Monthly Archives: August 2015

Video Premiere: Michael Rank & Stag feat. Heather McEntire

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“Trails” taken from recent album by the Tarheel veteran; McEntire hails from Mount Moriah.

By Blurt Staff

A mainstay of the BLURT jukebox lately has been Horsehair by longtime North Carolina musician Michael Rank, whose band Stag is joined by Heather McEntire of Mount Moriah for a tour de force of sweet country-folk proportions. As our reviewer put it recently, of Horsehair, “Matters of the heart rarely stray far from Rank’s worldview, as he [performs] these outlaw folk tunes… MVP status pins on McEntire, the Emmylou to Rank’s Gram – her country harmonies blend so well with Rank’s low-key twang that one hopes this partnership continues.”

So we’re chuffed to now have a video for the album, a live version of standout track “Trails.” It was filmed by Trickle Down Productions at the recent album release show for the album at the Cat’s Cradle Backroom in Carrboro. Check it out:

The review link above, incidentally, will also get you an audio goodie from the album, so check it out, and meanwhile, go HERE to read our story about Rank’s earlier band, the late, great rawk und roll combo Snatches of Pink, which is described as “NC’s greatest band of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Photo credit: Andy Tennille

Listen to Myrkur Interviewed at… NPR?!?

Myrkur

This is not your typical grannies-in-hot-tubs feel-good NPR feature, eh?

By Fred Mills

If you caught NPR’s “Weekend Edition” on Sunday morning (Aug. 31) you probably were caught offguard to hear the term “black metal” being uttered by the program’s host. To their credit, the weekend crew has a knack for digging up a fascinating array of topics, and this time around it was simply fascinating: Rachel Martin interviewed black metal mistress Myrkur, aka Danish musician Amalie Bruun, who talked about her music, her early classical influences, and her acclaimed new album m.

“Putting this music out is an outlet for me, so when I scream, I really do it from the inside, to get something out. It actually comes almost as natural as the other style of singing. You have to act according to certain rules, especially as a woman, and [at] some time I just decided not to, and act according to my own rules and what feels natural to me instead of everybody else.”

To hear Bruun doing the Cookie Monster(ess) vocals on NPR, and on a Sunday, was a pretty cognitively dissonant moment, to say the least. It’s unfortunate that the segment didn’t attempt to define or more fully describe black metal, since it often seems to be a source of confusion to outsiders. But hats off to Martin and the NPR crew for exposing their audience to something definitely new and alien to at least 99% of listeners. Check out the interview, below.

Go HERE to read BLURT’s review of the Myrkur album, of which contributor Daniel Matti enthused, “Black metal has always had a sense of shock and awe. With Myrkur bringing on a group of girls presenting their sweet vocals throughout the album, it is simultaneously filled with beauty and grace and some of the rawest form of gothic black metal.”

Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein for Book Tour

Carrie

Toto, we’re not in Portlandia any more…

By Barbi Martinez, Blurt Intern

With her memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl due out in late October, Carrie Brownstein is planning a book tour (major markets only, unfortunately) for October and November. It kicks off the day of publication, Oct. 27, in Brooklyn with special guest ?uestlove. Later during the tour everyone from Dave Eggers to Amy Poehler to Jessica Hopper is slated to show up with Brownstein as well.

10/27 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus (w/ Questlove)
10/28 New York, NY @ Barnes & Noble Union Square
10/29 Philadelphia, PA @ Merriam Theater (w/ Aidy Brant)
10/30 Chicago, IL @ Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago (w/ Jessica Hopper)
11/01 Austin, TX @ Central Presbyterian Church (w/ Liz Lambert)
11/03 Los Angeles, CA @ Vroman’s Bookstore (w/ Amy Poehler)
11/04 San Francisco, CA @ Jewish Community Centre Of San Francisco (w/ Dave Eggers)
11/05 Portland, OR @ Newmark Theatre
11/06 Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre (w/ Maria Semple)
11/16 Montreal, QC @ Ukrainian Federation (w/ Jessica Hopper)
11/17 Toronto, ON @ Bram And Bluma Appel Salon At The Toronto Reference Library (w/ Johanna Schneller)

Yes, Kanye West is STILL a Jackass

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Above: Swift, ever eager to please the haters, in kiss and make up mode. Below: the two in less happy but far more interesting times.

By Uncle Blurt

Rolling Stone calls it “blunt” yet “poignant,” and scores of other media outlets are gushing over how brave, how noble, how insightful, how revealing…. how grating is how I’d describe Kanye West’s speech last night at the VMAs when he was given the holy “Video Vanguard” award, by none other than his old VMA foil Taylor Swift. One might’ve hope marital bliss and fatherhood would have mellowed ol’ Kanye out, but nope, he’s still the same old jackass that President Obama so famously pegged. Read the entirety of his speech, below, and decide for yourself, but as far as I’m concerned it’s some of the most self-aggrandizing, false humility bullshit I’ve heard since, I dunno, the last speech Donald Trump gave. And just because he smoked a doobie before getting onstage doesn’t let him off the hook because pot doesn’t change one’s personality – it enhances what’s already there.

Now THERE’s a presidential ticket made in heaven: Trump & West 2020, “bruh”!

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Bro. Bro. Listen to the kids.

First of all, thank you Taylor for being so gracious and giving me this award this evening. I often think back to the first day I met you, also. I think about when I’m in the grocery store with my daughter and I have a really great conversation about fresh juice and at the end, they say, “Oh, you’re not that bad after all.” It crosses my mind a little bit when I go to a baseball game and 60,000 people boo me; crosses my mind a little bit. If I had to do it all again, what would I have done? Would I have worn a leather shirt? Would I have drank a half a bottle of Hennessey and gave the rest of it to the audience? Y’all know you drank that bottle too. If I had a daughter at that time, would I have went onstage and grabbed the mic from someone else?

This arena, tomorrow, is going to be a completely different setup. This stage will be gone. After that night, the stage was gone, but the effect that it had on people remained. The problem was the contradiction; I do fight for artists, but in that fight, I somehow was disrespectful to artists. I didn’t know how to say the right, perfect thing.

I sat at the Grammys and saw Justin Timberlake and Cee Lo lose; Gnarls Barkley and the FutureSex/LoveSounds album. I ain’t trying to put you on blast, but I saw that man in tears. He deserved to win Album of the Year. And this small box that we are as the entertainers of the evening, how could you explain that? All this shit they run about beef and all that, sometimes I feel like that I died for artists to be able to have an opinion after they were successful.

I’m not no politician, bruh. And look at that [points to screen]. You know how many times MTV ran that footage again? Because it got them more ratings. You know how many times they announced Taylor was going to give me the award. Because it got them more ratings. Listen to the kids, bruh!

I still don’t understand award shows. I don’t understand how they get five people who work their entire life, won, sell records, sell concert tickets, to come, stand on a carpet and for the first time in their life, be judged on the chopping block and have the opportunity to be considered a loser. I don’t understand it, bro! I’ve been conflicted. I just wanted people to like me more. But fuck that, bro! 2015. I will die for the art — for what I believe in — and the art ain’t always gonna be polite.

Y’all might be thinking, “I wonder. Did he smoke something before he came out here?” The answer is, “Yes, I rolled up a little something. I knocked the edge off.” I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight; I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. But all I can say to my fellow artists: just worry about how you feel at the time, man.

I’m confident. I believe in myself. We the millenials, bruh. This is a new mentality. We not going to control our kids with brands. We not going to teach low self-esteem and hate to our kids. We going to teach our kids that they can be something. We can teach our kids that they can stand up for themselves. We going to teach our kids to believe in themselves. If my grandfather was here right now, he would not let me back down.

I don’t know what I finna lose after this. It don’t matter, though; It’s not about me. It’s about ideas. New ideas. People with ideas. People who believe in truth. And yes, as you probably could’ve guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.

 

Grab That Surprise—and Free—Toro y Moi Mixtape

Toro

Odds ‘n’ sods time, y’all.

By Blurt Staff

If you go to a Dropbox link that mysteriously appeared on the interwebs last night you’ll snag a free 20-track mixtape created by indie hero Toro y Moi. Titled Samantha, it’s not specifically a followup to this year’s What For?; included are familiar (to fans at least) tracks “Room for 1zone,” “2 Late” and “Pitch Black.” But it also has 2012-15 unreleased material, including tunes he did with Nosaj Thing, Rome Fortune, Kool A.D. (of Das Racist) and Washed Out, so we’ll call it an intriguing odds ‘n’ sods collection intended to keep the TyM name out there. Reportedly the sales for What For? have been somewhat, er, underwhelming, so that may be part of the motivation.

Incidentally, for much of today when you go to the above link you get a message that it has been temporarily disabled due to all the traffic. Nothing like “free,” eh? So keep trying.

Tracklisting:

  1. “Power of Now”
    2. “2 Late” (feat. Kool A.D. & SAFE)
    3. “Driving Day”
    4. “Good Song”
    5. “Pitch Black” (feat. Rome Fortune)
    6. “Us 2”
    7. “That Night” (feat. Kool A.D. & SAFE)
    8. “Stoned at the MoMA”
    9. “Room for 1zone”
    10. “Want” (feat. Washed Out)
    11. “Ambient Rainbow”
    12. “Benjiminz” (feat. Rome Fortune)
    13. “Boo Boo Mobile”
    14. “bytheneck”
    15. “Real Love” (feat. Kool A.D.)
    16. “Enough of You” (feat. Nosaj Thing)
    17. “The Usual”
    18. “Prayer Hands”
    19. “Holy Nights” (feat. SHORE)
    20. “welp, tour’s over”

 

Upstate NY House For Rent: Some Baggage Involved (Stay Out of the Basement)

Big Pink

God bless VBRO!

By Uncle Blurt

Damn! I just invested in a time-share condo down on the South Carolina coast, mainly ‘cos I wanted to do some golfing (and possibly some go-karting). Had I known about this deal, however, I might have changed my annual vacation plans.

Up in West Saugerties, New York—some of us call it “Woodstock” but let’s not get into semantics—a certain big, pink domicile has come on the vacation rental market for the modest sum of $650 per night (two-night min.). According to VBRO:

“The Dormer has air-conditioning, and views of Overlook Mountain, fields and forest. Outside is the lawn with out-door furniture & original stone fireplace/bbq area nestled beneath the pines. The Dormer can sleep 4, and has WiFi…. [description of each room follows] Note: the Basement is not included in the rental.”

Presumably the basement is where the owner stores his or her own crap, right? Well, maybe… or maybe it’s the fact that the house is known in some quarters as “Big Pink” and that lower level is where fucking Bob Dylan and the Band recorded those Basement Tapes back in the day!?!

Wait a sec – it only sleeps 4?

Fall Heroes Preview #6: The Foxymorons

The Foxymorons

Check out a brand-new track from the forthcoming album, due in early November.

By Blurt Staff

The Dallas duo is called the Foxymorons, and while they ain’t in the least bit moronic, their skronky brand of indie rawk is definitely foxy as hell. To date the duo of Jerry James and David Dewese has issued 4 full-length records described as “shambling, lo-fi guitar rock and and skewed pop”—which is a pretty good description, we think. Fake Yoga is now set to be the fifth in the series (collect ‘em all), due November 6. Here’s a track to get your juices flowing, “Frontier Feelings”:

About the album: It’s a “joyous collection of abrasive, nervous, tuneful guitar rock… underneath the strange amp noise and boyish vocals are deceptively effortless melodies addressing themes of anxiety, restlessness and escape.” The aforementioned “Frontier Feelings,” in fact, is about a tormented teenage loner who wishes for “daydream boyfriends she could tell / Woody Allen, Richard Hell”. Also worth noting: the record features guest Will Johnson – frontman of Denton, Texas outfit Centro-matic and erstwhile Monsters of Folk member – behind the drumkit.

Well, all right then! Ultimately, the duo prove on Fake Yoga that they can channel their penchant for graceful melody into songs that skronk and squeal.

 

Fall Heroes Preview #5: The Bottle Rockets

Bottle  Rockets

Guaranteed to make October just a bit more explosively musical… Listen to a track and check out a video, below.

By Blurt Staff

Do we really need to introduce the Bottle Rockets? By now, if you’re not familiar with the hard-twanging Americana icons, you clearly have not been present in this country for the past 20 or so years. St. Louis’ finest will release their 10th album South Broadway Athletic Club on October 2nd via Bloodshot Records. This is the band’s first studio album since 2009’s Lean Forward. Check out lead track “Monday (Everytime I Turn Around)”:

Brian Henneman and his crew will be hitting the road starting in early October, with more to be announced, so unless you’re drunk definitely don’t miss ‘em. Actually, it’s always a good idea to get drunk when you go see the Bottle Rockets, so unless you can’t line up a DD (or have an Uber account), don’t miss ‘em.

8/29 Friendship IN Whispering Beard Folk Festival
10/06 Buffalo NY Sportmen’s Tavern
10/08 Somerville MA Thunder Road
10/09 New York NY Bowery Electric

Fall Heroes Preview #4: N.C.’s Anthony Neff & The Nearly Distants

Anthony Neff

Terrific new record drops middle of next month.

By Blurt Staff

Raleigh, NC, based troubadour Anthony Neff—a BLURT fave, incidentally—is prepping for the release of his newest album Blood Beneath the Sun, due on Sept. 22 and billed as Anthony Neff & The Nearly Distants. The songwriter grew up listening to equal amounts of rock, country, folk and pop, and he’s been compared to artists as diverse as Elliott Smith, the Band, Donovan, the National and Little Feat. Running throughout his work is the knack to craft words and melodies that linger with the listener long after the song is over. The new album, recorded at Overdub Lane studios in Durham, NC, seamlessly incorporates elements of indie rock, Americana, soul, pop and folk into a set of songs that are his strongest to date. Each track is part of a slice of life in one year of a relationship, covering the highs, lows, and points in-between.

The Nearly Distants comprises a group of talented Triangle musicians involved with other bands and projects: Jason Merritt added guitars, loops, keyboards, backing vocals and percussion. Additional guitar work was added by Scott McCall (Two Dollar Pistols, Kenny Roby band) and Jeff Mullins (Brothers Grim, Adam Lane & Jeff Mullins). Morgan Davis (Mr. Potato Head) provided drums, with Gary Mitchell (Gary Mitchell Band) adding conga and percussion. In addition to backing vocals, Roger Gupton (The Backsliders, Jeanne Jolly) played bass, as well as Mark Connor (Kenny Roby, SOON). Dave Wright (Boneslinger, Countdown Quartet, 6 String Drag) added trombone. The band will be joining Anthony at CD release shows in the fall.

Anthony began writing, performing and recording music in 1999. Since then he has released three CDs prior to his latest (Between the Rungs, Chase Your Burden and Generation X-istential Blues), was featured in a compilation from Shut Eye Records, two editions of Holly Raleigh Christmas compilations, and landed a song in the top 10 of Neil Young’s “Living With War” website. Below, check out a live recording of him from a couple of years ago (he’s joined by another BLURT pal, Kenny Roby), and meanwhile, look forward to the new album.

TOUR DATES
8/28/15 – Berkeley Café, Raleigh NC
9/05/15 – Front Street Public House, Burlington, NC 10PM
9/26/15 – Saturdays at the Market, Raleigh NC
9/27/15 – Carrboro Music Festival, Carrboro NC 1:00pm
9/27/15 – Pour House Music Hall, Raleigh NC (CD Release show with full band) 8:00pm
10/9/15 – Schoolkids Records, Raleigh NC

Photo Credit: Andy Orr

Britain’s Wildhearts Return… Again!

Ginger

Ginger just can’t get that w-h blood out of his system…

You’d be forgiven if you assumed that legendary ‘90s band the Wildhearts was defunct… then back together… then defunct again…. Then back together… then defunct yet again. After all, the glammy hard rockers from Newcastle, England, are listed at their Wikipedia page as having broken up and then gotten back together at least five times in their 26-year old career (this isn’t even counting scores of lineup shuffles). (Below: back in the good ol’ days)

wildhearts

Most recently, the group resumed operations in 2012 when sole remaining founding member Ginger (the vocalist and guitarist) got some of the old musicians back together in order to do a one-off reunion show, which was then followed the next year with the newest iteration of the band touring to do their classic Earth Vs. the Wildhearts album in its entirety.

Now, as the saying goes, they’re baaaaack—this time to tour in September, playing the classic 1993 P.H.U.Q. album to commemorate the recor’s 25th anniversary. Released in May 1995, it crashed into the UK Top Ten Album Chart at number 6. The album spawned two Top 40 hit singles, I Wanna Go Where The People Go and Just In Lust, which reached numbers 16 and 28 respectively. Here is the band’s video for I Wanna Go Where The People Go:

Ginger’s side project Hey! Hello! will be opening on the tour, along with Baby Chaos. Notes Ginger, ‘I can’t wait to get in front of the Wildhearts fans again. They’re the loudest, craziest, most passionate crowd I’ve ever seen, and we’re doing this tour for them. It’s going to be a pretty emotional evening, for everyone. I’m especially excited to be taking Hey! Hello! on the road with us too. This is my new band, and I’ll be concentrating on them full time in 2016. We’ll be recording our new album later this year and I’m expecting to see a lot of love for this group next year, especially from Wildhearts fans.’

Sept. Tour Dates:

17th      Nottingham                        Rock City.

18th      Manchester                   Academy.

19th      Newcastle                     O2 Academy.

20th      Glasgow                       O2 ABC.

22nd     Leeds Academy            O2 Academy.

23rd      Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall.

24th      Bristol               O2  Academy.

25th      London             O2 Shepherds Bush Empire.