Category Archives: Album Announcement

Watch the Moody/Auto-Tuned New Swamp Dogg Video

By Blurt Staff

The above photo displays the handsome new Swamp Dogg album, Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune, which drops Sept. 7 via Joyful Noise. (The photo also shows the limited edition SD flexidisc that is offered to folks in the Joyful Noise VIP program. And yes, before you ask, it will also be available on CD and digital download.) The funk/soul/swamp-rockin’ legend clearly has no intentions of burning out or fading away, to paraphrase Neil Young. According to the label:

Nearly fifty years after his debut release, Swamp Dogg stands on the precipice of another radical reinvention. His latest creation is titled Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune a nine song collection featuring production by Poliça’s Ryan Olson. Love, Loss, and AutoTune finds Swamp Dogg’s bluesy southern soul colliding head-on with 21st Century electronic music production techniques.

You can get more details at the above link. Meanwhile, check out the new video for album track “I’ll Pretend”:

Incoming: New Solo Album by Peter Holsapple of The dB’s/Continental Drifters

Much-anticipated followup to his 2017 single is due in July via Omnivore. Watch the album trailer, below.

By Fred Mills

When we get word of activity stirring in the Peter Holsapple camp – could be some dB’s- or Continental Drifters-related news, or a new project that he and his fellow Winston-Salem expat Chris Stamey are cooking up, or a session- and side-man gig he has in motion, or even the release of last year’s wonderful 7-inch 45 “Don’t Mention the War” (reviewed HERE; ask me about the private thrill I got on Memorial Day when I heard the song coming over the airwaves from the local community radio station doing a Memorial Day-themed program) – we genuinely get excited here at the BLURT hostel. Pretty much everyone on the staff counts him- or herself a fan of the gentleman and his instinctive approach to hook-filled pop, and that appreciation of his music goes way, way back indeed. (Ask me about The H-Bombs sometime.)

So when the news arrived, out of the blue on social media, that a new solo full-length from Peter, his first in over two decades, was coming in July via the Omnivore label, it was welcome word indeed. As I commented last year about the “DMTW” single, “Holsapple recently [said] that he opted for doing a single because he wasn’t quite sure he should thrust a full album’s worth of new material into the market, given music consumers’ relatively short attention spans and tendency to favor tracks over albums nowadays.”

Obviously, he decided that the short-attention-span syndrome was worth challenging; ditto Omnivore, which has steadily carved out a spot for itself as one of the most respected, eye-for-detail, indie record labels on the planet. (Just check out its Big Star-related catalog of releases.) The release date of Game Day is July 27, and Omnivore describes it thusly:

Game Day contains 13 new tracks, a bonus track, and two “super bonus tracks”—Holsapple’s critically acclaimed single “Don’t Mention the War” b/w ”Cinderella Style,” originally released in 2017. [Holsapple explains], “After putting the single out on my own last year, I made the decision to put out an album. Some tunes are brand new, some have been in rotation for a bit, but all are worthy. My ‘middle-aged Pet Sounds fantasy’ is real, with the issues of middle age put to memorable melodies. The old guy at work in ‘Tuff Day,’ watching my parents’ place get cleared out in ‘Inventory,’ a decades-late thank-you note to a college girlfriend in ‘Commonplace’—they’re all a part of the present-day me.”

Game Day is prime Holsapple, whose recording career spans nearly five decades. It contains all the hooks, clever lyrics, and deft instrumentation one would expect. As he paraphrases Jeff Beck in the packaging, “Today, with all of the hard competition in the music business, it’s almost impossible to come up with anything totally original. So I haven’t, but I had a lot of fun making Game Day, and I hope it comes through when you hear it.”

Peter elaborates at his popular blog, noting that he did it completely by himself in his home basement studio in Durham, NC, and calling it “absolutely the record I wanted to make. People will undoubtedly hear it and scratch their heads and say it sounds weird and eccentric, at least I hope so. I can’t say I’m a professional producer or engineer, and indeed, a lot of stuff went down on the album by necessity or lack of fundamental tools. I was not going to let those things or any ineptitude or lack of skill stop me from getting this done, so you’re getting a shank of my mind and soul, trussed up to look like an album of songs… It doesn’t sound like records or bands I’ve been involved with before. In past instances, I’ve allowed the opinions of my work to twist my emotions into rattails, but this album is different: I own it all. Every note. Every flub. Every effect on every guitar. It’s my pleasure, it’s my fault. I feel completely at ease with it, something I’ve never felt with a record before.”

He adds that plans are afoot to take some of these new songs – titles can be viewed at the above link for Omnivore – out on the road as the Peter Holsapple Combo with dB’s drummer Will Rigby and bassist Glenn Richard Jones, who he’s been playing with for some time in the Kinks/Ray Davies-centric outfit Well Respected Men. They might even work up some primo dB’s and Continental Drifters material, along with “choice covers” (I’m voting for The Move and The Nazz—maybe even the stray H-Bombs number) for the live shows, so you, gentle readers, have been warned.

Game on, Peter.

 

 

Flaming Lips Earliest Music Get Reissued + Pitchfork Photo Fail

The above photo is (cough) a tad more relevant than the one published by the so-called indie rock champion media outlet…

BY UNCLE BLURT

Good news for Flaming Lips fans, of which yours truly can claim ground zero membership in, having mail ordered the band’s first 12″ EP when it first started appearing in punk zine reviews in the mid ’80s, and subsequently seeing (and interviewing) the then-trio on the Lips’ first full U.S. tour. (Contact BLURT for details, interview transcript, and flexi-disc of live performances.)  According to our savvy media peers at Pitchfork.com:

The Flaming Lips are releasing two new remastered collections of works from their early career through Rhino/Warner Bros. The releases feature music from the band’s days with Restless Records before signing to Warner Bros. in 1991. Scratching the Door: The First Recordings of the Flaming Lips—a 19-track compilation of tracks by the Lips’ original lineup—is available April 20. It features the band’s first two cassette demos and their debut self-released EP. The second release is Seeing the Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings of the Flaming Lips 1986-1990, a six-CD box set spanning the band’s four Restless Records albums—Hear It Is (1986), Oh My Gawd!!!…The Flaming Lips (1986) , Telepathic Surgery (1989), and 1990’s In a Priest Driven Ambulance (With Silver Sunshine Stares). It also includes two discs of rarities and is out May 25.

No need to elaborate further. Longtime Lips fans will already have all the material, since it has come out, variously, via the band’s own archival efforts, Record Store Day vinyl-only releases, and sundry bootlegs. (There is – cough – no truth to the rumor that yours truly ever directly contributed to any of those bootlegs.) New Lips buffs to the cause will find many a moment to thrill and then scratch one’s head, because we are not in “Yoshimi” territory, Toto.

Oh, and since Pitchfork is breaking the news today, we must commend them for their equally savvy Flaming Lips photo illustration, pictured below. For some reason, I only recognize one band member who performed on Lips albums prior to 1991…  I mean, even the website’s photo caption indicates it’s from 1994. Sheesh. ENTER TO WIN: Submit your L-R list of the musicians in the below photo to Pitchfork and win fabulous prizes! (Contest void where prohibited by law.)

Incoming: Michelle Malone’s Kickass “Slings & Arrows” Album

Pure, unfiltered Georgia soul lined at the edges with bluesy Americana and primal punk ‘n’ roll…

BY FRED MILLS

Without a doubt, Atlanta’s Michelle Malone is one of the South’s quintessential flag-bearers, having rocked as hard and as long as all of her Georgia peers while not once serving up an artistic misstep. About to drop is her new album, Slings & Arrows, and it is a freakin’ scorcher. You want some early proof? Check out opening track “Just Getting Started” over at her Soundcloud page.

This Friday, March 2, marks the official national release of Slings & Arrows  on Malone’s own SBS label (smart fans lodged their orders early on via a grassroots crowdfunding campaign, and you can still grab autographed records, colored vinyl, and teeshirts at her official website). To date, she’s released more than a dozen studio albums, and while I’m loathe to utter the cliched phrase “if you thought her last album was good, wait until you hear this one…” – her last one being Stronger Than You Think, reviewed HERE – this time out, it’s nigh-on impossible to avoid saying it.

Wait until you hear Slings & Arrows, music fans. It will absolutely, totally, kick your ass. Do I look like I’m kidding here? Our review will post in a couple of days to give you plenty of time to queue up at your local indie record store…

 

5LP + DVD Holger Czukay Box Set Due in March

By Blurt Staff

On March 23rd, keeper-of-the-krautrock-flame Groenland will be releasing Cinema, an overview of Holger Czukay’s solo work and collaboration. Included will be Canaxis 5 (1969), Movies (1979), On The Way To The Peak Of Normal (1981), Full Circle (1982), Der Osten Ist Rot (1984), Rome Remains Rome (1987) and Radio Wave Surfer (1991). This five-LP set features a 36-page booklet, DVD of a movie starring Czukay for which he also made the soundtrack as well as a “vinyl video.”

It ain’t cheap – $135. (Peak of Normal was reissued on vinyl not long ago, incidentally.) But to have all of this under one cover isn’t a bad way to get  your springtime record collecting off to a nice start….

Incoming: Brigid Mae Power’s “The Two Worlds” / Listen to New Song

Quite possibly the most moving song of the still-young new year…

By Fred Mills

Due Feb. 9 via esteemed roots/folk/archival label Tompkins Square: The Two Worlds, from Irish singer-songwriter Brigid Mae Power, whose 2016 eponymous debut notched acclaim throughout the UK (including the tastemakers at Mojo and Uncut), additionally making Stateside inroads. Here’s the utterly stunning first single from the new album, “Don’t Shut Me Up (Politely),” which is remarkably appropriate for the times we find ourselves in:

We’ll leave it to Power to fill out the rest of the brief about this chilling song and the new album, which was produced by Peter Broderick:

Most of these songs were written in the last year in Ireland and they’re all about the different feelings I had at the time. Last year I moved back to Galway, Ireland where I mostly grew up and I was feeling and noticing again the repressive and oppressive environment. So I revisited a song I had half written a few years previous called ‘Don’t Shut Me Up (Politely)’ and I found that moving home, I had the ammunition to finish it. I had actually tried to record this song in Portland, Oregon the previous year but at the time it just did not work. It was the wrong atmosphere, it was summer and a sunny day and just was not repressive enough in the way that it can be here! So I didn’t really feel real singing it as I didn’t feel held back at all! It felt like singing to a brick wall and it wasn’t going anywhere… So when I moved back I had the idea to go up to an analogue studio in the North of Ireland and specifically record that song there, so we booked in some time at the studio and I hurried to finish some other scraps of songs I had lying around with the idea of recording them live and just seeing what happened.

I had been thinking about my Grandmother a lot, so there are a couple of songs about her.. I’d been thinking about lost friendships. I’d been thinking about how to balance being settled and also being up in the clouds. I’d been thinking a lot about cutting out the crap and letting go of things that don’t serve you, so I feel like these songs are pretty direct. I wanted them to sound direct too and the studio Analogue Catalogue was the perfect place and had a great sound and live room…. When we went up there the second time to record the other batch of songs, it was a very busy time in our life and I hadn’t finished writing the lyrics to a lot of them. Not as a choice – I just literally didn’t have time. So when we got there I thought I would just try them out anyway and as a natural procrastinator I was much happier with the sound of the result of being pushed to the last minute. Peter added in different instruments really naturally and then mixed and mastered the record. ‘I’m Grateful’ was written in Oregon and for me I can tell that it wasn’t written in Ireland. The rest of the album feels quite like what my environment looks like here at the moment out of my window.

 

A “Twin” Message From Car Seat Headrest

By Blurt Staff

Inscrutably enough, Will Toledo’s 2011 album ‘Twin Fantasy’, has been re-recorded and re-imagined for release on February 16th via Matador. Yeah, us neither. But Car Seat Headrest fans are already having seizures on social media, and there’s already a new video for the track “Nervous Young Humans” here so lucky for them, we’ve got the scoop. Here’s what Peyton Thomas reports to the media:

Toledo always knew he would return to ‘Twin Fantasy’. He never did complete the work. Not really. Never could square his grand ambitions against his mechanical limitations. Listen to his first attempt, recorded at nineteen on a cheap laptop, and you’ll hear what Brian Eno fondly calls “the sound of failure” – thrilling, extraordinary, and singularly compelling failure. Will’s first love, rendered in the vivid teenage viscera of stolen gin, bruised shins, and weird sex, was an event too momentous for the medium assigned to record it.

Even so, even awkward and amateurish, ‘Twin Fantasy’ is deeply, truly adored. Legions of reverent listeners carve rituals out of it: sobbing over “Famous Prophets,” making out to “Cute Thing,” dancing their asses off as “Bodys” climbs higher, higher. The distortion hardly matters. You can hear him just fine. You can hear everything. And you can feel everything: his hope, his despair, his wild overjoy. He’s trusting you – plural you, thousands of you – with the things he can’t say out loud. “I pretended I was drunk when I came out to my friends,” he sings – and then, caught between truths, backtracks: “I never came out to my friends. We were all on Skype, and I laughed and changed the subject.”

You might be imagining an extended diary entry, an angsty transmission from a bygone LiveJournal set to power chords and cranked to eleven. You would be wrong. ‘Twin Fantasy’is not a monologue. ‘Twin Fantasy’ is a conversation. “You know,” he sings, “that I’m mostly singing about you.” This is Will’s greatest strength as a songwriter ; he spins his own story, but he’s always telling yours, too. Between nods to local details – Harper’s Ferry, The Yellow Wallpaper, the Monopoly board collecting dust in his back seat – he leaves room for the fragile stuff of your own life, your own loves. From the very beginning, alone in his bedroom, in his last weeks of high school, he knew he was writing anthems. Someday, he hoped, you and I might sing these words back to him.

“It was never a finished work,” Toledo says, “and it wasn’t until last year that I figured out how to finish it.” He has, now, the benefit of a bigger budget, a full band in fine form, and endless time to tinker. According to him, it took eight months of mixing just to get the drums right. But this is no shallow second take, sanitized in studio and scrubbed of feeling. This is the album he always wanted to make. It sounds the way he always wanted it to sound.

It’s been hard, stepping into the shoes of his teenage self, walking back to painful places. There are lyrics he wouldn’t write again, an especially sad song he regards as an albatross. But even as he carries the weight of that younger, wounded Toledo, he moves forward. He grows. He revises, gently, the songs we love so much. In the album’s final moments, in those “apologies to future me’s and you’s,” there is more forgiveness than fury.

This, Toledo says, is the most vital difference between the old and the new: he no longer sees his own story as a tragedy.

He’s not alone no more.

Watch Bluesy-Sultry New Erica Blinn Video

Album arrives Feb. 16.

By Blurt Staff

A few years ago we reviewed Nashville-by-way-of-Ohio rocker Erica Blinn’s masterful Lovers in the Dust album, our own Lee Zimmerman enthusing, “Blinn packs enough smoldering sensuality into her material to light up a football stadium.” Amen to that.

Now she’s set to release Better than Gold, on the Curry House label, as previously. Check out the awesome new single and video:

According to the label, of the new record, “It was her third time working with producer/engineer Mike Landolt (Maroon 5, Blues Traveler), but her first time recording in Nashville, TN. Blinn relocated from her hometown of Columbus, OH to the incredible music community of East Nashville, TN in the Fall of 2015.

Adds Blinn, “About half of the record was done in Columbus [OH] and about half of it in Nashville. This album features a lot of the new friends we’ve made in Nashville, but the most special part for me was having my Dad in the studio. He came up with the bass part for ‘Suzie’ and drove down to Nashville to play it on the record.”

The aforementioned track’s origins a night of fun at a gig and a bottle of tequila, remembers Blinn. “I was heading into the bathroom when I heard a guy say, ‘Hey! When I’m with Suzie, I do what I want!’ I immediately went home and made up almost the whole song. Then I took what I had to my friend Caitie Thompson and we tweaked some words and came up with the third verse.”

And so a new album unfolds. More details at her website. Stay tuned – and meanwhile, check out this fan-filmed video of a  smokin’ cover of Blinn and her band doing “Sympathy for the Devil” last September:

Incoming: Moon Duo 12″ Covering Suicide, Stooges

By Blurt Staff

The Sacred Bones label’s dynamic duo – that would be Moon Duo – is set to drop a new 12″ single on which they cover Suicide’s “Jukebox Babe” and the Stooges’ “No Fun.” Vinyl hounds will have plenty of reason to cheer: it will be available on both white vinyl (with a bonus poster included) and standard black vinyl, for a total of 2000 copies.

According to the band,

“We started playing ‘No Fun’ after BBC6 Radio asked us to record an Iggy song for his 70th birthday. We added it to our set to work it out for the session and kept playing it every night because everyone loves that song. We worked up a version of ‘Jukebox Babe’ because our sound engineer Larry got it stuck in his head and was singing it all the time. We figured, we may as well play it if we’re going to hear it all the time.

“The Stooges and Iggy, and Suicide/Alan Vega/Martin Rev, are all huge influences on us. But we never want to do faithful covers of great songs, because what’s the point. So we tried to push both of the tracks in less obvious directions, incorporating other influences, like California psych and cosmic disco, giving them more of a summer vibe. We knew Sonic Boom was working outside of Lisbon, so we asked him to produce the tracks, recording them in August for maximal summer heat.”

Based on the Suicide track alone, which is streaming at the Sacred Bones site, it’s a killer platter. Moon Duo are pros at limited edition releases, incidentally; last year’s two-part Occult Architecture EP was available as two colored vinyl pieces, and most of their other records have had some collectible element such as numbered, colored vinyl, bonus 7″, etc.

Moon Duo kick off a UK tour at the end of January.

Spacemen 3’s Dreamweapon Gets Fresh 2LP Reissue

Drone on! (blurted in Human Torch voice…)

By Blurt Staff

This just in from the estimable Superior Viaduct label – pretty much speaks for itself:

August 1988, Spacemen 3 embark on one of the strangest events in the band’s already strange history. Billed as “An Evening Of Contemporary Sitar Music” (although consciously omitting the sitar), the group would play in the foyer of Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford, Middlesex to a largely unsuspecting and unsympathetic audience waiting to take their seats for Wim Wenders’ film Wings of Desire.

Spacemen 3’s proceeding set, forty-five minutes of repetitive drone-like guitar riffs, could be seen as the “Sweet Sister Ray” of ’80s Britain. Their signature sound is at once recognizable and disorienting – pointing as much to the hypnotic minimalism of La Monte Young as to a future shoegaze constituency.

On the Feb. 23 double LP reissue from Superior Viaduct, Dreamweapon is augmented by studio sessions and rehearsal tapes from 1987 that would lead up to the recording of Spacemen 3’s classic Playing With Fire album. “Spacemen Jam,” featuring Sonic Boom and Jason Pierce on dual guitar, is a side-long mediation on delicate textures and psychedelic effects.

Recall that Dreamweapon originally appeared in 1990 as a 12″ EP with two long tracks or as a CD with a single 45-minute number, “An Evening of Contemporary Sitar Music.” It was recorded live in ’88 in London. Over the years it has been reissued a number of times, including on the Sympathy label in the US with different artwork, and on the band’s on Space Age label for CD and LP. This new one apparently brings things up to date with all the material that has been released previously, although no bonus music is added.