Stripping the sonics
back for the new album:
“It was fun to try and exercise that kind of
discipline and not just go for the big-loud-wall-of-guitars-thing all the time.
It’s not necessarily reinventing the wheel, but for our band it definitely took
us into some new territories, which made us really happy.”

 

Bringing the music to
the masses:
“When we go in and put our heads down and we are on our own in
a quiet setting and able to commit our music to tape, it’s still kind of an old
school, very spiritual and very familiar way of making our music. But when we
walk out of the studio door and realize it’s 2011 instead of 1998, we
immediately have to start conjuring new ideas and new ways to hopefully make
people aware of our music.”

 

The band is offering a free MP3 download of “Only In My
Double Mind” – right here.

 

And then check out the new video:

 

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

Wednesday 06/22 The Basement Nashville, TN*

Thursday 06/23 – The Earl Atlanta, GA*

Friday 06/24 – AthFest
Athens, GA

Saturday 06/25 – Local 506 Chapel Hill, NC*

Sunday 06/26 – DC9 Washingtion,
DC*

Tuesday 06/28 – North Star Bar Philadelphia, PA*

Wednesday 06/29 – Great Scott Cambridge, MA*

Thursday 06/30 – The Mercury Lounge New York, NY*

Friday 07/01 –
Mohawk Place Buffalo, NY*

Saturday 07/02 – Cleveland
Beachland Tavern Cleveland, OH*

Sunday 07/03 – Schubas
Chicago, IL*

Tuesday 07/05  – Off Broadway St. Louis, MO*

Thursday 07/07 – Dan’s Silverleaf
Denton, TX*

Friday 07/08 – Fitzgerald’s Houston, TX*

Saturday 07/09 – The Mohawk Austin, TX*

 

* Dates with Sarah Jaffe www.sarahjaffe.com.

 

 

 

 

Report: Echo & Bunnymen Live in SF

Ian McCulloch and Will
Sergeant of Echo and the Bunnymen re-pledge their allegiance to the Doors at
the Warfield in San Francisco
on May 19.

 

By Jud Cost

 

The ten-minute walk from the Fifth and Mission parking
garage to the Warfield Theatre, two blocks west on Market St., slices through
the southern border of San Francisco’s Tenderloin, a hardscrabble  district notorious for hookers, muggings and
drug dealers. During the warm months, the walk is made more palatable by a
large group of men playing chess close to the Powell St. BART station.

 

No chess players on this brisk, damp evening, however. About
75 yards from the Warfield’s front door, a garish ad shouts out from the window
of a cut-rate shoe store: “Now Is The Time For Ruffles,” illustrated
by a photo of three men’s shoes, each with a broad, colorful ruffled-up ribbon
attached where the shoelaces ought to be. On the sidewalk in front of the shoe
store, a young black man is sitting in the middle of every piece of
garbage-orange peels, hamburger wrappers, beer cans, fragments of stale
doughnuts, banana peels, plastic bags of dog excrement-he’s meticulously
removed from a concrete  trash container.

 

The abrupt transition to the glowing interior of the art
deco-era Warfield, already perfumed with incense for tonight’s return of Echo
and the Bunnymen, is jolting to the nervous system. It might require an
adjustment period in a hyperbaric chamber used by deep-sea divers to keep from
getting the bends.

 

There’s no denying that for a brief period in the ’80s, Echo
and the Bunnymen were the best band in the world. Great neo-psychedelic songs
performed by a dynamic vocalist and superb guitarist, swathed in moody,
dusty-parlor arrangements. Even the stage lighting, low beams of light stabbing
upwards through a confusing network of what looked like hemp fishing nets was
spectacular. Each of their first four album covers found the group, bathed in
surrealistic light, in a different natural predicament: stumbling around a
forest on bad acid; outlined against a cloudy beach skyline as seagulls swarm;
peering over an icy abyss; and stranded in a boat on a frozen purple grotto.

 

Frontman Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant, founding
members of the Bunnymen in 1978 along with bassist Les Pattinson (who is not
here tonight), are slated to play Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here, the band’s first
two albums, from 1980-81. A murky roomful of dry-ice fog and a stage lit only
by gloomy yellow streetlight-like structures make visual identification
impossible. It’s not until 50 minutes later that the house lights briefly
reveal there are six people onstage. Oddly enough, high above the crowd is a
series of high-voltage strobe lights rigged up to the drum kit to flash like an
interstellar cruiser whenever the percussionist plays a fill. Maybe somebody
figured it might give the light-sensitive (as well as those prone to epileptic
seizures) fair warning if they have a decent sense of rhythm.

 

The boys waste no time digging into Crocodiles, a milestone of the post-punk landscape, every bit as
important at the time as the sullen, beautifully depressed ruminations of Joy
Division. Some songs have been expanded enough tonight so that the debut album
takes up almost the entire hour of the first set. Each number is punctuated by
McCulloch uttering “thank you” just as the final chord is decaying
about him. Cue the applause.

 

The obvious connections the Bunnymen have always had with
the Doors (morose lyrics sung by a supercharged baritone accompanied by a
guitarist who does not play the obvious “rawk” licks) is made
perfectly clear tonight when McCulloch segues into a delightful fragment from
Jim Morrison & Company’s “Roadhouse Blues” (“Well, I got up
this morning and got myself a beer”). He’s changed “Ashen lady, give
up your vows” to “San
Francisco lady” just for tonight. It answers once
and for all the question: What would it sound like if the Bunnymen cut a Doors
cover album? The answer: pretty effin’ good.

 

Mac begins to lose the thread a bit when taunted by some
ex-pat football hooligans up front who apparently are railing at him about his
allegiance to the Liverpool soccer club. He
exchanges brief, indecipherable banter with the lads before congenially
admitting, “Manchester U has been the best team for years, so good luck to
’em.”

 

A connection even more curious than their link to the Doors
appears when the Bunnymen play their 1985 single “Bring On The Dancing
Horses” which displayed moments of pre-Beatles British instrumental stars
the Tornadoes, famous worldwide for their Joe Meek-produced 1962 Space Age hit
single “Telstar.”

 

Mac punctuates the end of the first set by declaring,
“You go and smoke whatever you’ve gotta smoke, and I’ll go have a drink.
See you back here in ten minutes.” But the incense has done its work on
this allergy sufferer. Reckoning it couldn’t get much better than the first
hour, I split for home and hearth. Also I’m having second thoughts about
whether it really is “time for ruffles.” I wonder if that shoe store
is still open.

 

 

 

 

Report: Echo & Bunnymen Live in SF

Ian McCulloch and Will
Sergeant of Echo and the Bunnymen re-pledge their allegiance to the Doors at
the Warfield in San Francisco
on May 19.

 

By Jud Cost

 

The ten-minute walk from the Fifth and Mission parking
garage to the Warfield Theatre, two blocks west on Market St., slices through
the southern border of San Francisco’s Tenderloin, a hardscrabble  district notorious for hookers, muggings and
drug dealers. During the warm months, the walk is made more palatable by a
large group of men playing chess close to the Powell St. BART station.

 

No chess players on this brisk, damp evening, however. About
75 yards from the Warfield’s front door, a garish ad shouts out from the window
of a cut-rate shoe store: “Now Is The Time For Ruffles,” illustrated
by a photo of three men’s shoes, each with a broad, colorful ruffled-up ribbon
attached where the shoelaces ought to be. On the sidewalk in front of the shoe
store, a young black man is sitting in the middle of every piece of
garbage-orange peels, hamburger wrappers, beer cans, fragments of stale
doughnuts, banana peels, plastic bags of dog excrement-he’s meticulously
removed from a concrete  trash container.

 

The abrupt transition to the glowing interior of the art
deco-era Warfield, already perfumed with incense for tonight’s return of Echo
and the Bunnymen, is jolting to the nervous system. It might require an
adjustment period in a hyperbaric chamber used by deep-sea divers to keep from
getting the bends.

 

There’s no denying that for a brief period in the ’80s, Echo
and the Bunnymen were the best band in the world. Great neo-psychedelic songs
performed by a dynamic vocalist and superb guitarist, swathed in moody,
dusty-parlor arrangements. Even the stage lighting, low beams of light stabbing
upwards through a confusing network of what looked like hemp fishing nets was
spectacular. Each of their first four album covers found the group, bathed in
surrealistic light, in a different natural predicament: stumbling around a
forest on bad acid; outlined against a cloudy beach skyline as seagulls swarm;
peering over an icy abyss; and stranded in a boat on a frozen purple grotto.

 

Frontman Ian McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant, founding
members of the Bunnymen in 1978 along with bassist Les Pattinson (who is not
here tonight), are slated to play Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here, the band’s first
two albums, from 1980-81. A murky roomful of dry-ice fog and a stage lit only
by gloomy yellow streetlight-like structures make visual identification
impossible. It’s not until 50 minutes later that the house lights briefly
reveal there are six people onstage. Oddly enough, high above the crowd is a
series of high-voltage strobe lights rigged up to the drum kit to flash like an
interstellar cruiser whenever the percussionist plays a fill. Maybe somebody
figured it might give the light-sensitive (as well as those prone to epileptic
seizures) fair warning if they have a decent sense of rhythm.

 

The boys waste no time digging into Crocodiles, a milestone of the post-punk landscape, every bit as
important at the time as the sullen, beautifully depressed ruminations of Joy
Division. Some songs have been expanded enough tonight so that the debut album
takes up almost the entire hour of the first set. Each number is punctuated by
McCulloch uttering “thank you” just as the final chord is decaying
about him. Cue the applause.

 

The obvious connections the Bunnymen have always had with
the Doors (morose lyrics sung by a supercharged baritone accompanied by a
guitarist who does not play the obvious “rawk” licks) is made
perfectly clear tonight when McCulloch segues into a delightful fragment from
Jim Morrison & Company’s “Roadhouse Blues” (“Well, I got up
this morning and got myself a beer”). He’s changed “Ashen lady, give
up your vows” to “San
Francisco lady” just for tonight. It answers once
and for all the question: What would it sound like if the Bunnymen cut a Doors
cover album? The answer: pretty effin’ good.

 

Mac begins to lose the thread a bit when taunted by some
ex-pat football hooligans up front who apparently are railing at him about his
allegiance to the Liverpool soccer club. He
exchanges brief, indecipherable banter with the lads before congenially
admitting, “Manchester U has been the best team for years, so good luck to
’em.”

 

A connection even more curious than their link to the Doors
appears when the Bunnymen play their 1985 single “Bring On The Dancing
Horses” which displayed moments of pre-Beatles British instrumental stars
the Tornadoes, famous worldwide for their Joe Meek-produced 1962 Space Age hit
single “Telstar.”

 

Mac punctuates the end of the first set by declaring,
“You go and smoke whatever you’ve gotta smoke, and I’ll go have a drink.
See you back here in ten minutes.” But the incense has done its work on
this allergy sufferer. Reckoning it couldn’t get much better than the first
hour, I split for home and hearth. Also I’m having second thoughts about
whether it really is “time for ruffles.” I wonder if that shoe store
is still open.