Monthly Archives: January 2011

Emilie Simon Plots Next U.S. Release

Listen to free MP3
from the French vocalist, below.


By Blurt Staff


Emilie Simon definitely isn’t a household name on these shores, but the
songbird is working on that, having lived in Brooklyn
since 2008. Some might recognize the name, however, from her work scoring the
documentary March of the Penguins;
she also debuted in the US
in 2006 with The Flower Book. Prior
to that, she launched her career in 2003 and immediately captured the
imagination of a large audience with her sprawling and elegant musical
fantasies, earning three Victoires de la Musique (France’s Grammy equivalent) during
the course of her first three albums.


She has a new album, The
Big Machine
, due April 16 on Le Plan which features guests Kelly Pratt and
Jeremy Gara (Arcade Fire) as well as Jon Natchez (Beirut) and Mark Plati (David Bowie, The
Cure, Brazilian Girls). It’s described as “full of Emilie’s powerful and
seductive voice, inventively playful arrangements, driving synths and rhythms,
and prodigious melodies,” which sounds like a winner to us.


Check out an advance teaser MP3:




Wilco Launches dBpm Records


Home-brewed label to be
distributed via ANTI-.


By Blurt


arrived yesterday from the Wilco camp that the band has formed its own dBpm
Records and will be releasing their own material via dBpm, having completed the
terms of its contract with Nonesuch. The label will be based in Easthampton, MA
and run by Wilco’s longtime manager Tony Margherita, while ANTI- Records will
provide distribution and additional labels services.


is an idea we’ve discussed for years,” said Jeff Tweedy, in a statement. “We
really like doing things ourselves, so having our own label feels pretty
natural to me. And, to be working with ANTI-, a label that has its roots in a
label that was started by a punk rock guy to sell his own records, seems like a
perfect fit for us.” Margherita added, “Wilco’s independent streak is well
documented and nothing new, and this is the culmination of what we’ve been
working towards for the last 15 years. As we reached the end of our last deal,
it felt like it was time for a change and the one thing we were certain we did
NOT want to do was to sign another traditional recording agreement. Our
discussions with ANTI-, coming on the back of a great experience working with
them on the Mavis Staples record, led us to thinking we might be able to come
up with something quite different from the norm that could potentially be
better for us and, frankly, a lot more interesting. And that’s exactly what


Wilco is
working on new material at the moment and also sketching out 2011 tour dates (they
include JazzFest in May as well as the second annual Wilco-curated Solid Sound
Festival in June
– the 2010 installment was voted “Best Festival Of the Year” by BLURT readers), while Jeff Tweedy solo shows have also just been announced.




March 22           
            Queen Elizabeth Theatre

25            Montreal
L’Olympia de Montréal

26            Portland, ME
               State Theatre

28            Madison, WI
                Capitol Theater

29            Rochester, MN
            Mayo Civic Center Presentation Hall

30            Iowa City, IA  
              The Englert Theatre




            Montgomery, AL           
            Montgomery PAC

            Mobile, AL
           Saenger Theatre

            New Orleans, LA

            Houston, TX    
    Verizon Wireless Theater

            Denton, TX    
      University of N.
TX Auditorium

            Tulsa, OK
            Cain’s Ballroom


Latest Blurt Poll Results Are In


Blurt readership
demonstrates uncommon degree of, uh, common sense.


By Perez Mills


We may be cutting our own throats, slitting our own wrists,
or otherwise killing the goose that shat the golden turd, but… whatevs. The
tally is in, and you readers have spoken: by an overwhelming majority, the
BLURT demographic has made a New Year’s Resolution to “stop answering dumb
online polls.”


Shortly after 2011 dawned we polled you on your resolutions,
and there’s just no contest: a whopping 43% of respondents chose the
poll-taking austerity option. Coming in a distant second (tied, at 9% each)
were “Have sex with at least one stranger per month” and “Petition the Lord
with prayer.”



As you can see from the results, above, it’s mildly alarming
that only one person pledged to “stop drinking.” But we don’t fill out the polls,
YOU do.


Meanwhile, feel free to break that resolution and check out the new BLURT poll, on the left hand
column of the home page, in which we ask you to help us select our next crop of
celebrity bloggers – will it be Henry Rollins? Steve Earle? Justin Earle?
Justin Bieber? La Cicciolina? It’s all in your hands, now…


First Look: New Gang of Four Album

Massively influential politi-punk
British outfit returns with
out this week on Yep Roc.


By Mary Leary

Iconic, politically strident post-punk entity Gang of Four
reformed in 2004, then revamped its rhythm section after making waves at All
Tomorrow’s Parties in ‘06. Content,
its first original full-length since this third (in its history) resurfacing, is
raising antennae in many circles (GOF has been cited for influencing a plethora
of musicians including The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and Fugazi). It
certainly evidences the courage demanded of the band’s original members (Andy
Gill/guitar; Jon King/vox) when pumping out anything new: Comparisons with the
brilliance of their’79 opus, Entertainment,
are inevitable. Those enamored of the somewhat less angst-riddled but still
ferocious tracks characterized by Songs
of the Free
(’82), may also arrive with expectations.


Gill’s scatter-shot guitar, replete with his signature
echoes and cascading dissolves, is as intuitively employed as ever on Content. Likewise, King’s vocals carry nearly
the urgency of those transmitting GOF’s most effective material. The lyrics handily
weave the rhyming and assonance used in much popular and rock music with the socio-politically
observant turns for which King and Gill are known. For anyone who was “there” (1977-‘83),
listening to the new album could be somewhat disorienting. The startling
originality of feedback peels and kinetic beats that threw the band into the
spotlight feels simultaneously retro and fresh on tracks like “YouDon’t Have to
Be Mad” and “Never Pay for the Farm.” Lovers of seminal GOF like “I Love a Man
in a Uniform” can get a fix with “I Can’t Forget Your Lonely Face,” “I Party
All the Time,” and “You Don’t Have to be Mad.”


Content is a
solid, respectable comeback. As if to make up for not being able to reverse
time/recreate the conditions and environment that fostered battle cries like “Damaged
Goods” and “I Found That Essence Rare,” GOF is including “a vial of ‘Gang of
Four’ blood” with the Deluxe Can edition of the album. What punk – aging or
otherwise – could scream for more?


Gang of Four kick off
a U.S.
tour next week:


February 4        
Phoenix Concert Theatre
            Toronto, ON
February 5         Theatre of Living Arts
Philadelphia, PA
February 7         Paradise
Boston, MA
February 8         Webster Hall
New York, NY
February 9         9:30 Club
Washington, DC
February 11       Metro
Chicago, IL
February 12       First Avenue
Minneapolis, MN
February 15       Venue
Vancouver, BC
February 16       Showbox @ the Market
Seattle, WA
February 17       Wonder Ballroom
Portland, OR
February 19       The Fillmore
San Francisco, CA
February 20       House of Blues
Anaheim, CA
February 21       Music Box
Los Angeles, CA



[Photo Credit: Matej Grgic]




Pretty Lights’ Label w/2 Free EPs

Break Science and Paper Diamond
have new EPs available for free or pay-what-you-want.


By Blurt


Lights Music
, the digital label from Pretty Lights’ Derek Vincent Smith
(above), has just launched a new website and, by way of that launch, offering
up two new EPs today – for free, or for whatever amount you want to pay. The
purpose of the label, as they put it, is to “supply his fans, and fans of
electronic music at large, with the dopest beats from the freshest producers.”



The EPs
are offered as free downloads with the option to donate. First up: Break
Science’s new EP, Further Than Our Eyes Can See, and Paper Diamond’s
debut EP Levitate. (Also available on the site is the debut record
from Michal Menert, Dreaming Of A Bigger Life, which went up in May

The Break Science EP is billed as “thought-provoking, highly-textured
bass-pumping songs” and featuring guest vocals from Brooklyn’s Talib Kweli and Jahdan Blakkamoore, Sierra
Leone’s Bajah and India’s Falu. The Paper Diamond EP:
“raw energy and the kind of dramatic anticipation only a seasoned producer can
incite…. riving beats and bass grab on tight while deep, rich tones rumble
under layers of spacey synthesizers, sweet melodies, and catchy vocals.”


Go to the
website link, above, or if you want a quick taste of each artist:

Break Science’s Free MP3 of “Zion Station” HERE

 Download Paper Diamond’s Remix of Kanye West’s “Power” HERE


Calexico Mounts “Barrio Viejo” Festival


Tucson band brings in Robyn
Hitchcock, the Baseball Project and others. In other news, Calexico releases a new
soundtrack album.


By Fred Mills


Although the outdoor festival lineup hasn’t been finalized
just yet, for Calexico’s 2011 “Calexico & Friends Festival En El Barrio
Viejo” some ace musical acts have already been announced: Robyn
Hitchcock, The B Side Players, The Baseball Project (Steve Wynn and Peter Buck
from R.E.M.), Gabe Sullivan & Taraf de Tucson, and Silver Thread Trio – and
of course Calexico themselves. Reason enough to make plans for visiting sunny
downtown Tucson, Arizona, on March 26 for the annual event.


Tickets will go on sale through via
the website of Tucson’s Rialto Theater starting Friday.


Meanwhile, Calexico fans with their ears to the ground
probably already know that the band scored the Aaron Schock-directed
documentary film Circo last year; the
band has worked on other films over the years, including selections from Todd
Haynes and Michael Mann. Circo is described
as being about “a hardscrabble traveling Mexican circus
troupe [that] has lived and performed on the road since the 19th Century, but
will their art survive into the 21st?” You can see trailers at the official Circo website, along with some brief music samples by the band.


Calexico has been nominated for a 2011 Cinema Eye Honors award for the soundtrack and also now has the soundtrack CD at the
Casa de Calexico site – it’s the latest in their tour/mailorder-only releases
that you will not find in stores.


Omar Rodriguez Lopez Preps 4-LP Set


Mars Volta/At
The Drive In auteur pulls out all the stops.


By Blurt Staff


Omar Rodriguez Lopez – Mars Volta, At The Drive In, etc. –
is eyeing an April 16 release of a quadruple LP / double CD collection culled
from his multiple solo and collaborative albums. In celebration of this,
Rodriguez Lopez’s eponymous band will perform at this year’s Coachella Festival
and SXSW Music Festival (Sargent House/Rodriguez Lopez Productions showcase).
Headlining tour dates are also in the works for late spring, to be announced

The extensive 37-song (38 on the vinyl version) compilation of the guitarist’s work,
titled Telesterion, cherrypicks from 25
solo releases and includes a 20-page booklet of artwork and text outlining the
scope of his work, with liner notes by longtime friend and Rodriguez Lopez
Productions art director Sonny Kay. See below for the full tracklisting,
including the titles the songs originally appeared on.

Check out sample tracks “Locomocion Capillar” HERE and “Shake is for 8th Graders” HERE.

Omar Rodriguez Lopez Live:

03/19  Austin, TX @ Emo’s Annex – SXSW – Sargent House
/ RLProductions showcase
03/21  Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s
03/22  New Orleans, LA @ HOB Parish
04/15  Indio, CA @ Coachella Festival


Track Listing:

CD 1
01. Locomocion Capillar (Solar Gambling) (MP3)
02. Population Council’s Wet Dream (Old Money)
03. Amanita Virosa (Xenophanes)
04. Coma Pony (The Apocalypse Inside of an Orange)
05. El Monte
T’ai (Calibration)
06. Sex, Consolation for Misery (Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fungus)
07. Deus Ex Machina (A Manual Dexterity, Soundtrack Vol. 1)
08. Rapid Fire Tollbooth (Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo)
09. Un Buitre Amable Me Pico (Solar Gambling)
10. Half Kleptos (Cryptomnesia)
11. No Hay Mas Respuestas (Cizaña De Los Amores)
12. Solenoid Mosque (Minor Cuts and Scrapes in the Bushes Ahead)
13. Melting Chariots (The Apocalypse Inside Of An Orange)
14. Dead Hisses to Match Our Own (Megaritual)
15. How to Bill the Bilderberg Group (Old Money)
16. Polaridad (Tychozorente) (VIDEO)
17. La Tirania De La Tradicion (Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo)
18. An Ancient Shrewdness in the Veins (Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fungus)
19. Noir (Cryptomnesia)

20. Calibration (Calibration)
21. Viernes (Ciencia De Los Inutiles)
22. Spookrijden Op Het Fietspad (Omar Rodriguez)
23. Boiling Death Request a Body to Rest Its Head On (Se Dice Bisonte, No
24. Victimas Del Cielo (Cizaña De Los Amores)
25. Las Flores Con Limon (Solar Gambling)
26. At the Push of a Button (Megaritual)
27. Asco Que Conmueve Los Puntos Erogenos (Xenophanes) (VIDEO)
28. The Power of Myth (Old Money)
29. El Todo (Tychozorente)
30. The Palpitations Form a Limit (A Manual Dexterity, Soundtrack Vol. 1)
31. Agua Dulce De Pulpo (Un Escorpion Perfumado) (VIDEO)
32. Poincare (Solar Gambling)
33. Shake is for 8th Graders (Cryptomnesia) (MP3)
34. Atrotecism Fenleon (Minor Cuts and Scrapes in the Bushes Ahead)
35. Casate Colmillo (The Somnambulists)
36. Desarraigo (Xenophanes)
37. Lunes (Ciencia De Los Inutiles)


Decemberists Top Billboard Album Chart


What, indeed, defines
an “indie”?


By Blurt Staff


Indie avatars the Arcade Fire did it for a week last year
with The Suburbs, and now another act
beloved by the indie rock community has done it: The Decemberists have earned the first-ever #1 chart position of
their career with the impressive first-week showing of The King Is Dead, released January 18.  The album scanned
93,567 units in the U.S.
in its debut week, landing it at the top of the Billboard Top 200 chart,
and has also given the band their highest career chart position in territories
all over the world.


Okay, so technically,
being on Capitol/EMI makes the band a major label act. But The King Is Dead was also released on Rough Trade Records – a quintessential independent label
of long tenure –  in the UK and Europe. And these days, “indie” is often less
a factual description and more an aesthetic. And by our reckoning, the
Decemberists walk like an indie and quack like and indie so that makes ‘em an


Congrats all around. Now
go read our review of the new album as well as our interview with the band that
we published last week.


Ex-Zappa/Mothers Musicians to Tour


Who are the brain police, indeed?


By Blurt


Don Preston and Bunk Gardner, both
original members of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, will be touring the
East Coast next month as The Don & Bunk Show. The duo will be playing a
full range of Zappa’s music from Freak
to Zoot Allures. The evening
will be full of the zany antics, wild improvisations and strange electronic
music the early Mothers were famous for, along with the expert mastery of their
instruments. “We’re doing this tour because I think Zappa fans need to
come and hear how Zappa’s music was performed by the originals,” says Don
Preston. “Hey people! We’re still doing it!”


Among the Zappa tunes they’re planning
on performing: Uncle Meat, A Pound For A Brown On The Bus, Holiday In Berlin
Full Blown, I Am The Slime, Duke Of Prunes, Eric Dolphy’s Memorial
Barbeque, Who Are The Brain Police.



Preston and Gardner,
of course, played on such classic Zappa/Mothers fare as Absolutely Free, We’re Only In It For The Money, Cruising With Ruben
& the Jets, Uncle Meat, Burnt Weeny Sandwich
and Weasels Ripped My Flesh. Gardner also appeared on Zappa’s first
solo venture Lumpy Gravy, while
Preston went on to appear on several albums after the break-up of the original
Mothers, which include Fillmore East,
June 1971, Just Another Band From L.A., Roxy & Elsewhere
as well as the
feature film 200 Motels.

The Don & Bunk Show started in 2001 and they have recorded two CDs to date for
Brain Records: Ahead Of Their Time and Joined At The Hip. Bunk has also
recorded and/or performed with the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, Geronimo
Black, Tim Buckley, The 4 Winds Ensemble, ANT-BEE and many others. Don Preston
has recorded/performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gil Evans, Carla
Bley, The Residents and many others. He has also completed 23 film scores
including Apocalypse Now.


Tour Dates:

Feb 10 Thur – REGGIE’S – Chicago,

Feb 11 Fri. – Papa Pete’s – Kalamazoo, MI

Feb 12 Sat – Magic Bag – Ferndale, MI (Detroit)

Feb 13 Sun – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH

Feb 16 Wed – The Abilene
– Rochester, NY

Feb 17 Thurs – Bearsville – Woodstock, NY

Feb 18 Fri – The Rongovian Embassy – Trumansburg, NY

Feb 19 Sat – The Magic Room – Boston, MA

Feb 21 Mon – The Rotunda -Philadelphia, PA

Feb 22 Tues – Mexicali Live – Teaneck, NJ
(special gig featuring Project Object and Zappa alumni Ray White and Ike Willis)

Feb 25 Fri – The Funhouse – Bethlehem, PA

Feb 26 Sat- Orion – Baltimore, MD

Feb 27 Sun – Hard Rock Cafe – Pittsburgh, PA



ATP Becomes I’ll Be Your Mirror for NJ Fest


Event will feature Portishead
and Neutral Milk Hotel recluse Jeff Mangum.


By Blurt Staff


It’s called I’ll Be Your Mirror (after the Velvets song,
duh) and it’s described as a “sister event to the All Tomorrow’s Parties festivals
which take place in holiday resorts, retaining the curatorial and multiple band
and film concept but taking place in cities worldwide.” This brand new series
of “artist curated music, film and art events” previously announced a Tokyo I’ll
Be Your Mirror for Feb. 27 (that one curated by the ATP folks and featuring
Godspeed! You Black Emperor, the Boredoms and Dirty Three, among others) and one
for London on
July 23 and 24 (curated by Portishead and boasting headliners PJ Harvey and


Now comes an IBYM for Asbury
Park, NJ, at the
Convention Hall and Paramount Theater, on Sept. 30 thru Oct. 2: co-curated by
Portishead and ATP, they have just announced that Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff
Mangum will be their “very special guest.” Mangum, of course, has been
virtually invisible since the late ‘90s other than an appearance in NYC last
May; he’s scheduled to play an additional show at the Paramount the day after the festival. Also
lined up, with 10-15 more to be announced: Shellac, Album Leaf, Chavez and
Cults. And of course this will be the first time in well over a decade that Portishead
had played the region; they performed at Coachella in 2008. The Friday night
show will also feature a comedy stage.


According to a report yesterday in the New York Times, the 3-day New Jersey IBYM is intended to
effectively replace the annual All Tomorrow’s Parties festival held at Kutsher’s
Country Club up in the Catskills in Monticello,
NY, and unlike ATP, there will be no on-site camping. (Go here to read our
report on the 2010 ATP.) The report quotes ATP-US organizers Barry Hogan and
Deborah Kee Higgins as citing economic factors (the overall capacity in Asbury Park will be
highter) and the physical condition of Kutshers, Higgns saying, “It was
deteriorating into a state where it wasn’t kitschy and funny anymore. It was a
little bit beyond the pale.”


Tickets go on sale this Friday – consult the ATP website for
details, and note that the 3-day passes are limited and tend to sell out pretty