Category Archives: Uncategorized

THE BLURT JAZZ DESK

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THE BLURT JAZZ DESK IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS! Announcing our newest department, which we hope will intrigue, enthuse, energize and – if we do our job correctly – even aggravate, thereby prompting a back-and-forth dialogue. Please say hello to veteran Asheville-based music journalist BILL KOPP, the editor of the Jazz Desk.

Up first from Dr. Kopp: “Jazz Nazis, Fuck Off: Herbie Mann”, in which he offers the late jazz flautist a reappraisal through the lens of a crucial new archival release, Live at the Whisky 1969: The Unreleased Masters, and interviews with compiler Pat Thomas and Mann biographer Cary Ginell. “Herbie’s efforts helped call attention to jazz among young listeners,” summarizes Ginell. “He always had his ear to the ground to see about the new styles of music that were coming into vogue and what young people were listening to.”

Installment #2: Latest Archival Releases (via the Resonance & Elemental labels). Examined: Sarah Vaughan, Wes Montgomery, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, João Gilberto & Getz, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, and Art Pepper.

Installment #3: New Releases, via respected labels Mack Avenue, International Anthem Recording Co., Whaling City Sound, Onyx Productions, Ropeadope, Same Island Music, Okeh, Jazzelm Music, and Orleans Records.

Installment #4: Sonny Rollins exclusive interview – and an extremely long, in-depth one with the sax legend at that.

Installment #5: Latest MPs Vinyl Reissues – the German label serves up 180-gram wax by the Monty Alexander Trio, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Baden Powell, and the Oscar Peterson Trio.

Installment #6: 7 Recent Archival Releases – A look at titles from Omnivore Recordings, Real Gone Music, TCB Music, Resonance Records and Concord Bicycle Music.

Installment #7: 6 New Releases – A look at titles from Motéma Music, Mack Avenue, Hot Club, Intuition, One Note and Challenge.

Installment #8: 3 ECM Piano Trios – Guest columnist Michael Toland takes a listen to a trio of recent trios from the venerable ECM label.

FOR THE LOVE OF ZINES ! (PT.4)

zines

This is what the world looked like before WordPress, punks. And it was a more vibrant, exuberantly tactile world, too. Our resident fanzine expert Tim “Dagger” Hinely weighs in.

BY TIM “DAGGER” HINELY

Print is still alive and well and here’s some rags to prove it! Check out these choice offerings for the winter, as they will leave ink stains on your fingers quite nicely and keep you warm at night…

***

The Big Takeover (#77) Jack’s back! Meaning Jack Rabid and his trusty crew of hard workers put out another issue of the Big Takeover. Now in its ……35th year I believe and cramming in all the news that’s fit to print. In this ish is Ride (cover stars) plus other interviews with Low, Flesh Eaters Chris D., Royal Headache, Mercury Rev (by Mr. Joseph Kyle) The Damned (part 2) and more. Interviews plus many others. There’s lots of history here and well worth your hard-earned dough at 136 pages. www.bigtakeover.com

 

Bull Tongue Review (#4) I think this new zine, started up by Mr. Byron Coley, wasn’t even around when I did my last column a little less than a year ago, but since that time he has cranked out four issues. Under the title it states “A quarterly journal of post-rock cultural pluralism.” And basically it’s about 75 pages of reviews and musings on… well, anything and everything. The list of contributors is pretty amazing; Ira Kaplan, Michael Hurley, Tom lax, Chris D., Bruce Russell, Tesco Vee, Gregg Turner and too many more (including yours truly). Pick it up and learn something. I hope this one continue for a long time. www.bulltonguereview.com

 

Ugly Things (#30) Editor Mike Stax must be finding more time to do this as it seems I see UT a few times a year now instead of the once a year it used to be. I certainly don’t mind though it takes me forever to read an issue. This issue, like all of them, is all things garage and freakbeat (i.e.: mostly 1960’s) and has pieces on The Clingers (never heard of ‘em either), Brian Jones (now him I have heard of), The Mickey Finn plus Kim Fowley, The Saints, a ton of reviews and lots more—including a regular, must-read column by Cyril Jordan of the Flamin’ Groovies—crammed into 176 pages (at press time a new ish of UT, #40, is now out though I have not gotten it yet). www.ugly-things.com

 

Zisk (#26) I have to start off every review of Zisk by stating that it is “The baseball magazine for people who hate baseball magazines.” Yeah! They’re now on to issue #26 and Mike and Steve, continue to bust out issues of Zisk two times per year (what the fuck have you done?!). In this ish is a drawing of Yogi on the cover (RIP) plus Johnny Bench (remember him?), an Orioles fan vs. Derek Jeter, the Meaning of Commitment, Cincy and plenty more. You gotta gotta gotta have it. www.ziskmagazine.com

***

ONE MORE THAT I HAD ALMOST FORGOTTEN ABOUT!

 

Jim Shepherd: Negotiate Nothing (Nix Rock n’ Roll Comics) Bela Koe-Krompecher is the Columbus, OH everyman, running his own label (Anyway Records) and doing a heartfelt blog on the Columbus scene too (he also used to co-own Used Kids Records along with Stache’s, Columbus’ premier (ahem) venue for indie/punk bands in the ‘90s). OK, cutting right to it, a few years ago he did a blog posting on the late Jim Shepherd, an underground legend in Columbus via his self-produced records and tapes, in this 20 –page zine/comic Bela, along with illustrator Andy Bennet and designer/compiler Ken Eppstein have put together a unique mag on the life and times of the enigmatic Shepherd. Via his work in bands like Vertical Slit and V-3 (once signed to a major subsidiary, Onion Records). Shepherd was sort of king shit on turd mountain (though it sounds like he wanted to be anything but….and yes, there is a good Bob Pollard-related story on here) and truly created a unique catalog by absolutely refusing to budge in any way (even the title of the comic was part of a Shepherd quote, “Negotiate nothing, tear it all down”). This is a fascinating look at a true American original and honestly, a steal at $5. www.nixcomics.com     www.belakoekrompecher.wordpress.com

 

 

Tim Hinely: For The Love Of Zines #3

Zines 3

This is what the world looked like before Al Gore invented the Internet, punks. And it was a more vibrant, exuberantly tactile world, too. Our resident fanzine expert weighs in.

BY TIM “DAGGER” HINELY

Print is still alive and well and here’s some rags to prove it! Just a handful of offerings for this winter, but they will leave ink stains on your fingers quite nicely.

 

THE BIG TAKEOVER (#75) I’ve already been using the phrase, “Jack Rabid’s long-running zine” for what seems like decades. Well, here in its 34th year Jack and his staff continue to crank out interviews, articles and reviews of the best indie rock/pop and punk out there. this issue has The Raveonettes (cover stars) plus other interviews with The Drums, The Muffs The Bevis Frond, part 2 of both the Dum Dum Girls and Penetration interviews plus many others. Also review and smaller profiles on other bands. 136 pages. www.bigtakeover.com

 

DENVOID: PUNKER TALES AND BEYOND (#1- Music writings by Dan Allen) Longtime Denver musician Dan Allen (he was most recently in the Sonic Archers and has done some solo stuff as well) put together this digest-sized book/zine. It starts off with some early show reviews of Misfits and Black Flag gigs then on through the years (it’s not in chronological order) with reviews of gigs far and wide: San Francisco, Seattle, Santa Fe, Buffalo, NY (mid-90’s). He saw Crime and the City Solution in the late ‘80s in Denver (grrrr….jealous!). Lots o’ good stuff here. Plenty of Denver gigs that I missed (about 4-5 years before I got here like Dressy Bessy, The Fluid, X, The Breeders, Daniel Johnson, New York Dolls, etc. etc.). You may dive in. Danallen662000@yahoo.com

 

DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE (#2) After doing the great zine Superdope many years ago and then laying low for several years (thought he was active in the blog scene) San Franciscan Jay Hinman returned last year with a dynamite (!!!) new zine and here is issue #2 of said zine. In this issue Jay does a terrific interview/ retrospective on New Zealander Bill Direen. In addition there interviews w/ Crypt Records maniac Tim Warren plus Memphis band Nots, Honey Radar and a piece on ‘70s Jamaican dub. There’s article on punk 45s, plenty of reviews and more. Don’t miss this one. www.dynamitehemorrhage.com

 

ZISK (#25) “The baseball magazine for people who hate baseball magazines” continues on with its 25th issue! Mike and Steve, also behind the great (though much more sporadic) Go Metric zine, continue to bust out issues of Zisk two times per year. In this ish is Top 10 lists (my favorite, I love lists!), plus The Cincy Cycle and article by yours truly on John “The Hammer” Milner. More stuff on Wrigley, the Waldwick Batboy Trials, book reviews and more. Go on. www.ziskmagazine.com

 

Tim “Dagger” Hinely flunked both WordPress and Photoshop while attending Denver’s University of Hard Knocks but don’t let that prevent you from checking out his most excellent rock mag Dagger at www.daggerzine

 

Previously: For The Love Of Zines (Pt. 1)

For The Love Of Zines (Pt.2)

THE GOODS: Blurt’s Guide to Spending Gift Cards and Granny Cash, 2014-15 Edition

aggro collage small  3

In which Blurt tells you how to spend your mad money. Not your serious cheddar.

BY RANDY HARWARD

Check it out: I’m gonna go all Suze Orman on your asses. Ha-HA! Financial advice. Not what you came here for? You gotta trust me on this. I’m a master at spending gift cards and granny cash every holiday season. I start with a list of stuff I wanted but didn’t get, then form a plan. I create flow charts, balance needs vs. wants, allow for impulse items, dig up coupon codes, watch sales… Sometimes I even trade up for better gift cards. Not on that website. Just within the family. (Should I have said that?) Or more cash.

I can maximize the shit out of your discretionary holiday haul. So listen up.

All that stuff I said before? That works best for online purchases. Now, if you’re looking for instant gratification and wanna go the brick-and-mortar route, I have one piece of advice: Don’t spend shit until at least late January. (That’s only kind of an arbitrary date.) Otherwise, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. The good stuff is either gone or on back order. If you happen to find what you want—

Just kidding. I don’t wanna write that crap any more than you wanna read it. And here’s some run-on honesty: Gift guides are breezy toilet reads where some dude who got some free stuff is gonna tell you why, a) He likes or dislikes it, and b) in a roundabout way, why you should pay for the same thing. This one, however, only aims to influence a portion of your income: those crisp $2 bills and Sacajawea dollars that came tumbling out the crocheted slippers that Gram-gram knitted for you. Just the mad money – not your serious cheddar, your operating funds. We just don’t want that much responsibility, you know?

So let’s dig in…

 

Led Zep Houses of the Holy reissue

 

REISSUES AND BOX SETS FROM RHINO

Led Zeppelin I, II, III, IV and Houses of the Holy ($17 ea.)

Captain Beefheart Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972 ($60)

Rhino.com

When I was a kid, I was regularly caught playing with my… dad’s music collection. Eight-track tapes and vinyl records with colorful spines – I recall how the platters leaned against a wall like a hooker does a lamppost. Irresistible. I flipped through them every chance I got. Some covers, like ones from the Grass Roots and the Association, looked boring. Others were scary, like Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath were scary. Then there were the ones like Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, where nude, cyanotic children scampered over rocks on the cover and, in the gatefold, a bluish (or is it stone?) man held one of the children aloft, as though a sacrifice in waiting. That scared the bejesus out of me – even more than the demonic orgy on the Sabbath cover. But when I was finally able to sneak it onto my dad’s diamond-needled turntable, it went way over my head. Aside from hearing Led Zeppelin on the radio all the time, I ignored them until I matured and Kiss, Loverboy and Def Leppard lost (some of) their charm. All of Led Zeppelin’s albums were relatively new to me at once. Now, in a way, I get to feast again on Led Zeps I through Houses (the band’s fifth) now that they’ve been given the deluxe reissue treatment. In the single-disc edition on which this is based, the albums are remastered and paired with a companion disc of rough/alternate/working mixes and packaged in gatefold sleeves with an eight-page booklet. What a great way to kill a Sunday.

Captain Beefheart Sun Zoom Spark

I came by Captain Beefheart even later in life, thanks to this guy Staker. Like most weirdos, he knew one when he saw one – and so he made the introduction. Of course it started with Beefheart’s landmark Trout Mask Replica. Then I was left to discover The Spotlight Kid, Lick My Decals Off, Baby and Clear Spot on my own. But that’s part of the fun, pickin’ a point of entry and bargin’ in, you know, booglarizin’ the stuff online until such time as you can procure your own (probably second-hand) copy. Sun Zoom Spark collects remastered editions of these three albums plus a fourth bonus disc of outtakes and unreleased tracks from the same period and sessions. The set, then, becomes a similar – yet whole ‘nother – type of Sunday-killing, immersive experience. If you decide now is the time to get some Beefheart in your life, embrace the weirdness. There are dividends if you do.

Primus chocolate bars

BAND CANDY

Primus Chocolate Bars ($25/three-pack)

ClubBastardo.com

In flavors like sturgeon, cheese and pork soda… Psych. Weirdo prog-rockers Primus, teaming with Asher’s Chocolates, actually stuck to conventional ingredients for this merch tie-in with the Primus & the Chocolate Factory album and tour – a celebration of Roald Dahl’s classic story about the lunatic chocolatier. (You know…) Each three-pack contains one each of Professor Nutbutter (it’s fulla peanuts), Mr. Krinkle (made with crispy rice) and the aptly-named (because dark chocolate sucks*) Bastard Bar. The price (roughly $2.38/oz.) is high, but Primus always delivers quality. Plus, if you buy these, maybe we’ll get to see more band candy down the road. Who wants to see an AC/DC bar? Maybe a Slayer-branded Abyss Crunch? My Morning Krackel? Zep Pez? This is fun. (*In fairness, this dark chocolate is actually pretty good. Also, it looks as though they did have a Pork Soda Bar, which was flavored with bacon and Pop Rocks and limited to 500. Sad.)

Adventures of Mrs Jesus hi res

THE REAL LIFE OF JESUS, IN PANELS

The Adventures of Mrs. Jesus by Dan O’Shannon ($15)

HarperCollins.com

It’s already so, so sad that Jesus takes a backseat to Santa Claus at the holidays. After all, he’s the reason for the season! It’s just that we get so caught up in the loot grab, you know? There’s so much action and drama – it’s hard to tear yourself away and just meditate on the question, “What would Jesus want for Christmas?” So you can imagine how all of this affects the great women behind the great men. For Santa, that’s Mrs. Claus. Thanks to protests and stuff, we now know that she’s the one feeding the elves cocoa and cookies and candy so they can stay up all night on the sugar rush and meet their production quotas. But what do we know about Mrs. Jesus? Ha! I know – who?! The celeb rags be slippin’, ‘cause I didn’t even know about her (Her?). Where were you on that one, US Weekly? And Jesus is an A-lister! For Hell’s sake.

Anyway, according to former writer and executive producer of Modern Family, Dan O’Shannon, Mrs. Jesus kinda sucks. In a series of four-panel cartoons, we discover she can be naggy, passive-aggressive and plain bitchy. All of that is understandable, since she lives in the shadow of a super-being who, in these same panels, also seems to be a bit ornery (he does looks really uncomfortable on that cross). But what appears at first blush to be harsh criticism in comic strip form isn’t actually that. It’s more about how people, especially married couples, relate – just like Modern Family is also about how family members get along. It’s insights like these that make this little book worth picking up.

 

 Gov't Mule - Dark Side of the Mule

 LIVE ALBUMS KICK ASS, ER, MULE!

Dark Side of the Mule by Gov’t Mule ($13 standard, $32 deluxe)

Mule.net

Dude. Floyd good. Mule good. Mule + Floyd = Dude. That kind of monosyllabic logic isn’t hyperbole. Gov’t Mule, led by gravelly-voiced guitar god Warren Haynes, are legends in their own right, and the idea of them paying tribute to the legendary Pink Floyd should make music fans slobbery. And this set, recorded on Halloween 2008 in Boston, exceeds all expectations. Mule, joined by saxophonist Ron Holloway and two of Floyd’s actual backing vocalists, nails Floyd’s sublime atmospheric sound while infusing it with that trademark Gov’t Mule slow burn. It’s a captivating, one-sitting listen that will leave you nearly speechless. (Review is for standard single-disc version. A deluxe 3CD/1 DVD version contains the full three-hour show.)

 

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TV ON DVD FROM SHOUT! FACTORY

WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete Series, $140

Welcome Back, Kotter, $130

ShoutFactory.com

If you’ve ever wondered why WKRP in Cincinnati – one of the funniest sitcoms of the late 1970s/early 1980s – hasn’t gotten the complete series treatment… It’s because the show was stuck in the same music-licensing muck that once stalled The Wonder Years and Freaks and Geeks. Thankfully, Shout! Factory has turned this problem into a specialty, and they’ve restored much of the original music (more than 200 songs) by artists like Chic, Nick Lowe, AC/DC and Blondie, whose “Heart of Glass” became a hit after its inclusion in the first-season episode “A Commercial Break.” Mostly intact, the series holds up with a heart as big as its wistful opening theme and a sense of humor as rollicking as the end credits song, with its gibberish lyrics.

Welcome Back Kotter still

Speakin’ of theme songs: John Sebastian’s “Welcome Back” from Welcome Back, Kotter is one of the greats. Even if you have no attachment to the late-1970s sitcom that launched John Travolta’s career, I defy you to resist the song, a warm, midtempo welcome-home that’s just good to hear once in a while. As for the show, well, it’s pretty much a live-action Saturday morning cartoon where snarky Mr. Kotter, who tried to get out of Brooklyn but gets sucked back in to teach remedial classes to his old gang, the Sweathogs, at his alma mater. Kotter connects with the Sweathogs as he deals with their loopy antics: warm fuzzies and laughter (not all of it canned) ensue. Fans of the show know that’s not a dismissive generalization: It’s one of the reasons the show worked. And spawned a string of merchandise like a card game, board game and action figures that this writer either owns or for which he harbors a turgid, purple lust.

 

aggro collage small  1

THOU SHALT HAVE, LIKE, 25 GODS BEFORE ME…

Punk Rock Throbbleheads ($25)

Aggronautix.com

Need graven images to worship this holiday season? How about a gang of dirty rotten punks? Pennsylvania-based Aggronautix started casting polyresin “throbbleheads” in the image of punk, metal and comedy gods in 2009. They’ve since dropped 25 different numbered, limited edition figures honoring dudes like Jello Biafra, Mojo Nixon, The Meatmen’s Tesco Vee, Roky Erickson, GWAR, The Plasmatics’ Wendy O. Williams, Dwarves, David Cross, and flagship license G.G. Allin, who boasts four different versions, including an Extra Filthy Bloody Edition (sadly, it’s sold out). The newest releases are The Damned’s Captain Sensible and the keytar-slinging Devo Energy Dome Man. Even the box art is cool on these puppies. So build an altar, pick up some throbblers and genuflect, mutha…superior?

 

Vaporizer

PRODUCT REVIEWS IN THEORY

Far Cry 4, G-Pen Vaporizer

By Afriend Ofafriend (additional reporting by M. Brotherinlaw)

Sometimes your mo—I mean wife, doesn’t get you what you want. “You don’t need to play any more video games,” she says in that naggy way you hate. “You don’t need a vaporizer. I think you have amotivational syndrome.” Heh. It’s Christmas, ho(e)! I do what I want! And Wikipedia, citing a source that cites empirical evidence, says AMS probably ain’t really a real thing. Nyah.

Anyway, somebody decided they knew best and gave me a hierarchy of needs. Which I promptly disregarded and ordered copies of both of these things. The video game and the vaporizer. Not the skunky potpourri that fell out of the aforementioned slippers. Gram-gram has glaucoma. Her eyesight ain’t what it used to be.

So. My anticipated impression – or hypothetical review, of both products. Yessir, I like ‘em. I saw part of a multiplayer gameplay video, a 1v1 deal, and it looked awesome. Wingsuits. Bows and arrows. Cool. Sweet. Good. Wickedly funny! Adverbly adjective! I should probably mention that this is a review of Far Cry 4. And it’s my understanding that a video game reviewer should also mention the platform used to review the game. Well, I ordered the Xbox 360 version. And the reason I wanted it is because I played Far Cry 3 daily for months. Nearly two full playthroughs of single-player, and more multiplayer deathmatches than any normal person should play. It got to the point that I had dreams of sending explosive arrows into noob-crowded stairwells and shouting, “TRIPLE KILL! FUCK, YEAH!” That being said, I look forward to clocking more time working on my thumb callouses. (Ubisoft, $60, Ubisoft.com)

As to the G Pen, I’m told it’s some sort of “dry-herb vaporizer.” (They probably mean stuff like that potpourri. Note to self…) Vaporization supposedly radically almost-ly totally decreases your exposure to carcinogenic materials like Burberry fleece. Maybe I’ll pinch some of Grandma’s medicinal potpourri because the G-Pen doesn’t include certain accessories. Perhaps I’ll experience euphoria and lightheadedness, then figure I should quit and try something else. And then I’ll mention that the G-Pen probably doesn’t work with dried banana peels, crushed Smarties, powdered sugar, agave nectar, or chocolate chips. That’s fine, I suppose.

I think the only thing real complaint I’ll have about the G-Pen ($65, GrencoScience.com) is that it looks like a little flute – but I’ve so far been unable to use it to summon a single mythical creature. I’m not giving up, but it is past my deadline. I’ll update you if anything changes.

 

(Portions of this column appeared in the Dec. 4 issue of Salt Lake City Weekly.)

 

 

FOR THE LOVE OF ZINES! (Pt. 2)

Zines Part 2

This is what the world looked like before WordPress, punks. And it was a more vibrant, exuberantly tactile world, too. Our resident fanzine expert Tim “Dagger” Hinely weighs in.

BY TIM HINELY

Print is still alive and well and here’s some rags to prove it!

DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE (#1) Brand new zine from the mind and heart of Jay Hinman. Back in the 90’s Jay did the mighty Superdope zine and then went blog for quite a while (he has/had blogs on music, beer and vintage postcards). I knew he couldn’t stay away from the print forum and I’m glad I was right. In this ish he has a superb interview with Flesh Eaters Chris D. (specifically recounting the years 1977-’80)  as well as pieces on Sex Tide (who have a new record out on A Wicked Company) plus a piece on classic zines of the 80’s (ahem, including my own, Dagger) reviews and plenty more. Jay promises more issues but do not miss this one. www.dynamitehemorrhage.com

UGLY THINGS (#36) I’ve gotta say, I don’t know how editor Mike Stax does it. Each issue of U.T. is nearly 200 pages of detailed type, covering obscure (and not so obscure) of the best of garage freakbeat and psych (and as it says above the masthead every issue: “Wild sounds form past dimensions”).  No one out there cover these genres better than Stax and his crew. In this issue is an interview with Rolling Stones guru Andrew Loog Oldham  as well as pieces on The Haunted, Cyril Jordan (Flamin’ Groovies), Royston Ellis, Craig Smith & the Mystery of Maitreya Kali plus more and a ton (and I mean ton) of reviews, etc. I buy every issue and well-worth the $11 (and then some).  www.ugly-things.com

THE BIG TAKEOVER (#73)  Speaking of thick bibles, Jack Rabid and his crew have been covering underground sounds for decades, over 30 years, in his tome, The Big Takeover (yes, named after the Bad Brains songs). At 136 pages this one is a bit thinner than it usually is but still crammed full of info. On the cover (and inside) is Mr. Johnny Fucking Marr as well as interviews with Tommy Keene, No Age, the Joy Formidable (part 2), Billy Bragg (part 2), plus others and a truckload of reviews. You probably own an issue or two, but if not get the latest ish.  www.bigtakeover.com

TWO SKUNKS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY: A TRIP TO AWESOME FEST 6 (#1) Last but certainly not least is a new zine from Mr. Zine himself, Mike Faloon. As you know Mike publishes Zisk (“The baseball magazine for people who hate baseball magazines”) and used to do the terrific Go Metric (more music and pop culture though we haven’t seen an ish of that in a long while) and has done some other one-off zines as well (and a book of baseball essays too Fan Interference). This zine is half-sized with a bright orange cover and Mike talks about his travels to and from (and being in) San Diego for a punk rock music festival. All I know is that among many other bands, he got to see the Marked Men so I am mighty jealous.  Well-written as always. For a copy write to: gogometric@yahoo.com

Previously: For The Love Of Zines (Pt. 1)

 

Fred Mills: Remembering Joe Strummer

 Joe Strummer bw

The Clash icon and Mescaleros frontman passed away eleven years ago this month, on Dec. 22. By way of tribute, we present this story from the archives.

 BY FRED MILLS

 On December 22, 2002, unexpectedly and tragically, Joe Strummer died, apparently from a previously undiagnosed congenital heart defect. I had interviewed Strummer twice in 2001, once over the phone from England and then again in person when he appeared at New York’s Irving Plaza for an October concert with his band The Mescaleros. Portions of those interviews subsequently saw publication in the Phoenix New Times and Magnet Magazine, and in a surreal twist, a few video snippets of me interviewing Strummer in NYC would turn up in the 2005 Strummer documentary Let’s Rock Again! by filmmaker Dick Rude (who I vaguely recalled having been present with a camera during the interview). At any rate, as today marks the anniversary of Strummer’s death, it seems like as reasonable a time as any to share with readers a vastly expanded version of my Strummer story, combining material from both interviews. Continue reading

PURE PRODUCT FOR NOW PEOPLE: Blurt Presents… The Goods

Remee TOP

“Product envy”—or, as we like to think, a buncha stuff you want… from a buncha folks who, full disclosure, have NEVER advertised with us. We’re willing to work on that latter portion, however.

 BY RANDY HARWARD

Remee-Spread

 1) Smiling Next To You

Remee Lucid Dreaming Sleep Mask ($95)

www.sleepwithremee.com

        You know that recurring dream where you and Diana Ross circa The Wiz are in a cabin doin’ the nasty, then Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th breaks in with a machete, threatening to end the festivities? Now you can have that dream every night, thanks to The Remee lucid dreaming sleep mask. The lightweight, comfortable Remee triggers flashing red lights when you’re in REM sleep. After some practice and settings-tweaks, you recognize the lights during dreams and be in full control of your dreams. See you soon, Ms. Ross.

 Devo throbblehead

2) Are We Not Graven?

Devo Throbblehead ($25)

www.aggronautix.com

       This is one of our favorites from the Aggronautix throbblehead line. Probably because it’s not meant to resemble any particular band member. It’s just a nameless Energy Dome Guy, a nod to the band’s concept of de-evolution. And what better polyresin calf to genuflect to, than one representing an idea instead of an individual? Now shameless, greedy, slavish geeks can pretend to be deep. Devo’s “Nacho Libre Jihad Gerry (Casale)” says, “[The Devo throbblehead is] seven perfect inches for you!”

 The Rambler DVD cover

3) One Person’s Crap Is Another’s Candy Bar

The Rambler ($24)

www.anchorbayentertainment.com

       You can get this movie for four big ones on Amazon at the time of this writing. Some might call it a waste of money. Fans of cult/bad/psychotronic/grindhouse cinema will love it for what it is: a diamond ensconced in a turd.

 Tat2X Ink Armor sleeve by Justice Howard (MUST ALSO USE TATJACKET PHOTO - STILL WAITING FOR IT)

4) Ink-cognito

Ink Armor by Tat2X ($13-16 per sleeve)

www.tat2x.com

       So your tattoo is putting a kink in your job search. Laser removal isn’t an option—but gainful employment trumps looking cool on the hierarchy of needs. Well, Tat2X’s Ink Armor sleeves are available in full sleeves and half-sleeves, as well as calf sizes. They’re comfortable, they come in a variety of colors/sizes, and block harmful UV rays. More importantly, they’ll increase your chances of getting paid. Maybe.

 My Prison Walls - GG Allin

 5) Shit-erature

My Prison Walls by G.G. Allin ($50)

www.aggronautix.com

      If someone offers you a peek inside the mind of notorious punk rock filth frolicker G.G. Allin, take it. You might be a little fucked up afterward, but even society’s most twisted minds have something to offer. Even if it’s just a cringe or eleven. Limited to 2500 copies—no reprints, ever! [Note: feel free to email BLURT and inquire about the editor’s personal encounters with the late Allin during the late ‘80s. While that is in no way to be construed as anything other than “musical” and “conversational,” said encounters do contain a definite NSFW quality which we won’t get into here.]

 Cineskates Pro

6) Rolling!

Cineskates Pro ($150)

www.cinetics.com

        In filmmaking, when you’re starting out, it helps to know people. Especially people with gear. Next to cameras and lights, something like a dolly track system is nice to have. These can get expensive, so the Cineskates Pro from Cinetics is a godsend. True to its name, the Cineskates Pro is like a skateboard with a camera mount that enables tracking, panning and arcing shots at a fraction of the price. It’s also easier to lug around – lighter and more compact. Check out the demo footage online, and have a look at the accessories. You’ll be amazed at the possibilities Cinetics gear provides.

 untitled

7) Everybody Loves Rayman

Rayman Legends (Xbox 360) ($60)

www.rayman.ubi.com/legends/en-us/home/index.aspx

       Each new Rayman game is more visually stunning and immersive than the last, and provides a challenging gaming experience. Rayman Legends ups the ante in every category. It’s deep, hugely entertaining, funny and has big replay value. The levels are imaginative and gorgeously rendered; the music (including a jam by Incubus’ Jose Pasillas II and Dirk Lance, with Jurassic 5’s DJ Nu-Mark and Pharcyde’s MC Slimkid3) is once again matchless. And, as with all Rayman games, the levels are difficult but not vexing. Here’s to many “wasted” hours.

 Bloodkin - One Long Hustle

8) Your New Old Pet Band

Bloodkin, One Long Hustle ($50)

www.bloodkin.net

This hot little number contains eighty-eight songs spanning the twenty-five year career of a band you probably never heard about, but should’ve. A feast of memorable, immersive songs and guitar grit, it’s a steal at fifty bucks. And you can claim you’ve been into Bloodkin all along.


Check out our print issue #14 (Jason Isbell cover) for the hard copy version of this installment of Senior Editor Harward’s long-running “The Goods” series. Go here to read the previous column.

 

Listen to new Odesza Track

Odesza

Title cut from upcoming EP.

 Seattle production duo ODESZA, made up of Harrison Mills (Catacombkid) and Clayton Knight (BeachesBeaches), will self-release their new EP, My Friends Never Die, on September 17. It’s the follow up to 2012’s  Summer’s Gone. Here’s the title track:

Production of My Friends Never Die began in early 2013 between tours with Emancipator, Beat Connection, and Little People and was completed ahead of performances at Sasquatch Music Festival, Lighting In A Bottle, What The Festival, Summer Meltdown and Capitol Hill Block Partyearlier this summer. After sets at MusicfestNW, Decibel Festival and Symbiosis Gathering in the coming months, ODESZA will tour the East Coast and Midwest for the first time ever with Michal Menert until linking up with Pretty Lights in November for a week of their largest shows yet.

THE ECO-URGE: Bright Beat

Bright Beat 1

The Windy City company is finding new ways to engage the green instincts of the music biz.

 BY REBECCA COOK

 Bright Beat was founded by Chicago-based marketing executive Stephanie Katsaros.  The company combines her passion for the environment and her extensive experience in the entertainment business.  Bright Beat’s goal is to create stainable, green-friendly policies within the music industry, especially at festivals and venues.  I interviewed Katsaros down in Austin. (Contact: www.brightbeat.com)

 BLURT: Tell me a bit about Bright Beat and some of the work you’ve done.

STEPHANIE KATSAROS: Bright Beat is a company that I created about three years ago, and we were founded on the purpose of finding ways to demonstrate environmental sustainability in the entertainment industry.  With my background in marketing and working in concert promotion, really, when I worked in radio, I saw that there was interest and activity moving forward in terms of the green initiatives at events.  I covered it as a journalist and really saw that around the country some things were being done. 

        Around the world, the value of a plastic bottle is well known in China, Brazil, India.  They’ll go out of the way to take that resource and recycle it, because it’s money. And in the United States it isn’t.

        The programs that we do are cost-effective and they provide really a marketing platform for the events…so that they have a good story to tell.  But on the back end, they’re really doing things right, really hopefully setting the standard and making change happen industry-wide.

 

Can you tell me about some of the work you’ve done so far for Bright Beat?

Bright Beat’s been involved in some venues and events…including the Allstate Arena, a 30,000-capacity venue that won the 2011 US EPA Wastewise Gold Achievement Award for Public Venue Recycling. We won that for doing a lot of innovative recycling, including cups, which people don’t realize, especially, when you go to a concert, everyone’s got a beer cup.  And that’s going in the landfill.  And that’s not okay with me.

        So a big initiative we started in Chicago at Allstate Arena…was finding a way to recycle those cups.  And then I’ve worked with Solo Cup, which is a maker of cups.  Well, they’ve got an initiative, corporate social responsibility initiative, to make sure their items don’t end up in a landfill.  So brands, partners like that, have been a great way to help finance some of the programs.  They’ve got resources, they’ve got knowledge and research into how we can work together hand in hand with the waste industry.

At Wicker Park Music Festival in Chicago, I understand you created eco-stations too. 

What we did was looked at the locations where you could throw stuff away and said, “What if we reduced the number of them but made them very highly visible, high profile, and had eco-educators at each eco-station, helping people separate their trash, their recycling, and their compost.  That can be as easy as when someone walks by, just point where it goes.  But also, what we found, with the eco-stations, there was a lot of interaction.  A lot of people said, “Wait, that’s not recyclable?  Why?  Well, what goes there?  What does this ‘number 1’ mean?  What does ‘number 7’ mean?”

        And the engagement of the community was great, and the program that we did was done in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, the community in which the festival took place, and their green initiatives are really kind of setting the standard for what’s happening at a lot of festivals in Chicago.  So it’s almost like a case study.  It’s really a case study for how to recycle in Chicago, which, as the third-largest market, there’s a lot of waste being created and a lot of opportunity to divert, like I said, set the standard. (Below: Dinosaur Jr at the Wicker Park Fest)

 Dinosaur Jr.

Would you like to expand into other cities like New York or L.A. or Austin, for example?

That’s a great question, because there are so many initiatives happening.  Everyone knows San Francisco and Seattle are doing a great job.  The West Coast is quite far ahead of the Midwest. Yes, we want to grow.  We want to work with partners.  We want to work on programs where we’re not only changing one day’s event but changing the way production happens on a large scale. 

        The village of Rosemont is the location of the Allstate Arena.  It’s just a border suburb to Chicago.  And we’re doing some things there that are municipal related.  How can we merge the needs of the public venues and residential waste and the commercial waste, the skyscraper hotels?  How can we benefit from working together?  And when we’ve got that concept going, I’d want to give it to the world to use. 

THE SEOUL SONIC FORCE OF BLURT’S BEST KEPT SECRET #22: Love X Stereo

THE SEOUL SONIC FORCE OF BLURT'S BEST KEPT SECRET #22 - Love X Stereo

South Korean indie rockers offer up a compelling alternative to contemporary K-pop.

 BY FRED MILLS

 The BLURT staff put our heads (and ears) together and we have the latest pick for our Blurt/Sonicbids “Best Kept Secret”: it’s Love X Stereo, from Seoul, South Korea. This makes our 22nd BKS selection since commencing the program of spotlighting new and under-the-radar artists back in 2008.

 The group is described in its bio as “an electro rock band… authentic electronic music based in alternative and punk rock from the ‘90s. With its free use of synthesizing and effects, Love X Stereo’s music is danceable. And despite the fact that many genres aside from K-pop are being completely excluded in the harsh environment of the Korean music industry, its consistency in creating well-produced, visionary music continues to attract global attention. By infusing alternative music with electronic elements, Love X Stereo is creating a fresh new style of music that is continually gaining great respect from both sides of Korean independent music scene; rock and electronica. Its music often confuses Korean audiences who isn’t always accustomed to absorbing new sounds, but it definitely takes center stage in the expat community (in other words, foreigners living in Korea) thanks to their impressive live performances and memorable song-writings.”

 Indeed, one readily detects everything from Smashing Pumpkins, U2 and My Bloody Valentine to classic ‘60s girl-group, spacey ‘70s Prog and poppy ‘80s nu-psychedelia in the band’s sound – check, for example, signature track “Soul City” (aka “Seoul City”) for a sleek sample of the impressive instrumentation and vocalist Annie’s sensual yip ‘n’ croon.

Annie Love X Stereo

   The band:

Annie – Lead Vocals, Keyboards and Synthesizers
Toby – Guitar, Backing Vocals, producing
Sol – Bass, Backing Vocals
Young Hoon Jang – Drums

 Annie and Toby kindly answered our email questions, and followed up a short while later to let us know that had just received invitations from MidPoint Music Fest (aka MPMF.13, held in Cincinnati Sept. 26-28) and Indie Week Canada 2013 (Oct. 16-20, Toronto), and hope to set up a U.S. tour around the events. Meanwhile, check out their official website or Facebook page for additional details as well as song samples. They’re one of the good ‘uns, trust us.

 BLURT: Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about your pre-Love X Stereo days as the punk/skate rock band Skrew Attack. 

TOBY: I was in a band called “18Cruk” back in 1998, which was one of the 1st or 2nd generation Korean punk rock band. I played the bass, and our band was like one of those anarcho bands back then. At that time, I was very much into bands like NOFX, Black Flag, Bad Religion, or Minor Threat – many fast paced hard core/punk rock bands. In order to do those type of music, I decided to leave the band and made a 3 piece sk8 punk rock band called “Skrew Attack” in 1999. This band was probably the first sk8 punk rock band ever in Korea. I founded Bitch & Beach Records and Stereo City Records afterwards. (Our band name ‘Love X Stereo’ was actually inspired by this name: ‘Stereo City’.) And in order to pursue music more professionally, there were constant member replacements all the time. Many members went in and out, and then I met Annie in the end of 2005. (‘Skrew Attack’ still remains as Korea’s 1st sk8 punk rock band.)

  Why did you decide to change your name and, presumably, your style?

 We did punk rock for years and years, so this time we wanted to do something different, something that isn’t necessarily punk rock, and something fresh and new. We love to add experimental flavor into our music, adding different elements from different genres that we like, such as trip hop, electro, alternative rock etc. So, changing band name was quite inevitable.

 So far you have released two EPs – Buzzin’ in 2011, and Off the Grid in 2012 – correct? What details should we know about those? 

The album Buzzin’ was the first album that band ever produced. This album was our very first attempt for dance music. We bought a synthesizer for the first time, and made our title song ‘Ocean Breeze’ right away. This song sort a led us to dig deep into electro music, which eventually became the origin of our band.

        Off The Grid album is more on the shoegazing, ambient, psychedelic side which we always wanted to try someday. ‘Chain Reaction’ is a good example which shows all those elements. But ironically ‘Soul City’ seems to be the most beloved. Maybe ‘Soul City’ is a bit more friendly to the audience than ‘Chain Reaction’.

You’ve also released covers of Nirvana, Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins (listen to 1979, above) – why did you select those artists to cover?

 There are many reasons why we do covers. First of all, we cover these songs as an homage to these bands. Second, we thought this is a perfect way to explain our music to a more broader audience. Last but not least, these bands are the reason why we started music in the first place, and we always love to cover songs that inspire us. It started from a very random idea, but we did it anyway, and we still want to cover more songs in the future.

 Talk a little about the Korean indie/underground music scene that we outsiders wouldn’t necessarily know about. Not surprisingly, we don’t get much information about it—primarily, it’s just K-pop artists that make the news over here. Where does your band fit in?

 We believe that the size of Korean indie scene is only 5-10% of what the K-pop scene is right now. But there are a lot of independent artists out there active these days. Though, we do feel recently that lots of corporates are willing to get involved in this small scene and to take over small labels and independent artists in a certain way. We keep learning from our experiences and try to stand on our own.

  In your Sonicbids EPK you suggest that Korean artists have been discriminated against by the recording industry and the government—could you explain that a bit more? 

ANNIE: To avoid any further confusion, I didn’t mean that independent artists are getting discriminated by the system. What I meant was that Korean rock itself has been discriminated throughout history, and for that matter, most rock musicians nowadays just really don’t have a chance to create a bond with our great predecessors. Think of it this way: The majority of people in Korea presumably think that ‘rock music equals independent music’. That shows how rock music is underestimated in this country. But rock music is constantly getting attention as a new alternative to K-pop. So… ummm, that says, we are not very much involved in this scene whatsoever (I think.) We want our music to be heard by the world, not just in Korea, lol. (below, two recent live sessions by the band)

How has your music been received by the Korean fans and the Korean music so far? What are your plans to reach a larger audience, either regionally or globally?

 Our Korean fans are mostly fans who really love ‘music’ in general. But Korean fans might be only about 10% of our fanbase. Most of our fans who buy our CDs and follow up our shows are mostly foreigners (non-Koreans) living in Korea. And we aren’t getting much love from the public yet, but we do think many Korean artists (such as musicians, artists etc.) seem to like us, too. We will continue making new music, of course, and will try to reach out the world constantly. You will see us in your neighborhood very soon.

You have a new EP slated for release in July? What can you tell us about that?

 We are scheduled to publish our new EP in July, hopefully. (Still working on new songs.) It’s going to be sophisticated, complicated, edgy and grand, but still very easy to listen. It’s going to be superb!

 The Jack

         And also, we are about to release a new theme song for famous Korean pop artist “The Jack” (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Thejack-더잭/493262977391512). He is a very humorous, photogenic rabbit who portrays real life into this fictional character. The song is inspired by his famous catchphrase is “bu-kkeu-reo-wo-yo”, which means “I’m embarrassed.” And to add more flair, we hooked up “J-Path” (http://soundcloud.com/jpathmusic), the best DnB artist in Korea, and he’s going to remix our track in a very peculiar way. So stay tuned!