Monthly Archives: January 2015

2015 Pitchfork Festival Tix Go On Sale

PF

Lineup announcement is pending.

By Barbi Martinez, Blurt Intern

Pretty excited about the upcoming 2015 Pitchfork Music Festival as it will be my first one. Hard to believe I missed the first 9 events, but I plan to make up for lost time! (Better buy your ticket early, Barbi. My discretionary fund is a bit dry in the aftermath of the Blurt Christmas party. – Budget Ed.) That’s correct: the festival will be 10 in July. It will run from July 17 through July 19 at, as usual, Chicago’s Union Park. The lineup will be announced early next month.

According to the organizers:

Tickets to the 2015 Pitchfork Music Festival are available now for purchase. A limited number of three-day passes are currently available for $150 and single day passes available for $65. The initial batch of three day passes will include a free one-year subscription to The Pitchfork Review (a $49.99 value). Go HERE to buy tickets.

Visit www.pitchforkmusicfestival.com and  www.facebook.com/pitchforkmusicfestival for more information.

Moogfest Relocation from Asheville to Durham Rumors “Probably True”

moogfest_logo

Huge loss for the NC mountain music scene, huge win for the Triangle’s.

By Uncle Blurt

Your ol’ Uncle always had a great time at the annual Moogfest electronic festival in Asheville – at least while it lasted. The 2010, 2011 and 2012 events in the fall were among the best festival experiences North Carolina had ever provided for music nuts, but due to creative differences between the Moog Music folks and festival booker/promoter AC Entertainment (also co-producer of Bonnaroo) it was killed in 2013, with ACE going on to stage the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit in its place and Moogfest, after taking a year off, resuming operations in the spring of 2014. But neither did all that well, and in 2014 the Mountain Oasis festival did not take place, with Moogfest opting to cancel plans for 2015.

Rumor recently began to swirl, however, that with the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill suddenly “the” hot spot for music and the arts communities, Moogfest had entered into negotiations with some unnamed partners to bring it to Durham for 2016. An Asheville source close to the scenario has informed BLURT that those rumors “are probably true” and that an official announcement will be coming “very soon.” Our source added that some details have yet to be worked out, but the ability to draw heavily from the entire Triangle area for festival-goers is the key here, what with the Asheville community’s apparent unwillingness – ticket sales-wise – to support the event heavily.

It’s clearly a huge loss for Asheville and the mountain music scene; after all, Moog Music is located in downtown Asheville. But it’s a big win for Durham and the Triangle; for several years the fall Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh has done moderately well, if not exactly gangbusters, while for two years running the annual International Bluegrass Music Association’s “World of Bluegrass” festival has been a huge success.

It won’t be the first time Moogfest has relocated, incidentally: the first few years were in New York City. But when it was restarted in Asheville with the participation of AC Entertainment, by all accounts it was a significant kicking-iinto-high-gear. Watch this space for more details as they emerge. Additional reading:

Mountain Xpress: “Moogfest won’t happen in 2015, plans to return in 2016”

Indy Weekly: “Moogfest seeking move to Durham in April 2016”

Mountain Xpress: “Moogfest reportedly considering move to Durham”

WRAL TechWire: “Moogfest coming to Durham? That’s what rumor mill is saying.”

 

 

 

Track Premiere: The Vagaband

red rooster - vagaband photoshoot

Richly-wrought Americana with a Celtic-British vibe.

By Blurt Staff

British upstarts The Vagaband recently released their second full-length Medicine for the Soul on their own Eggsong label. The self-produced album is the follow-up to their much praised debut Town & Country. And we are very honored to be able to unveil the new track “The Whistling Song” exclusively for the Blurt readership. Check it out:

They are an eight-piece ensemble based in Norfolk, UK who creates distinctive song-centered roots music. Performed on a rich and exotic array of instruments including flugelhorn, mandolin, marxophone, clarinet and pedal steel, the songs of singer/guitarist José McGill and pianist Greg Cook take the listener on a trip rom vaudeville and Victoriana through the horn-driven soundtrack of New Orleans and on to the open landscape of reflective Americana. There is however an underlying Celtic-Britishness flowing throughout the new record.

McGill commented on “The Whistling Song,” calling it “a weird balance between sounding haunting and celebratory. For me the song is about looking back on my twenties and all the freedom that came with it but its ambiguous enough to be open ended. Like all the tracks on the album it’s a song about dealing with transitions (letting go of old stuff – embracing new stuff).

“We recorded the track, along with the rest of the album, in a tiny side room not much bigger than a broom cupboard that adjoins our bedroom at home (which really pissed the wife off). All on budget mics and dodgy software.”

(He adds that for the video for the song, “We set up downstairs in the dining room with a couple of made-to-measure coffins.” Now THAT we plan to check out!)

Since 2010, The Vagaband have amassed a devoted following across the UK festival scene and beyond. Appearances include Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Bestival, Camp Bestival, Croissant Neuf & Maverick Festival (headline spot two years running). The Vagaband’s strength as a live force is the result of a well-oiled touring act who cut their teeth during early years as a street band. While able to record quality-produced albums, onstage the band’s personality comes to the fore.

After a summer touring Europe and the UK festival circuit, the band played a number of shows throughout late 2014, and will continue touring in 2015 in support of the new album.

www.thevagaband.co.uk
www.facebook.com/thevagaband

Photo credit: Richard Shashamane

Tangerine Dream’s Edgar Froese 1944-2015 R.I.P.

Froese 1

Krautrock pioneer was among the most influential electronic artists ever…

By Fred Mills

“Dear friends & colleagues, the Captain has left the ship … I’m very sorry to inform you that my father Edgar Froese passed away on Tuesday afternoon (20th of January) in Vienna. And as you already know: Life plays no encores. Rest in peace Edgar, you will be sadly missed.”

Thus wrote Jerome Froese, about his father, earlier this week. The Tangerine Dream founder died on Jan. 20 in Vienna, reportedly from a pulmonary embolism, at the age of 70.

Froese 2

Speaking as a lifelong Krautrock fan, and of TG specifically (the group’s 1974 classic Phaedra turned my head around in terms of appreciating electronic music), it’s a huge loss. I count myself honored to have seen Froese and his latterday incarnation of TG at Moogfest 2011 in Asheville a few years ago.

The gentleman truly deserves the prefix “the legendary”… more to come from Blurt about all this.

Watch a New Short Film Featuring Fela Kuti’s Music

Fela film

 

Flex, yes, to the sounds of the classic track “Zombie.”

Okayafrica has premiered Fela Flex a film which aims to introduce a new audience to Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti’s music through the art of contemporary dance.

The video, shot by award-winning director Dominick Sheldon pairs Fela’s 1976 anti-military government song “Zombie” with the incredible bodily movement of Brooklyn-based dancers from the film Flex Is Kings, the 2013 documentary about the East New York street dancing style known as flexing. The piece, a production by the New York City-based ROOT Studios, co-published by Okayafrica and NOWNESS, intends to shed a modern light on the vintage Nigerian horns and drums of Afrobeat.

Fela

Okayafrica producer Allison Swank is quoted as saying, “We saw Flizzo and Jay Donn in Flex Is King and were inspired when we witnessed their live performances. With this film, we wanted to introduce new audiences to older sounds from Africa. It aims to show the positive, contemporary story of the continent.”

Negativland’s Ian Allen 1958-2015 R.I.P.

Ian Allen

“Culture jammer” par excellence.

By Blurt Staff

Negativland has announced that 1981-87 member Ian Allen passed away on Saturday, Jan. 17, at the age of 56. According to the group’s Facebook page Allen experienced “unexpected complications and infections” in the aftermath of heart valve replacement surgery at a California hospital. The lengthy, passionate post noted that Allen had “various serious health issues his entire adult life” which actually played a part in his having to leave the band.

He was a key player, in particular, on 1987’s Escape From Noise

Allen, the band said, “was instrumental in helping to create and articulate the group’s idea of ‘culture jamming’ … For those who knew him, he was a visionary, magical, impish, playful and eccentric thinker, a true genius who was light years ahead of all of us with his ideas about art, sound, society, and technology. He will be dearly missed.”

Bjork Album Leaks; Released Digitally; Pisses Off Record Stores

Bjork

Indie darling overeacts and thrills her core supporters…

By Blurt Staff

What, you think that header was joking? The new Bjork album Vulnicura was slated for a late March release and anticipation was running high despite her previous one, 2011’s Biophilia, barely scraping its way into the Top 30 charts. But over the weekend the new record’s tracks leaked, resulting in a mad scramble from the Bjork camp to go ahead and institute damage control by releasing it digitally.

Bjork herself posted to her Facebook page about it:

dear websitefolks , fans , tweeters and my music supporters on all the sorts of www :

vulnicura will be rolling out worldwide over the next 24 hours !!

http://smarturl.it/vulnicura

i am so grateful you are still interested in my work !!

i appreciate every little bit !!!

That’s good news for fans, but bad news for Bjork’s label and distributor since they are having to scramble to get the physical version(s) into stores; currently the target date for release is March 3, and plans are to bump the date up even sooner if possible. That no doubt applies to the CD version; vinyl pressing plants are so backed up at the moment that the likelihood of a rush job on the Bjork LP is pretty slim.

Here’s a funny wrinkle to the whole thing: the ever-astute Gawker.com’s headline read “Bjork releases Album to Combat Leak, Because She’s Badass.” Er, no, Gawker that’s not the reason. It’s because she’s scared shitless about losing income and someone on her management pressured her into doing it.

Further reading:

http://defamer.gawker.com/bjork-releases-album-after-leak-because-shes-badass-1680715786

http://music-mix.ew.com/2015/01/20/bjork-vulnicura-leak/

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jan/20/bjork-rush-releases-new-album-vulnicura-after-online-leak

http://time.com/3675265/bjork-vulnicura-itunes-leak/

What if You Got Jack White in Your Baseball Card Gum?

Jack

Photo needs no captioning.

By Blurt Staff

It’s not a rhetorical question, nor is it a variation the chocolate-in-peanut-butter ad: this year the Topps company is adding a Detroit Tigers-clad Jack White to its Series 1 set of baseball cards,  The Detroit Free Press reports . Will it be collectible? Do hipsters wear skinny jeans? Of COURSE it will be collectible, you ninnies!

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Prep Album; Listen to New Track

JSBE

Followup to 2012’s most excellent Meat and Bone.

By Blurt Staff

They are calling it “a document of New York City, a chronicle of grit and terror and love.” That would be the new album from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, titled Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015 and due March 24 on Mom + Pop.

The band continues: “It’s all here: The Hustler and The Trust Fund Baby, the Mosh Pit Casualty, the Celebrity Chef, the Crooked Cop, the Struggling Artist, the Sucker MC, the forgotten Sex Workers and Last-Chance Cinderellas. Within these grooves are cold-water tenements, blue-chip galleries, dingy Avenue B studios, and the last real warrior poet whose dark magick brings garage rock ghosts back from the grave!”

Well, all right then! Below, listen to the first single from the album, “Do the Get Down.”

Tour Dates:

2-14 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall Of Williamsburg (Planned Parenthood Benefit)
4-08 Northampton, MA – Iron Horse Music Hall
4-09 Allston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
4-10 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
4-11 Washington, DC – Black Cat
4-12 Charlottesville, VA – The Southern
4-15 Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle
4-16 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
4-17 Birmingham, AL – The Bottletree
4-18 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
4-19 Louisville, KY – Zanzabar
4-20 Indianapolis, IN – Radio Radio
4-21 Grand Rapids, MI – Pyramid Scheme
4-23 Columbus, OH – The Basement
4-24 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
4-25 Pittsburgh, PA – Rex Theater

 

Watch New Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Video

Bonnie Billy crop

“Hallucinatory imagery” and much, much more.

By Blurt Staff

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (aka Will Oldham) is releasing another single from last year’s acclaimed Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues, “Mindlessness? b/w “Blindlessness.” Check out the video for the latter:

The Oldham camp comments on the video’s “hallucinatory imagery, provided by Kyle Armstrong (Armstrong’s 2012 short film MAGNETIC RECONNECTION was narrated by Oldham and scored by Jim O’Rourke). The visuals elevate Bonny‘s brooding introspection to a new height as the cascades of light and color illuminate brightly against the backdrop of succoring harmonies. Bonnie is seen blindfolded, safe and detached from his surroundings, yearning for a new reality. The steady and determined strums of his guitar echo as Bonnie sings, ‘Why can’t I take what I have seen and get far away from here.’ His articulation is poignant and invites us all on an enduring journey of reflection, as vivid images blaze in the background.”