Monthly Archives: August 2010

Fan Dies in Leap at Swell Season Show

 

Bizarre incident
leaves band and audience shaken.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Last night west coast music blogs lit up with initial
reports of an apparent suicide attempt at a concert by the Swell Season. It
took place at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga,
Calif., a young man apparently in
his mid/late twenties leaping from a roof onto the stage. According to the SF Weekly blog:

 

 

“Several witnesses say
that the man climbed up onto the roof, then sprinted and stumbled to the top
before jumping off. He fell approximately three stories, through lighting
rigging, then landed on a speaker on the stage less than three feet from Swell
Season vocalist/songwriter Glen Hansard.”

 

 

Subsequent updates at the blog confirmed the man’s death –
read the progression of reports at the blog. The  Swell Season photo above was taken at the show
by BLURT correspondent Steven Bentley just shortly prior to the incident.

 

 

This morning Billboard.com added that Swell Season’s Glen
Hansard “put down his guitar and walked over to the man,” with doctors
attempting to revive him as paramedics headed to the stage. Swell Season also issued
a statement that reads, “The band, crew and all involved with them are
shocked and saddened by the unfortunate events of last night. Their hearts go
out to the victim and his friends and family.”

 

 

Descendents/ALL's Egerton Speaks

 

 

The famed punk rock guitarist finally decides to do a solo album.

By Blurt Staff

Okay punk fans, we’ve got a treat for you today: Stephen Egerton, Mr. Chrome Dome himself, sat for a BLURT grilling with our resident punk rock expert John B. Moore. In the interview he holds forth on his brand new solo album Seven Degrees of Stephen Egerton and how he rounded up a slew of guest vocalists for the mostly self-recorded and -performed record, his home studio and his work as a producer and engineer, and the prospects of an ALL reunion (“We’ll see if anyone asks,” quips Egerton).

“I always thought it would be fun to make a record where I played all
the instruments… just as a challenge,” the Tulsa-based musician adds, of the new album. “I’ve played drums and bass as long as
guitar, and since I have a recording studio, and no regular people to make
music with where I live, it seemed like a good time to take a crack at
it.”

Take a crack at the interview over at author Moore’s BLURT blog, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.”

 

Descendents/ALL’s Egerton Speaks

 

 

The famed punk rock guitarist finally decides to do a solo album.

By Blurt Staff

Okay punk fans, we’ve got a treat for you today: Stephen Egerton, Mr. Chrome Dome himself, sat for a BLURT grilling with our resident punk rock expert John B. Moore. In the interview he holds forth on his brand new solo album Seven Degrees of Stephen Egerton and how he rounded up a slew of guest vocalists for the mostly self-recorded and -performed record, his home studio and his work as a producer and engineer, and the prospects of an ALL reunion (“We’ll see if anyone asks,” quips Egerton).

“I always thought it would be fun to make a record where I played all
the instruments… just as a challenge,” the Tulsa-based musician adds, of the new album. “I’ve played drums and bass as long as
guitar, and since I have a recording studio, and no regular people to make
music with where I live, it seemed like a good time to take a crack at
it.”

Take a crack at the interview over at author Moore’s BLURT blog, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.”

 

The Call’s Michael Been 1950-2010 RIP

 

Influential founder of hitmaking ‘80s band also was an integral component
of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s success.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Sad news for rock fans yesterday. Michael
Been, vocalist and guitarist of ’80s band The Call, and father of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Robert Been,
passed away Thursday, August 19, in Belgium, after suffering a heart
attack backstage. Been was on tour with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, acting as
their sound engineer. He was 60.

 

The Call erupted on the scene with a passionate sound and a strong
political message, and earned numerous hits, including “The Walls Came
Down,” “I Still Believe (Great Design)” and “Let the Day
Begin,” which climbed to #1 on the Rock chart. Their fans included Peter
Gabriel, Robbie Robertson, and Bono, all contributing to albums, and Gabriel
deeming them “the future of American
music.”      

 

     

Been was not only the father of Robert Been but a significant part of BRMC’s
development. Often referenced as their fourth member, Been spent countless
hours in the studio acting in many roles from mentor and guide, to helping the
now internationally revered band capture their sound to tape. He acted as
co-producer and engineer on numerous BRMC albums and was their loyal sound
engineer for as many years.

 

 

First Look: New !!! Album

Due out next week from Warp, the masterful Strange Weather, Isn’t
It? sends the gang to Berlin and back again.

 

By Jonah Flicker

 

!!! has long survived the
dance-punk explosion of the early aughts, outlasting many of the band’s
flash-in-the-pan contemporaries from those years. Credit its sustainability not
to simply mating drum machine programming with stabbing guitars, but cleverly
roping the sounds of disco, Sandinista-era Clash, ’90s house, and dub
into the mix.

 

Strange Weather, Isn’t
It?
is the band’s first album in three years, and was partially recorded in
Berlin –
although think Love Parade more than Low here. The opening track and
first single, “AM/FM,” places loping basslines underneath an acid house synth
wave that sounds like a futuristic version of The Smiths’ “How Soon is Now?”
“The Most Certain Sure” pops and jerks until spacing out in a haze of dub
reverb halfway through. And “Wannagain Wannagain” recalls vintage New Jack
Swing, as bright horns pierce the disco beat and vocalist Nic Offer trades off
with the melodious Shannon Funchess.

 

!!!’s latest is sometimes
moody, sometimes bubbly, but a fleshed-out and engaging fusion of rock and
electronic music the whole way through.

 

[Photo Credit: Lane Coder]

 

 

 

Look: Exclusive Wilco Sound Fest Photos

 

Last weekend brought
out the best of the best to Massachusetts.
See photos of Wilco, Mavis Staples, the Baseball Project and more, below.

 

Photos and Captions by Oliver Scott Snure

 

Ed. Note: The
Wilco-organized and -headlined Solid Sound Festival in Massachusetts (Aug.
13-15, at MASS MoCa, in North Adams) was a roaring success, featuring
performances from headliner-curators Wilco and all the Wilco members’ side
projects (Glenn Kotche’s On Fillmore, The Nels Cline Singers, The Autumn
Defense featuring John Stirratt and Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen’s Pronto),
plus such artists as Mavis Staples, the Baseball Project, Avi Buffalo, Vetiver,
Sir Richard Bishop, the Books and Mountain Man. There was also a comedy stage
as well as Vermont’s
venerable Bread and Puppet theater troupe, art displays and much more.  We sent photographer Oliver Scott Snure to the
event and he came back with some mighty impressive visual artifacts. Check ‘em
out, below.

 

(above) scene from the crowd

 

(below) As a
fundraiser, participants could name their price to dump Jeff Tweedy in the tank
with a bean bag toss. “This seemed like a better idea on paper”,
Tweedy joked moments before getting the plunge.

 

Children under six
attended the festival for free. The festival was very family friendly and had
attendees of all ages.

 

Steve Wynn, Mike Mills, Linda Pitmon, Scott McCaughey of The Baseball Project

 

Sol Lewitt: A Wall
Drawing Retrospective.

 

Mountain Man

 

Bread and Puppet
performed their quirky, politically driven act “Decapitalization
Circus”

 

Mass Wilco

 

Mass Wilco

 

Mass Moca made use
of three different outdoor performing spaces including the spacious Field with
the Main Stage, set against the picturesque rolling hills of North Adams

 

Mavis Staples
performed before Wilco on Saturday of the festival. Her powerful voice and even
more powerful persona was a great crowd starter for Wilco.

 

Over 5,000 people
attended Wilco Fest. Here the crowd excitedly welcomes Wilco to the Stage.

 

Jeff Tweedy

 

Nels Cline

 

Wilco

 

Jeff Tweedy

 

Jeff Tweedy, John
Stirratt, Pat Sansone

 

Nels Cline, Mikael
Jorgensen, Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt

 

Nels Cline, Mikael
Jorgensen, Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Pat Sansone

 

Jeff Tweedy
performed an easy going solo set on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return of the Rain Parade!

 

The Paisley
Underground lives: dynamic concert album
Beyond the Sunset, originally released in 1985, finally gets
a proper CD airing courtesy Britain’s
Lemon/Cherry Red label. Check the videos after the narrative.

 

By Fred Mills

 

In the summer of ’86 – July, to be precise – Cali-based
sonic alchemists the Rain Parade blitzed a path down the East Coast, and by the
time the quintet crossed over the Virginia border into North Carolina, it was
as if Sherman’s Army had been transmogrified into musical stormtroopers,
deploying their scorched earth policy upon all lingering notions about the
so-called “Paisley Underground.” Initially one of the torchbearers of that
loose aggregate of psychedelia-tilting West Coast outfits that included the
Dream Syndicate, Salvation Army/Three O’Clock, Green On Red, Long Ryders, True
West and the Bangles, this Rain
Parade, five years on since forming in L.A. in 1981, was a powerhouse purveyor
of atmospheric rawk that, while
retaining sufficient trappings to still be loosely described as “psychedelic,” was
so free-ranging, incorporating elements of prog, punk, classic pop and roots-folk, as
to be nigh-on unclassifiable.

 

To this day, I can still remember the opening moments of the
band’s set: with the heat and humidity index so high there was literally steam
coming off the players’ bodies and amps, they launched into the sinewy,
throbbing “No Easy Way Down” (one of the band’s signature tracks, from their
’84 mini-album Explosions in the Glass
Palace
). And in that moment, amid flanging, modal-laced guitar leads, eerie
organ drone and labyrinthine bottom end, I and no doubt a hundred-odd other
clubgoers were sucked into a 70-minute vortex of prismic sound and no shortage
of synaptic discombobulation. Yeah, the show was psychedelic as fuck, but this
wasn’t your mama’s hippiedelica. Rather, the songs were informed by the
ground-up urgency of punk to yield taut, precision-arranged constructs within
which the mind was freed to roam. Staggering into the summer night sometime
later, staring up at the 2:00 a.m. moon, which just two days’ earlier had
passed through its full phase (look it up), I could swear I spotted the ol’ Man
up there smirking back at me…

 

This all comes rushing back to me now, listening to the CD
reissue of Beyond the Sunset,
originally recorded live a year and a half earlier during the Rain Parade’s
December 1984 tour of Japan and subsequently released in Britain on the Island
label. A stellar line recording that gets high marks for its crisp mix and
even-handed instrumental separation (vocals are prominent but don’t unnecessarily
dominate, either), BtS serves as both
a delightful flashback and righteous introduction to the musical prowess of the
Rain Parade – Matt Piucci, guitars and vocals; Will Glenn, keyboards and
violin; Steven Roback, bass and vocals; John Thoman, guitars and vocals; Mark
Marcum, drums.

 

 

The album showcases all the operative sides of the band’s
collective personality: there’s elegant electric folk (“Eyes Closed,” featuring
haunting violin solo from Glenn); pulsing, intensely melodic garage-rock (“This
Can’t Be Today”); dreamy, almost Beatlesesque pop (“Don’t Feel Bad”); and full
on, cortex-crunching psych (“No Easy Way Down,” which should be a mainstay of
any self-respecting playlist purporting to collect the Best Tunes From The
1980s). Also in the setlist is a pair of key covers. One pays homage to a band
that was a huge influence on the band members (and, indeed, the entire Paisley
Underground): Television, whose “Ain’t That Nothing” here is rendered in
appropriately kinetic terms to approach borderline anthemic. The other tips a
hat (or five) in the direction of a Rain Parade peer: Green On Red, by way of
GoR frontman Danny Stuart’s timeless, bittersweet confessional “Cheap Wine.” On the latter,
guests Steve Wynn and Dennis Duck from the Dream Syndicate pitch in on
guitar/vocals and tambourine, respectively, further reinforcing the circle of
solidarity that marked the loose scene they were part of. For those with long
memories, the tune’s a lump-in-throat moment impossible to avoid: these were our groups, and they meant something.

 

Veteran liner notesman (and BLURT contributor) Jud Cost
serves up an extended commentary for the Beyond
the Sunset
booklet, providing a birds-eye history of the Rain Parade – like
me, he was smitten early on by their charms – and suggesting that the group’s
legacy still looms large. He quotes Piucci (nowadays fronting Oakland outfit
boatclub), who says, “In a small way, we were sort of like what Brian Eno said
about the Velvet Underground, that everybody who bought their records started a
band.” Adds Cost, “And yet, like most bands built for the long haul whose
influence has spread like ripples in a pond, Rain Parade retains its own unique
musical footprint.” Amen to that.

 

So here I am in my office now, staring at the record sleeves
of my original Island LPs for Beyond the
Sunset
and Crashing Dream (the ’85
album that the Rain Parade was touring behind when I saw them live). They bear
the scrawled signatures of five musicians, a detail I’d somehow forgotten from
that hot, hazy, humid, hallucinogenic night. Come to think of it, except for
what I described above, I don’t remember a whole lot about the evening. I
dearly wish I could now, because as these things turn out, the Rain Parade
broke up not long after that tour.

 

Thanks, anyway, for the memories guys. How’s about putting
the show back on the road again and let’s work up some fresh ones?

 

 


The Orb Teams w/Pink Floyd’s Gilmour

 

“Orbiting many of the
same planets”: collaboration arrives Oct. 12. No word on whether they’ll work
up those mid ‘90s trance remixes, however…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Metallic Spheres is the title of the upcoming album from The Orb – it’s due
Oct. 12 from Columbia.
It’s not to be your garden variety Orb record however: Pink Floyd guitarist
David Gilmour is a key featured performer.

 

Before anyone suggests the
collaboration is too outré, consider that the Orb’s live performances got
compared to Floyd early on, and the band’s concert album Live 93 featured a cover that parodied classic Floyd album Animals. And Orb fans in the know who
tapped into the underground collectors’ market back in the mid ‘90s will recall
that series of so-called “trance remix” bootleg CDs of entire Pink Floyd albums
that the Orb supposedly masterminded. (Check your local torrent site for all that.)

 

 

So
anyway, the Orb came to collaborate with David Gilmour after working together
on a version of Graham Nash’s “Chicago”
for a charity project. Youth (aka Martin Glover), a frequent Orb accomplice,
was invited to create a remix, and he and Alex Paterson, as The Orb, were so
energized by the task that they continued working until it was an album-length
entity. Having asked Gilmour to bring his guitars to Youth’s studio in South London to prolong and enrich their new creation,
the trio worked up a sonic mixture in a range of styles. Thus, the Metallic
Spheres
project was born.

 

Metallic Spheres is designed to be heard in two parts – ‘Metallic Side’
(24’48”), and ‘Spheres Side’ (25’09”).  Each track, or side, consists of
five movements. The album uniquely utilizes David Gilmour’s discernable
electric guitar and lap steel guitar, Alex Paterson’s sound manipulation,
keyboards and turntables, and Youth’s bass guitar and keyboards. Metallic
Spheres
will be available in 3 formats:  standard and 2-disc deluxe
versions on CD, digital download and 180-gram vinyl.  The deluxe 2-CD version includes an extra disc, featuring the new ‘3D60TM
process, which allows a 360-degree sound experience on stereo tracks without
any special equipment.

 

Longtime Orb collaborator Simon
Ghahary has created artwork, continuing and expanding on The Orb’s spatial art
style.

 

Additionally, special laser light
shows created specifically for the release of Metallic Spheres will be
shown to the public in early October in New York
and Los Angeles. 
More details to follow.

 

The Orb’s Alex Paterson says,
“It’s a collision that’s been waiting to happen with Pink Floyd / David
Gilmour and The Orb orbiting many of the same planets.”

 

 

 

 

Chapterhouse Reforms For U.S. Tour

 

 

Back together for “temporary”
reunion after being gone for a decade and a half. Ulrich Schnauss will be the opening
act as well as the band’s keyboardist.

 

By Blurt
staff

 

 

After a
hiatus of nearly 15 years, seminal early 90s, UK guitar noise band Chapterhouse have agreed to temporarily reform for a limited
number of live shows and will be joined by recent collaborator, Ulrich
Schnauss. Following two sold out shows in London, England and a tour of Japan
in April 2010 the band are about to embark on their first North American tour
since 1994. Encouraged by the new wealth of current bands referencing Chapterhouse as an influence and the new generation of music
fans these groups have brought with them, the band feel that this is a perfect
time to offer fans, old and new, the opportunity to see them play live one last
time. Ulrich will be supporting at all the shows and is also performing with
Chapterhouse on keyboards.

 

 

A statement
from the band: “We’re very pleased to have Ulrich along with us on this tour,
it makes for a perfect symmetry. We have also found some great local bands for
all these shows that will really compliment what are going to be some great
nights.”

 

 

Chapterhouse formed in Reading,
England in
1987. After a period of playing regularly around London and touring with Spacemen 3, they
signed to Dedicated Records in 1989. The band released their first 3 EPs
‘Freefall’, ‘Sunburst’ and ‘Pearl’ which topped
the UK
independent music charts throughout 1991. They followed this with their first
album ‘Whirlpool’ which reached #23 in the UK album charts and another EP
‘Mesmerise’ in October 1991. The band ended the year with their first tour of
North America and Japan.
Chapterhouse released their second album ‘Blood Music’ in
1993 and followed this with their second North American tour in 1994. The group
disbanded in 1995 but have remained good friends and continue to work on other
projects together.

 

 

Alongside these
Chapterhouse dates, Simon has been playing with reformed
Slowdive spin off Mojave 3 and Ashley continues to play with his current band
Tunng.

 

 

TOUR
DATES

10.01 Chicago, IL
@ Lincoln Hall

10.03 Brooklyn, NY @ The Bell House

10.04 New York, NY
@ Le Poisson Rouge

10.05 Boston, MA @ Middle East

10.06 Toronto, Canada
@ Lee’s Palace

10.08 Los Angeles, CA
@ The Troubadour

10.09 San Francisco, CA
@ Mezzanine

 

 

 

 

Wilco Fest a Huge Success

 

Just might turn out to be one of the year’s best…

By Blurt Staff

This past weekend’s Wilco-organized and -headlined Solid Sound Festival in Massachusetts was a roaring success, and we’ve got the photographic proof. Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow for our photo essay from shutterbug Oliver Scott Snure…