Monthly Archives: April 2011

Report: Raveonettes Live in Northampton

Rave on. April 18 at Pearl
Street in Northampton, Mass., the Danish duo – abetted by opener Tamaryn –
showcased their new album.


Text & Photos by Jennifer Kelly

A lot has happened since the last time I saw the Raveonettes on a
minor stop in their Chain Gang of Love tour sometime back in the mid-00s. Their splice of girl group melody and rackety,
effect-driven guitar sounded new then, or at least relatively unusual. It was
still half a decade before Vivian Girls, Pains of Being Pure at Heart and their
many followers would colonize this blend of haze and sweetness. Rock was back,
at least temporarily, and there was plenty of room for a gorgeous blonde bass
player, a floorboard’s worth of guitar pedals and a sound that linked the
Ronettes to the Ventures to the Jesus & Mary Chain.


As it turns out, there’s still some room for Sune Rose Wagner and
Sharin Foo, whose live act has gotten sharper even as their recorded output has
grown more diffuse and atmospheric. For this tour, they’ve got a slate of
spooky tunes – they play the bulk of new Raven
from the Grave
tonight – as well as a beefed up line-up. In addition to the
band’s two main members, there are two other guys in tow. For much of the
night, they play short-handed drum sets – just a snare, floor tom, crash cymbal
and tambourine – in perfect synchronization, pounding out primitive, booming
beats that give even the Raveonette’s airiest new songs a rush of adrenaline. The
set is heavy on new material, but also includes selections from Whip It On, Chain Gang of Love, Lust Lust
, and In and Out of Control,
plus at least one cover.



But first, Tamaryn, a wavy-haired singer from New Zealand (by way of San Francisco), whose The Waves came out last
fall on Mexican Summer. With guitarist and producer Rex John Silverton, she is
working the same glistening drones and space-rocking miasmas as labelmates No
Joy, with a hint of Zola Jesus’ psychic disintegration added in. I arrive just
at the end of her set, her partner’s effects winding down like a helicopter
landing, and wish I’d heard more.


Tamaryn is done at nine (band’s only start on time when I’m late, it
seems), and the Raveonettes won’t go on until after 10, so there’s plenty of
time to observe the set-up process. Two techs wander around fixing wiring, one
of them with a miner’s headlight. Three sets of guitar pedals – 18 of them in
all – are hauled to the stage. A sheet of paper that looks like a set list is
taped to the floor where Wagner will play, but it’s too short to be a set list
and anyway, doesn’t appear to have any Raveonettes songs on it. Only later,
when an actual set list materializes do I realize that it’s a diagram for
Wagner’s effects lay-out, with words like “Hole” and “Bliss” indicating where
his foot goes for what song. There are also a lot of special lights and a set
of amps that read “Rave” and “On” in the strobe flash. I realize, finally, why
there’s an “o” in Raveonettes – never occurred to me before.



Finally, the Raveonettes come on stage, Wagner in a “Back to the
Future” tee-shirt, Foo all in black, her blonde hair cut in a neat, geometrical
bob. “We’ve been here before,” she says, smiling shyly into the mic, and to
judge by the whoop, I’m not the only one that’s back for the second time.   The band is not big on chatter, however, so
we dive right into a brace of Raven from
the Grave
tunes, the booming drums and screaming guitars of “Recharge and
Revolt,” the bell-like synths of “War in Heaven,” the languid chords and dreamy
melody of “Let Me On Out.”


Then, in a shift towards the past, the band revisits Lust Lust Lust‘s “Dead Sound,” its
velvety harmonies joined to pounding, galloping, double drumming. The strobe
lights are going off in epilepsy-inducing bursts, and something wild is
happening in the intersection of arching guitars and obliterating drums. (I am
also thinking, why do they care whether I use a camera flash or not, if they’re
going to work in a continual stutter of flashes?)  There are a few more older songs, “Noisy
Summer”, “Love in a Trash Can” and “Lust Lust Lust.”


You can’t help but notice the drop in intensity, when the band goes
back to its new material. Slow, hazy “Apparitions” with its interlocking
guitars and sudden crashing chords drifts through chilly, spectral spaces. Two
drummers are in play here, putting spine under its slow-spooling melodies, but
it’s a whole different feel from the earlier material. “Evil Seeds” follows,
guitars oscillating, Twilight Zone-style
between two notes, the beat, when it comes, snatched whole from Spector’s “Be
My Baby.” There’s a menace in this song, a James Bond-ish aura of slinky threat.
 “Ignite,” my favorite of the new songs,
comes next, its howling surf guitar and big rhythms blowing up until it fills
the room.




Then, just as I’m coming to terms with the Raven songs, the band pulls out two from the distant past – “My
Tornado” and “Attack of the Ghost Riders” – which make it clear what they’ve
left behind.  “Attack,” in particular, is
blown up to massive proportions by booming drums and exploding fireballs of
feedback. “It goes something like this…” Foo whispers in the midst of “Ghost
Riders,” and a tidal wave of noise builds behind her, carrying the song and the
show into a whole other space. The band closes its main set with delicate
doo-woppy “My Time’s Up” from the current album. The encore, which follows
closely, is “Forget That You’re Young” and a cover of the Stone Roses’ “I Wanna
Be Adored.” The whole thing is over by 11 o’clock, but it’s a good show, and I
don’t think anyone feels cheated.


The main take-away is that the Raveonettes are as good a band as
they’ve ever been live, way tighter and more effective than they were the last
time I saw them and benefitting from the larger sound that comes with two
drummers (or, in some songs, a drummer and an extra guitar player). Their new
album is a shift in style which not everyone’s going to be on board with, but
there are some good songs on it. And, in any case, even the older material
sounds better than it ever has in concert. Rave on, indeed.



Jesse Sykes Preps New Studio Album


Self-produced and
self-released, it’s due Aug. 2.


By Blurt Staff


BLURT faves Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter are
prepping their fourth album, Marble Son, for an Aug. 2 release. It was
co-produced by Jesse Sykes and longtime bandmate, Phil Wandscher, along with engineer,
Mell Dettmer, and will be released on their own label, Station Grey Records.
The band: Sykes Sykes (vocals, guitars), Phil Wandscher (guitars, organ, moog,
casio, lap steel, vocals), Bill Herzog (bass, vocals) and Eric Eagle (drums, percussion, vocals).


Though oft saddled with the “alt-country” tag, of
late, Sykes and Co. have moved into slightly heavier and darker territories. Marble
exemplifies a band at their creative pinnacle – heavier and more
complex than previous records; the music resonates among the parallel worlds of
the avant-garde and the timeless. Sykes’ voice and sometimes-mystical leanings
and her band’s incomparable musical rapport, culminate in what the New York Times has described as
“spellbound music, rapt in fatalism and sorrow.” Sykes’ trademark thematic
darkness and acclaimed songwriting have never been more present; yet Marble
speaks of evolution, which Sykes describes as, “a sonic mirror of the
most chaotic, turbulent times of our lives, where beauty triumphed, and the
tears that spilled became this record”.


Marble Son is the sound of a band evolving personally
and sonically – urgently expanding to mirror the chaos of modern culture, while
not forgetting the seemingly hushed beauty of the past. The result is more
relevant than ever and as Jesse puts it “we have never been closer to
sounding like the sweet hereafter than with what we have created here.”


 The band will celebrate the release of Marble Son with a special show in Seattle
on August 4th, and will be joined by special guests, The Sadies.
That will be followed by a couple of performances at the Pickathon Festival in Portland, OR.
More tour dates will be announced soon.



Track listing:


1) Hushed By Devotion

2) Marble Son

3) Come To Mary

4) Servant Of Your Vision

5) Ceiling’s High

6) Be It Me, Or Be It None

7) Pleasuring The Divine

8) Weight Of Cancer

9) Birds Of Passerine

10) Your Own Kind

11) Wooden Roses



Beastie Boys Stream “Filthy” Version of New LP

See, America? That’s what happens when you turn into a
PG-rated society.


By Blurt Staff


Having learned that the clean version of their
new Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (out May 3 on Capitol) had leaked moments
after the album’s historic video stream viewed live from Madison Square Garden
by over 100,000 fans, Beastie Boys have responded in kind with a full length
stream of the explicit version of  the album at



The band commented on the leak, “Good
people, unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, the ‘clean’
version of our new album… has leaked. So as a hostile and retaliatory
measure with great hubris we are making the full explicit aka filthy dirty
nasty version available for streaming on our site. We hope this brings much
happiness, hugs, and harmony. Enjoy Kikoos for life!”



Smashing Pumpkins w/Deluxe Reissues


Slated to run at a
decidedly leisurely pace, through 2013…


By Blurt Staff


Starting this fall (exact date TBA), EMI Music will commense
an extensive campaign that will see the Smashing Pumpkins albums from 1991-2000
reissued in fully remastered deluxe versions, each with bonus material. With
the full support and guidance from the band, EMI will roll out the global
catalog campaign with the band’s 1991 debut album GISH, 1993’s SIAMESE DREAM
and the 1994 compilation album PISCES ISCARIOT. 


Then in 2012 EMI will reissue 1995’s nine-times-platinum double
album MELLON COLLIE AND THE INFINITE SADNESS, 1996’s five-disc box set THE


In 2013, their 2000 albums MACHINA/THE MACHINES OF GOD and MACHINA
II: THE FRIENDS & ENEMIES OF MODERN MUSIC will be unified into one
package.  A best-of compilation will also
be released in 2013.


This news comes as the Pumpkins have announced they will
head into the studio in May to record  OCEANIA
— “an album within an album” — as part of their in-progress 44-song work TEARGARDEN
BY KALEIDYSCOPE, nine songs of which have already been released online for free
(with two elaborately packaged EPs available in stores).  The 10 new songs from OCEANIA
will be released online at once in September (exact details TBA). The band is
also eyeing a possible return to the road this August. 


Meanwhile, the band will release one more song (“Owata”)
next week (details TBA) from TEARGARDEN BY KALEIDYSCOPE before they take a
break to record OCEANIA.


Billy Corgan commented on the reissue campaign: “What makes
the deal with EMI groundbreaking is the band has secured the right to all
unreleased materials and will be in charge of any additional releases based on
our discretion. In essence, the band has the keys to the warehouse and can
release whatever we want, when we want it. EMI totally supports this right, and
they are our partners in it.” 


Colin Finkelstein, COO of EMI Music North America, added, “The
Smashing Pumpkins is a hugely influential and groundbreaking band,
and EMI Music is pleased to partner with them for this global catalog
initiative.  We’re excited to work with Billy Corgan to release remastered
and expanded editions of the band’s visionary albums, including previously
unreleased recordings, and for EMI Music to exclusively distribute other gems
from the vaults, as sourced by Billy.”



Photo Exclusive: Big Four Festival



Photo Exclusive: Big Four Festival


Blurt shutterbug Scott Dudelson attended the Big Four festival in Coachella last week (April 23) and came back with an
admittedly awesome trove of photos of the bands: Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and
Metallica. Bang your heads against the wall while you peruse the selection. You
can contact Dudelson right


By Scott Dudelson








Anthrax (including setlist):




Blurt Releases Official BirthCertificate


Because it just seemed the right thing to do…

By Fred Mills

Responding to critics’ relentless claims, BLURT magazine on
Wednesday produced a detailed birth certificate (pictured, above) in an
extraordinary attempt to bury the issue of when and where we were born (respectively: 2008; and, America) and confirm our legitimacy to publish about music and culture in this country.

We declared, “We do not have time for
this kind of silliness.”

Going the extra mile, BLURT also released a trove of additional documents in order to prove beyond all doubts that we really, really are an American magazine, born and published in America. See those documents, below.











Fire Sale: MySpace On the Auction Block


Do the math:
$580,000,000 – $100,000,000 = a $480 mil. loss.


By Fred Mills


Media emperor Rupert Murdoch has put MySpace up for sale,
apparently having tired of the once-popular property having become the go-to
item for people seeking a reliable butt of Web 1.0 and tech jokes. (As in, “That
thing’s so clunky, slow and difficult to operate, it’s the MySpace of [insert website, widget, app, etc. of your
].”) is reporting that Murdoch’s News Corp, which
bought MySpace in 2005 for $580 million, is “looking for initial bids for
MySpace by the end of the week… [and is] looking for minimum offers of $100


While there are reportedly “interested parties” the report
notes, significantly, that the number of them has “declined” since February,
when News Corp let potential investors take a peek at the books.


Or maybe those suitors simply walked away from the deal when
they took a peek at the actual MySpace site, which remains among the clunkiest,
slowest, and most difficult to operate of all music and media outlets in the
known cyber universe. (The average person can go to the bathroom and take a
satisfying dump in the time it takes a MySpace page to open up.) And hey, how
about those nifty music players! Maybe it’s just time to shoot this filly and
put her out of her misery – the glue factory awaits.

Read: Synth Gods Book


Published by Backbeat Books, this handily covers
the synthesizer’s heyday but does tend to skimp on contemporary artists.


By Rev.
Keith A. Gordon


The synthesizer
as we know it today was designed and created by Dr. Robert Moog during the early
1950s, but it wasn’t until 1964 at an Audio Engineering Society convention that
the good doctor of engineering physics – a true brainiac degree if ever there
was one – would unveil the end result of almost a decade of work.


The first
analog synthesizer to use a keyboard as a controller, the original Moog synthesizer
was, at first, a bit of a curiosity because there was little existing framework
for the use of an electronic instrument at the time. The synthesizer was
introduced to the rock ‘n’ roll crowd at the 1967 Monterey International Pop
Festival, but it would be a year later when Wendy (then Walter) Carlos, an
early adopter of the Moog, released Switched
On Bach
, the first recording created entirely electronically with a
synthesizer, and one of the most commercially successful classical albums of
all time.


The success
of Switched On Bach in selling what
was essentially electronic music to the mainstream opened up the floodgates of
experimentation and innovation, especially among rock musicians. Keith Emerson,
while with British art-rock band the Nice, was one of the first artists to
adapt a Moog to his music, as was then session pro Rick Wakeman, later of Yes
and solo fame.


When Dr.
Moog introduced the Minimoog synthesizer in 1970 – a smaller, more
stage-friendly instrument for a live performance environment – the
synthesizer’s place in modern music was cast in cement. The popularity of the electronic
instrument fueled the early-1970s wave of Krautrock bands like Kraftwerk and
Tangerine Dream, and was the favored tool of keyboard wizards in prog-rock
bands like Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, and many others. Dr. Moog would go on to
invent many innovations in electronic music, earning dozens of ground-breaking
patents, and while Moog would soon have competition from traditional keyboard
makers like Yamaha, the Moog name remains revered among musicians.


Keyboard magazine, a consumer publication targeting
musicians, has tracked the popularity and evolution of the synthesizer from the
very beginning, documenting the history of electronic music and its artists
since the 1970s. Keyboard Presents Synth
, compiled by the magazine’s former editor Ernie Rideout, is a
collection of interviews with various electronic-oriented musicians, some of
whom may not readily come to mind as “synth gods.” Culled from the
pages of the magazine, the interviews were written by regular contributors like
Robert L. Doerschuk, Greg Rule, Ken Hughes, and others.



Among the
20 artists featured in Keyboard Presents
Synth Gods
are those you might expect – Wendy Carlos, Brian Eno, Rick
Wakeman, Jan Hammer, Edgar Winter, etc – and some that might surprise you, such
as Prince, Bernie Worrell, and Joe Zawinul of jazz legends Weather Report.
These visionary musicians share their ideas and philosophies on electronic
music, some of them reveal their secrets in recording or performing, but all
have something interesting and informative to say about the synthesizer and the
instrument’s role in their art.


As is
typical with these sorts of compilations, some of the collected interviews are
more insightful and/or interesting than others, and Keyboard Presents Synth Gods is no different. The conversation with
keyboard wizard Richard Barbieri is a bit of a snore, while Wendy Carlos
seemingly talks forever. On the other hand, Brian Eno’s thoughts on electronic
instruments and their usage are quite fascinating, while French artist Jean
Michel Jarre provides plenty of food for thought with his ideas on the use of
electronic instrumentation in popular music. Joe Zawinul’s comments provide a
unique perspective, coming from the only jazz artist in the bunch.


While it
should be a given that Keyboard Presents
Synth Gods
is aimed at an audience with at least a passing familiarity with
the synthesizer and electronic instruments, I have a few minor cavils with the
book itself and not its editorial direction. The interview credited to Trent
Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is primarily with Charlie Clouser and Keith
Hillebrandt of that band. A fascinating conversation with Dr. Moog himself is
all too brief when, in my mind, it should be among the longest interviews in
the book…especially since Moog is an intelligent subject with an easy
conversational style and a heck of a lot of history on his side.


the majority of the interviews are from the 1970s and ’80s…a watershed period
in the history of the synthesizer, to be sure, but not the end of innovation
with or interest in the instrument. Why no more recent interviews with
contemporary “synth gods” such as Transatlantic frontman and solo
artist Neal Morse, or former Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore (Chroma Key,
O.S.I.)? There are literally hundreds of prog-rock and metal bands doing new
things with synthesizers these days, and their voices should also be heard.


That being
said, Keyboard Presents Synth Gods is
nonetheless a quick and impressive read on the musical revolution created by
Dr. Robert Moog’s humble invention. I’d highly recommend the book for any fan
of, or for those with an interest in creating electronic music with the
now-ubiquitous synthesizer.






Report: Wire Live In San Francisco

With a combination of
adenoidal fury and moody neo-psychedelia, British punk survivors Wire wow a
sold-out crowd at Slim’s in San
Francisco on April 17.


By Jud Cost


Wire, one of the great original British bands to arise from
the punk firestorm of the late-’70s, slipped into San Francisco for a brilliant Sunday night
show at Slim’s. And the joint was jumping, with barely enough room to swing a
dead cat at Johnny Rotten, if he’d been there. Which he wasn’t. Needless to say,
no household pets were harmed during this peaceful gathering that featured
three original members of Wire: Colin Newman on lead vocals and rhythm guitar,
Graham Lewis on bass and vocals and 
Robert Grey (formerly calling himself Robert Gotobed) on drums, abetted
by excellent hired gun Matt Simms on lead guitar.


Wire was always a different breed of cat from your average U.K. crash ‘n’
burn outfit, anyway, most of whom had the good sense to pick the right moment
to drive their band vehicle off a cliff and end it all in a spectacular ball of
flames on the rocks below. I passed on the recent reunion of the Sex Pistols,
poster boys for the “die young and live a pretty ugly corpse”
philosophy. I was there in 1978 for their final show at San Francisco’s Winterland
where a scarred and bandaged Sid Vicious kicked at the punters while pretending
to play his bass, and Johnny Rotten rhetorically asked the crowd as the final
guitar chord was decaying, “Ever have the feeling you’ve been
cheated?”. Believe me, that was the perfect way to end it.


Unlike the same 15 songs regurgitated during the short,
effective lifespan of the Pistols, you could tell from Wire’s first two albums-Pink Flag and Chairs Missing-that this London-based outfit had real staying
power. Newman’s choked, adenoidal vocals, something like those of original
Buzzcocks singer, Howard DeVoto, had that built-in sneer, ideal for a punk rock
frontman. Like the Ramones, Wire also understood the beauty of brevity.
“Field Day For The Sundays” from Pink
, took it to extremes, lasting only 28 seconds. “Lowdown” had
this repetitious, almost monotonous, James Brown-like beauty to it. Then there
were the first three Wire singles, a superb troika that covered a lot of ground
in almost no time at all.


“1.2.X.U” (“Saw you in a mag/Kissin’ a
man/Saw you in a mag/Smokin’ a fag/Saw you in a mag/Kissin’ a fag!”) was a
go-for-the-jugular, acetylene-torch rocker that could have melted the welds on London Bridge.
“I Am The Fly” with its peanut-brittle guitar and brain-shattering
refrain (“I am the fly, I am the fly, fly in the, fly in the ointment/I
take you down to say please/As you accept the next social disease”) was
irresistible. And “Dot Dash” with its cryptic lyrics and Morse Code
secret handshake may have been the best of the lot. These guys always straddled
the thin line between genius and madness.


And they still do. But they’ve learned to get so much more
out of the basic four-man rock-band format. To prove how versatile Wire has
become over the past 30 years, they didn’t play anything that I recognized
during their 60-minute set. Newman employed his notorious punk sneer to
perfection on a few numbers. But the more abrasive material was interlaced with
softer, simmering soundtrack-worthy stuff, presumably from their new album, Red Barked Tree. Simms’ chiming
neo-psychedelic guitar was put to good use on the slower, moodier songs, while
Lewis alternated vocals with Newman in a dreamy, almost Bryan Ferry-like croon.


Tonight’s show wasn’t just a testimonial to one of the few
bands to survive the punk rock era in (almost) one piece. This was no
ceremonial victory lap, no oldies jukebox. Instead, it was a living, breathing
organism that offered anyone within earshot solid evidence that Wire is still
around for a very good reason.





Report: William Elliott Whitmore Live DC

April 17 at the Sixth
and I Synagogue: fans were there for the opening act, not the headliner.




Elliott Whitmore isn’t dumb. He knew that barely any people at the sold-out
Chris Cornell show on April 17 at Sixth and I Synagogue in Washington, D.C.,
were there to actually see him, an opener added at the last minute to Cornell’s
nationwide acoustic tour.


fact, the seven songs Whitmore performed during his brief, 28-minute opening
set were “all new to most of you,” Whitmore joked while introducing a new song,
“Don’t Need It,” which was only truly “new to like, four of you.” Modest and
somewhat self-deprecating? That’s just Whitmore’s way – the blues- and
folk-influenced, gritty singer-songwriter is more than accommodating during his
shows, thanking everyone and acknowledging his luck at being able to play music
for a living. Nearly everyone at Sixth and I that Sunday night had no idea who
Whitmore was, but did that stop the guy from delivering a blisteringly good set
that makes us look forward to his upcoming July release, Field Songs? Of course not.




packed a lot of punch into his seven songs, despite performing with just a kick
drum, guitar and banjo. Sitting on a stool and bathed in eerie red light,
Whitmore started off with no preamble, launching right into “From the Cell Door
to the Gallows,” from 2003’s Hymn for the Hopeless. “Well, I
heard six shots ring out in succession/ And it broke the night air like a china
plate/ And in my knife blade I saw my own reflection/ And the devil was at the
front gate,” sang a scruff-sporting Whitmore, who barely paused before then
jumping into “Diggin’ My Grave,” from 2005’s Ashes to Dust.


now, people were kind of getting into it – there were fewer questioning murmurs
from the audience, more appreciative nods – and Whitmore got more intense, too,
his voice taking on an anguish that was mirrored in the urgent thump of his
kick drum. The acoustics in Sixth and I were amazing that night, allowing every
strummed chord and sung verse to perfectly reach the audience, and Whitmore
benefited greatly from that clarity. “Oh, how I wish that I could have stayed,”
Whitmore lamented, “But the hole is made/ Oh, lord, the hole is made.” After
the regretful song’s conclusion is when Whitmore chose to make his move,
unleashing his customary charm on the audience: “Thank you, friends,” Whitmore
gushed. “Thank you for listening.”


if you’ve seen Whitmore before, you know he’s not just polite – he can be
undeniably heart-warming, too, as listeners learned when Whitmore announced his
next song would be “about the first hobo I ever met,” the “coolest motherfucker”
Whitmore knew. “This song is for Hub Cale,” Whitmore announced, transitioning
into “Lift My Jug (Song for Hub Cale),” also off Ashes to Dust, the only truly up-tempo song in his lineup that
night. An homage to Hub Cale’s free spirit while simultaneously an attack on
the institutions that made him that way – the anti-The Man sentiment is typical
in Whitmore’s songs, which often sound like a John Steinbeck novel set to music
– “Lift My Jug” won the audience over, even as its lyrics grow more depressing.
“I made my livin’ shovelin’ coal/ Paid my dues for 12 long years/ Then one day
they let me go/ And that time it sure was rough/ And the labor sure took its
toll,” Whitmore sang, and when the audience clapped afterward, they were
certainly more welcoming than they’d been just minutes before.





really, minutes is all the audience had left with Whitmore – three songs in, he
was already about halfway done with his allotted time. Next up was “Hell or
High Water” off 2009’s Animals in the
, which Whitmore prefaced by admitting it was the “first time I’ve been
in a synagogue – anyone else?” To be fair, though, he doesn’t “get into
churches much,” either. Then there was “Hard Times,” also from Animals in the Dark, which Whitmore
dedicated to a friend named Chris – “Uh, yeah, different Chris,” he said
sheepishly, referring to Cornell – and used as an opportunity to explain the
benefits of personal challenges and obstacles (“You don’t want an easy life, ‘cause
then you wouldn’t have any character, you know?”). And then there was “Don’t
Need It” from the coming-soon Field Songs,
which followed Whitmore’s everyman theme: “I’m gonna keep the rain off my head/
I’m gonna keep the mosquitos from getting fed/ I don’t need them at all/ No, not
at all,” he crooned, a tantalizing glimpse into the kind of
angry-workers’-field-songs fans will be getting in a few months’ time.


just like that, nearly 25 minutes had passed, bringing Whitmore to his closer,
“Old Devils,” the first single from Animals
in the Dark
. As he extolled against politicians’ and corporations’ evils
and how they bring about “desperation, death and despair” for everyone else,
Whitmore got more and more frenzied, snarling final lines like, “I guess I will
confess that I’ve been suffering/ The old devils are at it again … Who knows
what they’ll do?” Who knows, indeed.