Monthly Archives: June 2012

Report: The Cult Live in L.A.

June 23 at the Hollywood Palladium, the British band
was, in a word,
electric.

 

By Jose Martinez

 

“We’re back!” declared The Cult’s lead singer
Ian Astbury during a sold out concert at the Hollywood Palladium. A little
older, puffier and not as nimble as he once was, Astbury still manages to bust
his best Jim Morrisonesque moves and deliver a rock solid performance.

 

Mixing crowd favorite hits with a handful of new
songs from the band’s latest release, Choice
of Weapon
, Astbury and co-founding member Billy Duffy, who just plain
embodies rock star cool on guitar, wrapped up the band’s most recent U.S.
headlining tour Saturday night. Playing songs from every nook and cranny of the
band’s career, the show started with Electric’s “Lil’ Devil,” and ran the gamut, including selections from Sonic Temple (“Fire Woman”), Beyond Good and Evil (the dynamic
“Rise”), while mostly sticking to hits from Love and Electric. However, much to
the delight of hardcore fans, the encore included two songs from the band’s
1984 debut Dreamtime.

 

More than just a blast from the past, The Cult’s
new songs actually paired well with their tried and true sound. Tracks like
“Honey from a Knife” and “For the Animals” definitely have that classic Cult
feel, while “Embers” is just a classic Led Zeppelin like rock track. A much
maligned group by critics, The Cult still manages to offer fans honest,
unapologetic rock anthems, which tend to be sorely missing many of today’s
bands. I’ll always choose raw power over mall-friendly fluff every time.

 

Set
list:

 

Lil’ Devil

Honey from a Knife

Rain

Lucifer

Nirvana

Embers

Fire Woman

The Wolf

Rise

The Phoenix

For the Animals

Wild Flower

She Sells Sanctuary

(Encore)

Horse Nation

Spiritwalker

Love Removal Machine

 

[Photo Credit: A.N.A.]

 

 

 

 

 

2nd Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ EP Announced

 

Above photo: DNC live
at a recent in-store at BLURT’s partner-in-offices-and-crime, Schoolkids
Records of Raleigh, NC.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

With
their Songs From the Laundromat EP
under their belt (and reviewed here at BLURT), Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ now turn their
attention to the second in the 4-disc series. The first one reflected the rock side of DNC. Now EP2,
Songs About Cars, Space and The Ramones,
will showcase songs from the secret landscape of the American psyche. It’s to
be released September 18, 2012, is
almost complete, according to the band. This 6 song collection is being
produced by Paul Ebersold at Sound Kitchen Recording Studios in Franklin, TN
and features special guest Cheetah Chrome! Frontman Kevn Kinney calls it “a
rockin’, punk-laced excursion into the depths
of Drivin N Cryin’s roots.”

 

EP3, Songs From The Garage, will reportedly delve even deeper into those
punk roots. You have been warned.

 

Watch New Beirut Video of “Old” Song

 

Title track from last
year’s acclaimed album.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

It’s been a year since Beirut’s
album The Rip Tide, but with Zach
Condon & Co. in the middle of a fairly heavy touring schedule – they’re in
Europe this week, then on July 13 kick off a fresh two-month tour that will
take them across North America and then back to Europe again – it’s a good
enough time as any to release a new video. Below, the Houmam Abdallah-directed
clip for “The Rip Tide.”

 

Condon, in fact, told Pitchfork a little about why they’re
just now tackling that title track anew, saying, “I always felt that “The
Rip Tide” wasn’t fully able to project its own ambitions in song form.. no
matter how it was performed or recorded, it felt contained by sound alone… I
wanted more, as I often do with my music, and this is not a bad thing. Growing
to accept a song’s limits is part of
the process of creating and loving them. Which was why I was so excited to see
what Houmam had dug into when he picked “The Rip Tide” out of all
others for a video. The concept fit,
and the product brought the song somewhere that I had only been able to
describe to myself, now available for others to see and feel it much more as I
had in the process of writing it.”

 

 

VIDEO: New Rocco DeLuca

 

Key track from
recently-released album gets video premiere.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Very stoked to unveil this new video, “Windows,” from songwriter and
guitar whiz Rocco DeLuca, whose album Drugs
‘N Hymns
we reviewed at BLURT last week. (Our reviewer wrote, in part, that
the record “is a near-masterwork of haunted epistles and luminous meditations
that, powered by his high, keening voice and with his National Steel as
ballast, achieves liftoff after liftoff.”) Check it out:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new album finds the blues-steeped musician forging a
solo path armed with his National guitar, distinctively emotive voice and 10
reflective, vivid song-stories.  The hypnotically spare compositions
conjure a world of characters seeking a certain solace and salvation while
continually mired in the disturbed darkness. The album was “anti-produced”
by DeLuca and features guests such as the Echo Park
Jubilee Tambo Flower Unsung Heroes Choir. Drugs ‘N Hymns is a fascinating
recording in its quiet intensity, conveying a wide swathe of emotions from
quietude mixed with underlying dread to hopeful exhilaration. DeLuca continues
his striking series of performances in the UK during the month of July supporting
Edward Sharpe the Magnetic Zeros.

 

Tour Dates: 

 6/28       The Bedford                         London

7/6          Melkweg                                Amsterdam w/ Edward
Sharpe

7/7          Katine                                    Cologne w/ Edward Sharpe

7/9          Le
Tranbendo                      Paris w/ Edward Sharpe

7/16        Leeds
Irish
Centre               Leeds w/ Edward Sharpe

7/17        Olympia
Theatre  Dublin w/ Edward Sharpe

7/19        Manchester Cathedral        Manchester w/ Edward
Sharpe

7/20        Secret Garden
Party           East Angla, UK
w/ Edward Sharpe

 

 

For more information, visit:

 

http://www.429records.com/sites/429records/429details/d_roccodeluca.asp

www.roccodeluca.com

 

 Photo Credit: Julie Ling

Read: New Yo La Tengo Biography

 

 

Jesse Jarnow’s Big
Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock (issued earlier this month by Gotham
Books) has high ambitions – and for the most part, is up to the task. Watch a
classic video clip, below.

 

By Fred Mills

As the title subtly suggests, this fat (368 pages) book
purports to chronicle, ahem, the rise of
indie rock
. Well, that’s a tall order.

 

 

Still, it’s also a long-overdue bio of the beloved
husband-and-wife team of Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley (plus their
most-recent-cohort James McNew). Check the publisher’s breathless marketing
blurb: They helped forge a
spandex-and-hairspray-free path to the global stage, selling millions of
records along the way and influencing countless bands.”
One may cheer the
former assertion, question the middle, and reliably note the latter; and at
times the author, a regular deejay at YLT-friendly WFMU-FM, betrays his awe a
bit too awesomely.

 

We’ll give him a pass, however, ‘cos you know what? Yo La
Tengo is the greatest goddam American band, ever.

 

Below: there’s a
reason why
Fakebook is yours truly’s
favorite album, but I won’t bore you with the details. Instead, watch Ira and
Georgia in their classic video for “The Summer,” from that album.

 

 

 

Report: Lower Dens Live in Raleigh

 

June 21 at venerable
downtown venue Kings Barcade, the Krautrock-inclined Baltimore collective
communed with Canada’s
No Joy and fellow Wham Cityite Alan Resnick for a sonic mindfuck of epic
proportions.

 

By Fred Mills

“I feel different now, than I did before,” moans/croons Jana
Hunter, in Lower Dens’ moody, epic 12-minute track “In the End is the
Beginnning,” which closes out the Baltimore-area band’s recent release Nootropics (Ribbon Music; read the BLURT
review here). That’s a pretty succinct yet appropriate way to summarize the
group’s June 21 show at Kings Barcade, for regardless of whether one chose to
pass through the venue doors in neutral, optimistic,
or decidedly altered state, by the time you staggered back onto the steaming
Raleigh pavement in the wee hours of the morning, there was no question that
things were, as the saying goes, decidedly different than they were before.

 

First up on the three-artist bill was Alan Resnick, another Baltimore denizen who is a visual/video
artist (his drolly hilarious Lower Dens “interview” film is a must-see), a Dan
Deacon collaborator and a key member of the Wham City Comedy Tour collective.
His at-times-so-cerebral-it-was-snarky standup (with projections) set may have
left a few audience members scratching their heads, particularly when he
launched into a series of spouse jokes that would make even the staunchest
“take my wife – please!” aficionados groan; but there’s something compelling,
in our über-wired contemporary milieu, about a dude who will get up onstage and
kibitz verbally with a screen image of his computer-generated avatar’s head. We
were left wondering how much of the conversation was pre-taped and how much was
the result of spontaneous Siri-like programming, but either way, I’d pay good
money to see Resnick perform again.

 

Next up was No Joy, a 3-female/1-male Canadian combo whose bloodily valentiginous racket hearkened
back to the salad days of the Creation Records roster. Speaking (writing) as
someone who witnessed firsthand Lush, Ride, Swervedriver and, yes, My Bloody
Valentine in their early ‘90s prime, I can state with authority that the
axe-wielders of No Joy just may be destined to leave their sonic – and Sonic
Youth-ian – imprint in similar fashion to their forebears. No joy, my ass; there’s
something damn inspiring – joyous, even – about watching a trifecta of gals pummeling
the shit outta their guitars. We’ve come a long way, baby, from the days when
being a female in a rock band meant demurely plucking the four strings of a
bass while her boyfriend frontman grabs all the glory. For No Joy, the vocals
were an amorphous blur, and the galeforce power of the guitars tweaked the pain
threshold enough to make you move towards the back of the room, but it was a good kinda hurt, and the perfect lead-in
to the headliners.

 

Oh yeah. With the club having filled to what appeared about ¾
capacity, the four members of Lower Dens took the stage, plugged in, and eased
into a set heavily weighted towards Nootropics material. The terms “mesmerizing,” “trancelike” and “hypnotic” naturally apply
to the studio recordings; double, triple or quadruple that quotient for the
live incarnations. Plus, with a classic Velvets/Fillmore-style light show in
play, the projections flickering and streaming across the players and their
gear in addition to the white backdrop, one couldn’t avoid the uncanny
sensation of being sucked into an immersive environment. Is everybody in? Let the
ceremony begin!

 

Guitarist/synth player/lead vocalist Hunter is ostensibly
the focus on record, but in concert she performed in purely democratic fashion
(some might say she even shunned the spotlight – not that there were ever any
spots aimed directly at the band). Indeed, the entire group seemed most
comfortable operating as a well-oiled machine wherein all the gears slotted
into one another in perfect synch. That “machine” simile isn’t a random
reference, either, for a number of songs featured a distinctive, deeply
satisfying motorik pulse, a
modern-day updating of the classic Neu!/Kraftwerk krautrock aesthetic. With the
beat so prominent in the mix, the psychedelia of Lower Dens also carried an
unmistakable whiff of techno, and while much of the audience preferred to stand
and stare and let their brains do the roaming, there were also pockets of
attendees in constant motion, slaves to the rhythm.

 

It was a richly cerebral yet decidedly physical experience. Flirting
with minimalism, yet also intent on sculpting
that aforementioned immersive experience, Lower Dens aimed at, and located, the
cortex-to-loin “G” spot. More than one patron was spotted leaving the club
after the show was over sporting huge grins and glazed-over eyes. Encore,
please.

 

[Photo Credit: by Alex
Mazer, via Lower Dens Facebook page]

 

 

 

Watch New Beirut Video of "Old" Song

 

Title track from last
year’s acclaimed album.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

It’s been a year since Beirut’s
album The Rip Tide, but with Zach
Condon & Co. in the middle of a fairly heavy touring schedule – they’re in
Europe this week, then on July 13 kick off a fresh two-month tour that will
take them across North America and then back to Europe again – it’s a good
enough time as any to release a new video. Below, the Houmam Abdallah-directed
clip for “The Rip Tide.”

 

Condon, in fact, told Pitchfork a little about why they’re
just now tackling that title track anew, saying, “I always felt that “The
Rip Tide” wasn’t fully able to project its own ambitions in song form.. no
matter how it was performed or recorded, it felt contained by sound alone… I
wanted more, as I often do with my music, and this is not a bad thing. Growing
to accept a song’s limits is part of
the process of creating and loving them. Which was why I was so excited to see
what Houmam had dug into when he picked “The Rip Tide” out of all
others for a video. The concept fit,
and the product brought the song somewhere that I had only been able to
describe to myself, now available for others to see and feel it much more as I
had in the process of writing it.”

 

 

MP3: New Jon Spencer Blues Explosion; LP/Tour

“Black Mold” from
upcoming album due in September

 

By Fred Mills

 

Everybody holler “Blues Explosion!” then mark your calendars
for Sept. 18: that’s when the first
new Jon Spencer Blues Explosion since 2004’s Damage drops on Boombox/Mom + Pop. Titled Meat and Bone, it will
be accompanied by a fall tour. See tracklist and tour dates, below, and
meanwhile, here’s first track “Black Mold” to get you primed:

 

 


Black Mold by JSBX

 

Meat And Bone track listing:

1. Black Mold
2. Bag Of Bones
3. Boot Cut
4. Get Your Pants Off
5. Ice Cream Killer
6. Strange Baby
7. Bottle Baby
8. Danger
9. Black Thoughts
10. Unclear
11. Bear Trap
12. Zimgar

NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES (more forthcoming):

October 6: Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA
October 13: German American Music Hall – Pawtucket, RI

October 16: Higher Ground Lounge – South Burlington, VT
October 18: Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, ON
October 19: Magic Stick – Detroit, MI
October 20: Earth House – Indianapolis, IN
October 21: Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
October 22: Triple Rock Social Club – Minneapolis, MN
October 23: Turner Hall – Milwaukee, WI

October 24: The Basement – Columbus, OH
October 25: Rex Theater – Pittsburgh, PA
November 3: Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
November 8: Casbah – San Diego, CA
November 9: El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
November 10: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
November 12: Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
November 13: The Crocodile – Seattle, WA
November 14: Biltmore Cabaret – Vancouver, B.C.

 

Report: Glen Campbell Live in Saratoga, CA

 

Surrounded by the people and the music he
loves, the legendary singer/guitarist says his goodbyes to adoring fans at the
Mountain Winery on June 20. (Go here to read Campbell’s BLURT interview, conducted shortly
before the release of final studio album
Ghost On The Canvas.)

 

By Jud Cost

 

An exotic
vibraphone-based melody settles over the 80 percent full house at the Mountain
Winery in Saratoga, Calif., sounding something like Brian
Wilson’s lush instrumental from Pet
Sounds
, “Let’s Go Away For Awhile.” As the latest stop in Glen
Campbell[‘s “Goodbye Tour” began to unfold, however, it became clear
that the famed singer/guitarist wouldn’t be coming back this way again. This
was it, one last hurrah in a storybook career before retirement.

 

Campbell, now 76, announced in June of 2011 that
he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He has pretty much been on the road
since then, supported by a terrific seven-piece backup combo, three of whom are
Glen’s adult children: daughter Ashley on banjo and sons Shannon on guitar and
Cal on drums.

 

Lit by the
twinkling of minute costume jewelry woven into the fabric of the violet-hued
sport coat worn by the beloved singer, the octet  struck up the familiar chords of “Gentle
On My Mind,” one of Glen’s earliest chart entries from 1967. A beautiful
arrangement of the John Hartford-penned tune featuring Ashley’s finger-picked
banjo, paved the way for Glen’s powerful vocals (“Though
the wheat fields and the clothes lines and the junkyards and the highways come
between us”).
“This is incredible!” he shouts at the standing ovation he receives
for the evening’s first step in a star-studded career retrospective.

 

The opening
juggernaut of hits continues with Jimmy Webb’s “Galveston,” a
heartbreaking 1969 ballad that doubles as a postcard sent from a soldier
fighting in Vietnam to his girlfriend back home in Texas (“I sit and clean
my gun/And dream of Galveston”). Like many songs tonight, a new layer of
meaning has been added in light of Glen’s illness. “I am so afraid of
dying” can now be taken in a larger context as Glen perfectly replicates
the recording’s Duane Eddy-like, big-surf guitar lead-break.

 

“I don’t
want to mess my hair. It makes my head itch. I’ll go back to Phoenix and see if it works there,”
laughs Glen as they ignite a smoky bonfire to roast another Webb chestnut,
“By The Time I Get To Phoenix.” A four-bar hole appears in the song
where Glen can’t come up with the lyrics. But, like his running stream of
commentary while singing (“People in Albuquerque,
ya gotta keep ’em workin'” he adds to “Phoenix”), it’s just the price you pay
today for watching a master craftsman at work. Something like the unsuppressed
grunts, 50 years ago, of brilliant Canadian classical pianist Glen Gould or
of  jazz keyboard wizard Thelonious Monk.
If this is what gets Glen Campbell through the night, these days, who cares?

 

“Try A
Little Kindness,” another 1969 pop smash, brought in backup vocal support
from the band to give Glen a little help. “Wow, that was gettin’
heavy,” he says to a stagehand who temporarily relieves him of his
electric guitar. “This is my son. What’s your name?” says Glen,
putting his arm around Shannon. “Where’s
The Playground Susie” sports a telling line (“The carousel stopped
this year”) whose added meaning was probably never envisioned by Webb when
he wrote it four decades ago.

 

“Good old
song,” says Glen in the middle of his vocals for yet another Webb number,
“Didn’t We?” When he gets confused about a song’s tuning, Shannon is right there to help. “Capo number three,
Dad,” he says. One song containing the lyrics “I’ve made up my
mind,” gives Glen a belly laugh. “First time I’ve made up my mind
this month,” he stage whispers. At times, he’ll cackle like the carved
head of Laughing Sal that used to front the fun house at San Francisco’s Playland At The Beach. And
then he’ll lean on Shannon for vocal support.
The guitar work of this onetime A-list Hollywood
session-player remains spotless tonight.

 

The 2005
inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame adds a new wrinkle to Hank
Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” by singing part of the melody in his
storied tenor, then shifting gears to an equally appealing baritone. Of all the
hallowed ground he covers tonight, Glen seems uncomfortable only with the title
song Elmer Bernstein composed for the 1969 film True Grit. But the one-time neophyte actor who played a Texas
Ranger named La Boeuf in the film opposite John Wayne’s U.S. Marshal Rooster
Cogburn, gets off the night’s best one-liner when he cracks: “John Wayne,
I gave him that push he needed.”

 

“Let’s do
some hot licks,” says Ashley as she steps to the front of the stage. Sparks fly when she
engages her Dad’s guitar in “Dueling Banjos,” whose Flatt &
Scruggs version appeared in the 1972 film Deliverance.
When Glen returns from a short break and gets lost in the stage-right
footlights, she’s there to direct him back to his mic.

 

Shannon introduces the band with a special bow
to Glen’s longtime keyboardist, T.J. Kuenster. “It’s his birthday today.
Is this really the day?” he asks. “We prank him at restaurants and
get some great stuff.” A loose-knit “Happy Birthday To You”
spontaneously bubbles up from the audience.

 

“Is it cold
out here or is it just me?” asks Glen. “I’m sweating. How’s that
work?” Then he gets off a great pun, straight out of Buck Owens’ tenure on
backwoods TV staple Hee Haw.
“It’s so cold, I saw a chicken with a cape on (capon).” He emits a
Donald Duck quack for those who didn’t get the joke.

 

“Rhinestone
Cowboy” adds a dramatic exclamation point to tonight’s set, kept to a tidy 90 minutes. As expected, there was to
be no reprise of “Universal Soldier,” Glen’s 1965 single version of a
haunting anti-war song by Buffy Sainte Marie. That might have been too much to
ask from a longtime Reagan Republican. Nevertheless, this was one of the most enjoyable
evenings of the year, filled with a universal heartfelt love for one of the
20th century’s most admired artists. As a side-effect, it might be some of the
best holistic medicine available to Glen Campbell, a brave man facing an
uncertain future, surrounded by the people and the music he loves.

 

What could be
better for him…and for us!

 

 

VIDEO: Risa Binder Covers Civil Wars

 

“Poison & Wine”
follows up her album from earlier this year. Check out our video premiere, below.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Brooklyn-based
country-pop darling Risa Binder has teamed up with fellow singer/songwriter
Alec Gross to cover Grammy-winning folk duo The Civil Wars’ “Poison &
Wine,” a haunting reflection on the catch-22 of love. The performance
showcases Risa’s natural grace and charm that has caught the eyes and ears of
the Wall Street Journal, American Songwriter and Entertainment
Tonight.

 

 

Her debut album, ‘Paper Heart,’ is out now on Warehouse Records. More
details at these links:



Binder’s Official Site – http://risabinder.com/

Gross’ Official Site – http://www.alecgross.com/
iTunes – http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/paper-heart/id474068930
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Paper-Heart-Risa-Binder/dp/B006Z94DH6

 

 

Photo Credit: Jeremy Cowart