Monthly Archives: May 2011

First Look: New My Morning Jacket LP

 

Released next week by ATO Records,
it sounds completely of a piece, and sets the stage for one of the summer’s
potentially best tours.

 

By Hal Bienstock

In the
chorus of Circuital‘s title track,
Jim James sings “Right back in the same place I started out.” While that may be
literally true – this is the first album the band has recorded in its home
state of Kentucky
since 2003’s It Still Moves –  it’s not exactly a return to the old days. If
anything, it’s more like the musical version of someone who goes back to his
hometown after a few years away. The town may be the same, but the person
certainly isn’t. So while Circuital has
the warm, folk-based sound that characterized the band’s early work, it also
makes room for the experimentalism of its more recent albums.  

 

In fact,
the most interesting thing about Circuital – and MMJ itself – is the way it manages to sound completely of a piece, while incorporating
tons of different sounds. Opening track “Victory Dance” sounds like Neil Young
& Crazy Horse performing with an orchestra, while the title track combines
the galloping beat of U2 with Grateful Dead harmonies. There are also steel-guitar
ballads (“Wonderful”), psychedelic funk-rock (“Holdin’ On to Black Metal”) and
catchy, alternate-universe radio hits (“First Light”).

 

 

Overall, Circuital is a strong album that stands
a notch below MMJ’s best (Z and It Still Moves). But as anyone who has
seen its live shows will attest, albums aren’t really what this band is about.
There are a lot of songs on here that should kill onstage. For now, think of Circuital as an enjoyable set of coming
attractions for what should be one of the best tours of the summer.

 

[Photo
Credit: Danny Clinch]

 

Tour Dates:

 

5/31

LOUISVILLE, KY
Louisville Palace
Theatre

06/02

OZARK, AR
Wakarusa Festival
(Schedule to be announced soon)

06/03

OZARK, AR
Wakarusa Festival
(Schedule to be announced soon)

06/04

OZARK, AR
Wakarusa Festival
(Schedule to be announced soon)

06/05

HUNTER,
NY
Mountain Jam

06/09

MANCHESTER, TN
Bonnaroo Festival
(Schedule to be announced soon)

06/10

MANCHESTER, TN
Bonnaroo Festival
(Schedule to be announced soon)

06/11

MANCHESTER, TN
Bonnaroo Festival
(Schedule to be announced soon)

06/12

MANCHESTER, TN
Bonnaroo Festival
(Schedule to be announced soon)

06/16

MILWAUKEE, WI
Riverside Theater

06/17

CHICAGO, IL
Auditorium Theatre

06/22

LOS ANGELES, CA
Pantages Theatre

06/24

OAKLAND, CA
Fox Theatre

06/26

SEATTLE, WA
Paramount Theatre

06/28

PORTLAND, OR
Edgefield

06/29

VANCOUVER, BC
Orpheum

06/30

QUINCY, CA
High Sierra Music
Festival (Schedule to be announced soon)

07/01

QUINCY, CA
High Sierra Music
Festival (Schedule to be announced soon)

07/02

SANTA
BARBAR, CA
Santa Barbara Bowl

07/03

QUINCY, CA
High Sierra Music
Festival

07/11

TORONTO, ON
Kool Haus

07/12

MONTREAL, QC
Metropolis

07/16

SOUTHWOLD, UK
Latitude Festival

07/17

LONDON, UK
Somerset House

08/02

ST. LOUIS, MO
The Pageant

08/03

KANSAS CITY, MO
Uptown Theater

08/04

MORRISON,
CO
Red Rocks Amphitheatre

08/05

BANGOR, ME
The KahBang Festival

08/06

BANGOR, ME
The KahBang Festival

08/07

INDIANAPOLIS, IN
The Lawn at White River
State Park (w/ Neko Case)

08/08

COLUMBUS, OH
LC Pavillion (w/ Neko
Case)

08/09

BANGOR, ME
The KahBang Festival

08/10

PITTSBURGH, PA
Stage AE (w/ Neko Case)

08/11

BANGOR, ME
The KahBang Festival

08/12

COLUMBIA, MD
Merriweather Post
Pavillion (w/ Neko Case)

08/13

BANGOR, ME
The KahBang Festival

08/14

BOSTON,
MA
Bank of America
Pavillion (w/ Neko Case)

08/16

ROCHESTER HILLS, MI
Meadow Brook (w/ Neko
Case)

08/17

CINCINNATI, OH
PNC Pavillion at Riverbend
Music Center
(w/ Neko Case)

08/20

ALPHARETTA, GA
Verizon Wireless
Amphitheatre (w/ Neko Case)

08/21

CHARLOTTE, NC
Time Warner Cable
Uptown Amphitheatre (w/ Neko Case)

09/17

AUSTIN, TX
Austin City Limits Music Festival

 

 

Video: The Liberators go Blaxploitation!

 

Afro-beat you can use. “Muthafucka’s
wheel is on the wrong side of the car!”

 

By Fred
Mills

 

This has
got to be one of the most fun videos to come down the pike since the trailer
for Son of Blacula (or any number of
Yo La Tengo clips, take your pick): The Liberators, doing “Rags To Riches.” It’s
courtesy of Don’t Look Back Pictures and was directed by Ken Karpel.

 

But it’s
way more than just a promo vehicle for the song; it’s a 7 ½-minute traipse
through the back pages of Blaxploitation flicks. As one of the commentators put
it at YouTube, “This is the shiz! Love it when he punches the hat!” ‘Nuf said.

 

The
Liberators are a killer funk/Afro-beat/jazz combo from Sydney, Australia,
and their self-titled debut came out a couple of months ago on the Record Kicks
label
. Check ‘em out at their Facebook page.

 

[Photo
Credit: Chris McKeen]

 

Massive Attack & Scarlett Johansson Team Up

“Summertime” – just in
time for summertime.

 

By Fred Mills

 

The name of the movie is Days
of Grace
, and the IMDB.com description for the Mexican production suggests
nothing less than, er, soccer noir. (“Mexico City. 2002, 2006,
2010. A cop. A hostage. A wife. Corruption, violence, vengeance. Three
destinies, during 30 days, during three Soccer World Cups. Three ways to fight
in order to survive.”)

 

Awesome. But the even more awesome news about the Everardo
Valerio Gout-directed indie film, which just premiered at the Cannes Film
Festival, is that Massive Attack and Scarlett Johansson collaborated on the
song “Summertime” for the soundtrack (via the NME).

 

Johansson, of course, is no stranger to music, having
recorded a so-so collection of Tom Waits tunes in 2008 (Anywhere I Lay My Head) as well as 2009’s Break Up, which teamed her with everyone’s favorite five o’clock
shadow rocker Pete Yorn. More recently, however, she redeemed herself with the
tune “One Whole Hour” for the soundtrack of the Wretches & Jabberers film, so here’s hoping that the Massive
Attack connection continues to up her game.

 

Blurt Poll Results: Death to Glee!

Other irritants
include Rebecca Black, Kanye West and Jambands…

 

By Fred Mills

 

With Fox hit series Glee about to air its 2nd season finale tonight, May 24, it seems more
than appropriate that the results of the most recent BLURT readers poll are in,
and they indicate that the music-themed TV show tops the list of things that
give you folks an allergic reaction.

 

We asked which among a long list of irritants makes you
sneeze, gag or itch, and Glee was out
front, at 11%, with YouTube songstress sensation Rebecca Black a close second
at 10%. Not to be undone, rapper Kanye West came in third at 8%, although the
fact that he was tied with Jambands is a bit of a head scratcher since there
doesn’t seem to be much correlation. Whatevs!

 

The rest of the poll results were fairly inconclusive,
although it is telling that Hipster Bloggers, Earnest Singer-songwriters, Rap
and – you guessed it – Gleeks (fans of Glee)
were deemed fairly annoying. See the full results, below.

 

Meanwhile, vote in our latest poll, displayed in the left
column of the home page: Which summer music festival is a must-attend this year
for you?

 

Report: Elvis Costello Live Cincinnati

 

At the Old Taft
Theatre on May 16, Declan and his Imposters served up some Cincinnati fatback and other tasty dishes via
the Spectacular Spinning Songbook.

 

By Steven Rosen

Every American city has its rock ‘n’ roll “coulda been a
contenders” – musicians whose shot at the big time came up short. From
Cincinnati, one such act was Danny Adler, a guitarist schooled in the
late-1960s funk coming out of hometown King Records, who showed up in
early-1970s London with a pub-rock band called Roogalator.

 

The band had its ups and downs, but was part of the same
scene as Dr. Feelgood, Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers, Ian Dury’s Kilburn
and the High Roads and Robin Scott (producer/singer on M’s “Pop Muzik.”) Scott
also produced Roogalator’s debut single, one of Stiff Records’ earliest
releases, called “Cincinnati Fatback.”

 

Adler gave it a long solid try, but eventually returned to
the States. It is said that Adler tells people that Elvis Costello, when he
was starting out as a young punk in 1977, borrowed his angry-Buddy-Holly look
(big glasses, Fender guitar pointed like a gun) from Adler’s stage presence.

 

So here on May 16th was Costello, playing
Cincinnati’s old Taft Theatre as part of his Revolver tour featuring the
Spectacular Spinning Songbook – he has a gigantic, garishly colored
game-show-like wheel on stage listing songs he and the Imposters are game to
play. Fans are brought up from the audience to take a spin, and a genial
Costello complies with the results. He did this once before, in 1986, and it
has become the stuff of show-biz legend. It’s a long way from 1977 for
Costello, now nattily dressed in dark clothing and various hats.

 

The advance word is that the band had rehearsed some 150
songs for this tour – maybe 10% of what Elvis has recorded and probably less
that 1% of what he knows. Still, “Cincinnati Fatback?” After all these years?

 

But during the show – which was scorchingly sensational, by
the way – Costello did have a few chances to play what he calls “impromptu”
numbers that deviate from the format. And one was “(I Don’t Want to Go to)
Chelsea.” In the middle, he threw in a few funky riffs from…could it be?

 

His set list, posted the next day online, confirmed that it
was indeed “Cincinnati Fatback.” So maybe that story is true, and Costello owes Adler a huge debt, partly paid back. One hopes Adler was there to hear it.

 

Anyone who was there saw Costello at his best. He was a
friendly, amusing and even endearing showman, offering a smile and
tongue-in-cheek approach to the whole “Spinning Songbook” thing. When his
glittery Vanna White-like assistant – identified for this tour stop as Her Royal
Highness Jacinta Trimble, the Duchess of Lexington – brought eager contestants
on stage, he greeted them with appreciative banter and then led them to the big
wheel. After their choices were made, they had the choice of dancing in the
Hostage to Fortune Go-Go Cage or relaxing at an on-stage bar, sipping what
appeared to be martinis just a few feet away from Costello as he performed
their songs. (Most people chose the latter.)

 

He allowed some of the younger and more excited women to hug
and kiss him, or snap photos. When one woman told him how desperately she
wanted to hear “Alison,” he took the wheel himself and made sure it stopped on
the song.  (When was it that David Lee
Roth said rock critics like Costello because he looks like them? Costello has
matured into a sex symbol as well as a genuine rock hero. What exactly is Roth
doing these days?)

 

For all of this wry agreeableness, Costello was transformed
the second he started to play. Total commitment, total focus, total energy. The
sound was loud yet the vocals had precision and clarity. He began the show with
a frenetic, powerful mini-set – “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Nick Lowe’s “Heart
of the City,” “Mystery Dance” and “Radio Radio.”

 

It became clear during the show that one reason Costello’s
songs – explosive rockers as well as tender, longing ballads – have held up so
well is that he never let them become shells for fatuous lead-guitar soloing.
That’s one thing he learned from punk. He plays primarily rhythm guitar,
allowing for a few spotlight runs, but lets his fabulous keyboardist (and
theremin player) Steve Nieve provide all the coloration on piano and Hammond
B-3 organ. Meanwhile Pete Thomas controls the drumming like a captain steering
a ship through a storm – you don’t want to mess with him while he determinedly,
heroically plays. (Davey Farragher provides bass.)

 

This approach worked wonders during audience-selected songs
like “Doll Revolution,” “Girls Talk,” “Everyday I Write the Book,” “Clowntime
Is Over,” “New Lace Sleeves” and “Long Honeymoon.” At one point, he sang while
walking through the audience, even venturing up into the balcony to choose a
contestant for the next spin.

 

The secret of this tour’s success is that the format doesn’t
control Costello. He toys with it, abandoning it when he thinks a planned set
list or impromptu selection will work better and keep the excitement level
high. He also allows for some open-ended titles on the wheel, like “Girls” or
“Time,” so he can play what he wants. Costello inserted tributes to his British
Invasion favorites into the show – the Beatles (“Girl”), Stones (an extended
“Out of Time”) and Who (“Substitute”). (A fan sitting next to me was
disappointed there was no Kinks cover; hopefully Costello can work on that.)

 

And the level stayed very high through three multi-song
encores that finally ended, with an ecstatic crowd exhausted, after a thrilling
and impassioned version of “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and
Understanding).”

 

Hard to believe that when that song, a Lowe composition,
appeared on Costello’s 1979 Armed Forces, people wondered why the sneering punk they thought Costello was had
recorded a tune with “hippie” sentiment. Was he being ironic? But it’s become
his signature song, always timely, and sums up his deep commitment to music as
redemption. No matter how you spin that wheel, Costello comes up a winner.

 

 

 

 

 

New Arcade Fire Songs Hit the Web

“Culture War” and “Speaking
In Tongues” (featuring David Byrne) from forthcoming deluxe edition of 2010
album.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

With news still fresh about the upcoming deluxe edition of
Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs (Mere
releases the CD/DVD set on Aug. 2), word now arrives (via Pitchfork) that the
two new tracks that will be appended to the album are on the Internet.
Apparently the BBC played them over the air yesterday and a number of sites,
including Listen Before You Buy, subsequently posted them.

 

Check out “Speaking In Tongues” (featuring David Byrne) and “Culture
War”:

 

 


Arcade Fire – Speaking In Tongues by ListenBeforeYouBuy

Arcade Fire – Speaking In Tongues by ListenBeforeYouBuy

Frisell Premiere at Ellnora Guitar Fest

 

Other artists appearing at September festival include Calexico, My Brightest Diamond, Richard
Thompson, Daniel Lanois’ Black
Dub, Taj Mahal, the Carolina
Chocolate Drops, Adrian Belew
and Robert Randolph.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Guitarist and composer Bill Frisell and experimental
filmmaker Bill Morrison have collaborated to create The Great Flood, a 75-minute multimedia work of original music
and film that will have its world premiere at ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival at
Krannert Center in Urbana, Illinois, on September 10, 2011. The festival itself
runs Sept. 8-10.

Inspired by the massively destructive 1927 Mississippi
River floods, Morrison and Frisell have created what’s being
described as “a stirring, contemporary perspective on this natural disaster and
the ensuing transformation of American society and music.”

 

 

(In the spring of 1927, the Mississippi River broke out of its banks in 145 places
and inundated 27,000 square miles to a depth of up to 30 feet. Part of its
enduring legacy was the mass exodus of displaced sharecroppers. Musically, the
Great Migration of rural southern blacks to Northern cities saw the Delta Blues
electrified and reinterpreted as the Chicago
blues, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll.)

 

ELLNORA’s artistic advisor, David Spelman, notes that “it’s exciting to have
Bill Frisell return to the festival with a project commissioned by Krannert Center. We’ve presented several world
premieres since launching the festival in 2005, including Phil Kline’s large
sound installation World on a String and The Long Count, a
multimedia work from The National’s Bryce and Aaron Dessner. Our programming
philosophy stems from Krannert
Center’s commitment to
fostering the art of the future while celebrating the many rich cultural and
aesthetic legacies of the past. The Great Flood is a project that
perfectly reflects this philosophy.”

Other artists appearing at ELLNORA include Calexico, My Brightest
Diamond, Richard Thompson,
Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub, Sharon Isbin,
Taj Mahal, the Carolina
Chocolate Drops, Adrian Belew,
Robert Randolph, The Tony Rice Unit, Cindy Cashdollar, and many more.

More details: EllnoraGuitarFestival.com

 

About ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival and the Krannert Center for the Performing
Arts: Krannert Center for the Performing Arts is situated on the campus of
the University of Illinois, in the micro-urban community of Champaign-Urbana,
and is North America’s premier university-based performing arts complex.
ELLNORA
| The Guitar Festival (originally called the Wall to Wall Guitar
Festival), held biennially, was launched in 2005 and through its eclectic
global mix has presented many of the world’s most influential guitarists and
bands, including Buddy Guy, Ani DiFranco, Jerry Douglas, Pepe Romero, John
McLaughlin, Vernon Reid, Derek Trucks, Kaki King, Andy Summers, The National,
Los Lobos, and the North Mississippi Allstars.

 

Dismemberment Plan Issues 1st Live Album

 

Document of Japanese tour from
February.

 

By Blurt
Staff

 

In the
winter of 2011, The Dismemberment Plan played a series of reunion shows in the
US and Japan in celebration of the release of the first ever vinyl edition of
their classic album Emergency &
I
(Barsuk), originally released 11 years ago and one of the
most influential releases of its time.

 

 

The D.C.
band has now announced plans to will release a concert document of the tour, Live
in Japan 2011
. Recorded live at Shibuya O-nest (9th Feb) in Tokyo, it’s a twenty-three
track collection and their first ever live release. Included with the album is
live footage of the band performing “Back and Forth” (joined by the audience,)
and a digital booklet featuring myriad live shots and album credits.

 

Live in
Japan 2011
Special
site (Japanese): http://www.badnews.co.jp/dplan/

 

 

The
Dismemberment Plan has only two more announced performances scheduled, June 4th at The Roots Picnic 2011 in Philadelphia and
July 16th at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.

 

 

Track List:

 

1. Spider
In The Snow

2. A Life
Of Possibilities

3. The Face
Of The Earth

4.
Sentimental Man

5. You Are
Invited

6. Bra

7. What Do
You Want Me To Say

8. Pay For
The Piano

9. Memory
Machine

10. Time
Bomb

11. If I
Don’t Write

12.
Following Through

13. The
Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich

14. Do The
Standing Still

15. Girl
O’Clock

16. The
City

17. I Love
a Magician

18. Ok
Jokes Over

19. Ellen
And Ben

20.
Gyroscope

21. The Ice
Of Boston

22. That’s
When The Party Started

23. Back
And Forth

 

 

Fela Stream + M.O.P. Parties Announced

Marathon 37 minute track, below.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Late Afrobeat
pioneer Fela Kuti started his own political party, The Movement Of The People,
and wrote a corresponding track – a call to action – called “M.O.P.
(Movement Of The People) Political Statement Number 1.” Check out
that marathon number:

 


M.O.P. (Movement Of The People) Political Statement No. 1 by knitrecords

 

Then make plans
to check out a series of “Movement Of The People” (M.O.P.) parties that
are being organized across the country (and elsewhere). Party giveaways will include
Fela CDs, buttons and posters- more details at Official Movement Of The
People Website
.

 

Dates so
far:

5.25.11 –
Warmdaddy’s – Philadelphia, PA
5.28.11 – Urban Element – Indianapolis, IN
5.28.11 – The New Empowering Church – London,
6.01.11 – Global Soul – Chicago, IL
6.04.11 – Burlington’s Discover Jazz Festival – Burlington, VT
6.06.11 – The Fla – Houston,
TX
6.09.11 – Brick & Mortar Music Hall – San
Francisco, CA

 

Jedi Mind Fuck: Flaming Lips Live NC

 

 

 

BY MICHAEL PLUMIDES JR.

 

Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips exudes rock star. He’s the guy that
talked Oklahoma
into adopting his tune “Do You Realize” as their state song. He’s the man who
can take 45 minutes for a sound check while you’re crammed stage front like a
sardine and later you thank him for it. Wayne
is the likeable anomaly of rock; his persona – concert maestro, his attitude –
bemused ringmaster, his presence – electric madman. 

 

Coyne, with long time band mates Mike Ivins, and Steve Drozd have now
spanned three decades with their disjointed aural assault. But the band’s
development has come in a series of phases. I bore witness to The Lips as an
obscure 80’s sludge-metal outfit teetering between Smack and Die Kreuzen
(opening up for the likes of SST’s Black Flag in punk rock shitholes across the
US) with early releases Hear It Is and Oh My Gawd, garnishing hero worship from my old alma mater at WUSC-FM and like
college radio stations across the country. 

 

Their shiny happy 90’s alt-rock silliness splooshed their first hit
for Warner entitled, “She Don’t use Jelly”. 
At the turn of the millennium, Coyne and Co. enjoyed dancing on the
periphery of universal pet band status for a few light years with releases The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.   But the band cosmically exploded
supernova-style and were jettisoned to mega-stardom after the release of the
perennial At War with Mystics in
2006.

 

Following Mystics with the
noisy Embryonic, Flaming Lips now
enjoy jaunts appearing at the biggest music events in the world. They represent
the new pseudo-psychedelia, gladly inheriting the mantel from Pink Floyd
performing Dark Side of the Moon in
its entirety at festivals last year (at Bonnaroo – consumed by the heat I slept
through it in my motel room like an idiot).

 

 

 

 

The Lips brought in the heavy
artillery; armed with the biggest fucking disco ball I’ve ever seen
transcending from the heavens like the Death Star. And let’s not forget a light
show that would give the execs at Enron a heart attack, Wayne, after warning the crowd of their
infinite power, began his journey down the rabbit hole. Coyne appeared in his
plastic bubble as the band consumed the Fillmore – Charlotte
with a barrage of sound that likely rattled the triptychs of Stonehenge with
“The Fear” following with “Worm
Mountain.”

 

 

 

Once released from his
poly-cell, Coyne sang into his camera-microphone projecting HD close up
streaming images on the rear panel fifty feet or so, behind Kliph Scurlock, the
percussionist who joined the Lips in the 90’s. 
Each side of the stage was adorned by leggy Dorothy Gales from Kansas replacing yesteryear’s Roswell aliens and Santa Clauses in a “Wizard
of Oz” motif that would leave any red-blooded American guy wanting to peel
back the curtain and take a peek. There were giant dancing bears and toads,
balloons and streamers all amidst the deafening music making for, as Wayne
described to Billboard, a “big,
elaborate freakout” or more specifically, “some new gadgets and things to freak
out with.”

And the band played on… and on. “Is David Bowie Dying”
which recently popped up on their latest EP 2011,
was followed shortly by “See the Leaves,” “The Ego’s Last
Stand” and of course 1993’s “Jelly”, an acoustic “Yoshimi”, the Meddle-esque “Pompeii am
Gotterdammerung”, “Race for the Prize” and the aforementioned Okie theme
song “Realize.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coyne, thankful and gracious as
ever, feels the need to take on a little of that KISS ethos.  You go to see the Flaming Lips and you get
your money’s worth.  The band is chaotic
to the ear live in a screaming X-wing jet fighter kind of way, but the melodic
interludes coupled with their blistering wall of sound make for a pleasurable,
if not ear-ringing night.

 

On the way out, I spied a
Flaming Lips t-shirt at the merch table with a black and white nude woman
cradling a skull in one hand and holding two fingers up as if absolving the
crowd as they exited. Posted over her head was the line, “Flaming Lips: Peace
and Punk Rock”… for $40.00.  Rock star,
indeed.  You’re Goddamn right. Give the
people what they want.

 

[Photos by Justin Kates]