Category Archives: Video

Video Premiere: “Boom Boom Boom” – NC Musicians’ Tribute to James Olin Oden

“i gotta confess”: Putting the “pow” back in “empowerment” – and supporting the home team when a fellow rocker can benefit from the collective energy of peers and friends. Everybody pogo!

By Fred Mills

Back in October we posted news about Raleigh, NC, musician James Olin Oden’s hospitalization and battle with a rare cancer — and of the immediate and loving response from the Triangle music community, which found a slew of Oden’s peers convening at his hospital room and performing an impromptu jam session. Oden and these guys are friends of all of us here at BLURT, and and is was doubly inspiring to learn that the musicians decided to take that energy and turn it into a recording and video session in tribute to Oden. I’d call it, support the home team. Who can argue with that?

Joining organizer Billy Warden, frontman for the Floating Children, at Michael Graziano’s Thread Audio studio in Raleigh to cut the “Boom Boom Boom (In The Emergency Room)” track  was an all-star cast: the Floating Children’s rhythm guitarist Jeffro Holshouser (also of Hank Sinatra), drummer Jody Maxwell (formerly of A Number of Things and The Sex Police), lead guitarist Sam ‘Sammy Doddy’ McDonald (also of Uglyography), bassist/key-tarist Matt Thomas (also of Uglyography), and go-go queen Tracey Brown. Also on hand were fellow locals guitarist/co-writer Sam Madison of Hank Sinatra and The Bleeding Hearts, guitarist Larry Burlison of Demon Eye, bassist Steve ‘Stevey-E’ Eisenstadt, saxophonist F.O. Finch of Sidecar Social Club, vocalist Rose Higgins of Back Stabbeth, singer/guitarist Caroline Mamoulides, singer Will Warden of Warehouse Bastards, bassist/graphic artist Jer Warren, and trombonist David ‘Pops’ Wright of Squirrel Nut Zippers and Countdown Quartet.

Now you can check out the all-star results – including a cameo from Oden near the end of the video:

Commented Warden, “The song is about putting the ‘pow’ in empowerment, about using the power of music, love and humor to hit back at whatever life hurls at you. That’s what James did. The key line is simple and true: ‘Music is the elixir / Love’s the ultimate fixer.’ It’s about living with the volume up when the chips are down.”

“Plus, you can dance to it — or at least pogo,” added Holshouser. “Everyone who was part of the recording grabbed onto the spirit of the song right away. The band laid down the basic track in the morning, and then guests started pouring in, whooping it up and casting their own brand of voodoo. Including James, of course.”  (Below: Warden and Holshouser of the Floating Children in full flight.)

The video itself was directed by David Iversen of BriteSpot Collaborative Studios.

And we’d remiss if we didn’t report some extremely good news: According to James, after intense chemotherapy and other treatments, his cancer is in remission. We got your back, good sir.j And we’ll never view a hospital stay in quite the same fashion after having this video for consultation…

 

Below: Rose Higgins, Jeffro Holshouser, James Olin Oden

REVENGE OF THE WRITERS: Blurt’s Best and Worst of 2017

 “Music is peace, love, and faith”: What stood out in the music world for 2017? The folks who work in the trenches here are gonna tell ya. Guarantee: all dialogue reported verbatim. Pictured above: some of our favorites from the year that just ended.

BY THE BLURT CRÜE

It’s like déjà vu all over again once again: For our 2017 year-end wrap-up we summarily yield the podium to the staffers and contributors who detail their personal picks for the year that just ended. Considering what a ghastly experience the year was, with the #metoo movement perhaps the only good thing to come out of it, for many of us, music was our only reliable respite. With more of same highly likely for 2018, here’s hoping the musicians’ community  — clearly in a state of shock for the bulk of the past 12 months — will finally step up and make itself heard. If it happened during the Reagan era, it can certainly happen again.  Note: If you want to contact any member of our staff, their contact emails can be found at our “Contact” page, and if you wish to reach out to any of the other contributors, send us an email and we will be happy to forward it along. —Fred Mills, Blurt Editor

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Also check out our 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 coverage:

Revenge of the Writers: Best and Worst of 2016

Farewell: Music World Passings 2016

Revenge of the Writers: Best and Worst of 2015

Farewell: Music World Passings 2015

2014 In Review: Blurt’s Top 100 Albums

Revenge of the Writers: Best and Worst of 2014

Farewell: Music World Passings 2014

2013 In Review: Blurt’s Top 75 Albums

Revenge of the Writers: Best and Worst of 2013

Farewell: Music World Passings 2013

 2012 In Review: Blurt’s Top 75 Albums

Revenge of the Writers: Best and Worst of 2012

Farewell: Music World Passings of 2012

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JENNIFER KELLY
Senior Editor / World Music Ed. / Northeast Bureau

Top 10 of 2017:

1)      Michael Chapman — 50 (Paradise of Bachelors)
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2)      Group Doueh & Cheveu — Dakhla Sahara Session (Born Bad)

3)      Mark Lanegan Band — Gargoyle (Heavenly)

4)      Xetas — The Tower (12XU)

5)      Jack Cooper — Sandgrown (Trouble in Mind)

6)      Sleaford Mods — English Tapas (Rough Trade)

7)      James Elkington—Wintres Woma (Paradise of Bachelors)

8)      Seamus Fogarty—The Curious Hand (Domino)

9)      Protomartyr—Relatives in Descent (Domino)

10)   Feedtime—Gas (In the Red)

Love These Too:

Julie Byrne—Not Even Happiness (BaDaBing)

Joseph Childress—Rebirths (Empty Cellar)

Heron Oblivion—The Chapel (self-release)

Tinariwen—Elwan (Anti-)

Stef Chura — Messes (Urinal Cake)

Feral Ohms—S-T (Silver Current)

Pere Ubu—20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo (Cherry Red)

Upper Wilds—Upper Wilds (Thrill Jockey)

Kelley Stoltz — Que Aura (Castle Face)

The Clientele—The Age of Miracles (Merge)

Algiers — The Underside of Power (Matador)

Avey Tare — Eucalyptus (Domino)

Golden Boys—Better than Good Times (12XU)

Gunn-Truscinski Duo—Bay Head (Three-Lobed)

Contributors—ST (Monofonus Press)

Mark Eitzel—Hey Mr. Ferryman (Merge)

Reissues/Comps/Archival:

The Fall—A Sides and B Sides (Cherry Red)

Jackie Shane—Any Other Way (Numero Group)

V/A—Ote Maloya (Strut)

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MICHAEL TOLAND

Senior Editor / Metal/Rock ‘n’ Roll Ed. / Southwest Bureau

 

Top 30 of 2017

  1. Matthew Edwards & the Unfortunates – Folklore (Gare du Nord)
  1. Steven Wilson – To the Bone (Caroline)
  2. Craig Taborn – Daylight Ghosts (ECM)
  3. Sweet Pea Atkinson – Get What You Deserve (Blue Note)
  4. Tommy Howard – Storybook (Destiny)
  5. The Blue Note All-Stars – Our Point of View (Blue Note)
  6. Vijay Iyer Sextet – Far From Here (ECM)
  7. Charles Lloyd New Quartet – Passin’ Thru (Blue Note)
  8. Various Artists – Sky Music: A Tribute to Terje Rypdal (Rune Grammafon)
  9. Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life (Anti-)
  10. The Church – Man Woman Life Death Infinity (Unorthodox)
  11. Jim Jones & the Righteous Mind – Super Natural (Masonic/Hound Gawd!)
  12. Chris Potter – The Dreamer is the Dream (ECM)
  13. Ambrose Akinmusire – A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note)
  14. John Abercrombie Quartet – Up and Coming (ECM)
  15. Ralph Towner – My Foolish Heart (ECM)
  16. The Dream Syndicate – How Did I Find Myself Here? (Anti-)
  17. Ex Eye – s/t (Relapse)
  18. Lee Ranaldo – Electric Trim (Mute)
  19. Randy Reynolds – Positiveness (Rock Tumbler)
  20. Thurston Moore – Rock N Roll Consciousness (Caroline/Fiction)
  21. James McCann and the New Vindictives – Gotta Lotta Move – Boom! (Off the Hip)
  22. Raoul Björkenheim/eCsTaSy – Doors of Perception (Cuneiform)
  23. Ingebrigt Häker Flaten’s Time Machine – Hong Kong Cab (Self Sabotage)
  24. Sweet Apple – Sing the Night in Sorrow (Tee Pee)
  25. Myrkur – Mareridt (Relapse)
  26. Michael Chapman – 50 (Paradise of Bachelors)
  27. Jaco Pastorius – Truth, Liberty & Soul (Resonance)
  28. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic (Southern Lord)
  29. King Crimson – Live in Chicago (Panegyric/Inner Knot)

Concerts:

  1. Herbie Hancock, Austin City Limits taping, ACL Live at the Moody Theater, Austin, TX
  2. King Crimson, Bass Concert Hall, Austin, TX
  3. Jack DeJohnette/Ravi Coltrane/Matthew Garrison, McCullough Theater, Austin, TX
  4. Liberty Ellman, Carousel Lounge, Austin, TX
  5. Carmelo Torres and Los Toscos, Sonic Transmissions Festival, Kick Butt Coffee, Austin, TX
  6. The Young Mothers, Hotel Vegas, Austin, TX
  7. Japandroids, Emo’s, Austin, TX
  8. Songhoy Blues, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Zilker Park, Austin, TX
  9. Pere Ubu, Austin Jukebox, Beerland, Austin, TX
  10. Shabaka Hutchings, SXSW, The Main II, Austin, TX
  11. The Church, 3Ten, Austin, TX
  12. Tom Carter, No Idea Festival, Museum of Human Achievement, Austin, TX
  13. Megafauna, Cheer Up Charlie’s, Austin, TX
  14. Henry Threadgill’s Zooid, Scottish Rite Theater, Austin, TX
  15. Lemon Twigs, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Zilker Park, Austin, TX

 

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LEE ZIMMERMAN

Senior Editor / Twang Ed. / Cruise Director

The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
Aimee Mann – Mental Illness
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice
Ha Ha Tonka — Heart Shaped Mountain
Robert Plant – Carry Fire
Kasey Chambers – Dragonfly
Ronnie Faust – Last of the True
Successful Failures – Ichor of Nettle
Deep Dark Woods – Yarrow
Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer – Not Dark Yet
Chris Hillman – Bidin’ My Time
Jesse Terry – Stargazers
Rural Alberta Advantage – The Wild
Paul Kelly – Life if Fine
Parson Redheads – Blurred Harmony
Hiss Golden Messenger – Hallelujah
Josh Ritter – Gathering
Scott Miller – Ladies Auxiliary
Fallon Cush – Morning
Langhorne Slim – Long at Last
Slaid Cleaves – Ghost on the Car Radio
A.J. Croce – Just Like Medicine
Strawbs – The Ferryman’s Curse

 

Live Concerts:

Dawes

Sam Bush

Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt

Old Crow Medicine SHow

Fairport Convention

 

Biggest Gripe:

The same as in years past — the continuing elimination of physical product  — and the exploitation of vinyl lovers via unreasonably high prices!

 

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JOHN B. MOORE

Senior Editor / Punk Ed. / Brotherly Love Bureau

 

Top 10 Albums

 

  • Cock Sparrer– Forever (Pirate Press Records)
  • Dave Hause – Bury Me in Philly (Rise Records)
  • Curse Of Lono – Severed (Submarine Cast Records)
  • The Mavericks – Brand New Day (Mono Mundo Recordings/Thirty Tigers)
  • Nikki Lane – Highway Queen (New West Records)
  • Cory Branan – Adios (Bloodshot Records)
  • Cait Brennan – Third (Omnivore Recordings)
  • The Texas Gentlemen – TX Jelly (New West Records)
  • Travis Linville -Up Ahead (CEN)
  • Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life (Anti- Records)

Reissues/Archival:

  • Stiff Little Fingers – No Going Back (earMusic)
  • The Replacements – For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986 (Rhino)
  • Raspberries – Pop Art Live (Omnivore Recordings)
  • The Muffs – Happy Birthday To Me (Omnivore Recordings)
  • Various Artists – Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live (Concord)

Music Books:

  • Lonely Boys: Tales From a Sex Pistol By Steve Jones (Da Capo Press)
  • Hellraisers: A Complete Visual History of Heavy Metal Mayhem by Axl Rosenberg and Chris Krovatin (Race Point Publishing)
  • Henry & Glenn Forever + Ever by Tom Neely & Friends (Microcosm Publishing)
  • Trouble In Mind: Bob Dylan’s Gospel Years By Clinton Heylin (Lesser Gods)
  • Armadillo World Headquarters: A Memoir By Eddie Wilson (TSSI Publishing)

 

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TIM HINELY
Senior Editor / Zines & 45s Ed. / Mile High Club

My Favorite Records of 2017:

Alvvays- Antiosocialites (Polyvinyl)

The Dream Syndicate- How Did I Find Myself Here? (Anti)

The Golden Boys- Better Than Good Times (12XU)

GospelbeacH- Another Summer of Love (Alive)

Rays- S/T (Trouble in Mind)

The Legendary House Cats- Greatest Blips Vol 1 (Used Bin Pop)

Alex Lahey- I Love You Like a Brother (Dead Oceans)

Jillette Johnson- All I Ever See in You is Me (Rounder)

Arts & Leisure- Found Objects (Mystery Lawn0

Pale Lights- The Stars Seemed Brighter (Calico Cat/Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten)

The Courtneys- II (Flying Nun)

Scupper- Some Gauls (Blue Cheese Toothpaste)

The Luxembourg Signal – Blue Field (Shelflife)

Speaking Suns- Range (Anyway)

Rat Columns- Candle Power (Upset the Rhythm)

15 More….

Antietam- Intimations of Immortality (Motorific Sounds)

Fred Thomas- Changer (Polyvinyl)

USA/Mexico- Laredo (12XU)

Last Leaves- Other Towns Than Ours (Matinee)

The Improbables- Object to be Destroyed (Hidden Volume)

Sacred Paws- Strike a Match (Rock Action)

A Certain Smile- Fits & Starts (self released)

Kosmonaut- Misfits on the Horizon (Porterfield Recording Company)

The Granite Shore- Suspended Second (Occultation)

Land of Talk- Life After Youth (Saddle Creek)

Beach Fossils- Somersault (Bayonet)

Star Tropics- Lost World (Shelflife)

Whitney Rose- Rule 62 (Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers )

Bye Bye Blackbirds—Take Out the Poison (Bye Bye Blackbirds Recordings)

The Clientele- Music for the Age of Miracles (Merge)

Wait….15 more:

Eyelids- Or (Jealous Butcher)

The Feelies- In Between (Bar None)

Slowdive- S/T (Dead Oceans)

The Side Eyes- So Sick (In the Red)

Magnetic Fields- 50 Song Memoir (Nonesuch)

Rose Elinor Dougall- Stellular (Vermillion)

The Yellow Melodies- Life (The Beautiful Music)

The Jet Age- At the End of the World (Sonic Boomerang)

Tripwire- Cold Gas Giants (self released)

The Proper Ornaments- Foxhole (Slumberland)

The Stevens- Good (Chapter Music)

David West with Teardrops- Cherry on Willow (Tough love)

Rose Elinor Dougall- Stellular (Vermillion

Girl Ray- Earl Grey (Moshi Moshi)

Metz- Strange Peace (Sub Pop)

Other very good ones….

Fake Laugh- S/T  (Headcount)

New Pornographers- Whiteout Conditions (Concord)

Mark Eitzel- Hey, Mr. Ferryman (Merge)

The Hellenes- I Love You All the Animals (Self Released)

Plax – Clean Feeling (Super Secret Records)

TSOL- The Trigger Complex (Rise Records)

Michael Head & the Red Elastic Band- Adios Senor Pussycat (Violette records)

Priests- Nothing Feels Natural  (Sister Polygon)

Rich McCulley- Out Along the Edges (self released)

Guided by Voices- How Do You Spell Heaven (GBV Inc)

These folks also released records I enjoyed in 2017 as well:  Bash & Pop, Richard X. Heyman, Ephrata, Church Girls, Flamin Groovies, Jon Langford, , Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Passengers, Quin Galavais, Lisa Said, The Telescopes, The Legends, Lost Balloons, Chastity Belt, School Damage, WV White, Fazerdaze, Fire in the Radio, The Bingers, Heather Trost, Xetas, The Rallies, Brent Cash , Lucy Dacus, etc .etc.

Archival:

U- Men- S/T (Sub Pop)

The Wild Poppies- Heroine- Complete Collection 1986-1989 (Omnian Music Group)

The Creation- Action Painting (The Numero Group)

V/A- C88 (Cherry red)

Look Blue Go Purple- Bewitched (Flying Nun)

The Orchids- 30 Year Retrospective (Cherry Red)

Three Wishes- Aberdeen, The June Brides, 14 Iced bears- The Part Time Punks Sessions (Used Bin Pop)

Aberdeen- What Do I Wish for Now: Singles Collection 1994-2004 (Used Bin Pop)

Duane Eddy- Guitar Star (Real Gone Music)

V/A- The Complete Loma Singles Collection (Real Gone Music)

Cheap Trick- The Epic Archive- Vol 1 (1975-1979 (Real Gone Music)

V/A- Honeybeat: Groovy 60’s Girl Pop  (Real Gone Music)

The Sneetches- Form of Play: A Retrospective (Real Gone Music)

Aberdeen- Grey Skies Don’t Last Extras 1992-2012  (Used Bin Pop)

Armstrong- Fragments and Curiosities- the 4-track Sessions (The Beautiful Music)

Reissues:

M.I.A.- After the Fact (Darla)

M.I.A.- Notes From  the Underground (Darla)

The Terminals- Uncoffined (Hozac)

Buffalo Tom- Let Me Come Over (Beggars Banquet)

Helium- Ends With And (Matador)

Afghan Whigs- Congregation (Sub Pop)

Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer- Two of a Kind (Omnivore)

Afghan Whigs- Up In It (Sub Pop)

Mortimer- One Our Way Home (Cherry Red)

Superchunk- S/T (Merge)

The Spinto Band- Nice and Nicely Done (Bar None)

Arthur Alexander- S/T (Omnivore)

Top 10 Eps:

The Paranoid Style- Underworld USA (Bar None)

Stutter Steps- Floored (Blue Arrow Records)

The Luxembourg Signal- Laura Palmer (Shelflife)

Last Leaves- The Hinterland (Matinee)

Rat Fancy- Suck a Lemon (HHBTM)

Even as We Speak- The Black Forest (Emotional Response)

The Persian Leaps- Bicycle Face (Land Ski Records)

Secret Meadow- Same Old Fear (Jigsaw)

The Fireworks-  Dream About You (Shelflife)

Whitney Rose- South Texas Suite (Six Shooter Records)

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FRED MILLS
Blurt Editor / Creative Director / Vinyl Curator

Top 35 Vinyl New Releases of 2017:

Dream Syndicate – How Did I Find Myself Here (Anti-)
Antibalas – Where the Gods Are in Peace (Daptone; clear vinyl)
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound (Southeastern)
Curtis Harding – Face Your Fear (Anti-; clear vinyl)
Tamikrest – Kidal (Glitterbeat)
Goat – Fuzzed In Europe (Rocket; splatter green vinyl)
Prophets of Rage – Prophets of Rage (Fantasy; red vinyl)
Jon Langford – Four Lost Souls (Bloodshot; clear vinyl)
Coco Hames – Coco Hames (Merge; green vinyl)
The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding (Atlantic; colored vinyl box set limited edition)
Temperance League – Space Aquarium (Like, Wow!; purple vinyl)
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – Soul of a Woman (Daptone; red vinyl)
Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind – Super Natural (Hound Gawd!)
Jean Caffeine – Sadie Saturday Night (self-released)
Run The Jewels – 3 (Run The Jewels, Inc.)
feedtime – Gas (In The Red; splatter green vinyl)
Game Theory – Supercalifragile (KCM)
Happy Abandon – Facepaint (Schoolkids; splatter multicolor vinyl)
OBNOX –  Niggative Approach (12XU)
Akatombo – Short Fuse (Hand-Held Recordings; grey vinyl w/inserts)
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Polygondwanaland (Crumbling Castle; clear vinyl – among many variations)
! ! ! – Shake The Shudder (Warp; clear vinyl)
Trad Gras & Stenar – Tach For Kaffet (Subliminal Sounds)
Ikebe Shakedown – The Way Home (Colemine; clear vinyl)
King Khan – King Khan’s Murder Burgers (Ernest Jenning, blood/white splatter vinyl)
Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun Box (Temporary Residence; 2LP colored vinyl + 12”)
GospelbeacH – Another Summer of Love (Alive Natural Sound; starburst vinyl + 7”)
Curse of Lono – Severed (Submarine Cat)
Pocket Fishrmen – The Greatest Story Ever Told (Saustex; red vinyl)
DJ Krush – Kiseki (Gamma Proforma)
Floating Action – Is it Exquisite? (Baby Gas Mask; random colors + 7”)
JD McPherson – Undivided Heart & Soul (New West; pink vinyl/autographed)
The Yes Masters – The Number 6 is In Red (No Threes; clear vinyl)
Tunbunny – PCP Presents Alice In Wonderland Jr. (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)
The Ape – Give In (Bang!)

Other Awesome Titles of 2017:

Wire – Silver/Lead (Pink Flag)
Travis Meadows – First Cigarette (Blaster)
Windbreakers – Terminal expanded reissue (Mark)
Flamin’ Groovies – Plastic Fantastic (Sonic Kick)
Margo Price – All American Made (Third Man)
Michael Rank – Another Love 3CD (Louds Hymn)
Paint Fumes – If It Ain’t Paint Fumes it Ain’t Worth a Huff (Get Hip)
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN (Aftermath)
The Jet Age – At the End of the World (Sonic Boomerang)
Raspberries – Pop Art Live (Omnivore)
Feelies – In Between (Bar/None)
U2 – Songs of Experience Deluxe Edition (Island)
Otis Taylor – Fantasizing About Being Black (Trance Blues Festival)
Samantha Fish – Chills & Fever (Ruf)
J Hacha De Zola – Antipatico (self-released)
Bert Wray Blues – Gut Bucket Radio (Third Lock)
Sonia Tetlow – Now (Tetlow Music)
Neil Young & Promise of the Real – The Visitor (Reprise)
Big Boi – Boomiverse (Epic)
Russ Tolman – Compass & Map (Lost)
Soul Scratch – Pushing Fire (Colemine)
Jonathan Mudd – Evidence (Major Label Interest

Essential Archival/Reissue Vinyl:

Tim Buckley – Greetings From West Hollywood 2LP (Manifesto_
Fela Kuti – Fela Box 4 Compiled by Erykah Badu 7LP (Knitting Factory)
Dead Moon – What A Way to See the Old Girl Go: Live at the X-Ray Café 1994 (Voodoo Doughnut)
Dream Syndicate – Complete Live at Raji’s 2LP (Run Out Groove; numbered/grey marbled vinyl)
Gary Wrong Group – Gary Wrong Group 2LP (12XU)
Replacements – For Sale: Live at Maxwells 1986 (Rhino)
Mike Watt – “Ring Spiel” Tour ’95 2LP (Columbia/Legacy)
John Trudell – Aka Grafitti Man (Inside)
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Lovely Creatures 3LP (Mute)
Hy Maya –The Mysticism of Sounds & Cosmic Language (Smog Veil; blue vinyl)
Husker Du – Savage Young Du 4LP Box (Numero Group + 7”)
Scientists – A Place Called Bad 4LP Box (Numero Group + 7”)
Ramones – Rocket to Russia (Sire/Rhino; 3CD + 40th anniversary LP)
Tim Buckley – Greetings From West Hollywood (Manifesto)
Angel Olsen – Phases (Jagjaguwar; green vinyl)
Echo & the Bunnymen – It’s All Live Now (Run Out Groove; colored vinyl)
Schwartz-Fox Blues Crusade – Sunday Morning Revival (Smog Veil; yellow colored vinyl)
Eric Ambel – Live @ Livestock 2016 (Roscoe Live: Vol. 1) (Lakeside Lounge)
Little Wings – Light Green Leaves (Gnome Live; numbered/green vinyl)
The Stooges – Highlights From the Fun House Sessions (Run Out Groove; colored vinyl)
Judee Sill – Heart Food (Intervention; 2LP/45rpm audiophile)
Lyman Woodard Organization – Saturday Night Special 2LP (Bbe)
The Diodes – The Diodes Box: The Diodes/Released/Action Reaction/Rarities (colored vinyl)
Various Artists –
Oister (Dwight Twilley/Phil Seymour) – 1973-1974 TEAC Tapes (HoZac Arhival)
Latyrx – The Album (Quannum Projects; colored vinyl + 7”)
Keith Secola – Circle (Don Giovanni)
U-Men – U-Men 3LP Box (Sub Pop)
The Wedding Present – George Best (Happy Happy Birthday to Me; red vinyl w/silk-screened sleeve)
Flat Duo Jets – Wild Wild Love 2LP/10” Box (Daniel 13)
Richard Hell & the Voidoids – Blank Generation 40th Anniversary Edition 2CD (Sire)

EPs/Singles/Tracks:

Pylon – Part Time Punks Session 12” (Chunklet; clear vinyl)
Peter Holsapple – “Don’t Mention The War” 7” (Hawthorne Curve)
Schizophonics – Ooga Booga 10” EP (Pig Baby)
Black Helicopter – Everything Is Forever 12” EP (Limited Appeal; red vinyl + wood insert)
Coathangers – Parasite 12” EP (Suicide Squeeze; marble green vinyl)
Jamie and Steve – Sub Textural CD EP (Loaded Goat)
Henry Owings – Micro-Impressions Volume One 7” (Chunklet)

 

Most Anticipated Album of 2018:

Calexico (January; Anti-)
(Hon. Mention: Since I did the band’s bio, I may have a conflict of interest in listing this, but fuck, it’s a killer album: 6 String Drag – Top Of the World (March;  on our sister business Schoolkids Records)

Top 10 Music Books of 2017:

1967: A Complete Rock History of the Summer of Love, by Harvey Kubernik (Sterling Publishing)
Everything is Combustible, by Richard Lloyd (Beech Hill Publishing)
Dead Boys 1977: The Lost Photographs of Dave Treat, by Dave Treat (Signature Books)
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Archives Volume Two: Punk Rockers, by Rev. Keith A Gordon (Excitable Press)
Spent Saints & Other Stories, by Brian Jabas Smith (The Ridgeway Press)
Visual Abuse: Jim Blanchard’s Graphic Art 1982-2002, by Jim Blanchard (Fantagraphics)
Jimi Hendrix: The Illustrated Story, by Gillian G. Gaar (Voyageur Press)
Untitled (The Freak Scene Dream Trilogy Vol. 3), by Michael Goldberg (Neumu Press)
Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol, by Steve Jones (Da Capo)
All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music, by Michael Corcoran (University of North Texas Press)

 Biggest Losses:

Tom Petty, Oct. 2
Tommy Keene, Nov. 22
Holger Czukay (Can), Sept. 5
Jaki Liebezeit (Can), Jan. 22
Fred Cole (Dead Moon), Nov. 9
Col. Bruce Hampton, May 1
Jessi Zazu (Those Darlins), Sept. 12
Pat DiNizio (Smithereens), Dec. 12
Charles Bradley, Sept. 23
Grant Hart, Sept. 13
Larry Ray (Outrageous Cherry), Oct. 24
Gord Downie (Tragically Hip). Oct. 17
Glen Campbell, Aug. 8
Gregg Allman, May 27
John Abercrombie, Aug. 22
Chuck Berry, March 18

Complete This Sentence: 2017 was a ghastly year that I would just like to forget because____________________________.  Oh, be serious, there is only one answer to that. It starts with the letter “T”.

Complete This Sentence: The one saving grace of 2017 was _________________. #metoo

 

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STEVEN ROSEN
Contributing Editor / Big Ears Ed.

Top 10 Albums (alphabetical order):

Bedouine, (no album title), (Spacebomb)

Foxygen, Hang, (Jagjaguwar)

Diamanda Galas, All the Way, (Intravenal Sound Operations)

Curtis Harding, Face Your Fear, (Anti-)

Roscoe Mitchell, Bells for the South Side (ECM)

The National, Sleep Well Beast (4AD)

Open Mike Eagle, Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, (Mello Music Group)

Peter Perrett, How the West Was Won (Domino_

Shilpa Ray, Door Girl (Northern Spy)

Leif Vollebekk, Twin Solitude, (Secret City)

Best Classical:

Gregory Spears, Fellow Travelers (Fanfare Cincinnati) note: a new opera

Five More Favorites:

Don Bryant, Don’t Give Up on Love (Fat Possum)

Dream Syndicate, How Did I Find Myself Here?, Anti-

The Feelies, In Between (Bar/None)

Little Steven, Soulfire (UMe)

Pere Ubu, 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo (Cherry Red)

Best Cover Version:

Puddles Pity Party, Nick Cave’s Ship Song

Best Live Show:

Pere Ubu/Johnny Dowd, Woodward Theater, Cincinnati, Nov. 21.

 

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John Schacht
Contributing Editor / Prof. of Numerology

Top 15 of 2017:

  1. Do Make Say Think/Stubborn Persistent Illusions
  2. Mo Troper/Exposure & Response
  3. The War On Drugs/A Deeper Understanding
  4. Floating Action/Is it Exquisite?
  5. Marisa Anderson/Traditional and Public Domain Songs
  6. The New Year/Snow
  7. Waxahatchee/Out In the Storm
  8. Mount Kimbie/Love What Survives
  9. Moses Somney/Aromanticism
  10. Bash & Pop/Anything Could Happen
  11. Jaimie Branch/Fly Or Die
  12. The Clientele/Music for the Age of Miracles
  13. Watter/History of the Future
  14. Slowdive/Slowdive
  15. Saltland/A Common Truth

Reissues & “Other”:

  1. Acetone/1992-2001
  2. Dion/ Kickin’ Child: The Lost Album 1965
  3. The Replacements For Sale/ Live @ Maxwell’s 1986
  4. Thelonious Monk/Les Liasons Dangereuses 1960
  5. The Creation/Action Painting
  6. Various Artists/Midcentury Sounds: Deep Cuts from the Desert
  7. Jackie Shane/Any Other Way
  8. Alice Coltrane/World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda
  9. Wilco/A.M.
  10. Helium/Ends With And

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JONATHAN LEVITT

Contributing Editor / Culture Ed.

Top 10 of 2017:

  1. White Manna- Bleeding Eyes (Cardinal Fuzz)
  2. Alice Coltrane- World Spirituality Classics(Luaka Bop)
  3. Lingua Ignota- All Bitches Die (self released)
  4. Japandroids- Near to the Wild Heart of Life (Anti)
  5. Slowdive –Slowdive (Dead Oceans)
  6. Les Amazones d’Afrique- Republique Amazone (Real World)
  7. Rationale- Rationale (Warner)
  8. Stefan Schyga (Stefan)- End of the Drought (Innovative Strings)
  9. Number Three Combo- Resurfacing (Slowburn)
  10. Fever Ray-Plunge (Rabid Records)

 

Worst album of the year:
The Darkness- Pinewood Smile (Cooking Vinyl)

Villain of the year:
Donald John Trump

Worst thing about American TV:
Pharma ads

Hardest star deaths to stomach:
Tom Petty

Event or person that overstayed its welcome:
Donald John Trump

Most overrated movie of the year:
Wonder Woman

 

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JASON GROSS

Staff Writer / Perfect Sound Engineer

 

Top 10 of 2017:

– Run the Jewels Run the Jewels 3

– Sleater-Kinney Live in Paris

– Miguel War & Leisure

– Migos Culture

– Cleric Resurrection

– The Courtneys II

– Timid Boy This is Hardgroove

– The Regrettes Feel Your Feelings Fool!

– Patrick Gallois Cimarosa: Overtures, Vol. 5

– Rhomb Global Patterns Part Two

 

Top 10 Reissues/Archival:

– Chuck Berry The Complete Chess Singles As & Bs 1955-61

– Thelonious Monk Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960

– Delaney and Bonnie Motel Shot

– Grateful Dead Cornell 5/8/77

– Camera Obscura Teenager

– Dion Kickin’ Child- The Lost Album 1965

– Various Artists The Stars of Modern- California Soul Classics

– Mississippi John Hurt Live At Oberlin College

– Can The Singles

– Young Fathers Tape One/Tape Two

 

Top 10 Singles/Tracks:

– Ace Tee “Bist du down?”

– Bell Biv DeVoe “Find A Way”

– Chance the Rapper “First World Problems”

– Slowdive “Star Roving”

– Denzel Curry “Knotty Head [feat. Rick Ross]”

– Nnamdi Ogbonnaya “let gO Of my egO”

– Zuzu “What You Want”

– Cende “What I Want”

– Eminem “The Storm”

– TEN FÉ “Twist Your Arm (Lindstrøm And Prins Thomas Remix)”

 

Top 10 Concerts:

– Cindy Wilson/Kaki King/Amy Rigby- Bell House, Brooklyn, December 2017

– Heaven 17- Highline Ballroom, NYC, September 2017

– Dave Chappelle/Chance the Rapper/Mo Amer/Hannibal Buress/Jon Stewart/John Mayer – Radio City Music Hall, NYC, August 2017

– Eric B. & Rakim- Apollo, NYC, July 2017

– DVK, Icepick- Burdock, Toronto, June 2017

– Meat Puppets, Mike Watt, Grant Hart- Brooklyn Bowl, NYC, May 2017

– Beyond the Clouds: Ambient Excursions – RBMA NYC, Bogart House, Brooklyn, April 2017

– Rumjacks- Rockwood Music Hall, NYC, April 2017

– Pussy Riot- Speakeasy, Austin, March 2017

– Globalfest- Webster Hall, NYC, January 2017

 

Videos:

M.I.A. “P.O.W.A.”

Jauna Molina “Lentísimo halo”

Oddisee  “You Grew Up”

Wadada Leo Smith “Awakening Emmitt Till”

Kamasi Washington “Truth”

 

Music DVDs/Films:

Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary

Long Strange Trip (Grateful Dead)

Hired Gun: Out of the Shadows

L7: Pretend We’re Dead

 

Music Books:

Elaine M. Hayes Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan

Jimmy McDonough Soul Survivor: A Biography of Al Green

Rob Sheffield Dreaming the Beatles

Richie Unterberger Bob Marley and the Wailers: The Ultimate Illustrated History

Loudon Wainwright III Liner Notes

 

Best label:

Bandcamp

 

Most anticipated album of 2018:

Wei Zhongle The Operators

 

Notable deaths:

Chuck & Fats, American democracy

 

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ERIC THOM

Staff Writer / Northern Mounties Bureau

Top 10 of 2017:
1. Steel Woods – Straw in the Wind (Thirty Tigers)

  1. Bill Scorzari – Through These Waves (Independent)
  2. Jesse Terry – Stargazer (Jackson Beach Records)
  3. Tucci – Olivia (Hideaway Music)
  4. Peter Parcek – Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven (Lightnin’ Records)
  5. Kat Goldman – Workingman’s Blues (Independent)
  6. Johnny Rawls – Waiting for the Train (Catfood Records)
  7. Danny Barnes – Stove Up (Wendell Records)
  8. Charlie Parr – Dog
  9. Ben Hunter/Phil Wiggins/Joe Seamons – A Black & Tan Ball (Independent)

Best Concert of 2017:
• Garland Jeffreys – Hugh’s Room Live, May 4th, 2017

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HAL BIENSTOCK
Staff Writer / Office Security

Top 10 of 2017:
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound (Southeastern)

The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding (Atlantic)

St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION (Loma Vista)

Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights (Matador)

The National – Sleep Well Beast (4AD)

Big Thief – Capacity (Saddle Creek)

Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life (Anti-)

Sampha – Process (Young Turks)

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN (Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope)

Sunny Sweeney – Trophy (Aunt Daddy)

Honorable mention:
Jen Cloher – Jen Cloher (Marathon Artists), Girlpool – Powerplant (Anti-), SZA – CTRL (Top Dawg/RCA), Robert Plant – Carry Fire (Nonesuch), Angel Olsen – Phases (Jagjaguwar), Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Navigator (ATO), Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder (Arts & Crafts), Jay Som – Everybody Works (Polyvinyl), Chris Stapleton – From a Room Vol. 1 (Mercury), Laura Marling – Semper Femina (More Alarming)

Reissues:
Replacements – For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986 (Rhino)

Jackie Shane – Any Other Way (Numero Group)

Wilco – A.M./Being There Special Edition (Rhino)

John Prine – September ’78 (Oh Boy)

Grateful Dead – RFK Stadium 1989 (Rhino)

Buffalo Tom – Let Me Come Over 25th Anniversary Edition (Beggars Banquet)

 

Best Concerts:
Gary Clark Jr., – 3/17, Austin, TX

Spoon –  3/16, Austin, TX

Afghan Whigs – 9/15, New York, NY

St. Vincent – 12/2, Brooklyn, NY

Japandroids/Cloud Nothings – 10/26, Brooklyn, NY

Angel Olsen – 11/30, New York, NY

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TIFFINI TAYLOR
Staff Writer / Shutterbug Wrangler

Let’s Rock Out a List!
I’m the kind of person that likes lists; I make lists to get things accomplished. Now, with that being said, the end of year list is something I have always had a strange problem with for some reason. I don’t know why. I find them almost not needed — I know there are always quite a few, but still, what is the point? Reflection, that is the reason.

I love rock ‘n’ roll: not only as a great song, but also true of me. I like rock and metal music quite a bit. This is a list that I compiled that spans each month of the year. Every month albums are released, and there are twelve months in a year, so why not use that as a basis for a metal list.

Here it is…

  1. John5 – Season of the Witch (March)
  2. Epica- The Solace System (September)
  3. Mark Slaughter- Half Way There ; Linkin Park- One More Light (both released in May)
  4. Theory of a Deadman- Wake Up Call (October)
  5. Alice Cooper- Paranormal; Prong- Zero Days (both released in July)
  6. Lorna Shore- Fresh Coffin (February)
  7. Asking Alexandria- Asking Alexandria (December)
  8. Jack Russell’s Great White- He Saw it Coming (January)
  9. KMFDM- Hell Yeah (August)
  10. Like Moths to Flames- Dark Divine (November)
  11. He is Legend- Few (April)
  12. Wednesday 13- Condolences (June)

That is the list! There is heavy and not so heavy on the list. No matter what your tastes, these are good albums all released in 2017. A couple of months were hard for me to decide between; for example, the month of July. Alice Cooper released a fantastic album, but so did Prong, therefore both are on my list. May is always an interesting month for metal music; it is considered the loudest month in rock/metal music. The new Linkin Park was released and some people liked it while others didn’t. Personally, I very much like this album; they always come up with the most interesting music to me. Unfortunately, it will never be the same again with Chester Bennington being gone — may he rest in peace. Mark Slaughter released an album in May as well. A quite good album. It may be telling of my age for me to add him to the list, but I don’t care it is a great album.

Music is meant to be enjoyed, and it doesn’t matter the genre. Music is part of good and bad memories for people. It is the sound of happiness, it is the sound of sadness. It has helped me through heartbreak. It has helped me through the best time of my life. Music brings people together in so many ways — too many to count, really. It is that idea that sparks a revolution, it has been the sound of revolution. Music is peace, love, and faith. Music is what makes you move and groove. It is the most wonderful time of the year to celebrate, so why not do it with music?

 

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STEVE WILSON
Staff Writer / Midwest Farm Bureau

Best of 2017:

  1. Algiers – The Underside of Power (Matador)
  2. Peter Perrett – How the West Was Won (Domino)
  3. Migos – Culture (Quality Control Music/Atlantic)
  4. Dream Syndicate – How Did I Find Myself Here? (Anti)
  5. Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Navigator (ATO)
  6. Robert Finley – Goin’ Platinum (Easy Eye Sounds/Nonesuch)
  7. Guided by Voices – August by Cake (Guided by Voices)
  8. Jessica Mayfield – Sorry is Gone (ATO)
  9. Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan – Small Town (ECM/DG)
  10. Inheaven – s/t (Pias/U.K.)
  11. Alan Vega – It (Fader)

… Mine goes to eleven. Several of these are reviewed at the SPEW blog. The rest of my Top 50 for 2017 will be listed there also.

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MARK JENKINS
Staff Writer / Pentagon Bureau

(alphabetical by performer)
Top 10 of 2017 (alphabetical order):
Los Campesinos – Sick Scenes (Wichita)
Martin Carr – New Shapes of Life (Tapete)
Rhiannon Giddens – Freedom Highway (Nonesuch)
Girlpool – Powerplant (Anti)
New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions (Collected Works)
Peter Perrett – How the West Was Won (Domino)
Saicobab – Sab Se Purani Bab (Thrill Jockey)
Swimy – Zetsu Zetsu EP (Ariola Japan)
Tinariwen – Elwan (Epitaph)
Shugo Tokumaru – Toss (Polyvinyl)

…and 13 songs…
Amadou & Mariam – “Bofou Safou”
Chain and the Gang – “Experimental Music”
Cornelius – “Sometime/Someplace”
Feelies – “Stay the Course”
Ha Ha Tonka – “Race to the Bottom”
Juliana Hatfield – “When You’re a Star”
Japandroids – “Near to the Wild Heart of Life”
Morrissey – “Spent the Day in Bed”
Peter Bjorn & John – “Dominos”
Sneaks – “Hair Slick Back”
Songhoy Blues – “Bamako”
Spoon – “Do I Have to Talk You Into It”
Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa – “Yaikela Ya Ma”

 

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DAVE STEINFELD
Staff Writer / Archive Curator

Top 10 Albums of 2017

  1. Garland Jeffreys — 14 Steps to Harlem  (Luna Park Records)

Veteran singer-songwriter… Proud New Yorker… Uncategorizable artist… Garland Jeffreys is now in Act Three (at least) of a career that has spanned nearly 50 years. And he’s still got the goods, as he proves on 14 Steps. There are a dozen songs on this disc and while they don’t cover a lot of new ground thematically, the album sounds fresh from start (the rocking “When You Call My Name”) to finish (the lovely “Luna Park Love Theme”). In between, Jeffreys waxes nostalgic on the title track and pays homage to his late friend Lou Reed on a cover of “Waiting for the Man.” If you’ve never heard his work, what are you waiting for?

  1. Mount Eerie — A Crow Looked at Me  (P.W. Elverum & Sun)

I have to thank my friend Ryan for turning me on to this album, as I’d been unfamiliar with Phil Elverum AKA Mount Eerie until now. This album was inspired by the death of Elverum’s wife Genevieve last year at the age of just 35. It’s less a song cycle than a series of thoughts, recorded not long after her passing, with minimal accompaniment. On the opening track, “Real Death,” he says, “Death is real. Someone’s there and then they’re not. And it’s not for singing about. It’s not for making into art… I don’t want to learn anything from this. I love you.” Elverum doesn’t look for meaning here as much as he pours out his sadness. If John Lennon had recorded Plastic Ono Band by himself in the Pacific Northwest, A Crow Looked at Me might have been the result.

  1. Cheap Trick — We’re All Alright!  (Big Machine)

Cheap Trick is on a roll these days, releasing three albums in two years! On We’re All Alright, the pride of Rockford, Illinois proves they’re still a force to be reckoned with after 40 years in the game. This album is one of their harder-rocking efforts, with highlights like “She’s Alright” and “Brand New Name on an Old Tattoo.” And Robin Zander reasserts his place as “the man of a thousand voices,” one of rock and roll’s best singers ever.

  1. Harry Styles —  (Sony)

I can’t really tell you anything about One Direction, but this self-titled debut from Harry Styles is a quality piece of mainstream pop. Styles strikes me as the anti-Bieber. For one thing, he can actually sing, as he proves on both rockers (“Kiwi”) and ballads (the smash “Sign of the Times”). For another, he’s not a jerk. If you can get beyond his boy-band past, you may be pleasantly surprised.

  1. The Distractions — Kindly Leave the Stage  (Occultation Recordings)

The Distractions are the stuff of post-punk legend: an obscure band from Manchester, England who made one critically acclaimed album in the early 80s and promptly vanished. The title of their third long-player says it all. Kindly Leave the Stage is their swan song from singer Mike Finney, guitarist/songwriter Steve Perrin and their mates. While the opening track, “A Few Miles More,” is catchy, it isn’t happy. And after that, the album is basically one long farewell. But few bands do sadness as well as The Distractions.

  1. Nona Hendryx and Gary Lucas — The World of Captain Beefheart (Knitting Factory)

Two NYC legends — singer Nona Hendryx and Gary Lucas — pay tribute to another legend, the late abstract blues-rocker Don Van Vliet (better known as Captain Beefheart). On this album of covers, they tackle a dozen Beefheart compositions, from the reflective “My Head is My Only House Unless it Rains” to the jubilant closer, “Tropical Hot Dog Night.” Side note: if there was any justice in the world, Hendryx would be on the cover of Essence and in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame…

  1. The Relationship — Clara Obscura  (Rebel Union Recordings)

The Relationship is the side project of Weezer guitarist Brian Bell. Their long-awaited sophomore set, Clara Obscura, may not reinvent the wheel but it’s a solid collection of power pop: 10 well played tunes that offer proof positive than Rivers Cuomo isn’t the only talented songwriter in Weezer.

  1. Casey James — Strip It Down  (self-released)

Not to be confused with the guy who was one half of the ’70s R&B duo Bell & James. This Casey James got his big break on American Idol, where apparently he was marketed as sort of an alt-country heartthrob. On Strip It Down, however, he turns his attention to the blues with excellent results. Highlights range from the rocking title track and “Bulletproof” (where he’s joined by Delbert McClinton) to the more downbeat but equally effective “Different Kind of Love.”

  1. Loch & Key — Slow Fade  (self-released)

Loch & Key are actually Sean Hoffman and Layla Akdogan Hoffman, a husband and wife duo based in southern California. Their sophomore album Slow Fade is a collection of ethereal, enigmatic songs highlighted by Layla’s wispy vocals.

  1. Nick Heyward — Woodland Echoes  (Gladsome Hawk)

Nick Heyward is best known as the frontman of Haircut 100, the English band who hit big in the early ’80s with the great pop song “Love Plus One.” Woodland Echoes, his first solo offering in eons, finds him in a lusher, more rustic context. But he’s still able to craft ace songs, as evidenced by “A Beautiful Morning.”

 

Honorable Mention

  1. The War on Drugs — A Deeper Understanding  (Atlantic)
  2. Paula Cole — Ballads (675 Records)
  3. Gregg Allman — Southern Blood (Rounder Records)
  4. Harts — Smoke Fire Hope Desire (Razor & Tie)
  5. Edward Rogers — TV Generation  (Zip Records)

 

Archival/Reissues 

  1. Gary Crowley’s Punk and New Wave   (Edsel)

A three-CD, 77-song treasure trove compiled by veteran English radio personality Crowley. If you’re enamored of the New Wave era, as I am, you’ll love revisiting some of these tracks and discovering others for the first time. You won’t find the usual first wave UK punks like The Sex Pistols and The Clash here; but you will find important secondary punks (The Vibrators, The Saints, Eater, 999); power pop (Advertising, The Donkees, Tonight); great female-led groups (Altered Images, The Modettes, The Expressos); mod revivalists (The New Hearts, The Really 3rds); and endless other delights.

  1. Artful Dodger — The Complete Columbia Recordings  (Real Gone/Columbia)

Artful Dodger was the great lost American band of the late ’70s. Based in Virginia, they recorded four albums that split the difference between classic rock and power pop. Their best known song, “Wayside,” is still only a cult classic. Dodger had the looks, the hooks and the backing of a major label but somehow failed to make it big. Listen and weep.

  1. The Stax Vinyl 7s box (Stax/Concord)

A handsomely packaged box set of rare vinyl singles that originally came out in the 1970s on the legendary soul label Stax.  Richard Searling, another English DJ, complied this set which includes informative liner notes about artists that range from somewhat well known to hopelessly obscure.

  1. Gerry  Rafferty — United Artistry: The Best of Gerry Rafferty (Varese)

If you think the late Gerry Rafferty was a one-hit wonder, check out this well chosen, one-disc collection. That one big hit, the classic “Baker Street,”is here. But you’ll also find secondary hits (“Get It Right Next Time,” “Home and Dry”), rarities (“Big Change in the Weather”) and the Stealers Wheel standard “Stuck in the Middle with You.”

  1. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band — Anthology (Capitol Nashville)

A double-disc set that pulls highlights from the Dirt Band’s 50-year career. Hits, album tracks, rarities, collaborations… They all add up to the definitive anthology from an Americana institution.

 

In Memoriam

Tom Petty

I wouldn’t have thought it possible but we lost even more great musicians in 2017 than we did in 2016. The one that hit me the hardest was Tom Petty. For one thing, it was unexpected. For a second, like so many Americans of a certain age, he and The Heartbreakers’ music really did comprise a big part of the soundtrack of my life. But for a third, there was something special about Petty that went beyond the music. There was a reason he was loved by both the mainstream and the hipsters, by people of all ages, ethnicities and musical stripes. Petty was sort of the conscience of the music business in my eyes: a nice guy who was loved by many but who was also very human and not afraid to call the industry on its bullshit when he had to. His loss is huge.

That said, we lost a lot of other important musicians this year. Some that come to mind are Chuck Berry, Gregg Allman, Pat DiNizio, Maggie Roche, John Wetton, Al Jarreau, Chris Cornell, Malcolm Young and Saxa of The English Beat.

Biggest Disappointment 

Bon Jovi will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next year while The Zombies (among other more deserving acts) were passed over once again. Criminal.

Best New Artist

Celisse Henderson

Prepare to be blown away by this NYC-based artist. She can sing, write and play guitar with a vengeance!

Best Holiday Album

Loose Cattle — Seasonal Affective Disorder  (Low Heat Records)

Best EP

Mary Lambert — Bold  (self-released)

Best Concert

The Pretenders at Terminal 5 in NYC.

Worst Trend

For the second year in a row, too many musicians dying before their time.

Asshole of the Year

14-year-old rapper Bhad Bhabie (nee Danielle Bregoli), a problem child with no talent who nonetheless got signed by Atlantic Records after “Them Heaux” and some of her other “songs” became YouTube hits. Ahmet Ertegun is turning over in his grave right about now.

2017 Release I’m Most Anticipating

Mary Gauthier — Rifles and Rosary Beads

Favorite Piece I Wrote for Blurt

“Whatever Happened to the Next Big Thing?”

 

 

 

 

Keeping Up With The Gizzard Wizards

By Uncle Blurt

By any measure – Robert Pollard, Ryan Adams, even the Kardashian loonies – Australia’s King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard has had a, ahem PRODUCTIVE 12-month period. No, they didn’t announce pregnancies across the board, or sundry thin-skined beefs with fellow rockers, or a slate of one-off side projects – although those could be forthcoming in 2018, who knows.

But what they DID do is release no less than four (4, count ’em) new records during 2017, most in them in multiple formats and a dizzying array of colored vinyl iterations, with the mindbending Polygondwanaland (ask us about our special clear-vinyl copy…) arriving late in the year. But wait – did we say late in the year?

There have also been no less than four new singles:”All Is Known,” “Beginner’s Luck,” “Greenhouse Heat Death” – and now, “The Last Oasis.” Check it out, below, followed by the other three. We can’t even predict what will drop next week as 2018 unfolds…

Watch Short Film w/NC’s Jeffrey Dean Foster’s Music

Longtime BLURT fave and North Carolina indie rock scene mainstay also working on soundtrack for forthcoming executive-produced Scorcese film.

By Fred Mills

We’ve written about Winston-Salem artist Jeffrey Dean Foster often enough in the past (do the proverbial website search for recent and earlier coverage). Suffice to say he’s one of our North Carolina heroes, an indie rock/Americana mainstay whose work continues to inspire each time out.

Film director Alex A. Klein has served up a short film that features Foster’s music throughout that is particularly timely, and timeless. We hope you’ll take a look/listen. The description of Klein’s clip is as follows:

“A short film inspired by and containing Jeffrey Dean Foster’s songs “I Will Understand,” and “Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts,” from his album, “The Arrow.” A face-off and reconciliation of selves.

Starring Julianne Harper, who choreographed her own badass moves. Conceptualized, produced, directed and edited by Alex A Klein. Cinematography and overall awesomeness/patience by Mitch Perrin. Stedicam operation by Jonathan Pfundstein. Body double for Julianne by Mariah Perrin. First A.D. by Annie Dillon, who literally lent me the shirt off her back. Overall help and moral support on our Trade St shoot by Ella Klein. A big Thank You to the following downtown WS/NC establishments for lending us their space: The Wherehouse Art Hotel, Test Pattern, Mary’s Gourmet Diner and Dye Pretty. Filmed in Winston-Salem, NC.”


Foster’s not resting on his laurels, either. He informs us, “I’ve started compiling songs for a new record and spent last year writing and recording the entire sooundtrack for Abundant Acreage Available starring Amy Ryan and executive produced by Martin Scorcese.”

More details as they are revealed. Easily some of the most impressive news about the Tar Heel music scene in years, period. Check him out: http://www.jeffreydeanfoster.com/
https://www.facebook.com/jeffreydeanfostermusic/

Video Premiere: Austin Shaw “Felt”

Terrific track culled from latest album.

By Blurt Staff

Austin Shaw left music behind after he finished college and started his climb up the corporate ladder, after a few years he ‘felt’ like something was missing so he left his job in corporate America and moved to Santa Cruz to reclaim the artist and songwriter that always lived inside of him.
Today we premiere a video for the title track from his album FELT as part of his ongoing live video series. Check it out here:

Shaw spent the last couple of years, writing, recording and touring and he recently released his full-length debut album. The songs are personal, and Shaw willingly exposes himself with his words and music. FELT is it a solid mix of classic and melodic rock, highlighted with charming guitar riffs and soulful vocals.

He navigates the complexities of day-to-day life through song. Inviting, approachable and thoughtfully efficient, the album walks in the quaint space between a stripped-down solo and full band approach. Shaw is a versatile arranger, and he flexes his musical instincts to great effect on his debut record. FELT was produced by Robert Smith (Defy Records), and also features the talents of guitarist Larry Saltzman (Paul Simon), drummer Joe Bonaci (Sting), bassist Malcolm Gold and vocalist Clara Lofaro.
Catch up with Shaw online at his official website.

Watch New John Howard Cover + Video of Nick Drake Song

Noted British singer songwriter has been in the business since around the time Drake was releasing his fourth album.

By Blurt Staff

A year ago, veteran singer songwriter John Howard released his acclaimed Across the Door Sill, and he’s currently writing material for his next solo record. (In the meantime a Granite Shore album, Suspended Second, was also released.) En route, he’s got a new single, “From the Morning,” that will officially drop Dec. 1; an EP will arrive in February.

Howard notes, “The song was written by the brilliant singer-songwriter Nick Drake in 1972 for his final album ‘Pink Moon’, and it has long been one of my favourite songs of Nick’s. The sleeve pic for the single, by the way, was taken in Manchester in 1972, the year that Nick Drake recorded and released his recording of From The Morning‘, and just twelve months before I left home for London to begin my own recording career.”

You can order the single at all the usual digital outlets (including iTunes), and if you want a preview, check out the haunting, beautiful video for it, below, which he has posted to YouTube and his Facebook page.

 

 

Watch New Sex Pistols-inspired Video from Jean Caffeine

It was definitely not the winter of love, either…

By Fred Mills

A couple of months ago we reviewed lapsed punk rocker Jean Caffeine’s superb new album, Sadie Saturday Night, a kind of rock ‘n’ roll musical memoir. “Lapsed?” you ask? Currently Austin-based, Caffeine came of age hanging out on the San Francisco punk scene, later moving to NYC where she also immersed herself in Lower East Side cultural goings-on. So she was there.

You can check out the first video from the album, “All Girl Band,” and after that, check out a killer clip for the track “Winter of Hate,” which has more than just a couple of Easter eggs lurking amid the arrangement for punk and Sex Pistols fans.

The video description reads thusly:

“The song is about seeing the Sex Pistols break up show at Winterland in San Francisco in 1978 and the feelings of frustration and loss about their show and breakup. It’s also a snapshot into the first wave San Francisco punk scene that participated in and includes pics of notable California punks and other punk performers who came through town. Directed by Paul Beck who co-directed, A Scanner Darkly as well as videos for Molotov and David Byrne. Paul says, “this video is like a little documentary of the era.” Jean Caffeine assisted-directed. SF punk photographers Jim Jacoy, Richard Alden Peterson, Ruby Ray, James Stark contributed photographs. Video footage by punksandrockers.com.”

Connect with Caffeine and get album and tour info at her official website and her Facebook page.

 

Video Premiere: Sultans of String “Hallelujah” (L. Cohen cover)

Classic tune taken from the Canadian band’s very special Christmas album.

BY BLURT STAFF

Let’s kick off the holidays with a video premiere from Canada’s award-winning ambassadors of musical diversity, Sultans of String. Their latest release “Christmas Caravan” is out now and you can check out the video for their version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, featuring vocals by Rebecca Campbell here:

The genre-hopping “Christmas Caravan” was recorded and co-produced by John ‘Beetle’ Bailey. You may recognize a few titles, but you’ve never experienced seasonal music quite like this before.

“We wanted to make a real contribution to the Christmas repertoire, and hopefully create some new standards” explains bandleader/violinist Chris McKhool. “This is a Christmas album, but approached from the perspective of a world-music band. We explored diverse genres, from Quebecois fiddle tunes to collaborating with a traditional Turkish string ensemble, and jump around from African roots music, Gypsy-jazz, rumba flamenco, ska, and the grandeur of the symphony.” The Sultans of String are Chris McKhool, Kevin Laliberté, Eddie Paton, Drew Birston and Chendy Leon.

Also, lending their talents to the songs on this album are 6x Grammy winning Paddy Maloney (The Chieftains), Ruben Blades & Luba Mason (Panamanian 7 Grammy and 5 Latin Grammy Award winner), platinum-selling jazz vocalist Nikki Yanofsky, 2x JUNO/Grammy Winner Alex Cuba, Benoit Bourque of Quebec’s Bottine Souriante (3x JUNOs, 4x Gold, 3x Platinum records), Sweet Honey in the Rock (Grammy winning all-woman, African-American a cappella group), Cameroon’s Richard Bona (Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock), Canada’s singer to the stars Rebecca Campbell (Emmylou Harris, Alanis Morissette), singer Mary Fahl from NYC’s October Project, a recording collective of Turkish Roma violinists in Istanbul, Sudanese-Canadian singer Waleed Abdulhamid, Nashville-based JUNO Award winning country singer Crystal Shawanda, sitar virtuoso Anwar Khurshid, and hang drum player David Charrier from France.

This recording was produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

Sultans of String will be kicking off a fresh Canadian tour this weekend, on November 26, in Peterborough. Following a Christmas and New Year’s break, they head to the UK in January. Go here to view the complete itinerary, which will include selected dates in the US during 2018.

Watch Exploding White Mice Australian Reunion Concert

By Fred Mills

All you fellow Australian indie devotees will remember Adelaide band the Exploding White Mice, who between 1988 and 1994 released four killer studio albums: Brute Force and Ignorance (August 1988), Exploding White Mice (1990), Collateral Damage (1992) and We Walk Alone (1994), plus the brilliant In A Next of Vipers mini-album. The group – originally Paul Gilchrist on vocals, Andy MacQueen on bass guitar, Gerry Barrett on guitar, Craig Rodda on drums and Giles Barrow on rhythm guitar; a number of lineup changes would subsequently take place– were the perfect marriage of punk and hard rock, and many Aussie watchers predicted Hoodoo Gurus-like international success. The band did make significant European inroads, but less so in the US, and eventually split in 1999.

They left behind a legion of fans with long, happy memories, though. I have every one of their records and wouldn’t trade ’em for bars of gold. Go here to watch a live video from back in the day – 1996, with latterday lineup Jeff Stephens lead guitar & vocals, Andy MacQueen bass, Dave Bunney drums, Andy Bunney guitar.

Just recently, on Oct. 12 the band reunited for Adelaide’s ADL Film Festival to mark the film Vive Le Punk, performing at the Producer’s Hotel. Watch the footage, below. As Flat Cap Productions notes, “We recently filmed Exploding White Mice to mark their 25 year reunion show at the Producers bar in Adelaide and here it is in all its glory! It was a lot of fun with a lot people reliving there memories! i would imagine a lot of sore bodies the next day.”

VR Video Premiere: Static And Surrender “If Only We Could Sleep”

A 360-degree VR video directed, shot, and edited by Paul Aspuria: Use the onscreen arrows or your mouse to rotate the room and view all the participants.

By Blurt Staff

Every once in a while, paths cross at just the right time, in the right place, and within the right circumstances. Such is the case for San Francisco alternative rock upstarts Static and Surrender—Jeff Campbell [lead vocals, guitar], Adam Schuman [guitar, vocals], and John Schuman [drums]. By 2016, brothers John and Adam had established themselves in popular Bay Area stalwarts such as The Trophy Fire, landing critical acclaim and gigging alongside everyone from Dredg to The Dear Hunter. Within that same scene, Jeff earned recognition by receiving national songwriting awards, shared the stage with titans such as John Mayer, and fronted Pine and Battery, among other acts. One night, a chance encounter between Jeff and Adam paved the way for what would become Static and Surrender.

They wasted no time and entered a Berkeley, CA studio with producer Jim Greer [The Rondo Brothers, Foster the People,) to bring their ideas to life. They also quickly caught the attention of Los Angeles based Funzalo Records label head Mike Lembo, who flew to San Francisco to see them live and immediately liked what he heard.

In advance of their upcoming full-length Static and Surrender, the band has joined forces with Blurt to give a sneak peek of what’s to come in the form of a single song release and new video for the song “If Only We Could Sleep” Brought to life in a 360-degree VR format, the song showcases the band’s depth and
dynamics.

“Lyrically, I wrote that song when I was struggling with insomnia,” recalls frontman Campbell. “It was around the time of the election, and there was a lot of negativity popping up. The climate brought out the worst in people. That negativity drives some of us so crazy we can’t sleep. The video reflects the nightmare.”

More info, tour dates, and more at the band’s official website.