Category Archives: Music News

MP3: Download Yo La Tengo’s 3/23/17 “Turned Itself Inside Out” Show

By Uncle Blurt

Who out there doesn’t love Yo La Tengo? (Okay, you in the corner, the dude with the Fatomas T-shirt, please let yourself out quietly.) In March the Hoboken heroes mounted a unique concert billed as Yo La Tengo Turned Itself Inside Out that featured additional instrumentation beyond the core three: two drummers, a guitarist, a four-person horn section, and Zeena Parkins on electric harp being processed through multiple effects boxes. The good folks at Big O Zine have now posted the show in its entirety online – via a hot-sounding audiende recording at Dime A Dozen, natch.

Lineup:
Ira Kaplan – guitar, piano, vocals
Georgia Hubley
drums, vocals
James McNew
bass, keyboards, vocals

Chad Taylordrums
Amy Garapic
drums
Zeena Parkins
harp
Mary Halvorson
guitar
Vincent Chancey
french horn
Roswell Rudd
– trombone
Daniel Carter
saxophone
Taylor Ho Bynum
– cornet

MP3: Yo La Tengo – Town Hall, New York, NY; March 23, 2017.

You can download the MP3s at the above link, along with artwork suitable for printing out. The full tracklist is below.


      Track 101
. Let’s Be Still 11:52
      Track 102
. Ohm 10:02
      Track 103
. Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House 6:34
      Track 104
. Black Flowers 5:56
      Track 105
. Tom Courtenay 4:22
      Track 106
. Our Way to Fall 6:12
      Track 107
. Green Arrow 7:38
      Track 201
. Saturday 5:04
      Track 202
. Stupid Things 11:18
      Track 203
. Autumn Sweater 5:42
      Track 204
. Blue Line Swinger 19:42
      Track 205
. Nuclear War 10:17

 

Video Premiere: The Suburbs “Hey Muse!”

Choice track – one of the best surprises of the year to date as well – plucked from brand new album of same name, released June 23.

By Blurt Staff

Founding members Chan Poling and Hugo Klaers, of the legendary Minneapolis new-wave and punk band The Suburbs, have a new album and single called HEY MUSE! The new album is to drop Friday, June 23rd. We are honored at BLURT to be able to give our readers an advance taste. Check out HEY MUSE! single and watch the new music video for it below:

Hey Muse! is a brand new collection of tunes; an extension of the Suburbs sound forged in the cauldron of underground;  rock that bubbled up in the Twin Cities in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. As usual the goal is to make you laugh, cry, and shake your ass.

The Suburbs’ newest addition to the band is veteran guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker (Andrew Bird, Alpha Consumer), who also created their new music video Hey Muse! The video was made on a tour of the U.K., ordinary things through the eyes of someone far from home, but without day to day tasks that keep one’s eyes and imagination busy. A color and shape party.

Plenty of opps to see the band live over the next few weeks – dates at their website. And revisit their deep history at Wikipedia.

 

 

We Want YOU at our Purple Rain Listening Party w/Schoolkids Records

And yes, there will be giveaways…

By Blurt Staff

Join BLURT’s sister business Schoolkids Records of Raleigh, NC, this Friday (June 23), and hear the new remastered version of Prince’s Purple Rain soundtrack.

Warner Bros is re-releasing Purple Rain in various iterations (including an expanded 3CD/DVD edition) and a handful of classic Prince singles, freshly remastered. We will be dropping the needle at 7PM. Re-live those great memories of Prince by hearing Purple Rain again, for the first time!  We will have cold beer on tap, hot music on the platter, and plenty of fabulous giveaways. Mark your calendars and don’t miss this party!

Schoolkids is located at 2237 Avent Ferry Road in Raleigh, and it is one of three Schoolkids locations in North Carolina. Visit the official website for all the details.

 

Track Premiere: Pauline Pisano “Calling All Angels”

Taken from upcoming August release.

By Blurt Staff

A founding member of Decima, The Crushes, and I, Revere (not to mention an auxiliary player for Walking For Pennies, The New Hotness, The Black Atlas, and BETS), keyboardist/vocalist/composer Pauline Pisano is now prepping an ambitious new solo album, Inside The Wheel, due in August. We are honored at BLURT to be able to give our readers an advance taste. Check out “Calling All Angels”:

Inside The Wheel has its origins in a cancelled tour and a relationship dissolution, and Pisano subsequently retreating to a secluded family cottage where she could think, write, reflect, write more, and ultimately look within herself for the narrative that emerged. Indeed, it is a concept album involving three main characters: the self, the youngest/oldest self, and the furies. Using a harmonizer, each character is assigned a vocal timbre: The self is Pauline’s voice unaffected, the wise youngest/oldest self is a voice heard an octave below, and the furies are heard in hard-tuned 3rds, 4ths, and 6ths. These characters flow in and out of each song and often speak to each other. The album is meant to be heard from start to finish as song order of the album was embedded in its initial stages of construction.

To capture the dark/hopeful vibe of this record Pauline’s producer, Dan Weiner, utilized bass synths, soft acoustic guitars, a vibraphone, a piano, Rhodes, spacey electric guitars, marimba, cello, percussion and electric/acoustic drums. For Pisano this is a new sound, however there are certain songs that pay homage to her earlier works.

Find out more about Pisano, including her work as a social activist and advocate for mental health, at her official website.

Photo Credit: Chris Montgomery
 

 

 

Death From Above 1979 Surprise-releases Flexidisc

Makes a great wall ornament, too!

By Barbi Martinez

The rumored new Death From Above 1979 single in rumor no more: titled “Freeze Me,” the rowdy, thumping, jerking-back-and-forth track is pressed up as a clear vinyl flexidisc and is currently causing a stir among fans who, uh, can’t play records.

Never fear, kids. As I write, folks are turning the tune into MP3s and uploading the song to the interwebs, and it’s also aired on the BBC HERE so you can listen to it.  The flexi has been turning up for free in the mailboxes of fans all over the country, not to mention the mailbox of ye olde editor of BLURT, via the group’s label Warner Bros.

Listen to Minneapolis Punk Legends the Suicide Commandos, Reunited

SC2

Long-overdue second full-length out now revived Twin/Tone label, which is “forced back into existence.” Boy howdy!

By Fred “Blurt Archival Geek” Mills

Once upon a time there was a ground zero punk combo called the Suicide Commandos: Straight outta Minneapolis, the trio foreshadowed that ‘burg’s subsequent explosion as one of the key Amerindie scenes—think Husker Du, Soul Asylum, Replacements, et al. They only notched a pair of 45s and a full-length, 1978’s Make A Record (issued on Pere Ubu’s Mercury-distributed Blank Records label), earning critical kudos across the globe and going on to become a key artifact of punk, but, as with many similar indie avatars of the era, ultimately bit the dust.

Yours truly was honored to have had the proverbial critical front row seat at the time, though, as the punk fanzine I contributed to (and eventually published), Biohazard Informae, covered the band during its initial run. Wait… did I just write “initial run”?!?

SC

Indeed. The news recently arrived that, against all odds, the Suicide Commandos were on the verge of gearing back up. The members, of course, went on to other pursuits—fans with long memories will fondly recall bassist Steve Almaas and his post-SC proto-Americana combo Beat Rodeo—and it’s been aeons since the name “Suicide Commandos” was uttered aside from discussions about the early Twin Cities scene and the stray one-off reunion gig. But here’s the musical proof: Time Bomb is issued by the equally legendary Twin/Tone Records label—yeah, that label, the one that gave the world the Replacements—also returned from the grave to do the deed. It’s the first record since the Suburbs’ 1994 album Viva! Suburbs! Welcome back.

The record has been pressed up as a limited-edition (1000 copies, each numbered) LP, and you can also get it in digital form or as an on-demand burned CDR. Check out the first single from the new album, “Boogie’s Coldest  Acre” below, and meanwhile, you can view the album booklet itself HERE.

From the label: “[The Suicide Commandos are] readying their first new studio album since the 1978 Blank/Mercury debut, Make A RecordTime Bomb has many of the hallmarks of the band’s original oeuvre, their fast, punky, brainy, fun and often funny rock n’ roll sound – The Ramones meet Eddie Cochran meets ZZ Top – but adds a catchy, pop-ish slant and a modern production flare that brings a freshness to the entire proceedings. The first vinyl pressing will be a limited, numbered edition of 1,000 copies. (It will also be issued digitally.)

Time Bomb was produced by the Commandos, primarily recorded in their hometown at Master Mix Studios by Kevin Bowe (Jonny Lang, Paul Westerberg, Dan Wilson) and mixed by Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Let’s Active, The dBs) at Fidelitorium Recordings in North Carolina. Though there had been reunion shows over the years, the band hadn’t felt compelled to record again. Why Now? you may ask.

“Guitarist Chris Osgood tells us, ‘After Tommy Erdelyi died, Steve pointed out that The Ramones were all gone and we were all still here, and that we should make a record.’ The group’s New York City-based bass player, Steve Almaas, adds ‘The time was right. I had a couple of songs I thought would sound good with Chris and Dave. Once they started coming up with material, it inspired me to write a few more. Also, in this modern age, it’s much easier to work long distance. That really helped make this possible.’

Got all that? Okay, let us review:

Online:  SuicideCommandos.com  TwinToneRecords.com  

Track Premiere: John Elderkin and ¡Moonbeans No Mas! “We Waited Five Years”

Yes, more, Mr. E! Tune clipped with love from upcoming full-length by the Tarheel rocker.

By Blurt Staff

Full disclosure: BLURT is a North Carolina-based journalistic empire, with one foot in the Triangle and one foot in Asheville (and, we hasten to add, just recently, we’ve added a vestigial limb actually located in Dublin, Ireland). So we gonna support the home team, okay? This means that the August 4 release of a new album from John Elderkin and ¡Moonbeans No Mas!, titled The Fall and Rise of John Elderkin and ¡Moonbeams No Mas!, has got us feeling pretty good.

Let’s cut to the chase and give all the rest of you room to cheer. Take a sonic spin with “We Waited Five Years”:

Now, you are already saying to yourself, “Hmm, what’s with those David Bowie allusions?” And indeed, as Elderkin points out, about the album, “It plays like some sort of weird sequel to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.” There’s even a track called, tellingly enough, “Give Me Your Hands”, not to mention the overt tribute to the late icon, “Song For David Bowie.” It’s a concept album from the veteran Tarheel rocker, who has enlisted a who’s-who roster of fellow Carolinians, including co-star/vocal foil Danielle Howle, Don Dixon, Robert Sledge of Ben Folds Five, and members The Old Ceremony, Pressure Boys, Sex Police, Dillon Fence, What Peggy Wants, The Temperance League, Hobex, National Symphony Orchestra, Popes, Spongetones, Hindugrass, Satellite Boyfriend, and the Coolies.

Intrigued? Here’s more on the web:

https://www.moonbeamsnomas.com
https://www.facebook.com/moonbeamsnomas/
https://twitter.com/MoonbeamsNoMas

 

 

Video Exclusive: Live Song + Interview by China’s Twinkle Star

Live in Beijing China, May 6th 2017, Yugong Yishan Club

By Jonathan Levitt

A while back I introduced Blurt readers to the Chinese band Twinkle Star. A chance ride in lead guitarist Zhang Shuai’s car has led to a close friendship with the band. As they were wrapping up their tour for their latest and greatest record Full of Hope they made a stop in their hometown to bring the house down at the Yugong Yishan Club in central Beijing. Zhou Jialin, who is now the sole member of the Blurt Beijing team (as I’m now stateside) brought along her Taiwanese friend A Pei to shoot some of the concert for Blurt readers and what a killer show it was as evidenced by the footage that I edited together for the song “To Be With You”.

My heart on sleeve plea is that I really hope that Blurt readers can explore more of the band’s musical offerings and hopefully someone out there can help make their dream of playing stateside a reality!

Catch up with the band online: https://www.facebook.com/TwinklestarbandCN/

Photo credits: All photos by Zhou Jialin are marked ZJL / All photos by Pei marked Pei / Bottom photo of Zhou Jialin by Pei

“Stax 60” Album Campaign w/10 LPs from 10 Classic Artists

Each Stax Classics entry features a dozen tracks by a legend—among them, William Bell, Johnny Taylor, Staple Singers, Otis Redding, and Carla Thomas.

By Bill Kopp

The venerable and legendary Stax Records was started 60 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee. Originally doing business as Satellite Records, the label founded by Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton (and later helmed by Al Bell) would go on to release a catalog of staggering quality before falling victim to a host of problems that would end its existence in the mid-1970s. (Stax would eventually continue as a reissue label.) Those interested in learning more about Stax are enthusiastically directed to Rob Bowman’s excellent and richly detailed Soulsville, U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records, published in 1997. [It is indeed a reference Bible around the BLURT kiosk. -Soul/funk Ed.]

Today Concord Music owns the rights to administer the Stax Catalog, and has done a good job of reintroducing long-deleted titles to release. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Stax, Concord has compiled best-of from several of the label’s artists. I have four of those titles – all released May 19 – on my desk: all are called Stax Classics, and there’s one each from William Bell, the Dramatics, the Staple Singers and Johnnie Taylor. Each Stax Classics entry features a dozen tracks by the highlighted artist, plus a short yet informative liner note essay and a reasonable amount of discographical information. These aren’t really designed for the serious enthusiast; instead each serves as a tidy sampler/introduction to the Stax-era work of the artist.

William Bell’s Stax Classics volume features his best-loved tracks, including “Private Number,” his romantic duet with Judy Clay. The other 11 tunes are pretty great, too. The Dramatics are represented best by “In the Rain” and “Whatcha See is Whatcha Get” (both on Stax Classics), but other lesser-known cuts like “Get Up and Get Down” and “The Devil is Dope” are breathtaking in their arrangement and execution.

The riches found in the versatile Staple Singers’ wonderful catalog likely made paring Stax Classics down to a dozen tracks a difficult task. The song’s you’d expect to find are indeed here: “Respect yourself,” “I’ll Take You There,” and so on. An excellent and little-heard later-period cut, “City in the Sky” is included as well. Johnnie Taylor’s entry in the series includes his unbelievably funky (if naughty) “Who’s Making Love” as well as the incendiary “Somebody’s Sleeping in My Bed”: and ten others. All four are excellent, but on sheer chutzpah I’d give a minuscule edge to the Johnnie Taylor set.

Other entries in the Stax 60 series include titles by Booker T & the MGs, Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Carla Thomas.

Here’s a YouTube trailer for the series:

Track Premiere: Amy Black “If I Could Reach Out”

New album “Memphis” out this week.

By Blurt Staff

It’s called “If I Could Reach Out (and Help Somebody)” and, if you are a fan of soul/blues man Otis Clay, you’ve already recognize the tune. Now, songstress Amy Black has recorded it for her new album, titled Memphis, which was indeed recorded in Memphis and was produced by Scott Bomar of Memphis nu-soul-funk mainstays The Bo-Keys. Folks from St. Paul & the Broken Bones, along with legends of the Memphis session musician community (like the Hi Records rhythm section), appear on the record as well. The album drops June 2 on Black’s Reuben Records label, and we are privileged to premiere the aforementioned track:

Notes Black, about the track and the album, “When I was in Boston, I’d watched a program on PBS and found out about the Nashville-based organization Thistle Farms and their work with woman in the sex trade. I was so moved by what I learned and I remember thinking, “If I ever move to Nashville, I want to work with those guys.” Now, that I was here and needed to place to give to, I called Thistle Farms, attended an orientation (that had me in tears) and started volunteering with the amazing woman in the shipping department.

“Each week, I would drive into Nashville and volunteer. It got me into the city, I got to know some of these incredible women and hear their stories, and I really got out of my own way. It wasn’t glamorous work, which was perfect. Just taking orders and packing boxes, helping a cause that I believe in. And, no surprise, it was just the right medicine. I found so much from giving.

“Fast forward one year and I was in a very different place — living in East Nashville (the perfect spot for me) and preparing to do an album in Memphis with some killer players. I had the originals for the album lined up, but wanted to do three Memphis covers. My producer, Scott Bomar sent me Otis Clay’s, “If I Could Reach Out (and Help Somebody)” for consideration. All it took was one listen to know that I would definitely do this song. It’s what I believe. It is my religion. I can’t wait to sing it live at every show. I’ll take everyone to church and delivering it as my sermon: It is better to give than to receive.”

There’s a precedent for Memphis; Black’s 2015 album, The Muscle Shoals Sessions, found her traveling to the venerable Muscle Shoals, Alabama, studios to work with Spooner Oldham, no stranger to Memphis sounds. So triangulating from her home in Nashville was a natural for her. For Memphis she cut tracks at Bomar’s Electraphonic Recording studio and then mixed it at Ardent. And as noted above, a cream of Memphis musicians pitched in to infuse the new record with authenticity.

She’ll be hitting the road with her Memphis Music Revue show, the followup to her previous Muscle Shoals Revue, naturally enough, starting next week. More details: http://amyblack.com/

Wed., June 5  CLEVELAND, OH  The Beachland Ballroom
Tues., June 6  WORTHINGTON, OH  Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza
Sun., June 11  NASHVILLE, TN  City Winery Nashville
Mon., June 12  ST. LOUIS, MO  Off Broadway
Sun., June 18  CHICAGO, IL  City Winery Chicago
Wed., June 21  NEWPORT, KY  Southgate House
Fri., June 23  OKLAHOMA CITY, OK  The Blue Door
Sat., June 24  DALLAS, TX  AllGood Cafe
Tues., June 27  AUSTIN, TX  The Townsend
Thurs., June 29  HOUSTON, TX  The Mucky Duck
Sun., July 2  ATLANTA, GA  City Winery Atlanta
Thurs., July 6  MEMPHIS, TN  Lafayette’s Music Room
Thurs., July 13  AUBURN, AL  Sundilla Concert Series (Unitarian Fellowship building)