Monthly Archives: February 2017

Third Man Opening Vinyl Pressing Plant, Will Offer Tours

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Much-needed addition to the perpetually under-the-gun vinyl industry.

By Blurt Staff

Nobody will ever accuse Jack White of failing to champion vinyl, and further evidence of him putting his money where his mouth recently arrived with the announcement of the imminent opening of Third Man Pressing, a vinyl pressing plant located in Detroit. (White first started talking about his plans in 2015.) The public unveiling is officially this week, Feb. 25, and there will be a grand opening party free to the public starting at 10AM—and with music kicking in around 2:30 with the Mummies, the Oblivians, and the Craig Brown Band.

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According to Diffuser, Third Man will also be selling “a great assortment of freshly pressed Detroit-centric LPs” that will only be available for purchase at the grand opening, including exclusive colored vinyl editions of albums by the White Stripes, the MC5, and the Stooges.”

The official press release notes that TMP represents the first “fully climate-controlled pressing plant work environment in the world” with a “closed-loop, chilled-water system that maximizes water sustainability.” Not to mention adding to the limited number of actual record presses operating in the U.S.—and potentially helping to cut down on the notorious delays people have experienced the past couple of years trying to get their albums and singles pressed up. The goal will be to crank out 5,000 LPs an hour.

Incidentally, punters will be able to take tours of the facility and observe the manufacturing process. The $20 admission will include the proverbial swag bag – are we thinking limited edition swag, hmm?

More details, photos, technical specs for the plant, go to Third Man’s site.

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Wire Marks New LP Release w/40th Anniversary Festival

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And that ain’t no April fool fake news, either – artists slated to perform include Bob Mould * Julia Holter * Mikal Cronin + String & Horn Ensemble * Mild High Club, * Laetitia Sadier * WAND FITTED (Bob Lee, Graham Lewis, Matthew Simms, Mike Watt)Part Time Punks * HowardAmb, * Once and Future Band * Chasms * Noveller * Immersion * SLOWS

 By Blurt Staff

Musical pioneers WIRE will release their 15th studio album Silver/Lead on March 31, the eve of their 40th anniversary. Colin Newman and Matt Simms’ guitar work is alternately jagged and luminous, while bassist Graham Lewis’s ear-catching lyrics are vivid yet oblique. Meanwhile, drummer Robert Grey provides a virtual masterclass in percussive minimalism. But it’s how the various instruments mesh together that really counts. And Newman’s production creates a sonic space in which even the smallest gesture is accorded some recognition. You can check out first single “Short Elevated Period” below:

However this is an album with its sights firmly set on the future. On April 1, 2017, the anniversary of the band’s first gig as the “classic 4 piece” at the Roxy Club. London, WIRE will be giving a headline performance at the Los Angeles edition of the band’s boutique city festival DRILL : LA, a unique festival to mark “40 years of not looking back.” Wire have announced the addition of Mikal Cronin with a string & horn ensemble and Wand to the upcoming DRILL : LA festival taking place March 30 – April 2 at The Echo and Echoplex. Tickets for DRILL : LA are available HERE.

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Since 2013, WIRE  have been curating a series of international city festivals with the name DRILL.  The idea being to bring together the best overview of both classic left field artists and new and emerging cutting edge talent. There will be several more DRILL : FESTIVALS taking place this spring, each featuring unique line ups.  Details of the festivals will be announced shortly.  Updated info can be found at www.drillfestival.com

Wire Tour Dates 

03.28 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom

03.29 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah

03.30 – Los Angeles, CA – DRILL : LA @ Echo

03.31 – Los Angeles, CA – DRILL : LA @ Echo/Echoplex

04.01 – Los Angeles, CA – DRILL : LA @ Echo/Echoplex

04.03 – San Francisco, CA @ Slims

04.05 – Portland, OR @ Dantes

04.07 – Vancouver, BC @ Imperial

04.08 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile

 

Incoming: New Album from Bill Scorzari

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Songwriters’ songwriter joined by a cast bursting at the seams with talent.

By Blurt Staff

The hugely respected songwriter Bill Scorzari is about to release his sophomore album Through These Waves, on March 10th. Produced by Jonah Tolchin (Yep Roc) and engineered, mixed, and mastered by Billy Bennett, the album of all original material was recorded over twelve days at the famed Bomb Shelter in East Nashville through the studio’s 1970’s MCI console and mixed to tape. In a recent interview with No Depression, Tolchin calls Bill Scorzari, “one of the greatest songwriters I’ve ever heard.”

The album features other notable musicians including Joachim Cooder (drums, percussion), Laur Joamets (electric guitar, slide guitar), Chris Scruggs (steel guitar), Will Kimbrough (mandolin, piano), Eamon McLoughlin (fiddle, viola, cello), Jon Estes (upright bass, guitar, organ), Kim Richey (vocals), Brent Burke (Dobro) and more. “The experience was surreal… transformative… unifying… effortless… and profound. In fact, this record captures every magical moment in a journal of the sound, time, friendship and passion which we all created and now share,” Scorzari noted, in a statement. “I am forever grateful to Jonah, Billy B., and equally for everyone who participated in, and made this experience and recording possible and real.”

Check out a video trailer for the album, below. On the web: www.billscorzari.com, www.facebook.com/billscorzari , and www.twitter.com/BillScorzari.

Watch New Leslie Mendelson Video

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First new album in nearly eight years from the talented songbird.

By Blurt Staff

Here name is Leslie Mendelson, and her previous album, Swan Feathers, not only caught music critics’ attention, it captured the imagination of the music industry and the public at large, earning comparisons to Rickie Lee Jones and notching her a Grammy nomination. But a combination of business and personal factors temporarily derailed her career—among them, losing a record and management deal, followed by the passing of her producer Joel Dorn was producing her.

She has since fought her way back with a new record, Love & Murder, which drops April 14 via Royal Potato Family. The label notes that it “reflects both the darkness and light she encountered in the ensuing eight years.” Produced by Mark Howard and co-written by Steve McEwen (whose writing credits run from James Blake to Roger Daltrey), it also includes covers of Bob Dylan, Jimmy Newman and Roy Orbison (the latter’s “Blue Bayou” was done as a duet with none other than Bob Weir, who had heard her do the Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” and was duly smitten).

“This collection is just about the songs and my voice,” she noted, in a statement. “That’s what people can connect with. It shows where I am right now as an artist and where I want to go.”

You can check out an acoustic performance of the song “Jericho” below. Meanwhile, keep track of her at her official website. (Photo Credit: Mary Ellen Matthews)

Watch New Chandler Travis Video

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Frank Zappa would be proud of this multitasking musician—who also has new album from one of his other projects.

By Blurt Staff

“Some old buggers playing a stinky club on Cape Cod”: that would be Boston area rocker (and Incredible Casuals legend) Chandler Travis and his band The Catbirds. They belie that “old” tag, however, with a powerhouse style of punk/garage/indie that’s equal parts Crazy Horse and Husker Du. These beer swillers know of what they rawk, as anyone who’s ever seen ‘em live (or glommed onto the numerous videos, both live and staged, that can be found at the Chandler Travis website).

The latest one is “I Want It,” filmed by Cave Cod Wave magazine at the Wellfleet Beachcomber on Aug 12, 2016, so check it out:

In other Travis news, his “big band,” fittingly called the Chandler Travis Philharmonic, released Waving Kissyhead, Vol. 2 & 1 on February 10th via the musician’s own Iddy Biddy label. It’s described as “full of Travis’ trademark homespun quirky pop work that places him squarely in the company of folks like mid-period Kinks, XTC and Smiley Smile-era Brian Wilson.” It’s the band’s first full-length since Blows and was mostly recorded by Ducky Carlisle at Dimension in Jamaica Plain.

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The band is also marking its silver twentieth anniversary with the album release. Notes Travis, “I’m borderline proud of the fact that many bands with our commercial potential would’ve given up years ago, but not us!”

 

 

 

Video(s) Premiere: Chinese Band Twinkle Star

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Back to fist city: Group has a highly anticipated new album set for release this month.

By Jonathan Levitt

Beijing-based alternative rock band Twinkle Star, whom we at BLURT covered last year in a special interview with the band, are set to release their latest record entitled Full Of Hope on the 23rd of this month.

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Until then, the band have kindly offered us the exclusive premiere of their two new videos “Wasting Life Together” and “Release Yourself” – the latter was shot in Hong Kong. Check them out, below.

The band will be touring outside Beijing and will then return to killer rock venue, Yugong Yishan, for a homecoming concert set for May 6th. Rumor has it Uncle Blurt might make it out here for the show, if he can find his dentures and Depends, cuz that flight is a killer. [Jonathan, I can barely hold it in during my daily cross-city bus ride to Biff’s Pub & Grille —don’t even ask about the return trip— so I doubt the airline will let me have a carry-on large enough to pack all that soft, absorbent goodness. Maybe you could videotape part of the show for me and the gang? – U.B.]

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Wasting Life Together:

Release Yourself:

Podcast du Jour: Brother Brother Brother

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The family that plays records together, records together, it would seem.

By Fred Mills

No, it’s not a Marvin Gaye celebration, although we suspect the principals would all agree that a Marvin Gaye celebration is always a good thing. Point of fact, it is a MUSIC celebration—specifically, the Brother Brother Brother podcast—by three brothers from three marriages and from three different generations. They were all born roughly a decade apart and therefore, with birth dates of 1968, 1976 and 1988, each representing a key musical decade.

They are Wyndham Lewis (who you might remember from past BLURT-dom, such as this review), Jeremy Sartori and Christian Lewis, reporting in from three different cities, Los Angeles, Boston and Brooklyn. As Wyndham tells us, they discuss “one shared passion: music! I grew up on college radio, import bins, and all-ages shows and passed along that fervent fandom, and as Jeremy and Christian grew up and technology evolved, the conversation shifted and now I learn from them. The fact that we span three decades is what makes the conversation peculiar, remarkable and worth hearing.”

We’ll have to give a solid boy howdy to that. You can find the podcast at the Brotherpod.com site—Episode 18, “Second Fiddles,” is the most recent one, and it concerns great songs by groups that are sung by someone other than the frontman—and fresh episodes are posted every Thursday. They also have some awesome Spotify playlists to check out. You can snag the podcasts via iTunes, Stitches and Google Play.

The brothers were recently profiled at the Boston Globe, incidentally.

Happy Valentines Day from Francesca Blanchard

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It’ll make your heart grow three sizes larger…

By Fred Mills

Of all the so-called annual holidays/events we field each year as a major tastemaker media outlet, the one we traditionally hold at arm’s length is Valentines Day because, well… Valentines Day, yo. This year, however, we break protocol and present, without excessive pomp, circumstance, or fanfare, a timely ditty that not only helped thaw out our frozen hearts (hey, it’s mid-February in the mountains, ya think we’ve donned our thongs yet?) but might’ve even made ye olde editor’s Grinchy heart grow a few extra sizes.

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Please check out Vermont-based chanteuse Francesca Blanchard, whose debut album, deux visions, dropped last October on the eternally innovative Cumbacha label, and who has been compared to Francoise Hardy meets Nico. Her new song is titled “My Heart,” appropriately enough, and you can check it out below. Don’t forget to share it with your significant other before the day’s over.

Video Premiere: Derrick Anderson “Happiness”

Song from upcoming album due early April.

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By Blurt Staff

Just in case you don’t recognize the name Derrick Anderson, consider where you might have actually seen him: playing bass for the Bangles starting in 2008, and more recently with the Kinks’ Dave Davies. (Or maybe even earlier on the L.A. club scene circa 1995-2004 with The Andersons.) The virtuoso musician is now prepping a solo album, A World of My Own for an April 1 release via Omnivore, and we are quite chuffed to be able to unveil a video for the track “Happiness.” Check it out:

If you listened closely, you might have spotted some guitar licks from none of than Matthew Sweet. Meanwhile, also guesting on this gorgeous collection of pop and rock gems are Vicki Peterson, Debbi Peterson and Susanna Hoffs, as well as Kim Shattuck and a Cowsills trio of Bob, John and Susan Cowsill.

Commenting on the album sessions, Anderson notes, “I have to say, it’s a beautiful thing to have such talented friends orbiting in my musical universe that I could call on once I started making this album. It was a long time coming, waiting for folks to ‘turn in their homework’ as it were, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Vicki Peterson (Bangles) listened to the record in its entirety and called it ‘timeless’ which was such a fantastic compliment, especially coming from her!”

Go HERE to view the official album trailer from Omnivore. Find Anderson on the web at his Facebook page.

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Incoming: New EP from The Veldt; Signed to Schoolkids Records

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N.C. outfit also opening for Modern English in April, with more national dates t.b.a. soon. Listen to a key track, below.

By Blurt Staff

A couple of weeks ago we dropped the news that respected indie label Second Motion Records was changing its name to Schoolkids Records, which (not so coincidentally) is also the name of the North Carolina indie record store chain that’s the BLURT magazine sister business. Now comes the official announcement of ‘90s shoegaze legends The Veldt signing with us and prepping a new EP for a June 2 release. Titled The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation, you can check out the track “Sanctified,” below.

The Veldt will open for Modern English at several shows in April; dates below. Meanwhile, here’s what you need to know about the band — and to our friends in The Veldt, welcome to the Schoolkids family. Plenty of good memories from all those shows in the ‘90s, and even some contemporary memories, too.

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The band formed in the late 80’s in Raleigh, North Carolina amongst the royalty of the legendary North Carolina music scene, including bands such as Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, The Connells, Dillon Fence, The dB’s, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Ryan Adams and many more

Initially signed to Capitol Records in 1989 and eventually finding their way to Mercury Records, The Veldt embarked on a musical journey that changed their lives. Soon, they were in the studio with dream-gaze guru Robin Guthrie, playing American concert halls with Cocteau Twins, and opening for The Jesus and Mary Chain in England. They worked with leading producers Lincoln Fong of Moose on their debut album Marigolds and Ray Schulman (Bjork, Sugarcubes, The Sundays) on Afrodisiac.  The Veldt were a sensation from the start as they became a part of a movement of innovators, who came of musical age at a time when rhythmic rebels were reflective, gritty and wild. Their sound inspired future generations of alternative artists, including TV On the Radio.

Apart from Robin Guthrie, they have collaborated with TV On The Radio, Mos Def, The Jesus & Mary Chain and Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), and most recently A.R.Kane. They have shared the stage with The Pixies, Throwing Muses, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, Manic Street Preachers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Oasis and Living Colour, among others.

The band reformed in 2016 and immediately received incredible enthusiasm upon their return.  Their new EP started to make the rounds with a vinyl release via Leonard Skully Records last year, resulting in significant press attention, including an outstanding feature in The Guardian (UK), who wrote “the new songs invite paradoxical praise: serenely assaultive and vertiginously soothing.”  The band participated in an East coast mini-tour with The Brian Jonestown Massacre this past spring, embarked on two central Canadian tours, and continued to tour Europe last summer, in addition to playing multiple festivals in Italy, Spain, France, the UK, USA, Sweden and Denmark.

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THE VELDT supporting MODERN ENGLISH

April 10: Washington DC – Rock & Roll Hotel

April 11: Philadelphia PA – Johnny Brenda’s

April 13: Boston MA – Brighton Music Hall

April 14: Brooklyn NY – Rough Trade