Category Archives: Album Announcement

Incoming: Echo & Bunnymen Live LP; Listen To It on Spotify

UK legends also have U.S. tour dates for July and August.

By Uncle Blurt

Not long ago it was announced that the label Run Out Groove was soliciting input from fans on whether or not to release a live Echo & the Bunnymen album. Looks like the fans voted in the affirmative, and It’s All Live Now will drop June 6 from ROG.

The label specializes in this type of “crowd sourcing” input to decide on titles to release; previously they released an MC5 live album, which sold out, and they currently are polling fans on whether to release the great Dream Syndicate Live at Raj’s show, Golden Smog’s Down by the Old Mainstream, and Howard Tate’s Howard Tate. (Before you ask, yes, your ol’ Uncle voted immediately for the Dream Syndicate record, although all three would be awesome to own on vinyl. Note that the DS version they are pondering is a 2LP set and not the “edited” version that came out on vinyl in Europe in ’89; it will also be on colored vinyl. Both the Smog and Tate records have seen previous vinyl appearances in the States.)

Pressed on 180-gram vinyl (just black, unfortunately) in a numbered limited edition (tip-on sleeve with cardboard stock insert; liner notes by Will Sergeant) of 2,987 copies, it comprises tracks from the April 25, 1985 show in Sweden recorded live for Swedish National Radio—material that has previously seen release on the Crystal Days 1979-1999 CD box set as well as covers of “Paint It, Black,” “Run, Run, Run” and “Friction,” B-sides on the “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo” 12” EP. In addition to those eight tracks, there’s also “Heroin” and “Do It Clean” from the well-known July ’83 Royal Albert Hall concert. Several of the included tracks were also released in 1988 in Japan as the 7-song New Live and Rare CD EP. All in all, we’re talking two Bunnymen classics plus gems by the Modern Lovers, Bob Dylan, the Doors, the Liter, the Stones, Velvet Underground, and Television.

Interestingly, Run Out Groove indicates it has already sold out of its preorder, meaning punters late to the table will have to consult their local independent record retailers… And note that it ain’t cheap, either, particularly for a one-LP set: expect to pay in the $28 to $32 range.

Even more interestingly, It’s All Live Now is already up, in its entirety, on Spotify, so listen away if you have a Spotify account.

Below, also check out a video from a 1987 Swedish show. The Bunnymen kick off a US tour in Philadelphia on July 11 that wraps a month later in Vancouver; tour dates can be viewed HERE.

 

Anthology Recs Preps ‘70s Australian Folk Rock Scene

FTS

Rare 1970’s folk/rock/psyche jams from Australia curated by Mikey Young of Total Control and Keith Abrahamsson of label Mexican Summer. Below, check out video from Megan Sue Hicks.

By Blurt Staff

Follow The Sun compiles twenty cuts dug from dusty bins by Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring) and Keith Abrahamsson (Founder / Head of A&R at Anthology Recordings and Mexican Summer) surveying the sought after sound of Australia’s lesser — and greater — known moments of ‘70s rock, folk, and their in-between offspring. Follow The Sun filters the sublime and sometimes subversive psychedelic airwaves transmitted around the world from America’s terrestrial platforms during the golden age of gentle, exploratory FM through a distinctly Australian lens. The double LP set drops May 5 via Anthology Recordings, and you can preview some of the material HERE. Below is one of the featured artists, Megan Sue Hicks.

Independent labels and recording studios proliferated across Australia during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, while major labels simultaneously scoured the furthest reaching corners of the continent to foster new approaches in making music. With both indies and majors ultimately compelled to uncover the almighty single, the fringe was frequently explored for “crossover” sounds. This engendered a creative freedom amongst artists that mirrored the open-ended mood of the times. Anything was possible.

Follow The Sun does not represent those Australian acts who produced a number one single leading to international fame and fortune. Some of the artists on the compilation never even made the local hit parade. But the fact that many of these artists didn’t enjoy chart success is secondary; these artists represent the consciousness of their time. As radio perpetrated pop fodder trodding the middle ground to ensure maximum advertising, the artists on this album chronicled the times in their own unique ways.

Follow the Sun – Dave Douglas
Riverboat – Andy Armstrong
Easy – Mata Hari
First Boy I Loved – Marian Henderson
Spirit Move Within Me – Flock
Hey, Can You Come out and Play – Megan Sue Hicks
Kill My World – Autumn
Knowing That You’re There – Australia
Am I Really Here – Moonlight
Witnessing – Gary Shearston
Wild Horse Plains – Tidewater
Whispering Pines – Shepherd
The Orange Tree – Cathie O’Sullivan
Cement River – Steve Warner
Good Morning – Paul Adolphus
Something Strange – Doug Ashdown
Country Corn – Trevor McNamara
This Must Be The End – Billy Green
Today’s The First Day Of Your Life – Catmando
Goodbye – Simon Jones (LP ONLY)

Track Premiere: Les Discrets “Rue Octavio Mey”

LESDISCRETS_photo-by-Andy-Julia_008

Track culled from new album, out later this month.

By Michael Toland

Though it has connections to infamous French shoegaze/black metal act Alcest, Les Discrets is its own entity. Composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Fursy Teyssier and singer Audrey Hadorn paint beautiful landscapes out of shimmering guitars, warm synths, languid beats and creamy harmonies, as found on its upcoming LP Prédateurs, due on April 21 via Prophecy Productions. It’s a cliché to play mix ‘n’ match with influences, but consider a blend of Pink Floyd and Massive Attack and you’re swimming in the right part of the ocean. Hear for yourself on the track “Rue Octavio Mey,” which we’re excited to premiere here at BLURT:

;

Teyssier had this to say about the track: “A song can hardly be as personal and intimate as this one. Translated as “Octavio Mey Street”, the title refers to the street we lived in with Audrey for 8 years in Lyon. A lot happened in our life and this song – which is very romantic – is a declaration of love to the Vieux-Lyon (old town) and to my wife. It is certainly the song on the album that connects the most to the previous works of the band as it has a very naive feeling with a strong melancholic atmosphere. We introduced synths layers which give a very outdated mood from the ’80s and the acoustic drums have been sampled to recreate a drum machine feel with the vibe of an real playing. This song is a good bridge between the old Les Discrets and the new one as even the influences that led to that song (Dominique A, Depeche Mode, Slowdive, etc) are the same ones as I had a few years back.”

Les Discrets - Prédateurs

Les Discrets is playing the main stage at Roadburn this year. More tour dates tba. Also, Teyssier will be featured with an exclusive art exhibition, showing his drawings and art! More here. And check out Prédateurs on April 21 – the preorder info is here.

Photo Credit: Andy Julia

 

U2 to Appear on New Kendrick Lamar Album?

U2

Magic 8-ball says “dunno.”

By Barbi Martinez

In his recent song “Humble” rapper Kendrick Lamar teased, in a verbal aside, that April 7 would bring a surprise or big news. A lot of fans thought it meant he would be dropping a new album on that date. Now we know that he would simply be announcing a new album. But the good news is that there won’t be a huge wait, as he announced today that pre-orders for the album were now available. As several people quickly pointed out, the album credits with the pre-order details includes a cryptic one: “P. Hewson, D. Evans, A. Clayton & L. Mullen.” Well, that’s not exactly cryptic; everyone knows that would be U2.

So now the mystery becomes: Is this just a songwriting credit required if Lamar samples the Irish band on the album, or will the fab four actually appear on it? Our office pool is betting on the former, but we won’t know for sure until next week.

Incoming: Pre-Dwight Twilley Band 2LP Oister

gj28_Oister600

Transmissions from the dawn of power pop. 2LP collection will arrive with a download card, too.

It’s called Oister 1973-74 and it arrives via Hozac Archival. The legendary 1973-74 ‘Teac Tapes’ from deep inside the Dwight Twilley Band vault have been unleashed, never before available in any format, OISTER was the primary name of the Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour duo from the time they met in 1967 until the release of their Top 20 debut “hit” single for “I’m On Fire” in 1975. The two “halves” of the Oister formed a whole, and a tight friendship and performing partnership took flight, and with Dwight’s incredible songs in hand, the two were off and running.

Recording at home with one of the first (commercially-available to the public) multi-track Teac home tape machines, the Oister DIY ethic was locked in early, and just exploded with an endless stream of ethereal pop magic, most of which has never been re-recorded by the Dwight Twilley Band, remaining frozen in time. The pair were cranking out an impressive amount of original material and pressing small batches of their own acetate LPs locally in Tulsa to sell to their friends at school, of which, this 2LP collection rounds up 20 of their finest tracks, finally available to the public after over 40 years.

The early, primal years of the Twilley/Seymour Oister-era are sadly undocumented until now, with this 20-track collection, freshly remastered from the original tape for vinyl for the first time anywhere, now on HoZac Archival.

These songs seamlessly bridge those heavenly Everly Brothers harmonies with their beloved Anglo Pop bravado, yet keeping the sound undeniably definitive of early American Power Pop. Ghostly echoes slip through some of the delicate tracks like spirits in the night, while others crank up the juice and just ooze out that real, uncut rock’n roll, framing up their successful next incarnation as the Dwight Twilley Band. Featuring liner notes from their friend and original session engineer, Kent Benjamin, and a crisp mastering job, the Oister collection is the impossible missing link between the Sun Records snarl and the melodic prowess of the British Invasion’s finest songsmiths.

Ordering details here: http://hozacrecords.com/coming-soon-oister-the-rubs-lps/   The complete story is here: http://bapresley.com/silverthreads/links/dwighttwilley.html

Early ’90s Band Nuclear Valdez Returns for Record Store Day

N Valdez 1990

Present From The Past incoming from Sinical Records. Watch teaser video, below. Above: the band circa 1990.

By Blurt Staff

Some days the email inbox is pretty moribund. This is not one of those days. Raise your hand if you remember early ‘90s rockers Nuclear Valdez, four Latino musicians from Miami raised in the U.S.—Froilan Sosa, from the Dominican Republic (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Juan Luis Diaz, bass (Cuban); Robert Slade LeMont, drums (Cuban); and Jorge Barcala, lead guitar (Cuban)—and who had a substantial radio and MTV hit, “Summer.” They toured steadily, too, with the likes of Living Colour, Jane’s Addiction, The Smithereens, Ronnie Wood and Bo Diddley, Hoodoo Gurus, and The Mavericks, among others. By ’92, after just two albums, however, they were done.

N Valdez LP

So out of the blue, Nuclear Valdez has an archival release, Present From the Past, to bestow upon all us fans with long memories. Here’s the news, direct from the band:

“We are Nuclear Valdez, the 1989-1992 band with 2 albums on Epic Records, both critically acclaimed. Heavily featured on MTV as well as guests on an early episode of MTV Unplugged (when it was a show hosted by Jules Shear), we toured internationally and earned the support of a solid fan base. Circumstances are such in Rock and Roll that in 1991, the band got caught up in the rush to the Seattle grunge scene and Epic lost interest in the band. Disillusioned, we decided to pack it in, much to the disappointment of our many fans.

“Here we are in 2017 and after many years of requests from our fans, we scoured our archives and put together a vinyl only release (no digital or CD) called “Present From The Past” (think about that for a second…) These are all songs in demo form that never made it on to the two albums we released, but we feel are as good as anything we released at the time. Working with the local Miami label Sinical Records, a label created in partnership with our manager, John Tovar (who fostered the careers of The Mavericks and Marilyn Manson, among others) and it has been accepted as an official Record Store Day release, as featured on the fantastic 10th anniversary roster of titles.”

Check out a teaser video for the album, followed by the “Summer” clip—see you on April 22, gents!

New Saint Etienne Album Coming in June

SE 3

 

Grab the limited editions and score some S.E. swag. Below, listen to a track from the album.

By Blurt Staff

It’s going to be called Home Counties and it’s by the beloved – and veddy English – band Saint Etienne. The new S.E. album, due June 2 from Heavenly, is already in preorder mode, and if you are familiar with the band’s operating habits, you already know that preordering is the best way to make sure you get whatever limited edition elements being offered.

Indeed, the album will be available in three formats: CD, cassette, and double vinyl LP w/download card. The limited editions come with goodies such as special art and stickers, and there’s also a special bundle edition including all three formats plus an art print signed by the bandmembers. Full details are here at the Saint Etienne store.

The 19 track album is, according to the band, “inspired by our bitter-sweet relationship with the eponymous shires that have always been part of our lives.”

Sarah Cracknell says: “We had so much fun writing for this album, drawing influence from our teenage years growing up in the home counties. Bob, Pete and I led almost parallel lives while I was in Windsor and they were in Surrey, developing our passion for music and London. [Co-producer] Shawn Lee was a joy to work with, he’s a wonderful multi-instrumentalist who seemed to have some kind of telepathy with us and translated our ideas perfectly. The record is quite varied in styles and brings together a little something from all our past albums whilst sounding completely new.”

Bob Stanley adds: “Suburbia’s anonymity is exactly why it’s a source of inspiration. They said it couldn’t happen here – and it didn’t.”

Pete Wiggs concludes: “We took a ride and ran with the dogs.”

Below, listen to album track “Heather” and check out the upcoming tour dates in the UK. The band is also plotting a rare US tour in September and October.

UK Tour Dates:

Fri May 26 Hebden Bridge Trades Club

Sat 27 Oxford Common People Festival

Wed 31 Barcelona Primavera Sound

Fri June 02 London Royal Festival Hall

Sat 03 Cardiff Tramshed

Sun 04 Birmingham Town Hall

Tue 06 Bexhill De La Warr

Thu 08 Newcastle Sage

Fri 09 Edinburgh Queens Hall

Sat 10 Sheffield City Hall Ballroom

Sun 11 Manchester RNMC Concert Hall

 

Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band to Tour; Unreleased Album Due

Beefheart

Hats off! The spirit Don Van Vliet has re-entered the building. Posthumous album due in July, followed by a full US tour in August.

By Herbert Cohen, Jr.

MOJAVE, CALIF.: It’s like déjà vu all over again! The legendary Captain Beefheart, who passed away in 2010, and whose last foray into the music industry was in 1982, apparently recorded an album with his Magic Band prior to his death – totally out of the public eye, and apparently not seeing the light of day until now. And there’s to be a Magic Band reunion tour in order to belatedly bring this music to the stage.

The tour will have its official unveiling at Bonnaroo in June, and then get
in full gear starting early August and running into mid September. The opening
act is to be P.J. Harvey & John Parish and Parish will also be pulling
double-duty on guitar in the Magic Band due to Gary Lucas’ prior commitments
with his own Gods And Monsters. The other players include John
“Drumbo” French and Michael Traylor on drums, Rockette Morton on
bass, and Denny Waller on guitar, plus an as-yet-unnamed keyboard player.

One very special guest: Tom Waits, who contributes
“backing vocals” (term used loosely) on the tunes “Taiwan in
Tupperware” and “Ming the Merciless’ Chimpanzee.”

The eponymous album is described as “a mixture of folk, rock and
extemporaneous da-da boogie, along with at least one avant-garde Tex-Mex
medley, and a freewheeling cover of Robert Johnson’s country-blues classic
“Me and the Devil Blues.” Sessions were produced by Ry Cooder and featured the Magic Band augmented by some of the same players who appear on
Cooder’s acclaimed 2007 album My Name is Buddy (e.g. Jim Keltner, Mike
Elizondo, Cooder’s son Joachim and, on the aforementioned Tex-Mex number,
accordionist Flaco Jimenez). Captain Beefheart will be released by Nonesuch (also Cooder’s current label) on July 5 in the UK and July 6 in the US.

Beefheart (a/k/a Don Van Vliet), in typically left-field manner, didn’t pursue the project via the usual channels (his official MySpace page, Pitchfork.com, etc.) but via a series of private conversations at the 2009 Annual Van Vliet Family picnic, located at a state park near his home in Mojave, Calif. The estate of longtime Beefheart manager Herb Cohen this week in an official statement noted, “With Mr. Cohen’s longtime friend Don’s unreleased music now seeing release, the musical world will finally get a firsthand taste of the quality rock ‘n’ roll that it has been sorely missing for the past quarter-century.” (Note: Cohen recently passed away, sadly.)

At the time, the only clues that Beefheart was indeed ready to return to recording (and possibly touring) was at the picnic during a toast, when the notoriously curmudgeonly performer snorted, ripped what appeared to be a lyric sheet in half, and said, “‘The higher you go, the rarer the vegetation.’ Salvador Dali said that, although I don’t know where he got it. I think I’ve read it in a classic of one sort or another. Or older classic. What do you think about
that? Am I right or wrong? Although there really is no right or wrong. The truth has no patterns.”

Now we know that Beefheart subsequently filmed a video in which he discussed the record, the
tour and his artistry in general. Just this morning, it was posted in low-key fashion to YouTube –
you can view it HERE – although in typical Beefheart fashion, his comments are
maddeningly elliptical. He’s still got a bit of the prankster to him too: the
interview is interspersed with random archival clips and earlier news reports,
so you have to pay very careful attention to the entire video.

For those not in the know of truth and its patterns, Beefheart, born in 1941
in Glendale, Calif., emerged in the early ‘60s as a
protégé of Frank Zappa. His 1969 album Trout Mask Replica regularly figures on Top 100 Albums of All Time lists, and he also exerted a
huge influence among the punk and new wave bands of the late ‘70s and early
‘80s, who embraced his final trifecta of albums-1978’s Shiny Beast,
1980’s Doc at the Radar Station and 1982’s Ice Cream for Crow as benchmarks of DIY bloody-minded artistic inventiveness.

According to the Wikipedia Beefheart entry, “Since the end of his musical career around 1982, Van Vliet has made few public appearances, preferring a quiet life in his
California home where he has concentrated on a career in painting. His interest
in art dates back to a childhood talent for sculpting and his work-employing
what has been surmised as a ‘neo-primitive abstract-expressionist aesthetic,’
has received international recognition. Several of Van Vliet’s former band
members recently reformed as a group, and toured as The Magic Band from 2003 to
2006.”

Fun fact: in recent years, P.J. Harvey and Beefheart somehow struck
up a correspondence and established a kind of confidante-mentor relationship.
There’s no official word from either artist’s camp whether or not this had
anything to do with the good Captain’s re-emergence, but certainly Harvey’s encouragement
and support didn’t hurt. Having her and Parish on the tour, then, is a logical
and laudable strategy. Kindred spirits, all.

Meanwhile, Precision Made, a newly-formed imprint of Handmade, which itself
is an imprint of Rhino Records, will be issuing a limited-to-5000-copies
Beefheart box set
, provisionally titled Flight of the Blimp.
The five-disc archival collection will contain rarities, outtakes, and live material
culled from the artist’s Straight/Reprise/Warner Brothers years and reportedly
does not overlap with the Revenant label’s 1999 Grow Fins rarities
box. It’s set for a late July or early August release, full details tba.

***

Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band 2017 Tour Dates:

06-9 Manchester TN – Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival,
08-06 George, WA – The Gorge (Sasquatch! Festival)
08-07 Vancouver, British Columbia – Orpheum
08-08 Vancouver, British Columbia – Orpheum
08-10 Portland, OR – Keller Auditorium
08-12 Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
08-15 Los Angeles, CA – The Greek Theatre
08-16 Los Angeles, CA – The Greek Theatre
08-17 Los Angeles, CA – The Greek Theatre
08-18 Los Angeles, CA – The Greek Theatre
08-19 Phoenix, AZ – Dodge Theatre
08-22 Denver, CO – Red Rocks
08-23 Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theater
08-24 St. Louis, MO – Fabulous Fox Theater
08-26 Minneapolis, MN – Orpheum Theater
08-27 Minneapolis, MN – Orpheum Theater
08-29 Chicago, IL – Auditorium Theater
08-30 Chicago, IL – Auditorium Theater
08-31 Chicago, IL – Auditorium Theater
09-08 Milwaukee, WI – Eagles Ballroom
09-09 Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theatre
09-10 Columbus, OH – Ohio Theatre
09-12 Cincinnati, OH – Music Hall
09-13 Louisville, KY – Palace Theatre
09-14 Cleveland, OH – Playhouse Square Center State Theatre
09-16 Toronto, Ontario – Molson Amphitheatre
09-19 Providence, RI – Performing Arts Center
09-20 Boston, MA – Opera House
09-21 Boston, MA – Opera House
09-24 New York, NY – Keyspan Park
09-27 Columbia, MO – Merriweather Post Pavilion
09-28 Atlantic City, NJ – House of Blue

[Photo Credit: A.P. Rilfül/RETNA Images]

 

 

 

Oft-Delayed Unreleased Kurt Cobain Tapes to See RSD Release

Kurt wings

The late Nirvana frontman’s rumored childhood demos finally authenticated, coming out on Record Store Day 2017 as The KDC Tapes.

By Russell Hammond

A few years ago, in a BLURT exclusive report titled “Pre-Nirvana Kurt Cobain Demos Unearthed,” we outlined how a 30-track collection of cassette tapes reportedly dating back to the Nirvana frontman’s childhood had been discovered and were being estimated as being worth “seven figures” or more. Although at the time of the report there was more than a little speculation that it was all a hoax or, at very least, wishful thinking on the you-gotta-believe segment of the Cobain/Nirvana fanbase (and trust us, that is a HUGE segment) we’ve now learned that the tapes have been authenticated and are to be a late-addition to this year’s Record Store Day titles.

Arriving in stores on April 15: a limited-to-1000-copies numbered set of cassettes, titled The KDC Tapes and housed in a deluxe “cigar box” styled packaging and featuring Cobain-derived memorabilia that includes faux-syringes, cigarette packs and snippets of lyrics scribbled on napkins. That will be followed up in June with the non-limited vinyl and CD sets. The artwork is reportedly derived from the recently published photos of the Cobain suicide crime scene.

Kurt scene 1

Kurt scene 4

From our original report, let’s recap:

A trove of dusty Phillips cassettes purchased by a self-styled “junker” at an Aberdeen, Wash., garage sale have turned out to be early demo recordings by the late Kurt Cobain. It marks the first time since the 2004 Nirvana box set With the Lights Out that heretofore unheard Cobain material has surfaced, and Nirvana experts are hailing the 30-plus tracks – some of them full songs, others just “sketches” – as likely representing the earliest known Cobain material in existence.

The individual who bought the box of tapes initially got curious when he spotted the initials “KDC” (as in, “Kurt Donald Cobain”) scrawled in black magic marker on the side of each cassette. Upon listening to them he contacted a music industry lawyer, who in turn contacted representatives of Cobain’s estate and Cobain’s record label; the tapes were subsequently verified by noted music producers Jack Endino and Butch Vig (who both worked with Nirvana) as being legitimate. The finder is reportedly now in negotiations to sell the tapes to the estate and label.

One industry observer estimates the potential value of the tapes as being “in the seven-figure range.”

Cobain, who was born in 1967 and attended high school in Aberdeen while living there with his mother, apparently recorded them on a vintage 3M Wollensak mono tape deck when he was in elementary school – presumably about the age of 8 or 9, as several of the song titles focus on people and events circa 1974-75: “Nixon Must Die (Or Resign)”; “I Wanna Be Just Like a Weatherman”; “Carlos the Jackal”; “Shazam!”; and the collection’s lone cover, a ukulele version of the Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker.”

According to a source who has heard the material, the tunes are “mostly singalongs” performed on acoustic guitar or the aforementioned ukulele, along with some rudimentary percussion performed by an unknown additional musician, “There’s nothing there that would really give a blindfold test listener the sense that Cobain would go on to form one of the biggest bands on the planet, although it is worth noting that even at that age you could hear the initial stirrings of his trademark rasp – kinda like any kid sounds after he’s been punched in the throat a couple of times, actually.

“With that said, however, a few recurring lyrical motifs, somewhat precocious on one level and disturbing on another, do provide ad hoc foreshadowing. At least three songs contain the word ‘vagina,’ each part of some childlike rhyming scheme, one of them being ‘your mama’; and there’s an unusual fixation on firearms too, such as in ‘…Weatherman’ where he sings in a kind of taunting tone of voice, ‘You’ll wish you were dead/ When I point my gun at your head.’ That’s followed by the popping sound of a kid’s cap gun.”

Genuine historical artifact, or merely a curio for hard-core Cobain and Nirvana fans? With interest in both the artist and the band never having waned since his death in 1994, it’s likely that “The KDC Tapes,” as they’re being referred to in industry circles, will eventually anchor several archival releases: a CD of cherry-picked highlights, a collection of DJ remixes, and the inevitable big-ticket boxed set – possibly even a DVD documentary outlining the finding-of, the cleaning-up-of and the marketing-of the tapes. [Editor’s note: the latter info was obviously premature. See the second paragraph above for the current status of the release.]

Also likely: the unknown percussionist will turn up wanting his cut of the profits. Already, the Cobain estate has reportedly been contacted by several individuals claiming – rather implausibly, and without credible documentation – to be the percussionist. As Cobain’s mother, Wendy, told a Seattle newspaper reporter, “Kurt really was a surly, unpleasant child to be around, and while he’s been characterized as being the type of musician who didn’t like to play with just anyone, it was actually the other way around – nobody wanted to play with him.

Kurt

As noted above, both Vig and Endino had initially verified the tapes’ existence and likely provenance, but as time went by and the tapes failed to be released, speculation was rampant that it had all been a hoax, and Vig and Endino’s subsequent silence on the matter seemed to justify that conclusion. This week, however, at a press conference at the Universal Music Group’s offices in Los Angeles, the two producers appeared jointly to announce the impending release, implicitly giving their blessings.

“We are pleased and proud to be part of this project,” the pair offered, in a statement. “Kurt impacted our lives in so many ways, this is just our way of ‘giving back’ to the Cobain community.”

In a press release circulated by Universal, it was noted that both the surviving members of Nirvana as well as Cobain’s widow Courtney Love had given their blessings to the project but were not directly involved with the new box set.

Additional reporting can be viewed here. Check out a teaser video trailer for the Cobain box right here.

Top Photo Credit: via Retna Images, A.P. Rilfül & Assoc.

 

Corpses Of Folk (Drake, Buckley, Seeger, Harper) LP for RSD 2017!

Corpses of Folk

Hats off to Arlo Guthrie! Previously unreleased album on colored vinyl or cassette only.

By Rob Gordon

Long-rumored, but never confirmed: the one-off collaboration of musical giants that wags once cynically termed “The Corpses Of Folk” has finally been revealed as fact, and it’s headed to stores on April 15 via Scorpio. The label, which earned infamy in the ‘90s as a bootleg label that issued titles by Dylan, Springsteen and other icons, resurfaced earlier this year as a legitimate imprint of a certain Los Angeles-based archival label. It plans to release the project on starburst swirl purple vinyl and cassette for Record Store Day, April 15; a digital and CD releases will follow later in the year.

Corpses Of Folk comprises sessions recorded over (as a press release puts it) “one stoned weekend in Woodstock” in late ’71 and co-produced by Jimmy Page and Arlo Guthrie. The musicians? Bedsit icon Nick Drake, avant-provocateur Tim Buckley, scene godfather Pete Seeger, and reluctant cricketer Roy Harper. The four had convened at the behest of Led Zeppelin’s Page, who’d struck up a friendship with Harper and, after suggesting the off-the-wall summit as a kind of dream date for him, had his manager, Peter Grant, get in touch with the other three.

Grant used his, er, legendary powers of persuasion to land Drake, Buckley and Seeger—apparently the long-standing urban legend of Grant’s bodyguard dangling the sickly Drake outside a window by his ankles until he assented is just that, an urban legend (albeit one convincingly circulated by rap impresario Suge Knight)—and voila, a supergroup was born. Sadly, at the time the four principals’ record companies could not come to a contractual agreement despite Page and Grant’s assurances that their label, Swan Song, which would release the album, would see that everyone was fairly compensated. So the sessions were shelved, until now.

Apparently My Morning Jacket’s Jim James obtained a bootleg CDR of the music and was so entranced that he used his estimable clout to bring the project to contemporary fruition. James receives an executive producer credit on the album (as does Grant, who passed away in 1995 but still commands fear and respect in the industry from the grave), and both James and M. Ward reportedly “sweetened” some of the guitar and backing vocal tracks, but the material is otherwise presented in exactly the form it was recorded.

(Apparently there are a number of outtakes from the sessions that will remain in the vaults, including Harper’s version of the blues standard “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” and a Harper original provisionally titled “The Chicken Hawk Waltz.”)

Oh, and about that band moniker: While Drake, Buckley and Seeger have passed away and Roy Harper is technically still among the living, the name “Corpses Of Folk” took on fresh cachet in November of 2013 when Harper was charged in England with “unlawful sexual intercourse, indecent assault and gross indecency” regarding allegations about a young girl he’d known between 1975 and 1977. “He’s among the walking dead,” stated a London-based music industry publicist at the time.

However, as Wikipedia notes, “on 5 February 2015 Harper was unanimously acquitted by a jury of indecent assault. The following day, Harper was cleared of a second charge of indecent assault, and the jury at Worcester Crown Court was discharged after failing to reach verdicts on the remaining charges. According to the BBC, the judge Robert Juckes QC then gave the prosecution two weeks to consider whether they wished to seek a re-trial on the undecided charges, but it wasn’t until 9 November 2015 that the prosecution announced that they were dropping all allegations of sexual abuse against Harper.”

It’s widely assumed that the resolution of the Harper controversy is what finally cleared the way for the release of the tapes, but a representative from the Harper camp declined to comment on that count, simply saying, “That’s all in the past.

Go here to listen to the Drake-Buckley duet, “Time Has Told Me to Get On Top,” which is, incidentally, the only track to feature Guthrie. He’s on the part-spoken, part-sung backing vocals.