Monthly Archives: May 2012

First Look: New Japandroids Album

Released next week on Polyvinyl, Celebration Rock is a
mission statement for the Canadian band.


By Danny R. Phillips


In my book, it is a good
sign when a record opens with the sound of fireworks ripping open the night
sky.  It is a signal to the world of what
is to come in the 35 minutes that are to follow: an explosion of distortion,
pounding drums, ear-splitting volume and stories of fighting against a mundane
life.  Japandroids’ Celebration Rock has that by the truckloads; the Canadian duo picks
up seamlessly were Bob Mould’s Husker Du and Sugar left off: Japandroids are showing,
without reservation, their allegiance to music built upon pop sensibilities and
the rotten teeth of punk rock.  Celebration Rock is their mission
statement and it seems to be written in all caps.



Japandroids – Jack the Ripper by Polyvinyl Records


Few bands blend the
sing-along wonder of bands like The Hold Steady and Against Me! with the
ability and prowess to make aggressive music with conviction and not just
present itself as Hot Topic sponsored bullshit. 
There is nothing contrived or manufactured feeling when listening to the
all too short Celebration Rock.  The Vancouver,
British Columbia duo (Brian King,
David Prowse) seem to revel in what could be perceived limitations that come
with the guitar/drums only setup.  Brian
King buries his guitar in fuzz and volume while Prowse deals out rapid-fire
rhythms.  Instead of being stuck in a
small sound they explode, telling great stories of fighting against mediocrity
and making the most of what life has dealt you, whether it is a royal flush or
the Dead Man’s Hand.


The album can be
exhausting with its full throttle blast through 35 minutes but that is ok, life
can be exhausting.  Like the band’s first
release Post-Nothing in 2009,
Japandroids sophomore effort is loaded end to end with great songwriting and
the joy they’ve found in their influences. 
“The House That Heaven Built” makes a racket like that you would expect
if Bob Mould had been the lead guitarist for The Replacements.  “Continuous Thunder” sounds like U2 with
much, much bigger balls, “Nights of Wine and Roses” and “Adrenaline Nightshift”
would have been right at home on Springsteen’s Born to Run.  Hell, they even
throw in an exceptional cover of The
Gun Club’s “For the Love of Ivy” as if to tell the music nerds out there,
“Yeah, this one’s for you.  We did our


Granted, Celebration Rock is not something that
has never been heard before but the name fits perfectly.  The album ends as it begins, with
fireworks.  Japandroids have a reason to
celebrate, to explode into the night because they have given world back guitar
driven fuzz rock with real storytelling. 
King sings “Still waiting for a generation’s bonfire to begin” on
“Adrenaline Nightshift”; well, my man, I think Celebration Rock is both the can of gas and a box of matches
they’ve been waiting for and I could not be happier.



Make Your Own Fisher Price Discs!


Back to the future,
eh? Listen to “Stairway to Heaven,” below – it blows the socks off all those silly Rockabye Baby albums.



By Fred Mills


We honestly don’t remember our parents giving us the Led Zep
platter, but “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” does ring a bell, as it should for
every kid who ever owned a Fisher Price record player – the kind that played
hard-plastic, grooved/notched discs in a manner that would have clearly made
Thomas Edison proud.





You can relive those tender memories now, sorta. As is
an Instructable user named “fred27” (no relation; but I am “fredIII”)
put on his thinking cap and created a tutorial on how to make 21st century
versions of those discs. According to Gizmodo, “If you have access to a milling
machine did you know you can actually create
your own custom discs
? Very few of us have access to a milling machine
which is needed to make these a reality, but there’s no reason the steps can’t
be adapted to use a 3D printer
instead, which are quickly becoming far more prevalent. He’s even created a
custom app
for creating whatever music you want on the disk.”


We smell an incoming trend with greater staying power than cassettes! Will
someone please create a copy of the Butthole Surfers’ cover of Sabbath’s “Sweet
Leaf” (complete with father-son dialogue intro) and send it over to BLURT?

Video: New “Creeping” by 2:54


Alan Moulder-produced
track from self-titled debut album.


By Blurt Staff


To mark the release of their new album 2:54, out today on Fat Possum,
2:54 unveil the video for their forthcoming single “Creeping” (the 7in will
be released on June 18th via Fiction). The eerie, desolate video was
directed by Scandinavian duo Frode & Marcus; the single
was realized in union by the one and only Alan Moulder (My
Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Jesus & The Mary Chain, etc), and is ot
only the first ever fully realized 2:54 song (early demos appearing
on blogs in 2010), but the only track on the album both produced and mixed
solely by Moulder himself. 





The band will play a special free set at London’s Rough
Trade East store this Thursday May 31st (on stage at 7.30pm), ahead of
their headline show at London’s Scala venue next Thursday, June 7th.
They then embark upon month-long voyage across the US, taking in
15 cities with Widowspeak supporting them. The band were main support for the
XX’s comeback shows a week ago.



Tour Dates 


 05/31 London,
UK – Rough
Trade East (7:30PM) 

6/7 London,
UK – Scala

6/9 Brooklyn, NY – Knitting

6/10 Washington,
DC – Rocknroll

6/11 New York, NY – Mercury

6/13 Boston, MA – TT
The Bears

6/14 Montreal, QUE – Divan

6/15 Toronto,
ONT – NXNE/Lee’s

6/16 Columbus, OH – The

6/17 Chicago, IL – Empty

6/18 Minneapolis, MN – Triple

6/21 Seattle,
WA – The

6/22 Portland, OR – Doug
Fir Lounge

6/23 Vancouver, BC – Biltmore

6/25 San Francisco, CA – Independent ! 

6/26 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour

6/27 San Diego, CA – Casbah !


$ = Gross
Magic & Echo Lake

! = Widowspeak


New Kelly Hogan LP Streaming at NPR


I Like To Keep Myself in Pain released next week on Anti- label.

By Blurt Staff

The new Kelly Hogan solo album is streaming at NPR Music as part of their “First Listen Series” – just head right over here to give it a spin. Meanwhile, here’s what our reviewer had to say about the record in the new print issue of BLURT:

charter member of Chicago’s
insurgent scene-along with Jon Langford, Sally Timms and other rootsy
raconteurs-as well as a constant on Neko Case’s albums and tours, Kelly Hogan
hasn’t found a genre she can’t conquer. It’s little surprise then to find her covering
songs by other alt all-stars: Langford, the Handsome Family, Andrew Bird, John
Wesley Harding, Robbie Fulks, Vic Chesnutt, M. Ward and Robyn Hitchcock
included. It’s an A-list of contributors for sure, but what’s most impressive
is how Hogan makes each offering her own, be it the soulful styling of “Dusty
Groove,” “Ways Of This World” and the title track, the torch song swoon of “Whenever
You’re Out Of My Sight” or the blues she croons on “Pass On By.” Even so, all’s
in sync, due not only to Hogan’s bewitching vocals, but also because the presence
of R&B greats Booker T. Jones and James Gadson ensures an unmistakable air
of authenticity. And when Hogan gets playful on “Slumber’s Symphony” or builds
to a rousing refrain on “Plant White Roses,” whatever pain remains quickly


Read: Gregg Allman Autobiography



Cross To Bear, published recently by William Morrow, asks the timeless
question: what is, ultimately, more fun, marriage, heroin, or rock ‘n’ roll? We
think we know the answer, but Gregg’s hedging his bets…


By John B. Moore

Though his autobiography/memoir has only been on book shelves
for a matter of weeks, it seems Gregg Allman may already have a new chapter to add to the paperback version. Despite detailing
the pitfalls of his six marriages over 400 pages (the one to Cher is given the
most ink, obviously), and explaining precisely why he has finally realized that
he might not be cut out for married life, it was announced last week that the
64-year-old Blues-soaked Southern Rock pioneer is engaged to his 24-year-old
girlfriend. Seventh time’s a charm!


Cross to Bear
is much more than a catalogue of Allman’s
ill-fated love life. The book, so far the most definitive look at the influential
redneck hippie movement that was/is The Allman Brothers, is a warts and all introspection
of Gregg and his older brother Duane’s childhood, their first bands and the
ultimate success they found in starting what would be their legacy and help
jumpstart an entirely new sub-genre of rock. Written with the help of celebrity
journalist Alan Light, Allman’s unique voice comes through clear throughout the
text with his quirky expressions and phrasings jumping out on just about every
page. The book is refreshingly self-effacing for a rock star memoir, frankly honest
and at times painful to read; In particular, the recounting of his brother’s
fatal motorcycle accident and the oddly-timed motorcycle death of bassist Berry
Oakley, just a few days passed the one-year anniversary of Duane’s accident near
to the same intersection. Yes, he also discusses and dismisses the oft-mentioned
band curse.


Though clearly a laid back fellow, Allman unloads plenty of
vitriol on guitarist Dickey Betts, who he claims took on the role of unelected leader
and dictator of the band shortly after the deaths of Duane and Oakley. There are
also plenty of pages devoted to the author’s addictions (alcohol, cocaine and heroin)
and the countless visits to rehab and recovery meetings. He ultimately found
sobriety through his own mix of spirituality and self-styled recovery.


The band still records and tours, though not selling nearly
as many records as they did in the late ‘70s (but who is?). He seems pretty
content with the choices he’s made overall and how his life has turned out.
When you consider how many bands exist nowadays thanks to The Allman Brothers,
it’s a little shocking just how little ego Allman still carries around with
him. Thankfully he still had enough in him to write this memoir.          





Rob Delaney / Kasey Anderson


Rob Delaney uses Twitter better than maybe any other person
alive. Delaney has been a comic and actor for years, but it was not until
Twitter that he gained access to the enormous audience that has allowed him to
tour successfully with minimal promotion or publicity (outside of his Twitter
feed), and to sustain himself as a writer (he recently shot a pilot for Comedy
Central and is putting the finishing touches on a book to be published by
Random House) and performer (his one-man show, Naked and Bloody, and headline stand-up dates have sold out
consistently across the US for the last two years). Delaney is one of the most
thoughtful, intelligent, and generous people I’ve ever had the pleasure to
spend time with, and that comes across clearly in everything he does, including
this discussion of Jimmy Ruffin’s classic, “What Becomes of the Broken


The first time I remember being aware of the song, I
was 13 and really coming into my own as a shitty, self-involved stoner kid.
Empathy was not an emotion I experienced with any frequency, but I heard “What
Becomes of the Broken Hearted” and empathized immediately with the narrator,
not necessarily because of the subject matter, but because of the way Ruffin
delivers it. Do you remember the first time you were really aware of the song?
Did it have an immediate impact on you?


This song just rocks me. I’d
heard it as a kid in the background, like on an oldies station driving around
with my mom and didn’t think anything of it. But then as an adult, after having
my face kicked in a few times by “love” and my own stupidity, rediscovering the
song was a revelation. The amount of beautiful human pain, unvarnished, and
loaded into a radio-ready single, is just astonishing. There’s a lot of love in
this song, a lot of pain, and perhaps most importantly, a lot of endurance. It
couldn’t be more beautiful.


Exactly. Do you think that unvarnished humanity is
missing from a lot of contemporary pop and R&B or do we just romanticize the
past? “Fuck You” is naked emotion, I guess, but it doesn’t play the way
Ruffin’s song does. It seems to me that there is a distinct lack of sincerity
in pop music over the last, I don’t know, decade or so?

            What really
strikes me about the song is the last word of the chorus: “Maybe.” There’s
absolutely no resolution. There are plenty of great broken-hearted soul songs
(“You Left the Water Running,” “Tracks of My Tears”), but Ruffin delivers those
lines with such a beautiful devastation, which is perhaps even more impressive
given that he didn’t write the tune. Like so many other Motown songs of that
same era, it was written by William Witherspoon and Paul Riser, with lyrics by
James Dean. To some degree, he’s inhabiting someone else’s skin, but he does
that so convincingly that it is easy to imagine the song as autobiographical. I
suppose that’s the mark of any great interpreter.


Yes, the desperation and
bleak nature of the song is quite naked. I don’t listen to too much
contemporary R&B or pop, so I’m reluctant to say that this type of idea
exists only in music from the past. I know it wasn’t a Top 40 hit, but “This
Year” by the Mountain Goats has the chorus “I am gonna make it through this
year if it kills me,” and that is another of my favorite “Keep on Truckin'”
songs. It’s an important message that I, at 33, am really only beginning to
fully understand. Yes, you need to work hard in this life. Yes, love is a
necessary ingredient. But one that I really needed to have beaten into me many
times was that patience and merely sticking around are huge parts of a
successful life. So I don’t even look at “What Becomes…” as a guy singing about
preparing to die or give up, but rather it’s a guy fully inhabiting his sadness
and confusion and surrendering to it for the time being, and (thankfully for
us) singing about it.

            And yes, the lack of resolution is a big part of what
makes the song stick with you. It doesn’t sew you up after the surgery that
this song performs. It leaves you on the table to wonder and ask your own

I love that he didn’t write it. I mean, lyrically, that song is airtight and
would be great to listen to coming out of any good singer’s mouth, but
thankfully we get to hear it from Ruffin, who is a mature singer who pretty
clearly understands and has felt and experienced what he’s singing about.

            I first really started to get into it after I was in a
big car accident and was in the hospital and its honesty felt like healing to


I don’t know that I’ll look back on “Fuck You” and
have it feel and sound as fresh and raw to me in five years as Ruffin’s song
feels and sounds to me today, 44 years after its release. But either way, the
point you make applies. Those songs are still being written and sung, they’re
just not played on the radio as often. (That Mountain Goats song is maybe my
favorite of theirs, by the way.)

always heard it as more resignation than surrender, but maybe your
representation is closer to the mark, or maybe it’s simply a matter of
perspective. Either way, I think you’re right. In contrast to a song like, “I
Wish It Would Rain,” where the narrator is very cognizant of pride and
perception, “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” seems very much built upon the
concept of accepting, if not embracing, pain and confusion.

Are there other songs or records that
became important – or more important – to you after your accident? I was having
a conversation with Peter Case about this very thing not long ago, about our respective
experiences with listening to music while being physically and psychologically
on the mend. Peter said after his heart surgery, he could only listen to a
couple of albums: Blue Shadows Falling by Ron Franklin and Miles Davis’ Kind of
(interesting titular coincidence). I was hospitalized for a while and
listened almost exclusively to Tom Waits’ Mule
. Did you have any touchstones in that way?


I’m sure it won’t surprise
you that Pet Sounds is the album I
listened to most while in the hospital for a month after my accident. I
listened to it every day, often more than once. iPods hadn’t yet arrived, so I
just had a few CDs to keep me company. Pet
is beautiful and it’s by a crazy person who felt everything very
deeply so it acted as a sort of oxygen or fuel for me as my bones were knitting
and I was having occasional surgeries. “God Only Knows” in particular felt like
a perfect message telling me I would be okay that I could listen to again and
again. So I very much “prescribe” that album to anyone going through a
difficult time.


Yeah, there is a very naked vulnerability to Pet Sounds that comes through very
clearly. In that way,
Wilson‘s work – or
that particular album, anyway – is similar to “What Becomes of the Broken
Hearted” in that it encourages an active emotional relationship between
listener and song. In my opinion, that’s when art is most “valuable” and
“effective,” when it comes from someplace meaningful to the artist – personal,
political, whatever – and reaches someplace meaningful in the audience. As an
artist, if you can do that, you can tap into something that will sustain you
for a long time.


Report/Photos:Hudson Branch Live Chicago



Lincoln Hall on May 8, it was a special record release performance from the
indie popsters.


By Klaus Nyman / Photos By Daniel Sather


The Hudson Branch’s newly released World Kid raised celebratory spirits as they performed May 8th at Lincoln Hall in Chicago. The follow-up to Tightrope Walker marks the completion of their second
full-length album. They made
themselves fully available before and after the show, hanging out
with every fan that wanted time with them. It’s great to see a group of guys so
dedicated to freely communicating and sharing with their public.


message illuminates the difficulties
of having to grow up and let go of childhood but not fully wanting to. Their 14-song rendition, plus encore, showered fans with
emotions felt when dealing with rejection, unequally reciprocated love
and misunderstood chemistry. 


As the guys arrived onstage and began to play,
images of childhood memories were painted with delicate instrumentation and the
ingenious lyricism coming from inside frontman Cobey Branch’s head. The intimate size of the venue provided
fans the opportunity to gather closely, giving a clear view of all members’
performance style while offering a taste of what these guys are all about.



Branch filled the room with joy, taking listeners to
a place where everything was
bliss. The lighting was dim enough to lose oneself to what was happening on
stage and in the music. Jake Boll (piano, guitar, Wurlitzer, vocals) sat
side-by-side with Enoch Kim (violin, piano, synthesizer,
vocals), and together they started the show with “What Did I Eat“; the album followed in its entirety.
Knowing fans wanted their debut album as well, they planted a few faves off that within the set, including “Be
Minor,” “Armed With A Box” and “Clouds.” Their
stage presence was jubilant and youthful, giving listeners a feel for what it was like to be a
kid again. Fans sung along with
the familiar tunes, dedicating themselves to the experience.  It seemed only right when watching to
want to be up on stage dancing and laughing along
with them. Interaction on stage was comfortable and in sync between all members, proving that the guys were enjoying
putting on the show as much as fans were enjoying hearing them.


There is room for improvement of how they interact with their fans
when performing. The music was spot on, but the connection with fans while
playing was minimal compared to the member’s interaction with each other.


The Branch’s performance
culminated with a cover of Wilco’s “Sunken
Treasure,” bleeding
into an acoustic start to “Sugar.” After performing they
continued the celebration and release of the album with fans taking pictures
and signing autographs.


Set List:


Did I Eat


of Elegance


With A Box


Trample Tremble Trampoline







Treasure (by Wilco)





Moogfest 2012 Festival Announced


“Start working on your costumes…”

By Blurt Staff


The news may have slipped under the radar of the music media, but no matter;
last week the Moog Foundation confirmed that for the 3rd year
running, MoogFest will take place in Asheville.
The exact date has not been announced, but since it took place on Halloween
weekend for the past two years, expectations are that it will be October 26-28 –
and that the downtown area of the North
Carolina city will once again be overrun with
costumed revelers aiming to get their Moog on. Below is the official
announcement – go here to view the event’s website for details on the previous



Alright all you Moogfest fiends! The
announcement you have been waiting for has finally arrived.  Moogfest 2012
is confirmed and will once again be held in Asheville, NC.

For the past two years the multi-venue
festival has taken over downtown Asheville
on Halloween weekend, bringing in friends from out of town, crazy costumes and
of course, amazing music.  Past line-ups have included: The Flaming Lips,
Moby, Passion Pit, Big Boi, MGMT-just to name a few.  This year promises
to bring another round of diverse and talented musicians.

The Bob Moog Foundation always has
exciting things taking place during Moogfest and this year will be no exception.  Plan on mind-blowing historic panels,
 fun interactive experiences and new merchandise from the BMF.  Be on
the lookout for more news to come in the upcoming weeks, and be sure to check
back with us for updates!


Video: Howard Devoto Rejoins Buzzcocks


Well, for one night in
Manchester, at


By Fred Mills


Howard Devoto was a guest of the Buzzcocks in Manchester the other
night (May 25) during the band’s “Back to Front” concert featuring material
culled from different eras of its back catalog – and performed, logically, by
members culled from different eras, too. As Slicing Up Eyeballs reported, Devoto
joined for the evening’s closing set, 1977’s legendary Spiral Scratch EP (“Breakdown,” “Time’s Up,” “Boredom” and “Friends of Mine”), plus an encore
of the Troggs’ “I Can’t Control Myself.” It was the first tie in 33 years
Devoto had shared a stage with the band. Check out some video clips, below.


Elsewhere during the show, Steve Garvey and John Mayer
played with mainstays Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle (as the “classic” 1978-79
period Buzzcocks), while current members Danny Farrant and Chris Remington were
on hand for other numbers.