Naomi Yang directs the accompanying Sixties throwback video.
By Blurt Staff
En route is Agistri, the first full length album from Heather Trost, otherwise one half of the duo A Hawk and a Hacksaw, who was joined in the sessions by Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeremy Barnes on drums and bass, Deerhoof’s John Dieterich on guitar, and Drake Hardin and Rosie Hutchinson of cult New Mexico band Mammal Eggs. We are advised that “the new album comprises a song cycle of freely formed pop songs touching upon Soul, Samba, and Pop of the 60’s and 70’s, with a subtle shading of psychedelia. Ambient and melancholic sounds interweave with Hammond organs and 70’s Italian synthesizers.”
Below, watch the first video from the album, for the track “Agistri.” It was directed by Naomi Yang of Galaxie 500/Damon & Naomi fame.
North Carolina band continues to reach for the stars – and grabs ’em.
By Fred Mills
A few months ago we announced that legendary Tarheel shoegaze/dreampop auteurs The Veldt had signed to our sister business, Schoolkids Records, and were prepping a new EP for a June release, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation. Meanwhile, they also released the four-song “Sanctified” in early April as well as a limited edition 7″ single for “Sanctified” that arrived on Record Store Day. We’ll keep you updated on the band, which also has been touring steadily, including shows with Modern English and Brian Jonestown Massacre.
In the interim, then, if you’re a Veldt fan you will enjoy this. Below, watch a pair of live clips from March of this year in Chicago – the audience-shot video quality is just average, but the audio is outstanding. After that you can check out the official video for the son “Symmetry.”
Traditional Welsh folk music group Calan aren’t your everyday “traditional” outfit. Despite the ancient roots of Calan’s music, this brash, young group is composed of a new generation of ambassadors, striving to take their sound to new audiences, raising some eyebrows with their deliberate presentation, while also raising the international profile of traditional Welsh music. Get used to this: Accordion, Fiddle, Pipes, Harp, and the percussive sound of Clogs are the new Guitar, Bass, and Drums.
We’re very proud to unveil a video from the group, whose new single is “Kân,” a patriotic song about the future of the Welsh language and culture. It’s taken from their new album, Solomon, due out this week (May 12, Sain Records). Check it out:
Explains the group, “In the song we sample the voice of the late poet Nigel Jenkins, father of our fiddle player, Angharad Jenkins, reading an extract of his poem, ‘The Creation.’ The chorus of this song is based on the style of traditional psalm chanting popular in west Wales at one time.”
Calan caused a bit of a stir recently, having been held in a detainment cell at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport alongside a death metal band from Estonia. They were subsequently seen onstage performing alongside Sting at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the 50th birthday celebration of famed opera singer, Sir Bryn Terfel Jones. And they tour seemingly nonstop, having graduated from busking in the streets of Cardiff to introducing Welsh traditional music to curious music fans in the UK, Belgium, Italy, France, and on several tours of North America, playing festival shows on huge stages to tens-of-thousands, as well as at local folk club shows, unrestricted by sound systems, while standing on tables and jumping off chairs.
Keep your eyes peeled for tour dates in North America – this month they will be all over the UK. Official website: https://www.calan-band.com/
Calan (L-R): Angharad Jenkins, Sam Humphreys, Bethan Rhiannon, Patrick Rimes, Alice French. Photo credit: Richard P Walton.
So – what could be better than a Raging Fire retrospective release? How about a NEW Raging Fire release? A year and a half ago we wrote, in this space:
They were called Raging Fire, and they were a bright spot on the otherwise moribund Nashville rock scene in the ‘80s. As the saying goes, while likeminded Nashville insurgents Jason and the Scorchers merged the Sex Pistols with Hank Williams, Raging Fire merged the Clash with Tennessee Williams. Voted “one of America’s best unsigned bands” (along with the Pixies) in 1988 in the annual CMJ readers’ poll, they burned brightly, but by the end of the decade they were done. Now, though, the members have collaborated in order to release a 30th anniversary celebration,Everything Is Roses 1985-1989…
That was then, track premiere-wise, but this is now, and NOW we are stoked to offer up a premiere from the revived band. Check out the video for “Free to Be”:
The song is from the new album These Teeth are Sharp, out May 12, and the video is by Robert Johnson (no, not that Robert Johnson).
Explains the band’s Mark Medley, “Interestingly my friend, original Raging Fire guitarist Michael Godsey wrote ‘Free to Be’ in early 2012 as a techno-pop song. He and RF vocalist Melora Zaner were living in Shanghai and they cut what sounded to me like an unfinished demo with Melora and singer Monica Chen on vocals. A few months later, in May 2012, Michael was taken by a heart attack. He was 47. Three years after that, Raging Fire released an anthology LP entitled Everything is Roses 1985 -1989 and played their first show in 25 years to a packed house at Nashville’s Exit/In.
“In the wake of that project we began making recordings for a brand new record. These Teeth are Sharp will be released May 12th and is dedicated to Michael Godsey. The LP features a new version of ‘Free to be’ expanding on its themes of self-responsibility and free will. In reference to the song’s Asian origins most of the third verse in Chinese by Melora. The band was knocked out when we realized ‘Free to Be’ represents a departure –a new twenty-first century sound for Raging FIre.
“We asked a dear friend to make a video of the song –photographer and original Jason and the Scorchers bassist Robert Johnson, also known as Jeff Johnson. Jeff was also the producer of Raging Fire’s first full length LP in 1986 and we’ve enjoyed a sense of homecoming working with him on this project. Using Chinese footage and stills from Melora’s friends in Shanghai, as well as imagery submitted by the band and himself, Jeff said he wanted to capture the spirit of Michael Godsey. We believe he did.”
Indeed he did. The resulting These Teeth are Sharp is a culmination, then—and a beginning. Keep your eyes peeled for tour dates this summer, too.
Triple album – you read that right – en route for the early summer.
By Fred Mills
It’s not a particularly close-kept secret that a number of folks here at the BLURT brain trust are staunch fans of North Carolina’s Michael Rank; just put his name into the search box on our home page and you’ll no doubt get more than a few hits, including a review of his most recent album, 2016’s Red Hand. The erstwhile Snatches of Pink frontman is, not to put to fine a point on the matter, prolific.
If he’s not worried, we’re not worried, so let’s dive right in with the first single off the new album, “Be Alright.”
It’s a classic/classy slice of blue-eyed soul, a bit of a departure from Rank’s frequent forays into twangy Americana. The video also features Brian Dennis (who produced the album with Rank) and Bobby Patterson, both formally of NC Triangle heroes DAG. As Rank explains, “The album plays like my ’70s love letter to Sly Stone, D’Angelo, Curtis Mayfield, Shuggie Otis and Prince.”
No argument there, brutha. We knew you had the ivories skills, but that’s one sweet falsetto, too. Everyone else – enjoy.
Title track from the songwriter’s new album, out next week.
By Blurt Staff
Recognize the name Hunter Simpson? If not, you will soon. The guitarist/vocalist for eclectic NYC trio Daytona, whose self-titled LP for the Ernest Jenning Record Co. notched numerous critical kudos, is prepping the May 12 release of solo record Goldmine, also on Ernest Jenning, and we’ve got the title track to unveil for your video-hungry eyes. Check it out:
Simpson was original from North Carolina and nowadays he splits his time between Brooklyn and Copenhagen. He also stays busy playing guitar in the Wild Yaks. He did, however, carve out time to make a southern sojourn early last year to Fawn Forest Studio in Chatham County, NC, to work with producer Ari Picker of Lost in the Trees on his solo debut. Musical contributors to the album include Matt Douglas of the Mountain Goats and The Hot At Nights (saxophone) and Hunter’s father Bland Simpson of The Red Clay Ramblers (piano).
The label describes Goldmine as “a smooth, contemplative collection, its eight songs flowing languidly from a wellspring of fingerpicked nylon-string guitars, nimble saxophone runs and tender melodies sung with conviction—the title track is a prime example of these principles in action.”
Although distaff rockers Warpaint have kept a somewhat low profile the past few months, they earned the right to do whatever the eff they wanna do last year with the release of Heads Up, one of 2016’s hands-down best albums. As our reviewer put it, the album “elaborates upon the Warpaint signature dreampop while bringing in purposeful elements of dance-pop and post-rock… look for the band to be headlining larger and larger venues along the way.”
It would appear that prediction is coming true, as the group will be on a fairly huge tour this summer as opening act for Depeche Mode. Meanwhile, though, the ladies made a stopover at the Ellen show yesterday (April 25) in order to play DeGeneres’ personal request, “Whiteout,” from the 2016 album. Check it out, below — everybody looks more than just a little stoked, the perfect summit.
Fire dance with me: you might say it’s somewhat NFSW…
By Fred Mills
Sex, witchcraft, human sacrifice, Satanic rituals — just another day in the life of the Afghan Whigs, whose new album Spades drops next week, May 5. Just another video too, eh? This time around, though, with director Amy Hood at the helm, it’s decidedly more surreal and almost drug-informed than any previous surreal/druggy Whigs vids. Take a look at “Oriole” below. It follows last month’s “Demon In Profile” video, which had its own elements of spookiness and sexuality.
It’s directed by Matt Yoka, stars Ty Segall, features guest appearances by Fred Armisen, Henry Rollins and Jack Black, and centers around destroying guitars. Just another day in the life of indie rocker Segall, eh? Watch the new Drag City video for Segall’s “Break A Guitar,” below.
No truth to the rumor the band will be opening on the summer 2017 Banana Splits reunion tour, however.
By Blurt Staff
If you’re not familiar with the Dexateens, you will be in a moment. These rock ‘n’ roll primates aren’t just aping popular styles and trendy fads—they’re positively simian in their approach to music. Hailing from the urban zoo of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the band serves up a Southern brew of garage punk and dirt-road boogie, and it’s no surprise that they got started on the legendary Estrus Records label, going on to work with the likes of Patterson Hood and David Barbe as well as Tim Kerr – no strangers to primal primate sounds. They took a hiatus from 2010 to 2013—go here to read a review of their 5-out-of-5-stars record from that comeback year—but since then it’s been full speed ahead.
Here’s a fresh taste:
According to guitarist Elliott McPherson, “The song is about going to church as a child, hitting puberty and getting obsessed with the bad girl on the back pew. The moral of the story is that sometimes the church itself can become a place where the evils of the world can creep in and contaminate what is supposed to be a righteous experience….. and that maybe the true church is the act of genuine love and not a place with doors.”
Boy howdy to that. Look for 2016’s Teenage Hallelujah in fine stores everywhere, and keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming Stars In Bars. The band is touring (in Tupelo tonight, in fact), and you can find out more about ‘em at their official website. Trust us, they are no chimps, er, we mean, chumps.
4/20 The Thirsty Devil – Tupelo, MS
4/21 Proud Larry’s – Oxford, MS
4/22 Spring Fest – Huntsville, AL
5/4 JJ’s Bohemia – Chattanooga, TN
5/5 Barley’s Taproom – Knoxville, TN
5/6 Trailfest 2017 – Woodstock, GA
5/19 Martin’s Bar – Jackson, MS
5/20 Historic Downtown Anniston w/St Paul and the Broken Bones – Anniston, AL
Blurt Exclusive: Parson Red Heads "Coming Down" (from forthcoming June '17 album)
Blurt Video Exclusive: Twinkle Star "Wasting Life Together"/"Release Yourself"
A Blurt Video Boot Exclusive: Vieux Farka Toure - live in Beijing 1/15/17)
Blurt Exclusive: James Johnston "Heart and Soul" (live)