Eagerly anticipated album arrives October 13 on the Love Records label.
By Barbi Martinez
It’s called The Knowledge. Those who know of it are Squeeze fans, and they are celebrating the first taste via first single and lead-off track “Innocence In Paradise,” The surf-rock, plangent-vibed number isas good as you’ll hear all year. The band appears to be on a winning streak based on that tune and the previous reception to the critically acclaimed comeback (after nearly two decades) album Cradle to the Grave.
Listen to the new tune below. Black coffee in bed while you do is optional.
We’ve featured gifted singer-songwriter Arrica Rose plenty of times here at BLURT (such as HERE and HERE), so it’s always a pleasure to note the impending arrival of a new record. Arrica Rose & the …’s latest full-length release, Low as the Moon, is available Sept 8th on pOprOck records, and we’re happy to premiere a terrific new video from it. It was directed by Rose, Shot + Edited by Jen Bail and Arrica Rose, and stars young Isla Grace (who, we suspect, has quite the future performing in front of the camera). Check out “Whole Lotta Lows”:
Low as the Moon’s 13 originals were produced by Dan Garcia, whose aim was to achieve “a warmth and fidelity we associate with old records, but with the addition of omnichord and ambient synths and textures.” Factor in Rose’s dreamy vocal style and cinema-informed brand of lyricism, and you’ve got a remarkably compelling album.
The backstory: “Rose was born in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley. She grew up listening to big band, classic rock and folk (her parent’s record collection) as well as punk and all its post-punk related genres (her own collection). And she loved all equally. Her first band, however, was an all-girl punk-rock trio she started with friends as a teenager. Upon graduating high school, Rose took a short hiatus from music to attend film school. While in film school she kept gravitating back to music, scoring her own shorts as well as her classmates. After graduating college she made the decision to make music her main focus and put together the backing band that would eventually become The …’s. She also started her own label (pOprOck records) to release her recordings and still does so today.
“In addition to her music projects, Rose is founder of I HEART Inc, an artist- operated non-profit organization that raises money for charitable programs via creative projects and events. I HEART Inc helps independent artists give back to their community and in the process exposes them to new audiences as well as fellow artists utilizing their art to effect change. Rose has garnered an amazing team of sponsors and supporters for these projects and events including Willie Nelson, Crosby Stills and Nash, Iron & Wine/Sub Pop Records, Rachel Maddow, Jack White, Fran Drescher, Jackson Browne and many more. Currently, Rose travels back and forth between Los Angeles, where I HEART Inc and The …’s are based, and Oakland where her alt-country project, Dear County, is based.”
Track culled from the songwriter’s superb “Sunnyside” album.
By Blurt Staff
If you have heard anything from Jake La Botz, you know what a dynamic songwriter and performer the Nashville-based Americana artist is—particularly on the recently released Sunnyside album, which, since it arrived in May on the nicely-named Hi-Style label, has been notching critical raves across the board. It was produced by Jimmy Sutton (JD McPherson, Pokey LaFarge), so it is definitely in good company. Now we are stoked to unveil a new video for one of the best tunes on the album. Check out the low-twanging, utterly haunting “Feel No Pain”:
La Botz comments on the song, saying, “’Feel No Pain’ pokes its head out the window of a 4th floor walkup on the first warm day of Spring. Watching the magic of sweaty semi-clad bodies grooving through the streets of Chicago after the seeming eternity of Winter.”
The man’s background is nothing if not colorful. According to his bio, “This guy has lived a life that few on this side of Charles Bukowski and Tom Waits can claim. A former punk and high school dropout from Chicago who educated himself at the library, he fell under the wing of blues greats Homesick James (brother of Elmore) and David “Honeyboy” Edwards. Out in LA, he fell into addiction. He has recovered and mounted national concert tours of tattoo parlors. He now lives in Nashville and teaches meditation and acts in a variety of projects from True Detective to Ghost World, with a new lead in the indie film The Gospel of Jake.”
Speaking of colorful, check out what the L.A. Weekly had to say about La Botz: “[He] came up the right-proper, fucking hard way: a teen renegade on the streets of Chicago, dabbling in a mixture of antisocial activities (from car theft to jabbing up his own rudimentary tattoos) and exploring the rich, deep blues tradition as a street singer (with Chi-town legend Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis) and beside Delta-blues originator Honeyboy Edwards. That lovely, lurid background forged a musical power that… demonstrates not only an innate mastery of the blues, but also displays what he calls a ‘condensed rock & roll mythology.’”
Also check out La Botz’s houserockin’ video for album track “How I Wish She Was Mine” HERE. Visit La Botz online for more, including upcoming tour dates (he’ll be hitting the road starting Sept. 9 for a trek that runs through Nov. 11 before he heads off to Europe for a month: http://www.jakelabotz.com/
Eagerly-awaited album available digitally, on CD, and on vinyl. You get an instant download if you order the vinyl, incidentally—and we’re listening to it here at the BLURT office at this very moment.
By Fred Mills
It’s finally here—Supercalifragile, the final recordings of Scott Miller, assembled by his widow Kristine Chambers Miller and Ken Stringfellow of the Posies, and released under the Game Theory name. According to the record’s Bandcamp page, the album “collects material Miller was working on at the time of his 2013 passing for a reimagining of Game Theory.” You can order the record directly from Kristine via the Bandcamp link. (Funding for the project, incidentally, was via a Kickstarter campaign, and there were a number of intriguing premiums available at the various pledge levels.)
Contributing to the project were Jon Auer (Posies), Aimee Mann, Ted Leo, Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices/Nada Surf), Will Sheff (Okkervil River), R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Camper Van Beethoven’s Jonathan Segel, Mitch Easter, The Orange Peels’ Allen Clapp, The Loud Family’s Alison Faith Levy, Game Theory members Nan Becker, Fred Juhos, Dave Gill, Jozef Becker, Shelley LaFreniere, Suzi Ziegler, Donnette Thayer and Gil Ray. (The album therefore also represents some of Ray’s final recordings, who we lost earlier this year.)
Below, watch a video clip from a few months ago showing Stringfellow, Auer, Becker, and Anton Barbeau working in the legendary Abbey Road studios on “I Still Dream of Getting Back to Paris” from the album.
In addition to the “Paris” song, highlights include “No Love” performed by Scott and Aimee Mann, “Time Warner” by Scott with the Game Theory gang, and “All You Need is White” featuring Scott and Stéphane Schück. Mitch Easter took care of the final mixing, and the record was mastered by Bob Weston.
Did we mention it’s on vinyl as well as CD and digital? To Kristine and Ken, and to everyone involved, thank you—this is clearly a labor of love.
Tune culled from eagerly awaited new album, out this week. Photo: Melinda Doster
By Blurt Staff
Singer/songwriter Stephen Doster is among the select few who can call the late comedian Bill Hicks a friend, and with “William Melvin Hicks” he commemorates that friendship. The song’s on Doster’s new album New Black Suit, which drops August 25 on Atticus Records, and we’re proud to be able to unveil it for the BLURT readership today:
“It’s my way of paying respectful tribute to Bill for his integrity and artistic vision, which, not surprisingly, still inspires people today,” explains Doster, of the song. (The album also pays tribute to other friends of his who are no longer with us, among them veteran Austin bassist George Reiff, who played on the album.) Continues Doster, “[Bill] was very passionate about people having integrity in their work and just couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t always give everything they had. I remember he said to me, ‘We are fighting an art war!'” (Below: the immortal Hicks)
New Black Suit is the followup to the Austin musician’s 2014’s Arizona, which itself was a bit of a milestone as it was the first album that Doster—a card carrying member of the Texas Music Legends Hall of Fame—had released in 18 years. Since then he’s continued to notch acclaim, and New Black Suit is nothing if not eagerly awaited. In addition to Reiff (Joe Walsh, Dixie Chicks) on bass, New Black Suit again features Dony Wynn (Dr. John, Robert Palmer) on drums and percussion, and Kevin Lovejoy (Spoon, John Mayer) on piano, organ, and keyboards accompanying the vocals and guitar work throughout from Doster.
Go HERE to check out the first single from the new album, “Shooting for the Stars.”
Ace tune from the songsmith’s The Hammer & the Heart album
By Blurt Staff
It’s a double album, and every single track is a winner—that would be The Hammer & the Heart by singer-songwriter Susan Cattaneo, who’s been compared, variously, to Bonnie Raitt, Patty Griffin, Carole King, and Emmylou Harris. Please allow Susan into your house and hearts via the song “The River Always Wins”—which, we would be remiss in not telling you, was co-written and –recorded with master musician Mark Erelli:
Susan offers the following about the track: “I wrote this song with Mark, a wonderful musician and artist who is also Lori McKenna’s producer and sideman. We both love storytelling in our songs, and The River Always Wins uses small town America images to explore the concept that no matter what man tries to do, Mother Nature always wins out. The song was recorded with a kickass band that included Mark on background vocals and guitar and Marco Giovino on drums, Jesse Williams on bass and Jim Henry on electric guitar.”
Aside from that single-song winning combo, the album itself features a whole slew of Americana stalwarts including The Bottle Rockets, Bill Kirchen, and Duke Levine. Susan’s a longtime New England favorite (she’s also a member of the beloved Massachusetts group Boxcar Lillies) who blends folk, rock, and blues with a strong dose of twang, and she’s earned love from American Songwriter, No Depression, and more. Tracing Cattaneo’s journey from her early days in New Jersey to her trial-by-fire in Nashville’s Music Row to her current home in Massachusetts (where she also teaches songwriting at the Berklee College of Music), the songs range from straight-up rockers to tender ballads in a rich melding of genres and eras.
Tune culled from new EP that is slated to arrive in October….
By Blurt Staff
You know what would make us “happy” here at the BLURT compound? A freakin’ new record from NRBQ, that’s what. Apparently the gods of rock ‘n’ roll heard our prayers, having previously answered them last year when we prayed for an NRBQ box set (and we got one, in the form of the massive, 5CD High Noon: A 50-Year History of NRBQ). Ergo, the new Happy Talk!, a five-song EP arriving Oct. 20 via the good folks at Omnivore. Check out the new single “Head On a Post,” penned by founding member Terry Adams:
Notes ‘Q guitarist Scott Ligon, “That thing is crazy…I think Terry made it up on the spot. He pointed when to go up and when to go down. One take and that was it!”
Meanwhile, Adams himself explains the genesis of the EP, whose title track is from Rogers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific: “I’ve been crazy about the song ‘Happy Talk’ since I was a kid; I bought every version I could find and still do. I’ve always wanted to record it. To get it right, you must realize that it’s in its own place that’s entirely separate from any song ever written.”
Also on the record is a very special interpretation of the Roy Orbison classic “Only the Lonely.” Adams, Ligon, Casey McDonough, and John Perrin had decided to cut the EP in between touring so they popped into Harmonium Studio and did the deed. As the saying goes—mark your calendars, kids.
Spine of God and Tab helped usher in the era of stoner rock…
By Uncle Blurt
Okay kids, a quick history lesson from yer ol’ Uncle. The year was 1989. The locale was New Jersey. And the band was called Monster Magnet. Three years after their first EP on Glitterhouse, the band released their official debut album “Spine Of God” on Caroline Records. The original debut album “Tab” was recorded a year earlier then “Spine of God”, but it wasn’t until the latter drew critical and commercial blood that Tab ultimately saw release. Now, with Sept. 1 looming, the Napalm label is prepped to reissue those two stoner-rock touchstone, and on vinyl as well as CD and digital.
Check out some classic tuneage to refresh your memories, below, then make your plans to line up at your favorite local indie record store.
We are duly advised that “the drug hazed heavy sound of both releases helped in cementing Monster Magnet’s reputation of being the only legit descendants of the likes of psychedelic and stoner rock Godfathers Hawkwind, Black Sabbath, and their electrifying punk siblings in MC5.” Soon enough, the albums Superjudge, Dopes to Infinity and Powertrip would be unleashed.
Mark your calendars for Sept. 8 for the group’s latest in a legacy that stretches back to the ‘80s.
By Fred Mills
The release of a new Antietam record is always reason to hoist a pint, so get ready to pour a few on September 8 when the NYC-by-way-of-Louisville trio’s 10th album, Intimations of Immortality, arrives via the band’s Motorific Sounds label. In addition to a digital version there’s to be a limited edition CD box set: reproductions of 12 paintings done by bandmember Tara Key. Antietam’s first single is the explosive “Right Between Your Eyes,” which you can check out below.
Guitarist/vocalist Key, along with bassist Tim Harris (aka Key’s better half) and drummer Josh Madell, advise that Intimations of Immortality “is a record about pursuing that creativity with passion and honesty in the face of life’s obstacles… [The] songs push the theory of the unbending power of friendship and perseverance, delivering a set of emotional and life-affirming rock and roll.”
Key describes the single: “It’s about those times when life becomes too damn predictable, and then, lo and behold, you are hanging on for dear life. It’s a song about keeping your head and owning “surprise,” all offered in the manner of the missing 13th song from Bowie’s Pinups.”
Present on the album are plenty of NYC familiar faces: Yo La Tengo’s James McNew (mixing) and Ira Kaplan (piano), along with Sue Garner (The Shams, Run On) on vocals, Katie Gentile (Special Pillow, Mad Scene) on violin; The Scene Is Now’s Cheryl Kingan (saxes) and Steven Levi (cornet).
New album arrives end of August on vinyl and digital.
By Fred Mills
Longtime fave Jean Caffeine is about to drop her new album Sadie Saturday Nite – the followup to 2011’s Geckos In the Elevator is due Aug. 29 on Joe Records, and it combines new music and reworked older tracks along with some spoken word narrated interluded and a cover of the Zeros’ classic punk anthem “Wimp.” The album marks the Austin rocker’s 40th anniversary in music, and the first single directly celebrates her back pages as a member of The Urge in San Francisco, Pulsallama in New York, and Clambake also in NYC. It’s titled “All Girl Band” and you can check out her video for it:
Did I mention that the new album is a vinyl edition of 500? More details on how to snag it or a digital version at her Bandcamp page.
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