Monthly Archives: August 2016

Welcome Back, Papa M (and David Pajo)

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Check out the stunning “Walking on Coronado” below. Meanwhile, above, Dave P hangs out with his muse. Word.

By Fred Mills

Years ago, when I was just an aspiring BLURT-er, I wrote about myriad Chicago indie bands for the great rock mag Magnet, and among them was David Pajo. Look him up; here’s a link for ya. His project Papa M has been dormant for some time now, but as The Quietus reports, he’s back in action. As the British tastemakers report:

David Pajo is back with the first Papa M material in over a decade and you can listen to new track ‘Walking On Coronado’ above right now.

The new album, entitled Highway Songs, is the first Papa M LP proper since 2001’s Whatever, Mortal and a subsequent series of diary entry albums and a singles compilation released in 2004. David Pajo has performed alongside his old band Slint and recorded under the Pajo moniker in the last decade, but has mostly kept to himself in recent years.

Now he returns as Papa M with an accompanying text on the album reading: “Music from where the mind goes when the body is broken. Reflecting time spent hooked up to machines. A good person with bad thoughts, a story told in fragments.“ The album is out on November 11.

As the saying goes – welcome back, brutha Dave. Music, please:

 

 

Listen to River Whyless Interview on NPR

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Tarheel troubadours River Whyless, par excellence musicians at that,  with essential new album for Americana fans.

By Fred Mills

Awhile back we covered Americana outfit River Whyless via our stalwart shutterbug Dave Brainard’s concert coverage; the Asheville, NC, group (depicted above by Dr. Dave) is, quite simply, a Tarheel treasure. They’ve just dropped a new album, We All the Light (Roll Call Records), and not only is it a masterpiece of nuance and texture, within its lyrical murmurs one will find a combined sense of celebration and reflection that consistently mirrors the human condition. Uncannily so.

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Today on NPR’s “All Things Considered” the band was profiled, which is no small accomplishment, considering the potential audience that was exposed to the group’s work. The two principal singers and songwriters, Halli Andersen and Ryan O’Keefe, talked about some of the key songs on the record, and the emotional and familial connections that formed the basis of those songs. I have to say, as a native North Carolinian myself, it was one of the most moving interviews I’ve heard lately, one which gave me a newfound appreciation of River Whyless – a band of which I had already called myself a fan. Listen to the audio clip below. Then seek out the new record.

 

 

Track Premiere: Viv and the Sect “Bleserone”

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Straight outta Nuggetsville: Mexican garage rockers’ debut album drops late next month via Get Hip.

By Blurt Staff

If some culturally tone-deaf clods get their way, come November there will be a big wall built around Mexico, and it’ll be up to us music lovers to start digging tunnels—otherwise we won’t be privy to the fiery likes of Mexico City’s Viv & the Sect. Starting out as a trio in 2012, the now-quartet has their ‘60s psych, garage, folk-rock and R&B down, folks, as this exclusive track from their upcoming album This Will Pass ably demonstrates. Check out “Bleserone”:

Due Sept. 30 by, you guessed it, eminent garage label Get Hip, This Will Pass is perfectly described as having a “raw, edgy, dark sound” with an intensity in the songs hearkening back to the ‘60s punk/garage outfits of the Back From the Grave and Teenage Shutdown compilations. It was produced in Mexico by Hugo Quezada (Robota). The group has also been compared to the like of such ‘60s West Coast icons as Love, the Music Machine and Electric Prunes. With the assistance of Get Hip mainman and Cynics guitarist Gregg Kostelich (the band has also toured with the Cynics), plus mastering from the mighty Jim Diamond, Viv and the Sect have got a full length debut worthy of being talked about alongside those names.

Did someone say wax? The rec’s limited to 500 copies, with 150 on opaque yellow vinyl, 150 on opaque violet, and 200 on black, jack.

Online: facebook.com/vivandthesect

Bookers, NYC Hotels, Pitchfork, Stereogum, etc. Say CMJ 2016 is Dead

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By Uncle Blurt

50 gazillion Elvis fans can’t be wrong, so naturally at least 50 hipsters can’t possibly be right – right? Hard to say – long-running, and occasionally venerable, though sometimes tarnished, annual NYC music confab CMJ (aka the CMJ Music Marathon) is reportedly on the rocks, based on reports from both Pitchfork and Stereogum. Admittedly, those respective arbiters of contemporary urban music and chic indie cool make their bones on breaking rumors, but if you check both outlets’ reports, it does appear that CMJ ain’t happening this year. Traditionally, CMJ takes place at multiple venues one week in October.

Each are noting that they’ve contacted multiple booking and promotion agencies, and have been told that none of those agencies have been booked for CMJ this year; NYC hotels are also being cited as not listing any relevant music biz bookings for the projected time frame of CMJ. Tellingly, there’s also the little matter of this, adds Pitchfork: “The CMJ website also hasn’t been updated in months…. The CMJ publication and social media presence have been dormant since June.”

There’s also that nagging matter of the sale of CMJ a few years ago, a subsequent lawsuit, and a projected rival festival (with the unfortunate name of Mondo – c’mon, guys!) being put together by the originators of CMJ. Hmmm….

More than a few BLURT staffers and contributors have been regular attendees at CMJ over the years, and most of them have admitted that it long ago lost its lustre. Those of us who attended in the ’90s, in particular, continue to harbor fond memories of the event’s salad days. Still, it would be a shame to lose it – but not if it continues to be a source of bad blood among industry people.

Read that Stereogum report closely, by the way – it absolutely nails things.

Track Premiere: The Maggie’s Marshmallows “No Friend of Mine”

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Another Nuggets-worthy gem: Prague garage rockers to debut via Get Hip full length in late September.

By Blurt Staff

 Cue it up and it’ll be instantly familiar: “No Friend Of Mine,” that sneers-and-fuzztone-laced ‘60s garage classic from Texas’ The Sparkles, subsequently covered by pretty much every garage band worth its salt—including Pittsburgh’s Cynics, whose guitarist also helms the Get Hip label, which is the astute music biz establishment that recently signed Prague-based band The Maggie’s Marshmallows, who just happen to have covered “No Friend Of Mine” on their self-titled Get Hip debut album, due out Sept. 30. We here at BLURT are chuffed to premiere it for you, our discriminating (and garage-loving) readers, so check it out:

The album was recorded in France, of all places, and boasts production by the mighty Jim Diamond, so you know that’s an additional trademark of quality. The young, female-fronted Czech combo is clearly influenced by all things ‘60s, from garage-punk and psych to surf to (as they advise us) Mexican soap opera soundtracks. As our own contributor Jonathan Levitt astutely notes, “The album hits that sweet spot of hearing familiar sounds in creative new ways. If there is one band that I’ve heard of late that might go a few rounds with the Cynics, I’d say this Czech trio stands a fighting chance.”

Amen to that. Incidentally, if you’re smart you’ll grab the wax, jack – 150-gram opaque cream vinyl at that.

On the web: facebook.com/themaggiesmarshmallows

Juan Gabriel 1950-2016 R.I.P.

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Definted the term “superstar” for an entire nation and several generations.

By Barbi Martinez

Alberto Aguilera Valadez – Juan Gabriel – passed away yesterday in Santa Monica at the age of 66. He was in the middle of a tour and apparently suffered a massive heart attack; he’d performed Friday in Los Angeles and was slated to perform Sunday night in El Paso.

The flamboyant Mexican singer had sold more than 100 million records over the course of his career and was regarded as the biggest star Mexico had ever produced. A post at his official website read thusly:

“The creator of Juan Gabriel — songwriter, performer, family man, philanthropist and human being, known as Alberto Aguilera Valadez—today, he ended his time here and graduated from this life.He has gone to become part of eternity and leaves us his legacy through Juan Gabriel, a character he created with the music he sang and performed across this world. Juan Gabriel hasn’t died, as Alberto would say, ‘As long as someone exists who sings my songs, Juan Gabriel will live.'”

 

 

Icelandic Composer Jóhann Jóhannsson Tapped for Blade Runner Score

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Film approaches an October 16 release… sorry, fans. That’s 2017.

By Blurt Staff

The Quietus reports:

After much anticipation, it has been revealed that Jóhann Jóhannsson has been given the task of soundtracking the upcoming Blade Runner sequel.

The Icelandic composer revealed the news in a recent interview on Iceland’s RÚV radio station with the film seeing him team up once again with director Denis Villeneuve, who will direct the forthcoming film and who directed the 2015 film Sicario, which Jóhannsson also soundtracked.

Speaking to FACT, Jóhannsson said that following Vangelis’ score to the 1982 original was “an enormous challenge of mythical proportions,” describing the composer as a major influence on his work. He’s still in the early stages of working on the soundtrack, so no further details are available just yet. The film is set for release on October 6, 2017.

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Jack White for 1st Base in Alabama Celeb Baseball Game

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By Barbi Martinez

While you usually see him wearing a Detroit Tigers jersey, this weekend Jack White suited up for his Third Man Records team and took part in a celebrity baseball game at the University of North Alabama. Also on hand were the Texas Playboys, Alabama Slammers and more – it was all for Florence-based designer Billy Reid’s annual Shindig. White was his team’s first baseman.

Say Hello to Goodbye June

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New album from the Nashville trio arrives August 26.

BY DANNY R. PHILLIPS

Whatever happened to rock n roll?  Sure, there are still some survivors out there, kicking and screaming for the pounding of drums, the warm, unmistakable hum of a Crate tube-amp or the relentless bottom end of a bowel shaking bassline.  However, they can be rare; exiles sent to the outer lands of radio, social relevance and the underground scenes, eclipsed by the Mileys, the Minjas and the Biebers of the world.

Apparently, the Nashville, Tennessee trio Goodbye June did not get the memo.  The three cousins (Landon Milbourn, Brandon Qualkenbach, Tyler Baker) from Music City USA have crafted a sound that combines elements of early Rolling Stones ramble, 1970’s rock stomp with just enough delicate beauty to invoke the spirit of southern soul; a quiet sadness hidden between the notes.  Taking their name from the month that Baker’s brother Shane tragically died in an automobile accident while on leave, there are moments where the loss of this brother peeks through in Baker’s voice.  “Darlin’,” a song for a challenging love holds something else.

There is an eerie weight that hovers perfectly here between the notes coaxed from old, throaty acoustic guitar, while the pain in a brother’s voice sits just behind the sentiment of the song, tone of man and instrument worn from time, trial and tribulation.  For a band so capable of heartbreaking lament and reflection, Goodbye June are more than skilled at grabbing rock n roll by its withered balls and giving it a good, solid twist; snapping the tired old man back into the world of the living.  With “Man of the Moment” the band does there best Rage riffs (no rapping, thank god) will Milbourn channels the spirits of the late greats Marc Bolan of glam giants T Rex and the booze soaked, in your face, ball breaker that was Bon Scott.

August 26th will see the fruits of their labors hit the streets with the band’s new ep “Danger in the Morning,” a collection of songs ranging from kick you in the teeth collision of Sabbath riffs,  Soundgarden heaviness, Wolfmother sludge and Joe Tex getdown (“Oh No”) to loss and heartbreak strong enough to break the most iron of hearts (“Darlin’).

 

“We try to be our own band,” lead vocalist Landon Milbourn told Blurt.  “We do what makes us happy as a band and as musicians and, hopefully, the fans enjoy it.”  Enjoy they have.  Since winning the Unsigned Only Music Competition in 2014, giving them recording time, new instruments, have seen their single “Oh No” played over two million times on Spotify and, most importantly, insight into business they had chosen.  “We got to meet and spend time with quite a few bigger names in the industry.”  As for the Spotify “Oh No” explosion, it seems hard for Goodbye June to wrap their head around such a tall number.  “It’s surreal,” said Brandon Qualkenbach, “the thought of two million people listening to our song is flattering and mind blowing at the same time.  It’s tough to imagine.”

With the push coming from the contest win, notice from “Microscope,” a song from the band’s 2012 debut Nor the Wild Music Flow, the phenomenal response to “Oh No”, a tour spot with current glam rock champs The Struts, the wheels seem in motion for 2016 to be a big year for Goodbye June.  However, Milbourn and the boys are staying cautious and aware.  “I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves thinking we have done all these things, now we are a success,” he continued, “we’ve had some wins but we need to keep going, don’t rest and put out music we love, that’s success.”

Here’s to hope that this hello is just the beginning of a long career for Goodbye June and the resurrection of rock n roll.  Fingers crossed on the right hand, devil horns on the left flying high.

Long Live Rock n Roll!

 

Photos Credit: Alysse Gafkjen

Big Star’s “Third” To Get Deluxe Box Treatment

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Three CDs and 69 tracks in total.

By Fred Mills

Collectors of Big Star and Alex Chilton ephemera have long prized their stash of outtakes and demos – some of which made it onto good-quality bootleg CDs (check this massive 9CD boot collection, I Got Kinda Lost) while others remained the domain of poorly-archived cassettes. To date, though, there’s been no comprehensive release of the material. October 14, then, brings Complete Third via the stalwart archivists at Omnivore, and as you’ll see from the tracklisting below, it’s a doozy, the kind of box set that sends fans into spasms of delight.

The 3CD set (also to be issued as three separate 2LP sets) will feature 69 tracks, 29 of which reportedly have never been heard before: demos, rough mixes, and alternate takes, plus the final masters. In a statement, Drummer Jody Stephens commented, “As Alex shared his acoustic guitar song demos, I would immediately think that they were complete feelings and performances, no additional production necessary. How do they evolve from here? Enter Jim Dickinson and John Fry in the production and sonic roles respectively.”

Liner notes will feature commentary from such notables as Mitch Easter, Peter Holsapple, Mike Mills, Chris Stamey, Ken Stringfellow and Steve Wynn—a who’s who of artists deeply influenced by the band.

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Tracklisting:

VOL 1: DEMOS TO SESSIONS TO ROUGHS
1. Like St. Joan (Kanga Roo) * (Demo)
2. Lovely Day (Demo)
3. Downs (Demo)
4. Femme Fatale (Demo)
5. Thank You Friends (Demo)
6. Holocaust (Demo)
7. Jesus Christ (Demo)
8. Blue Moon (Demo)
9. Nightime (Demo)
10. Take Care (Demo)
11. Big Black Car (Demo #2/Acoustic Take 1)
12. Don’t Worry Baby
13. I’m In Love With A Girl *
14. Big Black Car (Demo #3/Acoustic Take 2)
15. I’m So Tired * – Alex & Lesa
16. That’s All It Took * – Alex & Lesa
17. Pre-Downs *
18. Baby Strange *
19. Big Black Car (Demo #1/Band)
20. Kizza Me * (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal)
21. Till the End Of the Day * (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal, Kept As Final Vocal)
22. Thank You Friends * (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal)
23. O, Dana * (Dickinson Rough Mix)
24. Dream Lover * (Dickinson Rough Mix)

VOL. 2: ROUGHS TO MIXES
1. Big Black Car * (Dickinson Rough Mix/Alex Guide Vocal)
2. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On * (Dickinson Rough Mix)
3. Take Care * (Dickinson Rough Mix)
4. Holocaust * (Dickinson Rough Mix)
5. Nightime * (Dickinson Rough Mix)
6. Thank You Friends * (Dickinson Rough Mix)
7. Nature Boy * (Dickinson Rough Mix)
8. After Hours * – Lesa
9. Stroke It Noel (Backwards Intro)
10. Lovely Day * (Fry Rough Mix)
11. Nightime * (Fry Rough Mix)
12. Blue Moon * (Fry Rough Mix)
13. Till The End Of The Day (Alternate Mix #1)
14. Big Black Car (Fry Rough Mix)
15. Holocaust (Fry Alternate/Rough Mix)
16. Downs * (Fry Rough Mix)
17. Kanga Roo (Fry Rough Mix)
18. Femme Fatale * (Fry Rough Mix)
19. For You * (Alternate Version/Alex Vocal)
20. Thank You Friends * (Fry Rough Mix)
21. Take Care * (Alternate Version/Alex Vocal)
22. Kizza Me * (Fry Rough Mix)
23. Till the End Of the Day (FRY Rough Mix #2) – Lesa
24. Nature Boy (Fry Rough Mix)
25. Mañana

VOL. 3: FINAL MASTERS
1. Stroke It Noel
2. Downs
3. Femme Fatale
4. Thank You Friends
5. Holocaust
6. Jesus Christ
7. Blue Moon
8. Kizza Me
9. For You
10. O, Dana
11. Nightime
12. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
13. Kanga Roo
14. Take Care
15. Big Black Car
16. Dream Lover
17. You Can’t Have Me
18. Till the End Of the Day
19. Lovely Day
20. Nature Boy

* Previously Unissued

BELOW: Some of the BST material that has been bootlegged, notably on the I Got Kinda Lost set mentioned above.

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