Easily one of the best album to date this year is blues guitar whiz Samantha Fish’s Chills & Fever, which dropped this week via the Ruf label. It’s a collection of smokin’ tunes that our reviewer describes as” a blisteringly fine set of rocking soul that both showcases Fish’s estimable fretboard skills and demonstrates her intuitive gifts in selecting classic, maximum-impact material to perform.”
Fish recently delivered a video for the title track, and you can check it out below. Our reviewer was pretty stoked about the tune itself, calling it a “shudder/shimmy/shake appropriation of R&B perennial “Chills & Fever”—which some may recall from Tom Jones’ over-the-top performance—that is authentic enough to give Amy Winehouse nu-soul devotees pause.”
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:
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:
That’s just Kennedy—no additional names required. You might recall the Cali artist from his days in an early lineup of Silversun Pickups or perhaps as the house bandleader at the original Largo comedy night, or perhaps from his London-based collective Nightbus. There have also been underground hits, such as club anthem “Karate” as well as viral video “Your Mama”, and collaborations with Grizfolk and BØRNS. Now he’s dropped a new single, “Bareback,” which he describes as “a seemingly impossible mashup of techno and country, equal parts Walker: Texas Ranger meets Star Trek: The Next Generation. Robots, line dancing, cowgirls, pick-ups and automatic weapons play a part in this slick EDM-inspired extravaganza video.” You can check out the video for it right here:
Notes Kennedy, “I put together the song and video while I was producing and writing the new Striking Matches album in Nashville because I really wanted to combine two totally different genres,” said producer/performer Kennedy. “Country and Techno go together like whiskey and Tinder. And I swear, I really was county before country was cool.” Incidentally, that’s Nashville musician A.J. Hobbs in the video.
Subject header fake news alert…. Above, meet the Fab Five.
By Fred Mills
Now that we’ve got your attention, please watch the new Feelies video. It’s for the most excellent song “Gone Gone Gone” from the even more most excellent album “In Between,” to which our reviewer recently awarded a 4-out-of-5-possible-stars review.
Indeed, on the album, the NJ quintet seems wonderfully relaxed, unconcerned with clock-watching, and this makes the gradual upshift over the course of it—from tuneful folk-rock tropes into the noisy fuzzed-out garage motifs heard in “Been Replaced” and “Gone Gone Gone”—feel all the more natural and compelling. I mean, no one’s going to confuse the scholarly—nerdy, even—Feelies for a wooly group of jam-band marauders. But when they feel like putting their feet to the pedal, there’s no stopping ‘em. This track’s a perfect example – and this low key video is a beautifully perverse way of underscoring exactly that.
Still a badass: Nashville-based songwriter’s label also reissues her erstwhile garage-punk combo’s classic 2006 debut on vinyl.
By Blurt Staff
Although she’s been laying low, musically speaking, for a few years, having gotten married and also concentrating on her Nashville store Fond Object Records (records, natch, plus vintage clothing and furnishings, boutique items, etc.), Late of distaff garage firebrands The Ettes, Coco Hames is now set to make her solo debut bow.
March 31 will bring Coco Hames (Fond Object), a foray into classic country and Americana cut in Nashville at the Bomb Shelter with co-producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes) and featuring Little Jack Lawrence from the Greenhornes and Raconteurs on bass, Julian Dorio of the Whigs on drums, The Weight’s guitarist Adam Meisterhaus, and Reigning Sound keyboardsman Dave Amels. (Sharp eyes who like to connect the dots will note the Reigning Sound connection: in 2010, Hames teamed up with RS mainman Greg Cartwright as the Parting Gifts, whose Strychnine Dandelionis reviewed elsewhere on the BLURT site.)
Below, you can check out a couple of Hames tracks on YouTube that have surfaced in advance of the album. She’s also slated to perform during SXSW in Austin this week on March 16, 12AM at Tap Room At the Market, for which she notes about the new album, “It was this massive leap of faith for me. After being in a band for so long, this time I was on my own—no gang to hide behind or fall back on.”
So don’t miss her—she’s the real deal.
Meanwhile, Ettes fans recently got a surprise gift, also courtesy Fond Object: a vinyl reissue of the trio’s timeless 2006 CD debut, Shake The Dust. Originally recorded by Hames, Jem Cohen, and Poni Silver with Liam Watson in London at Toe Rag Studios and released on the late, great Sympathy For the Record Industry label, it’s now out on super-limited colored vinyl (glom that gorgeous wax, below, punters) as well as black vinyl. It also comes with a download card that will yield a pair of previously unreleased tracks. Grab it while copies last.
Photo Credit: Rachel Briggs/via SXSW.com
Links to sundry Ettes content elsewhere at BLURT are below—note that in our early days, Hames was also a regular blogger for BLURT (“Look At Life”), although, sadly, after our website crashed in 2012 we lost a ton of content, including hers.
Last week we published a review of rocker Jonathan Mudd’s excellent new album Evidence, noting “Power pop still reigns supreme… The album’s also a study in precision, sequencing-wise, Mudd instinctively knowing when to downshift and exploit the record’s dynamics for maximum tension and catharsis. Ultimately, every song on Evidence is a keeper.”
Here’s some additional video evidence as well, as he’s posted a clip for the album track “The Wedge” that you’ll dig. Maybe we should now describe the song as – noir rock? Just maybe… Visit him online: https://www.muddmusic.com/
Info: Mudd on guitars and vocals, Ricky Wise on drums, Patrick Thornton on bass, Daniel Clarke on keyboards, and Mark Kenneth Williams on cowbell (!). Song produced by Jonathan Mudd with Mark Kenneth Williams. Video by Madeleine McCarty Mudd.
Band officially premiered the Songs of Innocence track today…
By Blurt Staff
It’s a provocative, if at times obtuse, black and white video by photographer Matt Mahurin, and it’s basically just Bono rambling around in the woods and on a dusty hill. Check out “Song For Someone,” below.
The U2 camp provided additional details:
“Premiering on Facebook, today the band release a new video for ‘Song For Someone’, directed by acclaimed illustrator and photographer Matt Mahurin. Reuniting U2’s music and Mahurin’s distinctive style – the two worked together on 1993’s ‘Love Is Blindness’ – ‘Song For Someone’ is a visual meditation on one of the standout tracks from Songs Of Innocence. Rendered in a beautiful black and white palette and featuring a performance from Bono filmed earlier this year in Malibu, Mahurin’s vision for ‘Song For Someone’ draws sharp parallels between song, inspiration and other forces of nature.
“‘Collaboration is a great part of the creative process,’ said Matt, talking about working with the band again. ‘And it has been a true joy to once again jump aboard the band’s mission of music, mercy and mayhem.’ Mahurin’s evocative take on ‘Song For Someone’ contrasts with Vincent Haycock’s short film, starring Woody and Zoe Harrelson, which debuted July 9 on SundanceTV.
Last night in Chicago (June 29) U2 gifted the United Center audience to the official debut of Songs of Innocence deluxe edition bonus track “Crystal Ballroom.’ The show was the fourth of five in the Chicago run, and as Bono put things, “There’s a bunch of people that have been on the road since we started this tour. I have no idea how they’re paying for it. I have no idea how they’ve skipped school and work, husbands and wives. But they’ve been on the road and they’ve been asking for one song, so we kinda nearly figured it out.”
“Greetings from New York City to the good people of Iran…” – Bono
A couple of weeks back, on a rooftop in New York City, the band recorded an acoustic performance of Sunday Bloody Sunday – and dedicated it to democracy in Iran. As the 2013 elections approached, the band were asked by Iranian human rights activists to contribute their music. As Bono says, at the beginning of the performance, ‘Greetings from New York City to the good people of Iran…‘The track is part of agit8, a campaign by ONE to harness the power of protest songs ahead of the G8 summit this week in Northern Ireland. Watch the video, below.
We’ve covered the amazing Brooklyn-based ensemble Barbez in the past, including their brilliant Bella Ciao album (“They are a large ensemble, ethnically curious, jazz-experimental, proggily complex outfit with a tendency to explore beautifully obscure corners not just of the music world, but also of literature,” wrote reviewer Jennifer Kelly). You can also check out a video for the “Bella Ciao” song itself here at BLURT. Now the group has collaborated with the Bay Area singer Velina Brown on a recording and video of L’Internationale, the unofficial anthem of Republican Spain. Check it out:
This new rendering features the members of Barbez: Peter Hess (Philip Glass Ensemble) clarinets, Pamelia Kurstin (David Byrne, Cibo Matto) theremin, Danny Tunick (The Clean) marimba, vibraphone, Dan Kaufman (Rebecca Moore) guitar, Catherine McRae (filmmaker Sam Green, the Quavers) violin, Peter Lettre (Shearwater) bass, and John Bollinger (Sway Machinery) drums; with Velina Brown (San Francisco Mime Troupe) voice, and special guest Sebastiaan Faber on trumpet.
The song was released this week, on February 27th, the 80th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Jarama, the first battle that included the Lincoln Brigade. The video was created by filmmaker David Pym and made possible by generous support from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA), a non-profit organization that seeks to preserve and teach the anti-fascist legacy of the Lincoln Brigade as well as promote human rights around the world.
And it’s remarkably timely, too, given that today’s alt-right was known eight decades ago as “fascists.” As Barbez and Brown point out,
“The first war they launched was in July 1936 when right-wing military generals attempted to overthrow the Republic’s government. Though the coup initially failed, these officers, led by Francisco Franco and aided by Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, transformed their effort into the three-year long Spanish Civil War, a dress rehearsal for World War II in which Nazi Germany pioneered new methods for mass killing in cities like Guernica.
“With xenophobia and far-right nationalism spreading across the United States and Europe to an extent not seen since the 1930s, it’s critical to recall the people who risked their lives to oppose such trends back then. Foremost among them were the International Brigades, tens of thousands of volunteers from around the world who journeyed to Spain in the late thirties to defend the democratic Spanish Republic against a fascist revolt. These included 2,800 Americans in what came to be called the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.”
Barbez will perform April 16 at the Museum of the City of New York (the 81st anniversary of the Brigade), and then again May 20 with Brown at Joe’s Pub, where the collaborators will be doing songs associated with the Spanish Civil War. More details at these websites: