Category Archives: Track premiere

Track Premiere: les biches “North From the Airwaves”

Remarkable L.A. band closes out 2017 following a busy year. Pictured above: Jonathan D. Haskell, Keith Joyner, Zöe Ruth-Erwin (photo by Mark Velasquez)

By Blurt Staff

We’ve turned you on to, and hopefully you’ve tuned into, les biches, the current project of erstwhile Seven Simons/Twinstar (and Georgia native/L.A. resident) mainman Keith Joyner, earlier this year via Joyner’s “Opening Ceremony” essay (about a rather unique “dark tale from the mid-‘90s, guest-starring Love and Rockets, Genesis P-Orridge, Rick Rubin’s haunted mansion, and a Dante-worthy conflagration”).

BLURT contributor Robert Dean Lurie wrote about the band for their official bio, noting, in part,Named after a Jacques Brel song and 1968 French film, les biches is very much an anything-goes affair, harnessing the Wild West-possibilities of this new paradigm. And yet, there are a number of Joyner trademarks that remain ever-present: that keen sense of melody, the musical dexterity (always tightly corralled to the needs of the song), and a seeming inability to waste a single note. This is classic songcraft coupled with an openness to the unknown. As such, les biches is both a next chapter and a beginning, an invitation and a welcome home.

Already an impressive cast of collaborators has come on board: Sarah Negahdari (The Happy Hollows, Silversun Pickups, Pisces), Jonathan D. Haskell (Seven Saturdays, Glasz), Brian Reyes (The Little Ones), Travis McNabb (Better Than Ezra, Frankie Ballard), David Newton (The Mighty Lemon Drops), and Manuel Calderon (mixing engineer: Beach House, Animal Collective, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Some are here for a one-off, some could be considered auxiliary members, and one or two may reappear like comets. Joyner’s own role shifts and adapts accordingly.”

If you were prodded to check out les biches debut single “I Had A Thought” we featured in Joyner’s essay or that, plus four more over the course of the year, at the band’s SoundCloud page, you will definitely dig the group’s sixth and final single for 2017. It’s 8 minutes long, but every second of this dynamics-rich track is a rewarding one. Check out “North From the Airwaves” which is officially released on December 8. And note that the group is currently in heavy rehearsals, prepping to take a full band out on the road for 2018.

 Joyner details the new song:

 “Before releasing music in 2017 as les biches, I was in a band called Twinstar. We were together longer than The Beatles. Our tenure was marked by fits and starts, extended periods of hibernation, frequent personnel changes and infrequent live shows. Even so, we operated under the Field of Dreams “if you build it they will come” blueprint. That is, we put so much into the recording of our 2013 album The Sound of Leaving, that surely it would rise above the din and enable us to carry on making more records. It would be disingenuous to say we weren’t disappointed when that failed to happen.

“As we were finishing the album, I would often feud with my long-suffering bandmate Chris Candelaria about things like the bass frequency in the final masters, or the track order. In retrospect, it seems trivial given the few people that would hear it. And yet, those arguments signify that we cared deeply about the end result. It is, after all, the bane of every creative artist that anything worthwhile requires dedication and heart. But the risk that art can exist solely in a vacuum always looms large. The band came to an end, and I naturally drifted away from music in a melancholy mood, though there were certainly no hard feelings.

“Several years later, I found myself hiking in the volcanic hills of Myvatn, Iceland. (And before you think it, yes! Every asshole has been or is going to Iceland!) I am a firm believer that there’s nothing like physical exertion or a change in scenery to get the creative juices flowing. A melody crept into my brain. As I walked, it continued to mutate in subtle ways and became the silent soundtrack for the rest of the trip. And just like that, I was back in. This was my “new direction,” I thought. I wasn’t interested in writing pop songs at the time. Rather, I wished to convey what it felt like to walk past ancient cinder cones and boiling molten lava away from the world at large.

“Back in Los Angeles, I had already met Jonathan D. Haskell, the mercurial man behind the band Seven Saturdays. I was inspired by his unique and atmospheric approach to the Fender Rhodes. It was exactly what this piece of music required. So began our collaboration on what was meant to be the first les biches release. But the floodgates had opened, and a flurry of new songs materialized along the way.

“As such, North from the Airwaves becomes the last (and sixth) track to be released by les biches in 2017. To say that an eight-minute-plus song with no verses or choruses is my favorite of them all is no stretch. It was the elusive spark that changed the way I think about music, though I am keenly aware it’s a huge ask in the age of short attention spans. In other words, having built it, it’s more about the quality of the company these days. To that point, I am also joined by Travis McNabb (Seven Simons, Better Than Ezra) on drums and the fantastic Zoe Ruth-Erwin, who writes and performs under her own name, and collectively with Jonathan in the electro-dream pop duo P O L L A. This old world is full of noise and chaos. If you do stop to listen, we thank you more than you can know!”

 

 

Video Premiere: Austin Shaw “Felt”

Terrific track culled from latest album.

By Blurt Staff

Austin Shaw left music behind after he finished college and started his climb up the corporate ladder, after a few years he ‘felt’ like something was missing so he left his job in corporate America and moved to Santa Cruz to reclaim the artist and songwriter that always lived inside of him.
Today we premiere a video for the title track from his album FELT as part of his ongoing live video series. Check it out here:

Shaw spent the last couple of years, writing, recording and touring and he recently released his full-length debut album. The songs are personal, and Shaw willingly exposes himself with his words and music. FELT is it a solid mix of classic and melodic rock, highlighted with charming guitar riffs and soulful vocals.

He navigates the complexities of day-to-day life through song. Inviting, approachable and thoughtfully efficient, the album walks in the quaint space between a stripped-down solo and full band approach. Shaw is a versatile arranger, and he flexes his musical instincts to great effect on his debut record. FELT was produced by Robert Smith (Defy Records), and also features the talents of guitarist Larry Saltzman (Paul Simon), drummer Joe Bonaci (Sting), bassist Malcolm Gold and vocalist Clara Lofaro.
Catch up with Shaw online at his official website.

Video Premiere: Sultans of String “Hallelujah” (L. Cohen cover)

Classic tune taken from the Canadian band’s very special Christmas album.

BY BLURT STAFF

Let’s kick off the holidays with a video premiere from Canada’s award-winning ambassadors of musical diversity, Sultans of String. Their latest release “Christmas Caravan” is out now and you can check out the video for their version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, featuring vocals by Rebecca Campbell here:

The genre-hopping “Christmas Caravan” was recorded and co-produced by John ‘Beetle’ Bailey. You may recognize a few titles, but you’ve never experienced seasonal music quite like this before.

“We wanted to make a real contribution to the Christmas repertoire, and hopefully create some new standards” explains bandleader/violinist Chris McKhool. “This is a Christmas album, but approached from the perspective of a world-music band. We explored diverse genres, from Quebecois fiddle tunes to collaborating with a traditional Turkish string ensemble, and jump around from African roots music, Gypsy-jazz, rumba flamenco, ska, and the grandeur of the symphony.” The Sultans of String are Chris McKhool, Kevin Laliberté, Eddie Paton, Drew Birston and Chendy Leon.

Also, lending their talents to the songs on this album are 6x Grammy winning Paddy Maloney (The Chieftains), Ruben Blades & Luba Mason (Panamanian 7 Grammy and 5 Latin Grammy Award winner), platinum-selling jazz vocalist Nikki Yanofsky, 2x JUNO/Grammy Winner Alex Cuba, Benoit Bourque of Quebec’s Bottine Souriante (3x JUNOs, 4x Gold, 3x Platinum records), Sweet Honey in the Rock (Grammy winning all-woman, African-American a cappella group), Cameroon’s Richard Bona (Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock), Canada’s singer to the stars Rebecca Campbell (Emmylou Harris, Alanis Morissette), singer Mary Fahl from NYC’s October Project, a recording collective of Turkish Roma violinists in Istanbul, Sudanese-Canadian singer Waleed Abdulhamid, Nashville-based JUNO Award winning country singer Crystal Shawanda, sitar virtuoso Anwar Khurshid, and hang drum player David Charrier from France.

This recording was produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

Sultans of String will be kicking off a fresh Canadian tour this weekend, on November 26, in Peterborough. Following a Christmas and New Year’s break, they head to the UK in January. Go here to view the complete itinerary, which will include selected dates in the US during 2018.

VR Video Premiere: Static And Surrender “If Only We Could Sleep”

A 360-degree VR video directed, shot, and edited by Paul Aspuria: Use the onscreen arrows or your mouse to rotate the room and view all the participants.

By Blurt Staff

Every once in a while, paths cross at just the right time, in the right place, and within the right circumstances. Such is the case for San Francisco alternative rock upstarts Static and Surrender—Jeff Campbell [lead vocals, guitar], Adam Schuman [guitar, vocals], and John Schuman [drums]. By 2016, brothers John and Adam had established themselves in popular Bay Area stalwarts such as The Trophy Fire, landing critical acclaim and gigging alongside everyone from Dredg to The Dear Hunter. Within that same scene, Jeff earned recognition by receiving national songwriting awards, shared the stage with titans such as John Mayer, and fronted Pine and Battery, among other acts. One night, a chance encounter between Jeff and Adam paved the way for what would become Static and Surrender.

They wasted no time and entered a Berkeley, CA studio with producer Jim Greer [The Rondo Brothers, Foster the People,) to bring their ideas to life. They also quickly caught the attention of Los Angeles based Funzalo Records label head Mike Lembo, who flew to San Francisco to see them live and immediately liked what he heard.

In advance of their upcoming full-length Static and Surrender, the band has joined forces with Blurt to give a sneak peek of what’s to come in the form of a single song release and new video for the song “If Only We Could Sleep” Brought to life in a 360-degree VR format, the song showcases the band’s depth and
dynamics.

“Lyrically, I wrote that song when I was struggling with insomnia,” recalls frontman Campbell. “It was around the time of the election, and there was a lot of negativity popping up. The climate brought out the worst in people. That negativity drives some of us so crazy we can’t sleep. The video reflects the nightmare.”

More info, tour dates, and more at the band’s official website.

 

Album Stream Premiere: New Pistoleros LP “Silver”

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.

Track Premiere: Mark “Porkchop” Holder – “Coffin Lid”

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

 

 

Video Premiere: Arrica Rose & the …’s “Whole Lotta Lows”

Track from new album, due out early September.

By Blurt Staff

We’ve featured gifted singer-songwriter Arrica Rose plenty of times here at BLURT (such as HERE and HERE), so it’s always a pleasure to note the impending arrival of a new record. Arrica Rose & the …’s latest full-length release, Low as the Moon, is available Sept 8th on pOprOck records, and we’re happy to premiere a terrific new video from it. It was directed by Rose, Shot + Edited by Jen Bail and Arrica Rose, and stars young Isla Grace (who, we suspect, has quite the future performing in front of the camera). Check out “Whole Lotta Lows”:

Low as the Moon’s 13 originals were produced by Dan Garcia, whose aim was to achieve “a warmth and fidelity we associate with old records, but with the addition of omnichord and ambient synths and textures.” Factor in Rose’s dreamy vocal style and cinema-informed brand of lyricism, and you’ve got a remarkably compelling album.

The backstory: “Rose was born in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley. She grew up listening to big band, classic rock and folk (her parent’s record collection) as well as punk and all its post-punk related genres (her own collection). And she loved all equally. Her first band, however, was an all-girl punk-rock trio she started with friends as a teenager. Upon graduating high school, Rose took a short hiatus from music to attend film school. While in film school she kept gravitating back to music, scoring her own shorts as well as her classmates. After graduating college she made the decision to make music her main focus and put together the backing band that would eventually become The …’s. She also started her own label (pOprOck records) to release her recordings and still does so today.

“In addition to her music projects, Rose is founder of I HEART Inc, an artist- operated non-profit organization that raises money for charitable programs via creative projects and events. I HEART Inc helps independent artists give back to their community and in the process exposes them to new audiences as well as fellow artists utilizing their art to effect change. Rose has garnered an amazing team of sponsors and supporters for these projects and events including Willie Nelson, Crosby Stills and Nash, Iron & Wine/Sub Pop Records, Rachel Maddow, Jack White, Fran Drescher, Jackson Browne and many more. Currently, Rose travels back and forth between Los Angeles, where I HEART Inc and The …’s are based, and Oakland where her alt-country project, Dear County, is based.”

You can check out some more of the new album at her Bandcamp page.

Arrica Rose on the web: https://arricarose.com/

Video Premiere: Jake La Botz “Feel No Pain”

Track culled from the songwriter’s superb “Sunnyside” album.

By Blurt Staff

If you have heard anything from Jake La Botz, you know what a dynamic songwriter and performer the Nashville-based Americana artist is—particularly on the recently released Sunnyside album, which, since it arrived in May on the nicely-named Hi-Style label, has been notching critical raves across the board. It was produced by Jimmy Sutton (JD McPherson, Pokey LaFarge), so it is definitely in good company. Now we are stoked to unveil a new video for one of the best tunes on the album. Check out the low-twanging, utterly haunting “Feel No Pain”:

La Botz comments on the song, saying, “’Feel No Pain’ pokes its head out the window of a 4th floor walkup on the first warm day of Spring. Watching the magic of sweaty semi-clad bodies grooving through the streets of Chicago after the seeming eternity of Winter.”

The man’s background is nothing if not colorful. According to his bio, “This guy has lived a life that few on this side of Charles Bukowski and Tom Waits can claim. A former punk and high school dropout from Chicago who educated himself at the library, he fell under the wing of blues greats Homesick James (brother of Elmore) and David “Honeyboy” Edwards. Out in LA, he fell into addiction. He has recovered and mounted national concert tours of tattoo parlors. He now lives in Nashville and teaches meditation and acts in a variety of projects from True Detective to Ghost World, with a new lead in the indie film The Gospel of Jake.”

Speaking of colorful, check out what the L.A. Weekly had to say about La Botz: “[He] came up the right-proper, fucking hard way: a teen renegade on the streets of Chicago, dabbling in a mixture of antisocial activities (from car theft to jabbing up his own rudimentary tattoos) and exploring the rich, deep blues tradition as a street singer (with Chi-town legend Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis) and beside Delta-blues originator Honeyboy Edwards. That lovely, lurid background forged a musical power that… demonstrates not only an innate mastery of the blues, but also displays what he calls a ‘condensed rock & roll mythology.’”

Also check out La Botz’s houserockin’ video for album track “How I Wish She Was Mine” HERE.  Visit La Botz online for more, including upcoming tour dates (he’ll be hitting the road starting Sept. 9 for a trek that runs through Nov. 11 before he heads off to Europe for a month: http://www.jakelabotz.com/

 

Track Premiere: Stephen Doster “William Melvin Hicks” (Bill Hicks tribute)

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.”

 

Track Premiere: Susan Cattaneo “The River Always Wins”

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.

Some say the river always wins, but with this album, we here at BLURT suspect there’s going to be one winner who can’t be beaten. Details on ordering the album here: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/susancattaneo