Monthly Archives: December 2016

Track Premiere: Laura Saggers “When the Sun Met the Moon”

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Tune comes from the songstress’ new album, due in early 2017.

By Blurt Staff

Singer-songwriter Laura Saggers may have originally envisioned a career path as a writer, but while studying for an English degree felt the tug of the performer’s muse. She already had the musical background, having been classically trained on piano in the UK, and following a series of internships within the British music industry as well as a timely endorsement deal with Roland for their keytar, decided to relocate to the U.S. and chase the proverbial dream. The result is, indeed, Chasing Dreams due out early next year, and we are honored to be able to give the readers an exclusive advance peek. Check out “When the Sun Met the Moon”:

Sagger discussed the song, calling it “a story about how the sun falls in love with the moon and they get separated, and for the rest of his life the sun continues to love the moon even though he can no longer see her. I work with a ton of kids on a daily basis and was inspired to write this song as a message to anyone who has had to lose someone special. The ‘darkness’ can be either death, or divorce, separation, or a situation that is out of our control but hard to explain to children without a story behind it.

“The message is simple: people come and go, that is life, but the love between two people, regardless of circumstances will never be forgotten. My mum passed away when I was 13, and to this day I believe her love for me still exists because she lives in my memories and that gives me peace and strength every day.”

The album, of course, didn’t happen overnight, as Saggers had to pay her dues in Los Angeles, working as a sideman (notably with singer Jimmy Hopper)  and constantly practicing her piano and keytar skills and honing her songwriting chops. As the saying goes, persistence and passion paid off, culminating in Chasing Dreams.

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

https://www.facebook.com/laurasaggersmusic/

 

 

Incoming: 3rd Polyvinyl “Singles Series” of Colored Wax

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By Barbi Martinez

Indie label Polyvinyl is prepping Singles Series Vol. 3, the followup to (duh) Singles Series Vol. 2 from a couple of years ago. Sign up and you’ll get a colored vinyl 7″ single each month over the course of the year, feature artwork from artist Jay Ryan. There’s flagship artist Beach Slang (no stranger to colored vinyl, they; also pictured above) Modern Baseball, Twin Peaks, Joyce Manor, Jay Som, Diet Cig, Mothers, Owen, Ra Ra Riot, Sonny & the Sunsets, and Tim Kasher (Cursive, the Good Life). Act fast: only 750 copies of each single will be made. available.

Take a Listen to Neil Young’s “Peace Trail” Album

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By Barbi Martinez

Out today is Peace Trail by Neil Young, who’s having a prolific year, from speaking out against Trump and the Dakota Pipeline (the song “Indian Givers,” on the new record, continues his long and vocal support of Native American issues), to touring with Promise of the Real and releasing the live album EARTH. You can stream Peace Trail – which, the BLURT staff hastens to note, is one of the strongest studio efforts he’s made in ages – at Apple Music or on Spotify, below.

28th Annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam is Ready to Roll!

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Friday brings the Gov’t Mule mainman’s pre-Jam in local Asheville rock club, while Saturday ushers in yet another (potentially 10 hour) marathon at the convention center.

By Fred Mills

Let’s cut straight to the chase: it’s Haynes Jam time again in beautiful downtown Asheville, North Carolina (where the BLURT Western Bureau is located, comfortably lodged on a luxury schooner moored in the South French Broad River near Biltmore Village – we’re kind of like one of the offshore pirate radio ships that entertained England back in the day).

First up: The estimable Mr. Haynes will be making an appearance Friday (Dec. 9) at 3PM out at Habitat For Humanity’s McKinley subdivision to mark the opening of two houses that the Haynes Jam’s 2015 event funded. Did I mention that the Jam and all associated events raises funds for Habitat? (As an aside: purely by chance, I ran into Warren Thursday afternoon at an Asheville coffee shop, and it was not only nice to catch up – you can read yours truly’s commentary on previous Haynes Jams elsewhere on the site, along with selected interviews he and I have done over the years – but it was quite a treat to be re-introduced to his lovely wife Stefani, who has worked tirelessly over the years with Warren to make the Jam be a success, and to be newly introduced to his young son. It will come as no surprise to learn that the kid’s gonna be a rocker.)

Then on Friday evening the traditional pre-Jam takes place at Asheville’s venerable Orange Peel club, featuring selected musicians slated for the Saturday night blowout taking part in a slightly lower-key (but no less engaging) series of fluid sets, all broadcast by regional community powerhouse radio stations (and BLURT buddies) WNCW-FM. Those of you not in the WNCW listening area of 88.7 can tune in online around 6PM—and as long as I’ve got your attention, allow me to gently suggest that you can make donations to Habitat during that broadcast. Trust me—I’ve donated annually myself—it will make you feel good. And if you’re like me, you might be inclined to fire up that old tape deck and record the show so you can revisit that good feeling later. I estimate that the pre-Jam will only cost you 4 c90s and part of a c60—plus the Habitat pledge, natch.

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Meanwhile, a bit tip o’ the BLURT hat to all the Saturday night Jam attendees. For the rest of us, the Jam is making a special webcast available via Nugs.tv, in both SD ($19.99) and HD ($24.99) formats. It’s not quite the same as being on hand in Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center (formerly the Civic Center), but assuming that the webcast personnel are prepared to point their gear at the stage until the wee hours of the morn—ask me sometime about leaving the venue at 2:30, 3:00 and 4:00 in the a.m.—there’s a good chance you’ll get a reasonable bang for your buck.

And that buck goes to a good cause. As Stan the Man might put it—Excelsior!

 

Incoming: New Moon Duo; Listen to new Track

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Also view some video footage from this year’s visit to China.

By Blurt Staff

With fourth LP Occult Architecture Vol. 1 (Sacred Bones) due soon from the Moon Duo, the group has shared a second track from the album, “Creepin'” comes on the heels of “Cold Fear.” You can hear both of them below.

Go HERE to watch some exclusive live footage of the band performing for BLURT’s cameras in Beijing a year ago, courtesy our man in the polluted city, Jonathan Levitt.

ELP’s Greg Lake 1947-2016 R.I.P.

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Co-founder of one of the most influential bands of all time.

By Fred Mills

In a year uncommonly beset by music world passings—the latter third of 2016 has been particularly brutal—it is saddening, indeed, to have to keep reporting our losses. The latest: Greg Lake, on Dec. 7, from cancer. Lake, of course, was a key early member of King Crimson and went on to co-found synth/Prog legends Emerson, Lake & Palmer (the latter outfit’s Keith Emerson committed suicide this past March, so the only surviving member now is drummer Carl Palmer). Lake was 69.

As the BBC is reporting, “Lake’s manager Stewart Young wrote on Facebook: ‘Yesterday, December 7th, I lost my best friend to a long and stubborn battle with cancer. Greg Lake will stay in my heart forever, as he has always been.’”

The influence of ELP upon the rock universe cannot be understated. The trio helped pioneer long-form, complex, compositions heavily influenced by classical music, essentially birthing an entire genre – Progressive rock – while also notching enough hits (notably, the Lake-penned ballad “Lucky Man,” still a staple of underground and oldies radio alike, what with its rich acoustic guitar melody and Lake’s vocal line contrasting with Emerson’s iconic closing synth solo) to be a commercial juggernaut.

On a personal note: I was fortunate enough to see ELP multiple times during their ‘70s heyday – yes, I also saw Emerson on his spinning-upside-down-grand-piano—at both festivals and standalone arena shows, and the memories remain vivid. Below, let’s review some of those memories…

Track Premiere: The Angelus “An Interceding”

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Denton band preps its second LP—a deluxe colored vinyl one, at that—for a mid-January release on Tofu Carnage.

By Blurt Staff

Denton, Texas, has a long-standing legacy of birthing unique bands with mind-bending sounds, and The Angelus is no exception. With their sophomore platter There Will Be No Peace arriving January 13—that would be a lucky Friday the 13th, natch—via the estimable Tofu Carnage label, the world outside the Denton/Dallas/Fort Worth area should be on full alert for what the label calls “carefully interwoven compositions of dark, hymnal slowcore…. Embroidered by emotional intensity and hopeful fortitude, the North Texas trio takes the listener on a soaring journey that is visceral and melancholic in its uncompromising beauty.”

And BLURT is honored to unveil the track “An Interceding” for our readership:

The band’s Emil Rapstine explains that what was “initially a languid drum and bass groove set over an oscillating drone, the song morphed organically into a pleading incantation as we explored to create a lush passageway that would bridge the larger section of later songs on the album to the preceding overture. ‘An Interceding’ is the resting point after the opening triptych of songs come storming out at the offset of the record. It serves as an interlude, a moment of meditation that transitions into the rest of the album. It is the moment when you’ve survived the storm but now you have to reassess, take inventory and cut your losses before moving forward into the unknown.”

“Cutting losses” won’t be an issue for The Angelus, however, we suspect. There Will Be No Peace is a remarkable album, sonically fluid and lyrically awash in emotional certitude and resilience. As 6 Days from Tomorrow noted, “There is a deep-seated spirituality at work throughout and each song is presented to the listener as a sermon, and not one of the nice New Testament ones either.”

Stay tuned for a full BLURT review of the band—which, incidentally, has its Tofu Carnage album pressed on 200-gram, translucent beer and mustard yellow wax with heavyweight, die-cut jackets. Talk about vinyl collector catnip—as was the label’s recent They Say The Wind Made Them Crazy album, or the earlier Unconscious Collective release.

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There are plenty of resources on the web to guide you through The Angelus thicket in the meantime:

http://theangelusband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/theangelusband

https://twitter.com/theangelusband

https://soundcloud.com/the-angelus

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheAngelusBand/

https://www.instagram.com/theangelusband/

http://store.theangelusband.com/

 

Schoolkids Records’ Christmas Party Bands Announced

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Independent record store chain (3 cities) to blow it out as usual with The Veldt, Hank Sinatra frontman Jeffro, and Al Riggs.

By Blurt Staff

A lot of you probably know that BLURT has a sister business here in North Carolina, Schoolkids Records, which operates stores in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Our esteemed owner,  Stephen Judge, has announced the annual Christmas party, which will take place on December 23 on the Raleigh location’s stage. As usual, the bash is co-curated by Judge and Hank Sinatra frontman Jeffro, and with the latter also set to perform, who the hell knows what will be going down! And since the Raleigh store sells beer (local and premium draft as well as cans), a good rock ‘n’ roll time is guaranteed for all. See the full announcement, below, and then mark your calendars because everyone from the extended Schoolkids and BLURT families are invited—drop by and say hi to us, why don’t ya?

“Folks, please join us for our annual holiday blow-out party. The event is 100% FREE! and this year we are extremely proud to have gracing the Schoolkids – Raleigh stage: Al Riggs (8pm), Jeffro from Hank Sinatra & Friends (9pm) and The Veldt (10pm) all times are approximate but please arrive early! We all know 2016 has been a very tough year so let’s blow this sucker off the map rock and roll style! see you all then!! help us spread the word!”

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More details at the official Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/215963338847150/

Info on Schoolkids Raleigh: http://www.schoolkidsrecords.com/CustomPage/349

Map to event: 2237 Avent Ferry Rd #101, Raleigh, NC 27606

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Video Premiere: Curse of Lono “Saturday Night”

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New UK band is in the proverbial doghouse, but don’t worry fans—an album is in the works.

By Blurt Staff

It’s not simply that we’ve recently been smitten by Curse of Lono (which, as we reported, is the brainchild of Felix Bechtolsheimer, late of Hey Negrita); it’s more that the group’s eclectic sound, which encompasses everything from  Krautrock to folk to jazzy gothic noir, is a genuine breath of fresh air in 2016, a year that is turning out to be one of entrenchment and repetition, rather than experiment and innovation.

As our reviewer noted, in his review of Curse of Lono’s self-titled 12” EP (released on Submarine Cat), “those sounds and textures showcased across these four songs are, indeed, monumentally moving.”

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So while the band is hot at work on their debut full-length (due for Spring of ’17), there’s one last video from the current project to share with fans.  Not only did they release a video for every song on the EP that connect into one 17 minute story, they also filmed ten exclusive live video in their studio and dubbed them The Doghouse Sessions. All ten of the videos were filmed in one day, and you can view them at the Lono YouTube channel. This is the final one, for the standout “Saturday Night”:

Of the sessions, frontman Bechtolsheimer says “The videos are very intimate. We wanted to invite people in to our world, to watch us play our songs in the room where we get together every week and where many of them were conceived, with no overdubs or studio trickery.”

Stay tuned. More, definitely, to come. Keep apprised on the web: http://www.curseoflonoband.com/#top

 

Sneakers’ (Stamey-Easter) Beloved B&G Pies Being Produced Anew

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“They taste so good you’re gonna wanna overdose now”

By Bo Oswald

If you’re of a certain age (I am) and from a certain region (North Carolina) then you probably remember gorging on B&G Pies as a kid – and if you of a certain addictive personality type (yes, I am) then you probably also remember being heartbroken when, earlier this year, the venerable (since 1949, no less) Winston-Salem foodstuffs manufacturer announced it was halting production in order to find a new facility. A couple of days ago, though, the company announced it had found a new home and is back to baking.

To celebrate, let’s hum a few bars of the B&G theme song, courtesy the venerable Winston-Salemites of Sneakers (the band that would give the world Chris Stamey (dB’s) and Mitch Easter (Let’s Active). It turned up on the group’s posthumous anthology, 2007’s Nonsequitur of Silence.

Fun Fact #1: Sneakers reunited not long ago for a handful of shows that brought many Tarheel music scene old-timers out of the woodwork.

Fun Fact #2: The B&G song was also a staple of live sets by late ’70s Chapel Hill punk/garage/pop outfit The H-Bombs, which was profiled right here at BLURT awhile back. That band also included a future member of the dB’s, Peter Holsapple. (Thanks for tipping everybody to the B&G news, Peter!)