Monthly Archives: September 2014

TWEEDY – Sukierae

Album: Sukierae

Artist: Tweedy

Label: dBpm Records

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Tweedy 9-23

www.dbpmrecords.com

BY SARAH COMPO

Remember the first time you caught a glimpse of Spencer Tweedy’s drumming skills? If you’re a Wilco fan—or have a penchant for getting a behind the scenes look at the music biz—you probably do. More than a decade ago, Spencer, now 18, appeared in the Wilco documentary, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, air drumming alongside dad as the tour bus rolled down the highway.

Fast-forward to 2014, and the duo is still rocking out together, releasing the two-disc album, Sukierae. Spanning 20 songs, it showcases Spencer’s drumming chops and the complex alt-rock sound we’ve come to expect from the eldest Tweedy; all while ruminating on the subjects of love, mortality and everything in between.

Father and son shine on the gritty “I’ll Sing it” and meditative “Diamond Light”—two tracks where Spencer’s propulsive drumming complements Jeff’s vocals. Other tracks are more ethereal, including the standout “Summer Noon,” which sounds just as light and easy as its name implies. One of the album’s best surprises comes from Lucius co-frontwomen Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe who lend their voices to several tracks including the upbeat “Low Key” and the languid “High as Hello.”

Most listeners heard Sukierae in bits and pieces over the past several months, as Tweedy released a new track each week. However, taken as a whole, Sukierae is a much different experience, exhibiting a labor of love in the truest sense—a family affair that bridges the generational gap to offer a little something for everyone.

DOWNLOAD: “Summer Noon,” “Low Key,” “Diamond Light, Part 1,” “Slow Love”

THE ASTEROID NO.4 – Self-Titled

Album: Asteroid No.4

Artist: The Asteroid No.4

Label: Bad Vibrations

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Asteroid 9-23

www.badvibrations.co.uk

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

Shades of Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Kraftwerk and all manner of ‘60s psychedelia. The ever-reliable Asteroid No.4 revisit those acid-fried days of yesteryear with another interstellar adventure, thanks to a self-titled opus that finds the controls still set firmly for the heart of the sun. Hailing from San Francisco — natch — the band’s eight albums have found them repeatedly replaying their archival FM influences, seemingly unwilling to bend to any current fashions or trends. Sitars, phased guitars and all manner of cosmic mumbo jumbo enter the fray, making songs such as “Buka Vimana,” “Yuba” and “Ropeless Free Climber” sound as strange and surreal as those titles otherwise imply.

Whether on an all-out rumble and rampage at full speed ahead or taking some sort of surreal interlude, the implication of lysergic influences can’t be denied. Nevertheless, parents need not worry. A fanciful journey, The Asteroid No. 4 promises no more than a fanciful escape.

DOWNLOAD: “Buka Vimana,” “Yuba,” “Ropeless Free Climber”

THE TURTLES – 45rpm Singles Collection

Album: 45rpm Singles Collection

Artist: The Turtles

Label: FloEdCo/Manifesto

Release Date: September 16, 2014

TurtlesBoxFront

www.theturtles.com

BY FRED MILLS

An unintentionally hilarious notation leads off The Turtles’ Wikipedia page: “not to be confused with Turtles (South Korean band).” It’s for clarity’s sake, obviously, and it’s reasonable to presume that in some countries (particularly South Korea?) the American Turtles are not a household name. But still… any sentient music lover should have at least a passing acquaintance with some of The Turtles’ tunes from the ‘60s, be it their first hit, a cover of Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe,” or the equally captivating “She’d Rather Be With Me,” or the across-the-board smash “Happy Together,” all of which still crop up in regular rotation on oldies radio and occasionally find their way onto movie soundtracks.

The estimable FloEdCo, which of course would stand for the Flo & Eddie Company, aka the Phlorescent Leech & Eddie, aka Turtles co-founding members Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, has resurrected all of those hits along with some singles that didn’t exactly storm the charts but still retain their charm for a delightful 8×45 singles box.

The aforementioned Dylan tune remains one of the most vital covers of St. Zimmerman ever, easily as important as anything in the Byrds’ Dylan songbook. Speaking of the Byrds: the McGuinn-Clark composition “You Showed Me” that the Turtles pushed effortlessly into the Top Ten is as spookily elegant as ever; it additionally showcases the group’s impeccable vocal harmonies, which at times were the equal of the Beach Boys. “Happy Together,” of course, is one of the most memorable 2:50 in rock history. And “Elenore,” yours truly’s personal fave here, is perhaps the greatest baroque/pop/rock hybrid ever attempted, a case study in how to structure tension and dynamics into a joyous explosion of hormonal excitement. As an original, it was also one of several Turtles hits not secured from a pool of estimable songwriters, which at the time included Dylan, McGuinn/Clark, Harry Nilsson and go-to guy P.F. Sloan.

But after you’ve scanned the hits, don’t forget to flip ‘em and prepare to be floored. “Outside Chance” is the B-side to “Elenore” here, a rousing, cowbell-powered anthem penned by — speaking of other songwriters — Mr. Warren Zevon well before his “Werewolves Of London” days. “Grim Reaper Of Love” may have only peaked at #81 on the Billboard charts in ’66, but this waltz-time minor-chord slice of nascent psychedelia is one of those coulda-shoulda-woulda numbers that fans love to debate to this day. The Brit Invasion-styled “Love In The City” fared even more poorly, reaching a miserly #91, but as another example of the Turtles’ own songwriting braintrust in operation, it’s a underrated gem just itching to be rediscovered. And Didja know? All you Kinks kompletists take note: Ray Davies produced it.

Sixteen tunes in all—collect ‘em all! The 45s are housed in a sturdy, attractive cardboard box, with each disc housed in its own sleeve and the label design reminiscent of the original label, White Whale. It would’ve been a nice touch to feature picture sleeves rather than the generic die-cut type, and the box cries out for a liner notes booklet. But to lovers of ‘60s pop and rock, the band’s story is so well known that none of that is really necessary. The music itself holds up perfectly, and that’s all that counts.

DOWNLOAD: What? Only digital dumbasses download stuff this vital, ya gotta own the artifact, jack! If you must, cue some of ‘em up on Spotify, but it’s always a (white) whale of a lot of fun spinning 45s, my friends.

 

CHUCK PROPHET – Night Surfer

Album: Night Surfer

Artist: Chuck Prophet

Label: Yep Roc

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Chuck Prophet

www.yeproc.com

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

It’s little surprise to find Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, David Bowie and Elvis Costello playing the part of would-be role models. After all, there are few albums released over the past several decades that don’t find at least one of those icons sharing their sound. However, it’s somewhat rare when all those influences mesh together or completely coincide.

It’s not that Chuck Prophet needs any guideposts to find his way; indeed, after 30 years – five with seminal psychedelic band Green On Red, the remainder on his own – he clearly commands his own signature style. Still, there’s no denying the influences that abound here, as strung through the ricochet rhythms of “Countrified Inner City Technological Man,” the robust rocker “They Don’t Know About Me and You,” the kinetic strum of “Ford Econoline,” and the relentless tempo igniting “Felony Glamour.”

Likewise, there’s no avoiding the inevitable comparisons that pop up in practically every song, often turning Night Surfer into a game of name that nuance. Prophet can be, by turns, both snarky and sardonic, qualities the aforementioned forebears know all too well. Happily though, he himself is no slacker, especially when it comes to both sentiment and sarcasm. And in many ways, that makes him every bit their equal.

DOWNLOAD: “Countrified Inner City Technological Man,” “They Don’t Know About Me and You,” “Ford Econoline”

PURLING HISS – Weirdon

Album: Weirdon

Artist: Purling Hiss

Label: Drag City

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Purling Hiss

www.dragcity.com

BY BARRY ST. VITUS

All we really ask for is for that our music be finely crafted from the choicest notes and chords, and to bring enjoyment from repeated listens. Happily, no worries here. Purling Hiss, and front-man Mike Polizze, has propelled the evolution of his basic DIY solo roots, into a three-piece rock combo, and again into the frantic, manic and just downright catchy effort that is Weirdon. I couldn’t help but picture a time-lapse film of back when it was just him and his tape recorder, up to right now, being similar to watching a basic naked Chia Pet ceramic; next being slathered in wet seeds; and finally bursting into full, hairy bloom.

Engrossing from the first hearing, it doesn’t disappoint, and brings to mind pleasant memories and comforting familiarity of the indie-rock and punk bands that emerged in the ‘90’s, on myriads of small labels. There was an obvious, and gleeful effort to push forward into newer territory, adding many tasty layers of complexity to the music, and spicing things up with some vocal effects and distortion. Frankly, my brain almost short-circuited trying to pinpoint all of the many bands that these 11 songs reminded me of.

Polizze wrote the tunes, filled in a lot of the groundwork on electric and acoustic guitars, piano, drums, etc. and then the other 2/3rds, Kiel Everette and Ben Leaphart, jump in on guitar and drums to fill in the rest. The end result being a bash of slamming guitars, along with engaging production work, igniting this power pop-punk slammer. So, to recap, this maneuver took them from last year’s hard rock effort, Water On Mars, to this deft excursion, with all it’s multifariousness in composition and execution. The songs that rock the hardest don’t quite achieve ‘hardcore’ intensity, but do cross the punk threshold with room to spare.

“Forcefield of Solitude” smartly launches A-side with anthemic authority, and impressions of Dinosaur Jr. and the Mendoza Line.  Stepping up the classic punk a notch with “Sundance Saloon Boogie,” teases with a heady mix of perhaps Minor Threats’ “Cashing In,” mixed with a little Descendents likeability, and stressing ‘no more lies.’ “Learning Slowly’ dishes out some Replacements-like melodic punk sprinkled with ‘50’s classic R & R riffs, growling bass and intermingled guitars roaring together, making for a good ear bashing. Coming up, there’s the slower paced and moody “Another Silvermoon,” coming across as something by the Muslims/Slow Pack. Then, there’s the swinging bludgeon of “Where’s Sweetboy.”

Other snazzy tunes include “Aging Faces,” “I Don’t Want To Be A…” and especially “Airwaves,” a clever and infectious pop-punk tune likely to become a well-lodged earworm.

All said and done, thumbs up on Polizze’s songwriting, the trio’s playing, as well as production work on Weirdon, all together categorically highlighting this comment on their PR sheet, ‘Weirdon is a rainbow of a record.’

I’ll nail this one up on the wall along with the other few favorite albums I’ve heard this year, but then, it’s been a really weird year.

DOWNLOAD: “Sundance Saloon Boogie,” “Where’s Sweetboy,” “Learning Slowly”

MIA DOI TODD — Floresta

Album: Floresta

Artist: Mia Doi Todd

Label: City Zen

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Mia Doi Todd 9-16

www.miadoitodd.com

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

It’s the mark of any accomplished artist that at a certain point they’ll leave the safe space of their signature sound and venture — even momentarily — into experimental realms that allow them to stretch some creative muscle. Mia Doi Todd’s stature is of the sort that she can afford to take a leap; after all, even after nine albums, she’s hardly a household name. Nevertheless, it’s still notable to find her venturing so far afield.

For this particular set of songs she travelled to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and teamed with a small group of musicians to record a series of tropical tunes that had her easily enamoured. Some will find it striking that she turned her attention to these lilting rhythms at all (all intoned in Portuguese no less), but earlier albums showed her adept at adopting a similarly suggestive sway.

Consequently, songs such as “Misterios,” “Portal da Cor” and “Cais” (the latter two penned by Brazilian legend Milton Nascimento) find her easily finding the groove these sensuous rhythms suggest. While most Americans have had little contact with these supple sounds, apart from an occasional track by Antonio Carlos Jobim and a fleeting glance of a certain girl from Ipanema, Floresta ought to provide a valuable visitor’s guide for the uninitiated, mood music at its most sublime.

DOWNLOAD: “Misterios,” “Portal da Cor,” “Cais”

Photo Gallery: Farm Aid 2014, Raleigh NC

1L2A7930

Willie, Neil (above) Dave, John and all the rest – like Jack White, yow! – were jamming on September 9 at Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Amphitheatre for the proverbial good cause. Our buddy Dave Brainard was on hand to document every artist, and then some. For more of his work, check out his website at BrainardPhoto.com – and tell him BLURT sent ya!

PHOTOS BY DAVE BRAINARD

Pre-show Press Conference

1L2A2900

1L2A2909

1L2A2907

1L2A2925

1L2A2931

 

Willie Nelson

1L2A8125

1L2A8280

1L2A8288

1L2A8253

1L2A8224

1L2A8338

534H7766

1L2A8339

 

Neil Young

1L2A7877

1L2A7928

1L2A7930

1L2A7912

1L2A8094

1L2A8113

1L2A7969

 

John Mellencamp

1L2A7751

1L2A7823

534H7668

1L2A7728

 

Dave Matthews

1L2A7683

1L2A7654

1L2A7652

1L2A7674

1L2A7701

 

Wisdom Dancers

534H7482

1L2A2947

534H7484

 

… site scenes (extra points if you spot Todd Snider)…

534H7602

534H7500

534H7497

534H7604

534H7660

534H7652

1L2A2870

1L2A3472

1L2A3148

1L2A3156

1L2A3487

1L2A3095

534H7703

534H7653

1L2A8166

1L2A8284

 

Lucas Nelson

1L2A3339

1L2A33491L2A3355

 

Raelyn Nelson

1L2A2991

1L2A29931L2A2957

1L2A2988

 

insects Vs. Robots

534H7493

1L2A3029

1L2A3038

1L2A3042

 

Jack White

1L2A3553

1L2A3545

1L2A3549

1L2A3533

1L2A3531

1L2A3519

1L2A3576

 

Carlene Carter

1L2A3102

1L2A3109

1L2A3138

 

Delta Rae

534H7560

1L2A3292

534H7539

1L2A3279

1L2A3270

 

Gary Clark Jr.

534H7636

1L2A3460

1L2A3432

1L2A3446

1L2A3448

 

Jamie Johnson

1L2A3164

1L2A3243

1L2A3240

534H7518

1L2A3173

1L2A3154

1L2A3221

 

Todd Snider

1L2A3061

1L2A3059

1L2A3082

1L2A3054

 

Jesse Lenat

1L2A30111L2A3016

 

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

534H7632

1L2A3376

1L2A3359

 

 

 

Photo Gallery: Hopscotch Music Fest (2)

Dates: September 4-6, 2014

Location: Various Venues, Raleigh NC

Thurstonmoore14

Ed. note: Mr. Tyler Gallion made the rounds throughout the Raleigh, NC, annual Hopscotch Music Festival and came back with a trove o’ images. Pictured above: Thurston Moore. Below are shots from all three days, Sept. 4-6, and meanwhile, check him out further over at his Facebook page.

PHOTOS BY TYLER GALLION

Thursday, Sept. 4

The War On Drugs

TheWaronDrugs2

TheWarOnDrugs

American Aquarium

AmericanAquarium

What Cheer Brigade

WhatCheerBrigade6

WhatCheerBrigade

WhatCheerBrigadee

Young Cardinals

YoungCardinals1

YoungCardinals

Amigo

Amigo4

Lynn Blakey

Lynn Blakey

 

Friday, Sept. 5

Ghostt Bllonde

Ghostt Bllonde

GhosttBllonde 5

GhosttBllonde 6

Justin C. Cross

Justin C Cross

Mas Ysa

Mas Ysa

Mas Ysa 2

Octopus Jones

Octopus Jones

Octopus Jones 2

Palehound

Palehound

Priests

Priests 9

Priests 5

Priests 8

Bronzed Chorus

The Bronzed Chorus

Nervous Ticks

The Nervous Ticks 2

The Nervous Ticks 5

St. Vincent

St. Vincent

St. Vincent 6

St. Vincent 9

Spoon

Spoon 3

Spoon 5

 

Saturday, Sept. 6

Witch Mountain

Witch Mountain 6

Witch Mountain 5

Mastodon

Mastodon 2

Mastodon

Pinkerton Raid

Pinkerton Raid 1

Pinkerton Raid 2

Valient Thorr

Valient Thorr

ValientThorr

ValientThorr 2

Subrosa

Subrosa 6

Subrosa 8

Subrosa 2

What Cheer Brigade

What Cheer Brigade8

What Cheer Brigade 29

What Cheer Brigade 4

What Cheer Brigade 34

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLEGG — At the Baxter Theatre Capetown – Best, Live & Unplugged

Album: At the Baxter Theatre Capetown - Best, Live & Unplugged

Artist: Clegg

Label: Appleseed

Release Date: April 29, 2014

Clegg 4-29

www.appleseedrecordings.com

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints has been widely credited for introducing western audiences to the treasures of African music. Yet, more than ten years before its release, Johnny Clegg and his bands Juluka and Savuka were creating authentic African music and delivering it from the source. assuring its authenticity. Sadly, not that much has been heard from Clegg and company in the interim, occasional releases notwithstanding.

That makesAt the Baxter Theatre Capetown – Best, Live & Unpluggeda terrific treat, not only for the opportunity to reconnect with Clegg — now working with a scaled back version of his band that’s branded simply with his surname — but also to revel once again in the gravitating pulse and inspiring sound that’s forever been Clegg’s stock and trade. The results provide for an evocative performance that’s been elevated and inspired by Africa’s fertile plains, music that mines imagery and imagination in equal measure. The titles say it all — “December African Rain,” “African Sky Blue,” “Circle of Light,” “Scatterlings of Africa” etc. — all sensual, soundscapes awash in precise harmonies, indelible rhythms, compelling melodies and chants that testify to the purity of purpose.

It makes no difference if there’s any awareness or appreciation for world music and its failure to achieve a mainstream mandate. When these percolating tempos start, the allure begins to beckon.

DOWNLOAD: “December African Rain,” “African Sky Blue,” “Scatterlings of Africa

ANTHONY D’AMATO – The Shipwreck from the Shore

Album: The Shipwreck from the Shore

Artist: Anthony D'Amato

Label: New west

Release Date: September 16, 2014

anthony

http://www.newwestrecords.com/

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

Among industry insiders, Anthony D’Amato’s heretofore been known for his work on the other side of the musical divide, that of a hardworking publicist whose primary mission has been bringing attention to others. With the release of this extraordinary debut, the kudos are being steered his way, and for good reason. D’Amato has obviously absorbed lessons learned from his talented clientele, resulting in an album that’s both musically flush and emotionally endowed.

In a certain sense, The Shipwreck from the Shore is clearly as reflective as its wistful title implies. At least two of its ten songs – the stirring “Was A Time” and an acoustic “If It Don’t Work Out” — are consumed with coping in the aftermath of failed love affairs. Surprisingly though, the overall mood is mainly one of exaltation. With a boisterous, punchy sound that frequently brings to mind the unabashed uptick of the Mumford Brothers and the Lumineers, songs such as “Back Back Back,” “Cold Comfort” and “Hard to Say” broaden their reach through rousing refrains spiked by D’Amato’s barely contained enthusiasm. Although he’s an adequate singer, it’s those rich textures and effusive arrangements which make the material consistently seem larger than life. With The Shipwreck from the Shore, D’Amato’s set his course towards greater glories.

DOWNLOAD
: “Was A Time,” “Cold Comfort,” “Hard to Say”