Monthly Archives: December 2011

Report: Matthew Sweet Live In San Fran

 

The venerated
power-pop guru dusts off hallowed Girlfriend album on its 20th anniversary at
Yoshi’s on December 27.

 

By Jud Cost

Matthew Sweet, his name synonymous with the early-’90s
rebirth of the power pop genre, and one of the few artists who didn’t consider
the term to be pejorative (the Posies and Tommy Keene never liked it much) had
a special reason for touring in 2011. And it wasn’t just the recent release of
his fine new album, Modern Art (Missing Piece). “We thought about supporting the new record,” he
told a rapt full house at Yoshi’s in
San Francisco’s
Fillmore district. “We figured a better idea would be to celebrate the
20th anniversary of Girlfriend. So,
we’ll be playing the entire album tonight.”

 

Good idea, and he drafted the perfect crew to burnish the
holy relic with all proper reverence. As expected, Sweet brought along the core
of venerated combo Velvet Crush – Paul Chastain on bass and Ric Menck on drums,
both of whom have manned most of Sweet’s recorded output. Dennis Taylor, the
guitarist from Modern Art, ripped
through the stirring leads from Girlfriend originally played by a pair of New
York fretboard legends: Television’s Richard Lloyd
and the Void Oids’ Robert Quine – no mean feat.

 

Sweet’s beard is a little greyer than it was last time
through town in 2008; Menck, who once resembled Jan & Dean’s Dean Torrence,
has shaved off his Civil War-era beard and wore a red ballcap and a t-shirt
that broadcast “Time Heals All Wounds, Time Wounds All Heels”; and
Taylor had a mop of long, curly hair that hasn’t been seen since the heyday of
London’s Pink Fairies, 40 years ago. Chastain, who looks like he hasn’t aged a
day in the past two decades, now bears an uncanny resemblance to Jackie Earle
Haley’s Moocher character from 1979 coming-of-age flick Breaking Away.

 

Wasting no time, they dug right into Girlfriend‘s chugging, false-ending-loaded opener, “Divine
Intervention,” and signature love letter “I’ve Been
Waiting.”  The album’s buoyantly
rocking title song, with its clever updating of Jefferson Airplane’s
“Somebody To Love” lyrics, sounds as amazing as ever. Unlike the
hippies’ “if you love something, set it free” ethic, Sweet ends the
tune with, “I’m never gonna set you free.”

 

The only possible roadblock to recreating Girlfriend live would be how to cover
Greg Leisz’s exemplary pedal steel guitar work found on some of the record’s
most hypnotic songs? Taylor
skillfully ballparked the sound with the use of an effects pedal on the album’s
most serious heartbreaker “Winona.” (“Could you be my little
movie star?/Could you be my long-lost girl?”).

 

Menck, surely the best rock drummer of his post-Clem Burke
generation, knows just what to do on the really down-and-out stuff. “Day
For Night,” slowed to a crawl, has moments that, had they been cut 35
years earlier, would have sat well on a heartfelt doo-wop single.

 

“It used to be that when you made an album, you
top-loaded it. So now we’re at the point where we play…uhh…the deep tracks,”
Sweet cracks. Utter balderdash, of course. Some of its most telling moments,
the insinuating refrain from “I Wanted To Tell You,” for example, are
found in the album’s back forty.

 

“So that was the album in its entirety,” says
Sweet as they finish off “Your Sweet Voice.” But, wait, there’s still
more. “We were just kids when we made Girlfriend.
We didn’t know, and nobody told us not to, so we recorded three more songs at
the same sessions. And I added them to the CD version with a long, maybe
60-second break before they started to play. So, here they are, the bonus
tracks.”

 

“Does She Talk,” the first of the trio, finds
Sweet’s vocal phrasing employing a potent, hi-octane mixture of Bob Dylan and
Iggy Pop. The final number of the three is “Nothing Lasts,” the
original title of the longplayer before Sweet discovered a perfect vintage
photo of actress Tuesday Weld wrapped in a parka on windswept Sepulveda Blvd. to grace the cover of his re-named epic
work.

 

“We didn’t want to end with a sad song, so here are few
more from Modern Art, 100 Percent Fun and Altered Beast,” says Sweet, putting the maraschino cherry on a
terrific career retrospective. “Thanks for coming out. We didn’t know what
kind of crowd to expect. None of you looks a day older,” says Sweet before
departing. Not true, of course, but there’s no denying the time-stands-still
aspect of what must be considered Matthew Sweet’s master-stroke.

 

 

 

 

MP3 Premiere: New Cuddle Magic

 

Brooklyn-Philly
chamber-pop collective preps new album for March release.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Hard to say which we like better – the album title or the
song title, which from Cuddle Magic would be, respectively, Info Nympho  and “Moby Dickless.” The former, engineered
and mixed by Bryce Goggins, is due March 6 on the FYO label, but we’ve got the
latter right here for your listening edification. We trust you will determine
there is no Led Zeppelin connection….

 

 


05 Moby Dickless by Howlin’ Wuelf Media

 

Some details about the band and the
forthcoming album:

 

“On Info Nympho, Cuddle Magic balances folk
timbres with surprising harmonies, pop song-craft with Steve Reich-inspired
rhythmic complexity, and direct emotional lyrics with dense wordplay. These are
lush, playful songs with wide-ranging instrumentation, including strings,
percussion, vibraphone, trumpet, clarinet, keyboards, guitars, and many voices.

 

“When
Cuddle Magic first formed at New England Conservatory in Boston, the band’s goal was to perform and
record music quietly and without amplification. This required the musicians to
perform in close proximity to each other and to the audience, which led to the
band’s name. Their eponymous debut arrived in 2007, followed by their second
album, Picture, in 2009. Info Nympho is their third longplayer.

 

“Besides
their group endeavors the members of Cuddle Magic have engaged in
collaborations with a diverse range of artists, including Beyonce, guitarist
and composer Fred Frith, legendary “third-stream” pianist Ran Blake, the David
Wax Museum, Larkin Grimm, Mike & Ruthy (formerly of the Mammals), new music
toy-piano virtuoso Phyllis Chen, and progressive string band Joy Kills Sorrow. Members
of Cuddle Magic can also be seen performing with Railbird, Sister Sparrow and
the Dirty Birds, Baby States, Ronald Reagan, Bird Fly Yellow, Margaret Glaspy,
The People’s Champs, Girls Guns and Glory, Lake Street Dive, Petal Shield,
Split Red, Yapp!, The Superpowers Horns, and many, many others. The group tours
the East Coast regularly and extensively.”

 

 

 

Guided By Voices Plays Letterman Jan. 3

 

Link to the entire
album streaming online, below.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

After a fifteen year hiatus,
the “classic line up” of Guided By Voices finished off its year-long
reunion tour by recording an album of 21 new songs, making a deliberate effort
to return to what bandleader Robert Pollard calls the
“semi-collegial” approach of iconic GBV albums like Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes. Let’s Go Eat The Factory is some kind of
return to form: sprawling, variegated, and yet still recognizably and
coherently Guided By Voices in both its literal and mythic senses.

 

To celebrate the release
of Let’s Go Eat The Factory, Guided By Voices will be making
a rare appearance on  Late Show With
David Letterman
on January 3.

 

Watch the BLURT site next
week for our review of the album. Meanwhile, you can hear the entire record
streaming for free at the NPR Music site.

 

Most Repulsive Site of '11: Is Anyone Up?

 

Our band could be your
life… or at least those naked clowns on your computer screen!

 

By Fred Mills

 

This ain’t your grandmother’s social networking, that’s for
sure. As 2011 comes to a close, one of the year’s big success stories has to be
Is Anyone Up?, an oftentimes (though not always) XXX website operated by a California
twenty-something named Hunter Moore. It’s basically a twisty – some might say, “twisted”
– version of a social network whereby users upload naked photos of themselves,
of their friends, and sometimes of their frenemies or outright arch-rivals.

 

Clearly NSFW, you can take a look at it here; a casual
scroll down the front page will unveil all manner of boobs, butts, cocks and
cunts, sometimes in, er, “repose” mode, sometimes “in action” (translation:
poking something or being poked). It would be nice to say that Is Anyone Up? is
in some way shocking, but the only thing that will truly give you pause is the
realization how un-porn – in the traditional implant-centric sense – the images
are and how routinely unappealing most of the people are. That the median age
appears to hover around 18, 19 or 20 is only disturbing if you happen to be a
parent and suddenly spot your little Amber or Josh there on your computer
screen, poking her tits or waving his dick at the mirror while holding a digital
camera or phone with the other hand.

 

Well, that, and also if you happen to be some gal who had a
nasty breakup with your boyfriend and he retaliated by posting those “private”
photos you sent him to the web…

 

 

Ultimately, Is Anyone Up? is just numbly repulsive, since
there’s not really a whole lot of reason to look at naked pictures that ain’t
gonna arouse you, unless you think of them as art portraits, which is unlikely
in the case of most iPhone-generated images. Maybe social psychologists will figure
out a way to extract research data!

 

Still, this would be apropos of nothing, since at this stage
of the game we’re way beyond gnashing our teeth over “that younger generation’s
sense of morality and decency” (they did, after all, invent sexting), except that among some of the more intriguing music news
of 2011 was the notation that rock ‘n’ roll musicians have apparently
discovered Is Anyone Up? as a new, “edgy” means of marketing themselves and
their “brand.”

 

Earlier this month the L.A.
Times
profiled the site
and founder Moore, accurately noting that, “Far
from being an issue, some artists are viewing Is Anyone Up? as a way to get
their bands heard – and seen. The 1-year-old site generates more than 1.6
million unique visitors per month, according to Google Analytics stats provided
by its proprietor, and has posted hundreds of nude photos of band members from
the middle and lower echelons of hard rock. The photos are often paired with
promotional images from Facebook or the band’s own websites.”

 

That’s a lot of potentially free publicity. Several
musicians as well as record label owners and music publicists are quoted in the
article as saying they view it as an inevitable part of the evolution of the
internet, and therefore something that might as well be exploited rather than
be resisted. “On Warped Tour,” said musician Melissa Marie Green, “when
you’re in a band and you drink, you show these [photos] to your friends as a
joke. When you’re in a band, you understand why these pictures are up. To the
general public, it might be extreme, but to people in the industry, it’s not
uncommon.”

 

 

Added Josh Grabelle, of indie label Bullet Tooth, “Would I
like a site like this to not exist? But it does exist, and this is the world we
live in. I’m marketing to kids aged 16 to 30, and that’s the site they’re going
to. I know that because I cannot go anywhere – anywhere – without this site
being brought up.” (Grabelle bought ad space on the site.)

 

Fascinatingly, Wikipedia notes, in its entry on the site, that a German “metalcore” band, Eskimo Callboy, and that a New York pop-punk
outfit called Forget Me In Vegas” have releases singles about the site, each
titled “Is Anyone Up?”

 

Anyhow, you can check out the site at the above link (there
are separate sections for Girls, Guys and Bands, plus some very enlightening
editorials penned by Moore, who apparently is enjoying making money at this and
“getting my dick sucked”). For that matter, just enter “is anyone up” into
Google images and you’ll see way more than you probably need to see. Also read the
entire LA Times story – and watch for all this to snowball in the new year as
more and more bands decide that getting ones name (and image) out to the
public, no matter the method or the long-term effects, is paramount while
pursuing a career in music.

 

Of Montreal Offers Up New LP Teaser

 

Paralytic Stalks set
to arrive in February.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Of Montreal
dropped another album teaser with snippets from Paralytic Stalks (out
Feb. 7th on Polyvinyl). Recall that back in November the band gave away a free
MP3 of new track “Wintered Debts” – you can listen to it here – so it would
appear that things are gradually heating up during the new LP’s rollout. Tour
dates listed below as well.

 

 

 

Tour Dates

 

Dec. 31 — Athens,
GA — Go Bar / List Christee DJ
set

Feb. 17 — Athens, GA — Georgia
Theatre 

Mar. 07 — Jacksonville,
FL  — Freebird Live *

Mar. 08 — Orlando, FL — The Plaza Live *

Mar. 09 — Mobile, AL — Alabama
Music Box *

Mar. 10 — New Orleans,
LA — Howlin Wolf *

Mar. 11 — Houston,
TX — Fitzgeralds *%

Mar. 12 — Oklahoma
City, OK — ACM @ UCO
Performance Lab *

Mar. 13 — Dallas,
TX — Tree’s *

Mar. 14 — Mc Allen,
TX — Sofie’s Saloon 

Mar. 15 — Austin,
TX — Emo’s East (Polyvinyl
Showcase)

Mar. 18 — El Paso,
TX — Tricky Falls *#

Mar. 19 — Tucson, AZ — Rialto
*#

Mar. 20 — Los
Angeles, CA — The
Wiltern *#

Mar. 21 — San
Francisco, CA — Slim’s *#

Mar. 22 — San
Francisco, CA — The Fillmore *#

Mar. 23 — Portland,
OR — Crystal Ballroom *#

Mar. 24 — Seattle,
WA — Showbox at the Market *#

Mar. 25 — Boise,
ID — Treefort Music Festival

Mar. 27 — Minneapolis,
MN — First Avenue * ≈

Mar. 28 — Chicago,
IL — Metro * ≈

Mar. 29 — Cleveland,
OH — Beachland Ballroom * ≈

Mar. 30 — New York,
NY — Webster Hall ¥ !

Mar. 31 — New York,
NY — Webster Hall * ≈

Apr. 01 — Boston, MA — The Paradise * ≈

Apr. 02 — Philadelphia, PA — Union Transfer * ≈

Apr. 03 — Washington, DC — 9:30 Club * ≈

Apr. 04 — Carrboro,
NC — Cat’s Cradle * ≈

Apr. 05 — Asheville, NC — Orange
Peel * ≈

Apr. 06 — Chattanooga,
TN — Track 29 * ≈

Apr. 07 — Atlanta,
GA — Variety Playhouse * ≈

*   w/  Kishi Bashi

#   w/  Deerhoof

%  w/  Cults

≈ w/  Loney Dear

!  w/  Computer Magic

¥   w/  Hard Nips

 

Diplo Unveils Sample from new EP

 

Once you have finished
staring at the cover art, above, please read the text below… we can wait…
anytime now…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

The new Diplo EP is called Express Yourself, featuring contributions from the likes of Datsik,
Elephant Man, GTA, Excision, Sabi, Nicky Da B, Billy the Gent,
and Lazer Disk.  This week he offered a
free track, “Moombahton,” and you can check it out below.

 

Meanwhile, read about Diplo’s recent foray into film
elsewhere on the BLURT site.

 

 

 


DIPLO express yourself EP sampler by diplo

Post-Xmas Gift: Iggy Pop Action Figure

Anatomically correct
where it counts – just like Barbie’s boobs.

 

By Fred Claus

 

Hey kids! Itching to burn through that Toys ‘R Us gift card
you got from Aunt Effie for Christmas? Or just needing to go to the mega-store
and exchange some of the wack junk that your parents gave you so you can score
some real swag? (For some reason adults still seem to think that Leap Pad, with
its “educational” element, makes for a fun experience, not realizing that in
2011, kids are looking to see iPads and iPod Touches under their trees.)

 

Well, we have the perfect thing for you: an Iggy Pop Action
Figure, by NECA. For just a mere $13.98 you too can have a replica of the
original streetwalkin’ cheetah, in all his tight-jeaned (so tight you can check
out his “package,” yo), bare-chested glory. He’ll make your Batman or Band toys
look positively tubercular by comparison.

 

According to the manufacturer, “The godfather of punk, the
legendary Iggy Pop is finally immortalized in action figure form. This highly
detailed figure stands 6 3/4″ tall and comes with microphone and display
stand.” Additional accessories, such as peanut butter jar, sold separately.

 

Oddly, at the Toys ‘R Us product page, some “related items”
that you might also want to consider include a Hannibal Lecter Action Figure, a
Freddie Krueger Replica Glove, and an Iron Maiden “Killers” Action Figure.

 

For more of BLURT’s holiday gift exchange ideas, check out
our recent installment of “The Goods.”

 

Most Repulsive Site of ’11: Is Anyone Up?

 

Our band could be your
life… or at least those naked clowns on your computer screen!

 

By Fred Mills

 

This ain’t your grandmother’s social networking, that’s for
sure. As 2011 comes to a close, one of the year’s big success stories has to be
Is Anyone Up?, an oftentimes (though not always) XXX website operated by a California
twenty-something named Hunter Moore. It’s basically a twisty – some might say, “twisted”
– version of a social network whereby users upload naked photos of themselves,
of their friends, and sometimes of their frenemies or outright arch-rivals.

 

Clearly NSFW, you can take a look at it here; a casual
scroll down the front page will unveil all manner of boobs, butts, cocks and
cunts, sometimes in, er, “repose” mode, sometimes “in action” (translation:
poking something or being poked). It would be nice to say that Is Anyone Up? is
in some way shocking, but the only thing that will truly give you pause is the
realization how un-porn – in the traditional implant-centric sense – the images
are and how routinely unappealing most of the people are. That the median age
appears to hover around 18, 19 or 20 is only disturbing if you happen to be a
parent and suddenly spot your little Amber or Josh there on your computer
screen, poking her tits or waving his dick at the mirror while holding a digital
camera or phone with the other hand.

 

Well, that, and also if you happen to be some gal who had a
nasty breakup with your boyfriend and he retaliated by posting those “private”
photos you sent him to the web…

 

 

Ultimately, Is Anyone Up? is just numbly repulsive, since
there’s not really a whole lot of reason to look at naked pictures that ain’t
gonna arouse you, unless you think of them as art portraits, which is unlikely
in the case of most iPhone-generated images. Maybe social psychologists will figure
out a way to extract research data!

 

Still, this would be apropos of nothing, since at this stage
of the game we’re way beyond gnashing our teeth over “that younger generation’s
sense of morality and decency” (they did, after all, invent sexting), except that among some of the more intriguing music news
of 2011 was the notation that rock ‘n’ roll musicians have apparently
discovered Is Anyone Up? as a new, “edgy” means of marketing themselves and
their “brand.”

 

Earlier this month the L.A.
Times
profiled the site
and founder Moore, accurately noting that, “Far
from being an issue, some artists are viewing Is Anyone Up? as a way to get
their bands heard – and seen. The 1-year-old site generates more than 1.6
million unique visitors per month, according to Google Analytics stats provided
by its proprietor, and has posted hundreds of nude photos of band members from
the middle and lower echelons of hard rock. The photos are often paired with
promotional images from Facebook or the band’s own websites.”

 

That’s a lot of potentially free publicity. Several
musicians as well as record label owners and music publicists are quoted in the
article as saying they view it as an inevitable part of the evolution of the
internet, and therefore something that might as well be exploited rather than
be resisted. “On Warped Tour,” said musician Melissa Marie Green, “when
you’re in a band and you drink, you show these [photos] to your friends as a
joke. When you’re in a band, you understand why these pictures are up. To the
general public, it might be extreme, but to people in the industry, it’s not
uncommon.”

 

 

Added Josh Grabelle, of indie label Bullet Tooth, “Would I
like a site like this to not exist? But it does exist, and this is the world we
live in. I’m marketing to kids aged 16 to 30, and that’s the site they’re going
to. I know that because I cannot go anywhere – anywhere – without this site
being brought up.” (Grabelle bought ad space on the site.)

 

Fascinatingly, Wikipedia notes, in its entry on the site, that a German “metalcore” band, Eskimo Callboy, and that a New York pop-punk
outfit called Forget Me In Vegas” have releases singles about the site, each
titled “Is Anyone Up?”

 

Anyhow, you can check out the site at the above link (there
are separate sections for Girls, Guys and Bands, plus some very enlightening
editorials penned by Moore, who apparently is enjoying making money at this and
“getting my dick sucked”). For that matter, just enter “is anyone up” into
Google images and you’ll see way more than you probably need to see. Also read the
entire LA Times story – and watch for all this to snowball in the new year as
more and more bands decide that getting ones name (and image) out to the
public, no matter the method or the long-term effects, is paramount while
pursuing a career in music.

 

Most Awesome Teeshirt Ads… Ever!

 

We’ll take a Lemmy, a Grohl, a Bruce, and two Angus babies…

By Blurt Staff

So we’re thumbing through the latest issue of Britain’s Uncut mag (December, with the Tom Waits cover – not so coincidentally, Waits is our Best Album of the Year 2011 recipient), and in the back of the book, directly across from those XXX Live Sex Chatline ads that we are fond of, uh, analyzing, was a colorful ad for Bathroom Wall teeshirts. The ad depicts ‘toon stylizations of Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen in a kind of Beavis & Butthead motif; for some reason, Frank Zappa is hanging upside down in the corner of the picture too.

At any rate, while we’re not certain if we can afford to order our rock tees all the way from England – particularly since we can order ’em direct from our very own Blurt merchandise store and not worry about airmail postage –  the British company does have some awesome designs and even awesomer ads. For no better reason than we told you to, check out a few of ’em, below.

 

 

 

 

Sinead O’Connor Marriage Up in Smoke

 

If you love someone,
set them free!

 

By Perez Mills

 

It’s been a tough year for rock ‘n’ roll lovebirds, what
with the dissolution of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon’s marriage (which took
Sonic Youth down in flames with it), and of course those other folks… Demi
& Ashton… no, that’s not it… oh yeah, big ballers Kim & Kris.

 

The latest to “pull a Kardashian”: Sinead O’Connor, who
announced this week, just 18 days after getting married in Las Vegas (that should have been an early warning signal, yo) to
one Barry Herridge, that the thrill is already gone. Spinner.com is reporting that the Irish singer blamed “unnamed people that were close to her soon-to-be
ex for putting pressure on him to end what was her fourth marriage.” (Warning signal #2.)

 

In a long rambling statement, O’Connor wrote on her website, “Within 3 hours of the
ceremony being over the marriage was kyboshed by the behaviour of certain
people in my husband’s life. And also by a bit of a wild ride i took us on
looking for a bit of a smoke of weed for me wedding night as I don’t drink,” she wrote. “It became
apparent to me that if he were to stay with me he would be losing too much to
bear. And that being with me was not going to serve him positively, career wise
or any other wise. I saw his life leave him because of how people close to him
reacted. And I can’t take anyone’s life. And a woman wants to be a joy to her
husband. So.. U love someone? Set them
free
.”

 

Quoting Sting, of course, is warning signal #3. The Pope had no official comment…