Monthly Archives: November 2011

Video: New Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers

“Gravity” hails from
the recent Gift Horse album.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Very stoked to present a brand new video from one of our
fave bands, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, whose adventurous recent album Gift Horse (Vanguard) prompted one of our
writers to enthuse in a review, “With a band that is always evolving, change is
certainly a good thing for them.  They show that they aren’t afraid to try
new things and that is what good musicians do.  Kellogg’s lyrics can be
uplifting to heartbreaking but are always honest and candid.  He says what
he feels and that speaks to listeners.  If you can feel, not just hear, an
artist’s music, that is true art, and that is what Stephen Kellogg and the
Sixers are.” Catch the band on tour through the end of the year – dates are
listed below.

 

The tune is called “Gravity” and the Stephanie
Keane-directed clip is given a unique animation treatment you’ll dig:

 

 

 

 

Stephen
Kellogg: “‘Gravity’ is about not being afraid of the future and
embracing what is real: your family, your friendships, a good laugh. Like
everyone, I worry about – health, money, failure, you name it…and I wanted a
song that would feel like a celebration of the things in life that
overcome fear and worry. The stuff you’ll remember when it’s all said and done.”

 

 

Director,
Stephanie Keane: “Knowing that Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers
wanted an animated music video I could not help but think of them as characters
living out the song, “Gravity.” There is so much heart in the lyrics,
I felt the band’s natural state -that backstage feel- was key to the concept.
They helped by collecting personal videos that I edited to the music and then
rotoscoped, letting the fantasy of animation and reality of these handpicked
memories intertwine.  Nearly 1,500 hand drawings went into making
“Gravity” come to life.” 

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

11/30/2011           
Lawrence, KS
– Bottleneck 

12/01/2011           
Boulder, CO
– Fox Theater 

12/02/2011           
Denver, CO
– Bluebird Theater 

12/03/2011           
Salt Lake, UT – State Room

12/04/2011           
Boise, ID
– The Reef 

12/06/2011           
Seattle, WA
– Tractor Tavern

12/07/2011           
Portland, OR –
Doug Fir Lounge

12/08/2011           
San Francisco, CA – Slim’s

12/09/2011           
Los Angeles, CA – Key Club

12/10/2011           
San Diego, CA – Winston’s

12/13/2011           
Dallas, TX –
HOB Cambridge

12/14/2011           
Austin, TX
– The Parish

12/15/2011           
San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit

12/16/2011           
Houston, TX
– The Capitol

12/26-27/2011           
Annapolis, MD – Ram’s Head Tavern

12/28/2011           
Richmond, VA
– Capital Ale House

12/29/2011           
Wilmington, NC
– Brooklyn Arts
Center at St.
Andrews

12/30/2011           
Duluth, GA –
The Red Clay Theatre

12/31/2011           
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
– Seaside
Amphitheater

1/15/2012           
Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Casino – Wolf Den

 

 

Report: Sting Live in Los Angeles

 

November 28 at
the Wiltern, it was Back To Bass time for the erstwhile Police-man.

 

By
Jose Martinez

 

At
this stage in my fogeydom, nothing makes me feel and look like a youngster more
than going to a classic rock concert, in this case, Sting. And while Sting’s
fans haven’t aged as gracefully as the 60-year-old musician, who, performing
the first of three sold out intimate dates at the Wiltern, looked too damn fit
in his tight jeans and equally tight t-shirt revealing quite the buff physique.
That’s just wrong. The man indeed has it all.

 

Currently
on his Back to Bass Tour, celebrating 25 years as a solo artist, Sting, along
with his extremely tight five-piece band, went for the back to basics approach
playing on a no-frills stage sans a fancy light show and tired concert antics.

 

 

Before
taking the stage, a single spotlight shun over Sting’s microphone on the
darkened dais. Indeed, there was no denying whom the man of the hour would be
once the show started. And when the concert began, Sting didn’t share the
spotlight with anyone, as even the drummer was off to the side instead of
playing directly behind the singer.

 

With
impressive, spot-on vocals, Sting was in fine form during his two-hour set.
Celebrating 25 years as a solo artist, it was interesting how many Police songs
filled the set list. Sting’s song selection touched upon all of his work, but
it would have been more interesting perhaps had he focused on his early solo
material, which hasn’t been played in years. Some songs were welcome treats but
far from concert staples. And if ever there was an appropriate occasion for
Sting to skip playing any Police songs this would have been it, but such was not
the case.

 

With
two violin players in his band, some of Sting’s songs took on a country music
feel. In fact, Sting’s “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying” was even covered by
Toby Keith and became a No. 1 country hit, while “I Hung My Head” was covered
by Johnny Cash. The country vibe continued with “Love Is Stronger Than Justice”
and “Desert Rose” even took on an almost a Riverdance sound.

 

The
evening’s final song featured Sting by himself onstage, standing alone with an
acoustic guitar in hand as he played the Police classic “Message In A Bottle.”
Any by 10:30 p.m. the satiated audience disbursed. No late night for the older
set, which I’m sure appreciated not staying up late on a school night. But then
again, what would you expect from the former schoolteacher? He came, he
delivered the goods, and just like that, Sting left without any fanfare.

 

SET LIST:

All
This Time

Every
Little Thing She Does Is Magic

Seven
Days

Demolition
Man

I’m
So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying

I
Hung My Head

Stolen
Car

Driven
To Tears

Fortress
Around Your Heart

Fields
Of Gold

Sacred
Love

Ghost
Story

Heavy
Cloud No Rain

Inside

Love
Is Stronger Than Justice

The
Hounds Of Winter

The
End Of The Game

Never
Coming Home

 

ENCORE:

Desert
Rose

Every
Breath You Take

Next
To You

Message
In A Bottle (Acoustic)

Steal This Book, er, Box Set!

 

Elvis Costello goes
out on a limb (of marketing panache).

 

By Fred “Abbie” Hoffman

 

Somewhere at this very moment an enterprising Elvis Costello
fan is prepping a cache of FLAC files for upload.

 

RollingStone.com reports that with Costello’s mega-expensive
($203.00), limited edition (just 1500 copies) The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook  set to drop via Hip-O on Dec. 6, Costello
himself is suggesting to fans that instead of buying that collection they opt,
instead, for the less pricier – and in Costello’s words, “vastly superior” –
Louis Armstrong box Ambassador of Jazz. In a blog post at ElvisCostello.com, the musician, writing as “The Right
Reverend Jimmy Quickly,” bemoans the high ticket price “as either a misprint or
a satire.”

 

“If you should really want to buy something special for your loved one at
this time of seasonal giving,” writes Costello, “we can whole-heartedly
recommend, Ambassador Of Jazz“- a
cute little imitation suitcase, covered in travel stickers and embossed with
the name “Satchmo” but more importantly containing TEN re-mastered albums by
one of the most beautiful and loving revolutionaries who ever lived – Louis
Armstrong. The box should be available for under one hundred and fifty American
dollars and includes a number of other tricks and treats. Frankly, the music is
vastly superior.”

 

Rolling Stone notes that Costello “isn’t the first artist to advocate
illegal downloads of his music. Artists like System of a Down and Kid Rock have
publicly encouraged piracy of their music over settling for pricey distribution
routes, but Costello’s move has surfaced as an unexpected and deliberate snub
to his label. Many have said, though, that the move has become a sort of
reverse-psychology promotion for the set in spite of the singer’s dismissal.”

 

Decide for yourself. At any rate, word has it that some or all of the parts
of the Costello box are slated to be released separately next year. Meanwhile,
though, The Return of the Spectacular
Spinning Songbook
[Super Deluxe Edition] [1 CD + 1 DVD + 10″ Vinyl EP]
is up for pre-order at Amazon.com. Gift wrap is available.

 

 

3 New Black Keys Songs Streaming Online

 

That makes five from
the new album, and counting.

 

By Fred Mills

 

As previously announced, next week, on Dec. 6, the Black
Keys’ new album El Camino arrives on
Nonesuch, and the band has been slowly unveiling material leading up to the
release – the first single, released on Record Store Day’s Black Friday, was “Lonely
Boy” b/w “Run Right Back.”

 

Now they’ve got “Gold on the Ceiling,” “Little
Black Submarines” and “Sister,” all from the album, streaming at
their website
along with the other two.

 

 

Video: Watch Morrissey On Conan

“People Are the Same
Everywhere” done live before the great man.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Ain’t every day you turn on the TV and see ol’ Mozzer right
there in front of you, but that’s what happened last night for viewers of Conan
O’Brien’s show. He and his band performed “People Are the Same Everywhere,”
although needless to say, the erstwhile Smiths frontman, in the middle of a
brief US tour, didn’t hang out too long to swap bon mots…

 

 

Video: New Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers

“Gravity” hails from
the recent Gift Horse album.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Very stoked to present a brand new video from one of our
fave bands, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, whose adventurous recent album Gift Horse (Vanguard) prompted one of our
writers to enthuse in a review, “With a band that is always evolving, change is
certainly a good thing for them.  They show that they aren’t afraid to try
new things and that is what good musicians do.  Kellogg’s lyrics can be
uplifting to heartbreaking but are always honest and candid.  He says what
he feels and that speaks to listeners.  If you can feel, not just hear, an
artist’s music, that is true art, and that is what Stephen Kellogg and the
Sixers are.” Catch the band on tour through the end of the year – dates are
listed below.

 

The tune is called “Gravity” and the Stephanie
Keane-directed clip is given a unique animation treatment you’ll dig:

 

 

 

 

Stephen
Kellogg: “‘Gravity’ is about not being afraid of the future and
embracing what is real: your family, your friendships, a good laugh. Like
everyone, I worry about – health, money, failure, you name it…and I wanted a
song that would feel like a celebration of the things in life that
overcome fear and worry. The stuff you’ll remember when it’s all said and done.”

 

 

Director,
Stephanie Keane: “Knowing that Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers
wanted an animated music video I could not help but think of them as characters
living out the song, “Gravity.” There is so much heart in the lyrics,
I felt the band’s natural state -that backstage feel- was key to the concept.
They helped by collecting personal videos that I edited to the music and then
rotoscoped, letting the fantasy of animation and reality of these handpicked
memories intertwine.  Nearly 1,500 hand drawings went into making
“Gravity” come to life.” 

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

11/30/2011           
Lawrence, KS
– Bottleneck 

12/01/2011           
Boulder, CO
– Fox Theater 

12/02/2011           
Denver, CO
– Bluebird Theater 

12/03/2011           
Salt Lake, UT – State Room

12/04/2011           
Boise, ID
– The Reef 

12/06/2011           
Seattle, WA
– Tractor Tavern

12/07/2011           
Portland, OR –
Doug Fir Lounge

12/08/2011           
San Francisco, CA – Slim’s

12/09/2011           
Los Angeles, CA – Key Club

12/10/2011           
San Diego, CA – Winston’s

12/13/2011           
Dallas, TX –
HOB Cambridge

12/14/2011           
Austin, TX
– The Parish

12/15/2011           
San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit

12/16/2011           
Houston, TX
– The Capitol

12/26-27/2011           
Annapolis, MD – Ram’s Head Tavern

12/28/2011           
Richmond, VA
– Capital Ale House

12/29/2011           
Wilmington, NC
– Brooklyn Arts
Center at St.
Andrews

12/30/2011           
Duluth, GA –
The Red Clay Theatre

12/31/2011           
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
– Seaside
Amphitheater

1/15/2012           
Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Casino – Wolf Den

 

 

MP3: Galactic; New LP Due Mardi Gras Day

 

More funk, jazz,
hip-hop and soul than you can shake a peppermill at…

 

By Blurt staff

 

New Orleans
stompers Galactic have set Feb. 21 – Mardi Gras Day – for the release of their
next album, Carnivale Electricos (Anti-).
It will be accompanied by an extensive US tour that will run Feb. 17
through April 1, and beyond. Full itinerary, below.

 

NOLA
guests on the record span several generations and styles from Neville brothers
Cyril and Ivan, to rappers Mannie Fresh and Mystikal (making one of his first
recordings since being released from prison); from Big Chief Juan Pardo, one of
the youngest Mardi Gras Indians, to the KIPP Renaissance High School Band, one
of the city’s most riotous marching bands.

 

Check
out the new track “Hey Na Na”:

 


Hey Na Na feat. David Shaw (of the Revivalists) and Maggie Koerner by Galacticfunk

 
Brazilian influences on the album are similarly diverse including a cover of
the Sergio Mendes Carnivale classic “Magalenha” and Galactic’s new composition,
“Guero Bounce,” which pairs Brazilian rhythms with a New Orleans
Bounce beat. “Julou,” named for the band’s own off-the-grid Mardi
Gras parade, is inspired by another popular Carnivale melody, while ” O
Côco da Galinha” features rising Rio samba
star Moyseis Marques.

 

Meanwhile,
on the tour Corey Glover (Living Colour) and Corey Henry (Rebirth Brass Band)
will join the group as special guest vocalists, while openers on the tour will
include Orgone and the Soul Rebels.  

 

 

‘Carnivale
Elctricos’ Tracklisting:
1. Ha Di Ka
(feat. Big Chief Juan Pardo and the Golden Comanche)
2. Hey Na Na (feat. David Shaw from The Revivalists and Maggie Koerner)
3. Magalenha (feat. Casa Samba)
4. Voyage Ton Flag
5. Out in the Street (feat. Cyril and Ivan Neville)
6. JuLou
7. Move Fast (feat. Mystikal and Mannie Fresh)
8. Karate (feat. KIPP
Renaissance High
School Marching Band)
9. Guero Bounce
10. Carnival Time (feat. Al “Carnival Time” Johnson)
11. Attack
12. O Côco da Galinha (feat. Moyseis Marques)
13. Ash Wednesday Sunrise

 
Galactic US Tour Dates:
Feb 17 – Soul Kitchen – Mobile, AL
Feb 23 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
Feb 24 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
Feb 25 – Terminal 5 – New York, NY
Feb 26 – House of Blues – Boston, MA
Feb 28 – The Westcott Theatre – Syracuse, NY
Feb 29 – Mr. Small’s Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA
Mar 01 – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
Mar 02 – Park West – Chicago, IL
Mar 03 – Cabooze – Minneapolis, MN
Mar 04 – The Vogue Theatre – Indianapolis, IN
Mar 14 – The Pageant – St. Louis, MO
Mar 15 – Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KS
Mar 16-17 – Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO (2 nights)
Mar 18 – Belly Up – Aspen, CO
Mar 20 – Knotty Pine – Victor, ID
Mar 21 – The Wilma Theatre – Missoula, MT
Mar 22 – Domino Ballroom – Bend, OR
Mar 23 – Showbox Sodo – Seattle, WA
Mar 24 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR
Mar 25 – The Crystal Bay Club – Crystal Bay, NV
Mar 27 – Moe’s Alley – Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 28 – Belly Up Tavern – Solana Beach, CA
Mar 29 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
Mar 30-31 – The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA (2 nights)
Apr 01 – Hard Rock Cafe – Las Vegas, NV
Apr 18 – Mercy Lounge – Nashville, TN
Apr 19 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA
Apr 20 – Minglewood Hall – Memphis, TN
Jul 26 – FloydFest – Floyd, VA

 

Wasteland Bait & Tackle / James McMurtry

 

Occupy: “It’s common feeling and common conviction
that makes a movement.”

 

By James McMurtry

 

About a week ago, at the end of a short solo tour of Southwest Alaska, I wandered down to Occupy Anchorage.
The camp was only a block from my hotel.

 

The temperature was in the single digits with a light
snow. There were three tents, the first of which was wide open. Inside were
four young men, two white and two native, a dog, and a propane heater.  I offered them some smoked salmon and some
CDs. They took great interest in the salmon and it was quickly consumed. The
white guys introduced themselves. The natives did not.

 

I guess I should have introduced myself to all of
them, but I felt sheepish and shy, like an interloper or a tourist. They all
seemed to handle the cold pretty well. I asked them if they had any tips to
help Occupiers in the lower forty eight get through the winter. They shrugged.
John, the dog’s owner, said, “It’s pretty simple. You need shelter, heat,
and food.” About then, a nice woman named Wendy, who lived in the neighborhood,
came in with a crock of hot soup. Morale improved instantly. Wendy struck up a
lively conversation with a young man named Matt, who seemed like he could
become a spokesman, if the movement wanted a spokesman. He had something of a
thousand yard stare from, I guessed, fatigue and constant cold.

 

Matt considered himself lucky to be protesting in Anchorage rather than Portland
or Oakland,
because the Anchorage Police were not bothering the protesters, and some
officers were openly supportive of the movement, stopping by to chat and to
gripe about departmental budget cuts. Matt said he thought he preferred sub
zero temperatures to pepper spray, horses, and batons. He offered me some of
the soup. I’d had plenty to eat and had to catch an early flight, so I
declined, wished them luck, and left. I was struck by their generosity. I liked
the salmon, but they needed that soup.

 

 

Historically, it’s always been pretty easy for the
powerful to get poor people to swing sticks at other poor people. The powerful
simply have to pay the stick swingers just a little bit more than they used to
pay the strikers or the protesters or whatever group is causing them annoyance;
divide and suppress. Police officers may not live in abject poverty, but
they’re certainly not rich. They need their jobs and they’re trained to follow
orders. They are not paid to care whether or not they belong to the one percent
that gives the orders, though I don’t doubt that some of them do care anyway.
I’m curious about the origin of the orders.

 

With regard to Occupy and Law enforcement, mayors and
college presidents seemed to be charged with giving the orders, at least
officially, and they are subsequently charged with taking the heat when the
execution of any of their orders goes terribly wrong and produces violence,
physical injury, and embarrassing YouTube videos. Politicians and
Administrators don’t generally like controversy, it’s bad for careers. I don’t
think such people would give orders that would likely result in some really
messy controversy, unless enough pressure were brought to bear on them that
they would fear for their careers anyway. I think there are bigger forces at
work here.

 

In October, the New York City Police Department
arrested over seven hundred Occupy protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Some were held for hours without charge. Earlier this year, J.P. Morgan/Chase,
one of the recipients of the government bailout, derided by both Occupy and the
Tea Party, donated 4.6 million dollars, partly in technology, patrol car laptops
and such, to the New York City Police Department. This was the largest single
donation ever received by NYPD. You can’t tell me there were no strings
attached. City Budgets are strapped. Departments are underfunded. A direct
donation from a major corporation must be like manna from heaven to a police
department. But of course, the department will need more in the future, and it
won’t get more if it turns on its new benefactor.

 

No one gives away 4.6 million expecting nothing in
return. J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon is quoted as saying, “These officers
put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, we’re incredibly proud
to help them build this program and let them know how much we value their hard
work.” I wouldn’t argue that NYPD, or any police department, is not worthy
of such a donation, but I must question the motive and the timing.  I wonder if Mr. Dimon actually lives in the
City. The few New York CEOs I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with all lived in Connecticut and rode
limos down the Merritt Parkway
to work and back. Wherever Mr. Dimon lives, I doubt he fears for his safety.

 

 I hear
complaints that the protest is unfocused, that the protesters’ rejection of
traditional hierarchy renders the movement ineffective as a political force,
that it has no clear message. But I don’t see a problem yet. Occupy has been
effective simply by coming into existence. No one organized Occupy ahead of
time. A call went out and people showed up.

 

They’re still showing up and their numbers and
tenacity do have an effect. They get noticed. As for the message, one can Google
Keith Olbermann and hear the message, well written by Occupy and well read by
Olbermann. Basically, occupiers want to take their country back
from the banks and lobbyists. Their demands aren’t that different from those of
the Tea Party. The two groups should join forces. They’re mad about
the same conditions, though they disagree on where to put the blame.

 

The Tea party blames the government; Occupy blames the
corporations that now own the government. Is there that much difference?
Ultimately, we will all have to join forces if we are to call ourselves a
nation. Right now, we are too polarized to be effective. We no longer recognize
each other as Americans. The mayors and college presidents who call out the
riot squads apparently don’t know that those are their fellow Americans getting
beaten and pepper sprayed. Those are American sons and daughters. Those are
American students, American librarians, American grandmothers, and American veterans,
and when they get hurt, we all get hurt. The stick swinging has to stop. It
serves no useful human purpose.

 

I’ve taken part in very few protests. I attended one
No Nukes march in Washington
D.C. in the late seventies. It
seemed to be conducted mostly by old hippies who wanted to do it again, and
younger people like myself who thought we were sorry to have missed the
sixties. My son and I attended several anti war protests in Austin
at the start of the Iraq
war. Our fellow Americans screamed expletives at us as we stood on the street,
but we didn’t get arrested. There were some “protest for fun” types
there too.

 

I think Occupy is different. I’ll have to go to New York and check it
out. I’m pretty sure the guys in Anchorage
weren’t out there for the fun of it. They seemed to feel that they needed to be
there, that they had no choice. It’s common feeling and common conviction that
makes a movement. And it seems that more and more of us feel that we have no
choice.

 

 

Singer-songwriter James McMurtry lives in Austin, Texas.
When he’s not touring, you can see him at the Continental Club every Wednesday,
‘round about midnight. Full details at his official website.

 

 

Download Free Okkervil River Covers EP

 

Five songer, recorded
live to tape, is a gift to fans – wait’ll you hear the killer Triffids song,
too, it’ll bring tears to your eyes.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

We admit it, we are huge Okkervil River
fans and have been since our humble beginnings as Harp magazine. Will Sheff & Co. consistently find ways to
thrill and charm us, and that stretches all the way back to their humble
beginnings in Austin
circa 1998. Indeed, it’s pretty likely that their latest album, I Am Very Far, is destined for high
placement on our best-albums-of-the-year list for 2011.

 

Just to bolster their status among the converted, the band
has a new covers EP just out titled Golden
Opportunities 2
, the followup of sorts to 2007’s covers collection The Golden Opportunities Mixtape. It’s
free for download at the band’s website right here. And it’s the total
package – MP3s, a jpeg of the cover, plus PDFs for front and back artwork that
you can print out after you’ve burned the tunes to disc. Sweet!

 

By the way, our editor wanted to add, “Any band that will
cover a Triffids song has a place waiting for them in Heaven as far as I’m
concerned!”

 

Tracklisting:

01 It is So Nice to Get Stoned [Ted Lucas cover]
02 U.F.O. [Jim Sullivan cover]
03 One Soul Less on Your Fiery List [the Triffids cover]
04 Plan D [Bill Fay cover]
05 Dry Bones [Traditional]

Our New BFF: Handcuffs’ Brad Elvis

 

Fan commits to
following us on Twitter; mayhem ensues.

 

By The Editors

 

Call it a slick marketing ploy or simply an instance of
perfect timing, but following a closely-watched (term used loosely…) and no
doubt hotly contested (Tw1tters The Cat , for one, wanted to be the pick)
contest, Chicago’s Brad Elvis is BLURT’s 4,000th Twitter follower.
No doubt having followed our progress on Twitter as we neared that milestone
number, Brad pounced – like Tw1tters did, but with fingers, not paws – when we
announced we would award “fabulous prizes” to our 4,000th follower.

 

Brad, sharp eyed BLURT readers may recall, is also a
founding member and the “four-handed” drummer for The Handcuffs, who we
recently profiled on the site. Hey, he obviously had a vested interest in
subscribing to our Twitter feed! He also informed us that he is nearing his own
milestone – his 4,000th gig, which includes a long musical career
with the Handcuffs and other outfits (among them, The Romantics). That’s Brad
above, pictured with band vocalist Chloe Orwell, “the designated blonde” of the
duo. Yep.

 

Brad, you rock, your band rocks, and your gifts are en route
to Chicago where they will be delivered personally by 8 nubile BLURT interns
all in various stages of undress. Please, return them – the interns, not the
gifts – intact. Meanwhile, we’ll see the rest of you folks when we hit 5,000 at
our Twitter feed…