Monthly Archives: June 2011

Read: Byron Coley 1978-83 Anthology

 

For the
half-decade represented here, there wasn’t a sword shinning any brighter than
Byron Coley’s pen. 
C’est la guerre: Early Writings:
1978-1983 (published by L’Oie de Cravan) collects the rock ‘n’
roll contrarian’s greatest early hits.

 

By Logan
K. Young

“I finally gave up
trying to advance through the ranks at McD’s, so I guess I’ll never be
a burger magnate. C’est la guerre.” — Byron Coley, Letter from San Francisco # 3,
Feb. 1979

Fuck Marcus. And
forget “Xgau.” Save for Dylan, what do they know, anyways? You can have Niki
Cohn, maybe even Lester. At this point, Boze Hadleigh reads truer. Next to
early Tosches or the SUNY-cum-Yale aesthetics of Meltzer, Lord Byron’s the one,
true Dean of American rock critics. And as this back pocket zine from Québécoise imprint L’Oie de Cravan makes sure, he’s a badass en français, aussi. Still standing – and not just on Twitter or some SEO-forsaken blogspot – the
man and his soul patch are national treasures worthy of another Nick Cage
franchise. Hell, this cobbling of would-be ephemera was brought to my door by
the good fellas at Forced Exposure, who themselves would be nothing were it not
for Coley. As the Plaid Piper of Pedro himself, Mike Watt, writes in the
lowercase intro: “give byron coley a piece of rope and he’ll be ready to tell
you about knots. give him enough rope and he’ll string some knots up for you,
all kinds – he’ll get creative.”

 

But,
of course, he didn’t start out that way. “This is an example of my writing at
its shittiest,” reads the preface to his NY Rocker ‘82 review of the
Dü’s Land Speed Record. (Literally, he spends half his word count waxing
how the French would shove shrapnel in enemy bungholes to fashion human bombs.)
“…none of the lousy grammar or questionable word usages have been altered to
cover my ineptitude,” he writes before the longest piece herein. His first
non-gratis burping, it’s a Pernod-induced, yet undeniably DEVOted tour diary of
that band’s Warner-funded degeneration through the great cities of the East
Coast. Entitled “Where the Rubber Met the Road,” and published in the January
1979 edition of Andy Schwartz’s Rocker, Coley notes, “I believe that
behind those rubber suits are some incredible songs that could and will
catapult this band to stardom, if they’re heard as the stompers they actually
are rather than as the proselytizing of an intellectual clique from Akron.” Boy oh Booji Boy,
I could not agree more with the then twenty-something. That he’s so willing to
share the ecstatic yod of what’s basically his journalistic juvenilia proves
just how cocksure he’s become. (I, for one, am still trying to bury the purple
prose of my fledgling scribbles; alas, the cub Coley never had to battle
Google.)

To wit, there are
some really fantastic pieces I’d’ve been proud of at any age. A man of letters
first, the five epistles to Angela Jaeger included document his own papal
flight, via bus, to the Yes Wave climes of San Fran. And if you want to get to
know Byron the boy – who, truth be told, is every bit as enlightening as Coley
the present-day man – I suggest you start here. His Selby, Jr. truncations and
abbreviated txt speak (long before cell phones came in bags, even) subscribe to
that old Orwellian adage from Strunk & White. Namely, if you can leave out
a word, then… His fat black slagging of The Thin White Duke from LA Weekly is probably the most well-known clip of the lot. And honestly, re-reading
it now, it does make me think. Calling Bowie “the Gloria Vanderbilt of the
electric guitar” and “a dink so bereft of emotional musculature,” he further
calls into question the very notion of change in rock. “You can call that
progress and exploration if you will, but I’ll call it the vacillation of a man
who has no center,” he argues. Le ouch, Maître Coley!

 

But this handsome
collection, the cover drawn and silkscreened by one Simon Bossé, is more than
the letters of a young contrarian run amuck. Like any rock scribe worth his
stylus, Coley’s a brilliant pure writer, too. If the two book reviews reprinted
here don’t convince you, his record store retelling of O. Henry’s “The Gift of
the Magi” from Xmas ‘83 certainly will. Furthermore, as we see in many of the
sidebars, he’s also got a way with doodles. (And in the case of his typewriter
ode to The Velvets’ Sterling Morrison, Coley’s got an eye for poetry concrète as well.)

 

Whether
knocking Suicide’s Marty Rev on his ass or a drunk Fred Frith knocking into his
pinball game, or Coley himself knocking back some rum and a couple Quaaludes,
in these early scribblings he posits himself as just another rock ‘n’ roll
raconteur. Heir apparent to those bloated names I first dropped, before I
myself had even learned to speak, if Coley never penned another Beefheart
screed, another paean to ½ Japanese – truthfully – I doubt I’d be writing this
now. That kind of self-indulgent, gonzo whippersnapperism gets old faster than
psycho-reactive carburetor dung.

 

What
makes Coley still worth reading today, in the present, is that while he’s no
doubt grown and matured into our best rock writer, he’s retained just enough
piss from his l’enfant terrible birthright. All is fair in love and guerre,
and for the half-decade represented here, there wasn’t a sword shinning any
brighter than Byron Coley’s pen. 

 

 

Wilco Unveils New Material at SSF Bash

“Born Alone” and “Dawned
On Me” presumably will be on forthcoming album The Whole Love.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Wilco’s 2nd annual Solid Sound Festival was held
this weekend
at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) and we
should have a report and photos ready for you shortly. Meanwhile, the band
unveiled a couple of  very cool new songs
at the festival, “Born Alone” and “Dawned On Me,” and you can check ‘em both
out via the audience-shot videos below.

 

 


Report/Photos: Beady Eye Live in Philly

 

Saturday night (June
25) at the Theater of Living Arts in Philadelphia,
Liam Gallagher put his post-Oasis combo – and ego – on the line. Against all
odds, the mouthy frontman was newly invigorated and the crowd responded in
kind.

 

Text and Photos by Kyle Gustafson

Britpop is dead, but don’t tell Liam Gallagher. Wrapping up
a short, 5 date North American tour on Saturday in Philadelphia, Liam’s new band Beady Eye
played a strong set of Britpop throwbacks to a raucous crowd at the Theater of
Living Arts, thus beginning the second act of his storied career.

Beady Eye, basically Oasis minus chief songwriter Noel Gallagher, have earned
kudos for their debut Different Gear,
Still Speeding,
a collection of bluesy rock, jaunty ballads and catchy pop
that harkens back to the heady days of mid-‘90s Cool Britannia. But more than
anything, this new group seems to have reinvigorated Liam. The last few Oasis
tours have seemed like the band were just going through the motions, promoting
their latest album with the same set of songs night in and night out, because
they had to, not because they wanted to. The spark that drove them at the
beginning of their career was sadly missing.

 

But now with Beady Eye, Liam has to establish himself all
over again and seems to relish in proving the doubters wrong. His voice, which
seemed strained and in disrepair the last few years, is once again able to hold
longer notes and power through whenever it’s called upon to do so.

 

 

Bathed in white light and clad in a green parka (zipped all the way up, natch),
light brown pants and suede chukka boots, Liam bounded on the stage Saturday
and set the tone early as Beady Eye tore into “Four Letter Word,”
presumably his kiss-off tune to big brother Noel. That song’s refrain of
“Nothing ever lasts forever” puts perfectly Liam’s position on his
old band, as there would be no Oasis songs played on this night, and rightfully
so. It would be easy for Beady Eye to drop an Oasis song or two into their set
and pander to the old days, but they are only interested in forging ahead. And
honestly, the concert was all the better because of it.

The 16-song set was a taught affair, featuring the entirety of the band’s debut
album plus two B-sides, “Two of a kind” and “Man of Misery”
and a set-closing cover of World of Twist’s “Sons of the Stage.”
Rockers “Wind Up Dream” and “Standing On the Edge of the
Noise” fired up the crowd and the “Instant Karma”-inspired
single “The Roller,” played in the middle of the set, inspired a
massive crowd sing-along. Slower songs like “Kill For A Dream” and
“Wigwam,” somewhat flat and meandering on the album, benefitted greatly
from their live arrangements and Liam’s live vocals.

 

 

The rest of Beady Eye, guitarists Andy Bell and Gem Archer, drummer Chris
Sharrock and new bassist Jeff Wooten, seemed content to play in the background
while all eyes were on Liam. Other than their backing vocal duties, Bell and Archer didn’t
say a single thing all night. Sharrock twirled and tossed all manner of
drumsticks in the air trying to get a whiff of attention, but make no mistake,
everyone was glued to the big guy in the center of the stage.

“I’m gonna stand the test of time, like Beatles and Stones” Liam sang
early on during the aptly named “Beatles and Stones.” That remains to
be seen, but at least he’s back on track with his new band.

 

 

 

 

Watch Explosions In The Sky New Video

 

Taken from Take Care,
Take Care, Take Care, it’s like a Roger Dean drawing coming to life…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Explosions In The Sky has unveiled the first official music
video of the band’s 12-year career. The animated clip for “Last Known
Surroundings” from the band’s new album Take Care, Take Care, Take Care was recently premiered at Wired.com who called it “a
Space-Tripping wonder… like a celestial love child of the original Tron,
2001: A Space Odyssey and Japanese Art.”

 

Last Known Surroundings from Explosions in the Sky on Vimeo.

 

 

Months in the making, “Last Known
Surroundings” directed  by Ptarmak, a design studio based in
Explosions’ native Austin who utilized illustrations by Sissy Emmons and
animation from David Hobizal to create an otherworldly visual interpretation of
the epic instrumental track.

 

EITS kick off a new round of touring in August and September
that will take them all over North America and
onward – dates below. Meanwhile, see the most recent issue of BLURT for our
interview with the band.

 

Tour Dates:

 

08/11 – Olso, Norway – Oya Festival
08/12-13 – Gothenburg, SWE – Way Out West Festival
08/19 – Brecon BEacons, UK – Green Man Festival
09/1 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre
09/2 – San Diego, CA – SOMA
09/3 – Los Angeles, CA – FYF Fest
09/5 – Big Sur, CA – Henry Miller Library (SOLD OUT)
09/8 – Spokane, WA – Bing Crosby Theater
09/9 – Vancouver, BC – The Vogue Theatre
09/10 – Portland, OR – Musicfest NW
09/11 – Boise, ID – Egyptian Theatre
09/13 – Denver, CO – The Fillmore Auditorium
09/14 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theatre
09/16 – Dallas, TX – AT& Performing Arts Center – Strauss Square
09/21 – Champaign-Urbana, IL – Pygmalion Music Festival
09/28 – New Orleans, LA – Tipitina’s *
09/29 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle *
09/30 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel *
10/1 – Baltimore, MD – Ram’s Head Live **
10/2 – Philadelphia, PA – Tower Theater **
10/3 – Montclair, NJ – Wellmont Theatre**
10/5 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre **
10/6 – Montreal, QC – Metropolis Theatre *
10/7 – Toronto, ON – Sound Academy *
10/8 – Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre *
10/10 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue *
10/11 – Des Moines, IA – Val Air Ballroom *
10/12 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theatre *
10/13 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom * 

11/4 – Madrid SP – Anexa del Pabellon de Vistalegre
11/5 – Zaragoza SP – Sala Oasis
11/6 – Barcelona SP – Casino Alianca
11/15 – Copenhagen DK – Vega
11/18 – Hasselt BE – MOD
11/19 – Kortrijk BE – De Kreun
11/20 – Bristol UK – Academy
1/27/12 – London UK – Brixton Academy 

 

 

 

 

* Wye Oak supports

** The Antlers support

 

 

Watch: Le Tigre Live “Bomp” DVD

 

Who Took the Bomp? Le
Tigre On Tour, the musical documentary recently issued by Oscilloscope
Laboratories, is the sound – and sight – of victory. Watch clips, below.

 

By Selena Fragassi

At the opening of Who
Took the Bomp? Le Tigre On Tour,
keyboardist/vocalist JD Samson is seen
launching a toy missile rocket into the clear blue sky above a deadpan street –
one of many the band traversed in 2004 when they collected the meat of the
footage that makes up this long-awaited tour DVD.

 

Although the band (in addition to Samson, singer Kathleen
Hanna and guitarist Johanna Fateman) does toy around for much of film (see
pranks on Slipknot at Australia’s Big Day Out Festival and an irreverent take
on ‘80s workout infomercials), it is the explosive revelations about sexuality
and gender oppression that really launch this intimate documentary.

 

When it debuted earlier this year at the annual South by
Southwest Festival, seven years had passed since the trio had asked their
friend and lighting director Carmine to film them as they crisscrossed four
continents and seven countries in support of the release of This Island -y et much of the same
issues they had grappled with at the time (and even earlier in the dawn of the
riot grrrl movement Hanna pioneered with band Bikini Kill) are still very much
apparent.

 

“People are so threatened by women in bands,” comments
Hanna, noting how female musicians and bands are more harshly criticized than
their male peers. “We want to counter this notion of women being nice all the
time or making everyone comfortable.”

 

In one scene, Le Tigre is positioned in an Australia radio
station for a quick press jaunt, and much to the band’s dismay, all the host
could focus on was the ladies’ body art and the yawning topic of how Hanna
tipped off Kurt Cobain to the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” song name. Gone were the
hard-pressed questions about artistry or accomplishments that male counterparts
would be privy to.

 

In another scene, Fateman and Samson are filmed in a cab and
discussing their labored decision of whether or not to accept a free full-page
ad in now-defunct Jane magazine even
though their revision to add the word “lesbian” was shot down due to
conservative ad buyers. “That just really hurts my feelings,” laments Samson
(who Fateman refers to as the secret Justin Timberlake of the band for her
inherent desirability by all kinds). The women eventually turn down the offer.

 

 

If the reels of confessional interviews, constantly changing
hotel scenery, plane rides, and concert footage weren’t exhausting enough, the
old-fashioned oppression Samson, Hanna and Fateman have to deal with is surely
the downer of this film.

 

Yet the women are able to take it all in stride – and the
true pleasure of the film is the testimonials by legions of devoted fans that
the filmmaker finds on each stop of the tour.

 

“I’m not trying to be a role model but the person I wish
would have been there for me,” says Hanna in the film, yet that is the role
that many have blessed her with after witnessing her mission of letting
creativity trump cruelty and allowing a message to override materialism. As we
see Le Tigre get ready for a new performance, they let the newness of the
experience wash over them with a pre-ritual chant “Feminist! Lesbian! Vagina!”
before skipping out on stage in their matching spandex outfits to the wash of
cheers from the crowd.

 

If that isn’t victory, I don’t know what is.

 

Whitey Bulger Meets Jigsaw Seen Frontman

 

 

Dennis Davison of beloved west coast  pop maestros the Jigsaw Seen – who  puts new meaning into the lyric, “If you
don’t know how to do it, I’ll show you how to walk the dog” – learns he was a
neighbor of the notorious Boston mob boss. FBI, meanwhile, has no comment on
the band.

 

By Jud Cost

 

Sugarcoat all
the “news” stories in the world about indie-rockers, and most of them
won’t be worth the junk-mail catalogs stacked up inside a hillbilly’s outhouse
waiting to perform a vital function. It’s celebrities (even those whose only
talent is for being a celebrity) that people want to read about, these days.

 

Take Dennis
Davison, for example. By day, a gentle Los Angeles Kings hockey fan who plays
in an adult hockey league and walks dogs for a living, all over greater
Tinseltown. By night, it’s his wiry, evil-choirboy vocals alongside the guitar
wizardry of Jonathan Lea that have kept the Jigsaw Seen (below; Davison is on the right) in business for
over 20 years, with yet another new album, Winterland,
due out later this year on the band’s Vibro-phonic label. Admit it: pretty
boring stuff.

 

 

On Wednesday, Davison
hit the celebrity-sweepstakes lottery when an armada of LAPD and federal
vehicles descended upon the 3rd
St. neighborhood in Santa Monica where he was walking a trio of
bulldogs. Next morning, Davison almost swallowed his Dubble Bubblegum as he
opened the front page of the L.A. Times and saw the mug shots of two people
he’d known casually for years who had just been taken down by law enforcement.
James “Whitey” Bulger, 81, was recently moved up to the FBI’s number
one Most Wanted slot after the May 3 execution of Osama Bin Laden. Bulger (mugshot below)
and longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig, 61, had been on the lam since 1995.

 

 

 

“I know
these people!” Davison blurted out to his wife Michele Krupkin, choking on
his cornflakes. “I talk to them at least three times a week,” he
says. “They’d be out walking in the neighborhood and stop me to compliment
me on how well-behaved my dogs were, compared to other people who jerk the
leash. They take care of their neighbor’s cats and asked me for advice.”
It was a case, says Davison, of instantly forming a bond with a pair of really
nice people. “They seemed very cultured and, with their thick Boston accents, almost
out of place around here. I remember thinking they should be spending their
retirement years in Cape Cod, instead of
here.”

 

Bulger, longtime
boss of Boston’s Irish mafia, has already waived
extradition and is headed back to Massachusetts
to face 19 murder counts along with extortion, money-laundering and
drug-dealing charges. Greig will be charged with aiding a fugitive. Bulger’s
story formed the backbone of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 Oscar-nominated movie The
Departed
.

 

It’s truly
amazing that Davison, who’s penned such Jigsaw Seen classics as “My Name
Is Tom” (about the nocturnal creep of a peeping-Tom rapist) and
“Fiddlesticks” (exhuming the sordid career of cannibalistic
mass-murderer Jeffrey Dahmer) didn’t recognize an alleged real-life sociopath
when he met one. When asked about the $2 million reward for information leading
to their capture, Davison is quick to reply. “I’ve thought about that.
It’s a lot of money. But, you know, I don’t think I would have turned them in.
They were really nice people.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack White & Stephen Colbert Cut a 45

 

Plus all those hawt
Black Belles gals…

 

By Fred Mills

 

It’s not your mother’s Jack White, that’s for sure. The
erstwhile White Stripes mainman isn’t wasting any time getting back into the
social swim, post-divorce party. Although rather than squiring around supermodels
on both arms, he’s been hanging out with faux-news show host and comedian
Stephen Colbert. The two have cut a 45 titled “Charlene II (I’m Over You)” that
White’s Third Man label has released; it also features another Third Man act,
the Black Belles, who tackle B-side duties with “Charlene (I’m Right Behind
You)”.

 

The Colbert song premiered yesterday on “The Colbert Report”
check the clips, below (they’ve been “flipped” by the uploader to avoid a takedown, which is kinda weird but kinda clever). There’s also a fun interview with Jack White in which he reveals his musical heroes include Captain Beefheart and Charley Patton; watch for him trying to keep from cracking up at different points during the conversation too. And apparently if you are in NYC today in the vicinity
of 10th Ave
and 30th St
around 11 am you can drop by the Third Man store (that would be the big yellow
truck) and purchase a copy of the single direct from White and Colbert.

 

 

 

Is it just me, or does the photo above prompt subliminal
memories of Robert Palmer back in the ‘80s, doing those videos with the
sultry-chick  backing band?

 

Neko & Nick’s Zombies Cover Streaming Online

 

“She’s Not There”
actually does live up to the original version. Two thumbs up.

 

By Fred Mills

 

No, no – we mean the BAND the Zombies. As previously
announced, Neko Case and Nick Cave have teamed up to record a version of the
Zombies’ classic ‘60s song “She’s Not There” for the new season of HBO hit
series True Blood. As KCRW-FM’s Gary
Calamar, who just happens to also be the Music Supervisor for the TV show, relates
in his blog at the KCRW site, the song will be in the season premiere episode:

 

“If you are a fan of True
Blood
,” writes Calamar,you know
that each episode is named after one of the songs that are in that episode. So
it’s always exciting for me to crack open the script and see what the writer
has in mind for the title and the song that I will ultimately need to track
down and license for use in the show. When I received the first script for
episode #401, written by Alex Woo, I saw the title “She’s Not There,” one of my
favorite songs by 60′s British Invaders The Zombies. Alex had suggested that we
use the Santana version of the song. I thought well, we’ve got some time. Why
don’t we try and produce a new, fresh version of this classic and make it our
own? Let’s have some fun with this – Bon Temps Louisiana Style.”

 

Calamar subsequently rounded up Louisiana
guitarist CC Adcock to work up a new, swamp-goth arrangement for the song, and pretty soon
calls were being made to both Neko and Nick, professed fans of True Blood. You can hear the sonic
results streaming right now at the KCRW site.

 

 

Bad Idea: Brian Wilson Biopic

 

Boy meets girl. Girl
breaks up with boy. Boy forms band. Boy quits band to sit in sandbox. Boy
recovers from mental illness and becomes cultural icon. End of story.

 

By Fred Mills

 

The New York Times reports: “An independent production company is preparing a biographical film
about Mr. Wilson, the troubled pop music genius and creative force behind the Beach
Boys. River Road Entertainment, which has previously produced features like The Tree of Life and Fair Game, said… its film would ‘take an
unconventional look at Wilson’s unique musical process as well as his struggles
with mental illness, and how he managed to persevere as an artist with the love
and support of his wife Melinda.'”

 

Uh-huh. Given that the company has “secured the musician’s
life rights” to make the film, sounds like it will be a whitewash job. Oren
Moverman is scheduled to write the screenplay. Who the fuck is Oren Moverman?
No title, release date or proposed actors have been announced yet.

 

Seriously, though, do we have to go through this all over
again? There have already been two very serviceable stabs at tackling Wilson
and the Beach Boys – this was before such treatments were called “biopics,” of
course. But in all honesty, if you’ve seen 1990’s Summer Dreams: The Story of the Beach Boys, (which was based on the
excellent biography by Stephen Gaines, Heroes
and Villains
, and reportedly incurred the wrath of the Wilson camp for, uh,
telling the truth), or the 2000 mini-series vehicle The Beach Boys: An American Family, or any number of official and
semi-official Wilson/BB documentaries out there, there is literally nothing
left to say on the subject.

 

 

Neko & Nick’s Zombies Cover Streaming Online

 

“She’s Not There”
actually does live up to the original version. Two thumbs up.

 

By Fred Mills

 

No, no – we mean the BAND the Zombies. As previously
announced, Neko Case and Nick Cave have teamed up to record a version of the
Zombies’ classic ‘60s song “She’s Not There” for the new season of HBO hit
series True Blood. As KCRW-FM’s Gary
Calamar, who just happens to also be the Music Supervisor for the TV show, relates
in his blog at the KCRW site, the song will be in the season premiere episode:

 

“If you are a fan of True
Blood
,” writes Calamar,you know
that each episode is named after one of the songs that are in that episode. So
it’s always exciting for me to crack open the script and see what the writer
has in mind for the title and the song that I will ultimately need to track
down and license for use in the show. When I received the first script for
episode #401, written by Alex Woo, I saw the title “She’s Not There,” one of my
favorite songs by 60′s British Invaders The Zombies. Alex had suggested that we
use the Santana version of the song. I thought well, we’ve got some time. Why
don’t we try and produce a new, fresh version of this classic and make it our
own? Let’s have some fun with this – Bon Temps Louisiana Style.”

 

Calamar subsequently rounded up Louisiana
guitarist CC Adcock to work up a new, swamp-goth arrangement for the song, and pretty soon
calls were being made to both Neko and Nick, professed fans of True Blood. You can hear the sonic
results streaming right now at the KCRW site.