Category Archives: Album Announcement

Incoming: Big Star Live-in-1973 Album

Watch the album trailer and listen to a track, below.

By Fred Mills

Slated for release by Omnivore on Jan. 12: Live at Lafayette’s Music Room, by Big Star, a performance in Memphis in the spring of ’73 a few months prior to the notorious Memphis Rock Writers Convention in May of that year. The concert originally appeared as Disc 4 of Rhino’s acclaimed 2009 Big Star box set Keep An Eye on the Sky but this marks the first time it will be available in all formats: CD, digital, and 2LP vinyl. It will also boast new packaging and has been remastered. Included will be a download of a ’72 interview with the late Alex Chilton and Andy Hummel originally conducted by Memphis DJ Jon Scott.

Tracklisting:

  1. When My Baby’s Beside Me
    2. My Life Is Right
    3. She’s A Mover
    4. Way Out West
    5. The Ballad Of El Goodo
    6. In The Street
    7. Back Of A Car
    8. Thirteen
    9. The India Song
    10. Try Again
    11. Watch The Sunrise
    12. Don’t Lie To Me
    13. Hot Burrito #2
    14. I Got Kinda Lost
    15. Baby Strange
    16. Slut
    17. There Was A Light
    18. St 100/6
    19. Come On Now
    20. O My Soul

Track Premiere: Mark “Porkchop” Holder – “Coffin Lid”

Tune taken from upcoming studio album, due next week.

By Blurt Staff

Mark “Porkchop” Holder has been a favorite around the Blurt Magazine break room since his time in the blues punk band Black Diamond Heavies. So when we had the opportunity to introduce you guys to his latest, “Coffin Lid” via a Blurt premiere, we clocked back in powered up the computer.

“‘Coffin Lid’ comes from a long bar-room conversation with a merchant marine whose stories got wilder the longer we drank. It falls somewhere between street corner boasting and the literary device of the unreliable narrator.” Holder reveals to Blurt.

All that backed with a sludgy Blues riffs that sticks with you for hours.The track is off the Chattanooga-based musician’s sophomore studio album, Death and the Blues, out November 3rd via Alive Natural Sound Records It follows his acclaimed solo debut, Let It Ride, from earlier this year.

It’ll be available on limited vinyl, as well as CD, digital and streaming formats. Go HERE to order the starburst vinyl.

MARK “PORKCHOP” HOLDER TOUR DATES:

October 27 at Big Apple Cafe – Murray, KY

October 28 at Barking Legs Theater – Chattanooga, TN

November 2 at BT’s – Radford, VA

November 3 at Acoustic Coffee House – Johnson City, TN

November 4 at O’mainnin’s Pub (w/Moose Roberts and Monkey Paw) – Bristol, TN

November 10 at JJ’s Bohemia (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW!!)  – Chattanooga, TN

November 17 at Rooster’s Blues House – Oxford, MS

November 18 at Sidetracks (w/ Southern Culture on the Skids) – Huntsville, AL

November 20 at JJ’s Bohemia (w/ 20 Watt Tombstone) – Chattanooga, TN

November 25 at Levon’s – Clarksdale, MS

November 26 at The Door  – Dallas, TX

November 28 at Art Obscura – Las Cruces, NM

November 29 at The Loud House – Tucson, AZ

December 1 at The City Pub – San Diego, CA

December 8 at The Wildwood Hotel – Willamina, OR

December 11 at The Treehouse Cafe – Bainbridge Island, WA

December 19 at Leftwoods – Amarillo, TX

December 20 at Firehouse Bar & Grill – Abilene, TX

April 14, 2018 at Off Broadway (War Goat Festival) – St. Louis, MS

 

 

NC’s 6 String Drag w/PledgeMusic Campaign for Reissue & New Album

North Carolina twangers prepping vinyl reissue of classic album while planning out a new studio record as well for a spring ’18 re;ease/ Above photo by Michael Traister.

By Fred Mills

Cutting to the chase: Raleigh, NC, combo 6 String Drag has long been a favorite throughout the BLURT diaspora, dating back to the hard-twanging Americana combo’s ‘90s heyday, which included a Steve Earle-produced gem from 1997, High Hat. Much more recently, the group resumed operations following a lengthy hiatus, resulting in a wave of terrific live notices as well as considerable praise for 2015 comeback album Roots Rock ‘n’ Roll (Royal Potato Family), which was stuffed to the gills with choice power pop, rockabilly, ‘50s-ish rock, and stately blues.

The group is soldiering on with a twinned campaign to get High Hat re-released for the first time on vinyl (a 20th anniversary, limited edition white wax at that) and to release a brand new studio effort in March. Over at the 6 String Drag PledgeMusic page you can view the specifics along with the various tiers of involvement for pledgers, ranging from springing from digital, CD, and vinyl versions of High Hat, to all manner of rare memorabilia and house concerts fans can avail themselves of.

Do yourself a favor and check out these guys—our friends—and consider jumping in. By way of full disclosure, the High Hat reissue will be appearing under the label name of our sister business, Schoolkids Records (formerly Second Motion). Hopefully that gives you a sense of what a kickass band we think 6 String Drag has always been, and continues to be. It’s clobberin’ time, kids.

Riot In Cell Block NC: 1st Flat Duo Jets Recordings Reissued

 

Dexter, Crow, and even Tone raving things up for your edification.

Finally arriving on the heels this week (Oct. 20), of that outrageously cool Wild Wild Love vinyl box set from NC’s legendary Flat Duo Jets, released by Daniel 13 for Record Store Day 2017,  is the 2CD version for the, er, less obsessive Dex Romweber fan. But no less discriminating—this ‘un  has all 13 original Flat Duo Jets tracks, including “Wild Wild Love,” which they played in a career-making 1990 performance on Late Night With David Letterman; plus all six tracks from the 1984 cassette-only mini-album (In Stereo). CD Two adds a baker’s-dozen outtakes from recording sessions hand picked by the band’s original producer, Mark Bingham.

As an added bonus, the Wild Wild Love CD package also includes a link to download a 78-page digital PDF booklet filled with vintage show flyers and photographs, plus liner-note essays by Mark Bingham, Josh Grier and music critic David Menconi. The booklet was originally a centerpiece of the aforementioned limited edition vinyl box, which of course went out of print pretty much original.

Incoming: Early-era Husker Du Box Set from Numero Group

WWSSTS? (What would SST say?)

By Blurt Staff

In the interest of efficiency and accuracy, we will dispense with any editorial insights here, and instead simply republish the Numero Group label’s product info and description. If you aren’t familiar with Husker Du and the Minneapolis trio’s cultural importance, you clearly landed on the wrong news item at the wrong music website….

Hüsker Dü

SAVAGE YOUNG

•4 LPs or 3CDs
•Tip on jackets or die cut sleeves
•108-page or 144-page hardcover book
•Linen-finished slipcase
•69 songs, 47 previously unissued
•Flyerography
•40 previously unpublished photographs
•12,000 word essay by Erin Osmon
•Sessionography by Paul Hilcoff
•Remastered from the original analog tapes

Experience the punishing sonic origins of a punk icon. Collected here for the first time, and skillfully remastered from original board tapes, demos, and session masters, this collection is an authoritative chronicling of the wellspring and maturation of Grant Hart, Greg Norton and Bob Mould—three St. Paul teenagers who’d go on to become the most heralded trio of the American punk underground. Follow the Hüskers to their earliest gigs in 1979, through extensive road dog touring, and to the start of their partnership with West Coast tastemaker SST in 1983 via a 108-page hardbound book crammed full of photos, flyers, and a sprawling essay with participation from the band. Spread across four LPs, 47 of the 69 songs compiled here are previously unissued, and includes In A Free Land, Everything Falls Apart , and an alternate Land Speed Record.

We’ve also pressed up a limited edition bonus 7” for mail order customers. Extra Circus gathers five previously unissued songs from the January 1983 Metal Circus sessions and is packaged in a full color sleeve, as designer Grant Hart intended.

Incoming: Happy Abandon Full-length; Listen to “Severed Seams”

Album due on the Schoolkids label in late August.

By Fred Mills

We previously announced that Chapel Hill’s Happy Abandon is among the first acts on the recently-established Schoolkids Records label – formerly Second Motion; home to Tommy Keene, The Veldt, and Bettie Serveert; and sister business to both BLURT and the three Schoolkids Records record stores – and will have their new full-length Facepaint in stores on Aug. 25 on vinyl, CD, and digital. (That’s the cover art, above.) The gentlemen just wrapped up a European tour that by all accounts went swimmingly well, and they’ll jump right back into the pool starting next week in NC and GA, followed by a trek out West in the fall – tour dates can be viewed HERE.

If you caught their single “If I Stare” last year, you already have a sense of the group’s ornate, cinematic pop mastery – listen to it HERE at their Soundcloud page – so now it’s time for a taste of the new record. Below, check out “Severed Seams” and prepare to be stunned. For updates and more info, visit ‘em at their Facebook page.

Listen to Minneapolis Punk Legends the Suicide Commandos, Reunited

SC2

Long-overdue second full-length out now revived Twin/Tone label, which is “forced back into existence.” Boy howdy!

By Fred “Blurt Archival Geek” Mills

Once upon a time there was a ground zero punk combo called the Suicide Commandos: Straight outta Minneapolis, the trio foreshadowed that ‘burg’s subsequent explosion as one of the key Amerindie scenes—think Husker Du, Soul Asylum, Replacements, et al. They only notched a pair of 45s and a full-length, 1978’s Make A Record (issued on Pere Ubu’s Mercury-distributed Blank Records label), earning critical kudos across the globe and going on to become a key artifact of punk, but, as with many similar indie avatars of the era, ultimately bit the dust.

Yours truly was honored to have had the proverbial critical front row seat at the time, though, as the punk fanzine I contributed to (and eventually published), Biohazard Informae, covered the band during its initial run. Wait… did I just write “initial run”?!?

SC

Indeed. The news recently arrived that, against all odds, the Suicide Commandos were on the verge of gearing back up. The members, of course, went on to other pursuits—fans with long memories will fondly recall bassist Steve Almaas and his post-SC proto-Americana combo Beat Rodeo—and it’s been aeons since the name “Suicide Commandos” was uttered aside from discussions about the early Twin Cities scene and the stray one-off reunion gig. But here’s the musical proof: Time Bomb is issued by the equally legendary Twin/Tone Records label—yeah, that label, the one that gave the world the Replacements—also returned from the grave to do the deed. It’s the first record since the Suburbs’ 1994 album Viva! Suburbs! Welcome back.

The record has been pressed up as a limited-edition (1000 copies, each numbered) LP, and you can also get it in digital form or as an on-demand burned CDR. Check out the first single from the new album, “Boogie’s Coldest  Acre” below, and meanwhile, you can view the album booklet itself HERE.

From the label: “[The Suicide Commandos are] readying their first new studio album since the 1978 Blank/Mercury debut, Make A RecordTime Bomb has many of the hallmarks of the band’s original oeuvre, their fast, punky, brainy, fun and often funny rock n’ roll sound – The Ramones meet Eddie Cochran meets ZZ Top – but adds a catchy, pop-ish slant and a modern production flare that brings a freshness to the entire proceedings. The first vinyl pressing will be a limited, numbered edition of 1,000 copies. (It will also be issued digitally.)

Time Bomb was produced by the Commandos, primarily recorded in their hometown at Master Mix Studios by Kevin Bowe (Jonny Lang, Paul Westerberg, Dan Wilson) and mixed by Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Let’s Active, The dBs) at Fidelitorium Recordings in North Carolina. Though there had been reunion shows over the years, the band hadn’t felt compelled to record again. Why Now? you may ask.

“Guitarist Chris Osgood tells us, ‘After Tommy Erdelyi died, Steve pointed out that The Ramones were all gone and we were all still here, and that we should make a record.’ The group’s New York City-based bass player, Steve Almaas, adds ‘The time was right. I had a couple of songs I thought would sound good with Chris and Dave. Once they started coming up with material, it inspired me to write a few more. Also, in this modern age, it’s much easier to work long distance. That really helped make this possible.’

Got all that? Okay, let us review:

Online:  SuicideCommandos.com  TwinToneRecords.com  

“Stax 60” Album Campaign w/10 LPs from 10 Classic Artists

Each Stax Classics entry features a dozen tracks by a legend—among them, William Bell, Johnny Taylor, Staple Singers, Otis Redding, and Carla Thomas.

By Bill Kopp

The venerable and legendary Stax Records was started 60 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee. Originally doing business as Satellite Records, the label founded by Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton (and later helmed by Al Bell) would go on to release a catalog of staggering quality before falling victim to a host of problems that would end its existence in the mid-1970s. (Stax would eventually continue as a reissue label.) Those interested in learning more about Stax are enthusiastically directed to Rob Bowman’s excellent and richly detailed Soulsville, U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records, published in 1997. [It is indeed a reference Bible around the BLURT kiosk. -Soul/funk Ed.]

Today Concord Music owns the rights to administer the Stax Catalog, and has done a good job of reintroducing long-deleted titles to release. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Stax, Concord has compiled best-of from several of the label’s artists. I have four of those titles – all released May 19 – on my desk: all are called Stax Classics, and there’s one each from William Bell, the Dramatics, the Staple Singers and Johnnie Taylor. Each Stax Classics entry features a dozen tracks by the highlighted artist, plus a short yet informative liner note essay and a reasonable amount of discographical information. These aren’t really designed for the serious enthusiast; instead each serves as a tidy sampler/introduction to the Stax-era work of the artist.

William Bell’s Stax Classics volume features his best-loved tracks, including “Private Number,” his romantic duet with Judy Clay. The other 11 tunes are pretty great, too. The Dramatics are represented best by “In the Rain” and “Whatcha See is Whatcha Get” (both on Stax Classics), but other lesser-known cuts like “Get Up and Get Down” and “The Devil is Dope” are breathtaking in their arrangement and execution.

The riches found in the versatile Staple Singers’ wonderful catalog likely made paring Stax Classics down to a dozen tracks a difficult task. The song’s you’d expect to find are indeed here: “Respect yourself,” “I’ll Take You There,” and so on. An excellent and little-heard later-period cut, “City in the Sky” is included as well. Johnnie Taylor’s entry in the series includes his unbelievably funky (if naughty) “Who’s Making Love” as well as the incendiary “Somebody’s Sleeping in My Bed”: and ten others. All four are excellent, but on sheer chutzpah I’d give a minuscule edge to the Johnnie Taylor set.

Other entries in the Stax 60 series include titles by Booker T & the MGs, Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Carla Thomas.

Here’s a YouTube trailer for the series:

Watch New Michael Rank Video – “Be Alright”

Triple album – you read that right – en route for the early summer.

By Fred Mills

It’s not a particularly close-kept secret that a number of folks here at the BLURT brain trust are staunch fans of North Carolina’s Michael Rank; just put his name into the search box on our home page and you’ll no doubt get more than a few hits, including a review of his most recent album, 2016’s Red Hand. The erstwhile Snatches of Pink frontman is, not to put to fine a point on the matter, prolific.

But with a whopping TRIPLE disc release just about to drop in the coming months, Another Love, surely Rank is draining the proverbial well en route to a well-deserved vacation? Er, not quite, as he just emailed me and noted, “Man, I’m already 5 songs written and recorded for the next record, so no worries on that front!”

If he’s not worried, we’re not worried, so let’s dive right in with the first single off the new album, “Be Alright.”

It’s a classic/classy slice of blue-eyed soul, a bit of a departure from Rank’s frequent forays into twangy Americana. The video also features Brian Dennis (who produced the album with Rank) and Bobby Patterson, both formally of NC Triangle heroes DAG. As Rank explains, “The album plays like my ’70s love letter to Sly Stone, D’Angelo, Curtis Mayfield, Shuggie Otis and Prince.”

No argument there, brutha. We knew you had the ivories skills, but that’s one sweet falsetto, too. Everyone else – enjoy.

Photo credit: Missy Malouff

Incoming Vinyl: 2LP Colored Wax Version of Nick Cave’s “Murder Ballads”

Don’t forget that Lovely Creatures box set, either…

By Blurt Staff

With Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds fans in full salivation mode over the Lovely Creatures box set finally arriving on May 5 after a 2 1/2 year delay — full title: Lovely Creatures: The Best of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 1984-2014; it comes in multiple iterations, from a 2CD version to a super deluxe edition including DVD and 250-page hardback book, not to mention a 3LP vinyl edition (below) — it seems like now’s a perfectly appropriate time to unleash more Cave-related collectibles and maximize the, er, commercial potential.

To wit: As pictured at the top of the page, a gorgeous, multi-color vinyl limited edition 1996 classic Murder Ballads, which contains some of the Bad Seeds’ most popular songs (“Stagger Lee” in particular) and also featured guests PJ Harvey and Kylie Minogue appearing on it. It’s shipping this weekend via Newbury Comics (which specializes in these limited edition reissues), so you can look for it at your favorite independent record retailer or order it direct.