Category Archives: Music News

Photo Gallery: Farewell to Jazz Guitarist Larry Coryell, R.I.P.

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Mega-memorable show from 2012 in Toronto. Above: the virtuoso clearly loved what he did onstage.

By Eric Thom

Jazz innovator and guitar icon Larry Coryell passed away this week, and we here at BLURT have to note the man’s passing as he was an inspiration to us all. Below, some photos of him that I took during a June 2012 performance at Hugh’s Room in Toronto. R.I.P., to a master,,,

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Danny Brown Serenades Third Man Recs’ Pressing Plant Party

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By Barbi Martinez

Pitchfork is reporting that during a private party prior to the opening of the Third Man Records (that would be, um, Jack White, in Detroit) record pressing plant (that would be the plant we reported on last week), rapper Danny Brown closed out the evening with a smoking live set. Mr. White was very pleased, toasting the assembled dignitaries with a distinctively Trumpian – just kidding! it was sincere, and inspiring – “Remember this moment, because we’re making things beautiful last for the next generation.”

That generation would be m-m-m-m-MY generation of latterday vinyl lovers. Jack, Danny, and all involved – thank you from the bottom of my analog heart, and from my bosses and contributors at BLURT. Below, some Instragram fun. Scroll to the last one to see the bros….

Danny Brown tonight.

A post shared by leroyisnice (@leroyisnice) on

 

Earlier @xdannyxbrownx @thirdmanpressing

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The Teacher and The Student

A post shared by Danny Brown (@xdannyxbrownx) on

Incoming: New Sonics Tour

 

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Above: the remade/remodeled band sez, “Don’t fuck wit us or you get a switchblade between the eyes, pal.”

By Fred Mills

A couple of years ago we hailed the mighty Northwest garage monsters The Sonics, in an interview on the occasion of their first new album since 1967, This Is The Sonics. Now we’ve received word of a new tour and a new lineup for the legendary group:

The Sonics recently entered an exciting new chapter in their storied history, unveiling a retooled band lineup that teams original member Rob Lind (saxophone and harmonica) and longtime Sonics Freddie Dennis (bass and vocals) and Dusty Watson (drums) with a pair of new additions, guitarist Evan Foster (of Tacoma’s own Boss Martians) and keyboardist Jake Cavaliere (a member of L.A. garage-psych upstarts the Lords of Altamont). Founding members Gerry Roslie and Larry Parypa have chosen to step back from the rigors of touring, but remain a part of the Sonics family, and plan on continuing to contribute to the Sonics’ future recordings.

Yours truly caught the band a few years ago at SXSW at Emo’s in Austin when, standing shoulder to shoulder with a who’s-who of rock royalty all eager to see ’em, I was flattened by the volume and the viscosity. So this latest iteration will be hitting the road soon (dates below). According to Lind,

“As anyone in a touring band will tell you, touring is an arduous undertaking. When you get to be our age it’s a constant battle to get enough rest and learning how to perform when completely exhausted and then getting up the next day and doing it all over again. About eighteen months ago, Gerry decided he just couldn’t do it anymore, and he reluctantly stepped away. It was basically the same story with Larry; he just didn’t want to leave home and travel any longer. But they’re working on material for our next album and will join us in the studio.

“Dusty and Freddie have now been in the Sonics longer than the originals, and I’ve come to think of them as originals,” Lind continues, adding, “We were so incredibly lucky to find Jake Cavaliere and Evan Foster. They both were brought up on Sonics music and have been playing it since they were young boys, so they didn’t have to be taught anything. They already knew the sound that was required to be in this band. Jake and Evan were Sonics long before they ever played with us, and their transition has been easy and totally seamless.”

Tour dates:

Thu., March 23  CHICAGO, IL  Reggies

Fri., March 24  CLEVELAND OH  Beachland

Sat., March 25  TORONTO, ONT  Danforth Music Hall

Sun., March 26  DETROIT, MI  El Club

Thu., April 6   HOUSTON, TX  The Continental

Fri., April 7  DALLAS, TX  Gas Monkey

Sat., April 8   AUSTIN, TX  Rod and Custom Round Up

Sun., April 9  AUSTIN, TX  The Continental

Thur., May 18   ATLANTA, GA  Masquerade

Fri., May 19  CHARLOTTE, NC  Neighborhood Theater

Sat., May 20  NASHVILLE, TN  Muddy Roots Fest

 

Listen to a New R. Stevie Moore/Jason Faulkner Track

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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.”

Eat Ma’ Shortz: Chick-Fil-A Gets Punk’d by Grace Slick

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Up against the wall, motherfuckers: Airplane/Starship singer makes end run around the homophobes and turns their own money against ‘em. Below, watch her old band do “Volunteers” at Woodstock – it’s still a call to arms.

By Uncle Blurt

Marry me, Gracie; we’ll have the reception band play nothing but Jefferson Airplane covers.

Although financial magazine Forbes doesn’t come to mind immediately when one is looking for the latest music news, Tuesday the site was probably getting more than its fair share of visits from aging rockers, punk activists, and LGBTQ sympathizers. Possibly a few Chick-Fil-A customers, too, perplexed over why their favorite fast-food joint was taking a thumping once again.

Cast your mind back a few years to that Chick-Fil-A boycott stemming from the anti-same-sex-marriage activity and statements by CEO Dan T. Cathy, then check out an essay that singer Grace Slick published at Forbes in which she outlines, with surgical precision, her disdain for Cathy and Chick-Fil-A’s philanthropic wing, WinShape. Slick, it turns out, was approached by an ad agency seeking to license a hit tune she’d sung with Starship, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” —to Chick-Fil-A. “My first thought,” says Slick, “was ‘Fuck no!’” Then, upon reflection, she sanctioned the deal, and the commercial using her song was aired during the Grammy Awards.

Slick, however, wasn’t selling out—she was buying in, subsequently donating “every dime” she will accrue from the licensing deal to Lambda Legal, the nation’s largest legal organization active in working for LGBTQ civil rights. “Instead of them replacing my song with someone else’s and losing this opportunity to strike back at anti-LGBTQ forces, I decided to spend the cash in direct opposition to ‘Check’-fil-A’s causes – and to make a public example of them, too. We’re going to take some of their money, and pay it back.”

Slick rightly notes that when she was coming up through the rock ranks, she was part of a generation—as I was, too—that believed in taking a stand when a cause demanded it, and of not bowing down to the almighty dollar just because it was being dangled. And she concludes her editorial with a challenge to fellow musicians to think first before taking that dollar, and assess who is offering it—and, in turn, to find ways to target one’s music so it reflects one’s beliefs and ideals.

“We can use our gifts to help stop the forces of bigotry. Nothing’s gonna stop us now.”

You go, girl. If that’s not a goddam call to arms, then my name’s Milo.

Watch New Video from Hezen

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Track taken from new EP, released last month.

By Jonathan Levitt

Combining elements of Bjork and Massive Attack, the artist known as Hezen has created something magical and haunting with her latest track “Oil Fire” whose video recalls elements of Bjork’s “All is Full of Love”. Shot on an iPhone if you can believe it (I still can’t!) the video presents some unforgettable images that work well with her haunting vocals. Check it out, below.

The tune appears on her latest EP, Stigma, released on January 27, which is available digitally at her Bandcamp page and is additionally streaming at Soundcloud.

Video Premiere: 20 Minute Loop “Mercury Vapor”

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Beloved band also playing the Noise Pop festival this week in SF.

San Francisco popsters 20 Minute Loop celebrate 20 years as a band this week with their first new album in eight years.  Feb. 24 brings the release of Songs Praising the Mutant Race, and we are honored to premiere a delightfully twisted video for the track “Mercury Vapor” for the ever-erudite BLURT readership. Check it out:

“The video for ‘Mercury Vapor’ was a fun project that I put together using found royalty-free footage from a fire safety video from the early 70s,” says Atkins. “It was fun to imagine the fire in the video as a petulant child singing ‘I don’t care if I die, if I wind up dead!’, one of the lyrics in the song’s chorus.”

The band appears this week—tomorrow, in fact, Feb. 21—at hometown music fest Noise Pop and will no doubt be showcasing a ton of new material (eight years is a long time) from the album, their sixth. But it may sound uniquely familiar at the same time: the album offers up stripped down and reinvented versions of ten favorites from the 20 Minute Loop catalog, one cover song, and one never-before-released tune.

The group was formed in 1997 by Greg Giles (vocals, guitar) and Kelly Atkins (vocals, keys, flute). Fans may have thought they’d gone away for good in recent years, something the band attributes to “impossible scheduling, newborn children, and brain-rotting graduate studies.” (We can identify with all of the above, indeed.)

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Inspired by the reactions of longtime fans at a series of intimate house concerts that 20 Minute Loop performed upon initially reforming in 2014, Songs Praising The Mutant Race finds the group recording as a trio in very similar circumstances: live in the room at Ninth Street Opus studios in Berkeley. Here we have the songs and singers laid bare, accompanied by overdubs from mostly acoustic instruments, including viola, trumpet, flute, accordion, wineglass organ, and more. And its one of those longtime fans who has become a co-conspirator: Kevin Seal – “I like Radiohead more than 20 Minute Loop, and that’s basically it,” he jokes – sat in on piano and vocals for the living room shows, and has now joined in on the reinvention of these tunes in the studio. They also brought in Caitlin Tabancay Austin for a third harmony on “Mercury Vapor.”

“I don’t know why this song has a country hop to it,” Giles says, of the reimagined tune, “but let’s just say 20 Minute Loop has always enjoyed mixing jubilant music with lyrical fatalism. I guess we’re syncopating tones, sweet and sour, joy and loneliness, truck axles and eiderdown.”

Incidentally, all us vinyl-loving BLURT folks will be stoked to learn that Songs Praising The Mutant Race to be its first album issued on vinyl, and they are doing it with style. In addition to the usual formats, fans can purchase a beautiful vinyl edition of the album with a jacket illustrated by Sara Lautman.

More details online (hint: don’t go to 20minuteloop.com unless you are needing financial advice – instead, go here): http://www.20minloop.com/

https://www.facebook.com/20minuteloopofficial/

 

Funky Drummer Clyde Stubblefield 1943-2017 R.I.P.

 

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By Fred Mills

One of the most acclaimed – and sampled – drummers, Clyde Stubblefield, passed away yesterday, Feb. 18, from kidney failure. He was 73.

Stubblefield of course was James Brown’s drummer at the time Brown and his JB’s cut signature track “The Funky Drummer.” The 1970 tune, or more accurately the 20-second drum fill in the middle of the song, would one day become one of the most recognizable and heavily sampled loop in hip-hop history.Think  Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” “Bring the Noise” and “Rebel Without a Pause,” N.W.A’s “Fuck tha Police” and Dr. Dre’s “Let Me Ride,” LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” Run-D.M.C.’s “Run’s House” and Beastie Boys’ “Shadrach.”

Below, you can hear the track, and after that is a video that instructs you how to actually play the drum loop.

Stubblefield had played with Otis Redding and worked as a session man before joining Brown’s band in 1965. After leaving in 1971 he continued working, releasing some solo records and also forming the Funkmasters. According to Rolling Stone he was in poor health in recent years:

“While Stubblefield did not have health insurance, in April 2016, Stubblefield revealed that Prince secretly paid the $90,000 in medical bills the drummer accumulated while undergoing chemotherapy for bladder cancer. Prince considered Stubblefield one of his “drumming idols,” Stubblefield told Billboard following Prince’s death.”

Accolades from across the musical spectrum have poured in following his death, among them Bootsy Collins, who  wrote on Facebook Saturday “We lost another Pillar Stone that held up the Foundation of Funk,” And Questlove wrote on Instagram on Saturday, “The Funky Funkiest Drummer Of All Time, Clyde Stubblefield thank you for everything you’ve taught me. The spirit of the greatest grace note left hand snare drummer will live on thru all of us.”

 

 

Burger Boogaloo Festival Lineup Announced

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Iggy, X, Buzzcocks, Guitar Wolf, Nobunny, Roy Loney, John Waters….

By Blurt Staff

Oakland’s Burger Boogaloo will take place July 1st & 2nd at Mosswood Park, announces its line-up for 2017, and whoo-boy it’s a doozy. The most ambitious lineup yet, Burger Boogaloo is celebrating its 5th year at Mosswood by announcing Iggy Pop, Buzzcocks, X, Guitar Wolf, and many more will be joining this year’s festivities. The event will be hosted by the inimitable John Waters yet again, who notes, “I’ve been a punk at heart even before there was such a thing and hosting Burger Boogaloo always ups my street cred. I’m the oldest juvenile delinquent there.”

Every year the Burger Boogaloo surprises the audience with its unique, over-the-top stage sets and productions. Last year the Mummies drove in to the park in their 1966 Pontiac Bonneville Mummies Mobile, and played their headlining set on top of the car.

Because Mosswood Park has always been so generous to the Boogaloo, this year, the festival donated 100% of the first week of early bird ticket sales to the park to help rebuild their recreation center, which burned down last year. If you’d like to contribute to Mosswood Park’s Rec Center fund, you can do so here.

Tickets and details at: http://burgerboogaloo.com/.

 

SATURDAY, JULY 1ST
Iggy Pop
Guitar Wolf
NoBunny
Baby Shakes
Bloodshot Bill
Personal & The Pizzas
Wounded Lion
Car Crash

SUNDAY, JULY 2ND
Buzzcocks
X
NRBQ
Roy Loney (Flamin’ Groovies)
Shannon & The Clams
Quintron & Ms. Pussycat
La Luz
Jacuzzi Boys
Glitter Wizard

Third Man Opening Vinyl Pressing Plant, Will Offer Tours

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Much-needed addition to the perpetually under-the-gun vinyl industry.

By Blurt Staff

Nobody will ever accuse Jack White of failing to champion vinyl, and further evidence of him putting his money where his mouth recently arrived with the announcement of the imminent opening of Third Man Pressing, a vinyl pressing plant located in Detroit. (White first started talking about his plans in 2015.) The public unveiling is officially this week, Feb. 25, and there will be a grand opening party free to the public starting at 10AM—and with music kicking in around 2:30 with the Mummies, the Oblivians, and the Craig Brown Band.

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According to Diffuser, Third Man will also be selling “a great assortment of freshly pressed Detroit-centric LPs” that will only be available for purchase at the grand opening, including exclusive colored vinyl editions of albums by the White Stripes, the MC5, and the Stooges.”

The official press release notes that TMP represents the first “fully climate-controlled pressing plant work environment in the world” with a “closed-loop, chilled-water system that maximizes water sustainability.” Not to mention adding to the limited number of actual record presses operating in the U.S.—and potentially helping to cut down on the notorious delays people have experienced the past couple of years trying to get their albums and singles pressed up. The goal will be to crank out 5,000 LPs an hour.

Incidentally, punters will be able to take tours of the facility and observe the manufacturing process. The $20 admission will include the proverbial swag bag – are we thinking limited edition swag, hmm?

More details, photos, technical specs for the plant, go to Third Man’s site.

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