Not long ago we published an interview with the adventurous jazz duo Dadalon, our contributor Jonathan Levitt commenting on the NYC combo thusly: “Alon Albagli, guitarist for the group, sounds like a young Bill Frisell, creating heightened states of awareness with his cyclical looped guitar work that builds and builds until there’s an intense emotional payoff for the listener. Daniel Dor, drummer and keyboardist for the group, is able to infuse a rhythmic playfulness into each song that is both supportive of Alon’s guitar playing and propulsive at the same time. The music is an intimate conversation between two friends that is beckoning for you to join in.”
Guarantee: no Muppets were harmed during the filming of this interview.
By Robin E. Cook
Jim Henson, in his wildest fever dreams, could never have imagined the intra-band dramas of Austin’s Fragile Rock Band. Then again, he wasn’t around to witness the rise of emo. For their SXSW show, the band wore their hearts on their felt sleeves while singing songs about Ms. Pac-Man and frontman Milo S.’s new crush, the actress Fairuza Balk. Milo was conspicuously absent for the interview the afternoon before the show, but the rest of the band proved quite lively.
“Having a Rave Up” key track from lysergic new platter…
By Blurt Staff
No, it’s not a Yardbirds (look up that ref…) tribute, but it IS a tribute to ‘60s psych/garage/pop gems of yore: “Having a Rave Up,” from the Boston band’s recently released studio album, Psychsploitation Today (Lolipop and Burger Records). Blurt reviewed their 2015 albumKeep Your Stupid Dreams Alive and this new one’s even more cranium-crunching. We are advised thusly, of the evolutionary genre grinders (yeah, we stole that description): “While the Prefab Messiahs originally started performing their own lo-fi brand of post-punk, psych, garage-pop in the early ‘80s, along with working with ‘outsider psych legend’ Bobb Trimble at the time, it wasn’t until their early music was re-released a few years ago on Burger Records that media and fans alike started to connect the dots from The Prefabs to today’s garage-psych artists such as Ty Segall, Oh Sees, White Fence, King Tuff and others.”
O, what a lucky man: Key track from new album currently out (and being toured as well).
By Fred Mills
This clip is a personal fave: Having followed Chris Smither avidly ever since seeing him in a small blues club in Charlotte, NC (and later having the privilege of hanging with him and sundry other fans and media types during a memorable night of, ahem, music and fun in Tucson, AZ), I can state personally that the cat is the real freakin’ deal —and you, gentle readers, will bear witness with me when you view the following video for “Down to the Sound,” a special solo acoustic performance, filmed in Leverett, MA, of a key track from his superb new album, Call Me Lucky (Signature Sounds/Mighty Albert), which dropped a few days ago, on March 2:
With video production via J. Elon Goodman / www.saltstage.com, this simple-yet-piercing track comes alive, not unlike having the blues/Americana virtuoso sitting across you in your own house.
Smither, on the track: “This song came about from some press interview awhile back when I was in the middle of writing songs for this record. He asked me the question I’ve been asked more times than I care to remember, ‘How do you write songs?’ I think ‘Down To The Sound’ ended up being a suitable answer.”
It’s the Boston virtuoso’s 18th—yes, that makes EIGHTEEN—album to date, and a 2CD set to boot, one which took him to Austin with producer David Goodrich along with players Billy Conway (Morphine) and Matt Lorenz (The Suitcase junket). If you need more convincing, HERE is a video you can also view over at NPR’s World Café.
Or you could just check out the man in concert, because he’s on the road just about constantly for the next couple of months…
Wed., March 7 PORTLAND, OR Alberta Rose Theatre*
Thurs., March 8 EUGENE, OR Shedd Institute*
Fri., March 9 BAINBRIDGE WA The Treehouse Café*
Sat., March 10 VANCOUVER, BC St. James Hall*
Sun., March 11 SEATTLE, WA Tractor Tavern*
Wed., March 14 SANTA CRUZ, CA Kuumbwa Jazz Center*
Thurs., March 15 AUBURN, CA Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center*
Fri., March 16 BERKELEY, CA Freight & Salvage*
Sat., March 17 SEBASTOPOL, CA Sebastopol Community Center*
Fri., March 30 HOUSTON, TX The Mucky Duck
Sat., March 31 AUSTIN, TX Cactus Cafe
Wed., April 4 NEW YORK, NY City Winery NYC*
Fri., April 6 FALL RIVER, MA Narrows Center for Arts*
Sat., April 7 TURNERS FALLS, MA Shea Theater*
Sun., April 8 CAMBRIDGE, MA The Sinclair*
Fri., April 13 AUBURN, NY Auburn Public Theater
Sat., April 14 PHILADELPHIA, PA World Cafe Live
Sun., April 15 BALTIMORE, MD Creative Alliance at Patterson
Fri., April 27 NASHVILLE, TN Bluebird Cafe
Sat., April 28 BATON ROUGE, LA Red Dragon Listening Room
Sun., April 29 NEW ORLEANS, LA Chickie Wah Wah
Thurs., May 10 EVANSTON, IL Evanston SPACE
Fri., May 11 MINNEAPOLIS, MN Cedar Cultural Center
Sat., May 12 ANN ARBOR, MI The Ark
Sun., May 13 CLEVELAND, OH Beachland Ballroom
Tues., May 15 PITTSBURGH, PA Club Cafe
Wed., May 16 BUFFALO, NY 9th Ward @ Babeville
Thurs., May 17 ROCHESTER, NY Penthouse at One East Ave
Fri., July 20 TELLURIDE, CO Telluride Americana Music Festival
The ever-diligent Dangerous Minds website has unearthed a good-quality half-hour video of the late, great Minutemen performing an unplugged set for Los Angeles public access television in 1985. The footage has circulated quite a bit in the past, including this relatively recent 2013 YouTube upload, but it’s still always a welcome addition to the daily mix. (How unplugged? Drummer George Hurley plays bongos against Mike Watt and D. Boon’s acoustic guitars.)
In addition to certain key Minutemen numbers, the video includes the band’s takes on Meat Puppets, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Blue Oyster Cult. I can personally testify to the latter pair of bands figuring high on the Boon, Watt, and Hurley Top Ten lists. To that I can testify, having hung out with the band for close to a week in 1985, interviewing them and semi-surreptitiously bootlegging their shows opening for REM that fall; BOC was frequently mentioned as an influence on Boon and Watt. The version of BOC’s “The Red and The Black” on this video is classic – all they needed was Will Ferrell to jump onstage and add some more cowbell.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the set has also been bootlegged numerous times, audio-wise, with some M-men fans going to great lengths to clean up and remaster the material. If you hunt, you can find decent quality audio downloads and maybe an actual CD version. How about an official release, gang?
“My God, I’ve been purified, I’m a human vaccine Gonna save my race with my AR 15.”
By Fred Mills
It’s called “Mass Killin’ Gun,” and it’s a new song that Peter Himmelman wrote in direct response to the Parkland massacre and the ensuing heated debate about guns and gun control. With over the top lyrics such as the ones quoted above, it should be clear to everyone except Ted Nugent and Wayne LaPierre that, here, Himmelman’s dripping with sarcasm towards the pro-gun lobby and Americans’ love affair with guns. Check it out:
Um, add YouTube to that list featuring the Nuge and the NRA maniac – as The Wrap points out, Himmelman received a takedown notice from YouTube that indicated he had violated the platform’s community standards. They stuck to their decision even after he queried the specifics of their decision, telling him, “After further review of the content, we’ve determined that your video does violate our Community Guidelines and have upheld our original decision.”
The fact that I am posted the video to the site does suggest something had been resolved between this morning and the time of The Wrap’s original post on Feb. 22, of course. But there is the larger issue of exactly what YouTube defines as their standards; overt hate speech and beheading videos would certainly qualify. But a socio-political statement in which the singer is playing a cartoonish character? Even the Parkland shooting survivors would “get it” and they’d probably applaud Himmelman for trying to make a statement; don’t forget, these were the folks who were standing and applauding at the CNN town hall meeting while Senator Marco Rubio was doing his level best to insert his size 10 wingtips into his mouth.
Himmelman told The Wrap, “It was meant to be ironic. Obviously I don’t endorse going around killing people with an AR-15. It wasn’t gun control that spurred the song. I was just trying to imagine someone so derange dand what was going through his mind.
“It’s not a shining moment for YouTube [which] claims it’s trying to give people a voice, but when you of peek behind the curtain all you see is the Wizard of Oz, and it’s just one big machine. They’ve grown so much, they’ve become just another giant bureaucracy, everything they’ve been trying to disrupt has come full circle and now they’re just the man.”
The truly ad part about all this, though, is not that YouTube took down a video by a popular artist just because they feared it might be too controversial – it’s that we have in America a pretty significant percentage of the population who will read the lyrics and not see them as ironic – and be supportive of them as a result. Why is that little voice in my head telling me that Ted Nugent will be covering this song in concert soon?
The right to bear arms is deeper than my bones It shall not be infringed upon, a law set in stone Yeah I know it’s about militias, but details are such a bore And anyway, I’m getting ready for the next civil war…
I’m holding a thing of beauty, an incredible machine Makes me feel like a man, a more powerful human being I keep it oiled, polished to a shimmering sheen I’m in love with my AR 15
I don’t use the thing for hunting I don’t keep it around for fun When society breaks down I’ll grab it and I’ll run I’ll head for the hills when the war’s finally begun You can’t kill en masse if you ain’t got a mass killin gun
There’s so much to hate, so much that is obscene Am I the only man, with no thought that is unclean My God, I’ve been purified, I’m a human vaccine Gonna save my race with my AR 15
I don’t use it for hunting I don’t keep it ’round for fun When society breaks down I’ll grab it and I’ll run I’ll head for the hills when the war’s final years begun You can’t kill en masse if you ain’t got a mass killin gun
I’m holding a thing of beauty More deadly than a guillotine It’s more than a weapon, it’s my semi-automatic wet dream With it I am invincible, I get higher than a shot of morphine You know I love my AR 15
I don’t use it for hunting I don’t keep it ’round for fun When society breaks down I’m gonna grab it and I’ll run I’ll head for the hills when the war’s final years begun You can’t kill en masse if you ain’t got a mass killin gun
The gifted NYC duo talks about the band and how they communicate musically, their forthcoming new album, what it’s like to be working musicians in New York, and more. Also check out our exclusive live-in-studio video, below, as well as some choice audio that the band kindly provided.
BY JONATHAN LEVITT
Dadalon are a New York jazz group that I happened to catch by pure happenstance a few weeks ago on the Lower East Side. When they took the stage, their music immediately resonated somewhere deep in my soul. Alon Albagli, guitarist for the group, sounds like a young Bill Frisell, creating heightened states of awareness with his cyclical looped guitar work that builds and builds until there’s an intense emotional payoff for the listener. Daniel Dor, drummer and keyboardist for the group, is able to infuse a rhythmic playfulness into each song that is both supportive of Alon’s guitar playing and propulsive at the same time. The music is an intimate conversation between two friends that is beckoning for you to join in.
Check out “D Major” courtesy Dadalon, who have provided the track as an exclusive to Blurt:
Indeed, it’s the conversational aspect of the music, cut with a euphoric dreaminess, that had the crowd at the Rockwood Music Hall mesmerized and in a state of positivity. Over the next few days, this feeling that I’d come across NYC’s best kept secret was hard to shake, so I took it upon myself to interview the group and film a few numbers out at their studio in Brooklyn for Blurt readers.
I guarantee you’ll be hearing a lot about these guys in the future. For now, check out the video below; the interview follows immediately afterwards. For more info on the band, visit their Facebook page.
Dadalon: Live at Vibramonk Studios in Brookly, Feb. 15, 2018
BLURT: When and where did your band first get together (how did you guys meet)?
Daniel: We met at a Jazz workshop back in Israel when we were kids, then met again 10 years after at The New School University. We’ve been making music ever since, and DADALON was born in 2016 as a way of taking our friendship into a more intimate musical [project].
What made the two of you decide as young kids to join a jazz camp?
Daniel: We were both huge jazz nerds growing up, these workshops were profoundly educational, they were an opportunity for us to study with some of the musicians we admired.
Why a duo?
Alon: Daniel and I have a similar taste in music and a really close friendship for so many years. When he asked me if I want to do something together it was clear that it will be a duo project. That way instead of hanging out all day anyway, we might as well write some music and play shows just the two of us. We were led by a strong feeling that this is worth pursuing.
Stylistically, which artist or artists have had the greatest influence on your playing style?
Daniel: As far as playing with DADALON is concerned, one of my main ideas was to keep a punk rock quality to the playing, and not having it be lost to and become cerebral. Besides a long list of Jazz drummers that I’m inspired and influenced by, such as Jack Dejohnette, Jorge Rossy and Justin Brown, there other a lot of other artist which I wish to capture their essence in some way, like Kristian Matsson, Tom York, Adrianne Lenker, Mozart, Bach, etc. I wouldn’t presume to actually know what they are really about, but the impression these people leave on me is profound, so I wish I could play drums like they sing or write.
Where are both members from? In what ways has this influenced the band’s musical sensibility?
Daniel: I’m from Tel-Aviv, and Alon is from a suburb nearby. Tel-Aviv has a very diverse musical environment, as cosmopolitan as the city itself. Perhaps that is the reason why when I think of DADALON’s influences, there are about a hundred different styles of music that come to my mind.
Why and when did you guys leave Israel? How did the two of you end up in NYC of all places? Did you come here at the same time?
Daniel: Alon moved to NY in 2008 and myself in 2010. I imagine we probably left for similar reasons. Mine had to do with a need to expand musically, as well as learning new things in general. Back in Tel-Aviv, every street already had at least 30 stories attached to it, and so familiar narratives which I had about myself were hard to let go of. It was as if I was constantly reminded of who I am and where I’m from. I prefer leaving these questions more open, so a career that involves traveling made sense, as well as relocating somewhere so diverse like New York. Jazz music was the trigger as far as choosing New York as a new home, but I believe the underlying reasons were more emotional and [still] to be discovered.
What bands have you played in prior to Dadalon?
Alon: I worked with artists such as Ari Hoenig, J.views, Daniel Zamir, Janelle Kroll, and many more. Daniel has played and toured with Avishai Cohen Trio, Matisyahu, John Patitucci, Yotam Silberstein and more.
How would you classify the music you create?
Daniel: I’m sure there’s a chord we can find that’ll answer this question better than I can. I’m thinking of a D major7(add4).
What’s on your turntable as we speak?
Alon: Lately we have been listening a lot to Big Thief (Capacity), Frank Locrasto (Locrasto) , as well as “Vaporwave” artists such as ESPRIT. I’ve also been obsessed with the Brad Mehldau solo piano music (10 Years Solo Live).
Alon, what sort of guitar do you play? Can you tell us how you came up with your rig set up?
Alon: I play a Gibson ES 335 from 1979, have been using it for a while and it works really well for DADALON cause of its big sound and a lot of low mid-range. For the pedal board I had to come up with a set up that allows me to play low bass parts and looping options. Most of the interesting sounding effects come from the Eventide H9 and the Helix LT by Line-6 and combinations of both, using presets that I’ve build over time.
You have a new album coming out; where was it recorded and who produced? Will it be self-released or on a label?
Daniel: Yes, we have an album coming out really soon. It was recorded at Vibromonk Studios in Brooklyn. We both produced it, and it will be self-released.
When will the album be officially released and will it be for sale on Bandcamp?
Alon: The CD will be coming out mid-March, and it will be up on sale on BandCamp, iTunes, and [other platforms].
What did you guys release prior to this?
Daniel: This is the first time we both release an album under our own name, although we both play on other artists’ recordings. For example, Alon can be heard on Jviews’s The DNA Project or Yacine Boulares’ Ajoyo, and I can be heard on Avishai Cohen’s From Darkness, NOA’s Love Medicine (alongside the great Pat Metheny) or Yotam Silberstein’s upcoming album, which I just recorded on!
Tell us about some of the individual songs and the musical direction you were aiming for on the new record? Is it just the two of you or were there other musicians called into record?
Daniel: For me, the first song on the album, “D Major” (listen to it at the top of this page), sets the album on a path filled with mountains, valleys, wormholes, and a bunch of love making. The bridge of “D Major,” which leads to the final chorus, was originally part of a song that I wrote for my mom’s last record, so childhood feels like a big part of this first album. Creating music that feels intimate has been an aspiration of mine throughout this whole process, bringing people into my room in Brooklyn, my last breakup, my dreams, the things I’ve lost and the things I found that meant something to me. I trust Alon with all of these, and so much more. While I know our [intention] is to create music that feels inclusive, it felt right to have no one else involved in the writing/arranging process. The only collaborators on this album are Nate Wood, who mastered the album, and Jacob Bergson, who mixed it.
Have you guys toured outside NYC?
Alon: We’ve toured Israel on our last visit, and [our] first international tours are being coordinated as we speak.
Who are some kindred bands either here in NYC that you have an affinity for?
Daniel: Luckily, we are a part of a few different musical scenes here in New York, so we affiliate ourselves with lots of Jazz artists, as well as new Folk artists, Vaporwave artists and Drone Music. Our current NYC heroes are my friends from Big Thief, the wonderful Joanna Sternberg, the amazing Nitai Hershkovits, and others.
What’s the hardest thing about being a band in NYC?
Alon: There are not as many places to play as one would think. We’ve decided to have one venue we call home, called Rockwood Music Hall, and play there monthly. That way we can come up with new stuff between each show and experiment. It also keeps it interesting for us in regards to trying out different set lists and songs.
There’s an emotional directness to your music, that I found easy to connect with and yet it ended up stirring all of these complex emotions in me. Is this a common reaction that people have to your music?
Daniel: Thank you, I’m glad the music resonated with you. One of the things that meant the most to me so far while performing with DADALON has been the similarity I noticed between how I felt while writing my part of this music and the feedbacks we’ve been getting. To my ears, what you’re describing about your own experience sounds very similar to my experience throughout the writing process, which took place at a time when the idea of writing music that’s compassionate is something I wanted to consider. I want to be able to be direct and emotionally available in music, and not be manipulative. Stirring people’s feelings is a very sensitive subject, so I try to take that very seriously when we play, and feel like Alon is an amazing partner in that regard as well.
I found it pretty intense seeing the two of you communicate musically on stage, tweaking a knob hear and freeing up a hand to play the keyboard, while using the other hand to keep the beat. What’s it like performing where you have so much to control and think about at the same time while trying to harness your emotions?
Alon: We rehearse as much as possible because we wanted to get to that exact point, where we don’t have to think about it and just play and feel the music. As part of our practice session, we’ve just been repeating the same parts many times until we had enough of it, drank some water and then did some more of it.
What do you guys hope to accomplish in 2018?
Daniel: In 2018, I hope to continue writing and developing our repertoire, as well as exploring more ambient musical journeys, which we’ve been delving into in the past few months. The idea of real-time ambient compositions speaks to us both. Also, getting our debut CD out so it can be shared by more people is another goal for 2018.
Below, watch a brief clip of the band performing last year in Tel Aviv.
Choice title track from the artist’s upcoming record in March.
By Blurt Staff
Americana/blues/alt-country virtuoso Kevin Daniel’s new EP, Myself Through You, will arrive March 16, via Creative Entertainment Network/The Orchard, described as “a mix of roots rock riffs, Americana flavor, alternative country backed by pedal steel guitar, flugelhorn, and bluegrass banjo.” Indeed, as evidenced by the title track (not to mention this wonderful video for the tune “Born A Preacher”), it’s all that and much more. We’re proud to unveil “Myself Through You,” in fact, here at BLURT. Check it out:
Explains Daniel, “I chose to name the album after this song because it’s got a lot of what I love in music, banjo, organ, and great harmonies. It’s a bit of a departure from my more country-tinged stuff, but I think pushing yourself is often how you get some of your best work. The music video itself was shot on probably one of the coldest days of the winter so far, it was maybe ten degrees that day? Maybe less. It was super, super cold which is why I kept dancing and moving. Originally, I was just supposed to sort of walk around Brooklyn but decided if we were going to’ be outside all day, then I needed to keep moving around.”
The new record was recorded in the summer of 2017 at Brooklyn’s Degraw Sound with Benjamin Rice (Jack Penate, Silya & The Sailor, Aoife O’Donovan). It follows 2013’s debut FLY, and is the culmination of a career that’s began blossoming during the North Carolina native’s childhood and steadily developed through high school orchestras, a pair of jazz/blues bands, a bluegrass outfit, a punk/ska combo, and even an a capella group (he was a tenor, in case you’re wondering).
Watch for Daniel and his band, currently based in NYC, hitting the road this spring and throughout the summer. Details at his official website – and don’t confuse him with that other Kevin Daniel (a pop artist) or even that other Kevin Daniel (a visual artist). This guy’s the real deal.
Hard-twangin’, fuzzbox-stompin’ guy/gal duo Hymn For Her have been a fixture on the American and Euro roadways the past few years, touring behind their blistering 2013 album Lucy and Wayne’s Smokin’ Flames and the more recent revved-up Drive Til U Die (listen to it at their website). Yeah, that band, the one touring in a deluxe Bambi Airstream, which did double duty as a recording studio for DTUD, along with studio sessions with the likes of Vance Powell, Mitch Easter & Jim Diamond. Now Lucy and Wayne have got a new video from the album to share, at their YouTube channel. just in time for all you sweethearts and Valentine’s Day – bask in its luminous glow, and feel free to sing along as you allow us to give you an advance peek. Check out “Acetylene”:
According to Lucy, “‘Acetylene’, it’s about the vast circle of life & sharing those moments with ones we love along the way. It was inspired in Menomonie, WI, written in Beaver Island, Mich., recorded in our 1961 Airstream in Swampville, FL, mixed by Mitch Easter (of REM engineering fame) in Kernersville, N.C. and mastered in Nashville, Tenn. It’s on our last release, Drive Til U Die.…so the song has had quite a journey. Our daughter joins us singing harmonies at the end.”
She adds that a new album is currently in the works, saying, “We recently finished working on a full length CD with Vance Powell that will be released at the end of August 2018. We are beginning to work on a video for the first song on the album in February. The songs on this release are a variety of many styles and many emotions, all played by the two of us.”
The band kicks off a new round of touring this week, starting Feb. 16 in Sarasota, FL. Just look for the music venue with the Airstream parked beside the load-in doors. Tour dates at their website.
Nobody’s going to accuse brainy, eclectic weirdo Chandler Travis of resting on his laurels (or fertilizing his laurels, take your pick). The self-described “king of the world” has never made an uninteresting record, his twisted brand of (what I almost hesitate to describe as) Americana encompassing the entirety of the Great Songbook – and then some. His latest album: Waving Kissyhead Vol. 1 and 2.
He’s not shy about social and political statements, either, and with his Chandler Travis Philharmonic he recently got in the van, headed to DC, and filmed a special message to the President. Check ’em out in front of the White House and Lincoln Memorial in the resulting video. The Salvation Army Band ain’t got nothin’ on these folks. (Fun hint: turn the YouTube subtitles/caption function on.) Good luck, everybody.
Tribute: Tony Kinman (R.I.P.) and Rank And File - Video from "Long Gone Dead"
Blurt Audio Exclusive: Thin White Rope "The Fish Song" (from 2018 remaster of The Ruby Sea