Monthly Archives: January 2012

Kinney, Prophet Top Latest Blurt Poll

 

But overall the field
is as spread out as the GOP primaries were two months ago.

 

By Fred Mills

 

You voted, we listened. Er, looked. At the results, that is.
And frankly, while our initial polling query of, “Which of these upcoming new
releases are getting you all hot n’ bothered?” seemed promising, in the end the
percentages simply added up to 100% and didn’t mean much more than that.

 

We listed 20 new winter releases slated to hit stores
between Jan. 24 and Feb. 21, and at 10% and 9% respectively, Kevn Kinney (A Good Country Mile) and Chuck Prophet (Temple Beautiful)
were your fave raves. We already have reviews of the records set to run on the
website, and we’ve also assigned featured on Kinney and Prophet, so keep your
eyes peeled for those. In a big clusterfuck more-or-less tie for third place
were Leonard Cohen, Grimes, Mark Lanegan, Ruthie Foster, Mitch Ryder, the
Heartless Bastards and, er, Van Halen. We’ll let that latter lapse in taste
pass for now…

 

View the full results, below, then pop back over to the
BLURT homepage and vote in our newest poll in which we ask, in the wake of
Obama’s Al Green success, what songs should other politicians (living and dead)
sing?

 

 

Watch: Hollies 1963-75 DVD

 

Released via Eagle
Vision/Reelin’ in the Years Productions,
Look Through Any Window 1963-1975 is an example of how to do a clip-heavy
rock-history documentary right.

 

By Steven Rosen

The Hollies’ Look
Through Any Window 1963-1975
is the fifth volume in Reelin’ in the Years’
DVD series on the British Invasion – others have featured Dusty Springfield,
Small Faces, Herman’s Hermits and Gerry & the Pacemakers. Under director
David Peck, this is a good example of how to do a clip-heavy rock-history
documentary right: Don’t rush it; include old footage of entire songs rather
than excerpts, and find as many
examples as possible where the group performed live rather than lip-synched
their hits. And in the contemporaneous interviews with members, don’t let them
get bogged down in reliving every spat and disagreement (as last year’s Ballad of Mott the Hoople did); have
them talk a lot about what made their individual songs special.

 

The Hollies are an appropriate act for such an approach,
because they first and foremost were a vocal-harmony group. Lead singer Allan
Clarke’s ebulliently crystalline enunciation had a sharpness that was cushioned
by Graham Nash’s and Tony Hicks’ intuitively sympathetic support. When Nash
took an occasional lead, as on the intro into “On a Carousel,” his higher voice
had an appealingly, slightly strained naturalism. This sound made their string
of hits instantly – and permanently – memorable: “Look Through Any Window,” “I
Can’t Let Go,” “Bus Stop,” “Carousel,” “Carrie Anne” and more. (Hicks also was
a fine guitarist.) Also helping immensely was their knack for finding or
writing vivid songs that balanced minor and major chords effortlessly, capable
of alternating between bittersweet melancholy and youthfully exuberant optimism. (Graham Gouldman’s “Bus Stop” is perhaps
the finest example.)

 

 

 

As the 22 performance clips here show, as well as excellent
studio footage of them rehearsing “On a Carousel” at Abbey Road Studios, they
could always sing in tune. The interviews with Clarke, Nash, Hicks and drummer
Bobby Elliott offer some interesting tidbits. “Carrie Anne” was really about
Marianne Faithfull, but the Hollies were too shy to state it lyrically;
Clarke’s and Nash’s wives helped write “Jennifer Eccles,” a cutesy tune that
Nash hated.

 

When the group members do talk about their developing
differences, they actually speak to something larger happening in late-1960s
rock: Nash, having met David Crosby on an L.A. trip, realized there was a
different kind of rock, more organic and confessional, emerging than the
audience-friendly, Top-40 productions of the Hollies, and left for America to
seek it. As he explains, he was also frustrated that his attempt to have the Hollies match the Beatles in art-rock
production, “King Midas in Reverse,” met with fan indifference. (The song here
accompanies footage of the band in England and Japan.) When the Hollies tried
to bounce back with the poppy drivel that was “Jennifer Eccles,” their period
of artistic relevance seemed over.

 

But they did soldier on with some big hits without Nash, and
the documentary includes them – “Sorry Suzanne,” “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My
Brother,” “Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress),” and “The Air That I
Breathe.”  Given a chance to sing out,
Clarke could make the ballads transcend their sentimentality, but in reality
the Hollies were now just British Invasion survivors trying to find an
occasional Top 40 hit. The documentary doesn’t cover their interesting
post-Nash album of Dylan covers done in 1969. But it does close with their 2010
inclusion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although Hicks and Elliott
didn’t make the ceremonies because their current version of the band (without
Clarke or Nash) had a prior booking.

 

 

Report: Seapony/Jeremy Jay Live Portland

 

It was an indiepop love fest at Portland, Ore., venue the Holocene
on Jan. 26.

 

By Tim Hinely

Seattle’s Seapony released one of my favorite
records last year with the jangly Go With
Me
on the Hardly Art label. They brought back the jangle pop goodness of
labels like Sarah and Sunday (and they even covered the former’s Field Mice,
turning in a sparkling version of “Emma’s House”).  Live, they expand to a quartet adding a very
tall bassist and a 2-drum, stand up drummer (ala Bobby Gillespie in the early
days of the Jesus and Mary Chain).  

 

They delivered
the jangly goods in a most righteous manner. 
I think the signature of their sound has to be Jen’s sweet, vocals mixed
with Danny’s twinkling guitar, together these two instruments made beautiful
music together. They played everything, or nearly everything, off said record
including favorites like ‘Dreaming”, “Blue Star”, “Into the Sea” and plenty
more but alas, no Field Mice cover (after the set Danny said they would’ve
played it had I, or anyone, yelled out for it…drats). Aw well, their originals
are good enough.

 

 

K Records
suavester Jeremy Jay, who is much taller than I had imagined, hails from L.A., called Olympia home
for a while and now lives in London. Jay said that they
had just flown in and that this was the first gig of the tour. The first few
songs were a bit rusty but by song 4 or so Jay and his cohorts (solemn bassist
and a petite, smiling gal on keyboards) were hitting their stride dealing out
cool pop tunes like “Just Dial My Number’ and 
“This is Our Time” (both off 2010’s Splash).  Jay also had more of a stage presence than I
imagined he would, laughing (a bit, anyway), dancing and interacting a bit with
the keyboardist (girlfriend?). 

 

It seems to me
that this guy could go one of two ways, get huge or fade off into obscurity
(ok, the third option is stay in the
indie middle ground which is probably what will happen). He has several records
out and each one has a handful of very good songs and while the live set was
mostly enjoyable, I think I prefer his records.

 

 

 

Garbage Confirms May Release for New LP

 

Not Your Kind of People
is first new album since 2005. Watch video announcement, below.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Back in October word got out that Garbage was in the studio
putting finishing touches on the long-overdue followup to 2005’s Bleed Like Me, and today the official
announcement arrived that their fifth studio album, Not Your Kind Of People, will be released on May 15, on the band’s
label STUNVOLUME.  

 

 

 

 

“Working with Garbage again was very instinctual,”
said member Duke Erikson, in a statement.  “Like getting on a
bicycle…with three other people.”   He added,”We
haven’t felt this good about a Garbage record since the last one!”

 

Garbage – Shirley Manson (vocals), Steve Marker
(guitars, keyboards), Erikson (guitars, keyboards) and Butch Vig (drums,
loops) – will hit the road this spring in support of the album by
performing several headlining shows as well as various festivals throughout
Europe and the U.S. with more dates to be confirmed.  

 

“Thinking about going back on the road is both
thrilling and terrifying in equal measure,” said Shirley Manson.
“………but we’ve always enjoyed a little pain mixed in with our
pleasure.” 

 

 

Garbage 2012 Tour
Dates (so far):

 

Headlining Tour Dates

 

MAY

9th                    London, England
                     
   Troxy

11th                  St. Petersburg, Russia        
        Jubilenyi Hall

12th                  Moscow, Russia
                     
    Crocus
City Hall

16th                  Paris, France
                     
         Olympia

 

Festival Tour Dates

 

JUNE

16th                  Hultsfred, Sweden
                   
 Hultsfred Festival

17th                  Aarhus, Denmark
                     
Northside Festival

22nd                 Neuhausen
ob Eck, Germany   Southside Festival

23rd                  Scheessel, Germany
                 Hurricane
Festival, Red Stage

28th                  Werchter, Belgium
                   Rock
Werchter, Pyramid Marquee

 

 

Chrome Cranks Return w/New LP!

 

First new recordings
since 1997.

 

NYC scum-rockers the Chrome Cranks terrorized the alterna-world
during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s but eventually burned out, only to get back
together more than a decade later in 2009. It’s been a wait, but now Ain’t No Lies in Blood, the first album
of new Chrome Cranks material since 1997, will be released on Feb. 28 via Thick Syrup
Records (CD) and Bang! Records (LP).

 

In these chokingly bleak, post-ironic times there simply
aren’t any other acts out there like the Cranks, who play unapologetically
confrontational, utterly incendiary rock ‘n’ roll like they mean it with every
poisoned pore. Like few bands before or since, the foursome – singer/guitarist
Peter Aaron, guitarist William G. Weber, drummer Bob Bert, and bassist Jerry
Teel – simultaneously embraces and destroys rock’s very traditions.

 

Cut and mixed in three blistering days with producer Kevin
McMahon (Walkmen, Swans, Titus Andronicus) in Upstate New York, Ain’t No Lies in Blood is the eighth
album in the Cranks’ nearly 25-year history – and their hardest, noisiest,
heaviest, and nastiest by far. In keeping with the band’s earlier oeuvre, it’s
another swirling hell of dark, raw, distorted blues-based squalls; hypnotic,
labyrinthine detours through primordial swampland; and searing flashes of deep,
torchy drama. This release, however, strips the outfit’s minimal, no-bullshit
M.O. even farther down, to its most savage and primal essence. There’s the
locomotive, open-wounded wail of “I’m Trash,” which flattens all in its path
and hints at early ’80s hardcore angst, and “Rubber Rat,” a screaming, stomping
mess of bony, cartilage-cracking fists. Three radically remade covers include
an epic trawl through the Byrds’ “Lover of the Bayou,” and of course the
Cranks’ trademark murky ‘n’ moody side is present in all its black, jagged glory:
Check the swaggering decadence of “Let it Ring” and “Star to Star.”

 

“[The Chrome Cranks] had me screaming with joy,” says
Swans/Angels of Light front man Michael Gira, who witnessed the reunited band’s
return show in 2009 and later drew the demonic cover art for Ain’t No Lies in Blood. “I almost threw
my beer at them, I was so happy.”

 

 

First Look: Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die LP

 

 

Out this week on Interscope, Born to Die neither
justifies the hype nor the hipster “authenticity” backlash. Instead, it’s a
moderately entertaining album with more hits than misses and more solidly
strange fabulously femme fatale interludes than naff ones. (Stay tuned to BLURT
later this week when we publish our Del Rey interview/feature.)

 

 

By A.D. Amorosi

Joan of Arc. Lana Del Rey. That’s
two women I can think of off the top of my head who’ve been burned at the stake
before they got a flying chance to get their point across. Seriously, has
anybody really taken Saturday Night Live appearances so seriously that a bum one signaled total meltdown and career
immolation? (The Replacements’ lousy performance comes to mind.) Have you never
been taken down by Brian Williams as a has-been unprepared for your moment of
infamy?

Such an hermetically sealed audience you are.

 

The early criticisms weighed upon
Ms. Del Rey are based upon hype – the supposition that she should jump bolt
upright from the cold, gray but entrancing “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” vibe of last
year’s “Video Games” to become a hyperactive Katy Perry sort. Or worse, a
soberer Lady Gaga. That’s the internet’s fault, this hot hype. It left
audiences unprepared for the possibility that Del Rey, like Mabel Mercer,
Marlene Dietrich, Grace Jones and Beth Gibbons was downright languid; that the
“dead-behind-the-eyes” critique, while a barb to some, is a blessing to others
in love with the louche.

 

Then again, I’m the one man in America who
loved David Lynch (with whom Del Rey shares a cultural coolness) when he
slurred through Lost Highway (read if
you dare: http://archives.citypaper.net/articles/022797/article005.shtml).
Like the Slow Club-singing heroine of Lynch’s Blue Velvet, “Dorothy Vallens,” Del Rey presents a Terpsichore vision
of death and troubles-she’s-seen. It’s a plastic pose as pumped up (or down) as
those full new lips of hers – but a good act none-the-less.

 

Produced with weirdly atmospheric
hip hop warmth by Emile Haynie (of Kid Cudi fame), Del Rey can play the role of
R&B floozy (“Off to the Races”) with a moll’s aplomb and prove that
cowgirls really do get the blahs on the tortured “Blue Jeans.” There’s even the
delectable summer’s shine of “Diet Mountain Dew” where being a pretty
girl in New York City seems as op-to-Pop-timistic as Edie Sedgwick driving with
the top down.

 

But mostly this Bryan Ferry in a
smart dress sticks to a deathly lounge lizard display of emotionalism and
musicality, a smoky girl with a smoking gun’s lyrical flourish fond of lines
like “he loves me with every beat of his cocaine heart.” The title tune
features her chilled martini snarl atop a spy’s guitar lines and a gurgled trip
hop feel. “National Anthem” and its military drum riff is all
drugs-in-da-Hamptons but it’s the
kind of diamonds-are-a-girl’s-best-friend contagion that’s a pleasure to live
with. Her jewels get heavy and the gems dry up a bit after this: “Million
Dollar Man,” “Without You” and “This is What Makes Us Girls” are trite and
precious despite occasional edgy production flips. The line about drinking
“Pabst Blue Ribbon on ice” will annoy her hipster legion. Good.

 

By my count, Born to Die has more hits than misses and more solidly strange
fabulously femme fatale interludes than naff ones. It might not be the perfect
album that those heaped-upon-with-hype hoped for. Maybe if they traded in their
warm PBRs for a cold bracing vodka martini, they’d get it.    

 

Photo Credit: Nicole Nodland   

 

 

 

 

Jack White Announces Solo Album

 

Blunderbuss to be released April 24 via Third
Man/Columbia.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Yes indeed, erstwhile White Stripes mainman Jack White has a
solo rec en route. Produced by White and recorded at his own Third
Man Studio in Nashville,
Blunderbuss has been described by
White as “an album I couldn’t have released until now. I’ve put off
making records under my own name for a long time but these songs feel like
they could only be presented under my name. These songs were written
from scratch, had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but my own
expression, my own colors on my own canvas.”

 

Meanwhile, the first single is called “Love Interruption” and you can hear a stream of it at White’s
website: www.jackwhiteIII.com.
It goes on sale officially tonight as a digital download,  while a vinyl version featuring
exclusive non-LP B-side “Machine Gun Silhouette” will be
released February 7 on Third Man.

Video: Lykke Li’s "ACL" Set

 

Also on the bill last
weekend: Florence
and the Machine.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Austin City Limits is currently on a roll during its 37th season, with recent episodes
aired including Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes/Joanna Newsom and The Head and the
Heart/Gomez. Coming up the weekend of Feb. 4 will be Wilco.

 

The ACL crew announced the other day that arriving for a
taping at  ACL Live at The Moody on March 6 will be
none other than Radiohead, which will be mooted for season 38. Meanwhile,
though, this past weekend brought a fiery performance by Lykke Li. You can watch
the entire 30-minute segment, below – it starts at approximately the 26-minute
mark. (Also in the same hour-long broadcast was a rather underwhelming Florence and the Machine.)

 

 

Watch Florence + The Machine / Lykke Li on PBS. See more from Austin City Limits.

Video: Lykke Li’s “ACL” Set

 

Also on the bill last
weekend: Florence
and the Machine.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Austin City Limits is currently on a roll during its 37th season, with recent episodes
aired including Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes/Joanna Newsom and The Head and the
Heart/Gomez. Coming up the weekend of Feb. 4 will be Wilco.

 

The ACL crew announced the other day that arriving for a
taping at  ACL Live at The Moody on March 6 will be
none other than Radiohead, which will be mooted for season 38. Meanwhile,
though, this past weekend brought a fiery performance by Lykke Li. You can watch
the entire 30-minute segment, below – it starts at approximately the 26-minute
mark. (Also in the same hour-long broadcast was a rather underwhelming Florence and the Machine.)

 

 

Watch Florence + The Machine / Lykke Li on PBS. See more from Austin City Limits.

Obama's Al Green Song Prompts Big Sales

 

Jump of 490%…

By Fred Mills

By now everyone’s seen the viral video of President Obama singing a snatch of Al Green classic “Let’s Staty Together” Jan. 19 at a fundreaiser at NYC’s Apollo Theater. The Rev. Green himself was in the audience, no doubt prompting the bit. If for some reason you haven’t seen it, check it out, below.

Meanwhile, Billbaord reports that in the aftermath, the original recording of the song experienced a massive sales surge – 16,000 downloads in the week ending Jan. 22, a 490% increase. That represents “the best sales week for the song since SoundScan began tracking downloads in 2003.”

Coming soon to a political event near you: heritage artist’s handlers lobbying with major polititicians to have their clients’ songs pop up in speeches…