Monthly Archives: June 2012

VIDEO: Live Clip of Chatham County Line

“Closing Town” from
upcoming live DVD/CD set. Hot premiere!

 

By Blurt Staff

 

North Carolina natives and bluegrass band Chatham County Line will be
releasing a live performance DVD/CD set titled Sight + Sound on July 10 via Yep Roc. Filmed last summer at the
Fletcher Opera House in Raleigh,
NC, Sight + Sound is a collection of live performances of songs
spanning the band’s entire career. The video clip below is aperformance of
“Closing Town”, which is the first track off
of their first album:

 

 

 

 

According to bandmember Dave
Wilson, “First song we ever recorded was ‘Closing Town’.
 It was one of the first pieces that we all put together as a band and
it was the first track on our first album.  We’ve covered a lot of miles
since then, but we wanted Sight & Sound to reflect all of the stops we
made getting to where we are today. This song is a great example of four
young guys trying to figure out what section they wanted their CD in down at
Schoolkids Records [in Raleigh; and, at the
time, the Chapel Hill store as well]. I
guess we’re still working our way to the Pop section.”

 

[Photo Credit: Michael Podrid]

 

 

WTF?!? Dueling Mountain Man Groups?

 

We smell some
cease-and-desist orders in the grapevine…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

It goes without saying that all day long here at BLURT we
get press releases from record labels, publicists, film studios, book
publishers, massage parlors, etc. Occasionally we’ll even read a couple of them.

 

An email blast concerning a favorite band, for example – and
we definitely dig the Vermont-spawned indie-folk femme trio Mountain Man, who
have released records on Partisan and Bella Union (and who we had the pleasure
of meeting face to face once at a taping of “World Café”). So naturally the
email that arrived today caught our attention: “Mountain Man – Two (Out Aug 14) was the headline.

 

Then we read the info about this upcoming release on the No
Sleep label: “Drawing
influences from the likes of Swans, Neurosis and even Tom Waits, Mountain Man meld turbulent riffs, fierce rhythm and aggressive vocals resulting in a
whirlwind of intense hardcore.  Mountain Man’s follow-up to 2010’s
EP, One, and their full-length album, GriefTwo expands
on the band’s previous efforts musically and lyrically with darker and more
atmospheric elements.  The EP will feature four blistering tracks like
“Take Out The Sun,” that will undoubtedly propel the band to the forefront of
underground hardcore.”

 

Oops.
Needless to say, not the same band who previously charmed us out of our tree.  Dang.

 

Well,
far be it from us to pick sides. Above, Mountain Man; below, Mountain Man
(well, one member at least). Over to you, discriminating music fans. And may
the best battery of lawyers win!

 

MP3: New Sights

 

“Left Over Right” the
title track from the new album of the same name.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Detroit’s
garage/power pop monsters The Sights, fronted for the past decade and a half by
Eddie Baranek (guitar/vocals), have just released their seventh effort, Left Over Right, the followup to 2010’s Most of What Follows Is True (reviewed here at BLURT). On it, Baranek
is joined by Jarrod Champion (keyboards/vocals), Dean Tartaglia
(saxophone/vocals), Kyle Schanta (bass) and Skip Denomme (drums) where
they deliver not only their most soulful album to date, but do it with all of
the intensity that has fueled their previous recordings and live shows for well
over a decade.

 

Check out an MP3 of the title track right here:

 


The Sights – “Left Over Right” by Pavement PR

 

 

The band is currently
on tour:

 

Jun 26 The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC 
w/ TENACIOUS D

Jun 28 WFMU Radio Session, Jersey City, NJ

Jun 28 East Village Radio Session, New York, NY

Jun 28 Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY  
w/ TENACIOUS D

 Jun 29 Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY  
w/ TENACIOUS D   

Jun 30 Penn’s Landing – Festival Pie, Philadelphia,
PA   w/ TENACIOUS D 
Jul 01 Union Hall, Brooklyn,
NY

  Jul 02 Bank of America Pavilion, Boston,
MA  w/ TENACIOUS D
Jul 03 Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT   w/ TENACIOUS D
Jul 06 The Fillmore, Detroit, MI   w/ TENACIOUS D
Jul 07 Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL  w/ TENACIOUS D

Jul 16 Daytrotter Session – Rock Island, IL

Jul 19 Austin Music Hall, Austin, TX   w/
TENACIOUS D
Jul 20 Palladium Ballroom, Dallas, TX   w/ TENACIOUS D
Jul 21 Brady Theater, Tulsa, OK  w/ TENACIOUS D
Jul 22 The Outland, Springfield, MO
Jul 23 The Pageant, St Louis, MO  w/ TENACIOUS D
Jul 24 Uptown Theater, Kansas City,
MO  w/ TENACIOUS D
Jul 26 Red Rocks, Denver, CO  w/ TENACIOUS D
Jul 28 House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV  w/ TENACIOUS D
Jul 29 SDSU Open Air Theatre, San Diego, CA  w/ TENACIOUS D

Aug 04 Comet Tavern, Seattle,
WA

 

[Photo Credit: Doug Coombe]

Rare LP from Bluesman Ironing Board Sam

 

Ninth Wonder arrives
Aug. 21.

 

Ironing Board Sam, a wild piano man who would play submerged
in a tank of water or flying through the air, recorded an album in the ‘70s and
sent 100 LPs to booking agents. At the time, he played one night a week at a
club in Gary, Indiana; another group played another night
of the week: The Jackson 5. The LP never saw release at the time but now Music Maker
Relief Foundation is putting it out August 21 under the title The Ninth Wonder of the World of Music,
taken from Sam’s moniker at the time.

 

Only one-hundred records were originally made of The Ninth Wonder of the World of Music.
Ironing Board Sam recorded this album in the seventies mostly in Gary, Indiana.
The one-hundred records were sent out to booking agencies all over the country
with Sam’s hope to get a deal. He received three responses, including one from
the William Morris agency; but he dropped his contacts, his music, everything.
In his life Sam had hit hard times. He went traveling to places he can’t quite
remember; he doesn’t recall how he made it in the end. “I’ll tell you one
thing, it’s the blues,” says Sam. “That’s why I look like a blues man now. Cuz
that was a blues time for me. And that hurt.”

 

 

 

Ironing Board Sam joined the Music Maker family in 2010, and
since then has received financial help with medical care, vehicle repairs, and
relocating to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Music Maker provided Sam
with a new “ironing board”/keyboard, recorded his album, and booked him for the
legendary Blues Cruise, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and gigs
throughout North Carolina.
He has earned some recent attention for making a return appearance at the Jazz
Fest and had a photo from his set posted to Rolling Stone’s site.

 

 

 

VIDEO: New Johnny Hickman (Cracker)

 

Long-overdue sophomore
solo platter arrives next week. And it “don’t suck,” either!

 

By Blurt Staff

 

We are enjoying this new video from Cracker co-founder
Johnny Hickman, whose album Tilting is released July 3 on his own Campstove Records label. The song’s titled “Another
Road”:

 

 

 

The album’s a remarkably diverse one, and as Hickman
explains, “Personally, all my favorite records and bands have been those
that don’t flatline into one tiny sub-genre (Beatles, Kinks, Radiohead, Petty,
Neil Young…). When I write, I just do it and don’t worry about it. As David
[Lowery, Cracker co-founder] and I always say, the only real rule in music is
‘don’t suck.'”

 

The album’s title Tilting is tied to one of Hickman’s favorite countries, Spain, and it refers to Cervantes’
classic novel Don Quixote. “I sometimes feel like the impassioned madman
with his lance trying to slay the windmill giants,” Johnny reveals.
“I think a lot of people do in these troubled times. The idea of battling
these mighty, unbeatable foes both real and imagined is disturbing yet darkly
amusing to me.

 

“The songs on Tilting are definitely more personal, more autobiographical than on either Palmhenge or
Cracker records. I didn’t set out to do that but it’s just where I am in life I
suppose. I didn’t steer cautiously around any of my feelings or experiences,
good or bad. It’s as honest as hell, I can tell you that. Lyrically, there’s a
little mid-life crisis catharsis going on here, not that that’s a bad thing.
That and just being pissed off and reveling in it. I also love collaborating,
which I do with David as well as my long time friend Chris LeRoy. Two of the
twelve songs onTilting were written by or with Chris, though the majority of
these songs are directly from my head and heart.”

 

Hickman will
be performing various solo shows in 2012 in support of Tilting (to be announced soon), and will be
hitting the road with Cracker for a high-profile summer tour as part of
Barenaked Ladies’ “Last Summer on Earth” tour, also featuring Blues
Traveler and Big Head Todd & The Monsters.

 

[Photo Credit: Brenda Yamen]

Wasteland Bait & Tackle / James McMurtry

 

From a windshield,
through a scream…

 

By James McMurtry 

 

   There are probably
more gas wells and oil wells in the western part of Rio Blanco County, Colorado,
than there are year round human residents. In a barren little valley just north
of the town of Rangely, utility wires stretch in all directions, carrying
electricity to run the oil pumping units and the “quads”, tan cubicle
things about the size of small walk in coolers, that separate the natural gas
from whatever else comes up with it. Multiple pipe lines and flow lines hang
suspended above a creek just west of the highway. In the evening, the motel
parking lots, empty during the day,
fill completely up with welding rigs and white company pickups bearing the
logos of various oil field service companies. Halliburton trucks are plentiful
here, as are those of a company called Total Safety.

 

   On a western tour,
last summer, I chose to stop in Rangely just to be someplace else, having grown
tired of the usual route from Salt Lake to Grand Junction,
US 6 from Provo
to Price to Green River, I-70 on in. We had a
day off near the end of a month long tour of the Rocky
Mountain States and I wanted to see some new road, a rare impulse,
as I approached fifty. And, of course, the Rangely route takes one through
Dinosaur Colorado.
How often does one hit a town called Dinosaur? In Rangely we ate at a
restaurant that had run out of calf’s liver, squelching my sudden inexplicable
desire for liver and onions.  I did find
a decent bottle of Spanish red wine in a liquor store which balanced out the
lack of calf’s liver quite nicely.  My
bandmates have yet to forgive me for stopping in a place so ugly.  I didn’t notice that the place was ugly, I’m
used to oil field towns, many of my relatives work in the oil field around Wichita Falls, Texas.
I’ve known the sight, sound, and smell of pumping units and tank batteries for
as long as I can remember. I did notice that there were an awful lot of pumping
units around Rangely, and that those units were freshly painted and unusually
well maintained, but other than that, the place looked normal to me, for an oil
town anyway.   

 

   Wind farms look
decidedly abnormal to me, especially at night. Sometime between the last two
deer seasons, a wind farm went in south of my family’s old north Texas ranch house that I
use for a hunting camp. Last winter, in the middle of a night, I drove in for a
hunt and was astounded to see red lights flashing in unison all along the
southern horizon. I didn’t know what I was looking at until daylight, when I
could see the turbines. I was angry at those red lights; they weren’t supposed
to be there, messing with my memory, flashing through my night. The creak of
the sucker rod on an early oil well might have upset my grandfather in a
similar way, but probably not. That creak meant money, just as the all night
red flashes mean money to the ranchers south of my camp who might get to leave
their land to their children, thanks to the wind leases. I shouldn’t complain,
but I sometimes do.

 

    Wind is touted as
green energy, and it may be, as long as one is not a prairie chicken. I
recently met a college student who attends South
Plains College
in Levelland Texas.
He chose the school because he wanted to hunt lesser prairie chickens which
still exist in somewhat huntable numbers near Levelland (Not an unheard of
criteria for choosing a college in the west. I attended the University of Arizona
mostly because I wanted to hunt Gambel’s Quail.) The prairie chickens are
having a hard time, hemmed in by agriculture for years, they are now under an
even greater threat, because they refuse to nest under wind turbines. I suppose
that if one is an animal that evolved in a place where nothing grows taller
than sage brush, a shadow from a turbine blade flicking over one’s head might
cause one considerable anxiety. Might be a buzzard, might be a hawk, why take a
chance?

 

    I remember
hearing, on an earlier tour of the northeast, that the Kennedys were fighting
the construction of an offshore wind farm near Hyannis Port
Massachusetts and that the residents of
Martha’s Vineyard were similarly upset about a proposed offshore wind farm that
might obscure their view of the blue Atlantic.
I can certainly sympathize, even though an offshore wind farm is, at least, no
threat to the prairie chickens. A wind farm that wasn’t there in your youth
will mess with your mind. But are affluent coastal New Englanders so special
that they shouldn’t have to see the source of their energy as we who live
further inland often must?

 

     One doesn’t have
to visit the west slope of the Rockies to get
a sense of how much effort we put into energy production. One only has to look
East, when crossing the Susquehanna at Harrisburg Pennsylvania, and see the
stacks of Three Mile Island, or drive through southeastern Kentucky, where many
of the mountain tops are blasted away, and every third bumper sticker reads,
“Coal Keeps the Lights On.” We are finding lots of innovative ways of
keeping the lights on. I don’t know that we need to keep the lights on
twenty-four seven, but I don’t have much say in the matter. We have grown used
to keeping the lights and computers on, and so we shall continue.  But, for the moment, we must forget about the
myth of green energy because it does not yet exist. At this time, every
kilowatt still comes with a cost to the earth. Even solar power destroys
habitat. Land has to be scraped off to make room for all those mirrors.

 

     The coal
industry’s touting of “Clean Coal” should be filed under “Yeah
right.” It’s probably true that coal can now be burned much cleaner than
it was in years past and I do applaud the achievements of the coal and power
industries in this regard. But the Clean Coal ads don’t seem to address the
fact that the coal still has to be dug out of the ground, and that can not be
done cleanly. Yesterday, I drove past a strip mine outside of Gillette Wyoming, and that big
black hole in the ground did not look clean to me. I know that once that coal
seam is dug out, the mining company will fill in the hole, mostly because they
have to have someplace to put the overburden. Then they’ll seed the depression
with grass so it looks pretty, a process they call “reclamation”. I
know they can get the grass to grow again, but whether or not they can actually
restart the ecosystem they destroyed is a question for teams of biologists. I
should say “the ecosystem we destroyed”, because the computer I’m
writing on may be drawing power from the burning of coal from the same strip
mine I passed yesterday.

 

     Today, I drove
down Wyoming Highway
fifty-nine from Gillette to Douglas, a stretch
of a hundred and ten miles or so, during which I was never out of sight of
strip mines and gas wells. The mines tended to be off on the horizon, away from
the road, but the conveyors were visible. The gas wells were close, but not
terribly noticeable, just loops of pipe protruding from the ground. It’s
interesting how exploitative industries tend to try to keep their activities
out of sight. A logger in Michigan’s
upper peninsula once told me that pretty much all the hills around Ishpeming
were clear cut on the sides facing away from the road. He said that if you
looked close, you could see daylight through the trees at the tops of the
ridges. It occurs to me that I’ve seen very few strip mines from well traveled
interstate highways. Near Douglas, I saw the most modern, state of the art,
rail system I’ve ever seen in the United States. There were two main
lines flanked by two sidings and a good signal system spanning all four sets of
tracks at short, regular intervals. Trains were moving north and south for the
whole stretch, north bound trains pulling empty
coal cars, south bound trains loaded heavy with coal. Other trains sat on the
sidings. I was never out of sight of trains for a good thirty miles. None of the
trains carried passengers. AmTrak trains can be scary to ride, due to the
uneven road beds under the rails. I’ll bet that coal rides nice and smooth. A
ranch foreman in Texas, who used to manage a
ranch in Montana,
told me that he once moved a couple thousand head of cattle across a rail line
without first calling Burlington Northern to let them know. A coal train came
up as the cowboys were crossing the last few cows and the engineer reported
them. The foreman later received a phone call informing him that, had the train
derailed, the ranch would have been liable for the loss of a half billion
dollar payload.

 

     I’m not writing
this blog simply to blast the coal industry or the wind industry.  I’m writing to report what I see through the
windshield. My job lets me drive around and see things that most of us don’t
get to see. Most of us don’t have the time or money to care where our energy
comes from. Some of us do, though. The Kennedy clan does. Many residents of
places like Martha’s Vineyard probably do.
Perhaps, rather than fighting individual wind farms in their own front yards,
they could use their money, power, and influence to lobby for a national energy
policy based on efficiency and conservation, so that we wouldn’t need so many
wind farms and strip mines. More likely I should file that notion under
“yeah right”. Probably, the super rich are pragmatic enough to know
what a herculean effort it would be to try to get us all interested in
conserving energy, better to pick fights they can win. But if they’re not
willing to conserve, they shouldn’t bitch about wind farms. My only suggestion,
if you have a few bucks and a day off, take a drive. Stop here and there and
scan the horizon. Make note of what you see. If you don’t know what it is you’re
seeing, ask a local, then decide whether or not you think it’s worth it.

 

***

 

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.

 

 

Moss Icon Announces Reunion Gig

NYC Show on October
25th w/ Bitch Magnet; New “Complete Discography” Out Now on Temporary
Residence.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

In support of their newly released Complete Discography out now on Temporary Residence – and reviewed
in the latest issue of BLURT (Spiritualized cover) – post-punk band Moss Icon
have announced their upcoming New York reunion show taking place October 25th
at Le Poisson Rouge in New York. Appearing with the band, and also reuniting
for this special event, are label-mates Bitch Magnet, marking the first time
both bands have performed in New York
in over 20 years.

The backstory: Moss Icon were a band
founded in Annapolis, Maryland in 1987. They disbanded four years
later, having pioneered a progressive, highly emotive sound that stood in stark
contrast to just about everything even remotely considered punk at the time. In
retrospect, they more resembled an inspired marriage of the bleak post-punk
leanings of Joy Division with the raucous riffage of the Wipers, albeit
considerably less accessible thanks to Moss Icon’s more sinister tone, Tonie
Joy’s exploratory arrangements, and frontman Jonathan Vance’s almost stream-of-conscious
sociopolitical rampages. Many of their lyrical themes – the diminishing
separation of Church and State, and the United States’ military occupation of
foreign countries, for instance – are even more relevant now than they were
when originally committed to tape.

 

Moss Icon reformed to take part in select live appearances
in 2012, including their previously announced appearance at this year’s Chaos
in Tejas festival in Austin,
Texas.

 

 

 

 

Report: The Cult Live in L.A.

June 23 at the Hollywood Palladium, the British band
was, in a word,
electric.

 

By Jose Martinez

 

“We’re back!” declared The Cult’s lead singer
Ian Astbury during a sold out concert at the Hollywood Palladium. A little
older, puffier and not as nimble as he once was, Astbury still manages to bust
his best Jim Morrisonesque moves and deliver a rock solid performance.

 

Mixing crowd favorite hits with a handful of new
songs from the band’s latest release, Choice
of Weapon
, Astbury and co-founding member Billy Duffy, who just plain
embodies rock star cool on guitar, wrapped up the band’s most recent U.S.
headlining tour Saturday night. Playing songs from every nook and cranny of the
band’s career, the show started with Electric’s “Lil’ Devil,” and ran the gamut, including selections from Sonic Temple (“Fire Woman”), Beyond Good and Evil (the dynamic
“Rise”), while mostly sticking to hits from Love and Electric. However, much to
the delight of hardcore fans, the encore included two songs from the band’s
1984 debut Dreamtime.

 

More than just a blast from the past, The Cult’s
new songs actually paired well with their tried and true sound. Tracks like
“Honey from a Knife” and “For the Animals” definitely have that classic Cult
feel, while “Embers” is just a classic Led Zeppelin like rock track. A much
maligned group by critics, The Cult still manages to offer fans honest,
unapologetic rock anthems, which tend to be sorely missing many of today’s
bands. I’ll always choose raw power over mall-friendly fluff every time.

 

Set
list:

 

Lil’ Devil

Honey from a Knife

Rain

Lucifer

Nirvana

Embers

Fire Woman

The Wolf

Rise

The Phoenix

For the Animals

Wild Flower

She Sells Sanctuary

(Encore)

Horse Nation

Spiritwalker

Love Removal Machine

 

[Photo Credit: A.N.A.]

 

 

 

 

 

First Look: New Ty Segall Band LP

 

 

With a full band in
tow this time around, the Bay Area garage maniac blows out the mental
Slaughterhouse, courtesy In The Red. In discriminating
record stores this week, yo.

 

By Jennifer Kelly

With Slaughterhouse (In The Red), Ty Segall returns to the detuned blare of his first, self-titled
album and early singles. The main difference? Segall has the support of a full
band – Mikal Cronin, Charlie Moothart and Emily Rose Epstein – as he pushes
things towards 11.

 

 


Ty Segall Band – I Bought My Eyes by alltomorrowmusic

 

So, not surprisingly, Slaughterhouse starts and ends in squalls of feedback. Blown-out howling “Death” coalesces,
finally, in hurtling garage-rock a la Thee Oh Sees, but the culminating roar of “Fuzz Wars” simply goes on and on and
on (and on). In between, pop songs lurk behind distortion. You could sing along
to “Tell Me What’s in Your Heart,” and early single “Wave Goodbye” cloaks a
White Stripe-ish blues riff in the sludge and drone of psychedelic metal. Segall’s
dalliance with tripped-out, melodic psych is over, at least for now. Yet sonic
ferocity has, thankfully, not led to over-seriousness. “I don’t know what we’re
doing,” says Segall, near the end of “Diddy Wah Diddy,” as the band crashes to
a chaotic, cathartic halt.  

 

But he does. Clearly, he does.

 

2nd Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ EP Announced

 

Above photo: DNC live
at a recent in-store at BLURT’s partner-in-offices-and-crime, Schoolkids
Records of Raleigh, NC.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

With
their Songs From the Laundromat EP
under their belt (and reviewed here at BLURT), Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ now turn their
attention to the second in the 4-disc series. The first one reflected the rock side of DNC. Now EP2,
Songs About Cars, Space and The Ramones,
will showcase songs from the secret landscape of the American psyche. It’s to
be released September 18, 2012, is
almost complete, according to the band. This 6 song collection is being
produced by Paul Ebersold at Sound Kitchen Recording Studios in Franklin, TN
and features special guest Cheetah Chrome! Frontman Kevn Kinney calls it “a
rockin’, punk-laced excursion into the depths
of Drivin N Cryin’s roots.”

 

EP3, Songs From The Garage, will reportedly delve even deeper into those
punk roots. You have been warned.