Monthly Archives: November 2016

It’s Record Store Day’s Black Friday: Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

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Come to think of it, you should probably know where your credit cards are as well…

By Uncle Blurt

We can’t help ourselves; we love hot wax. Evidence can be found all over the BLURT site, of course; just enter the term “LP” in the search box, or click on “vinyl records” among the categories on the homepage. O vinyl, how do we love thee? Let us count the Record Store Day ways—such as HERE, and HERE, and HERE, not to mention the interview we did a few years ago with some of the folks who organized this annual ritual.

It will come as very little surprise to anyone reading this that BLURT has a couple of sister businesses, the estimable Second Motion Records (home to Tommy Keene, the Church, Bettie Serveert and other indie avatars), and Schoolkids Records (the 3-location record store chain based in the N.C. Triangle—found in Raleigh (where BLURT’s ye olde editor worked, incidentally, from 2012-15; he occasionally paid yours truly “under the table” to clean the bathrooms and keep the bins liberally stocked with Jethro Tull albums… I digress…), in Durham, and in Chapel Hill/Carrboro). It will also come as very little surprise to anyone reading this that the Schoolkids empire is an enthusiastic participant in Record Store Day—and, more to the immediate point, RSD’s annual Black Friday event.

You may have heard of Black Friday… as in, the day after Thanksgiving—this year, on Nov. 25—and the shopping megaclusterfreakoutsexfuckmagic that the date engenders. Allow me to encourage all assembled to seek out your local independent record store, and in particular, if you are anywhere near one of the aforementioned Schoolkids, pop in to get your wax fix. I will be in attendance at the Raleigh store today, holding court and pouring beers (yes, we do in fact have brews on tap and in cans, all the better to lubricate your wallets), so please seek me out. I am the handsome lad with wild-ass red facial hair, sharp black spectacles, a “make America vinyl again” hat, and a propensity for whipping out an air bass guitar at the verbal command, “Matti, we wanna rock!” (Below: Uncle Blurt, pictured right, with Blurt editor Fred Mills and Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike).

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Incidentally, for a very insightful article on vinyl, record retailing and Record Store Day, read our own Mr. Stephen Judge’s recent essay, “Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s the Record Industry.”

Track Premiere: Soft White Sixties “Follow Me”

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Plucked off the band’s new EP, due out Dec. 2.

By Blurt Staff

They’re called the Soft White Sixties and have an album (2014’s Get Right)
and a self-titled EP to their credit thus far. The L.A. (by way of the Bay Area) rockers, together since 2010, are gearing up for an extremely busy year of nonstop touring. To prime the pump, on Dec. 2 they will be dropping Ocean Way, a new 4-song EP, and we are proud to share an exclusive peek with our readership. Check out “Follow Me”:

Vocalist Octavio Genera describes “Follow Me” as  “a last effort plea off Ocean Way—when you want so bad to help someone, but realize you have no say in the matter.” Musically, the track is a sinewy blend of the band’s signatures – a big, booming beat, rippling psychedelic guitars, and charismatic vocals. The band assembled the new EP following a relocation from San Francisco to L.A., pitching tents in Hollywood’s Ocean Way Studios (hence the name of the EP) and recharging their creative batteries. They worked with Matt Linesch (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) to craft some of the hookiest tunes of their entire career.

With plenty of touring forecast for the near future – business as usual for them – they also plan to polish off a new album with producer Elijah Thomson (Father John Misty) for a 2017 release, so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled. You can read a recent interview with the band at the L.A. Weekly.

On the web: http://thesoftwhitesixties.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thesoftwhitesixties

The EP is available now for pre-order via iTunes.

Track Premiere: Spitzer Space Telescope “Corn Holler”

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From new album set to drop mid-December – but not the way you might be accustomed to…

By Blurt Staff

And now for something completely different: Dan MacDonald’s Spitzer Space Telescope is prepping his new album Colonies In the Wild Frontier for a December 16 release, and we’ve got a special premiere for all you BLURT music hounds. Check out “Corn Holler” – but definitely keep reading…

MacDonald says that the song “reflects on my childhood growing up in St. Johns, Michigan where there were vast open fields on all sides of the town. I used my sister’s name ‘Molly’ for the narrator’s wife.”

So what’s completely different? Well, the Chicagoan has upped the bar considerably because the record will not be released in any physical form, nor will it be available on Spotify or the music stores of Amazon or iTunes. There’s only one way to get this release and that is as an app. That might not be convenient for some, but the end result is more content than one could ever imagine. Every song on this record is an original composition by Dan MacDonald. In addition to those songs, he’s added countless variations of those songs, performed by friends of his. There will be videos, sheet music, lyrics, detailed notes, and more—quite the unique musical immersion.

For example, check out an alternate take for “Corn Holler.” It looks like classic archival footage from 1963, but was actually just recently filmed in Chicago. Pretty fascinating at that.

Intrigued? You’ll be able head over to the Apple App Store to download it yourself. Call Colonies the first IMA (Interactive Music Album): “Inspired by traditional folk music forms, the entire album mimics the folk process of adaptation. Each track is not just one song, but features an entire lifespan of a folksong. Colonies doesn’t just aim to usher the music world into the app age, it has also been meticulously designed to teach people about folk music traditions as they explore it. It is available for both Apple and Android products through the App Store and Google Play.”

Meanwhile, you can catch up with MacDonald at his Spitzer Space Telescope site and… wait, that’s a link to the REAL telescope at NASA. Hmm…. Don’t even bother Googling. Try going to his Facebook page instead, folks. And prepare to be intrigued.

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UPDATE/VIDEO: Beastie Boys Organize Anti-Hate Rally Following Swastika Incident

 

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UPDATE, 5PM 11/20/16: The “Stand Up Against Hate” event went off moderately well, with crowd estimates topping 100. The Beasties’ Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) addressed the crowd, saying, Ad-Rock spoke at the event, telling the crowd, “Spray-painting swastikas in a children’s playground is a messed-up thing to do. And for many of us, it has special meaning, because this park is named for Adam Yauch, who was my friend and bandmate for over 30 years. But he was also someone that taught non-violence in his music, in his life — to all of us, and to me.” Here’s a video posted to YouTube:

By Fred Mills

By now you’ve no doubt heard that there was a hate crime incident this weekend at Adam Yauch Park in Brooklyn. Some person or persons spray painted a mangled-looking swastika along with the words “Go Trump” on playground equipment there in the park – which was named in the late Yauch’s honor as a memorial. Yauch himself was Jewish, so the likelihood of this being a coincidence is pretty slim. In any event, it’s reprehensible no matter who the park is named after.

Pushing back, the Beasties along with New York State Senator Daniel Squadron and NYC city councilman Brad Lande organized a rally for this morning, announcing at their Facebook page,

Hate has no place in Brooklyn, NYC, or America.
Join us on Sunday to stand against hate messages.
11:30, Adam Yauch Park, Brooklyn, NYC
Below, view the announcement flyer.
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MP3: Download Sharon Jones/Dap-Kings Live Shows + Leonard Cohen Shows

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As Jones herself said, “The show must go on.”

By Uncle Blurt

By any standard it’s been a brutal week or so in the music world, losing first Leonard Cohen, then Leon Russell, Mose Allison, archivist/rocker Billy Miller of Norton Records and A-Bones fame, punk pioneer and journalist Don Waller, and now Sharon Jones of the mighty Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. As we music fans typically do, we work our way through our grief by revisiting the music. So here we go…

Over at the ever-diligent site Big O, they’ve posted a number of terrific Cohen concerts for free download, complete with artwork, including this FM broadcast from ’76, which joins several others previously posted:

MP3: Leonard Cohen – Casino Barriere de Montreux, Montreux, Switzerland; June 25, 1976

92nd Street YM-YWHA (The Young Men’s-Young Women’s Hebrew Association) Hotel, New York City, New York; February 14, 1966

Paris Theatre, London, UK; Spring 1968

Birmingham Odeon, Birmingham, UK; December 8, 1979

Royal Albert Hall, London, UK; May 30, 1988

Meanwhile, this morning they also posted a hot audience Sharon Jones show from 2010, which joins a couple of others previously posted:

MP3: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings Pabst Theatre, Milwaukee, WI; May 22, 2010

Theatre de Verdure, Nice, France; July 10, 2014

Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown, NY; December 3, 2015

Check ’em out and share ’em – the tracklistings for Cohen ’76 and Jones ’10 are below.

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Cohen 1976:

Disc 1
Set 1

      Track 101
. Bird on the Wire (1) 4:46 (11.5MB)
      Track 102
. So Long, Marianne 6:58 (16.7MB)
      Track 103
. Who by Fire 4:11 (10.1MB)
      Track 104
. Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye 4:38 (11.1MB)
      Track 105
. Store Room 5:09 (12.4MB)
      Track 106
. One of Us Cannot Be Wrong 4:45 (11.4MB)
      Track 107
. Lady Midnight 4:01 (9.6MB)
      Track 108
. There Is a War 5:26 (13.1MB)
      Track 109
. I Tried to Leave You 5:40 (13.6MB)
      Track 110
. Diamonds in the Mine 4:06 (9.9MB)

Set 2

      Track 111
. Chelsea Hotel #2 5:37 (13.5MB)
      Track 112
. The Stranger Song 5:57 (14.3MB)
      Track 113
. You Know Who I Am 3:05 (7.4MB)
Disc 2
      Track 201
. The Partisan 4:09 (10.0MB)
      Track 202
. Story of Isaac 4:45 (11.4MB)
      Track 203
. Famous Blue Raincoat 5:21 (12.8MB)
      Track 204
. Lover, Lover, Lover 6:17 (15.1MB)
      Track 205
. Sisters of Mercy 6:20 (15.2MB)
      Track 206
. Is This What You Wanted 5:28 (13.1MB)
      Track 207
. Suzanne 4:43 (11.3MB)
      Track 208
. The Butcher 5:03 (12.1MB)
      Track 209
. Bird on the Wire (2) 5:16 (12.6MB)
      Track 210
. Tonight Will Be Fine 4:08 (9.9MB)
      Track 211
. Joan of Arc 5:56 (14.2MB)
      Track 212
. Do I Have to Dance All Night 5:13 (12.5MB)

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Jones 2010:

      Track 101
. The Reason 4:37 (7.8MB)
      Track 102
. He Upset Your Dreams 2:20 (3.9MB)
      Track 103
. Wouldn’t You Rather Have Me 2:23 (4.0MB)
      Track 104
. Medley Intro 1:58 (3.3MB)
      Track 105
. If You Call 3:56 (6.6MB)
      Track 106
. Highway Of Lost Lovers/When The Saints Go Marching In 3:56 (6.6MB)
      Track 107
. Give It Back 3:43 (6.2MB)
      Track 108
. When I Come Home 9:54 (16.6MB)
      Track 109
. The Game Gets Old 4:02 (6.8MB)
      Track 110
. Tell Me 8:33 (14.4MB)
      Track 111
. She Ain’t A Child No More 4:07 (6.9MB)
      Track 112
. Window Shopping 5:31 (9.3MB)
Disc 2
      Track 201
. Better Things 3:51 (6.5MB)
      Track 202
. I’ll Still Be True 4:21 (7.3MB)
      Track 203
. Money 3:32 (5.9MB)
      Track 204
. Mama Don’t Like My Man 3:56 (6.6MB)
      Track 205
. I Learned The Hard Way 3:50 (6.5MB)
      Track 206
. Not Gonna Cry 2:55 (4.9MB)
      Track 207
. Got To Be The Way It Is 9:08 (15.4MB)
      Track 208
. This Land Is My Land 5:53 (9.9MB)
      Track 209
. Outro/That’s What I Love About You 3:45 (6.3MB)
      Track 210
. Encore Break 3:09 (5.3MB)
      Track 211
. I’ll Be There 2:39 (4.5MB)
      Track 212
. 100 Days 100 Nights 7:33 (12.7MB)

Sharon Jones 1956-2016 R.I.P.

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Forget those “neo-soul” or “revivalist” tags – the lady was pure soul.

By Fred Mills

Sharon Jones, diminutive dynamo frontwoman for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, has passed away at the age of 60, following a long battle with cancer. Initially diagnosed in 2013, the cancer had been in remission but then returned late last year. According to Rolling Stone, Jones had “announced that the cancer had returned at the premiere of Miss Sharon Jones!, a documentary detailing Jones’ life and career. The cancer would be elevated to stage four, with tumors spreading to her lung, liver and lymph nodes.”

Jones’ publicist issued the following brief statement announcing Jones’ death late yesterday (Nov. 18):

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings.”

Jones Jones, of course, had come to fame and acclaim relatively late in life, as the Dap-Kings and the Daptone label didn’t take off until the early ’00s. Prior to that she’d worked as everything from a wedding singer to a corrections officer. Then the Dap-Kings, comprising members of the Soul Providers and the Sugarman 3, helped her put together her debut album in 2002, and the rest has essentially been history, Jones’ gradual but steady rise ultimately chronicled in the above-mentioned documentary.

On a personal note, I was fortunate enough to see her perform early on, around the time of 2005’s Naturally, at a small club in Asheville, NC – easily one of the most memorable shows I’ve ever witnessed. When  she strutted out onto the stage, the band vamping behind her, the electricity level in the club immediately skyrocketed, and she proceeded to own the audience for the entire set. There was no doubt among audience members that this tiny woman could kick every single ass in the room. A number of years later I was in Austin for SXSW and caught the Daptone Super Soul Review at the considerably larger Moody Theater, and once again Jones and her Dap-Kings were in total command.

Go HERE for our tribute to Jones, which includes some of our exclusive photos and links to previous coverage, and go HERE to download a particularly hot show from 2010.

Photo credit: Susan Moll

Track Premiere: The Schwartz-Fox Blues Crusade

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“Checkin’ On My Baby” taken from kickass new archival release – colored wax, Jack – on Smog Veil. Pictured above: Glenn Schwartz in authentic period garb. (Photo by Veronica Collins)

By Blurt Staff

Today’s track premiere is brought to you, the discerning BLURT readership, by the letter “B” – as in, “blast from the past.” Which would be ‘60s underground heroes the Schwartz-Fox Blues Crusade, a powerhouse outfit hailing from Cleveland and featuring members of the James Gang (pre-Joe Walsh hitmaking period) and cult heroes the Mr. Stress Blues Band.

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The mighty Smog Veil has unearthed recordings the group cut in the spring of ’67, titled Sunday Morning Revival, as part of its archival series Platters du Cuyahoga, and we are more than honored to be able to showcase one of those tracks right here for ya. Check out “Checkin’ On My Baby”:

At the time of the recording, the band included drummer Jim Fox, guitarist/vocalist Glenn Schwartz, guitarist Rich Kriss, bassist Tom Kriss, and pianist Mike Sands, and Bill Miller from the Mr. Stress Blues Band guested on vocals for this particular track. Fox himself was kind enough to give us the lowdown on the music, saying, “’Checkin’ Up on My Baby’ was better known to me at the point we recorded it.  Significantly, this song begins with a ‘straight 8’rhythm, which was the hallmark of rock and roll at that time, but then switches to the standard ‘shuffle’ beat for the solos, and back again for the remaining verses.  Kind of radical for its time…” (Below: Fox and Schwartz during their James Gang days. Photo by Veronica Collins.)

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Nick Blakey, who researched and penned the album’s extensive liner notes adds some details as well:

“Checkin’ On My Baby” – aka “Checkin’ Up On My Baby” – has a rather interesting history. Much like several other Chicago blues standards, this song’s origins are placed to two completely different songs. One was recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson I (John Lee Curtis Williamson) whose “Checkin’ Up On My Baby” was released on Bluebird in 1945 while the other was by Otis Rush who laid down his “Checkin’ On My Baby” in 1958 for Cobra.

No doubt drawing influence from both of these, Sonny Boy Williamson II (Alec Rice Miller) recorded his “Checkin’ Up On My Baby” in 1960 which was first released on the posthumous 1966 Chess compilation The Real Folk Blues (entitled In Memoriam in the UK and Europe). Junior Wells with Buddy Guy on guitar recorded a cover of Williamson II’s song for his 1966 Vanguard album It’s My Life Baby. The Mr. Stress Blues Band were covering this song with Glenn Schwartz on guitar by the Spring of 1967 (as seen in this footage shot at The Coffeehouse, University Circle, Cleveland in Spring 1967 – most likely May: and it from these sources that the Schwartz-Fox Blues Crusade featuring Mr. Stress drew from for their own version.”

(Below: Mr Stress Blues Band. Photo by Mike Sands.)

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You can read more about the band at the Smog Veil site’s page for the Schwartz-Fox Blues Crusade, as well as order it on CD or SWEET yellow vinyl w/download. (Seriously, you have to choose? Act fast, as only 1500 copies are available.) You can also get details on the entire Cuyahoga series here at Smog Veil, as plans are for two more titles for Spring 2017 (Allen Ravenstine, of Pere Ubu fame, from 1975; and a to-be-announced electronic combo, from 1972-73).

Incidentally, by way of a postscript here: Schwartz turned up at this year’s Coachella as a surprise guest – along with Joe Walsh – during the set by the Arcs. Pretty cool at that.

On the web:

https://www.facebook.com/Smog-Veil-Records-66696836527/

https://twitter.com/SmogVeilRecords

http://www.smogveil.com/

 

 

Watch new A Tribe Called Quest Video

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“All you folks, you must go…”

By Blurt Staff

Having dropped digitally last week and now physically today, A Tribe Called Quest’s Wecomeback/final album We got it from Here… Thank You 4 your service additionally yields a terrific new video. It’s for the political, incendiary “We the People” and features It depicts the beginning of a massive protest, as Q-Tip, Jarobi White, and Busta Rhymes along with tape of the late Phife Dawg.

 

Springsteen, DeNiro Among Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

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Springsteen: You lookin’ at me? DeNiro: Jeez. Why does everybody have to say that when they meet me…

By Barbi Martinez

21 new recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom were announced on, and not only does it include the two gentlemen above (you may have heard of them), among the other icons are Diana Ross, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Ellen DeGeneres, Lorne Michaels, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, and Cicely Tyson. The awards will be streamed live from the White House Nov. 22.

President Obama said, in a statement, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor,” he noted. “It’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better. From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way.”