Over the years we’ve sung the praises of Portland rockers The Parson Red Heads, including a review of 2013’s Orb Weaver and a profile, also in 2013, of the band. So we were pretty stoked to get the news that there’s a new album from the band, due June 9 via Fluff & Gravy Records (US) / You Are The Cosmos Records (EUR). Now we’ve got an exclusive early look at Blurred Harmony—the first single is “Coming Down,” so check it out:
Blurred Harmony is a musically diverse record – it is a distillation of the sounds and styles that the Parsons, as a band, love. It is the overdriven jangle of Teenage Fanclub and Big Star power-pop, the skewed psychedelics of the Paisley Underground, the bittersweet energy of New Zealand’s “Dunedin Sound” movement, and the muted twang of Cosmic Americana, all crammed into 44 minutes.
A full roster of tour dates will be announced late, but they have scheduled several already in and around their home territory:
June 7 – Old St Francis School – Bend, OR
June 8 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
June 10 – Conor Byrne – Seattle, WA
Tune culled from the songwriter’s 1985 mini-album classic.
By Blurt Staff
The name Paul Collins won’t catch anyone who frequents the BLURT site on an even semi-occasional basis. The rocker and power pop avatar, with his band Paul Collins’ Beat, is releasing the Long Time Gone / To Beat Or Not To Beat two-fer on April 28 via Lolipop Records (distributed by Cobraside Distribution), and this time it will be on vinyl, cassette, and digital in addition to CD (Wounded Bird did a CD version of the two-record roundup back in 2004—the mini-albums originally came out on 12” vinyl in 1983 and 1985, respectively—but that label’s version suffered from shoddy mastering and horrible sound). By way of preview, we’ve got the track “All Over the World” to share with our readers. Check it out:
Speaking about the To Beat Or Not To Beat track, Collins tells us, “I remember getting an $800 royalty check for ‘All Over The World’ when I was living in San Francisco so I went out and bought a used green Datsun B210! I would always hum ‘All Over The World’ as I drove up and down all those hills in SF!”
Go HERE to read our review of his 2014 album Feel the Noise. Collins will be on tour throughout the spring, including this weekend in Philly. You can find him on the web, natch:
Tarheel rockers prep fifth longplayer for 2017 release.
By Blurt Staff
Hoist a pint and down a shot in honor of Charlotte, NC, combo the Temperance League, who you might remember from our previous coverage—such as last year’s Day of the Dove album, of which we noted thusly:
“[The band’s dedication to] rock ‘n’ roll, whatever the long acclaim odds, and whatever the shrinking rewards, says as much about the art form’s pull as it does its Quixotic practitioners. With producer Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Pavement) overseeing recording at his Fidelitorium studio, Temperance League has slightly reframed its earlier references—which have ranged from working class Springsteen anthems and rebellious Heartbreakers’ singalongs to Ramones fuzz and the Byrds’ jangle—into a work whose sonic depth matches that of its lyrics.”
So frontman Bruce Hazel now lets us know that the group’s fifth platter—presumably destined to be on vinyl, and colored wax at that, if past efforts are any gauge—is in the pipeline, called Space Aquarium, and they are chuffed to give everyone an early taste. Check out first single “All There Is”:
Hazel, commenting on the track, tells us, “I think ‘All There Is’ was the first song I wrote for this project. It’s a perfect first sample of Space Aquarium. The lyric and sound of this track epitomize the meaning and feeling of this album. Once again we worked with Mitch Easter at his Fidelitorium.
“Each time we work there I feel we have evolved. This record has a different tone than any of our previous releases. We reached for something and I think we achieved our goal. The vocals are warmer and more honest. This is a big step for us. I’m proud of this work.”
Boy howdy to that. More details to follow. You can read/hear more about/from Temperance League simply by plugging their name into the little search box at the BLURT homepage. Don’t forget to check out our 2013 interview with Hazel conducted by his fellow Charlottean and longtime supporter John Schacht.
Above: fresh from ZZ Top auditions, the dynamic duo finds their backs up against a wall.
By Blurt Staff
Let’s cut to the chase: R. Stevie Moore is a freakin’ legend – to some of us he’s also a legendary freak, in the best sense of the word – and if you are not familiar with the gentleman, go brush up on your underground rock lore at his Wikipedia page or official website. Maybe even drag that old cassette player outta the attic. Moore’s younger compatriot Jason Faulkner ain’t no minor player either – maybe you’ve heard of the Three O’Clock or Jellyfish?
So let us genuflect before the duo’s new collaboration, Make It Be, and listen to their killer track “Another Day Slips Away” as well.
You’ll be glad you did. The album’s out on March 10, and we are advised thusly: “In a partnership with Bar None Records, Lost Colony Music is releasing the improbable-in-concept yet perfect-in-practice collaboration between lo-fi music pioneer R. Stevie Moore & power pop icon Jason Falkner. _ The majority of songs were composed by Moore with one Falkner composition, a Roger Ferguson/Moore cowrite, a surprising cover of “Don’t You Just Know It”, five co-writes between the two sprinkled throughout. The recording was done by Jason Falkner at his Rhetoric Studio in Hollywood CA.”
And that ain’t no April fool fake news, either – artists slated to perform include Bob Mould *Julia Holter * Mikal Cronin + String & Horn Ensemble * Mild High Club, * Laetitia Sadier * WANDFITTED (Bob Lee, Graham Lewis, Matthew Simms, Mike Watt)Part Time Punks * HowardAmb, * Once and Future Band * Chasms * Noveller * Immersion * SLOWS
By Blurt Staff
Musical pioneers WIRE will release their 15th studio album Silver/Lead on March 31, the eve of their 40th anniversary. Colin Newman and Matt Simms’ guitar work is alternately jagged and luminous, while bassist Graham Lewis’s ear-catching lyrics are vivid yet oblique. Meanwhile, drummer Robert Grey provides a virtual masterclass in percussive minimalism. But it’s how the various instruments mesh together that really counts. And Newman’s production creates a sonic space in which even the smallest gesture is accorded some recognition. You can check out first single “Short Elevated Period” below:
However this is an album with its sights firmly set on the future. On April 1, 2017, the anniversary of the band’s first gig as the “classic 4 piece” at the Roxy Club. London, WIRE will be giving a headline performance at the Los Angeles edition of the band’s boutique city festival DRILL : LA, a unique festival to mark “40 years of not looking back.” Wire have announced the addition of Mikal Cronin with a string & horn ensemble and Wand to the upcoming DRILL : LA festival taking place March 30 – April 2 at The Echo and Echoplex. Tickets for DRILL : LA are available HERE.
Since 2013, WIRE have been curating a series of international city festivals with the name DRILL. The idea being to bring together the best overview of both classic left field artists and new and emerging cutting edge talent. There will be several more DRILL : FESTIVALS taking place this spring, each featuring unique line ups. Details of the festivals will be announced shortly. Updated info can be found at www.drillfestival.com
Wire Tour Dates
03.28 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
03.29 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
03.30 – Los Angeles, CA – DRILL : LA @ Echo
03.31 – Los Angeles, CA – DRILL : LA @ Echo/Echoplex
04.01 – Los Angeles, CA – DRILL : LA @ Echo/Echoplex
Of all the so-called annual holidays/events we field each year as a major tastemaker media outlet, the one we traditionally hold at arm’s length is Valentines Day because, well… Valentines Day, yo. This year, however, we break protocol and present, without excessive pomp, circumstance, or fanfare, a timely ditty that not only helped thaw out our frozen hearts (hey, it’s mid-February in the mountains, ya think we’ve donned our thongs yet?) but might’ve even made ye olde editor’s Grinchy heart grow a few extra sizes.
Please check out Vermont-based chanteuse Francesca Blanchard, whose debut album, deux visions, dropped last October on the eternally innovative Cumbacha label, and who has been compared to Francoise Hardy meets Nico. Her new song is titled “My Heart,” appropriately enough, and you can check it out below. Don’t forget to share it with your significant other before the day’s over.
N.C. outfit also opening for Modern English in April, with more national dates t.b.a. soon. Listen to a key track, below.
By Blurt Staff
A couple of weeks ago we dropped the news that respected indie label Second Motion Records was changing its name to Schoolkids Records, which (not so coincidentally) is also the name of the North Carolina indie record store chain that’s the BLURT magazine sister business. Now comes the official announcement of ‘90s shoegaze legends The Veldt signing with us and prepping a new EP for a June 2 release. Titled The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation, you can check out the track “Sanctified,” below.
The Veldt will open for Modern English at several shows in April; dates below. Meanwhile, here’s what you need to know about the band — and to our friends in The Veldt, welcome to the Schoolkids family. Plenty of good memories from all those shows in the ‘90s, and even some contemporary memories, too.
The band formed in the late 80’s in Raleigh, North Carolina amongst the royalty of the legendary North Carolina music scene, including bands such as Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, The Connells, Dillon Fence, The dB’s, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Ryan Adams and many more
Initially signed to Capitol Records in 1989 and eventually finding their way to Mercury Records, The Veldt embarked on a musical journey that changed their lives. Soon, they were in the studio with dream-gaze guru Robin Guthrie, playing American concert halls with Cocteau Twins, and opening for The Jesus and Mary Chain in England. They worked with leading producers Lincoln Fong of Moose on their debut album Marigolds and Ray Schulman (Bjork, Sugarcubes, The Sundays) on Afrodisiac. The Veldt were a sensation from the start as they became a part of a movement of innovators, who came of musical age at a time when rhythmic rebels were reflective, gritty and wild. Their sound inspired future generations of alternative artists, including TV On the Radio.
Apart from Robin Guthrie, they have collaborated with TV On The Radio, Mos Def, The Jesus & Mary Chain and Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), and most recently A.R.Kane. They have shared the stage with The Pixies, Throwing Muses, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, Manic Street Preachers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Oasis and Living Colour, among others.
The band reformed in 2016 and immediately received incredible enthusiasm upon their return. Their new EP started to make the rounds with a vinyl release via Leonard Skully Records last year, resulting in significant press attention, including an outstanding feature in The Guardian (UK), who wrote “the new songs invite paradoxical praise: serenely assaultive and vertiginously soothing.” The band participated in an East coast mini-tour with The Brian Jonestown Massacre this past spring, embarked on two central Canadian tours, and continued to tour Europe last summer, in addition to playing multiple festivals in Italy, Spain, France, the UK, USA, Sweden and Denmark.
Tune culled from new digital EP, out next week; see tour dates, below.
By Blurt Staff
Hailing from Virginia and together since 2010, rootsy/indie-rockin’ five-piece Annabelle’s Curse have, to date, served up three highly-regarded albums and have a new one slated for release in June. In the meantime, though, they’ve got a brand new stopgap digital EP titled Here and Now that was produced by Bill Moriarty and Zach Goldstein and arrives Feb. 17, and you can get an advance listen of the title track right here and right now, so check it out:
The band —Tim Kilbourne (Voice, Guitar, Banjo), Zack Edwards (Guitar), Carly Booher (Mando, Voice), Travis Goyette (Drums), and Tyler Luttrelle (Bass) —is not only musically prolific, they are also monsters when it comes to touring, and have become festival favorites at several major musical gatherings in their region of the world. They’re currently on a winter tour that kicked off last weekend in Asheville, NC, and will wind its way up to Philly then back down to Chattanooga; consult the dates, below.
Kilbourne notes, of his band’s musical evolution, “When things first started, the goal was to write good music with a positive message. It was all about the craft of songwriting, and never really about anything more. It just kind of grew from that. We’re still doing the same thing on a slightly bigger scale. We’re still focused on making better music as we go along.”
Adds Edwards, “We have kind of strayed from our roots a little more with each new album, leaning a little more on the electric side of things. That’s also allowed for us to get weirder with our effects and textures. With each album, we’ve put a lot more effort and a larger budget towards the sound production. Over time, we’ve gained more conviction, confidence and certainty in our sound. The music has kind of grown up along with us.
“We’ve been able to share a piece of ourselves with the world. We’ve met fans that have used our music to get through hard times. Plus, we get to play music together with our best friends. What more could anyone want?”
Indeed – boy howdy to that. Catch ‘em at a friendly venue near you – and you can hear a ton of music, both live and studio, at their Soundcloud page.
They’re called Cyborg Asylum, and the NYC-based producer-singer duo of David Varga and John Tumminia serves up a heady, intoxicated mélange of what they describe as “electro post-industrial alt-rock.” Indeed – that’s a pretty apt description of the music on their forthcoming long-player, Never Finished, Only Abandoned. We’re honored to have a preview for the readership, too. Check out “My Metallic Dream”:
Tumminia says, of the track, “‘My Metallic Dream’ explores the thoughts of a being who may not be able to recognize, process or clearly describe the experience of dreaming.”
With the album due out April 18, the two men are looking towards a busy year. They’ve been hailed for their “sharply crafted beats and grooves blended with beautiful melodies and harmonies [that take] listeners on an emotionally charged, alluring, and at times, ominous journey.”
They’ve got the background to bolster up those assertions, too. Tumminia grew up in a music family in Philadelphia, eventually moving to NYC to become a manager of Electric Lady Studios. He also worked extensively with the bands God Is Black and Fringehead prior to hooking up with Varga as Cyborg Asylum.
Varga, for his part, has scored commercials, TV, film and video games, and when it came time to create a complete, standalone album of his music, he tapped his friend Tumminia’s talents. Upon completion of their sessions, they sent the material to Phil Jones (a cousin of Varga) in England to add the guitar parts. Edd Mann also added some guitar, and Rachel Varga contributed violin.
Also check out the official trailer for the forthcoming new album from the band.
By Blurt Staff
Blackfoot Gypsies is Matthew Paige (vocals, guitar), Zack Murphy (drums), Dylan Whitlow (bass, vocals) and Ollie Dogg (harmonica). The band have shared bills with everyone from the Alabama Shakes and Trampled by Turtles to Futurebirds, The Ettes and The Carolina Chocolate Drops. And now they’ve dropped the first single from their new 2017 album To the Top for Plowboy Records, “I Had a Vision,” which we are proud to unveil for the BLURT readership. Check it out:
“This song is a declaration of our need, as a people, to be free – describing the vision of an equal land where real justice would be honored,” said band frontman Paige, about the track. Added drummer Zach Murphy, “It’s a song for the times. These times call for everybody to come together and remember the original vision we had as humans and unite against the negativity that this life forces down all of our throats.”