Category Archives: Track premiere

Video Premiere: Cait Brennan “Bad At Apologies”

Track appears on songwriter’s third album, out this week, April 21.

By Blurt Staff

Indie rocker Cait Brennan got soul—so naturally she went to Memphis, to the ever-estimable Ardent Studios, to cut her third album, which she subsequently titled Third. Yeah, we know, we know—cheeky of her. But it’s appropriate, as Brennan and her collaborator Fernando Perdomo brewed up a cheeky blend as well, combining straight-up pop rock and edgy R&B befitting of the record’s origins. It’s released April 21 on Omnivore Recordings and we’re rather pleased to unveil a new video for the BLURT readership, album track “Bad at Apologies.” Check it out:

Explains Brennan, of the tune, “‘Bad At Apologies’ was the second song we recorded on our first day at Ardent. Fernando and I had basically just walked through the doors of this space that is so sacred to both of us, where so many of the records that changed both our lives had been made, and then Jody Stephens came in and said hi and gave us this amazingly encouraging talk. [Engineer] Adam Hill rolled in the actual Big Star Mellotron, and Alex Chilton’s Hi-Watt amp, and Chris Bell’s cherry red Gibson, and then we had to get to work like this was just another day at the office.

“I used to take pains to tell people all the songs were fictional, but it’s ridiculous, of course they’re not, and nobody else’s are either. This pretty much happened as written, and was intended as an actual apology until I very quickly realized it sounded like anything but, which is why it’s called what it’s called. When I sing “yeah, I’m the asshole who stile your boyfriend” it’s not me being proud of myself, I felt really bad about it despite the rationalizations that follow. Love makes you do crazy things, as Lindsey and Stevie can tell you. Many of the songs on the album are about the relationship that ensued, so you can tell how that all worked out. “It’s all fodder for more songs” as the line goes.”

The record includes the talents of no less than Memphis stalwart (and Big Star pal) Van Duren and Robert Mache from the Continental Drifters, with multiinstrumentalist Perdomo handling the lion’s share of the playing and Brennan weighing in instrumentally as well while serving up expressive lead vox and plenty of harmonies (she’s got a four-octave voice). Brennan, from Los Angeles by way of Phoenix, is transgender with experience in acting and journalism, but was eventually coaxed back into music, releasing her first album in 2012. A chance meeting with Big Star drummer Jody Stephens at Ardent during a Grammy Museum celebration of the facility’s 50th anniversary led to an invitation to record there, and the rest is history.

Brennan will have an album release show this weekend, and on May 9 she’ll do a special show in Memphis featuring Jody Stephens, Adam Hill, Van Duren, Vicki Loveland, Candace Mache and more. Full details at her website: http://www.planetcait.com/#third

 

Track Premiere: Matthew Edwards “When We Arrived at the Mountain”

Matthew Edwards

Tune from forthcoming June album by the California-by-way-of-Birmingham (England) rocker.

By Michael Toland

Do you remember what it’s like to discover an artist that you had been waiting for your entire life but didn’t realize it? An artist who may have been around for a while but somehow eluded your notice, and makes you wonder how that could have ever happened? An artist who answers all the questions you didn’t know you had about music?

We had that revelation about British singer and songwriter Matthew Edwards a few years ago. The late, great Nikki Sudden published a review of The Words We Say Before We Sleep, the debut full-length album by Edwards’ then-band the Music Lovers, in Bucketful of Brains, and we had to track it down. It was love at first spin, and it felt like a love that had been there all along, just waiting to be awoken from its unknown slumber. The San Francisco band’s lovingly constructed blend of British guitar pop, pre-rock balladry, sardonic wit and emotional impact felt tailor-made for anyone looking for that perfect rock & roll balance of craft and heart.

The Music Lovers split after three albums, and Edwards formed his current band the Unfortunates, releasing that combo’s debut The Fates in 2012. We covered that album here, noting that it had “a new emotional urgency” that “elevates it into the sphere of an artist’s greatest statements.” Now we at last have Folklore, the long-awaited follow-up, written and recorded after Edwards left California for his hometown of Birmingham, England. As with The Fates, Folklore hews closely to Edwards’ established m.o., while expanding on its sonic possibilities. The rockers rock harder, the ballads dig deeper and the production pushes the music nearly into the realm of the psychedelic. Folklore is that rare album that keeps to tradition while also presenting a step forward, a diamond in the sea of coal.

Blurt is proud to bring you “When We Arrived at the Mountain,” a track equally representative of Edwards’ songcrafting excellence and the Unfortunates’ evolving sonic palette. Check it out:

Folklore comes out June 2 via Gare du Nord. The band has the following dates lined up, with UK festival dates and U.S. dates coming soon. Catch ’em online as well: http://www.matthewedwardsandtheunfortunates.com/

Sunday 14th May @ Come Down & Meet the Folks, The Apple Tree, Clerkenwell

Saturday 3rd June @ Centrala, Digbeth, Birmingham

Saturday 2nd September @ Moseley Folk Festival (2PM)

 

Track Premiere: Cowbell “Haunted Heart”

COWBELL-2017-2-(7126)

London outfit preps kickass new album for early June release.

By Fred Mills

Take a little bit of Eddie Cochran-as-filtered-through-The-Cramps, stir in some vintage girl group harmonies, then douse liberally with the classic British Invasion/Nuggets ‘tude and you’ve got… Cowbell! The London-based duo of Jack Sandham and Wednesday Lyle serve up a nigh-on unimpeachable brew of high-energy R&B, soulful garage, and dirt-road psychobilly, and these rock ‘n’ roll miscreants have no problem with holding a double barrel shotgun to BLURT’s head until we unveil this new track for the readership, the title track to their forthcoming album Haunted Heart. Everyone get ready—duck!

“There’s a bit of a Hammer Horror atmosphere to this one,” explains Sandham, of the track. “We love The Cramps and both got really excited when we got that rumbling psychobilly groove happening, we thought it set the tone for the album.  I can’t decide whether I’m pitying, comforting or lambasting the protagonist, maybe all at the same time. I particularly like the way it jumps into a girl group groove for the bridge.”

Bloody well right, mate. The album, which arrives June 2 via the estimable Damaged Goods label, offers everything from dark West Coast psychedelia to Memphis gospel soul, in addition to the aforementioned influences. It’s simultaneously primal and percolating, testimony to the two musicians’ eight-year tenure, which has seen two albums, numerous singles, and mucho roadwork. Recommended: 2012 debut Stampede and 2014’s Skeleton Soul. Also recommended: catching the group live, as they have consistently wowed the critics, deejays (BBC 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins hailed them as “one of the best live bands I’ve seen in a long time.”) and punters alike.

Cowbell CD

More details, tour dates (they play April 21 in London), etc. at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cowbelltheband/ Or at their official website: http://www.cowbelltheband.co.uk/Cowbell/page.html

As the saying goes, “More, Cowbell.

Track Premiere: Les Discrets “Rue Octavio Mey”

LESDISCRETS_photo-by-Andy-Julia_008

Track culled from new album, out later this month.

By Michael Toland

Though it has connections to infamous French shoegaze/black metal act Alcest, Les Discrets is its own entity. Composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Fursy Teyssier and singer Audrey Hadorn paint beautiful landscapes out of shimmering guitars, warm synths, languid beats and creamy harmonies, as found on its upcoming LP Prédateurs, due on April 21 via Prophecy Productions. It’s a cliché to play mix ‘n’ match with influences, but consider a blend of Pink Floyd and Massive Attack and you’re swimming in the right part of the ocean. Hear for yourself on the track “Rue Octavio Mey,” which we’re excited to premiere here at BLURT:

;

Teyssier had this to say about the track: “A song can hardly be as personal and intimate as this one. Translated as “Octavio Mey Street”, the title refers to the street we lived in with Audrey for 8 years in Lyon. A lot happened in our life and this song – which is very romantic – is a declaration of love to the Vieux-Lyon (old town) and to my wife. It is certainly the song on the album that connects the most to the previous works of the band as it has a very naive feeling with a strong melancholic atmosphere. We introduced synths layers which give a very outdated mood from the ’80s and the acoustic drums have been sampled to recreate a drum machine feel with the vibe of an real playing. This song is a good bridge between the old Les Discrets and the new one as even the influences that led to that song (Dominique A, Depeche Mode, Slowdive, etc) are the same ones as I had a few years back.”

Les Discrets - Prédateurs

Les Discrets is playing the main stage at Roadburn this year. More tour dates tba. Also, Teyssier will be featured with an exclusive art exhibition, showing his drawings and art! More here. And check out Prédateurs on April 21 – the preorder info is here.

Photo Credit: Andy Julia

 

Video Premiere: Steve Poltz “Born In a Band”

Poltz

Something about Donald Trump, too….

By Blurt Staff

One imagines that anyone associated with gonzo-rockers The Rugburns would have at least a couple of screws loose—lucky for us, Steve Poltz keeps his tool belt strapped on firm. This is, after all, a guy who, according to Wikipedia, “is known to name his various guitars. They include Smokey Joe, which he saved from being destroyed, Clackety-Clack, Flowerpot, and Trailer-Trash.”

Um, yeah. So we are just charged up about the guy’s kickass new song, “Born In a Band.” Need we mention we are positively revved up to be able to unveil the video for the track? Check it out:

The song was written by Poltz and his Nashville neighbor Scot Sax, the video itself being directed by Sax. According to Poltz, “I’m havin’ this crazy burst of spontaneous creativity since movin’ to Nashville. I’ve been writin’ and co-writin’ and comin’ up with heaps of songs. I wrote this one with Scot. He has a little studio in his garage. So we recorded it and then he said, ‘Let’s shoot a video!’
“I said, ‘oh heck yes.’
“He said, ‘whaddya wanna do?’
“I said ‘ummm. I’ll go to the market and get a buncha stuff and you guys just throw it in my face and I’ll keep singin’.’
“Next thing ya know we were scrubbin’ the walls and cleanin’ up the mess we made. Then Scot Sax put it all together. Here it is. Turn it up loud. I love it here!”

Well, Sax can say goodbye to that deposit he put down on his place when he rented it, but the rest of us can enjoy the colorful fruits of the pair’s labor. Incidentally, Poltz has another video that’s a must-see. The title tells you all you need to know: “Hey God I’ll Trade You Donald Trump For Leonard Cohen.”

Catch Poltz online and on tour:

Website with tour dates: http://poltz.com/words/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stevepoltz
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stevepoltz
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stevepoltz/

 

 

 

Track Premiere: Parson Red Heads’ “Coming Down”

parsons_12

Tune culled from upcoming album due in June.

By Blurt Staff

Over the years we’ve sung the praises of Portland rockers The Parson Red Heads, including a review of 2013’s Orb Weaver and a profile, also in 2013, of the band. So we were pretty stoked to get the news that there’s a new album from the band, due June 9 via Fluff & Gravy Records (US) / You Are The Cosmos Records (EUR). Now we’ve got an exclusive early look at Blurred Harmony—the first single is “Coming Down,” so check it out:

Blurred Harmony is a musically diverse record – it is a distillation of the sounds and styles that the Parsons, as a band, love. It is the overdriven jangle of Teenage Fanclub and Big Star power-pop, the skewed psychedelics of the Paisley Underground, the bittersweet energy of New Zealand’s “Dunedin Sound” movement, and the muted twang of Cosmic Americana, all crammed into 44 minutes.

BlurredHarmony_Cover

A full roster of tour dates will be announced late, but they have scheduled several already in and around their home territory:

June 7 – Old St Francis School – Bend, OR
June 8 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
June 10 – Conor Byrne – Seattle, WA

You can find out more about the band at the official website, and you can also pre-order the album on LP / CD:
US:  http://www.theparsonredheads.bandcamp.com
EUR: http://www.youarethecosmos.com/artist/the-parson-red-heads

 

 

Video Premiere: Tarrant – “Cheap Shit from China”

Tarrant_bandbwfinal

Some red-hatted types want to make America grate (on your nerves) again. Luckily, we have this awesome Richmond band who feels your pain….

By Blurt Staff

Update March 22: As it turns out, Fox harbors a deep affection for Donald Trump, because they objected to some film footage used in the clip and subsequently had the video removed. Who knew an indie band, and by extension BLURT, could rattle cages with such aplomb! So the band has re-edited it, and we are duly re-posting it. Enjoy!

It’s a reasonable question the band asks: “From The Snuggie to the The Clapper, America loves a bargain. But does America really need any of this stuff?”

That would be Tarrant, rockers from Richmond, Virginia, in their new video “Cheap Shit from China,” and if the song title alone doesn’t pretty much tell the story to you, then bubba, we’ve got a Trump steak we wanna sell you. The rest of you, however, just settle in and check out the clip. We are confident it will, er, resonate:

It’s not just about American consumerism, however, as the images of Trump crap – both Donald’s ties, shirts, and hats, and Ivanka’s clothing line – suggest. Did ya notice all those “made in China” tags? As the band notes, “Think of this video as an artistic rebuke to President Trump’s populism. A creative ying to Trumps’ erroneous wire tapp (sic) yang [and] baseless late night Twitter posts which culminate in an endless series of terrifying CNN Breaking News updates each day. Or more succinctly: A NEW LOW! SAD!” Put another way, hashtag style: #WeUnderstandThatAsCorporateEntitiesOurPresenceInCertainDiscussionsIsNotAlwaysRequiredSoWeWillStriveToLimitOurActivitiesToJustSellingYouShit

Tarrant is notching plenty of acclaim for their debut EP, Lazarus, and for their dynamic, roots-rock-raveup stage presence. The lineup includes lead singer/guitarist/primary songwriter Jordan Tarrant, guitarist/mandolinist Jared Pool, drummer Dusty Simmons, and bassist Kai Eason, plus auxiliary member Craig Harmon playing Hammond B-3, Wurlitzer and steel guitar. With Jordan Tarrant’s friend and producer Russell Lacy helping to steer the ship in the studio, they’re clearly poised to break nationally.

***

The single for the song drops this Friday, March 17, via the Funzalo label. You can get more info about the band and their plan on the web:

https://www.facebook.com/tarrantmusic/

http://funzalorecords.com/

T

 

 

 

Track Premiere: Paul Collins “All Over the World”

Paul Collins3_JoyWhalen

Tune culled from the songwriter’s 1985 mini-album classic.

By Blurt Staff

The name Paul Collins won’t catch anyone who frequents the BLURT site on an even semi-occasional basis. The rocker and power pop avatar, with his band Paul Collins’ Beat, is releasing the Long Time Gone / To Beat Or Not To Beat two-fer on April 28 via Lolipop Records (distributed by Cobraside Distribution), and this time it will be on vinyl, cassette, and digital in addition to CD (Wounded Bird did a CD version of the two-record roundup back in 2004—the mini-albums originally came out on 12” vinyl in 1983 and 1985, respectively—but that label’s version suffered from shoddy mastering and horrible sound). By way of preview, we’ve got the track “All Over the World” to share with our readers. Check it out:

Speaking about the To Beat Or Not To Beat track, Collins tells us, “I remember getting an $800 royalty check for ‘All Over The World’ when I was living in San Francisco so I went out and bought a used green Datsun B210! I would always hum ‘All Over The World’ as I drove up and down all those hills in SF!”

Go HERE to read our review of his 2014 album Feel the Noise. Collins will be on tour throughout the spring, including this weekend in Philly. You can find him on the web, natch:

http://www.thepaulcollinsbeat.com

https://www.facebook.com/Paul-Collins-Beat-46392812761

Photo Credit: Joy Whalen

LongTimeGone_ToBeatOrNotToBeat_Cover

Spring 2017 Tour Dates:

U.S.

3/11 – Voltage Lounge – Philadelphia, PA w/ Protex

3/16 – Firehouse 13 – Providence, RI w/ The Dazies

3/18 – The Footlight Bar – Queens, NY w/ The Dazies

4/22 – Page One – Glen Cove, NY w/ The Rockinghams

FRANCE

5/6 Clermont-Ferrand @ Bombshell

5/8 Toulouse @ Dispensary

5/10 Rouen @ 3 Pieces

5/12 Paris tbc!

ENGLAND

5/13 London @ The Finsbury

BELGIUM

5/16 Kortrijk @ Den Trap

NETHERLANDS

5/17 Rotterdam @ V11

5/18 Haarlem  @ Patronaat

GERMANY

5/19 Düsseldorf @ The Tube

5/20 Berlin @ Cortina Bob

5/21 Hamburg @ Monkeys Music Club

SWEDEN

5/23 Malmo @ Folk & Rock

5/24 Gothenburg @ Liseberg Amusement Park Power Pop Festival w/ Psychotic Youth/Kurt Baker Combo

5/25 Eskilstuna @ Ölkultur

5/26 Karlskoga tbc

5/27 Stockholm @ Pet Sounds record shop show!

SPAIN

5/30 Madrid @ Fun House

6/2 Zarragoza @ Teatro Arbolé

6/8 Barcelona @ A Wamba Buluba

 

Video Premiere: 20 Minute Loop “Mercury Vapor”

20minuteloop-1

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.)

20-minute-loop-cover

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/

 

Video(s) Premiere: Chinese Band Twinkle Star

img_7537

Back to fist city: Group has a highly anticipated new album set for release this month.

By Jonathan Levitt

Beijing-based alternative rock band Twinkle Star, whom we at BLURT covered last year in a special interview with the band, are set to release their latest record entitled Full Of Hope on the 23rd of this month.

album-cover

Until then, the band have kindly offered us the exclusive premiere of their two new videos “Wasting Life Together” and “Release Yourself” – the latter was shot in Hong Kong. Check them out, below.

The band will be touring outside Beijing and will then return to killer rock venue, Yugong Yishan, for a homecoming concert set for May 6th. Rumor has it Uncle Blurt might make it out here for the show, if he can find his dentures and Depends, cuz that flight is a killer. [Jonathan, I can barely hold it in during my daily cross-city bus ride to Biff’s Pub & Grille —don’t even ask about the return trip— so I doubt the airline will let me have a carry-on large enough to pack all that soft, absorbent goodness. Maybe you could videotape part of the show for me and the gang? – U.B.]

***

Wasting Life Together:

Release Yourself: