Category Archives: Music News

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.

 

Prince Legit Promo of ‘Black Album’ Breaks Online Selling Record

Resident Blurt editor also has direct experience with legendary title’s sales history…

By Uncle Blurt

The news about a Canadian copy of Prince’s The Black Album, from 1987 and cancelled for release by The Artist and Warner Bros., selling on music marketplace Discogs.com for $27,500 did not escape our attention. As Noisey.com reports:

“This record-breaking copy of The Black Album isn’t the most expensive Black Album ever sold—a sealed copy went for $42,298 earlier this year—but it is special. It was salvaged from the vinyl slaughter by a pressing plant employee in Canada, who had no idea of its value until five sealed American copies of the album surfaced in 2016. The unnamed man then contacted Jeff Gold, a former executive VP at Warner who now runs a music memorabilia store.”

Indeed, the aforementioned Prince vinyl has always been a sought-after artifact in its original, unreleased state, and a hot item among vinyl and CD bootleggers, not to mention digital file swappers. (It’s readily available these days among  file traders despite Prince and his estate’s efforts to the contrary.) No less than Blurt Editor Fred Mills reports, “A number of years ago, long before the record saw official release on CD, I had bought a vinyl bootleg of it, complete with solid black artwork and sticker title, at a record swap show. Ultimately, during a purge of my record collection – I had always thought of Black Album as more of a curiosity than a ‘real’ Prince album, what with so many throwaway tunes, and that Prince himself had made the right call in yanking it – a ‘friend of mine, whose name I forget’ sold that bootleg copy for in the neighborhood of $400. Gee, who was that? I must have been drunk when I loaned it to him/her… And that was just for a bootleg. i would venture a guess that $27k for an actual copy of the real deal, while excessive by my personal budget standards, is about right.”

Available at random download sites, depending on the state of Prince estate whack-a-mole efforts…

 

 

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.

 

Video Premiere: Willie Nile “Earth Blues”

Stompin’ tune taken from latest album Children of Paradise. (Photo by Cristina Arrigoni)

By Fred Mills

“I wanted it to feel like Judgment Day.”

That’s veteran rocker Willie Nile, on his song “Earth Blues,” an apocalyptic-lined powerhouse of a number even by Nile’s own blazing standards. And it’s no surprise, either, as his new Children of Paradise album (released July 27 on his own River House label) is a relentless, topical look at the turbulent darkness that currently engulfs us, what with tracks like “Getting’ Ugly Out There,” “Seeds of a Revolution,” and “All Dressed Up and No Place to Go.”

We’re pretty stoked to be able to premiere the video for “Earth Blues.” It was directed by Ehud Lazin, and Nile notes that he “filmed a show in June in Asbury Park, NJ, and used footage from that along with shots of the environmental chaos going on around the world. Lazin did a great job directing it. It’s got all the things I like about rock ‘n’ roll. It’s heartfelt, pissed off, in love, on fire, and out of its mind all at the same time.” Check it out:

Of the song, Nile says, “I wanted to give the earth a voice with all the chaos that’s going on with it. The ocean level’s rising, the weather’s changing for the worse and the climate for living a decent life here is going to hell. There’s a mass of plastic garbage the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean for cryin’ out loud! A hundred years from now, the people responsible for letting it fall into ruin will be long gone and won’t give a damn and our descendants will be left to suffer and deal with the darkness and difficulties to come. They do it all for the money and nothing else, and our grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to have to pay for it. It’s not right and it’s not ok. That’s why I wrote ‘Earth Blues.’ I wanted to write a rocker with an anthemic chorus and I’m thrilled with how it came out. The band was on fire the day we cut it. I wanted it to feel like Judgment Day.”

Indeed it does, sir.

Nile’s 12th studio album was co-produced with Stewart Lerman (Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, Norah Jones) and cut with his crack live band (guitarist Matt Hogan, bassist Johnny Pisano, drummer Jon Weber). Also on the album are guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Steuart Smith (Eagles/Rosanne Cash/Rodney Crowell) and keyboardist Andy Burton (John Mayer/Rufus Wainwright/Ian Hunter), plus backing vocals by singer-songwriter James Maddock, Leslie Mendelson (Bob Weir), and Frankie Lee.

Nile recently wrapped up a short tour but plan on seeing him back on the road soon starting in mid-August—you can keep track of him via his Facebook page and his Instagram account, and of course at WillieNile.com. You can also check out a 2016 interview, “Storming the Gates,” here at BLURT, as well as one we published in 2013, “On the Right Path.” Needless to say we’re pretty big Nile fans around here…

Incoming: Debut LP from Charleston’s Artisanals

Check out the remarkable ‘shroom-fueled video for a key track from the album, which arrives Sept. 21. Tour dates at the bottom.

By Fred Mills

They’re called the Artisanals, they hail from Charleston, SC (where the once-sleepy tourist town now boasts a thriving indie rock music scene), and no less an artist than Band of Horses’ frontman Ben Bridwell is a major fan and supporter. The group features Johnny Delaware, late of SUSTO, but more important is the fact that their long-playing eponymous debut is stuffed with some of the most memorable rock ‘n’ roll you’ll hear all year, with sonic and songwriting touchstones ranging from Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen to Dawes and the aforementioned Band of Horses.

Check out the Zach Hellmuth-directed video for album track “Drag,” below, for an advance taste, and mark your calendars for Sept. 21, when the album arrives via AWAL. You can also preorder it at the band’s PledgeMusic campaign.

Tour Dates:

9/19 – Boca Raton, Fla. – Funky Biscuit +

9/20 – Tampa, Fla. – The Attic +

9/22 – Gainesville, Fla. – Heartwood Soundstage +

9/23 – Jacksonville, Fla. – Jack Rabbits +

9/26 – Louisville, Kentucky – WFPK Waterfront Wednesday %

9/27 – Asheville, North Carolina – Salvage Station +

9/28 – Charlotte, North Carolina – Evening Muse +

9/29 – Charleston, South Carolina – Charleston Pour House # +

10/2 – Washington, D.C. – Black Cat +

10/3 – New Haven, Conn. – Café Nine +

10/4 – New York, New York – Bowery Electric +

10/6 – Rehoboth Beach, Del. – Dogfish Head Brewings +

10/7 – Philadelphia, Penn. – 118 North +

10/8 – Asbury Park, New Jersey – Wonder Bar

10/9 – Charlottesville, Virginia – The Southern ^

10/10 – Richmond, Virginia – The Camel +

10/11 – Carrboro, North Carolina – Cat’s Cradle +

10/13 – Atlanta, Georgia – The Earl

% with Car Seat Headrest

+ with the High Divers

^ with Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters

# with Dega

Eric Church Gets Dixie Chicked for NRA/Vegas Comments

Shut Up And Play Your Guitar Dept.: Apparently for SOME staunch 2nd Amendment people, the 1st Amendment is irrelevant….

By Fred Mills

In a remarkable new Rolling Stone interview titled, appropriately enough, “The Defiant One,” country star Eric Church was interviewed at his Nashville home, and over the course of the conversation he disclosed that while he owns several guns and is pro-2nd Amendment, he felt the Las Vegas massacre last year at a country music festival (where he had performed two days earlier) should be partly blamed on the NRA:

“There are some things we can’t stop. Like the disgruntled kid who takes his dad’s shotgun and walks into a high school. But we could have stopped the guy in Vegas.” As for why nothing’s been done? “I blame the lobbyists. And the biggest in the gun world is the NRA.”

The social media backlash was immediate, severe, and, as of this writing, sustained.

It was a striking flashback to 2003, when the Dixie Chicks criticized President Bush from a London Stage about the Iraq invasion, with now-former fans expressing support for the NRA, damning/mocking all the “libtards” like Church, planning on dumping their Church CDs in the trash, and predicting his career to be over. Apparently rabid support for the 2nd Amendment doesn’t rule out a general disdain for the 1st Amendment among some people.

But as one commenter – me, apparently a lonesome voice out of nearly 2000 comments – noted at Church’s Facebook posting about the RS story, “Eric, a lot of us are proud of you. Just because you’re getting Dixie Chicked all over the place by NRA stooges doesn’t mean we aren’t out here too, and we’ll have your back. They were wrong in 2003, and they’re wrong now.”

It won’t come as a huge surprise that commenters immediately began commenting on my comments – maybe I should play a drinking game and take a shot each time I get called a libtard; it would be a fun day. Meanwhile, though, the Dixie Chicks still have their careers, while all their haters – with the exception, perhaps, of certain fellow country stars – have slipped back into obscurity or under their rocks. It’s not hard to predict a similar trajectory for Church. And we need more stars like him.

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.

Peter Holsapple (dB’s) “Game Day” Album Almost Here; Watch Trailer

New album arrives this week.

By Fred Mills

Given the enthusiasm we’ve heard for NC’s The dB’s over the ten years BLURT’s been around, we suspect that more than a few of our readers will be ready to snap up longtime member Peter Holsapple’s new solo album, Game Day (Omnivore Recordings), coming this Friday, July 27. Fans and friends got a kind of advance taste last year when Peter released a terrific 7″ single, “Don’t Mention The War”; read our review elsewhere on the site: 

“A richly melodic, midtempo slice of pure pop; the tune’s subtly contrasting sonic elements help lend gravitas to the unsettling lyrical character study.”

And then check out the trailer for the new album. This man’s a Tar Heel treasure… an a national treasure, too.

 

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: 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.

>

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!