Monthly Archives: November 2011

Download Free Okkervil River Covers EP


Five songer, recorded
live to tape, is a gift to fans – wait’ll you hear the killer Triffids song,
too, it’ll bring tears to your eyes.


By Blurt Staff


We admit it, we are huge Okkervil River
fans and have been since our humble beginnings as Harp magazine. Will Sheff & Co. consistently find ways to
thrill and charm us, and that stretches all the way back to their humble
beginnings in Austin
circa 1998. Indeed, it’s pretty likely that their latest album, I Am Very Far, is destined for high
placement on our best-albums-of-the-year list for 2011.


Just to bolster their status among the converted, the band
has a new covers EP just out titled Golden
Opportunities 2
, the followup of sorts to 2007’s covers collection The Golden Opportunities Mixtape. It’s
free for download at the band’s website right here. And it’s the total
package – MP3s, a jpeg of the cover, plus PDFs for front and back artwork that
you can print out after you’ve burned the tunes to disc. Sweet!


By the way, our editor wanted to add, “Any band that will
cover a Triffids song has a place waiting for them in Heaven as far as I’m



01 It is So Nice to Get Stoned [Ted Lucas cover]
02 U.F.O. [Jim Sullivan cover]
03 One Soul Less on Your Fiery List [the Triffids cover]
04 Plan D [Bill Fay cover]
05 Dry Bones [Traditional]




Companion piece to
today’s “The Story of Giant Sand’s
Chore Of Enchantment” feature – consult Britain’s Sa-Wa-Ro website for
even more in-depth discographical details.


BY HOWE GELB (as told
to Fred Mills

Giant Sandworms: Giant
EP (1980, Boneless)
It’s really a bad sounding record. I’m totally embarrassed by this whole sort of
David Byrne style of singing that I was latching onto. It was 1980, and in Tucson, that kind of
erratic crap was big. But at the time it was a process of elimination, getting
rid of the .38 Special and stuff. Rainer and I had started Giant Sandworms and
got the two other guys [David
, Billy
] and it became a four-headed beast.

Giant Sand: Valley Of Rain (1985, Enigma)
‘Desert rock’… that was an accident of geographics. I like the contrast: ‘valley
of rain,’ there in the desert with no water, but that one time of year — the
summer monsoons — when things seem to pour. First records are always so
important because you have all this ‘stuff.’ That took 28 years to make; it was
recorded in ’84. But the next one only took eight months to a year! The
greatest compliment is that if you can still put it on and it’s not embarrassing,
it has good sounds, and the energy still comes through – how many years after
the fact, sixteen?

The Band of Blacky Ranchette: The
Band Of Blacky Ranchette
(1985, New Rose,
‘s girlfriend had moved out to L.A.
and was going to put together a real country-punk record. [The Don’t Shoot compilation
featuring John Doe, Divine Horsemen, the Giant Sand side project Blacky
Ranchette and various members of Green On Red and the Long
, on Zippo, 1986.] She turned us on to this studio and we went out
there and did this in a day and a half for 400 dollars. This French guy offered
me a thousand dollars for it and that’s what began the formula: to record for
half of whatever the front money was gonna be and split up the difference. I
took Rainer out there and did his Barefoot Rock album the same way! At any
rate, Rainer had quit Giant Sandworms but I had wanted to get back playing with
him. I had started doing this thing with Van
, but he eventually wanted to do his thing with Naked Prey, so I got Rainer and this great, straight-ahead
rhythm section. This was in ’84. I moved out to L.A., and the first night out
there, I had the tapes of both Blacky and Valley Of Rain in the van and I
had a feeling it was gonna get ripped off so I’d taken everything out of the
van but I forgot the tapes! We had the pre-mix and the rough-mix of each
session, and we got back and sure enough, they’d ripped off the van — they’d
somehow stolen one reel of each, leaving me with the rough mix of Blacky and
the pre-mix masters of Valley Of Rain. Those tapes became the two albums. The
next day we went down to this ghetto area and suddenly Scott
[G.S. bassist] goes, “Did you see the shit that guy was
wearing?” And it was a Giant Sandworms shirt that he must have stolen.

Band of Blacky Ranchette: Ballad
Of A Thin Line Man
(1986, Enigma) and Heartland (1986, Zippo,
These came out the same day. Thin Line was
recorded in L.A. and Heartland was done in Venice and in Reno. At that time, back
in the ’80s, I was so free that I wanted to have five or six different bands
all playing different music. Then when I started getting acclaim for any one of
them, I started to feel the weight of each, and it began to make less sense to
go off starting something new. Why not just do Giant Sand since they know this
name now, so with the following record I just combined both.

Giant Sand: Storm (1988, What Goes On)
We’ve got Paula [Paula
Jean Brown
, ex-Go Gos, and Gelb’s first wife] on bass — she was pregnant
there — and Neil
on pedal steel. It made sense just to combine the attitudes, of the
country stuff as well, and just call it Giant Sand. I was trying to get Tom [Tom
, drummer, now with Jonathan Richman] to play with brushes then.

Giant Sand: The Love Songs and Long
Stem Rant
(1988 and 1989, Homestead)
This is when John came in. We were living in the same building, which is how we
met him, and when we went down to record Love
he was playing in the Insect Surfers and was really, really good in
that. He only had 45 minutes so we hurried through the songs, sometimes playing
faster than normal so we could get them done! Paula and I were living in Hollywood and had just had
our baby, Patsy; she’d had a hit with “Mad About You” with Belinda
Carlisle and that was paying our bills. I was barely making anything and had to
get side jobs. I was trying to get this job at RCA working the phones. At that time
Paula and I weren’t getting along, Chris
who’s on the album was going off to do his solo thing, and in the
meantime Craig Marks at Homestead was setting up this tour, and I asked John if
he wanted to go on the road. It came down to whether or not the RCA job came
through; I was gonna piss off Homestead
and say, “That’s it, I’m gonna get a steady gig and not make records!”
If that job didn’t come through I was gonna hit the road.

      That Friday it
didn’t, and by the weekend we were on a plane. Craig picks us up, bought us a
$2000 ’81 Honda Accord with his credit card, bought me that amp [points at
amplifier in the room], and that was our tour support. We would show up
everywhere as a two-piece five minutes before we were supposed to play and
they’d give us hell because they were expecting a band! But they’d see how
little gear we had and the soundmen loved us — I just said, “Make it sound
like Hendrix!” It was great; that was some of the happiest times. It was
on that tour that we first went to South By Southwest and we met this guy Dusty
Wakeman and his partner Michael Dumas. They invited us up to this little place
near Joshua Tree where they were gonna build a studio. When we got there they
hadn’t gotten it finished, so our friend Eric Westfall, who has worked with us
on most of our records, dragged an eight-track up there to that barn [pictured
on the sleeve]. It was after that when Dusty called me and said he needed a
caretaker to live there, in one of the four little cabins nearby. It was very,
very remote and I loved it. I was fresh from a divorce, and I’d had enough of Hollywood.

Giant Sand: Giant Sandwich (1989, Homestead); Giant Songs: The Best Of Giant Sand (1989, Demon); Giant
Songs Two
(1995, Demon)
Sandwich was an excuse to put out some
unreleased stuff and some remixes. The others are “sort of” best
of’s, not chronological in order. With compilations it’s all about flavor;
anything that has to do with lists on paper is probably the last thing you
should do.

The Band Of Blacky Ranchette: Sage Advice (1990, Demon,
UK; reissued 1993, Restless)
I had the notion to drive back to Tucson
and hang out. So I thought I would record while I was there. I didn’t have any
songs at the time for it, so I wrote a few on the drive down from Rimrock. Not
so hard when you’re alone on a 7 hour drive in a ’66 ‘cuda. You kind of need
that sort of exercise to eat a few miles. And in that car, you felt every one
of them. It was fun finding folks to record, some of the same people that did
the first 2 Blacky records. Rainer of course,  Neil Harry on steel, Tom
Larkins [now with Jonathan Richman] on drums, Bridget Keating on violin…
Later when I got back to California,
I added Lucinda Williams to one of the tracks for a duet thing.

Giant Sand: Swerve (1990, Amazing Black Sand)
That was also written up in Joshua Tree. There are a lot of people on it [Steve
, Chris Cacavas, Mark Walton, Falling James, Juliana Hatfield, Poi Dog
Pondering, etc.] because while we were on the two-piece tour we met Poi Dog
Pondering and another band whose singer I became totally enamored of. That was
Juliana Hatfield and the Blake Babies. We recorded some in Boston
and she came in, then again later in L.A.
when she had come into town to do something with Susanna Hoffs. And Steve had
become a friend, met him in Europe, and it was
fun just to come in and cut something fast. Falling James was nothing but
great. I had put it out in Europe, which is
where I got the financing to have it done, and then I put it out in the States
myself. (Later, Restless picked it up.) It was a cottage industry we had in our
one-room cabin. Me and John would do it and would answer the phones as
“Big Julie.” That was great. Big Julie would talk about the band like
we were assholes! The reason the records have a Tucson address on them is
because I hadn’t stayed in one place for more than two years so having that
mail drop seemed as good an address as any.

Howe Gelb: Dreaded Brown Recluse (solo album, 1991, Houses In Motion, Germany;
reissued ’93, Restless)
I ended up hating the art on that, stupid pink-purple cover. Part of the problem
with dealing with Europe and get things done
quick. When Restless picked it up I was able to do the cover better. Ultimately
a solo record was only an excuse not to do a Giant Sand record because we’d
been putting them out every six to eight months and they were saying,
“Please, can you wait longer between releases!” It could just as well
be a Giant Sand record. By then we had Joey… John’s on there, Paula, Rainer,
Victoria Williams…

Giant Sand: Ramp (1992, Amazing Black Sand; reissued ’92 on
I was splitting my time between New
Mexico and Rimrock, near Joshua Tree. Victoria and
Pappy [Allen} are both on there.  Eric Westfall was engineering and
producing our records, and he would get the keys to the studio that would allow
us to sneak in and do an all-night session. We’d have maybe 24 hours, a day or
two, to get these things done. On used tape for 50 bucks. So a few years before
Eric took me to meet Victoria;
he’d met her and had fallen in love with her, but she’d fallen in love with Peter
Case. A couple of years later I drove my Barracuda down to McCabe’s in
Hollywood where Steve Wynn was doing a gig and had asked me to come down. Pappy
had a bar in Rimrock and I’d been helping him do stuff, fix his urinals, and I
invited him to go with me and sing. When we got there the first person we saw
was Victoria,
and I said if she ever wanted to come out and all that…
   A mutual friend of ours recommended Joey to us. The idea of
finding someone who could play — and had! — an upright bass was part of the
job description. It was time to expand the format even more, and he didn’t seem
to mind at all the hide and seek turns the songs would take. This would really
take its toll on bass players. Drive them nuts! But Joe hung in there real
well. He was the first bass player we ever had that never complained when we
didn’t rehearse. He enjoyed the game of us trying to lose each other. John and
I had this telepathy thing going, and then Joey, of course, was allowed in the
triangle. He figured it out.

Giant Sand: Center Of The Universe (1992, Restless)
I think that’s the best one. The songs are short, a lot of them are realized. The
sounds aren’t great but I like ’em because they aren’t great. There are no deep
tones on that record, for example. I had gotten into this method of working.
Most of the distortion is done with an acoustic guitar. With the pickup on it,
I got one of these pedals with an A-B switch so I could throw it to the amp
when I wanted to. In effect it allowed me to get the recordings done even
faster because I didn’t have to overdub two guitars. I’d be playing acoustic,
step on the pedal, kick in the distortion, then turn it off and come back down
to acoustic.

Giant Sand: Purge & Slouch (1993, Restless)
We had a good relationship with Restless; I think they used us to attract other
bands but that was okay. We had a verbal deal, nothing on paper, but they
claimed we owed them another record when they knew we were gonna sign to Imago.
But I liked the idea and wanted to make a Metal
Machine Music
record like Lou Reed. They got nervous with that: “But
wasn’t that a ‘fuck-you’ from Lou to RCA?” “Yeah, but I’m gonna have
fun with it! I just wanted to walk in with no ideas and see what happens.”
And that became Purge & Slouch with Al Perry, Rainer, all those other guitarists.

Giant Sand: Stromausfall (1993, Return To Sender, Germany)
Limited edition, outtakes from Purge
& Slouch,
recorded at Harvey Moltz’s in Tucson, kept acoustical. That
will probably be rereleased in our bootleg series. Bonus tracks, and I might
take one or two that bugged me off of that.

Giant Sand: Glum (1994, Imago)
All these records were done in a few days; Center might have been a week. That record, it’s a major label record, and we had
four weeks total time put in. You can hear the difference in the sounds. The
low end is just beautiful, and John was totally possessed. We were in New Orleans and I’d never
heard him play drums as magnificently.  That was the record that we
learned about editing. Trina Shoemaker did the editing and she would chop the
songs to make them more concise, and Malcolm [Burn, producer] would tell us how
John Lennon would edit here and here, how War would jam for a half hour and make
a 3 ½ minute song. What I’d done previously was just leave the song long, or
make these really, really weird edits. Which I loved! I’ve got this cassette of
the pre-edit rough mixes for the album. I’ve also got these outtakes with Lisa
Germano, who was going out with Malcolm. She ended up sitting in on three songs
that didn’t make it onto the record. The idea is to re-release that in the
bootleg series as the hissy cassette mixes and then throw on the Lisa Germano
tracks too.

Giant Sand: Goods And Services (Brake Out/Enemy), Backyard
Barbecue Broadcast
(Koch), Volume
One Official Bootleg Series
(Epiphany) (all 1995)
Each one is made up from DATs; none involved us going into the studio to do a new
record. They’re all one-offs. Goods came out in Germany; I’ve wondered if I should
release that in the states. The guys who did it recorded us live, mostly in
Europe, both as a three-piece in Europe and as
a six-piece [Gelb, Burns and Convertino, plus Paula Jean Brown on bass, Bill
Elm on steel and Mike Semple on guitar]. They remixed it, and I could add
remixes and one or two extra tracks. Barbecue, I let Nick Hill, of WMFU-FM, put it together. It was recorded at WMFU in ’94
and ’95 and it was his puppy. And the bootleg thing, it had some outtakes from Barbecue and Goods, some bits and pieces that we wanted to take and make a
semi-ambient sounding album. The first track is a live show in New York with Cris
Kirkwood — which nobody knows, because I opted for the luxury of not putting
any credits on there.

OP8: Slush (1997, Thirsty Ear)
The Lisa Germano sessions. Something smoother, almost like the sound of when we
play in the lobby of Hotel Congress here on Friday nights. That’s really the
only studio Giant Sand between Glum and Chore — and it’s not really Giant
Sand, it’s OP8. We had actually started working on some of the songs that would
become Chore, and about that same time we started working on The Inner Flame [Rainer Ptacek
tribute/benefit album that Gelb and Robert Plant spearheaded]. Then Lisa came
to town.

Howe Gelb: Hisser (solo album, 1998, V2)
A different methodology. Culminating crap in the living room, just acoustic guitar
and piano, and friends who drop by. It wasn’t like going in and working. A
friend of mine who lives out in the desert had a big reel-to-reel in storage
and he came over and set up this huge four-track and a couple of big mikes,
some old tube pre-amps, literally right here in the living room.

Howe Gelb: Upside-Down Home (solo album, 1999, Ow Om)
That was just a quick CD-R release I made, mostly outtakes from Hisser. It’s when I was first beginning
to stand on my feet again, go out and play some shows, see what’s out there, if
anybody gives a shit, whatever. I made up a few with cheap covers. Maybe only
20 or 30 copies altogether. And I ended up using a few of the tracks for the
European edition of Hisser, but I
dunno, that was probably long enough!

Giant Sand: Chore Of Enchantment (2000, Thrill Jockey)
I couldn’t be happier. The beauty, I guess, of working on it for so long was that
I got to consider it and say, “No, we don’t need that…” or,
“Yeah, it’d be good to use this…” I got to live with it for a long
time — which we never get to! And the other thing was that I wanted to make it
more concise.
        We had gotten to the point where
we were playing 2 1/2 hour, 3 hour sets, then that wasn’t appealing any more. I
felt we were wasting people’s lives: it’s better to be a pharmacist and dole
out the proper dosage, so we then were doing 45 minute sets that were really
good instead. And I thought for the actual studio records I wanted it to be
thick enough for those who have waited for so long, but short enough so it
doesn’t become too exhausting. So I thought, “I’ve gotta keep it under an
hour,” which is why it’s 59 minutes and 59 seconds.

Giant Sand: The Rock Opera Years (2000, Ow Om)
It’s the second volume in the Bootleg Series, available on the website and at
live shows. It’s a companion piece to Chore; four songs are the same titles but very different versions. “Dusted
(In Tucson)”, for example, was recorded the same day in ’96 we did “The Inner Flame” for the Rainer tribute. I added a
little electric, some steel, some pump organ. “Punishing Sun (In
Tucson)” is a relentless pulse of dance fever compared with the acoustic,
almost solo ballad on Chore. Also
included is the title track “Chore Of Enchantment” that isn’t on Chore at all. Evan Dando sang on a couple
tracks when he’d come out for a visit. Victoria Williams did the same when we
went to visit her, and then ended up doing “Music Arcade,” a 
Neil Young cover up there. All this stuff was done just prior to beginning the deal
with V2, and this is how the record would have been if we’d never signed to V2.




MP3: New Sharon Van Etten


Track comes from forthcoming
album, due next February.


Sharon Van Etten’s new album (Tramp, out Feb. 7 on
Jagjaguwar) showcases an artist in full control of her powers, and “Serpents”
blares Tramp‘s articulated vision. Listen to the track here for an
advance glimpse of the album:



With venomous strength, Sharon’s singing and lyrics attack self-doubt
and insecurity, when one feels the initial pangs of a relationship turning away
from beauty towards rot. She’s backed by a supporting cast of The National’s
Aaron Dessner (slide guitar, bass) and Bryce Dessner (ebo guitar), The
Walkmen’s Matt Barrick (drums), Doveman’s Thomas Bartlett (keys), and Wye Oak’s
Jenn Wasner (vocals). “Serpents” offers only an inkling of the glorious Tramp,

Our New BFF: Handcuffs’ Brad Elvis


Fan commits to
following us on Twitter; mayhem ensues.


By The Editors


Call it a slick marketing ploy or simply an instance of
perfect timing, but following a closely-watched (term used loosely…) and no
doubt hotly contested (Tw1tters The Cat , for one, wanted to be the pick)
contest, Chicago’s Brad Elvis is BLURT’s 4,000th Twitter follower.
No doubt having followed our progress on Twitter as we neared that milestone
number, Brad pounced – like Tw1tters did, but with fingers, not paws – when we
announced we would award “fabulous prizes” to our 4,000th follower.


Brad, sharp eyed BLURT readers may recall, is also a
founding member and the “four-handed” drummer for The Handcuffs, who we
recently profiled on the site. Hey, he obviously had a vested interest in
subscribing to our Twitter feed! He also informed us that he is nearing his own
milestone – his 4,000th gig, which includes a long musical career
with the Handcuffs and other outfits (among them, The Romantics). That’s Brad
above, pictured with band vocalist Chloe Orwell, “the designated blonde” of the
duo. Yep.


Brad, you rock, your band rocks, and your gifts are en route
to Chicago where they will be delivered personally by 8 nubile BLURT interns
all in various stages of undress. Please, return them – the interns, not the
gifts – intact. Meanwhile, we’ll see the rest of you folks when we hit 5,000 at
our Twitter feed…

Worst. iPhone. App. Ever.: Auto-Tune



Now you can be even
more annoying than your neighbor.


By Blurt Tech Staff


We get lots of useless press releases around here and try as
we may, it’s just impossible to stop the flow. So we go with it sometimes…
which is the case at hand. We have no doubt that zillions of people will be
taking advantage of this new app, but let the record show that if BLURT ever
receives a phone call that betrays any semblance of Auto-Tune… hey, we have
your phone number, and it’s easy to block it, haw haw! So don’t try to
“surprise or amuse” us.


Read the full press release below. It is, in a word,





World’s First Real-Time Auto-Tune Vocal Effect Now Available for
iPhone: Auto-Tune Phone App Transforms Your Phone Calls Into a Personalized Pop


MONTREAL, Canada – December 1, 2011 – Inc. and
Antares Audio Technologies today announced the availability of Auto-Tune Phone
for iOS devices. Auto-Tune Phone is the first app to provide users with the
iconic Auto-Tune Vocal effect during a live phone call to any phone or phone
number in North America.


With Auto-Tune Phone you simply dial a phone number within the
app to get the genuine Auto-Tune effect for both callers or just yourself in
real time. You can also record yourself or a call and post it to Facebook or


Auto-Tune gained world-wide recognition as the tool of choice
for what has become one of the signature vocal effects of our time. Used by
many artists in the pop, R&B and hip-hop communities, Auto-Tune has become
an industry standard musicians and producers. Auto-Tune Phone now allows anyone
to create and share their recordings.



– Surprise and amuse your friends with Auto-Tune phone calls

– Tune only yourself or both parties on the call

– Record your calls and share on Facebook and Twitter

– Hone your Auto-Tune skills in the free practice area

– Call any phone number anywhere in North


Pricing and Availability

Auto-Tune Phone is available immediately for iOS devices through
the App Store at the discounted price of $1.99 for a limited time (regular
price: $2.99). Thirty minutes of free calling time are included. Versions for
Android and Nokia Symbian devices will be available soon.


For regular Auto-Tune Phone updates follow us at, become
a Fan on Facebook at or visit


Antares Audio Technologies

Antares Audio Technologies is the worldwide leader in the
development of unique vocal processing tools. Having revolutionized vocal
production with the ground-breaking Auto-Tune pitch correction technology,
Antares is committed to providing producers, engineers, sound designers and
musicians with powerful, innovative, easy-to-use tools for enhancing and
manipulating the human voice. Antares Audio Technologies is located at 231
Technology Circle, Scotts Valley, CA 95066. For more information visit Inc. Inc. is a mobile app development company located in Montreal, Quebec,
Canada. The
managing partners at Inc. draw on a combined total of over 50 years
experience in the fields of Telephony, Telecommunications, Networking and
Software Development. NewHula now specializes in the development of challenging
native mobile apps that include telephony, VoIP and remote server components. Inc. is currently privately funded. Inc. is located at 9740 Trans Canada Hwy. St. Laurent, Quebec, Canada, H4S 1V9.




Benefit for Japan School Music Revival


Proceeds of benefit concert go to help children return to
their music studies.


On November 20 at 7pm at Largo in West
Hollywood, CA, The
Section Quartet hosted “A Concert to Benefit School Music Revival”.
Co-MC’ing the show were comedienne Margaret Cho and singer/songwriter Grant-Lee
Phillips.  Artists initially scheduled to perform were Sam Phillips, Van
Dyke Parks, Linda Perry, mike watt, Lisa Germano, Wendy & Lisa, Matt Sharp,
Jenny O and Grey DeLisle who were joined by Ken Andrews and Kellii Scott (of
the band Failure), Vivian Campbell (of Def Leppard) and Murry Hammond (of Old
97s), with more guests to be announced.  


Pictured above are Cho and
Phillips performing together at the event. (Photo by Chris Cuttriss.)


All the artists performed in
collaboration with The Section Quartet who acted as “house
band,”  making for an evening of
unique and unforgettable musical moments.  In addition, journalist and
co-founding editor of Xeni Jardin spoke about her recent
trip to Japan
to report on the ongoing nuclear crisis for PBS’ News Hour program. Eric
Gorfain of The Section Quartet will be traveling to Japan
to hand deliver 100% of the concert’s proceeds to Mr. Naoyuki Seo of the School
Music Revival foundation in Tokyo.


The March 2011 earthquake and
tsunami in the Fukushima region of Japan decimated
the immediate area and created an ongoing nuclear disaster; the images of the
disaster beamed around the world in real time shocked and horrified all. As a
musician who has spent much of the last 21 years repeatedly visiting and making
music in Japan,
as well living there for a four year stretch, Gorfain, wanted to help in some
way, large or small.  Then, Gorfain discovered that composer Ryuichi
Sakamoto had co-founded School Music Revival, an organization devoted to
repairing or replacing school instruments damaged or lost in the disaster.


“While human life was lost in
incomprehensible numbers, lives are being put back together, and music plays a
large role in mending the mind, as well as the body, so I wanted to help the
children of the region get back to ‘normal’ life with their music studies as
quickly as possible”, says Gorfain.


More details:


Fugazi Goes Grateful Dead w/Live Series


Planning to post 800
concerts when it’s all said and done – kinda like Dick’s Picks, only more elaborate.


By Fred Mills


It’s not the first time that punk legends Fugazi have earned
comparisons to the Grateful Dead, and favorable ones at that. Say what you will
about the actual stylistic gulf between Ian MacKaye and Jerry Garcia; over the years both
bands proved themselves to be at the forefront of cultivating intense fan
loyalty, of adhering to a decidedly populist stance in terms of concert and
merch pricing and making sure that the folks who care about the band know that
the band cares about them in return. (Pearl Jam is another band that’s operated along these lines.)


So according to a report in Pitchfork this morning, Fugazi
is taking yet another logical step in that general vein, announcing plans to offer
up around 800 concerts priced at $5.00 each via the Dischord Records new Fugazi Live
Series website
. You can already check it out in the beta stages, with an
initial official launch of 130 live shows due December 1. Each gig – culled from
1987 to 2003 – will have archival content (photos, posters, etc.) in addition to
the actual music, and the site will be fully browseable via date, location and

Report: Joy Formidable Live in Rochester


Sept. 30 at the Water Street Music Hall,
it was a Roar-ing good time.


Text & Photos By April Engram

A humbled and charged
Joy Formidable descended upon Rochester’s Water Street as
they neared the end of their headlining U.S. tour in support of debut album
The Big Roar. The Welsh trio has
quickly gained a following since their 2009 EP A Balloon Called Moaning; with the recent U.S. release of
Roar the band got a chance to drown
fans from across the pond with their kinetic music.


Joy Formidable’s
reputation for putting on a great live performance preceded them and they wasted
no time in awing the audience with their loud, shoegaze tunes; first, drummer
Matt Thomas had to battle a leaky pipe dripping water on his set. After a stage
hand comically, and unsuccessfully, attempted to throw a towel around the
highly suspended pipe he found a stool, stood on it, and securely tied the
cloth…the audience applauded. With all other instruments soundchecked and
Thomas ready to go Ritzy Bryan (guitar, vocals) and Rhydian Dafydd (bass,
vocals) emerged from backstage; their presence encouraged a second round of
applause from the eager crowd. Bryan
greeted everyone and Joy Formidable leapt into the music.


Thomas was
amazing on the drums as he pulverized his kit while Bryan and Dafydd purposefully
– and dangerously – collided. Bryan
intentionally stumbled backwards into Dafydd’s bass and he shoved her away; he
swayed with the music into Bryan,
she kicked him back to his station. Their angst-filled energy was surely
intensified by their amped music while Thomas, quite contradictorily, wore a
beaming smile for the entire performance.


Despite a short
setlist, Joy Formidable fans enjoyed every moment and sang along with Bryan. When
the familiar bass riff intro to “Austere” began people cheered and applauded. Near
the songs’ end the band quieted as Bryan’s
voice soared over the audience’s rhythmic claps before the expected explosion
of music filled the music hall. Bryan thanked Rochester for the reception and confessed that she’s
amazed that a little band from Wales
could drum up such a crowd, “I’m always surprised people show up” she joked.






Before the night
was through one song that didn’t appear on The
Big Roar
, “Ostrich” made the cut with darker track “Buoy” leading us to the
finale. Of course “Whirring” would be last; now the customary end to a Joy
Formidable performance the nearly seven minute song concludes with a furious,
high octane four minutes of music. Yet there is nothing like experiencing
“Whirring” live; Bryan
throws her guitar to the floor and turns her attention to her effects board,
she and Dafydd beat drums while Thomas goes even crazier on the drums. When the
song was over Bryan
and Dafydd waved their farewell to the audience, Thomas threw his broken drum
sticks into the air, high fived fans in the front row, jumped off the stage
into the crowd and disappeared backstage.


Though the
performance excluded some great songs from The
Big Roar
that could’ve extended the night, Joy Formidable always proves to
be a fantastic live act.




A Heavy Abacus

The Magnifying



The Greatest
Light is the Greatest Shade






Forbert Preps Deluxe Reish of 1st LP


1978 album still
considered a classic. Meanwhile, check that “compact disc digital audio” photo,


By Blurt Staff


On Dec. 6 Steve Forbert will reissue his 1978 debut album, Alive On Arrival as a two-disc set that will
include a newly remastered version of the original recording plus a bonus CD of
session outtakes and period live tracks. The original LP has been
consistently voted by music critics as one of the best debut albums of all


Rolling Stone raved
that on the album Forbert “attacked his acoustic guitar fiercely, took raw,
careening harmonica solos, and sang in a manner nobody had heard
before–hoarse, almost whispering at times, but with a sure command of texture
and nuance and a sense of high drama.” Paul Nelson, in the Rolling Stone review of the record, said that “Nothing in this
world is going to stop Steve Forbert, and on that I’d bet anything you’d care
to wager.”


Best known for his 1980 hit single “Romeo’s Tune,” Forbert
has released fourteen studio albums, performs over one hundred concerts a year
(songs such as “Goin’ Down To Laurel,” “What Kinda Guy?” and “You Cannot Win if
You Do Not Play” from his debut are still staples of the live show) and is
currently in the midst of working on a new record to be released in 2012.




Disc One: “Alive On Arrival” (remastered)

Goin’ Down To Laurel

Steve Forbert’s Midsummer Night’s Toast


What Kinda Guy?

It Isn’t Gonna Be That Way

Big City Cat

Grand Central Station, March 18, 1977

Tonight I Feel So Far Away From Home

Settle Down

10. You
Cannot Win If You Do Not Play


Disc Two: Bonus studio and live recordings

It’s Been A Long Time (“Alive On Arrival” outtake)

House of Cards (“Alive On Arrival” outtake)

Song For The South (“Alive On Arrival” outtake)

Steve Forbert’s Moon
River (“Alive On Arrival”

Lonesome Cowboy Bill’s Song (“Alive On Arrival” outtake)

It’s Been A Long Time (Live at The Other End 12/20/78)

You Cannot Win If You Do Not Play (“Arriving Live” promo EP)

Steve Forbert’s Midsummer Night’s Toast (“Arriving Live” promo EP)

Steve Forbert’s Moon
River (“Arriving Live”
promo EP)

10. Leaves
in the Wind (CBGB solo demo recording 1977)

11. Goin’
Down To Laurel
(Original Meridian, MS demo 1976)


Filmmaker Ken Russell R.I.P. 1927-2011


The visual brains
behind the classic rock film Tommy.


By Fred Mills


Ken Russell, the maverick, frequently over-the-top British director
behind the film version of The Who’s Tommy as well as the Franz Liszt biopic Lisztomania (which featured a Who vocalist Roger Daltrey in the lead role), passed away
yesterday, Nov. 27 at the age of 84. According to media sources he had
experienced a series of strokes prior to his death.


Russell’s heyday was the ‘70s, with Tommy emblematic for his flamboyant style and in your face visuals
(can anyone ever forget the Ann-Margret baked beans scene, or Tina Turner’s
quivering face and body in her Acid Queen guise). Among his other films were
1969’s Women In Love, 1971’s The Devils and 1980’s Altered States.



[Photo via Wikimedia Commons, by DiVicenzo (2008)