Phoenix area band with deep local music roots releases the album this Friday, Nov. 3.
By Blurt Staff
Pistoleros are no strangers to the hard rock music scene. While this may be a major understatement, it by all means rings true for the five piece who have pioneered the “Tempe Sound.” With not-so-mild beginnings, the band that is now Pistoleros started out as a few different projects. The center of the band’s foundation was Live Nudes, a band started by brothers Mark and Lawrence Zubia in 1988. After one EP, the band grew to include Gin Blossoms guitarist and founder, the late Doug Hopkins in 1992. They then added the rhythm section from Chuck Hall & The Brick Wall and became Chimeras.
Under this name, the band thrived in their local scene, and even caught the attention of Hollywood Records rep Rob Seidenberg. Shortly after signing to Hollywood, they were forced to change their name following a legal battle with an Irish band who shared the moniker. Thus, Pistoleros was born in full to the name that sees them through the release of their new album Silver. This LP shows off the band’s years of experience, creating an arena-filling sound with huge guitars, bombastic drums, and blisteringly intense vocals. The band continues to meld their signature “Tempe Sound” upon their 25th anniversary release.
Silver will be out on November 3 via Phoenix indie label Fervor Records. (Preorders available here.) Check out an advance stream of the entire album, below.
As we get older, more and more of us experience sleep related issues of some sort. For many people — including a close friend of mine whose condition inspired this piece — this takes the form of insomnia. I myself find it harder to sleep through the night than I used to (oh, to be 20 again when you could blow a building up around me while I was asleep and I wouldn’t bat an eye!). And many people I talk to, of varying ages and backgrounds, admit to having insomnia or some other form of sleep disturbance. Seems you can’t go a week without somebody mentioning Ambien…
Here, then, are a dozen songs for those nights when you find yourself wide awake but not by choice. They are culled from six decades of popular music and the artists range from Cheap Trick to Norah Jones and from Sinatra to Metallica. These tunes may not put you to sleep — but at least they’ll reassure you that you’re not alone while you’re wrestling with your demons.
We’ve created a Spotify playlist for the tunes, and you can also check out video/audio for each track below.
1. “Enter Sandman” — Metallica (1991)
Let’s kick things off with a song that’s guaranteed to induce screams and chills! “Enter Sandman” was the lead single from Metallica’s fifth album, a self-titled disc they unveiled in 1991. More than 25 years later, it still stands as the perfect soundtrack for your night terrors. Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett shreds for his life while James Hetfield sings a very dark lullaby. “Hush little baby, don’t say a word/And never mind that noise you heard/It’s just the beasts under your bed/In your closet, in your head…”
Off to Never Never Land we go, with these California thrash-metal kings leading the way….
2. “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” — Frank Sinatra (1955)
In total contrast to Metallica, our second entry on this insomnia mix tape is a ‘50s standard by Frank Sinatra. He didn’t write “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” and he’s not the only artist to record it, but there’s no denying that this ballad — the title track of his 1955 album — is synonymous with Sinatra. “In the wee small hours of the morning,” he sings, “While the whole wide world is fast asleep, you lie awake and think about the girl and never, ever think of counting sheep.” Who among us can’t relate to that sentiment?
3. “Chasing Pirates” — Norah Jones (2009)
Jumping ahead five decades and change, we find ourselves still wide awake but with Norah Jones picking up where Sinatra left off. The opening track from her excellent 2009 album The Fall, “Chasing Pirates” is a lovely song about being too wound up to sleep. Only Norah could make insomnia sound appealing!
4. “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” — Warren Zevon (1976)
In this writer’s humble opinion, the late Warren Zevon was one of the finest singer-songwriters of the 1970s. The rocking “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” appears on his 1976 self-titled outing. It features wailing harmonica, improvised bits of Spanish from Jorge Calderon and some of Zevon’s most twisted lyrics. To wit: “I got a .38 special up in the shelf/If I start actin’ stupid, I’ll shoot myself…”
It’s worth noting that Zevon released a song called “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” 16 years before pop-metal poser Jon Bon Jovi did….;)
5. “Up All Night” — The Boomtown Rats (1981)
Before he became known for Live Aid and other projects, Bob Geldof led The Boomtown Rats, an eclectic band that stormed out of Ireland in the mid ’70s armed with a bunch of great tunes. This song, like the one that follows, is called “Up All NIght” — but that’s about all they have in common. The Rats’ “Up All Night” — which appeared on their 1981 album Mondo Bongo and got some AOR airplay back in the day — features an appealingly off-kilter arrangement and Geldof’s Bowiesque vocals.
6. “Up All Night” — The Records (1979)
The Records were an English foursome best known for the great hit “Starry Eyes,” from their self-titled 1979 debut. “Up All Night” is an ethereal, Beatlesque ballad which demonstrates the underrated songwriting genius of Will Birch and John Wicks. The best line is probably when Wicks sings, “Six o’clock and the town is waking now/Workers are on their way, don’t ask me how/They have to take their daily ride/I hear the paper boy outside…”
If insomnia has a moment of pure pop magic, this could be it.
7. “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep At All” — The 5th Dimension (1972)
Our next entry is a soft-pop classic from the early ‘70s. “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep At All” scored The 5th Dimension a top 10 hit in 1972. Written by Englishman Tony Macaulay and featuring the velvet-voiced Marilyn McCoo on vocals, it ruled the AM airwaves. Who couldn’t appreciate the line, “Maybe I should call you up and just forget my foolish pride/I heard your number ring and I went cold inside?”
8. “I’m So Tired” — The Beatles (1968)
“I’m So Tired,” from The Beatles’ self-titled set (AKA ‘The White Album’) wasn’t a hit but it remains one of their great album tracks and is a fearsome slice of insomnia in two minutes and change. John Lennon expresses a similar sentiment to Marilyn McCoo but in strikingly different terms! “I wonder should I call you but I know what you would do!” he screams. Ironically, Lennon had written the beautiful “I’m Only Sleeping” a scant two years earlier. My, how things changed for the man in a short time!
9. “Overkill” — Men At Work (1983)
“Overkill” was the biggest single from Men At Work’s sophomore album, Cargo. It was released at the height of the band’s popularity and the video became deservedly popular on MTV (this is back when MTV played videos, for you young ‘uns). Despite its infectious melody, “Overkill” features dark lyrics such as “I can’t get to sleep/I think about the implications,” “Alone between the sheets/Only brings exasperation” and the great refrain, “Ghosts appear and fade away.” Men At Work would fade away themselves a couple of years later but when this song was released, they were arguably the biggest band on the planet. Frontman Colin Hay has said that this is his favorite song from his days with the Men — and it’s easy to see why.
10. “I’m Not Sleeping” — Counting Crows (1996)
It’s no secret that Adam Duritz of Counting Crows is a notorious insomniac; several of the band’s songs deal with night terrors or the inability to get to sleep. The one I’ve included is “I’m Not Sleeping,” from the Crows’ sophomore set, Recovering the Satellites. It’s a ballad but it’s tortured as opposed to tender. And that torture builds to a crescendo that includes a Psycho string section and Duritz screaming lyrics about a woman who won’t let him get the shuteye he so desperately needs.
11. “Dream Police” — Cheap Trick (1979)
Cheap Trick had a nice run of hits between the late 70s and the late 80s but this one — the title track from their 1979 album — may be the most dramatic. Lead singer Robin Zander was known as “the man of a thousand voices” early in the band’s career. On this rock and roll ode to nightmares, he shows us why.
On a related note — Rockford, Illinois’ finest is currently in the midst of their most prolific period in decades and is gearing up to release a Christmas collection (their third album in two years!).
12. “Insomniac’s Lullaby” — Paul Simon (2016)
Our final song is also the most recent track of the 12. “Insomniac’s Lullaby” finds the great Paul Simon in quietly existential mode. “Oh Lord, don’t keep me up all night with questions I can’t understand,” he pleads. But by the end of the song, he concludes, “We eventually all fall asleep.” “Insomniac’s Lullaby” closes Simon’s 2016 album Stranger to Stranger — and it’s also a great way to end this mixtape.
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
Well, that didn’t take too long, Portishead auteur Geoff Barrow has done a remix of Arcade Fire track “Creature Comfort,” off the somewhat-critically-muted-album Everything Now album. The remix gets the curious name “Comfort My Sleng Teng” in some bizarre attempt to channel dancehall patois. Well, it is in fact a dancehall-styled remix, so we’ll give it an 85 and you can dance to it, Dick.
The tune’s a promo single and you can bet it will soon be grabbing bucks on eBay…
Eagerly anticipated album arrives October 13 on the Love Records label.
By Barbi Martinez
It’s called The Knowledge. Those who know of it are Squeeze fans, and they are celebrating the first taste via first single and lead-off track “Innocence In Paradise,” The surf-rock, plangent-vibed number isas good as you’ll hear all year. The band appears to be on a winning streak based on that tune and the previous reception to the critically acclaimed comeback (after nearly two decades) album Cradle to the Grave.
Listen to the new tune below. Black coffee in bed while you do is optional.
Tune culled from eagerly awaited new album, out this week. Photo: Melinda Doster
By Blurt Staff
Singer/songwriter Stephen Doster is among the select few who can call the late comedian Bill Hicks a friend, and with “William Melvin Hicks” he commemorates that friendship. The song’s on Doster’s new album New Black Suit, which drops August 25 on Atticus Records, and we’re proud to be able to unveil it for the BLURT readership today:
“It’s my way of paying respectful tribute to Bill for his integrity and artistic vision, which, not surprisingly, still inspires people today,” explains Doster, of the song. (The album also pays tribute to other friends of his who are no longer with us, among them veteran Austin bassist George Reiff, who played on the album.) Continues Doster, “[Bill] was very passionate about people having integrity in their work and just couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t always give everything they had. I remember he said to me, ‘We are fighting an art war!'” (Below: the immortal Hicks)
New Black Suit is the followup to the Austin musician’s 2014’s Arizona, which itself was a bit of a milestone as it was the first album that Doster—a card carrying member of the Texas Music Legends Hall of Fame—had released in 18 years. Since then he’s continued to notch acclaim, and New Black Suit is nothing if not eagerly awaited. In addition to Reiff (Joe Walsh, Dixie Chicks) on bass, New Black Suit again features Dony Wynn (Dr. John, Robert Palmer) on drums and percussion, and Kevin Lovejoy (Spoon, John Mayer) on piano, organ, and keyboards accompanying the vocals and guitar work throughout from Doster.
Go HERE to check out the first single from the new album, “Shooting for the Stars.”
Ace tune from the songsmith’s The Hammer & the Heart album
By Blurt Staff
It’s a double album, and every single track is a winner—that would be The Hammer & the Heart by singer-songwriter Susan Cattaneo, who’s been compared, variously, to Bonnie Raitt, Patty Griffin, Carole King, and Emmylou Harris. Please allow Susan into your house and hearts via the song “The River Always Wins”—which, we would be remiss in not telling you, was co-written and –recorded with master musician Mark Erelli:
Susan offers the following about the track: “I wrote this song with Mark, a wonderful musician and artist who is also Lori McKenna’s producer and sideman. We both love storytelling in our songs, and The River Always Wins uses small town America images to explore the concept that no matter what man tries to do, Mother Nature always wins out. The song was recorded with a kickass band that included Mark on background vocals and guitar and Marco Giovino on drums, Jesse Williams on bass and Jim Henry on electric guitar.”
Aside from that single-song winning combo, the album itself features a whole slew of Americana stalwarts including The Bottle Rockets, Bill Kirchen, and Duke Levine. Susan’s a longtime New England favorite (she’s also a member of the beloved Massachusetts group Boxcar Lillies) who blends folk, rock, and blues with a strong dose of twang, and she’s earned love from American Songwriter, No Depression, and more. Tracing Cattaneo’s journey from her early days in New Jersey to her trial-by-fire in Nashville’s Music Row to her current home in Massachusetts (where she also teaches songwriting at the Berklee College of Music), the songs range from straight-up rockers to tender ballads in a rich melding of genres and eras.
Tune culled from new EP that is slated to arrive in October….
By Blurt Staff
You know what would make us “happy” here at the BLURT compound? A freakin’ new record from NRBQ, that’s what. Apparently the gods of rock ‘n’ roll heard our prayers, having previously answered them last year when we prayed for an NRBQ box set (and we got one, in the form of the massive, 5CD High Noon: A 50-Year History of NRBQ). Ergo, the new Happy Talk!, a five-song EP arriving Oct. 20 via the good folks at Omnivore. Check out the new single “Head On a Post,” penned by founding member Terry Adams:
Notes ‘Q guitarist Scott Ligon, “That thing is crazy…I think Terry made it up on the spot. He pointed when to go up and when to go down. One take and that was it!”
Meanwhile, Adams himself explains the genesis of the EP, whose title track is from Rogers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific: “I’ve been crazy about the song ‘Happy Talk’ since I was a kid; I bought every version I could find and still do. I’ve always wanted to record it. To get it right, you must realize that it’s in its own place that’s entirely separate from any song ever written.”
Also on the record is a very special interpretation of the Roy Orbison classic “Only the Lonely.” Adams, Ligon, Casey McDonough, and John Perrin had decided to cut the EP in between touring so they popped into Harmonium Studio and did the deed. As the saying goes—mark your calendars, kids.
Mark your calendars for Sept. 8 for the group’s latest in a legacy that stretches back to the ‘80s.
By Fred Mills
The release of a new Antietam record is always reason to hoist a pint, so get ready to pour a few on September 8 when the NYC-by-way-of-Louisville trio’s 10th album, Intimations of Immortality, arrives via the band’s Motorific Sounds label. In addition to a digital version there’s to be a limited edition CD box set: reproductions of 12 paintings done by bandmember Tara Key. Antietam’s first single is the explosive “Right Between Your Eyes,” which you can check out below.
Guitarist/vocalist Key, along with bassist Tim Harris (aka Key’s better half) and drummer Josh Madell, advise that Intimations of Immortality “is a record about pursuing that creativity with passion and honesty in the face of life’s obstacles… [The] songs push the theory of the unbending power of friendship and perseverance, delivering a set of emotional and life-affirming rock and roll.”
Key describes the single: “It’s about those times when life becomes too damn predictable, and then, lo and behold, you are hanging on for dear life. It’s a song about keeping your head and owning “surprise,” all offered in the manner of the missing 13th song from Bowie’s Pinups.”
Present on the album are plenty of NYC familiar faces: Yo La Tengo’s James McNew (mixing) and Ira Kaplan (piano), along with Sue Garner (The Shams, Run On) on vocals, Katie Gentile (Special Pillow, Mad Scene) on violin; The Scene Is Now’s Cheryl Kingan (saxes) and Steven Levi (cornet).
We’ve been listening to the new War On Drugs album, A Deeper Understanding, pretty much nonstop for the past few weeks; it’s everything that the previous LP was, and more, a truly cinematic experience of the highest order. It drops next week, August 25, via Atlantic, although WoD has already been pretty generous with the music leading up to its release, having teased fans with “Pain,” “Holding On,” “Strangest Thing,” and “Thinking of Place.”
Now “Up All Night” is available, so check it out, below. We’ll have a full review of the record next week—the vinyl version, of course.
Blurt Audio Exclusive: Thin White Rope "The Fish Song" (from 2018 remaster of The Ruby Sea