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Incoming: Album from Nashville’s Sour Ops / In Hand: Promo 12″

Rockin’ two-track advance teaser for Nashville band’s upcoming full-length.

BY FRED MILLS

Self-described as “a collaborative rock & roll effort,” Nashville-based Sour Ops here serves up a righteously rockin’ slab of 12” wax, “Phonograph” b/w “Mind Like Glue” courtesy Feralette Media. On the “Phonograph” A-side, the group is paying tribute to, you guessed it, the joys of recording for, pressing up on, and listening to, vinyl. Gee, how’d they figure out BLURT might be predisposed to liking this ditty?—which, sonically speaking, is a tight-but-loose chip-off-the-ol’-Stooges/MC5-block. (Listen close, and you might also here a couple of sneaky Stones licks in there as well.)

Over on the flip, “Mind Like Glue” picks up the baton and bolts with it via a crunchy, riff-powered progression that marks the band as latterday sons of Nuggets. Which comes as no huge surprise, considering the bandmembers list Panther Burns, Snakehips, the Upstairs Party, Botswanas, and Sixty-Nine Tribe on their collective C.V. Led by guitarist Price Harrison (who also heads up the Feralette label, which has previously brought us music from Snakehips, Marshall Chapman, Boo Ray, and Palmyra Delran), Sour Ops has a full length, Family Circuit, due out in late October, and this limited edition single makes for quite a fine teaser.

 

Prince Legit Promo of ‘Black Album’ Breaks Online Selling Record

Resident Blurt editor also has direct experience with legendary title’s sales history…

By Uncle Blurt

The news about a Canadian copy of Prince’s The Black Album, from 1987 and cancelled for release by The Artist and Warner Bros., selling on music marketplace Discogs.com for $27,500 did not escape our attention. As Noisey.com reports:

“This record-breaking copy of The Black Album isn’t the most expensive Black Album ever sold—a sealed copy went for $42,298 earlier this year—but it is special. It was salvaged from the vinyl slaughter by a pressing plant employee in Canada, who had no idea of its value until five sealed American copies of the album surfaced in 2016. The unnamed man then contacted Jeff Gold, a former executive VP at Warner who now runs a music memorabilia store.”

Indeed, the aforementioned Prince vinyl has always been a sought-after artifact in its original, unreleased state, and a hot item among vinyl and CD bootleggers, not to mention digital file swappers. (It’s readily available these days among  file traders despite Prince and his estate’s efforts to the contrary.) No less than Blurt Editor Fred Mills reports, “A number of years ago, long before the record saw official release on CD, I had bought a vinyl bootleg of it, complete with solid black artwork and sticker title, at a record swap show. Ultimately, during a purge of my record collection – I had always thought of Black Album as more of a curiosity than a ‘real’ Prince album, what with so many throwaway tunes, and that Prince himself had made the right call in yanking it – a ‘friend of mine, whose name I forget’ sold that bootleg copy for in the neighborhood of $400. Gee, who was that? I must have been drunk when I loaned it to him/her… And that was just for a bootleg. i would venture a guess that $27k for an actual copy of the real deal, while excessive by my personal budget standards, is about right.”

Available at random download sites, depending on the state of Prince estate whack-a-mole efforts…

 

 

Track Premiere: Bird Streets “Carry Me”

Terrific tune culled from eponymous album, due out this week on Omnivore. Above: Jason Falkner and John Brodeur.

By Fred Mills

Brooklyn-based John Brodeur has been releasing top-shelf pop records for a number of years now, and in his current incarnation as Bird Streets and new album Bird Streets he’s knocking the ball out of the park. The album was produced by the mighty Jason Falkner (Jellyfish, Beck, etc.), who also plays on it and shares co-writing credit with Brodeur on all but two tracks. It drops August 10 via Omnivore, and we are extremely pleased to be able to unveil a track for our readership. Check out “Carry Me”:

Sings Brodeur, tellingly,

“Let’s raise a toast my friends
To new beginnings and bitter ends
Flip the hourglass again
‘Cause morning’s breaking soon…”

Brodeur comments on the song, saying, “I left Falkner’s place one evening having been instructed to return with ‘something that rocks.’ This old lyric full of car crashes and explosions seemed to fit the bill. We knew almost immediately that ‘Carry Me’ was going to open the record, it just had this undeniable vibe. In a way, it was the first Bird Streets song—the one that made me realize we weren’t making just another John Brodeur record.”

The record was primarily produced and recorded at Rhetoric studio in Los Angeles, and among the other musicians appearing on the record are Miranda Lee Richards and Luther Russell.

 

Both Brodeur and Falkner will be appearing onstage together for some shows August 25-26 in Los Angeles; joining them will be bassist Keith Hosmer and drummer Ben Lecourt. Brodeur’s official album release party will be August 9 in NYC, and you can keep track of the shows at his Bird Streets website.

Meanwhile, check out the track “Betting On the Sun” over at Magnet magazine, and the video for the song “Direction” at Glide mag.

 

Video Premiere: Willie Nile “Earth Blues”

Stompin’ tune taken from latest album Children of Paradise. (Photo by Cristina Arrigoni)

By Fred Mills

“I wanted it to feel like Judgment Day.”

That’s veteran rocker Willie Nile, on his song “Earth Blues,” an apocalyptic-lined powerhouse of a number even by Nile’s own blazing standards. And it’s no surprise, either, as his new Children of Paradise album (released July 27 on his own River House label) is a relentless, topical look at the turbulent darkness that currently engulfs us, what with tracks like “Getting’ Ugly Out There,” “Seeds of a Revolution,” and “All Dressed Up and No Place to Go.”

We’re pretty stoked to be able to premiere the video for “Earth Blues.” It was directed by Ehud Lazin, and Nile notes that he “filmed a show in June in Asbury Park, NJ, and used footage from that along with shots of the environmental chaos going on around the world. Lazin did a great job directing it. It’s got all the things I like about rock ‘n’ roll. It’s heartfelt, pissed off, in love, on fire, and out of its mind all at the same time.” Check it out:

Of the song, Nile says, “I wanted to give the earth a voice with all the chaos that’s going on with it. The ocean level’s rising, the weather’s changing for the worse and the climate for living a decent life here is going to hell. There’s a mass of plastic garbage the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean for cryin’ out loud! A hundred years from now, the people responsible for letting it fall into ruin will be long gone and won’t give a damn and our descendants will be left to suffer and deal with the darkness and difficulties to come. They do it all for the money and nothing else, and our grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to have to pay for it. It’s not right and it’s not ok. That’s why I wrote ‘Earth Blues.’ I wanted to write a rocker with an anthemic chorus and I’m thrilled with how it came out. The band was on fire the day we cut it. I wanted it to feel like Judgment Day.”

Indeed it does, sir.

Nile’s 12th studio album was co-produced with Stewart Lerman (Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, Norah Jones) and cut with his crack live band (guitarist Matt Hogan, bassist Johnny Pisano, drummer Jon Weber). Also on the album are guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Steuart Smith (Eagles/Rosanne Cash/Rodney Crowell) and keyboardist Andy Burton (John Mayer/Rufus Wainwright/Ian Hunter), plus backing vocals by singer-songwriter James Maddock, Leslie Mendelson (Bob Weir), and Frankie Lee.

Nile recently wrapped up a short tour but plan on seeing him back on the road soon starting in mid-August—you can keep track of him via his Facebook page and his Instagram account, and of course at WillieNile.com. You can also check out a 2016 interview, “Storming the Gates,” here at BLURT, as well as one we published in 2013, “On the Right Path.” Needless to say we’re pretty big Nile fans around here…

Incoming: Debut LP from Charleston’s Artisanals

Check out the remarkable ‘shroom-fueled video for a key track from the album, which arrives Sept. 21. Tour dates at the bottom.

By Fred Mills

They’re called the Artisanals, they hail from Charleston, SC (where the once-sleepy tourist town now boasts a thriving indie rock music scene), and no less an artist than Band of Horses’ frontman Ben Bridwell is a major fan and supporter. The group features Johnny Delaware, late of SUSTO, but more important is the fact that their long-playing eponymous debut is stuffed with some of the most memorable rock ‘n’ roll you’ll hear all year, with sonic and songwriting touchstones ranging from Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen to Dawes and the aforementioned Band of Horses.

Check out the Zach Hellmuth-directed video for album track “Drag,” below, for an advance taste, and mark your calendars for Sept. 21, when the album arrives via AWAL. You can also preorder it at the band’s PledgeMusic campaign.

Tour Dates:

9/19 – Boca Raton, Fla. – Funky Biscuit +

9/20 – Tampa, Fla. – The Attic +

9/22 – Gainesville, Fla. – Heartwood Soundstage +

9/23 – Jacksonville, Fla. – Jack Rabbits +

9/26 – Louisville, Kentucky – WFPK Waterfront Wednesday %

9/27 – Asheville, North Carolina – Salvage Station +

9/28 – Charlotte, North Carolina – Evening Muse +

9/29 – Charleston, South Carolina – Charleston Pour House # +

10/2 – Washington, D.C. – Black Cat +

10/3 – New Haven, Conn. – Café Nine +

10/4 – New York, New York – Bowery Electric +

10/6 – Rehoboth Beach, Del. – Dogfish Head Brewings +

10/7 – Philadelphia, Penn. – 118 North +

10/8 – Asbury Park, New Jersey – Wonder Bar

10/9 – Charlottesville, Virginia – The Southern ^

10/10 – Richmond, Virginia – The Camel +

10/11 – Carrboro, North Carolina – Cat’s Cradle +

10/13 – Atlanta, Georgia – The Earl

% with Car Seat Headrest

+ with the High Divers

^ with Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters

# with Dega

Watch Trailer for ’70s Hippie Film “Magic Music Movie”

Flashback time – if you can remember the ’70s, you probably weren’t really there.

By Fred Mills

As Billboard so succinctly puts it – “An Elusive ’70s Band Reunites for One Last Jam in ’40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie’

Indeed, the Magic Music band was a celebrated proto-jam/cosmic folk band out of Boulder back in the day that was tipped to be the next big thing. Until they weren’t, that is, and they eventually split up in 1975 with no albums recorded. So Emmy nominated producer Lee Aronosohn (Big Bang Theory) somehow got it in his head that he wanted to make a documentary about the group, and after tracking down the original members, he even engineered a reunion concert that he was able to film for doc.

 

It’s since been screened at a number of film festivals – including the Boulder Film Festival, natch, and will start opening at very select theaters starting this weekend. Then in early September it will be released digitally via The Orchard. Below, check out the official movie trailer.

Wayne Kramer’s MC5 50th Anniv. Tour Expands

It’s high time to kick out the jams back in the USA…

By Fred Mills

With a handful of summer European festival dates – as massive open-air festival “rehearsals,” so to speak – under their belts, the 50th anniversary tour of the legendary MC5 really gets under way this fall in North America, starting in early September and running through late October for what will be a triumphant homecoming show in Detroit for mainman Wayne Kramer. He’s calling his band the MC50 and he’s joined by Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayll, Fugazi drummer Brendon Canty, Faith No More bassist Billy Gould, and Zen Guerrilla frontman Marcus Durant, with original 5 drummer Dennis “Machine Gun” Thompson slated to sit in at various points during the tour.

Meanwhile, as previously announced, special guests on select dates will include Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli, Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron, and Was (Not Was) mainman Don Was. And with opening acts including Man Or Astro-man?, the Detroit Cobras, and Starcrawler (more tba), the shows, primarily at large clubs and medium sized theaters along with a few festivals, are predicted to routinely sell out. (September 8 sees the band playing in BLURT’s home base of Raleigh, NC, at the annual Hopscotch Music Festival) – and, intriguingly, the band’s showcase, which includes Liz Phair, Speedy Ortiz, and Zack Mexico, is also an individually ticketed concert that has just gone on sale to the public).

After the tour of North America, the MC50 heads back to Europe (link at the top). Here are the fall N.A. tour dates:

09/05 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution Live
09/06 – St. Augustine, FL @ Backyard Stage at St. Augustine Amphitheatre
09/07 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse #
09/08 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Music Festival
09/09 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
09/11 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club *
09/12 – New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall *
09/13 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club *
09/14 – Huntington, NY @ The Paramount *
09/15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
09/17 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza *
09/18 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre
09/19 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
09/21 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre *
09/22 – Grand Rapids, MI @ 20 Monroe Live *
09/23 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
09/25 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom *
09/26 – St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room *
09/28 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk *
09/29 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater *
10/01 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Marquee
10/02 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
10/03 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues ^
10/04 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom ^
10/05 – Los Angeles, CA @ John Anson Ford (A Benefit for charity Jail Guitar Doors)
10/15 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater ^
10/16 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox ^
10/17 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom ^
10/19 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall ^
10/20 – Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre ^
10/23 – Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater *
10/24 – Chicago, IL @ Metro Chicago *
10/25 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s *
10/26 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s Hall *
10/27 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore *

# = w/ Man Or Astro-Man?
* = w/ Detroit Cobras
^ = Starcrawler

 

Eric Church Gets Dixie Chicked for NRA/Vegas Comments

Shut Up And Play Your Guitar Dept.: Apparently for SOME staunch 2nd Amendment people, the 1st Amendment is irrelevant….

By Fred Mills

In a remarkable new Rolling Stone interview titled, appropriately enough, “The Defiant One,” country star Eric Church was interviewed at his Nashville home, and over the course of the conversation he disclosed that while he owns several guns and is pro-2nd Amendment, he felt the Las Vegas massacre last year at a country music festival (where he had performed two days earlier) should be partly blamed on the NRA:

“There are some things we can’t stop. Like the disgruntled kid who takes his dad’s shotgun and walks into a high school. But we could have stopped the guy in Vegas.” As for why nothing’s been done? “I blame the lobbyists. And the biggest in the gun world is the NRA.”

The social media backlash was immediate, severe, and, as of this writing, sustained.

It was a striking flashback to 2003, when the Dixie Chicks criticized President Bush from a London Stage about the Iraq invasion, with now-former fans expressing support for the NRA, damning/mocking all the “libtards” like Church, planning on dumping their Church CDs in the trash, and predicting his career to be over. Apparently rabid support for the 2nd Amendment doesn’t rule out a general disdain for the 1st Amendment among some people.

But as one commenter – me, apparently a lonesome voice out of nearly 2000 comments – noted at Church’s Facebook posting about the RS story, “Eric, a lot of us are proud of you. Just because you’re getting Dixie Chicked all over the place by NRA stooges doesn’t mean we aren’t out here too, and we’ll have your back. They were wrong in 2003, and they’re wrong now.”

It won’t come as a huge surprise that commenters immediately began commenting on my comments – maybe I should play a drinking game and take a shot each time I get called a libtard; it would be a fun day. Meanwhile, though, the Dixie Chicks still have their careers, while all their haters – with the exception, perhaps, of certain fellow country stars – have slipped back into obscurity or under their rocks. It’s not hard to predict a similar trajectory for Church. And we need more stars like him.

Check out Schoolkids Records’ New Spotify Playlist of Label’s Gems

We got da rawk!

By Blurt Staff

Longtime – as in, more than 4 decades longtime – North Carolina indie record store chain Schoolkids Records is Blurt’s sister business, and awhile back our other sister business, indie label Second Motion Records, also become Schoolkids Records, as in, Schoolkids Records label. With artists as noteworthy as Tommy Keene, Buffalo Tom, The Church, Bettie Serveert, and 6 String Drag populating the roster thus far, it has been a solid run ever since founder (and Blurt majordomo) Stephen Judge started the label 10 years ago.

Stephen has put together a terrific Spotify playlist which spotlights his (our) label, so check it out.

Incoming: Shoes “Black Vinyl Shoes” 3CD Deluxe Edition

Our favorite power pop band, bar none, gets set to kill it again with archival release.

By Blurt Staff

Power pop icons Shoes – who killed it at our 2013 SXSW day party in Austin – have their iconic LP debut Black Vinyl Shoes vastly expanded as a 3CD set on August 31 from Britain’s Cherry Red label, one of the planet’s most reliable archival sources. From Cherry Red:

First issued in 1977 on the band’s own label but not widely available until it was reissued in 1978, SHOES’ first album proper, Black Vinyl Shoes, is an absolute classic of US Power Pop, characterised by gorgeous, Byrds-style chiming guitars, wistful, melancholy melodies and wonderful harmonies. To coincide with the 40th anniversary (ish!) of this landmark record, Cherry Red are proud to present this 3-CD deluxe edition of Black Vinyl Shoes, reconfigured to present – almost – the complete recordings of the band from their embryonic home demos in 1973 through to tracks laid down on the eve of their deal with Elektra Records in 1979. These include the entire Black Vinyl Shoes album, their privately-pressed 1975 album One In Versailles, the 1975 recordings which were unissued at the time but belatedly presented as Bazooka, two tracks from their mythical 1974 LP Heads Or Tails, their one-off single for Bomp! And a handful of previously unissued tracks. Coordinated with the original band members, Black Vinyl Shoes boasts lengthy (8,000-word) sleeve-notes by David Wells, remastered sound quality and a sizeable booklet awash with rare images from the period.

Full track listing for this amazing, long-awaited collection, is below. Meanwhile, check out our 2015 profile of the band, a lengthy interview with cofounder Jeff Murphy by Blurt’s archival guru Dave Steinfeld.

DISC ONE:
BLACK VINYL SHOES
1. BOYS DON’T LIE
2. DO YOU WANNA GET LUCKY?
3. SHE’LL DISAPPEAR
4. TRAGEDY
5. WRITING A POSTCARD
6. NOT ME
7. SOMEONE FINER
8. CAPITAL GAIN
9. FATAL
10. RUNNING START
11.OKAY
12. IT REALLY HURTS
13. FIRE FOR AWHILE
14. IF YOU’D STAY
15. NOWHERE SO FAST

BONUS TRACKS
16. CAPITAL OFFENSE
17. SHE’LL DISAPPEAR (Demo) *
18. LUCKY TAIL
19. I WANNA HIDE
20. TOMORROW NIGHT (Bomp! Version)
21. OKAY (Bomp! Version)
22. I’LL TAKE YOU AWAY
23. FULL BITE
24. BABY’S GONE
25. EVER AGAIN
26. LIKE I TOLD YOU (Second Version) *
27. KAREN (Acoustic Demo) *
28. I’LL TAKE YOU AWAY (Alternative Version) *

* previously unissued

DISC TWO:
BAZOOKA
1. PINHEADS
2. MOVE IT OR LOSE IT
3. ROCK YOUR OWN
4. ALONG WITH LOVE
5. LOVE TOOK A TURN
6. ALONE BUT SATISFIED 7. NEW MEAT
8. I’M BRAZEN
9. THE ATLANTIC
10. MY ANISETTE
11. SNAP!
12. EDUCATED
13. LIKE I TOLD YOU BONUS TRACK
14. I CAN MAKE IT (Demo) *
* previously unissued

DISC THREE:
ONE IN VERSAILLES
1. DANCE IN YOUR SLEEP
2. DOIGETSOSHY
3. UN DANS VERSAILLES
4. KRISTINE
5. SOMETHING I CAN’T SEE
6. EGGROLL ROCK
7. SONG FOR HER
8. ONE NIGHT
9. NO, I DON’T
10. THE SUN
11. ONE IN VERSAILLES
12. BANJO

BONUS TRACKS
13. MY HUSBAND’S HOME!
14. NOTHING MEANS MORE
15. I’D LIKE TO TAKE YOU OUT AGAIN (from “Heads or Tails”, 1974) *
16. ROCK’N’ROLL FREAK
* previously unissued