Category Archives: Audio stream

Track Premiere: Chris Stamey “Greensboro Days”

North Carolina indie rock godfather serves up a gem of a flashback. (Photo credit: Daniel Coston)

By Fred Mills

As North Carolina’s Chris Stamey quips, “Here it is, the followup to my first single, ‘The Summer Sun’—after only 41 years!”

The songwriter/rocker/producer is talking about “Greenboro Days,” which we here at BLURT are honored to be able to present to our readership. I’ve been a fan ever since the mid ‘70s, when he emerged as one of indie-rock’s earliest movers and shakers with his outfit Sneakers. Since then he’s consistently delivered the sonic goods, and this new track is no exception, so check it out:

The folk-pop tune’s available now at Spotify as well as Amazon. It was produced by Chris and Jeff Crawford and features Dan Davis (drums) and Jason Foureman (acoustic bass), plus John Teer from Chatham County Line on fiddle and mandolin, and Peter Holsapple from The dB’s (who also has a new record out, the Omnivore-issued Game Day album) on harmony vocals. (The tune will tweak the memories of longtime Stamey/Holsapple watchers who have the pair’s Mavericks collaboration from the ‘90s.) According to Chris, “’Greensboro Days’ is a folk-rock lament about traveling from summer into autumn, on steel wheels.” Those steel wheels can be viewed in the accompanying lyric video, which is considerably more than just a typical “lyric video”:

“Greensboro Days,” then, makes for a fitting followup to Chris’ “Summer Sun” single from ’77. It’s released on Stamey’s recently reactivated Car Records label, which released some true gems in the late ‘70s from Holsapple, Stamey and The dB’s, Big Star’s Chris Bell, and Sneakers. It’s more than appropriate, considering the back pages Chris recently thumbed through in his A Spy in the House of Loud musical memoir. The city of Greensboro is just a few miles from where Chris grew up, in Winston-Salem, and it played an influential role during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s when the North Carolina indie scene—and Stamey himself—was establishing its musical footing. And speaking of the Car label: He also has plans to release a new solo album, The Great Escape, via Car in early 2019, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Incidentally, fans wanting to dive a bit deeper into “Greensboro” can snag a free download of Chris’ sheet music for the song at THIS LINK that he kindly provided. The sheet music is from his songbook New Songs for the 20th Century.

 

 

 

 

Incoming: Album from Nashville’s Sour Ops / In Hand: Promo 12″

Rockin’ two-track advance teaser for Nashville band’s upcoming full-length.

BY FRED MILLS

Self-described as “a collaborative rock & roll effort,” Nashville-based Sour Ops here serves up a righteously rockin’ slab of 12” wax, “Phonograph” b/w “Mind Like Glue” courtesy Feralette Media. On the “Phonograph” A-side, the group is paying tribute to, you guessed it, the joys of recording for, pressing up on, and listening to, vinyl. Gee, how’d they figure out BLURT might be predisposed to liking this ditty?—which, sonically speaking, is a tight-but-loose chip-off-the-ol’-Stooges/MC5-block. (Listen close, and you might also here a couple of sneaky Stones licks in there as well.)

Over on the flip, “Mind Like Glue” picks up the baton and bolts with it via a crunchy, riff-powered progression that marks the band as latterday sons of Nuggets. Which comes as no huge surprise, considering the bandmembers list Panther Burns, Snakehips, the Upstairs Party, Botswanas, and Sixty-Nine Tribe on their collective C.V. Led by guitarist Price Harrison (who also heads up the Feralette label, which has previously brought us music from Snakehips, Marshall Chapman, Boo Ray, and Palmyra Delran), Sour Ops has a full length, Family Circuit, due out in late October, and this limited edition single makes for quite a fine teaser.

 

Track Premiere: Bird Streets “Carry Me”

Terrific tune culled from eponymous album, due out this week on Omnivore. Above: Jason Falkner and John Brodeur.

By Fred Mills

Brooklyn-based John Brodeur has been releasing top-shelf pop records for a number of years now, and in his current incarnation as Bird Streets and new album Bird Streets he’s knocking the ball out of the park. The album was produced by the mighty Jason Falkner (Jellyfish, Beck, etc.), who also plays on it and shares co-writing credit with Brodeur on all but two tracks. It drops August 10 via Omnivore, and we are extremely pleased to be able to unveil a track for our readership. Check out “Carry Me”:

Sings Brodeur, tellingly,

“Let’s raise a toast my friends
To new beginnings and bitter ends
Flip the hourglass again
‘Cause morning’s breaking soon…”

Brodeur comments on the song, saying, “I left Falkner’s place one evening having been instructed to return with ‘something that rocks.’ This old lyric full of car crashes and explosions seemed to fit the bill. We knew almost immediately that ‘Carry Me’ was going to open the record, it just had this undeniable vibe. In a way, it was the first Bird Streets song—the one that made me realize we weren’t making just another John Brodeur record.”

The record was primarily produced and recorded at Rhetoric studio in Los Angeles, and among the other musicians appearing on the record are Miranda Lee Richards and Luther Russell.

 

Both Brodeur and Falkner will be appearing onstage together for some shows August 25-26 in Los Angeles; joining them will be bassist Keith Hosmer and drummer Ben Lecourt. Brodeur’s official album release party will be August 9 in NYC, and you can keep track of the shows at his Bird Streets website.

Meanwhile, check out the track “Betting On the Sun” over at Magnet magazine, and the video for the song “Direction” at Glide mag.

 

Check out Schoolkids Records’ New Spotify Playlist of Label’s Gems

We got da rawk!

By Blurt Staff

Longtime – as in, more than 4 decades longtime – North Carolina indie record store chain Schoolkids Records is Blurt’s sister business, and awhile back our other sister business, indie label Second Motion Records, also become Schoolkids Records, as in, Schoolkids Records label. With artists as noteworthy as Tommy Keene, Buffalo Tom, The Church, Bettie Serveert, and 6 String Drag populating the roster thus far, it has been a solid run ever since founder (and Blurt majordomo) Stephen Judge started the label 10 years ago.

Stephen has put together a terrific Spotify playlist which spotlights his (our) label, so check it out.

Track Premiere: Kevin Gordon “Right on Time”

Brooklyn, NY – November 17, 2017 – Portrait of musician Kevin Gordon.
Photo credit: Jacob Blickenstaff

Rock ‘n’ roller transcends labels and genres – and he’s right on time, at that. From his new album, Tilt & Shine, out July 27.

By Blurt Staff

Though often tabbed as a songwriter or an Americana artist, Kevin Gordon is really a rock & roller. He proudly flies the rock & roll flag on “Right On Time,” a three-and-a-half-minute, tongue-in-cheek ode to the road. And Blurt is proud to be the one to introduce this track to you.

Gordon captures the strangeness of missing loved ones, the road as an in-between space of disconnection, the nerves of trying to make a sound check six hours away, as the guitars keep pushing. It’s a track from his vivid, swampy new album and artistic high water mark ‘Tilt & Shine,’ out July 27 on Crowville Media.

Gordon says, “I did a lot of driving when touring in support of the Gloryland and Long Gone Time records. The song is triggered from little moments—a morning in a motel in Marion, Virginia opens the story. The van I had at the time had 185,000 miles on it — and three out of four speakers blown — when I bid it goodbye. It was also an acceptance of that life—the over- romanticized ‘road,’ which I still love but which has become extremely familiar.”

He adds, “And being who, and what, I am, it’s easy to feel alienation in that literal distance from your family—distance that becomes metaphorical, in a fearful way. I also felt the challenge of writing a song with such a familiar phrase as its title and refrain. With my friend Gwil Owen, hopefully we crafted something that’s real, and fresh.”

July 23 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3
July 24 – Washington, D.C. – Pearl Street
July 27 – Nashville, TN – City Winery
July 29 – Charleston, WV – Mountain Stage at Charleston Center Theater
September 20 – Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic
September 21 – Charlotte, NC – River Jam
September 28 – Baton Rouge, LA – Red Dragon Listening Room
September 29 – Houston, TX – McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
September 30 – Austin, TX – Sam’s Town Point

Track Premiere: Hair & Skin Trading Company “Nihil”

Track will appear on the forthcoming new album.

By Fred Mills

Speaking as a huge fan of late ’80s/early ’90s British psychedelia – My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3, and Loop especially – I couldn’t be more thrilled to unveil a brand new track from the Hair & Skin Trading Company, the band formed by John Willis (drums), and Neil MacKay (bass, vocals) following Loop’s demise; they were augmented by Nigel Webb (guitar) plus the short-tenured keyboardist/sampler player Richard Johnston.

Longtime contributor Jonathan Levitt has just interviewed MacKay and Willis for BLURT about their classic 1992 album Jo in Nine G Hell as part of our “The Story Behind the Album” series which Levitt spearheads. (Check out, in particular, his profile of Thee Hypnotics’ Soul Glitter & Sin.) And not only did he obtain from the band an unreleased live recording of one of the album tracks to include, they also supplied him with an exclusive track from their forthcoming new album, I don’t know where you get those funny ideas from. 

Check out the brilliant “Nihil” below and don’t forget to read the interview at the above link.

Track Premiere: Smash Fashion “Rompus Pompous”

By Blurt Staff

Now that the smell of burnt fireworks and Lee Greenwood-led jingoism has finally faded,  we thought it was about time to focus on some West Coast explosion of talent. Blurt is proud to offer the song premiere of Smash Fashion’s new track “Rompus Pompous,” in all its glitter-encrusted frenetic glory.

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The song is the title track from the LA.-based glam/punk/power-pop band’s latest album (their fourth to date, for those counting) Rompus Pompous, which came out just 2 days after the nation’s anniversary, July 6th.

“Our title track ‘Rompus Pompous’ is a case of textbook narcissism… which seems to be running rampant!” says front man Roger Deering. Along with Deering, the band is made up of ex members of London Quireboys, Smack and Rock City Angels.

Enjoy!

Listen to New Tracks by The Chills

 

Tourdates announced so far are at the bottom.

By Blurt Staff

New Zealand indie stalwarts The Chills will be releasing Snow Bound on September 14 via Fire Records and through their Bandcamp page – the followup to 2015’s Silver Bullets, it will be available on CD, digital, black vinyl, and limited edition clear splatter vinyl. According to Fire, “On ‘Snow Bound’ lost heroes are lamented, relationships are re-evaluated, atonement is sought, mortality is mulled over and fake news is undercut. It’s serious stuff, the thoughts of a dysfunctional 50-something wrestling with maturity and discovering that their post-punk DIY beliefs still have a real voice that resonates between the fans of their early years and which can now pass down to the next generation.”

Below, listen to both “Complex” and “Lord of All I Survey”.

TOURDATES:
09/14 Hamilton, NZ @ Altitude
09/15 Gisborne, NZ @ The Dome
09/16 Hawke’s Bay, NZ @ Haumoana Hall
09/20 CHCH, NZ @ Blue Smoke
09/21 Dunedin, NZ @ 50 Gorillas
09/22 Wanaka, NZ @ Water Bar
09/27 Wellington, NZ @ San Fran
09/28 New Plymouth, NZ @ Mayfair Theatre
09/29 Palmerston North, NZ @ The Globe
09/30 Paekakariki, NZ @ St Peter’s Hall
10/04 Whangarei, NZ @ Butter Factory
10/05 Leigh, NZ @ Sawmill Cafe
10/06 Auckland, NZ @ Galatos
10/07 Waiheke Island, NZ @ Artworks

Lykke Li Jumps the Shark – or does she? – w/New Tracks

But it could have been worse – like bringing in Rihanna or ZZ Top as guests…

By Barbi Martinez

To paraphrase Stereogum, we’ve ALSO waited for years for a new Lykke Li album – Blurt has sung the praises of the Swedish chanteuse fairly endlessly  since she first appeared on the scene (including HERE and HERE and HERE). But the upcoming So Sad So Sexy, due out next week, is uncomfortably starting to sound like a misstep, a kind of how-do-I-compete record for the singer, when in truth her fan base already trusted her to trust her instincts and NOT follow trends.

Check out a pair of tracks, below – “Two Nights”  is a silly piece of ’80s-esque fluff with a pointless hip-hop edge and featuring a guest rapper, Portland’s Aminé; while the languid-to-the-point-of-dreary “Sex Money Feelings Die” simply floats for a few seconds, then gradually collapses, like a balloon that’s been aloft for a bit too long with the air inside it turning stale.

Don’t get us wrong – her voice remains a national treasure for her homeland, and it’s on full display here on both tracks. But she also sounds conflicted, as if she knows she’s essentially sacrificing her hard-won identity as a sonic iconoclast in the pursuit of short-term social media flash. Come back, Lykke – we still want you.

Exclusive Album Premiere: Arthur Alexander (Sorrows/Poppees) Solo LP

 

Kickass platter One Bar Left arrives this week, May 4, on the Dead Beat label.

 

By Blurt Staff

Arthur Alexander is no stranger to memorable guitar hooks. As the guitarist/singer/songwriter from both the mid-‘70s NYC power-pop band The Poppees and early ‘80s power-pop band Sorrows he’s written his fair share of impossible to shake ditties. That’s one of many reasons Blurt is stoked to be able to premiere Arthur Alexander’s new debut solo effort, One Bar Left.  The LP comes out May 4th on all formats via Dead Beat Records, and traffics in a similar high-energy style of power-pop from his former bands.

“The songs on this album literally span decades – from some of the very first songs I’d written, like “Hello Suzanne” and “Till I Was On My Way”, to “I’ll Get Your Love Someday” which I wrote while I was with The Poppees, through “Can’t Get You Out Of My Dream” written shortly before Sorrows’ breakup, to songs written only recently,” said Alexander. “Some started their life years ago, but were never finished, only to be completed as I was recording this album.”

One of the things he’s proudest of on this album is how all the songs (and it’s a lot of songs!), no matter how diverse from one to the next, all seem to somehow flow together.

“As unintuitive as it may sound, I think that’s because I paid absolutely no attention or made any effort to making them “sound similar”.  Instead, I went for what sounded and worked the best for each song, and nothing else. I simply went where each song wanted to take me, rather than me trying to take the song where I thought it should go. “Shot In The Heart” felt like it wanted to sound like Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” meets Tom Waits?  Why Not?!  As long as I felt like I’m staying true to myself and my music, that’s all that mattered.”
Check it out for yourself. Oh, and while you’re at it, check the man himself out at his Facebook page for more info, tour dates, et al.