Monthly Archives: March 2014

Video: King Khan Kovers Lana Del Rey (…not!)

King-Khan-by-Tiger-Lilly-450x306

Do the khan-a sutra, ladies…

 By Blurt Staff

 King Khan & the Shrines are back and this time they have concocted an epic video for the title track “Born To Die” taken from their Merge debut, Idle No More.

In April, King Khan & the Shrines embark on a massive tour including Europe and North America. Don´t miss this rare chance to wail, testify, and celebrate with the Maharaja of Soul. And meanwhile, check out our recent interview with the King right here.

Says Khan, about the video: “I was really inspired by this story i once read about Marie Laveau, the legendary voodoo priestess of New Orleans,” explains King Khan. “They say that she was asked to help with a court case where an innocent Creole man was falsely accused for something and was supposed to be sentenced to death. She stood outside of the courtroom every day and put some very hot chili’s in her mouth and held them there for the entire time the court was in session for days, with tears rolling down her face constantly. The man was set free. I wanted to show Louis the 14th ordering modern executions to show folks that things have really not changed much. The powers that be are still these royal families that call all the shots. I still believe there is a ray of hope that comes from some mysterious spiritual place. Ultimately, I wanted to pay tribute to Alejandro Jodorowsky who is one of my spiritual gurus and one of the greatest film makers of all time.”

M.I.A. Blurt Blogger Johnny Mnemonic Found Unharmed; Pledges Resuming Provocateur Role

Tillie

Memo to writers: if you have any skeletons in your closet, better close that door now. Above: the missing writer, who resurfaced on the boardwalk of Asbury Park.

 By Uncle Blurt

 Here at ye olde BLURT we go through bloggers like Spin editors go through young female interns, and while we ain’t proud of it, at least the body count is less than, say, what’s looming in Egypt re: the military dictatorship and the Muslim Brotherhood. (That’s a topical reference for those of you still recovering from SXSW and unable to muster any current events knowledge.) Still, as with the still-deepening mystery of Malaysian Flight 370 (hey! two topical, and potentially politically incorrect, references in a potential paragraph! does that make us The Onion?), we have remained flummoxed as to the fate of our erstwhile blogger Johnny Mnemonic, who for a year or so back in 2011-2012 regaled us with tales of his adventures in the music journalism biz. From backstage blowjobs rendered by copy-hungry record label publicists to scurrilous goings-on between magazine editors and the advertising execs who supply them with, er, editorial suggestions, Mr. Mnemonic was the proverbial Johnny-on-the-spot when it came to peeling back the curtain on how things got done back in the pre-internet era.

 His pen name was a nom du scribe, obviously, as he was (and apparently still is) actively working within the biz; while he came to prominence during the late ‘80s and into the early ‘00s, he eventually moved to London where he was employed by the MTV empire (hence his reticence at revealing his true name). Yet after a series of pointed entries in his “Music Journalism 101” BLURT blog—in which his stated mission was to explore the foibles and failures of the fabled rock-write industry, aiming to unmask its hypocrisy as well as its hip-ocrysy over the years as he experienced it; comments posted by various industry types confirmed that he had ruffled his share of feathers—he essentially dropped off the radar (so to speak).

 Turns out J.M. wasn’t dead, he was just—like the great Flaming Lips teeshirt once proclaimed—“only sleeping.” When we debuted our new series “The College Rock Chronicles” at BLURT today, the dude felt sufficiently energized to get back in touch and pledge his incoming participation once again.

 “If you clowns are going to eulogize a bunch of losers from the ‘80s,” writes John, in a salt-water-soggy, encrypted email that may or may not originate from somewhere in another hemisphere, “I at least should be given a chance to offer some alternate viewpoints. I mean, seriously—you recently touted the greatness of Camper Van Beethoven, whose lone claim to fame was a novelty song about skinheads and bowling? Really? And Boston no-hopers Dumptruck? Say that band’s name a few times to yourself, listen closely, and ask yourself if it inspires you to rock. I was on hand when both of them, and loads others, had their flickering-lightbulb-moment-under-the-sun, and it wasn’t particularly illuminating, if you catch my drift. 30 years of retrospection (yes, I coin a term) doesn’t make them any better.

 “I just got back last week from Austin, incidentally, and while I’d love to say that I was doing shots with Lady Gaga and snorting lines with the CEO of Pandora, let’s just agree that SXSW in 2014 was about as exciting as CMJ was in 1998. Some of your readers may actually get that reference. So my plans are to be reporting on that industry debacle and much, much more in the very near future. Not to mention challenging you every step of the way with your so-called college rock life. You’ve been warned.”

 Indeed we have. Game on, Sir John.

Brian Jonestown Massacre Announces New LP, Unveils 1st Track

Brian Jonestown Massacre

Anton groks of nothing but the fullest.

 By Blurt Staff

 The legendary/notorious/prolific/inscrutable Brian Jonestown Massacre will release their 14th album, Revelation, on May 20, through A Records. Here’s an advance peek of the grammatically-challenged (titular-speaking) psychedelic track “What You Isn’t”:

Whoah. Recorded from late 2012-2014, Revelation is the first album that was fully recorded and produced at founde3r Anton Newcombe’s recording studio in Berlin, Germany. Original band member, Ricky Maymi, plays guitar on this album plus features a vocal performance in Swedish by Joachim Alhund (Les Big Byrd/Teddybears) on “Vad Hände Med Dem?” Other special guests include: Constatine Karlis (Dimmer) on drums, Ryan Van Kriedt (Asteroid #4) on guitar, and Anton plays the rest.

 Meanwhile, the band has plans to headline the Austin Psych Fest in May, and also has a special colored wax, limited-to-3000-copies 12” EP set for Record Store Day (April 19), Newcombe has offered his personal explanation for/interpretation of the album title. Hang onto your seats, punters, it’s about to get interesting.

 Writes Newcombe:

 In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing of some form of truth or knowledge through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity or entities.

 Some religions have religious texts which they view as divinely or supernaturally revealed or inspired. For instance, Orthodox Jews believe that the Torah was received from Yahweh on biblical Mount Sinai, and Muslimsbelieve the Quran to have been revealed to Mohammed word by word and letter by letter. In Hinduism, some Vedas are considered apaurueya, i.e. “not human compositions”, and are supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti, i.e. “what is heard”. Many Christians believe that the Oldand New Testaments were inspired by God. The 15,000 handwritten pages produced by the mystic Maria Valtorta were represented as direct dictations from Jesus, while she attributed The Book of Azariah to her guardian angel.The Book of the Law, written by Aleister Crowley, was said by him to have been revealed by three successive Egyptian deities.

 When a revelation is communicated by a supernatural entity that is reported as present during the communication, it is called a vision. Some revelations go further in that direct conversations between the recipient and the supernatural entity is reported.Some revelations are reported along with physical marks such as stigmata and in rare cases, such as that of Saint Juan Diego, physical artifacts accompany the revelation.The Roman Catholic concept of interior locution includes just an inner voice heard by the recipient.

 In the Abrahamic religions, the term is used to refer to the process by whichGod reveals knowledge of himself, his will, and his divine providence, to the world of human beings.Revelation from a supernatural source is of lesser importance in some other religious traditions, such as Taoism and Confucianism. In secondary usage, it refers to the resulting human knowledge about God, prophecy, and other divine things.

 Divine intervention, we think, is now an action verb…

***

 Revelation LP – Tracklisting

SIDE A – 1) – Vad Hände Med Dem? , 2) – What You Isn’t ,3) – Unknown

SIDE B – 1) – Memory Camp , 2) – days, weeks and moths , 3) – Duck and Cover

SIDE C – 1) – Food For Clouds , 2) – Second Sighting , 3) – Memorymix

SIDE D – 1) – Fist Full Of Bees , 2) – Nightbird , 3) – Xibalba , 4) – Goodbye (Butterfly)

Revelation CD – Tracklisting

1) – Vad Hände Med Dem? , 2) – What You Isn’t , 3) – Unknown , 4) – Memory Camp ,

5) – days, weeks and moths , 6) – Duck and Cover , 7) – Food For Clouds , 8) – Second Sighting,

9) – Memorymix , 10) – Fist Full Of Bees , 11) – Nightbird , 12) – Xibalba , 13) – Goodbye (Butterfly)

Record Store Day 12” Tracklisting

SIDE A – Brian Jonestown Massacre 1) Goodbye (Butterfly) 2) Lions Ride Free

SIDE B- The Magic Castles 1) Rebecca’s World 2) Trembling Hands

* Limited to 3,000 units all individually numbered available on grey splattered 180 gram vinyl.

Remembering Oderus Urungus of GWAR

Oderus

In which we recount our own interactions with the late frontman. Above: the space alien himself, tastefully displayed from the waist up. Hey, we’re a family publication!

 By Fred Mills, with Jason Gross

 The news that arrived yesterday of Virginia musician Dave Brockie’s death was more than just a little shocking; as the frontman for sci-fi/shock/metal legends GWAR, Brockie (a/k/a “Oderus Urungus), Brockie was more than just larger than life – he seemed indestructible. (The cause of death for Brockie, 50, hasn’t yet been announced but police indicated an autopsy is to be performed.)

 Brockie typically appeared in public “in character,” always advancing the GWAR brand while no doubt enjoying his little corner of fame, and as Oderus he certainly brought a lot of fun and energy to the rock ‘n’ roll table. GWAR had a good long run, too, and Brockie was kind enough to talk to longtime BLURT contributor Jason Gross a couple of years ago for our “Trust Yourself… And Get a Good Lawyer (Or Not)” series of musicians-giving-career-advice. He held forth on the virtues of practicing hard, being organized and, er, not putting up with asshole drummers…

 Dave Brockie: “I would say ‘get involved in something other than music immediately!’ (laughs) I mean, with music and especially musicians being digitalized and inter-webbed and sampled… it’s pretty terrifying for a young musician, especially somebody who’s really good at playing music and then you listen to music that’s out there and it’s just this big electronic, sampled jumble of styles.  It’s almost impossible to know what to even work on to be part of what music is going to be tomorrow.

     “But nevertheless, the same things will always hold true- work your ass off, practice all the fucking time.  And most importantly, make sure your drummer is not an asshole.  Very important!  You will waste YEARS of your life fucking around with drummers that are assholes.  Because they set the beat for the band, they tend to think  that they run everything, even when they’re actually one of the most cut-off members of the band because they sit there behind all these fucking drums- you can’t even see ’em anyway.

      “The super, most important thing about a young musician coming up, besides practicing and having a true love of music, is working with people that you ENJOY playing with.  (There’s) so many bands that are so great and don’t last but a couple years because the people in ’em basically hate each other.  Sometimes that dynamic can work really well- just ask Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.  But more often than not, it’s just gonna make you miserable.  So find some friends of yours that you love to jam with and jam with ’em every goddamn day.  And that is the best way to have success in rock and roll.”

 At that, Brockie made his exit stage left, and as if on cue, arriving a few seconds later from stage right was Oderus, in full battle-ready regalia. Grabbing Gross by the testicles and hoisting the journalist high, he grunted his own advice—or, more precisely, his anti-advice:

 Oderus: “The only reason that I got involved in rock and roll is so I can do drugs and have sex with legless midgets.   I don’t know anything about music and I’ve never been accused of being a musician!  I don’t really know anything about that stuff. I just rely on the rest of the band to make me look good!”

 GWAR 4808 by Kerri

I had occasion to see GWAR play a couple of times back in the day, including the infamous show in 1990 at Charlotte, NC, venue the 4808 Club which culminated in Brockie/Oderus being arrested for obscenity. It’s one of my strangest memories in my entire concert-going career, both as a music fan and as a journalist.

 At the time I was the music editor for Charlotte weekly Creative Loafing and I had previewed the show as part of our “Music Menu” column of upcoming shows, mentioning the group’s theatrical side and, er, noting that it involved lots of gushing bodily fluids (okay, okay, so I probably used the term “giant spurting penis” too). Apparently someone in a position of power read that preview, because members of the police force’s vice squad and several alcohol agents came out to the show, ultimately busting Brockie for sundry transgressions and confiscating his giant penis in the process. (Club owner Michael Plumides was also arrested, and he later wrote about the incident and its aftermath in his terrific memoir Kill The Music, also recounting it in these very pages for the BLURT readership, “My Symbiotic Relationship With GWAR.”)

 To say I got a lot of mileage out of the evening is an understatement. In addition to covering the GWAR bust for the newspaper, I also reported it for Billboard (trust me, it’s not easy convincing some editors that the aforementioned “giant spurting penis” term is a literal transcription of events), and as the only journalist apparently on hand was contacted by MTV’s music news to outline what had happened.

 So in that regard, I owe a big ol’ not-so-backhanded thanks to Brockie for helping me carve out my own little corner, however brief, of fame. Rest in peace, brother.

 Above live photo of GWAR in 1990 by Kerry McCaskill. Below photo: unknown.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

UPDATE (2): UPDATE: GWAR’s Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) R.I.P.

Oderus

Notorious band had endured since the late ‘80s as cartoonish-but-potent symbol of rock ‘n’ roll outrageousness.

 By Fred Mills

UPDATE (2): Rolling Stone reports: “The members of Gwar have decided to go forward with their annual “Gwar-B-Q” event this summer, following the death of frontman Dave Brockie – who performed as the alien Oderus Urungus – earlier this week. “As Dave and Oderus would have wanted,” reads a statement from the group’s manager, Jim Flanagan, the event will take place August 16th at Hadad’s Lake in Richmond, Virginia. Flanagan also announced a public memorial for Brockie on August 15th at the same location.”

UPDATE: Band manager Jack Flanagan, has issued a statement: “It is with a saddened heart, that I confirm my dear friend Dave Brockie, artist, musician, and lead singer of GWAR passed away at approximately 6:50 p.m. EST Sunday, March 23, 2014. His body was found Sunday by his bandmate at his home in Richmond, VA. Richmond authorities have confirmed his death and next of kin has been notified. A full autopsy will be performed. My main focus right now is to look after my bandmates and his family. More information regarding his death shall be released as the details are confirmed.”

 Richmond, VA, media outlet Style Weekly is reporting the passing of Dave Brockie, a/k/a Oderus Urungus, the outsized (literally) frontman for shock-rock metal band GWAR, at the age of 50. The cause of death has not yet been determined, but police have indicated it was not due to foul play. Reports SW:

 A member of the Richmond Police Department confirmed early Monday that the 50-year-old musician was found dead in his home Sunday between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. by his roommate. Police were called to Brockie’s residence in the 4800 block of West Seminary Avenue at approximately 6:53 p.m. on Sunday, she says, and found Brockie deceased when they arrived. The Medical Examiner’s office will determine the cause of death.

     “Dave was one of the funniest, smartest, most creative and energetic persons I’ve known,” former Gwar bassist Mike Bishop says. “He was brash sometimes, always crass, irreverent, he was hilarious in every way. But he was also deeply intelligent and interested in life, history, politics and art.”

     “His penchant for scatological humors belied a lucid wit. He was a criminally underrated lyricist and hard rock vocalist, one of the best, ever! A great front man, a great painter, writer, he was also a hell of a bass guitarist. I loved him. He was capable of great empathy and had a real sense of justice.”

More details as they emerge, along with a look at the band and its career. (This writer happened to be on hand at the notorious Charlotte, NC, concert in the early ‘90s when Brockie was arrested and tried for obscenity stemming from the group’s performance, and I reported it for a number of outlets, including Billboard, Creative Loafing and MTV.)

Daniel Ash Launches PledgeMusic Crowdfunding Campaign for New LP

Daniel Ash

 

 By Blurt Staff

 Much respected for his work in Bauhaus, Tones on Tail and, later, Love and Rockets, Daniel Ash is now plotting a solo album Stripped and is mounting a funding campaign via PledgeMusic, reports Slicing Up Eyeballs. It will also involve the fans helping out with the selection of some songs for Ash to remake.

 Wrote Ash at his PledgeMusic pitch page:

 Hello and Welcome! Since you guys have shown me endless support throughout my career, I wanted to give you all the chance to be a part of my next album. I want to put together an album of stripped-down versions of my favorite songs, but then I got to thinking…. It should be YOUR favorite songs!

     I want YOU guys to vote on your favorite songs from the many albums I have been a part of. Then I’ll strip those songs down and record all new versions of them.

     Once you pledge your favorite package below, you gain access to a hidden section of the site that will allow you to vote for which songs I put on the “Stripped” album. You’ll also receive a digital download of the album as soon as it’s ready and before anyone else hears it! You’ll also have the chance to get involved in some very exclusive merchandise and interactive experiences that I’ve never made available or done before.

    This is completely new territory for me so I’m very happy you’ll be right alongside me as we make this album together.

     Daniel

 Among the premiums fans will get at various levels of contribution will be Ash’s motorcycle, pictured below, and sundry memorabilia culled from all stages of his career.

 Daniel Ash

New Swans Album Boasts Iconic Punk Artist’s Talent

SWans montage

By Blurt Staff

 The forthcoming Swans album, due May 13 and titled To Be Kind, has a more-than-usual artistic bent. It makes use of a series of paintings of babies’ heads that were painted in the seventies by Bob Biggs, who went on to purchase and run the seminal L.A. punk mag, Slash. It subsequently turned into the record label of the same name and released albums by X, Dream Syndicate, Gun Club, Violent Femmes, Misfits and many other notables.

 Swans mainman Michael Gira saw these in the late ‘70s and wanted to use them for album art then, but Biggs turned him down. Gira asked again – 40 years later — and this time the artist assented.

 

Do Some Shop Owners Feel Record Store Day has Jumped the Shark?

RSD Chuck D

“It’s going to bankrupt the store,” says one such indie store owner, of trying to keep up (i.e., purchase) with all the releases. Above: Chuck D, the official RSD Ambassador this year.

 By Uncle Blurt

 Here at the Blurt radiation bunker, we love Record Store Day: it’s the one time in the year (okay, one of two; there’s also RSD’s Black Friday) we come out of our hole, clutching our credit cards, and get ready to max out on vinyl. The fact that our sister business is Schoolkids Records of Raleigh, NC, just adds to the eagerness to queue up and gorge on a buffet o’ limited edition wax. And to date, for the most part, everyone else on the planet has been getting excited about RSD, from the customers to the bands involved to the actual stores and the media folks covering the event.

 Inevitably, though, a backlash was due, given that occasional murmurings were already being heard regarding the steady increase in the number of releases—this year there are nearly 450 unique titles—and the corresponding increase in budget headaches on the part of stores who feel compelled to stock as much as they possibly can to meet the increased demand from collectors and fans. Given that the product is sold one-way (i.e., unlike regular CD and DVD stock, a store can’t return RSD product to its distributors if it doesn’t sell), there’s an inherent risk that you’ll get stuck with some expensive titles—last year’s Flaming Lips Zaireeka vinyl box comes to mind—and you can’t necessarily make up that differential simply by selling out of the popular items.

 In an article published the other day by the WAMU-FM blog “Bandwith,” these issues were raised, and quite loudly so, with two D.C. store owners, Crooked Beat’s Bill Daly and Som Records’ Neal Becton voicing concerns that “Record Store Day records are too expensive and too numerous, and stores risk losing a lot of money on records that don’t sell.” Becton stated bluntly, “It’s out of control.” And Daly noted, “’Customers balk at a certain price,” [citing a] 2013 Nick Drake release that, at nearly $40 retail, barely moved from his shelves—even though Drake is a reliable seller at his store. ‘It stiffed, basically.” He bought 40 copies at $27 a pop, and still has two dozen left.” (Daly added that he will be trimming back his purchases starting next year, or otherwise “It [Record Store Day] is going to bankrupt the store.”

 The article also quotes RSD co-founder Michael Kurtz, who while agreeing that the number of releases has exploded and that plans are to keep things under 450 titles, takes issue with some assertions that RSD has become an exercise in greed on the part of the record labels. “I think that’s just a lack of knowledge,” he is quoted as saying, pointing out that people may not realize that many of the labels and the artists “don’t turn a hefty profit” because of all the costs associated with manufacturing and shipping. “The bands are doing it to help the stores,” Kurtz says. “Most [Record Store Day titles] are sold for less than they cost to make, and [shop owners] just don’t know it.”

Read the entire article here.

A related piece, “Record Store Day Vs. the Record Store,” which squints hard at the assertion about labels not making a solid profit with RSD releases, can also be found at the Vinyl Hunters blog.

Meanwhile, here’s the official list of titles for 2014, as well as BLURT’s report from last year.

Track Premiere: Free Download from Calla’s Aurelio Valle

Aurelio Valle Bench pc Luz Jacome

Plucked from forthcoming album due in May.

By Blurt Staff

        The debut solo album from erstwhile Calla frontman Aurelio Valle, Acme Power Transmission, is set to drop May 30 via Nuevo Leon Recordings. Pretty stoked to unveil a fresh track exclusively for you, gentle BLURT readers. It’s called “Superhawk” and it soars. Click on this link to listen to it or download:

https://aurelio-valle-ou1r.squarespace.com/superhawk

        Self-produced, the album was recorded in Valle’s apartment under an elevated subway line in 2013 after five years of private, contemplative musical experimentation. Through ten years and six studio albums this inquisitiveness was given voice in the band Calla. Then, suddenly in 2007, sensing something was missing Valle took a purposeful step back from the music business. He apprenticed as a motorcycle mechanic while assisting in a friend’s bespoke tailor shop.

        Named for his landlord’s auto parts store — where Valle bought gaskets and pistons — the album is the sound of those six gap years. You can hear glimpses of where he’s been in the fricative electronics, grinding slack and stripped, on openers “Bruised and Defused” and “Deadbeat.” You can hear further steps in the unexpected raucous strut of the brass and string-tinged “Superhawk.” Like a boxer throwing feints and nervous jabs, the neighborhood itself is there too in the bodega shuffle of “Movement” and the early morning urban vistas of “Cowboy.” Echoes of his ambient film work emerge throughout, most clearly in the instrumentals “Kino” and “Centuries,” culminating in the optimistic and skittish “Electraglide” fronted by Nina Persson (The Cardigans, A Camp) Check him out for more info at http://aureliovalle.com

March Madness: OFFICIAL Record Store Day 2014 List Released

Print

“The plural of vinyl is vinyl.” Roll over Chuck D, and tell Tchaikovsky the news…

 By Fred Mills

 Although as we pointed out last week there have been rumors—and even a near-comprehensive leaked list—about this year’s Record Store Day releases, the official announcement didn’t come until today, March 20. (The RSD folks wanted to hold off until after the SXSW madness was done.)

 Wait finally over, all you vinyl geeks can wipe the anticipatory drool off your chins and start attending those stiffies down below as you peruse the official list or download the PDF over at the RSD website…. Sadly, the highly anticipated Neil Young box has been bumped, most likely until RSD’s Black Friday event in November, but otherwise there is a phenomenal list, both quantitatively and qualitatively, they’ve got this year.

 See ya on April 19. Someone save me a spot in line, please?

 RSD Chuck D