Monthly Archives: October 2010

Sweet! Golden Bloom Covers Wussy

 

BLURT fave gets paid a
sharp tribute by an equally talented peer.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Choosing a song to cover is an art. Golden Bloom’s Shawn
Fogel is quite adept at it, as shown by his choice of BLURT fave Wussy’s “Magic
Words,” a track from the Cincinnati quartet’s celebrated self-titled album.
“Magic Words,” a mid-tempo rocker, and his favorite, is transformed lovingly by
Fogel into a poppier version of itself. Still present are the droning guitars,
but added are the shiny synth touches that are a Golden Bloom trademark. All of
this adds up to a unique approach to Wussy’s well-crafted phrases and lyrics.

 

 

“I heard a lot of possibilities in my head, different
directions I could take the song, says Fogel. “I ended up trying to inject a
little more power into the pop and had a lot of fun reinterpreting this song in
the studio.”

 

The song can be heard here: “Magic Words”.

 

Fogel is not alone in the desire to reimagine Wussy. This Will Not End Well, a remix
album that was digitally released in September, is filled with tracks from Wussy,
but does not include “Magic Words”.

 

 Shawn Fogel is no stranger to the art of the cover. This
past summer and at CMJ 2010, he
and members of Golden Bloom and The Motion Sick embarked on the ambitious task
of playing Neutral Uke Hotel’s In
the Aeroplane Over The Sea
live on ukulele, melodica and trumpet as
Neutral Uke Hotel. The shows were well received, filling venues with fans
singing, clapping and stomping along to the beloved album.

 

Fogel
is back in the studio with Peter Katis (Frightened
Rabbit, The National, Interpol and Tokyo Police Club), to produce some tracks on the follow up to Fan
the Flames
, which was compared favorably to Summerteeth-era Wilco, The New Pornographers, and Big
Star and loved by critics and fans alike.

 

[Photo
Credit: Alicia J. Rose]

 

 

 

Read: Anil Prasad’s “Innerviews”

Just published by
Abstract Logix,
Innerviews: Music Without Borders is, like the companion website, a thinking person’s mecca.

 

By Mary Leary

If the layout of the Innerviews:
Music Without Borders
book and website bear some resemblance to a
clergyman’s somber attire, the grey-area choices make sense after spending a
few hours with Anil Prasad. Interested in the mind and spirit; as present as a
journalist can be, he’s single-handedly forged a unique category:
Scribe/witness as high priest. 

 

Page after page of depthy chit-chat with an assortment of relatively
normal (at least re: conduct/rep.) minstrels could seem a dry, rather daunting prospect.
And no more fireworks are promised by Prasad, founder of Innerviews.org, the ‘net’s longest-running music rag. The
journalist’s approach is miles away from the sparkling repartee of
reporter/subject sit-downs in Interview,
Details, or Vanity Fair. Prasad isn’t after sound bites or sensation. Still,
one takes a grateful breath upon realizing that the plod-ish, at times
redundant prose of the three-page introduction isn’t indicative of the tome’s meat
and potatoes. Prasad’s painstaking attention to detail serves him well in
researching and conducting interviews; not so much when the cheese stands alone.

 

The site’s basically a thinking person’s mecca. If the web
were truly a world, one imagines Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford booking rooms in
this particular niche. Indeed, a site search reveals a 1994 interview with the brilliant
percussionist. In the accompanying photo he sports a tightly closed, brown
jacket–almost a perfect match for the site’s no-nonsense graphics and color
(or lack thereof) scheme (Bruford is also represented, by two more interviews,
in the book).

 

This assemblage embraces a wide enough gamut – including Bjork,
McCoy Tyner, Tangerine Dream and Leo Kottke — to tempt an array of music
lovers. If those lovers have inquiring minds and spirits; hungry for in-depth analyses
of creativity, Innerviews: Music Without
Borders
provides a fortifying, 23-chapter banquet.

 

Players who are weary of being treated like products by the
industry, or being pushed into static categories by fans, greet Prasad’s
thoughtful questions with some extraordinary admissions. Responding to the
query, “What are some of the most stirring musical moments in your life that
have influenced your journey as an artist?” Jon Anderson provides an especially
stirring passage:

 

“I think the first one was when I heard Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’
from The Enigma Variations at age five.
It’s as if the music went right through my whole body. I remember leaning up
against the speaker and having it take me on this incredibly uplifting journey…”
and “Another key moment was when Yes was halfway through recording Close to the Edge and I realized how
creative and special the music was. We had worked into the wee hours. I was
exhausted, but I decided to walk home from the studio. I saw the sun come up
and at that moment I said to myself, ‘I think I can officially call myself a
musician now. I’m not just the singer in the band.’ By the time I got home, I
was in tears. I opened up my passport and wrote ‘musician’ on the page where
you were supposed to describe your occupation. I had left it blank up until
that point.”

 

I don’t know about you, but that’s not the level of intimacy
I glean from most music interviews. And I’m definitely going to check out that
Elgar piece. Maybe I’ll even give Close
to the Edge
another shot, with my ears tuned to a new frequency.

 

Other highlights include Stanley Clarke on turning down invitations
to join The Doors and Miles Davis. John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain’s
discussion on the challenges of the Shakti project provides intriguing
revelations. Ani DiFranco delves into her methods for integrating politics with
music. And Prasad gives Joe Zawinul the opportunity to defend his position as hip-hop’s
inventor.

 

 

 

Cage The Elephant Shed Their Indulgences

 

Well, long enough to record a new album, at
least!

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Cage The Elephant
will release their sophomore album, Thank
You, Happy Birthday
(Jive
Records), on January 11. Produced
by Jay Joyce and recorded at Tragedy/Tragedy Studios in Nashville, TN,
the album is the band’s follow up to their critically acclaimed 2009
self-titled debut. The young five-piece from Bowling Green,
KY,  Matt
Shultz (vocals), Brad Shultz
(guitar), Daniel Tichenor (bass),
Lincoln Parish (guitar) and Jared Champion (drums),
accumulated  80 songs worth of ideas during a 2-year period touring around
the globe and living abroad in England
supporting their eponymous debut.

 

According to the label:

 

“As they began sorting
through their arsenal of songs upon returning to Kentucky to record album two, they were
unwavering in their devotion to making a record that reflected their vast
musical growth and interests as a band.

 

Although Cage The Elephant has made more fans
and has sold more records than most recent bands on their debuts, they have
engaged in indulgences that took them off track and battled their share of
demons and creative doubts. Their adversities forced them to take a fresh
approach with their new album, and their lives. The band locked themselves away
in a remote Kentucky
cabin, listened to and discovered old albums from The Pixies, Mudhoney and
Butthole Surfers, and studied interviews with songwriting greats like Bob Dylan
and John Lennon.  Cage the
Elephant were re-energized, and ready to lay it all down on the
line-inhibition free. After just two weeks, Cage The Elephant emerged with a set of songs that blast through your
speakers with ferocity, while at the same time reflect their clever lyrical and
melodic gifts.

 

Hey, we are all about melodic gifts! Not to mention, er, “indulgences”….

 

Prior to the LP’s release, fans can get an early taste of
the album when Cage The Elephant releases
a 7″ vinyl of “Shake Me Down”/”Aberdeen” available
exclusively during Record Store Day’s
“Black Friday” event on November
26.

 

Crocodiles Mum on Tour Cancellation

Citing family emergency, string of fall dates is
cancelled but with an eye towards rescheduling.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Late yesterday BLURT faves
the Crocodiles, whose recent album Sleep
Forever
is a clear contender for year-end Top Ten status, circulated a
message via their publicist that read thusly:

 

“Due to a serious family
emergency Crocodiles have had to cancel the remaining dates of their U.S. tour. The
band would like to apologize for any inconvenience and they look forward to
rescheduling these dates. Refunds will be available at point of purchase.”

 

The canceled dates for the
Crocs/Dum Dum Girls tour are listed below. (The band was supposed to play Hoboken tonight.) As of yet there has been no
elaboration on the exact nature of the emergency, so plan on speculation to
start running rampant throughout the blog-o-verse.

 

Meanwhile, if you’re not
up to speed on the band itself, you can go here to read our interview with the
band’s Charles Rowell, and then go here to read our review of the album. As we
put it so nimbly, Sleep Forever is equal parts fuzzed-out glam
slam, Krautrock boogie and latterday disco-punk… this astonishing record serves
up pop’s head on a platter and makes for one bloody good buffet.”

 

Canceled dates:

 

10.26: Hoboken, NJ-
Maxwell’s

10.27: Philadelphia PA
– Johnny Brendas

10.28: Washington DC
– Rock N Roll Hotel

10.29: Carrboro NC
– Cat’s Cradle

10.30: Atlanta GA –
The Earl

10.31: Birmingham AL
– Bottle Tree Cafe

11.02: Orlando FL –
The Social

11.03: Miami FL –
Grand Central

11.04: Tallahassee FL
– Engine Room

11.05: New Orleans LA
– One Eyed Jacks

11.06: Houston TX –
Mango’s

11.07: Austin TX – Fun Fun Festival

 

 

 

Meet Apex Manor!

Ex-The Broken West
musician gears up for 2011 debut, due Jan. 25 from Merge. Check out the free
MP3, below.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

The Year of Magical
Drinking
is the title of the debut album from Apex Manor: Ross Flournoy,
Adam Vine, Brian Whelan, and Andy Creighton. Flournoy founded Apex Manor after
the 2009 demise of The Broken West. Named after his Los Angeles “zen place,” Apex Manor was the
idyllic apartment of his close friend and long-time collaborator Vine.

 

Having relocated from the Silver
Lake neighborhood of Los
Angeles to Pasadena,
Flournoy was battling a case of writer’s block. Enter an unlikely source of
inspiration: an online songwriting contest. NPR’s Monitor Mix was soliciting
original songs from readers, giving the prospective songwriter one weekend to
write, record, and submit. Flournoy decided to give it a go and set about
writing and recording at home. At least he would be doing something with his
time. The song, “Under the Gun,” turned out to be about the process itself.

 

Free MP3:

 

Now feeling inspired for the first time in months, Flournoy
began writing, penning more than 25 songs, nearly a third of which were
co-written by Adam Vine. Flournoy then teamed up with former Broken West
bandmate Whelan to record some proper demos, and Apex Manor was born.

 

The Year of Magical
Drinking
was recorded at three different studios around LA and was produced
by Dan Long (Film
School, Local Natives)
and Brian Whelan. The full-band Apex Manor plans to tour extensively in 2011
including SXSW.

 

 

 

MP3/UPDATE: Crystal Castles Meet Cure

 

Cult heroes all around….

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Crystal Castles
have recorded their next single with  Robert Smith of The Cure. A new version of “Not in Love” will be released December 6th through Fiction Records. B-sides for the
single will include early acoustic demos of “Celestica” and “Suffocation.”

 

MP3 free download: Not In Love

 

Crystal Castles new album “(II)” has notched substantial critical acclaim, and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore remixed
the track “Celestica” while No Age remixed “Baptism”.  Not bad for a band that just a few months ago was
pegged as cult heroes. Hey – maybe Robert Smith could work that notion into a
song sometime, hmmm?

 

Currently on a sold out tour of the UK and Europe,
the band returns for ATP in December and a 2011 North American tour in March.

 

March 2    San Diego
CA            
House of Blues
March 3    Pomona CA               
Fox Theatre
March 4    San Francisco
CA        Warfield Theatre
March 6    Portland, OR   
          Roseland Theater
March 7    Vancouver, BC   
       Commodore Ballroom
March 8    Seattle, WA   
           Showbox at the MArket
March 11  Minneapolis, MN   
     First Avenue
March 12  Chicago, IL       
        Riviera Theatre
March 13  Royal Oak,
MI            Royal Oak
Music Hall
March 15  Philadelphia, PA   
     Theater of Living Arts
March 16  Washington
DC          9:30 Club
March 18  New York, NY   
         Terminal 5
March 19  Boston, MA       
        House of Blues
March 26  Miami, FL       
          Ultra Music Festival
April 2       Toronto,
ON             Sound Academy

Read: Cheetah Chrome Dead Boys Memoir

 

A Dead Boy’s Tale: From the Front Lines of Punk Rock, recently published by Voyageur Press, is a
fly-on-the-wall account of Ground Zero-era punk. You can read an excerpt from
it in the current issue of BLURT.

 

By John B. Moore

In the
late 1970’s, Sire Records tried to reinvent itself as the American label for
punk rock and new wave, signing a slew of bands that bounced between CBGBs and
Max’s Kansas City,
including The Ramones and The Talking Heads. At the suggestion of CBGB owner
Hilly Kristal, the label also snapped up The Dead Boys (who were conveniently
being managed by Kristal at the time).

 

While The
Ramones and The Talking Heads went on to sell millions of albums and quickly
cemented their reputations as founding groups of the American punk rock sound,
The Dead Boys were relegated mostly to footnote status.

 

Since their founding in Cleveland,
it appears as if the Dead Boys were always destined to be the Rodney
Dangerfield of punk rock. They had the chops, but never really got the respect
or credit they deserved for their role serving on the front lines of the New York punk scene. They
shared stages, groupies and drugs with The Ramones, but never quite got the
amount of fame that their buddies achieved.

 

The Dead Boys are finally getting some of the credit they
deserve, thanks to the memoir by founding guitarist Cheetah Chrome.

 

 

In his book, Chrome does a great job of throwing in just
enough about his childhood – growing up poor in Cleveland, raised by a
supportive single mom – to add context to the group, but not enough to bore the
reader (like most musician’s autobiographies). Chrome spends the bulk of the
book discussing his time in Rocket From the Tombs, one of Ohio’s first great punk rock bands, and
finally the Dead Boys.

 

 

Chrome is honest about his alcohol and drug use, and more
than a little defensive about getting kicked out of the band, but that’s to be
expected. He also shares plenty of stories about the ‘70s music scene at CBGB’s
and Max’s Kansas City and run-ins with Johnny Rotten (annoying at first, but a
decent enough guy on a second meeting), Sid Vicious (funny, when he was awake
and away from Nancy Spungen) and Patti Smith (not Chrome’s favorite person).

 

 

The Dead Boys have finally gotten the acknowledgement they
deserve for their role in the early days of punk rock… too bad it had to be
from one of their own.

 

 

Read an excerpt from
Chrome’s book in the current issue of BLURT.

 

 

 

Nine Inch Nails’ 1989 Debut Reissued

Latest remaster of the
industrial-pop classic contains a lone bonus track.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Posted this weekend by Trent Reznor at the official Nine
Inch Nails website:

 

I’m happy to finally
announce the re-issue of the first Nine Inch Nails record “Pretty Hate
Machine,” releasing worldwide 11/22. UMe and Bicycle Music Group managed to
locate the original mixes, so I went in the studio with Tom Baker and
remastered it for a greatly improved sonic experience. In addition, Rob
reinterpreted Gary Talpas’ original cover to make for a fresh new package.

It’s been an interesting trip watching the fate of this record float from one
set of hands to another (a long and depressing story) but it’s finally wound up
in friendly territory, allowing us to polish it up a bit and present it to you
now. We had fun revisiting this old friend, hope you enjoy.

 

Recall that the band’s TVT Records debut was originally
released in 1989 (see the original cover, below; the new cover is at the top of
the page), subsequently seeing a remastered reissue in 2005. This latest
iteration will contain one bonus track; can an expanded Deluxe Edition be far
behind?

 

 

Tracklisting:

 

1 Head Like a Hole
2 Terrible Lie
3 Down In It
4 Sanctified
5 Something I Can Never Have
6 Kinda I Want To
7 Sin
8 That’s What I Get
9 The Only Time
10 Ringfinger
*11 Get Down, Make Love (Queen cover bonus track, originally 1990 B-side to “Sin”
single)

 

 

Gregory Isaacs 1951-2010 R.I.P.

 

Reggae singer’s career
spanned over four decades and numerous hits.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

News is just coming in that reggae legend Gregory Isaacs
passed away today, Oct. 25, in London.
The cause of death was lung cancer; the singer was 60 years old. 

 

Hi manager, Copeland Forbes, posted a statement to EW.com confirming Isaac’s death, writing, “Yes, it’s true. Gregory passed away this
morning in London
at 4 A.M. He had a tumor which had spread to other areas of his body. He was 60
years old. I spoke with him last week and he said that I should read Psalm 41
and Psalm 91 for him. I had made arrangements to go back to London on Wednesday
to see him as I hadn’t seen him since we went to London together to do the Big
Chill Festival (his last show in his life), which had over 60,000 people in
attendance. He was the only reggae act on the bill. May his soul rest in peace.”

 

Indeed, Isaacs was a larger than life entity, getting his
start in Jamaica
in the late ‘60s and going on to become a huge international act on the level
of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Dennis Brown. He had scores of releases, many of
them hits, notably 1982’s Night Nurse,
and even a protracted battle with drug addiction didn’t seem to slow him down.
In 2008 he released the album Brand New
Me
to positive reviews. He will be greatly missed.

 

Listen: 2 New Lykke Li Songs

 

By Blurt Staff

 

With the followup to 2008’s acclaimed Youth Novels reportedly nearing release, Lykke Li has unveiled a
new single, the jungle-pounding, almost big band-on-spaghetti-twang “Get Some,” which
contains such provocative lines as “Like the shotgun needs an outcome/ I’m your
prostitute, you gon’ get some…” It’s backed by the decidedly restrained moody
ballad “Paris Blue.”

 

Full details can be found at her official website – she also
has a short music film about her by Moses Berkson, Solarium, posted there that you should check out, particularly if
you like black and white images of blonde vocalists lounging seductively on the
beach – and you can listen to the tracks below (via The Stark Online).

 

MP3:

 

MP3:

 

[Photo Credit: Marcus Palmqvist]