Monthly Archives: June 2012

Jesus Lizard Dead; Scratch Acid Lives? (Nope.)

 

Really, what the hell
did you expect, kids?

 

By Fred Mills

 

To paraphrase the immortal Richard Milhous Nixon, you won’t
have the Jesus Lizard to kick around anymore.

 

Rolling
Stone
is reporting
that despite strident attempts
by JL guitarist Duane Denison to keep the skronk icons a working proposition
past the 2008-09 reunion (the Lizard originally split in ’99) and get everyone
back into the studio for fresh recording, it just ain’t gonna happen.

 

Explained Denison,
“That reunion tour went so well – we kept
it brief, and we didn’t extend it – that it just seemed natural to some of us
to just go, ‘Well, let’s do an album. We all can still play, we get along,
let’s do it.” But after “certain members” of the band held back, and held back,
and then held back some more – it has been, after all, nearly 4 years – Denison
gave up: “I was the one that pushed it to get it going in the first place!
So I said, “Fine, I’ll take my ideas with me,” and that turned into
other things, and that’s just how it works.” (Some
of those “other things” may include the upcoming, Aug. 7, Jesus Lizard coffee
table book Book.)

 

Denison shouldn’t have been all that surprised, though, that
nostalgia doesn’t run rampant among “certain members” of the Jesus Lizard,
particularly in light of the interview that vocalist David Yow and bassist
David Wm. Sims gave to BLURT last fall regarding the recent reunion of their pre-JL
band Scratch Acid. It speaks for itself; go here to read the conversation with
Yow and Sims, conducted by contributor Ron Hart. Below are a few illuminating
excerpts.

 

***

 

We here
at BLURT were justifiably ecstatic to hear about the surprise re-reunion of
legendary Texas pigfuck/noisemongers Scratch Acid for a brief winter 2011 trek
across North America in addition to the Jeff Magnum-curated All Tomorrow’s
Parties in England. When we reached out to the head Scratchers, Davids Yow and
Wm. Sims, for comment about the impending festivities they were more than happy
to discuss at length their first full-on tour since Ronnie’s jellybeans graced
the desk of the Oval Office.

 

Who initially
contacted you about getting Scratch Acid back together for ATP?

SIMS: Our booking agent contacted us. I believe he was
contacted by Barry [Hogan], the guy that runs ATP. I know I’m supposed to know
who Jeff Magnum is; sorry. 

 

Was there talk about
some kind of full-on reunion following the 2006 shows [Scratch Acid did the
Touch & Go 25th anniversary in ‘06] prior to the ATP invite?

YOW: No, there was not. We’re all kind of surprised by this
reunion, I think.

 

Do you have a
particular memory from Scratch Acid’s first six years that sticks out most in
your mind?

YOW: Um, no,
I don’t. Sorry. That’s sorta funny, though, huh?

 

Would you be
interested in doing any new recording with Scratch Acid?

SIMS: Probably not. I think we all have enough other
projects going on to keep us busy.

YOW: I don’t really feel like creating music these days. I
guess I’m only recreating. It’s recreational for me.

 

Has there been any
conversation about reissuing your 1984-87 catalog?

SIMS: I haven’t heard any. 

 

2012 will mark the
30th anniversary of the band. Are you going to be acknowledging the milestone in
any way?

YOW: Good question. Probably not.

SIMS: Nope. 

Meanwhile… a Tomahawk re-launch!

 

How to work a musical
news item into a pseudo-political commentary without hardly trying.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

It’s been quite a couple of newsdays for guitarist Duane
Denison. First, there was the kerfluffle regarding his erstwhile band the Jesus
Lizard, which apparently is NOT going to resume operations anytime soon –
although some product is apparently in the pipeline. Additionally, with
yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, Republicans are once again
snarling about the new socialist state that Denison and his uninsured musical brethren
will be forced to participate in. Damn!

 

Now we learn that Denison is
reactivating Tomahawk – Denison,
Trevor Dunn (Fantomas, Melvins Lite), Mike Patton (Mondo Cane, Faith No More)
and John Stanier (Battles, Helmet) – and plan to release the album Oddfellows next January.

 
“It’s dark and claustrophobic here, light and spacious there,” said Denison, in a statement,
of the new album.  “Live in the studio, all together in one room. 
Oddfellows indeed.”  Oddfellows was
recorded at Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville
(which is owned by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach) and co-produced by Tomahawk
and Collin Dupuis (The Black Keys, The Nocturnals).

 
Tomahawk is essentially re-launching after a lengthy hiatus.  Oddfellows
is the band’s first new album in five years and marks the addition of bass
player Trevor Dunn (Patton’s longtime cohort dating back to their teenage years
in Mr. Bungle).  Tomahawk’s first live performance in nearly a decade is
slated for the New Orleans’
Voodoo Music and Arts Experience in late October.  Additional dates will
be announced soon.

 

Meanwhile, given all that previous Jesus Lizard friction and
the upcoming presidential election that has Republican nominee Mitt Romney
pledging to fuck over loads of Americans, insurance wise, if he takes office in
January, Denison
probably shouldn’t be holding his breath about nothing other than where to buy his guitar strings for his upcoming
Tomahawk rehearsals….

 

[Photo Credit: Dustin Rabin]
 

First Look: Rainer Ptacek Trib Reissue

 

The Inner Flame: A
Tribute to Rainer Ptacek, out this week on the Fire label, rounds up the likes
of Vic Chesnutt, Robert Plant, PJ Harvey and others – including compilation
overseer Howe Gelb of Giant Sand – for a loving and emotional look at the late Tucson guitar maestro’s
oeuvre.

 

By Mary Leary

 

It’s apt that a
compilation instigated by Howe Gelb (with whom Rainer Ptacek co-founded
post-punk combo Giant Sandworms) is as drenched in ice water as it is in fire.
Ptacek’s compositions tend to leave ample space for interpretation and
elaboration. Along with serendipity in its performer/song pairings, that helps
explain The Inner Flame‘s gracefully
integrated spectrum of voices.

 

 


Rainer Ptacek Tribute – The Inner Flame by Cargorecords

 

The album was originally released in 1997 as a tribute
to/benefit for the slide player, who was struggling to survive brain cancer. As
with the original, the somewhat altered reissue from the Fire label reflects
Ptacek’s (and Gelb’s) open ears: Who invites P.J. Harvey, Madeleine Peyroux,
Robert Plant, and Vic Chesnutt to the same tea party? The congregation provides
as absorbing a listen as any of Hal Willner’s tributes; housing work that would
garner accolades if it sprang from the lips and fingers of Dave Alvin, Bob
Dylan, or the Knitters. Several tracks have been deleted, and seven added. Of
the latter, I wish Ptacek had lived to hear these versions of “Story Teller”
(John Wesley Harding) and “Junkpile” (Grandaddy).

 

Ptacek’s own roll through “Be Prepared” exemplifies his
merging of grit with molasses; performed with Joey Burns and John Convertino,
it’s assumedly one that didn’t make it onto Fire’s recent Roll Back the Years issue. The label, already in the process of
reissuing Giant Sand and Gelb’s back catalog, is committed to releasing
everything the late Ptacek recorded.

 

Flaming Lips Get in Guinness Record Book

 

Sorry, Jay-Z, you’re
just second best now.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

As expected, the Flaming Lips played 8 cities in 24 hours
yesterday, hitting the Memphis-to-New Orleans route and in the
process taking Jay-Z’s Guinness Book of World Records title away from the
rapper. The group’s sets were peppered with choice covers (such as King Crimson’s
“21st Century Schizoid Man” and even the odd new track (“You Lust,”
in Biloxi, with
Phantograam guesting).

 

In a press release, lead Lip Wayne Coyne noted, “To be able
to pick up this silly drinking book — after all, Guinness is a beer — this
funny book that when I was growing up was a curiosity. To be published
alongside the man who ate 22 pounds of his own boogers, beside the woman with
the longest toenails or perhaps even to be published beside an individual who
has had maybe 1000 cockroaches stuffed into their ears. That, to me, would be
one of life’s absurd joys.”

 

Below, look at a “rehearsal video” the Lips posted at their
official website a week ago which they dubbed “live rarities for 8 shows in 24
hours.”

 

 

Gallon Drunk's Back w/Demented Video, LP

 

Swamp-skronk maestros?
Yes, indeed. What’s up with the chick and the eyepatch, though?

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Following the tragic illness and death of their bassist
Simon Wring, Britain’s swamp-skronk maestros Gallon Drunk return as a three
piece featuring founder/frontman (and former Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds member)
James Johnston (vocals, organ, guitar, harmonica, piano, and bass), Terry
Edwards (bass, saxophone and percussion) and Ian White (drums, percussion). The
new album is The Road Gets Darker From
Here
and it drops August 14.

 

How much darker, you ask? Consult this utterly twisted video
for the track “You Made Me” and decide for yourself:

 

 

 

 

 

Recorded at Clouds Hills Recordings in Hamburg during the summer of 2011 and produced
by Johann Scheerer (Faust/Robots In Disguise), the album features the band
playing the songs live, direct to two-inch tape. We are advised:

From the insistent, slide guitar driven
‘A Thousand Years’ (first US single, out July 13th), through the exhilaratingly
sleazy, deranged rock ‘n’ roll of ‘You Made Me’ (the first single to be
released from the album, in the UK and Europe only), the menacing melancholia
of ‘Stuck In My Head’ (featuring French singer Marion Andrau of Underground
Railroad), to the desperate eruption
of guitar fury of ‘Hanging On’, this is classic, unfettered Gallon Drunk. Also
including the fever dream boogie of ‘The Big Breakdown’, before the final
haunting, enigmatic psychodrama ‘The Perfect Dancer’ – a miasma of
hallucinatory guitars, Hammond
organs and slinky voodoo drums – the album is an utterly captivating experience.

 

Well, all right, then! For those of you – like the BLURT
braintrust – who poured over the many Gallon Drunk releases back in the day
(particularly 1992’s You, The Night… and
the Music
and 1999’s Black Milk),
this will be a welcome return. As Britain’s Clash mag astutely noted, “Gallon Drunk are one of the
finest purveyors of deep, dark, destitute rock ‘n’ roll that this country has
produced in the last thirty years. No, scrap that. Ever.”

 

Fall shows for the band will be announced soon.

 

Incoming: Sweet Funk from Now-Again

With a description like that, do you really need convincing?

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Okay, it’s probably no secret that we here at BLURT are huge
fans of the estimable archivists at Now-Again. In our latest print issue we
reviewed the label’s awesome ‘70s soul-funk compilation Soul Cal (also online), while just recently their mind-bending
chronicle of Indian psychedelic band
Atomic Forest, Obsession, had the staff verging on, er, obsession.

 

Up next from the label, then, and in conjunction with Truth
& Soul: Loving on the Flip Side, comparing
21 rare and unreleased sweet funk and soul tracks from 1969-1977, collected by
the teams behind both Now-Again and Truth & Soul (the latter were
responsible for soul man Lee Field’s recent, acclaimed, Faithful Man album, incidentally). Presented as an 80-page book
filled with rare photos and each band’s story, the CD format comes packaged in
a sleeve within. For the wax, it’s a double gatefold LP paired with that same
80-page book. This presentation is the same format Now-Again used for Soul Cal.

 

To whet your appetite, check this track out. Needless to
say, Maroon 5 fans need not apply…

 

 

 

Gallon Drunk’s Back w/Demented Video, LP

 

Swamp-skronk maestros?
Yes, indeed. What’s up with the chick and the eyepatch, though?

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Following the tragic illness and death of their bassist
Simon Wring, Britain’s swamp-skronk maestros Gallon Drunk return as a three
piece featuring founder/frontman (and former Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds member)
James Johnston (vocals, organ, guitar, harmonica, piano, and bass), Terry
Edwards (bass, saxophone and percussion) and Ian White (drums, percussion). The
new album is The Road Gets Darker From
Here
and it drops August 14.

 

How much darker, you ask? Consult this utterly twisted video
for the track “You Made Me” and decide for yourself:

 

 

 

 

 

Recorded at Clouds Hills Recordings in Hamburg during the summer of 2011 and produced
by Johann Scheerer (Faust/Robots In Disguise), the album features the band
playing the songs live, direct to two-inch tape. We are advised:

From the insistent, slide guitar driven
‘A Thousand Years’ (first US single, out July 13th), through the exhilaratingly
sleazy, deranged rock ‘n’ roll of ‘You Made Me’ (the first single to be
released from the album, in the UK and Europe only), the menacing melancholia
of ‘Stuck In My Head’ (featuring French singer Marion Andrau of Underground
Railroad), to the desperate eruption
of guitar fury of ‘Hanging On’, this is classic, unfettered Gallon Drunk. Also
including the fever dream boogie of ‘The Big Breakdown’, before the final
haunting, enigmatic psychodrama ‘The Perfect Dancer’ – a miasma of
hallucinatory guitars, Hammond
organs and slinky voodoo drums – the album is an utterly captivating experience.

 

Well, all right, then! For those of you – like the BLURT
braintrust – who poured over the many Gallon Drunk releases back in the day
(particularly 1992’s You, The Night… and
the Music
and 1999’s Black Milk),
this will be a welcome return. As Britain’s Clash mag astutely noted, “Gallon Drunk are one of the
finest purveyors of deep, dark, destitute rock ‘n’ roll that this country has
produced in the last thirty years. No, scrap that. Ever.”

 

Fall shows for the band will be announced soon.

 

Old 97’s w/Anniversary LP, Tour

 

Too Far To Care gets deluxe treatment via
the Omnivore label in October.

 

By
Blurt Staff

 

Old
97’s will launch a tour celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Too
Far To Care
on August 24th in the band’s hometown of Dallas, TX.  
The band will play the album in its entirety with an additional set of fan
favorites.  Released in 1997 via Elektra Records, it was their major label
debut and was followed by six applauded studio efforts, most recently the
critically acclaimed The Grand Theatre Volume One and The Grand
Theatre Vol. 2
in 2010 and 2011 (New West Records).  The tour will
feature appearances at the Austin City Limits festival, a two-night stand at
the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles and Webster
Hall in New York City. 
 Nashville’s
Those Darlins will open half the tour (8/24 through 9/12) with the 2nd half being supported by Salim Nourallah (10/16 through 10/29).  An
additional solo set will be performed by Old 97’s frontman, Rhett Miller, who
recently released his fifth solo album, The Dreamer, on each date.

 

 

Rhett
Miller stated “Too Far To Care was a magical moment for the 97’s. 
Starry-eyed and flush with confidence thanks to our brand-new deal with
Elektra, we felt no fear, just giddy excitement.  An adventurous producer
and a world champion A&R guy shepherded us through the recording
process.  And when it was all over, we had captured our little bit of
lightning in a bottle.  I love Too Far To Care and can’t wait to
play it in its entirety across the USA.”

 

Omnivore
Recordings will release special, 15th Anniversary Editions of Too
Far To Care
across various configurations (LP/CD/Digital) this fall. 
It will be the first time the album is available on vinyl.

 

Tour Dates:

 

With
Those Darlins supporting:

August
24th – Dallas, TX  — House Of Blues

August
25th – San Antonio,
TX — Sam’s Burger Joint

August
26th – El Paso, TX  — Tircky Falls

August
28th – Phoenix,
AZ — The Crescent Ballroom

August
29th – Solana Beach,
CA — Belly Up Tavern

August
30th – Santa Ana,
CA — The Observatory

August
31st – Los Angeles,
CA  — El Rey Theatre

September
1st – Los Angeles,
CA — El Rey Theatre

September
2nd – San Francisco,
CA — The Fillmore

September
4th – Seattle, WA – The Showbox @ The Market

September
5th – Vancouver,
BC – Venue

September
6th – Portland, OR – Roseland Theatre

September
7th – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory

September
8th – Salt Lake City,
UT – Urban Lounge

September
10th – Boulder,
CO – Boulder Theater

September
11th – Omaha,
NE – The Slowdown

September
12th – Columbia,
MO — The Blue Note

October
12-14th – Austin, TX
– Austin City Limits Festival

With
Salim Nourallah supporting:

October
16th – St. Louis,
MO – The Pageant

October
17th – Madison, WI – Capitol Theater

October
18th – Minneapolis,
MN – First Avenue

October
19th – Chicago, IL
– Vic Theatre

October
20th – Columbus, OH
– Newport Music Hall

October
22nd – Boston, MA – Royale Night Club

October
23rd – New York,
NY – Webster Hall

October
25th – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer

October
26th – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club

October
27th – Carrboro,
NC – Cat’s Cradle

October
29th – Nashville,
TN – Cannery Ballroom

 

 

 

 

Report: Roxy Suicide, Biters Live in Denver

 

 

On June 25 it was a punk’s punk night out
at Denver’s
Gothic Theatre. Also on the bill: Wednesday 13.

 

By Tim Hinely

 

Lots of young
ones at this gig, all here to see Wednesday 13 (who I had never heard of before
this). The The Roxy Suicide (pictured above) hail from Colorado
and just before walkin’ out on stage, the lights lowered and you heard The
Raspberries’ “Go All the Way” over the loudspeaker while the band walked out
and took their places. The guitarist was none-other-than Mr. Tim Stegall  (The Hormones, former writer for both
Flipside and A.P., etc.). The very tall singer (Mr. Dave Mansfield) had a face
like Marky Ramone and yes, denim vests were the order of the evening (see
Biters part of the review). They hammered through roughly 35 minutes or so of
catchy, glammy, punky power pop that included covers by The Ramones (“Cretin
Hop”), The Cramps (“Human Fly”) and one by current band The Sounds (also, they
didn’t cover the New York Dolls but you can tell the band is a big influence on
T.R.S.). Female bassist looked like she was having a blast and Mr. Stegall
added to the band’s overall look/sound with being dressed all in white denim,
and threw off so many scissor kicks that he definitely got his workout in for
the evening. I want to see these guys again real soon.

 

I really enjoy
the few records I have by Atlanta’s Biters, but I had never seen the band live
before Their onstage garb is, well, it makes them look like quadruplets. Denim
vests, badges/stickers, shaggy haircuts. They rocked in a dirtier Cheap Trick
vein and were tight as all get out. The vocalist (Tuk) made a few ridiculous
sexist comments (I’m no prude and really hard to offend but his comments were
just dumb but then again that gal did toss her undies on stage at him). The
drove it all home in 45 minutes and their set included cuts like “The Boys
Alright” and “Breakin’ Your Heart Again.” 
Well done, chaps.

 

I can’t say I
hung long for Wednesday 13, but I
did catch a few songs. All 4 (or 5?) of them looked a lot like Doyle and/or
Jerry Only (early Misfits) while the vocalist (actually Joseph Poole who used
to be in the Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 then the Murderdolls) was
a Marilyn Manson lookalike who must be prolific as all get out. The songs?
Meh…kinda catchy pop punk with horror theme. They didn’t so much for m but the
way-younger-than-me crowd loved ‘em so what do I know?