Monthly Archives: January 2017

Video Premiere: The Two Tens “Keeping Hope Alive” 45

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TMChrisBarber2016

L.A. rockers submit second full length in July but step up with limited vinyl single right now.

By Blurt Staff

You could call the BLURT braintrust massive fans of Adam Bones and Rikki Styxx,, aka Los Angeles duo The Two Tens—a couple of years ago we turned you, the gentle readers of this fine publication, on to their kickass video “Watching Me” (from the fourth installment of their 2015 EP series), then again in February of 2016 with the track “Dreams,” one of the key tunes from their debut longplayer Volume. Now, with The Two Tens prepping a July release of their as-yet-untitled sophomore album, they have a stopgap single dropping, and a vinyl one at that. The A side is “Keeping Hope Alive” (the flip is an ace cover of Little Richard’s “Bama Lama Bama Loo”) and you get to preview it right here, prior to the 45’s Feb. 10 street date. Adam and Rikki’s instincts for video treatments continue to serve them well, without a doubt. Check it out:

Rikki spills the beans on the clip, explaining, “We wanted the video to just be a representation of the ridiculous amount of fun we have as a band.  Running around being complete nerds together. It was actually shot at The Federal Bar which was the venue where we played our very first show. Even though the song is a love song (which I’ll leave that to Adam to explain), we didn’t want to portray that in the video. The song is a bit different from the songs on the first album because it’s the poppiest of them all. We were fortunate enough to work with producer John Fields in Minneapolis and we decided to go with a little different production approach than we have in the past.”

Adam, indeed, explains further: “’Keeping Hope Alive’ is a song about a hopeful hopeless romantic. I think that’s what I am when it all comes down to it. It’s based on a personal experience. And it’s a positive love song, for a change. Recording it with John Fields was a great experience. I really liked his pace in the studio. It was fun to watch how fast he worked. It was interesting to see his process and I learned a lot.”

Seriously cool. If you ain’t hooked on these cats by this point, c’mon—unhook that respirator and get out once in awhile, or at least by July 14, because you need to be in line that day at your local indie store. The band signed with Man Della Records and they recorded in Minneapolis with producer John Fields (Dollyrots, Andrew WK, Pink), subsequently heading back home to Los Angeles and finishing the album with the Volume team of producer Bruce Duff (also their manager, and we are advised this is now “making him an Andrew Oldham-style control freak” which ain’t such a bad thing if you think about it), engineer Paul Roessler (punk demigod/L.A. studio maven) and mastering engineer Jim Diamond (Dirtbombs, Sonics, White Stripes, the entire garage rock universe, etc.).

Order the wax right here, jack: https://thetwotens.bandcamp.com/album/keeping-hope-alive

And then consult the online resources thusly:
Band website: http://thetwotens.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetwotens

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Tour Dates:

Feb 11 – Redwood Bar & Grill – Los Angeles, CA (“Keeping Hope Alive” Single Release Show!)

Mar 10 – The Museum Club – Flagstaff, AZ

Mar 12 – Goosetown Tavern – Denver, CO

Mar 16 – Reggie’s – Chicago, IL (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 17 – Melody Inn – Indianapolis, IN (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 18 – The Avenue – Lansing, MI (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 19 – Rockstar Pro Arena – Dayton, OH (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 20 – Rumba Cafe – Columbus, OH (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 21 – Southgate House – Newport, KY (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 22 – The Fubar – St. Louis, MO (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 23 – Three Links – Dallas, TX (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 24 – Satellite – Houston, TX (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 25 – Bang Bang – San Antonio, TX (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 26 – Sidewinder – Austin, TX (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 28 – The Rebel Lounge – Phoenix, AZ (w/ The Dollyrots)

Mar 29 – The Hideout – San Diego, CA (w/ The Dollyrots / Go Betty Go)

Mar 31 – The Hi Hat – Los Angeles, CA (w/ The Dollyrots / Go Betty Go)

Apr 01- Slidebar – Fullerton, CA (w/ The Dollyrots / Go Betty Go)

Apr 21- Punk Rock BBQ 2017 @ Dive Bar – Las Vegas, NV

 

Photo Credit: Chris Barber

Listen to Run The Jewels play “Running the Jews” on NPR’s “Wait wait…”

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Seriously. These dudes were on NPR. The radio network has certainly come along way since the time a certain popular indie musician likened listening to NPR to sitting in a hot tub with your grandmother…

By Fred Mills

It’s certainly not every day you get to hear Run the Jewels on NPR, but there they were this weekend, Killer Mike and El-P, trading bon mots with Peter Sagal on NPR mainstay Wait wait… Don’t Tell Me. Sagal seemed moderately in the loop with the guys, even when they digressed into a discussion of Meow the Jewels, and then it was time for them to play “Not My Job.” This time around, per the program’s usual play-on-words on a guest’s name or reputation, the topic was “Running The Jews,” i.e., a quiz on Rabbis. It was pretty awesome, and you can listen to it via the NPR podcast.

Allman Bros.’ Butch Trucks R.I.P.; Death Ruled Suicide

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Legendary drummer born in 1947 helped change the face of rock music in general, and Southern music in particular.

By Fred Mills

The news that broke a few days ago, Jan. 24, was that Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks had passed away at the age of 69, but no details were given at the time. Now word arrives via the Miami Herald that the cause of death has been ruled a suicide, according to the West Palm Beach police department.

According to the newspaper:

“Trucks, 69, shot himself in the head with a pistol as his wife of 25 years stood near him in their downtown West Palm Beach condo, the records show. While authorities have only said so far that the death was under investigation while foul play wasn’t suspected, the transcript of a frantic call made to West Palm Beach Police about 6:00 p.m. Tuesday provides the shocking details of the rock’n’roller’s death at home in the downtown waterfront Villa Del Lago complex. A woman caller who is unidentified on the transcript but described as “hysterical” dialed 911 and told the dispatcher her “husband just shot himself” with a pistol.”

Police were dispatched to the Trucks home where the musician apparently later died. An autopsy has been ordered. No official statement has been issued by the Allman Brothers or by Trucks’ PR agent yet.

Trucks had been in the middle of a tour with his own band, Freight Train Band, which played shows in Asheville, Atlanta, Athens and Rocky Mount, VA, a couple of weeks prior to his death. A full summer tour had been scheduled as well.

Blurt extends our deepest condolences to Trucks’ family, his band, and the extended Allman Brothers family. Speaking personally, I was privileged to see the band as early as 1971 and many times since then – Trucks and his signature percussion style has an integral part of the mix and he was never less than inspiring.

Track Premiere: Blackfoot Gypsies “I Had a Vision”

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Also check out the official trailer for the forthcoming new album from the band.

By Blurt Staff

Blackfoot Gypsies is Matthew Paige (vocals, guitar), Zack Murphy (drums), Dylan Whitlow (bass, vocals) and Ollie Dogg (harmonica). The band have shared bills with everyone from the Alabama Shakes and Trampled by Turtles to Futurebirds, The Ettes and The Carolina Chocolate Drops. And now they’ve dropped the first single from their new 2017 album To the Top for Plowboy Records, “I Had a Vision,” which we are proud to unveil for the BLURT readership. Check it out:

“This song is a declaration of our need, as a people, to be free – describing the vision of an equal land where real justice would be honored,” said band frontman Paige, about the track. Added drummer Zach Murphy, “It’s a song for the times. These times call for everybody to come together and remember the original vision we had as humans and unite against the negativity that this life forces down all of our throats.”

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Online: http://www.theblackfootgypsies.com/ / https://www.facebook.com/blackfootgypsies

Photo Credit: Jeff Fasano / Tour Dates:

Friday, January 27th at Tonic Room in Chicago, IL
Saturday, January 28th at Tanner’s Sports Grill & Bar in Kimberly, WI
Thursday, February 9th at A Frame in Bowling Green, KY
Friday, February 10th at The Burl in Lexington, KY
Saturday, February 11th at Black Circle Brewing Co. in Indianapolis, IN
Friday, March 10th at Syndicate Lounge in Birmingham, AL
Friday, April 7th at Star Bar in Atlanta, GA
Saturday, April 8th at Revelry Room in Chattanooga, TN
Friday, April 14th at Little Harpeth Brewery Nashville, TN (To The Top CD release show)

 

 

Video Premiere: Israeli Singer Maytal Michaeli “Heart”

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Acclaimed contestant on the first season of “The Voice of Israel” in 2012 pays tribute to her late mother and preps for album later this year.

By Blurt Staff

Although Maytal Michaeli has already notched a notable profile for herself via “The Voice of Israel” and subsequent performances that have earned her comparisons to everyone from Joni Mitchell and Norah Jones to Leonard Cohen and Bon Iver, she’s earnestly bearing down on a new album for 2017. The project, which she calls, not so coincidentally, I Am Project, was, in her words, “born on a balcony in Tel Aviv. It started to build up as a concept, before the songs were even written. I was in that period of time before a romantic break up, when you know it’s the right thing to do, but it is still very difficult to actually make a move and leave. I have a tattoo on my neck- “I AM”. These are the initials of my parents’ names. I put it there ‘because they always watched my back and always saved my neck, and I really needed something to save my neck and get me out of that situation. Music has the ability to be my secret special key in and out of where I am. ”

There’s a sad twist, however: Michaeli’s mother passed away suddenly during the singer’s recording and album preparations; there was no opportunity for a formal goodbye. So she felt no choice but to work through the loss and craft a posthumous farewell with this video titled “Heart”:

Offers Michaeli, “’Heart’ is a song that was written about the passing of my mother. The last time I spent time with her was my 29th birthday, as a birthday present she gave me a hand-written notebook with all her recipes. On the first page she wrote a few personal words and signed: “With love, Mom.”- in Hebrew.

“I decided to get a tattoo of these words in her hand writing. The director of the video clip spent the whole day with me, documenting. This was a very emotional and very important experience for me. ‘Heart’ came straight from my heart, in a very difficult moment of grief. It is a sad song but it is also filled with love. You can feel that secure, loving, supportive place I had, and I still have it inside of me, even though she is not here anymore. Together, the video and the song, tell a story about the important aspects of life—loving, longing, missing, needing, having, cherishing and losing.”

There’s a rare beauty contained herein that we hope the BLURT readership will appreciate, and by all means share. Maytal, we hope to see you touring these shores on the near future!

On the web: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MaytalMusic/

 

NC-based Second Motion Label re-launches as Schoolkids Records

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We ain’t just fishin’ around…

By Fred Mills

The rumors were true: Stephen Judge, our esteemed owner and publisher, who also operates indie label Second Motion (Bettie Serveert, Church, Tommy Keene, Swervedriver, etc.) as well as the three-store North Carolina record store chain Schoolkids Records (yes, where yours truly worked from 2012-2015) is relaunching Second Motion under the Schoolkids imprint. The move coincides with Judge additionally opening an office in Dublin, Ireland, where he is currently living.

The newly-christened record label’s first signing is Chapel Hill’s Happy Abandon.

Full details tba – for the time being, you can read the official press release at the Schoolkids website. Gonna be a party, everyone!

Watch New Video by the Black Watch

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Humorous clip from the beloved West Coast “literate guitar pop” (our term) combo.

By Fred Mills

Just over a year ago we published an interview with  songwriter/author John Andrew Fredrick, who talked about his long-running band the Black Watch. At the time he had just released a new BW album, Highs and Lows, of which our reviewer enthused, s always, guitar pop in all its infinite variations carries the day… Add in Frederick’s lyrics – beautifully crafted lines that blend literary allusion with colloquial accessibility – and the results are masterfully created songs.”

Such is the case with the new “Way Strange World” from the band – who also have a terrific, at times hilarious, new video for the track. Check it out, below.

Incoming: New Wire Album; Hear 1st Single

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Bake ’em a cake and put 40 candles on it…

By Barbi Martinez

It’s called Silver/Lead and it arrives March 31: that would be the mighty Wire’s followup to 2016’s acclaimed Nocturnal Koreans. Below listen to the melodically buzzsawing “Short Elevated Period” from the album. And incidentally, March 31 was not a date the band chose randomly; it will be the 40th anniversary of their first UK gig.

Listen to New Ray Davies Song

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Track culled from new album arriving in April.

By Barbi Martinez

April 21 will bring an eagerly-anticipated new Ray Davies project, Americana, featuring the Kinks mainman backed up by Americana godfathers the Jayhawks, fittingly enough. It’s the long-awaited followup to 2008’s Working Man’s Cafe. Listen to first single “Poetry” at NPR, below.

Read Jeff Tweedy’s Anti-Internet Trolls Letter

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Shifts from beloved artist to FAM (formerly approved of musician).

 

By Fred Mills

One of the things I did during the recent election season was steer clear, for the most part, of posting political rants, screeds, and random echo-chamber verbiage to social media. Not that I felt I was going to make a difference, of course; I just decided I preferred to pitch my tent outside that chamber. The conclusion of the election hasn’t changed anything, and there are both liberal and conservative trolls every place you click.

Apparently Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy has just about had it with trolling, too, as this weekend he went to the Women’s March with his wife and posted the above photo to Wilco’s social media, only to have the trolls come out in force on social media. So he has posted a letter to the trolls. Well, I “like” that quite a bit. Read it, below:

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Dear fellow citizens who are being mean in our comments section,

I don’t know you so it’s hard for me to accurately guess how much time you spend on your devices commenting on and unfollowing “celebrities” and moderately well known music figures. My assumption is that it’s more than even you would care to admit. Since I don’t know you it’s extremely difficult for me to weigh the degree to which I should take you seriously. Still, it’s easier to infer things about you than it is to take on board your criticism of me. For example: When you say something about Bill Clinton it makes me realize that you’re old (or at least as old as I am) but it means nothing to me because I don’t care for the man and I don’t know where anyone would get the idea that I do.

Anyway, it occurred to me that being in the position I’m in – where people devote their time and energy to negatively comment and insult their Formerly Approved of Musician™ (F.A.M. – I think that’s going to really take off as a phrase in these upcoming years) for lending his support to things he and his band mates and all of our families have feelings about – I should take advantage of the opportunity to occupy your time and energy as often as possible to infiltrate your minds. Not because I have much hope of changing your opinions (again, I don’t know you, so I’m not sure what your bag is) but I mean, MAYBE our sincerity about the things that concern us can inspire some deeper investigation into those concerns. I suppose that’s why we share our opinions on Facebook, social media, etc., but I think it’s more often than not just a helpful reminder to like-minded people (our bubble?) not to despair and to try to remain hopeful. It’s a place for us to model some coping strategies that have made us feel better as citizens and to remind people to participate.

Speaking of bubbles…sure, we live in a bubble. I’d love for more of you to share our bubble though! It’s awesome! In our bubble I know cops and rappers and grocery store cashiers and artists and garbage collectors…so many decent people that don’t really care that much about people being different than they are. If you can trust a reality TV star billionaire when he says, “believe me,” surely you can believe me when I say you’re welcome in my bubble. I grew up in what I think might be something like your bubble. You should at least try this one! Come on in!

Or….maybe you just get off on getting people angry and it helps you blow off a little steam and feel a tiny bit more in control of your life. Good for you. Or…maybe you’re serious about all the hurtful things you’ve been saying. If you ARE serious, I would like to welcome you back to our little corner of the web to spit and foam anytime you like. I can take it. I’m not afraid of you. There are more of us here and there always will be. So please come back! We’ll keep laying out dishes of warm outrage for you to lap up in the form of our vision of a better world, causes we believe in, actions we’re taking, etc., and in turn we’ll have peace of mind in knowing that you aren’t out in the world acting on the anger so evident in your hastily typed and misspelled defenses of a man who has been elevated to a position of immense power but in whom I’ve yet to see any evidence of virtue. You’ll be here where we want you and the most vulnerable among us will have one less danger to encounter.

With love (seriously),
Jeff Tweedy