Category Archives: Music News

Incoming: Long Ryders LP – 1st New Studio Record in Over 3 Decades

Tear down those “Walls,” Mister President, and get ready for a serious ryde….

By Fred Mills

Breaking news alert – no, Trump hasn’t tweeted that we’re building a wall at the Canadian border. This is far more momentous, and musically speaking, it also involves a song called “Walls”: the mighty alt-country godfathers The Long Ryders have a new album scheduled to drop early next year. Longtime BLURT readers will already know of my longstanding devotion to Sid, Stephen, Greg, and Tom – you can check out a 2009 interview I did with Sid about the band around the time they were getting back together for some American shows.

Psychedelic Country Soul arrives Feb. 15 via Omnivore. Currently it is only listed as forthcoming in CD or digital formats, so let’s lobby for a vinyl version as well, fellow fans. (Note: go HERE for some details on the band’s awesome 4-CD 2016 box set; it’s a must own for any fan.) Here are the official details:

The Long Ryders, founders of alt-country in the 1980s, saddle up for the first time in thirty years with their biggest and best slice of Americana yet, the aptly named Psychedelic Country Soul. The album was produced by Ed Stasium (Ramones, Belinda Carlisle, The Smithereens) and features a eleven Ryder originals and a cover of their friend Tom Petty’s great song, “Walls.”

Recorded in Los Angeles at Dr. Dre’s studio, Psychedelic Country Soul is, in Long Ryder Sid Griffin’s own words, “the album we were always trying to make… each flavor which made the band unique is there be it C&W, rock ’n’ roll, troubadour folk music, raw R&B, or out-there psychedelia.” The Long Ryders (Griffin, ex-Jayhawk Stephen McCarthy, song publisher Greg Sowders and NASA veteran Tom Stevens) are supplemented on the album by old friends The Bangles on harmony vocals and stellar sideman Dave Perlman (Everly Bros. Hoyt Axton) on pedal steel guitar.

Yet, ultimately the album is The Long Ryders. With Griffin’s familiar electric 12-string guitar, McCarthy’s virtuoso Clarence White licks, Tom Stevens earthy bass and Greg Sowders swingin’ drums, Psychedelic Country Soul is an album for 2019 made with the flavors of yesterday which has the sound and the spirit of tomorrow. Get ready for the ryde of your life.

Tracklisting:

 

  • Greenville
  • Let It Fly
  • Molly Somebody
  • All Aboard
  • Gonna Make It Real
  • If You Want To See Me Cry
  • What The Eagle Sees
  • California State Line
  • The Sound
  • Walls
  • Bells Of August
  • Psychedelic Country Soul

 

RSD Black Friday Vinyl: Perry Serpa’s “Songs Inspired By Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked ” (Schoolkids Recs)

By Blurt Staff

So hopefully you read our recent feature/interview with singer/songwriter (and longtime music industry icon) Perry Serpa: “ABOUT A SONGWRITER: Perry Serpa does Nick Hornby.” As contributor John Moore wrote:

Perry Serpa, singer/songwriter best known for his work with the brilliant indie pop band The Sharp Things (profiled in 2014 at BLURT),  has brought fiction to life with his latest project: Wherefore Art Thou? Songs Inspired By Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked. Admittedly we’re treading pretty close to Being John Malkovich territory here, but Perry’s record (10 songs, just as described in the book) is simply sublime. Getting help from a number of his friends, Perry was even able to convince Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, Minus 5) to guest on a track. McCaughey, fittingly, is one of the musicians mentioned in Hornby’s book who played on the (fictional) Tucker Crowe tribute album… take a moment to let that sink in.

The album arrives today on vinyl LP as part of the annual Record Store Day Black Friday event, courtesy our sister business, Schoolkids Records. Below is the press release from Schoolkids. So get off your butt, go support your local independent record retailer, and check out Mr. Serpa!

————————————————–

“Magnificent. I love every song, words and music. It works completely on its own terms and sounds complete in a way that very few albums do anymore.”
-Nick Hornby


“The mid-70s derived hooks and instrumental flourishes are plentiful, but the standouts, fittingly, are the bookends: opener “And You Are?” features a Dylanesque vocal by Scott McCaughey of The Minus Five and the seven-minute closing opus, “You And Your Perfect Life” recalls Ray Davies at his most conceptual.”  
UNCUT


“From Wuthering Heights to Paranoid Android, there’s no shortage of songs inspired by works of fiction.But how about making an entire record based on a fictional album that’s described in a novel? That’s what Perry Serpa has done with Wherefore Art Thou? – a collection of unorthodox, literate indie songs built around clues scattered throughout Nick Hornby’s 2009 book, Juliet, Naked.”
 –BBC NEWS

“Now, Perry Serpa, singer/songwriter best known for his work with the brilliant indie pop band The Sharp Things… has brought fiction to life with his latest project: Wherefore Art Thou? Songs Inspired By Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked. Admittedly we’re treading pretty close to Being John Malkovich territory here, but Perry’s record (10 songs, just as described in the book) is simply sublime.” 
 BLURT

“What’s most impressive about Wherefore Art Thou? is that it’s mostly Serpa by his lonesome, creating not only a great album but also one that holds its own with its source material.”
 –MAGNET

“The album covers a wide range, stylistically, but they all sport Serpa’s smart songwriting.”

NO DEPRESSION

““And You Are?” is the opening track on the imaginary album, so likewise opens Serpa’s. And what a wonderful, evocative piece of retro, semi-baroque folk rock it is.” –FINGERTIPS MUSIC

Serpa notes, “The album is my version of the fictional album described in ‘Juliet, Naked’. I sang & played most of the instruments, but it also includes guests like beloved Americana singer/songwriter Laura Cantrell, Aja Warren, Edward Rogers, Don Piper and my son, Aidan, playing some mean lead guitar. A brilliant fellow named Ron Raymond played slide guitar and m’man James Pertusi mastered it and helped me record some of it as well.”

Track Premiere: JM Lansdowne “Baby Blue”

“A multitude of great memories”: sonic gem plucked from songwriter’s new EP that arrives in stores THIS WEEK.

By John B. Moore

JM Lansdowne really hit the nail on the hit with the title of his latest EP, Clean & Unholy.

With a crumpling marriage, scoring drugs competing with his shows, and then the sudden death of someone close to him, Lansdowne knew he had to change, so he began the hard path to get clean and sober. The result can be heard all over this powerful new record.

BLURT is stoked to be able to share the song “Baby Blue,” off this new EP:

Lansdowne reflects on the track, noting, “‘Baby Blue’ is one hell of a special tune. For me, it reminds me of the good times and highlights a multitude of great memories. It’s one of those songs that talks of going out drinking with your girl, who probably can’t hold as much alcohol as she lets on… Then come the shenanigans, but you’re cool with it cause you’re crazy about her and could care less about anything else.”

The 7-song Clean & Unholy is due out this Friday, November 23, via Paper + Plastick Records. It was recorded in Dallas, Texas; Valparaiso, Indiana; and Lima, Ohio by Quentin Black. Keep tabs on Lansdowne, along with touring dates, at his Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Amanda Wilson

Deen Ween Connects Weed & Music in “Total Sense” Venue Move

Rock over (and under, and in and around…) Denver!

By Blurt Staff

Dean Ween, salt, er, we mean ALT rocker Dean Ween, late of alt rock band WEEN, is looking to establish his Denver-based Honeypot Lounge with some pro-weed bonafides: you’d be able to drop into the music venue – say, before, during, or after an event at the massive nearby Coors Field – and start toking up with your posse.

Said Honeypot Lounge COO Michael Polansky to the Denver Post, “I think cannabis and music make total, total sense together. We think that we can offer a unique kind of musical experience for Denver and the world. Social consumption is the next frontier.”

Plans are to open in April of next year. Stay tuned for developments – as one might imagine of a stoners paradise scenario, there is no location yet targeted nor has a license been applied for.

Woodstock 50th “still happening” – for what purpose?

Save the planet, yo…

By Uncle Blurt

i attended the original Woodstock Music & Arts Festival, and while it was, admittedly, a cultural touchstone, it was also a logistical and physical nightmare. My son subsequently attended the mud-soaked, dehydrated fiasco that was Woodstock ’94, and it fared similarly. There was also some half-baked 40th anniversary “traveling troupe” iteration in 2009 called “Heroes of Woodstock” that is rightly forgotten.

In short, historical markers being what they are, let them remain where they are.

But nostalgia – and cash grabs – rule in 2018, so as Stereogram points out, original Woodstock promoter Michael Lang is pledging to come up with at least something next year to mark the big 5 – 0. Below is the report, and with no other commentary than “Bah!” we will turn the matter over to the court of the steadily-greying court of public opinion.

 

Woodstock’s 50th anniversary is coming up next year. An anniversary concert has been talked about for a while now. This summer, when archeologists dug up the festival field in Bethel, NY where the festival took place, there was mention of the on-site museum planning interactive walking routes in time for its anniversary in 2019.

And in a new interview with The Poughkeepsie Journal, one of the festival’s original promoters Michael Lang said that there were “definite plans” for a 50th anniversary event. “This is not a done deal yet. But it’s very close,” he said, noting that an official announcement is in the works.

“We’re hoping to inspire people to speak up and get involved and get out and vote and help us save the planet,” Lang told the Journal. “We are in trouble and it seems like we’ve been brought back in time in a lot of ways.”

There is, of course, precedent for massive Woodstock anniversary concerts. For its 40th anniversary in 2009, a troupe of musicians who performed at the original event went on a traveling tour that included a stop on the Bethel grounds.

 

Celebrate Record Store Day’s Black Friday Sale w/Schoolkids Records!

It’s that time!

Join Schoolkids Records Nov 22 for Black Friday 2018! Kick off the holiday season in high style. We will have a giant selection of picture discs, 7″ singles, rare and unreleased music. From A Perfect Circle to The Zombies, these are one-time only releases. Once they sell out, they are gone forever! you can view all the Black Friday releases here.

For those who do not know, Record Store Day was created to celebrate independently owned record stores. It’s day to bring the community together to celebrate the love of music. Records are pressed in specifically for this day. They are limited in the number pressed as well. These releases are only available at stores participating in RSD.  For many of these releases, it is the first time they have been available on vinyl. Unreleased music, live performances and picture discs from a wide variety of artists and genres highlight the day. Both of our locations will be open at 8 am.m to celebrate this day of friendship, love and music!
And yeah, Schoolkids is the Blurt sister business, so whattaya waiting for? Go get in line!

Track Premiere: GospelbeacH “Runnin’ Blind”

SoCal kings of cool serve up another winner – not to mention a stunning looking slab o’ wax.

By John B. Moore

 If Blurt had a house band, there’s a pretty good chance the laidback, LA-based Indie Pop band GospelbeacH would be in the running. No less than our editor Fred Mills called last year’s sumptuous sophomore platter, Another Summer of Love, “not only perfectly titled, it’s a study in both perfect conception and perfect execution”; longtime contributor Barry St. Vitus described 2015’s Pacific Surf Line as a classic release as“viewed through the lens of the Buffalo Springfield, Flying Burrito Brothers, Chris Darrow and others who pioneered the sound and glorified So-Cal’s gilded palace of sin and sun with a country spin early on.”

So imagine how stoked we were to be asked to premiere the song “ Runnin’ Blind,” off their soon-to-be-released Another Winter Alive.

“‘Runnin’ Blind’ is our attempt to blend Krautrock with The Everly Brothers…lyrically it’s one of those prophetic songs that weren’t real at the time but life ended up imitating art,” said singer-songwriter Brent Rademaker.

The album features five previously unreleased studio tracks recorded during the band’s sessions for Another Summer Of Love plus five live songs recorded in London during their California Fantasy tour, revisiting stripped-down live versions of songs from their debut album Pacific Surf Line.

GospelbeacH’s Another Winter Alive will be available on Limited Edition Vinyl, CD, digital and streaming formats on November 30th via Alive Naturalsound Records.

Link to pre-order the starburst vinyl (photo of the LP that our editor just got in the mail from his pre-order purchase is above):  https://www.bompstore.com/gospelbeach-another-winter-alive-starburst-vinyl-w-double-sided-color-insert/

Meanwhile, visit the band on Facebook and tag Blurt when you do so they’ll know we sent ya: https://www.facebook.com/GospelbeacHband/

 

NPR’s “Will the Circle…” American Anthem B-cast Prompts Editor’s Memory

Picture Robert Duvall leading a cast of country legends… with Tom Cruise in attendance. (Above photo NOT from the show, but from the actor’s star turn in the film The Apostle.)

By Fred Mills, Blurt Editor

During drivetime today, during NPR’s daily All Things Considered broadcast, they presented their latest in their wonderful “American Anthem” series of classic American songs that have been deemed, well, anthems worth memorializing and frequent celebrating. Ergo, the Americana country-gospel standard “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” which in the seamless report from contributor Jewly Hight, puts things this way:

The song’s ability to help people feel emotionally, spiritually and musically connected to their present-day communities and those who have died, whether legendary musicians or loved ones, has made it a go-to ritual everywhere from worship services to family memorials, gospel sings, bluegrass picking parties, Americana award show finales and the annual Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Indeed. I had my up close and personal encounter with the song one memorable evening in January of 1990, involving  Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, June Carter Cash, Jessi Colter, Robert Duvall… and Tom Cruise. From my notes (and you can read the entire story here as well):

In January of 1990 Tom Cruise had finished filming his race car flick Days of Thunder at the Charlotte Motor Speedway…Early in the evening, co-star Robert Duvall arrived at the party with four very special friends in tow: Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, June Carter Cash and Jessi Colter. Holy shit. I soon enough ditched my undercover-journalist guise and turned into a gushing fanboy, going over to welcome them to Charlotte and shake their hands. Soon enough, Cash and Jennings got up onstage to play with the band [local group the Belmont Playboys] for a couple of songs, followed by their wives, and then by Duvall. Before it was all done, Duvall was leading the entire room in an extended chorus of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” The looks of pleasure on Jennings and Cash’s faces were priceless—as was the million watt smile Cruise flashed when I wandered over to him to “casually” ask what he thought of the band and the guests. “Man, they were rockin’!” he replied. Looks like I scored an interview, not to mention one of those once-in-a-lifetime, gonna-tell-the-grandchildren-some-day moments.

An American anthem, indeed.

Tony Joe White 1943 – 2018 R.I.P.

He was the Swamp Fox – the only one, period. And there will never be another. Latest album is Bad Mouthin’, and you need it.

By Fred Mills

Words escape me. When I finally got to see him perform live in Austin, about a decade ago at SXSW (Antone’s, if anyone is interested), I was absolutely flattened. To shake the hand of a hero of mine since the ’60s, well… he had no idea what a fanboy he was looking at through those thick black sunglasses of his.

Like I said, there are no words…

Discogs Online Music Marketplace Starts “Exclusives” Sales Site

Vinyl collectors, and maybe even a few cassette nuts, start your saliva engines!

By Barbi Martinez

The well-regarded music collectors’ portal Discogs – which operates as a user-friendly alternative to eBay and other online marketplaces – has been for months teasing it would be launching its Discogs Exclusive companion site. As The Vinyl Factory details:

The new platform, now in its beta phase, will sell a range of rare and limited release vinyl and cassette offerings including test-pressings, special editions, out of print fare and warehouse finds. So why start a separate marketplace for these items? Discogs’ Jeffrey Smith explains:

“We would have intense conversations with people working within the indie/major label communities; people who were Discogs devotees and passionate collectors themselves. There was a common story evolving. They have access to something neither we nor the Community have access to: test pressings or tiny amounts of out-of-print stock that can be hard to find — even in our own Marketplace. It felt like there had to be something we could do to help bring this stuff into the open for collectors everywhere, not just those with connections.”

Among the initial offerings (some of which have already sold out): limited cassette box sets of filmmaker/scorer John Carpenter, and White Stripes vinyl test pressings. (Guess which sold out immediately….)

Intrigued? Go to: https://exclusives.discogs.com/