Monthly Archives: February 2016

Iggy Poses Nude; Penis May Necessitate Extra Canvas?

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Relationship status: it’s complicated.

By Barbi Martinez

Anyone who has ever delved into the, uh, not-so-minute minutae of rock star penis sizes already knows the punchline to this music news item. As Pitchfork is reporting, Iggy Pop recently posed nude for a life drawing class in NYC, specifically at the New York Academy of Art as hosted by the Brooklyn Museum and “conceived” by British artist Jeremy Deller. “Conceived” no doubt being a pun, given the topic. According to Pitchfork, there were  21 artists “ranging in age from 19 to 80, [who] will be showcased in a Fall 2016 Brooklyn Museum exhibition titled ‘Iggy Pop Life Class,’ which will then go on tour.

“Deller said of the project, ‘The life class is a special place in which to scrutinize the human form. As the bedrock of art education and art history, it is still the best way to understand the body. For me it makes perfect sense for Iggy Pop to be the subject of a life class; his body is central to an understanding of rock music and its place within American culture. His body has witnessed much and should be documented.'”

Oh, the Pop body has been documented all right, and not just by photographers who have caught The Shirtless Wonder onstage with the Stooges and solo. Iggy’s “little Iggy” has been on proud display over the years as a more or less 7th wonder of the phallic world, so it will be fun to see what the artistic results of those portraits will be. Especially that 80-year old painter. Me, well, I will be purchasing my tickets the day they go onsale. Purely in the name of art, of course.

Some resource links for those of you unfamiliar with the topc at hand:

Biggest Penis In the Business” – Datalounge

My Ding-a-Ling” – Houston Press

Pop Stars and Their Packages” – Dangerous Minds

“Apart From Iggy Pop, Rock’s Most Impressive Penises…” – Teenage Wildlife

Hollywood Cock” – HC

Iggy

Sigh. Where’s Danny Sugerman when we need him to put all this into perspective?

 

 

Listen to New Explosions In The Sky Track

Explosions

Kinda tingly instro, with elements of psych and postrock infusing its motorik vibe.

By Barbi Martinez

It’s called “Logic of a Dream” and Explosions In the Sky just premiered it on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show in the UK. From forthcoming album The Wilderness, the song is a staggering sonic journey that bodes well for the record as a whole, due from Temporary Residence on April 1. It’s been nearly 5 years since the last proper studio album from the band, although 2011’s Take Care, Take Care has in that time been abetted by several film scores and plenty of touring.

All Tomorrow’s Parties Cancelled/Not Cancelled/Re-cancelled?

ATP 2016

it’s the kind of game Bernie Madoff would have loved! So who’s earning interest on all those early bird ticket sales, hmmm?

By Uncle Blurt

This may or may not be the moment when music festivals start the inevitable jump-the-shark process; it’s been long predicted, and in truth, since each year it appears that the high-profile festivals, regardless of country, all book the same sure-thing artists (hey, Pavement is touring, and I’ll never get the chance to see them again, and… wait, Pavement is playing all 8 festivals I plan to go to this summer…), it may be time to finally just kill the beast anyway.

But we digress… over at The Quietus a (somewhat quiet) kerfluffle is afoot regarding the upcoming All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, slated for April 22-24 in North Wales (now there is an easy drive), featuring Rocket From the Crypt, Diamanda Galas, the Flamin’ Groovies, Omar Souleyman, Metz, the Gories and plenty more for both the deep-indie and hipster crowds – all curated by RFTC brethren Drive Like Jehu.

Apparently the ATP organizers sent an email to The Quietus earlier this aftenoon announcing that the event had been cancelled, no explanation offered. Roughly 15-20 minutes later, the announcement was amended, with The Quietus posting this notice that seemed to question the amendment:

UPDATE (15:49): Barry Hogan has informed us of the following: “We have just spoken to Pontins and we are currently resolving this miscommunication. Our events are going ahead as planned.”

Earlier this afternoon it was rumoured that the two upcoming ATP weekenders set to take place at Pontins Prestatyn had both been cancelled. The events had been due to be curated by Stewart Lee and Drive Like Jehu.

ATP have since rebuffed the claims that the weekenders have been cancelled taking to Twitter to say: “These events have not been cancelled, we’ll endeavour to keep you updated.” However, Pontins themselves have emailed us to confirm that the festivals have been cancelled. You can see a screenshot of our email contact confirming the cancellation by Pontins below. We’ll continue to update as the story develops.

Dang. Well, considering it’s way the hell out in North Wales nowheresville, who the heck cares? Would have been cool to see RFTC and DLJ on the same bill, though… Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Beale Street Music Festival “Memphis In May” Lineup Announced

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And it’s a corker, as the saying goes…

By Blurt Staff

Pretty impressive indeed – that would be the annual Memphis In May bash, aka the Beale Street Music Festival, which is happening in, er, Memphis on April 29 – May 1. Notable performers include Neil Young, Beck, BLURT Artist Of The Year 2015 Courtney Barnett, Weezer, Paul Simon, Modest Mouse, Grace Potter, Indigo Girls, Los Lobos and Lucinda Williams (among many, many others… for some reason they also have a handful of excruciatingly mainstream pop fare like Meghan Trainor, but hey, gotta keep the short attention span kids interested so they’ll spend their dough on sodas and chips, eh?). Go HERE to see the full lineup, natch.

Track Premiere: East of Venus “Let’s Find a Way”

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Indie supergroup’s debut album arrives in mid April.

By Blurt Staff

This is a very special premiere for us because the music and the artist are so close to the collective BLURT heart: New Jersey indie supergroup East of Venus, which included erstwhile Winter Hours guitarist Michael Carlucci. The gifted songwriter and axeman, you see, passed away this past October, and it hit us particularly hard. (Read editor Fred Mills’ obituary HERE as well as a story he wrote about Carlucci and Winter Hours HERE.)

Also in the band: Glenn Mercer (The Feelies, Wake Ooloo), Stan Demeski (The Feelies, Luna) and Rob Norris (The Bongos). The debut album, Memory Box, is set to drop on April 15 via Omnivore, so please enjoy opening track “Let’s Find a Way”:

The backstory: East of Venus began playing in the mid-20002, displaying such collective influences as Lou Reed, Rolling Stones, Faces, Doors, early Rod Stewart, Dylan, Patti Smith, Television, Gene Clark, and even Fairport Convention. The album includes three unique covers in addition to original material: Red Buckets’ “Jane September,” Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe,” and “Citadel” from the Rolling Stones. And of that original material, Carlucci’s track “Faded Pictures” actually began life in 1990 as a Winter Hours song and was performed live by the band for a couple of months just prior to their breakup. It’s a great, lost song that they never got to professionally record – although note that an East of Venus version was added to a various artists Winter Hours tribute CD A Few Uneven Rhymes from several years ago.

The band, in fact, has dedicated this release to his memory: “His spirit will forever live on through the music he created.” Definitely visit the East of Venus Facebook page as there are plenty of choice photos as well as equally choice live material to check out – such as this gorgeous version of Winter Hours’ classic “Hyacinth Girl” performed in NJ in 2013.

R.I.P. Michael Carlucci – you will always be greatly missed, sir.

 

 

 

 

UPDATE 2/29: Larkin Grimm Accuses Michael Gira of Rape; Gira Denies Incident

 

Grimm

UPDATE 2/29: Gira issued a statement that reads thusly:

“Eight years ago, while I was still married to my first wife, Larkin Grimm and I headed towards a consensual romantic moment that fortunately was not consummated. As she wrote in her recent social media postings about that night, I said to her, “this doesn’t feel right,” and abruptly but completely our only intimate encounter ended. It was an awkward mistake. Larkin may regret, as I certainly do, that the ill-advised tryst went even that far, but now, as then, I hold her in high esteem for her music and her courage as an artist. I long ago apologized to my wife and family and told them the truth about this incident. My hope is that Larkin finds peace with the demons that have been darkening her soul since long before she and I ever met.”

Grimm has subsequently posted her own statement challenging the tenor of Gira’s statement:

This is a perfect example of why we need to have education about consent. In a gentlemanly move he admits the act happened but cannot conceive of himself as a rapist. Thank you Michael Gira for your honesty. This is your truth as you remember it. Unfortunately, this was still rape. I said no to you many times before that day, begged you not to interfere with me sexually, even made it a part of a verbal agreement we had when I signed a contract with you. I asked you to promise that you would never have sex with me. You assured me that I could trust you. That is about as clear a NO as I could ever cry. I asked for this because I had had other experiences in my music career and I KNEW.

That night I was far too intoxicated to give you consent for any sexual act. The psychological effects of this betrayal were devastating. Even worse, when I finally confronted you about what you had done, you terminated my relationship with Young God Records, damaging my career and leading people to believe there was something wrong with me or my music.

In the end, this is about business. Art is my career. I have worked long and hard for this career, making incredible sacrifices along the way to continue to make music. The fact that a man in power can throw a women’s life and work away like they are garbage, simply because she won’t sleep with him, is an immoral injustice that happens to many, many women in music. I won’t stand for it and neither should you.

The “Demons darkening my soul” are the men like you who interfere with my ability to do my work as a musician. This is a job I am good at. All I want is to be left in peace while I am working.

Additional news just in: Gira has cancelled his Australian tour that was set to begin this week, reports Pitchfork.

***

Sordid story plays out against the backdrop of the Kesha-Dr. Luke blowup.

By Barbi Martinez

Last night the indie rock world entered scandal territory when singer-songwriter Larkin Grimm published a lengthy Facebook post accusing Swans frontman Michael Gira of a 2008 rape. It’s a pretty harrowing account, detailing an evening that spring just after the conclusion of recording sessions for Grimm’s 2008 Gira-produced album Parplar. Writes Grimm, in part,

“He was my record label boss and producer. He was my beloved, trusted mentor, really my guru. I lived in his house with him and his wife Siobhan and I babysat their daughter frequently in between working on new songs and incorporating Michael’s valuable input. I loved him more than I have loved just about anyone, but I did not want to have sex with him, and I made that very clear over and over… [One night after dinner] I was too drunk to drive home, too drunk to even walk straight. Michael invited me to stay with his friends. They said they had a bed for me and that Michael would sleep on the floor. I trusted them and agreed.

At the apartment of Michael’s friends, I crawled into bed without changing my clothes or brushing my teeth. I just passed out… A little bit later I woke up with his penis inside me, no condom. As I opened my eyes, he said, “Uh, this doesn’t feel right.” and he pulled out. The next morning, Michael begged me not to tell his wife about what happened. I drove home, numb.”

Grimm additionally notes that she went into a deep depression, and that Gira repeatedly attempted to get her to have sex with him again, ultimately dropping her from his label, Young God Records. The recent press accounts of Kesha and her producer Dr. Luke apparently influenced her decision to come forward with her story eight years after the fact.

Gira

As you might imagine, Gira has responded via his own Facebook page and maintains that it is “a slanderous lie,” vowing to defend his name “against this horrible slur” after he consults an attorney. Meanwhile, Gira’s wife Jennifer has weighed in as well, posting on Facebook with an even lengthier commentary that Grimm’s actions are the result of having been dropped from Gira’s label years ago and feeling “jilted about it ever since.” She notes that Grimm sent her husband “harassing emails/texts, rambling obsessive tomes, declarations of unrequited love, hate speech, and threats to him… I have PROOF, in Larkin’s own hand, that her allegations of Michael raping her *did not happen.* I REPEAT It is false.”

The plot then thickens via the intervention of Pitchfork, with Grimm making the following statement:

“I am not in this for vengeance. I am not angry. I do not want Michael Gira to have his life destroyed. If one in four or five women has been raped, we have to acknowledge the possibility that one in five men might be rapists. What are we going to do with them all? Send them to jail for 10 years and cut off their dicks? NO. It is the whole culture that has to change. We have created this epidemic of harassment and disrespect and violence together. We have to end it together.”

Gira has not yet responded to Pitchfork’s request for comment. But social media has, as expected, blown up about the she said – he said incident, and it’s worth reading the comments at each principal’s FB page to note how the lines are being drawn. At this point it’s unclear how this will play out, but as it is against the backdrop of the Kesha-Dr. Luke blowup, you can bet it’s not going to fade away anytime in the near future. Stay tuned.

 

 

Marshall Crenshaw Mounts Kickstarter Campaign for Tom Wilson Doc

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Only 11 more days to go. Pitch in, punters.

By Fred Mills

Music geeks certainly know the name Tom Wilson – it appeared on the back of scores of key records back in the day, including albums by Sun Ra, Frank Zappa, Eric Burdon, Simon & Garfunkel, and a little old NYC garage combo called the Velvet Underground. What about the general public, though? Do they even know their Tom Wilsons from their Charlie Wilsons?

Marshall Crenshaw – you may have heard of him too – has obviously pondered that same question so he’s decided to make a documentary about the producer, and in the process is mounting a Kickstarter campaign to help get the thing funded. At the pledge page, Crenshaw duly notes, of his progress on the project thus far:

One question that I got asked a lot when I first got started on this project was, “Is there any film footage of Tom Wilson? Any audio? Will people be able to see, hear, and get a sense of this person when they see the movie about him?”. As of now I know the answer to be a big fat YES! We’ve discovered that there’s tons of still-unseen film footage of him in his element and in his heyday, AND we know of lots of places to look for more; the ongoing process of discovery has already begun.

There’s lots and lots of audio material too, beginning of course with the 40 one-hour “Music Factory” syndicated radio shows that Wilson produced and hosted during the late ’60s wherein he interviews people like Tim Buckley, The Velvet Underground, The Cowsills, fellow legendary-producers Teddy Reig and Artie Ripp, Dave Van Ronk, Sam the Sham, Frank Zappa, Johnny Tillotson (!!), many more.. And of course there are (still-unreleased) illuminating moments, conversations contained on unedited master tapes; later this month I’m going to a private listening session to check out some of that stuff. The movie that we want to make will bring a lot of incredible archive material to light for the first time, will be a feast for the eyes, ears, and souls of music fans.

That, for yours truly, is kind of the proverbial “holy shit” moment when it comes to piquing my interest in an archival release or documentary film. As of this writing Crenshaw has raised a little over $5k, with 11 days to go to reach a goal of $24,475. Let us go on record as saying this is the kind of film that has GOT to be made, folks, so head over to that pledge page where you can see the pitch trailer along with Crenshaw’s written updates.

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Worth noting is that this Saturday night (Feb. 27) Crenshaw will be on the radio with a re-airing of an earlier installment of his show that’s pretty relevant to this Wilson discussion. Notes Crenshaw, “[The show is] The Bottomless Pit, WFUV and wfuv.org, Saturdays @ 10PM EST, [of one] I did back in Oct. 2013, right after Irwin Chusid’s website was launched (www.producertomwilson.com). After doing the shows, I wanted more. There’s a huge gap in the Historical Record of Popular Music where Wilson’s story, in detail and depth, should be. Anyway, these radio shows were the start of Me being pulled down into this rabbit-hole.”

As with us all, Marshall.

Video Premiere: Eric Ambel “Don’t Make Me Break You Down”

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Track culled from forthcoming vinyl-only release. Album will appeal to people who break in their own jeans.

By Fred Mills

Roscoe’s back – Eric Ambel, that is. The erstwhile Del-Lords/Yayhoos rocker, mainstay of his own Roscoe’s Gang, and former member of Steve Earle and Joan Jett’s bands, has his first solo album due April 1. And that’s no joke, folks: titled Lakeside and featuring Jimbo Mathus as producer and collaborator, Ambel describes it as “a pretty good representation of what I do. For me, the looser the better.  That’s kind of what I feel like I have to offer.  And to be loose, you have to be really good.  A thing that I learned in college was that you clean up the house before the party, not after.”

Well, all right then! We’re pretty pleased to be able to loosen the BLURT readership up as well with this exclusive look at a new video for album track “Don’t Make Me Break You Down.” Check it out:

“‘Don’t Make Me Break You Down’ is as pure of an Ambel/Mathus collaboration as possible.  The song was written by the two, inspired by Jimbo’s work on the Buddy Guy Sweet Tea record.  Ambel and Mathus are the only musicians on the cut, recorded in Brooklyn; Mathus directed the video, which was shot in Jimbo’s back yard in Taylor, Mississippi.

The entire album is raw and rocking – the title is a nod to Ambel’s old bar, NYC’s Lakeside Lounge – and, as Ambel puts it, “The stuff on this record is just stuff that I really like. I didn’t have to think about how I was gonna play the songs live, or if anybody will play it on the radio.  I’m not looking to change the record business.  There are a certain number of people who are interested in what I do, and they’re the ones I’m aiming to reach.  If you’re the kind of person who breaks in your own jeans, then you might like this record.”

It’s a pretty logical follow-up to his previous solo joints: 1988’s Roscoe’s Gang, 1995’s Loud and Lonesome and 2004’s Knucklehead. And so what if he only cuts an LP per decade – dude stays pretty busy, over the years operating his own studio, Brooklyn’s Cowboy Technical Services, as well as producing records by scores of artists, including the Bottle Rockets, the Blood Oranges, Nils Lofgren, Freedy Johnston, Mojo Nixon, Marshall Crenshaw, Blue Mountain, the Backsliders, Go to Blazes, Tammy Faye Starlite, Spanking Charlene, Sarah Borges and Mary Lee’s Corvette.

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But wait, there’s more. Ambel is releasing the new album in a limited signed, numbered vinyl LP edition, including a download card with links to both CD quality and Hi-Res 192/24 bit digital versions of the album. “So here’s my thing,” he says.  “I went ahead and made this crazy record in my studio with a super commitment to hi-fi, and we did it with a combination of super-high-resolution digital and mixing to analog.  People were saying vinyl’s just a fetish, it’s just a fad.  But then it hit me, that the people who are still willing to actually pay for music are the people that buy vinyl and the people who buy hi-res digital.  I’m not making this thing for everybody; I’m making it for the people that want it.

“Also, I like the limitations of vinyl, because working with limitations and rules is great for creativity. Those limitations are almost, like, post-modern.  At a certain point, the glass is full.”

We couldn’t have said it better, Roscoe. Viva le vinyl. More details on the album (preordering for the limited edition wax especially) at his official website. His Facebook page is a lot of fun, too.

Photo credit: Jim Marchese

 

Ty Segall Is Destroying on His Tour Right Now

Ty Segall

 

The prolific man upfront sometimes with the big bald baby head mask.

By Uncle Blurt

Yessiree – the Ty Segall Boogie Machine keeps a-rollin’, currently storming the Southeast and who knows where else. Tuesday night Ty was in Atlanta at the Variety Playhouse and BLURT was in the proverbial playhouse, our shutterbug John Boydston braving the seething masses to get some great shots like the one above. Go HERE to see his gallery, and below are the upcoming tour dates.

2/26/16 Trocadero Theatre Philadelphia PA
2/27/16 Webster Hall New York NY
2/28/16 Webster Hall New York NY
3/1/16 Royale Nightclub Boston MA
3/2/16 Theatre Rialto Montreal Quebec Canada
3/3/16 Theatre Rialto Montreal Quebec Canada
3/5/16 Majestic Theatre Detroit MI
3/7/16 Thalia Hall Chicago IL
3/8/16 Thalia Hall Chicago IL
3/9/16 First Avenue Minneapolis MN
3/10/16 The Waiting Room Omaha NE
3/11/16 Gothic Theater Englewood CO
3/12/16 Urban Lounge Salt Lake City UT
3/13/16 Neon Reverb Festival Las Vegas NV
4/29/16– 5/1/16 LEVITATION Austin TX

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Mega Guitar Auction This Sat. In NYC

Guitar Auction

Stevie Ray, Eddie Van H, George Benson and loads more. Better pay off those credit cards fast, folks.

By Blurt Staff

Okay, guitar geeks, mark your calendars for February 27: that’s when Invaluable.com will be teaming up with Guernsey’s Auctions to present Guitars At Auction. The event features 379 live auction lots of an assortment of what’s described as “almost impossible-to-find instruments.”

According to the organizers, lots will be sold LIVE in New York City on February 27th, with live preview showings on February 25th and 26th from noon to 6pm each day. The event will be featuring several private collections including approximately 20 instruments coming directly from jazz legend George Benson.

Needless to say, we’re not talking hundred-buck axes. Or 500-bucks, for that matter. Think 100 times that as a rough baseline. The photo above shows just three examples, one originally owned by Eddie Van Halen, one by the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, and one that had appeared in the film In Cold Blood and was given to the consignor by Robert Blake. Below are the exact details.

There will be plenty of other collectibles up for auction. You can find out more about the event at the Guernsey auction page: http://www.guernseys.com/v2/guitar-16.html

 

Lot 439: Eddie Van Halen’s 1982 Charvel Guitar

Estimated Price: $55,000 – $75,000

Eddie Van Halen’s 1982 Charvel, made for, owned by, and played by Mr. Van Halen himself, with 1982 video and other full documentation. Eddie Van Halen’s iconic original black & white striped “Frankenstein” guitar (which he later modified in the late 1979 with an additional layer of red paint) was built from a body and neck he bought from Wayne Charvel and Lynn Ellsworth in the mid 1970s. Van Halen continued to purchase various parts from Charvel during the late 70s that he used to build guitars, and he even played a guitar built by Charvel based on the single-pickup design of his Frankenstein.

 

Lot 284: Stevie Ray Vaughan-Owned & Signed c. 1966-67 Fender

Estimated Price: $250,000 – $500,000

Stevie Ray Vaughan-Owned & Signed c. 1966-67 Fender Stratocaster. Serial#: 191460. Stevie Ray Vaughan owned and signed 1966-67 Fender Stratocaster in a three-tone Sunburst finish. The signature is broad and in gold ink, dated ” ’90,” and also present on this guitar are some worn stickers; one group of stickers reads “SRV” and the other, located on the pickguard, is rather worn and faded but the word “Cobras” is visible. Vaughan played with Paul Ray and the Cobras in Austin, Texas from 1975 until 1977. This Fender’s silver neck plate is etched in block letters “STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN DALLAS, TX.” Paperwork inside the case with more of Vaughan’s handwriting.

 

Lot 312: 1966 Gibson LG-1 & Continental Music Company Guitars

Estimated Price: $125,000 – $175,000

1966 Gibson LG-1 & Continental Music Company Guitars, In Cold Blood. 1966 Gibson LG-1 Sunburst finish. This guitar was used in the movie In Cold Blood. They put a substance on the finish to keep it from reflecting on camera. Robert Blake gave the consignor this guitar in 2001. In 2002, the consignor produced a vintage guitar show in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel and this guitar was featured at this show. The newspaper article from Las Vegas in 2002 is a companying the guitar. Comes with modern case.