Monthly Archives: April 2010

UPDATE 2 Lips’ Drozd in Hospital

 

“Undisclosed illness”
causes cancellation of two key gigs; full details being withheld.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Invoking the ominously pregnant terms “unforeseen
circumstances” and “undisclosed illness,” the Flaming Lips have canceled a pair
of concerts following multiinstrumentalist Steven Drozd’s hospitalization yesterday.
The band was set to play Florida’s
SunFest tonight (April 29) and the Beale Street Music Festival Memphis on May 1.
A hastily-drafted statement from SunFest yesterday read thusly:

 

“Due to
unforeseen circumstances SunFest is announcing a last minute schedule
change,” a statement from the event reads. “The Flaming Lips have
withdrawn from the festival. We regret any inconvenience that this may cause.
… SunFest has been informed that the cancellation is due to due to the
hospitalization of Steven Drozd and therefore extends wishes for a speedy recovery.”

 

For the time being the Lips camp is remaining mum about the
source of Drozd’s hospitalization, although the group’s publicist did tell
Spinner.com that Drozd is “expected to make a full recovery” from the ailment,
whatever it may be. No other dates have been canceled yet, and the band has a
number of high-profile festival dates slated for the summer, including Bonnaroo
and Glastonbury.

 

 UPDATE: Pitchfork is reporting that drummer Kliph Scurlock posted a short note to Facebook last night that still doesn’t specify what happened but is intended to put fans’ minds at ease:

“Kliph Scurlock
wants everybody to know that Steven will be just fine as soon as he
gets some rest. He (and the rest of us) really appreciate your kind
thoughts and well wishes, but please don’t worry yourselves.”

 

UPDATE 2: Yesterday Drozd posted his status on his Twitter feed which read:

Thank you,
everyone, for your concern. I had to do this and I’m getting it
together.

Watch New Band of Horses Video

 

Tour opening for Pearl Jam starts next week; album due out May 18.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

From the forthcoming Band
of Horses
album Infinite Arms (Brown/Fat Possum/Columbia) comes
the song “NW Apt.” the video was directed by Christopher Wilson.

 

Next week the band hits the road with Pearl Jam too, followed by a string of headline and festival dates:

 

WITH PEARL JAM:

05/03/10   
Kansas City, Mo
-Sprint Center

05/04/10   
St. Louis, Mo -Scottrade Center

05/06/10   
Columbus, Oh
-Nationwide Arena

05/07/10   
Noblesville, In -Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

05/09/10   
Cleveland, Oh
-Quicken Loans Arena

05/10/10   
Buffalo, Ny
-Hsbc Arena

05/13/10   
Bristow, Va
Jiffy Lube Live

05/15/10   
Hartford, Ct-Xl Center

05/17/10   
Boston, Ma -Td Banknorth Garden

05/18/10   
Newark, Nj
– Prudential Center

05/21/10   
New York, Ny -Madison Square Garden

 

HEADLINE DATES:

05/27/10   
Davis, Ca-
University Of California, Freeborn Hall

05/30/10   
Bend, Or -Les
Schwab Amphitheater

05/31/10   
George, Wa-Gorge Amphitheater

06/20/10   
Brooklyn, Ny – Williamsburg Waterfront
(With Grizzly Bear)

 

 


NW Apt.


Band Of Horses | MySpace Music Videos

Courtney Love Digs Herself Into a Hole

 

She’s baaaackkk… on
Twitter, too. New album getting the thumbs down from critics, however. And what’s
up with the pink Mickey Mouse ears?

 

By Fred Mills

 

She should, and probably did, see it coming: the new album
from Courtney Love’s reconstituted Hole, titled Nobody’s Daughter and issued this week on Mercury, ain’t getting
much respect from the critics. It’s hard to say just yet whether writers have
been sharpening their knives or not; Love’s been their whipping boy, er, girl,
for more than a decade now, so it’s not as if we needed a new excuse to pile
on. She squandered her stock of rock capital ages ago and has been racking up
credibility deficits for so long she’s already a punchline. That means, given
some of the more pointed commentary that’s surfaced thus far, there’s a good
chance that the record is, in fact, objectively bad.

 

[Aside: must insert obligatory Nirvana and Kurt Cobain meta-tags here to maximize web traffic.]

 

USA Today‘s Edna
Gundersen, for example, in a departure from her and her paper’s typical
mainstream-cheerleader stance, calls Love, in her 2-out-of-5 stars capsule
review, “a prepackaged folk-rocker with tonsillitis. Her formidable persona
gets lost in the mediocre tunes.” Pitchfork‘s
Amanda Petrusich
, delivering a blistering 2.9-out-of-10 stars extended review, describes
the record as “heartbreakingly banal,” whatever that means (as in, she feels
bad for Love, or for fans who pay for the record?), calling Love’s vocals “garbled
and withering,” her lyrics “plastic and artless” and the whole comeback project
“a badly missed opportunity.” MEOW!

 

Leaving estrogen alley for testosterone boulevard, we find the Washington Post‘s Joe Heim stating the
painfully obvious (though it had to be said): “It’s petty and pretentious. It’s
self-absorbed and self-pitying. It rocks in only the most generic way
imaginable. Although its failings were entirely predictable, given who Love has
become, it’s still a disappointment… [Love is] still howling, only now it
sounds so empty… [and] a bigger problem is the shabby songwriting.” Even BLURT’s
own A.D. Amorosi
, a chipper fellow who generally looks to find the good
qualities in an artist, was compelled to give the album a middling 5-out-of-10
stars, writing, “The vulnerable wild child that exists on Nobody’s Daughter is but a mask of the one that existed on Hole’s mega-mess (and classic) Live
Through This
… The majority of the songs here are blithely overproduced
with most of its melodies un-memorable as if it (and Love) are caught in the
headlights of the ‘90s end with doe-eyed fear rather than ferocity.”

 

These are not isolated slams. The current tally over at Metacritic.com list
a score of 58 (out of 100), which pretty much jibes with Amorosi’s assessment.
It’s interesting to check out the reviews at Metacritic, by the way, given the
presence of several outright Courtney Love apologists such as BBC Music (who
gave the album an 80), Billboard.com (77) and Spin (70); you can read
whatever you like into those reviews and ratings, including speculation as to
whether or not certain publications are loathe to wax too negatively for fear
that they’ll have artist access summarily removed. (Spin put Courtney on the cover of a recent issue, incidentally, in
one of their typically generic let’s-hang-out-with-the-musician-at-home puff
pieces that allowed Love to serve up mock penance for her sins under the veneer
of a so-called candid, no-holds-barred profile. Bah.)

 

But the most interesting Nobody’s
Daughter
coverage comes not from any rock critics or celebrity journalism
hacks, but from an old collaborator (and presumed paramour) of Love – namely, Billy Corgan. Check out what Corgan has
been saying and Twittering about our gal. “I have no interest in supporting her
in any way, shape or form. You can’t throw enough things down the abyss with a
person like that,” he told Rolling Stone, recently. He then followed that up with a series of snarky tweets on April
26, just before release day:

 

Thought #1:
my face is my face, my heart is my heart, my money is my money. Oh, and my
songs are MY songs+If you can’t write your own songs?

 

Thought #2:
if you can’t write your own songs maybe you should just be happy that you
fooled someone into doing your work for you…

 

Or, thought
#3:maybe you should go someone nice+live off your husband’s money, u know the
money he made for writing all those great songs.

 

Thought #4:
when you issue someone an apology on YOUR facebook page you might actually mean
it and take responsibility for it. But…

 

Thought #5:
the world is aware of your lack of responsibility, as seen in the gov’t taking
away your parental right. Only you could abandon!

 

Thought #6:
so have your moment, burn up in the sun that laughs at u as equally as it
appears to celebrate u+sleep knowing u have no honor.

 

Dang. Harshness, dude. Thought #7: Twitter really has a dark side to it that
makes it the posterchild for UNsocialnetworking. Wouldn’t it be great if every time
someone had a nasty tweet ready to send, he or she was magically transported
into the physical presence of the recipient and forced to say it directly to
their face?

 

Anyhow, Courtney’s back on Twitter, in case you missed her during her layoff
– check out @CourtneyLoveUK since there’s
some brunette bimbo from Texas currently claiming the @CourtneyLove address. With
Love’s track record, you know there’s always going to be some kind of sideshow (check out the BLURT coverage
of Hole’s gig in Austin
at SXSW back in March here) worth
sticking around for, and you can also bet that the forthcoming tour to promote
the album will have its share of fireworks, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Log III New Album, Tour

 

The man’s shit is
perfect. Check the video for proof.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Arizona’s
mighty Bob Log III, erstwhile frontman of the late, great Doo Rag gonzo blooze
duo (ask me sometime about their 
legendary tour of swap meets), he of the miked motorcycle helmet, slide
guitar glissandos, kickdrum finesse and boob-slapping song choruses, has a new
album on the Birdman label. Sensitively titled My Shit Is Perfect, it is indeed perfect, a platter that showcases,
in the words of hi handlers, “finger picked lightning, sliding up and down,
stopping when it wants to, then starting again when it feels like it, all in a
way that makes people move uncontrollably, smile and reel.”

 

Log’s also got a tour kicking off next month, one that will
take him up an down the west coast, across the Midwest
to the east, and then back again. Need we say do not miss this human dynamo and
his R-rated brand of rock ‘n’ roll? Full tourdates below; more details at www.boblog111.com.

 

Meanwhie, we’ll leave it to Tom Waits to sum up the magic
and mystery that is Bob Log III:

 

“And then there’s this guy
named Bob Log, you ever heard of him? He’s this little kid – nobody even knows
how old he is – wears a motorcycle helmet and he has a microphone inside of it
and he puts the glass over the front so you can’t see his face, and plays slide
guitar. It’s just the loudest strangest stuff you’ve ever heard. You don’t
understand one word he’s saying. I like people who glue macaroni on to a piece
of cardboard and paint it gold. That’s what I aspire to basically.”

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

5/13 – Los Angeles,
CA – Echo Curio

5/14 – Anaheim,
CA – The Juke Joint

5/15 – San Diego,
CA – The Casbah

5/22 – Tucson,
AZ – Plush

6/11 – Las Vegas, NV – Club Aruba

6/12 – Reno,
NV – St James Infirmary

6/13 – San
Francisco, CA –
Bottom Of The Hill

6/16 – Seattle,
WA – Tractor Tavern

6/17 – Portland,
OR – Doug Fir Lounge

6/18 – Boise,
ID – Nerolux

6/19 – Salt Lake
City, UT – Urban
Lounge

7/8 – Oklahoma City, OK – 66 Bowl
7/9 – Dallas, TX – The Loft
7/10 – Austin, TX – Emo’s Inside Room
7/11 – Houston, TX – Rudyard’s
7/12 – New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks
7/13 – Birmingham, AL – BottleTree
7/14 – Atlanta, GA – E.A.R.L.
7/15 – Greensboro, NC – Artistika Cafe
7/16 – Washington, DC – The Red and Black  Bar
7/17 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
7/18 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
7/19 – Brooklyn, NY – Knitting Factory
7/20 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East Upstairs
7/21 – Burlington, VT – The Monkey House
7/22 – Québec, QC – L’Agitée
7/23 – Montreal, QC – Il Motore
7/24 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
7/25 – Hamilton, ON – Corktown Tavern
7/26 – Waterloo, ON – Starlight Club
7/27 – Pittsburgh, PA – Thunderbird Cafe
7/28 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern
7/29 – Dayton, OH – South Park Tavern
7/30 – Cincinnati, OH – Fountain Square
7/31 – St Louis, MO – Off Broadway Night Club
8/1 – Fort Wayne, IN – The Brass Rail
8/2 – Lansing, MI – Mac’s
8/3 – Detroit – MI – Majestic Theatre Cafe
8/4 – Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern
8/5 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
8/6 – Iowa City, IA – The Mill
8/7 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theatre
8/8 – Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge

 

 

 

 

 

930 Club: The Way I Remember It

The Washington Post magazine recently printed a brief piece on the 9:30 Club entitled “Rock Legend Misfits, New Wave icons and Giant Rats: A History of D.C.’s 9:30 Club.” Writer Freedom Du Lac never really captured why the original (rest in pieces) small venue was so-cool during the punk scene so I felt compelled to add more.

When my friend Ian (MacKaye) of Minor Threat offered my band Government Issue the opportunity to play the club’s first hardcore Matinee on a Sunday afternoon, we jumped at that shit! Both G.I. and Scream not only put the  headliners (Discharge U.K.) to shame musically, we played so loud that our angry noise could be heard over a one-man play next door at the historical Ford’s Theater. The kind of thing that does a punk proud! I was also lucky enough to see a few of the other daytime shows like the phenomenal Bad Brains and they were stage-dive heaven for me.

The club that originally never wanted to book us young punk rock groups became THE place to be. At the time I thought the owner Dodi Desanto was a bit snobby because she never really welcomed the presence of a bunch of cocky rude punk kids who acted like we owned the place but we were pretty obnoxious towards her. It was many years later when I worked the door of a club that I saw what a pain in the ass that could be. I could only imagine how stressful owning a place could be. I sure wouldn’t want to take on that kind of responsibility.

Everyone who’s ever spoken about 9:30 always brings up 3 things: 1. The smell! (ciggarette smoke and beer funk seeped into the floor and walls); 2. The Rats! (industrial strength creatures who roamed from the alleys to the inside of the dressing rooms) and 3. That fucking pole in front of the right side of the stage! (I accidentally banged my head into it during slam-dancing and swung upon it on-stage—I loved that pole!) The biggest thing people neglect to mention is that (the old) 9:30 club had a VIBE and that’s something the new venue doesn’t have. Sure it’s much cleaner, nicer, bigger, and serves far better food but it ain’t the same, kids. 

 

After a year or 2 of doing gigs at the club, the doormen started to let me in to many a show for free! Being a Punk Rock star sure has it’s perks-ha! And the staff were cool folks just to rap with. One of the most amusing moments happened one night where doorman/Peach of Immortality front-man Jared Henrickson was all kinds of pissed off with an unknown patron in the place for parking his vehicle in the back alley. That area was always used just for the staff and band folks to load in/out. So Jared gets on the D.J.’s mic and says in a really annoyed tone, “Whoever parked your car in the back alley and isn’t a band member, if you don’t move it now, I’m going to eat it!”

 

Also I wasn’t drinking anything but juice and water back then but you couldn’t help but want to hang by the back bar to admire the (as my friend Alice said it so perfectly) “Gorgeous Amazon” that was Alyson Palmer of the group, Betty. Not only awesome to look upon but a real sweetheart of a person. That club was the best!

 

Man, I sure hope that someone cranks out a book on the old 9:30 club – anyone out there listening?

 

John Stabb was the frontman for the legendary harDCore punk outfit Government Issue.
When not blogging for BLURT, he currently serves as frontman for
Sleeper Agent. Check them out at http://www.myspace.com/sleeperagentdc
    

Report: Morning Benders Live in NYC

 

The San Fran/NYC buzzband,
riding high on critically acclaimed new album Big Echo, plays to (and
occasionally, over) an appreciative crowd at the Mercury Lounge on April 22.

 

By Zachary Herrmann

 

“It’s good to be home”, The Morning Benders’ front man Chris
Chu announced to a young, sweaty sold out crowd.  Yes, he said “home”. Although the band
originated out in San Francisco (c’mon, you didn’t think that was Far Rockaway
on the cover of Big Echo, did you?),
Brooklyn is home these days, as it is for many bands that get lumped under that
giant genre umbrella known as “indie rock”.

 

The question of identity seems relevant in this case not for
anything as shallow as geographical pride, but because the New York/California
split pretty much defines The Morning Benders’ sound. Yes, Grizzly Bear’s Chris
Taylor co-produced the band’s sophomore LP, Big
Echo
, but the Grizzly Bear comparisons will only get you so far.

 

Sure, both groups dig the Phil Spector (a bi-coastal man as
well) “girl groups” pretty hard. Put Grizzly Bear’s take on “He Hit Me (It Felt
Like a Kiss)” up against The
Morning Benders’ “Why Don’t They Let Us Fall in Love”
, though, and see how
much more loyal the latter is. Where Grizzly Bear takes the Wall of Sound and
filters it (and just about everything else in their musical universe) through a
glass darkly, The Morning Benders merely darken the corners a bit.

 

Played live (albeit slightly out of sequence), Big Echo – released last month on Rough
Trade; see review here is
hearts-on-their-sleeves, aching, swaying, crooning Pop.

 

No matter how much the Chu brothers and Co.
dress the songs up in reverb and that harsher, East Coast mentality, there’s no
denying the band’s sunnier roots. With opening band Miniature Tigers locking in
on the sound of The Kinks’ Kronikles-era,
the headliner solidified the balance between influence and innovation.

 

It’s retro done right.

 

The Morning Benders reached a bit further back into the late
1950s and early 1960s, armed with beneficial knowledge of the forthcoming
musical revolution c/o The Beatles. Compared to the band’s first LP, Talking Through Tin Cans, sure, these
songs could be considered more experimental. It might be more accurate, though,
to say the pop hooks are stretched out this time ‘round. And the best part is
watching The Morning Benders fill in the gaps they left behind.

 

Hence why the lone Tin
Cans
track the band offered up, “Damn’t Anna”, feels to reverential, more a
nostalgic re-creation than a song filled with actual emotion. It’s fun, but
clearly inferior to what the band has been doing of late.

 

Joined by Miniature Tigers’ drummer Rick Schaier for the 50-minute
set, The Morning Benders were not too concerned in replicating the studio
density of Big Echo. “Excuses” (which
became a show-closing sing-along) and “Nice Clean Fight” stood up as sparser
efforts. Unlike so many younger bands (or hell, so many bands in general), The
Morning Benders know a thing or two about setting levels, which helped
highlight many elements that may have wound up a little buried in the big
sounds of Big Echo.

 

Even with all the reverb (something Chu,
especially, seems to love), the band produces a very clean live sound, which
was evident from the get go in the ambitious opening jam that became
“Stitches”.

 

These songs have teeth, and as soft as Chu
and the rest of the band look, they are more than capable of tearing through
your eardrums when the occasion calls for it.

 

In fact, aside from the brevity of the set (understandable
since they have essentially started anew with Big Echo), my only complaint was that they didn’t let loose a
little more here and there, if only to drown out the audience. The crowd was
exceptionally talkative, which meant before/after and during songs, enduring
gems like, “The Twilight movie
soundtrack is the most legitimate movie soundtrack this year. Thom Yorke is on
it.” Or “I’m on Facebook every fucking day”.

 

Lest cynicism creep in, some of the chatter cut to the heart
of things. Before the band launched into “Nice Clean Fight”, one girl was
audible near the stage. “I love talent,” she said. 

 

Photo Credit: Matt Jacoby

 

Carney, Spidey & Evan Rachel Wood

 

That’s a pretty steamy
video, gal.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

L.A.’s
Carney set out on tour this
summer in support of debut album Mr. Green Vol. 1 out May 11th on DAS Label/Interscope.  The
tour will include a cross-country trek supporting Athlete.

 

 

Carney are
known for their incendiary live show with regular sold out LA residencies at
the El Rey Theatre and The Troubadour. Carney’s
first single, “Love Me Chase
Me” is already available on iTunes “It’s cinematic, it jumps
around to different places, and in the span of five minutes, it sort of sums up
what we’re capable of as a band,” says guitarist Zane Carney. “I like
having a cinematic approach to music,” adds lead singer, Reeve Carney. To
that end, the music video for the single co-stars Evan
Rachel Wood and was shot on the set of the hit HBO series Carnivale – view it, below.

 

The brothers are joined by Aiden Moore on bass and Jon Epcar
on drums. In addition, frontman Carney has some high-profile extracurricular
activities: playing the role of Peter Parker/Spiderman
in the upcoming Julie Taymor-directed Broadway
production of “Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark”, featuring music written
by Bono and The Edge.  “An amazing voice and a truly charismatic
presence”, raves Bono of Reeve.  Reeve Carney has also been cast in
the film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The
Tempest
alongside Helen Mirren, Alan Cumming and Russell Brand.

 

 

[Photo of Band: Lauren Dukoff]

 

 

Buy New Sun Kil Moon LP, Get Free EP

 

Kozelek’s latest is all acoustic,
due in July.

 

By Blurt
Staff

 

The new
album by Sun Kil Moon is due July 13 from Mark Kozelek’s Caldo Verde label. Titled Admiral Fell Promises, it’s a 60 minute, ten song album of original material – the vinyl version
includes liner notes and two bonus tracks recorded live in St Malo, France.

 

This is Sun Kil Moon’s fourth album but
only the third of original material after 2003’s Ghosts of the Great Highway and 2008’s April. Additionally it is the
first that is all acoustic, played entirely by Mark Kozelek on nylon string
guitar.

 

 All
purchases direct through the Caldo Verde website will receive a free
limited edition 4 song EP entitled ‘I’ll Be There.’ The EP included covers
of songs by Stereolab, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and The Jackson 5.

 

Track listings:

 

Admiral
Fell Promises

 

Alesund

Half Moon
Bay

Sam Wong
Hotel

Third And
Seneca

You Are My
Sun

Admiral
Fell Promises

The Leaning
Tree

Australian
Winter

Church Of
The  Pines

Bay of Skulls

 

 

I’ll Be
There
EP

 

Third And
Seneca (alt version)

Tomorrow Is
Already Here

Natural
Light

I’ll Be
There

 

 

Mark
Kozelek will also be playing the following solo, acoustic shows this summer:

 

July
26th Brooklyn,
NY The Music Hall
of Williamsburg

Jul
29th London, UK
Union Chapel

Jul
31st Giske, Norway
Sommerfesten

 

 

 

Carney, Spidey & Evan Rachel Wood

 

That’s a pretty steamy
video, gal.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

L.A.’s
Carney set out on tour this
summer in support of debut album Mr. Green Vol. 1 out May 11th on DAS Label/Interscope.  The
tour will include a cross-country trek supporting Athlete.

 

 

Carney are
known for their incendiary live show with regular sold out LA residencies at
the El Rey Theatre and The Troubadour. Carney’s
first single, “Love Me Chase
Me” is already available on iTunes “It’s cinematic, it jumps
around to different places, and in the span of five minutes, it sort of sums up
what we’re capable of as a band,” says guitarist Zane Carney. “I like
having a cinematic approach to music,” adds lead singer, Reeve Carney. To
that end, the music video for the single co-stars Evan
Rachel Wood and was shot on the set of the hit HBO series Carnivale – view it, below.

 

The brothers are joined by Aiden Moore on bass and Jon Epcar
on drums. In addition, frontman Carney has some high-profile extracurricular
activities: playing the role of Peter Parker/Spiderman
in the upcoming Julie Taymor-directed Broadway
production of “Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark”, featuring music written
by Bono and The Edge.  “An amazing voice and a truly charismatic
presence”, raves Bono of Reeve.  Reeve Carney has also been cast in
the film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The
Tempest
alongside Helen Mirren, Alan Cumming and Russell Brand.

 

 

[Photo of Band: Lauren Dukoff]

 

 

UPDATE First Look: New Flying Lotus LP

 

UPDATE: THE ALBUM IS STREAMING IN ITS ENTIRETY NOW AT THE FLYING LOTUS MYSPACE PAGE.

 

Due next week from Warp, the latest from West Coast
hip-hopper Steve Ellison opens up a brave new world while embarking upon some
seriously cosmic jams. Guests include Thom Yorke (you may have heard of him),
string arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Ellison’s cousin Ravi
Coltrane.

 

By Ron Hart

 

Every decade or
so, an artist comes into the public periphery and just changes the way we
collectively perceive how music is created. Steve Ellison, who goes under the
name Flying Lotus, has been that
artist for the late part of the 2000s. Given his familial lineage, it should
come as no surprise. Ever since FlyLo burst onto the scene in 2006 with his
debut 1983 (named for the year of his birth), it has been duly noted in the
press that his great-aunt is legendary jazz pianist/harpist Alice Coltrane. And on his latest
album, Ellison delivers a fitting tribute to his auntie on his amazing new
album Cosmogramma, expanding upon the
nature of his unique IDM-gone-B-Boy sound that has earned big fans in everyone
from Thom Yorke of Radiohead to Lil’ Wayne.  

 

Through the
utilization of live instruments threaded into the mix of this 45-minute “space
opera”, FlyLo maps out a sonic genealogy directly inspired by the genius of the
late Mrs. Coltrane by employing many of the meditative and spiritual approaches
to musical composition his great aunt had employed on in her own work. Several
tracks here, most notably album opener “Clock Catcher”, “Intro/A Cosmic Drama”
and the mesmerizing “Recoiled”, feature the nimble excellence of harpist
Rebecca Raff intertwined within the experimental polyrhythms FlyLo delivers
here; elsewhere Ellison and Raff work in tandem with in-demand West Coast
string arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson,
famous for Suite for Ma Dukes, his
stirring tribute to noted FlyLo hero J. Dilla, on such numbers as “Zodiac Shit”
and a second revision of “Auntie’s Harp” (here paired with a track called
“Drips”), which originally closed out Lotus’ 2008 Warp debut Los Angeles. Atwood-Ferguson also lends
his lush stringplay to “Do the Astral Plane”, featuring orchestral swells so
rich they sound as if they were sampled off an old Alfred Newman MGM film
score.

 

However, the pair
of cuts that serve as the most fitting testament to his jazz heritage and
surely have Auntie Alice smiling down on her great nephew from up in Heaven
have to be the ones featuring FlyLo’s elder cousin Ravi Coltrane on tenor saxophone. Both “Arkestry” and “German
Haircut” find Lotus digitally manipulating free-form drum breaks that echo his
aunt’s and Great Uncle John’s old bandmate Rashied Ali as Ravi delivers some of
the most celestial blowing of his near-twenty year career, temporarily
transforming Cosmogramma into a 21st century version of Trane and Ali’s 1967 duo masterpiece Interstellar Space. Those jams between the two cousins are
undoubtedly the finest moments on here, far surpassing the one track that
everyone is making a hoopla over, “…And the World Laughs With You”, a murky
dubstep ditty featuring guest vocals from the aforementioned Mr. Yorke that is
decent enough, but it barely fits in with the overall thread of the album on a
thematic level.

 

While many
multigenerational artists tend to shy away from the shadows of their elders, it
is nothing short of incredible to hear this immensely talented figure in the
brave, new world of West Coast hip-hop embrace his legacy with open arms and
usher his legendary aunt’s message of universal consciousness for a whole new
generation.