Monthly Archives: November 2017

Video Premiere: Austin Shaw “Felt”

Terrific track culled from latest album.

By Blurt Staff

Austin Shaw left music behind after he finished college and started his climb up the corporate ladder, after a few years he ‘felt’ like something was missing so he left his job in corporate America and moved to Santa Cruz to reclaim the artist and songwriter that always lived inside of him.
Today we premiere a video for the title track from his album FELT as part of his ongoing live video series. Check it out here:

Shaw spent the last couple of years, writing, recording and touring and he recently released his full-length debut album. The songs are personal, and Shaw willingly exposes himself with his words and music. FELT is it a solid mix of classic and melodic rock, highlighted with charming guitar riffs and soulful vocals.

He navigates the complexities of day-to-day life through song. Inviting, approachable and thoughtfully efficient, the album walks in the quaint space between a stripped-down solo and full band approach. Shaw is a versatile arranger, and he flexes his musical instincts to great effect on his debut record. FELT was produced by Robert Smith (Defy Records), and also features the talents of guitarist Larry Saltzman (Paul Simon), drummer Joe Bonaci (Sting), bassist Malcolm Gold and vocalist Clara Lofaro.
Catch up with Shaw online at his official website.

MP3: Download St. Vincent’s 11/14/17 Detroit Show


By Uncle Blurt

No, she’s not the latest Marvel or DC super hero, although in that suggestive leather-and-stilettos outfit she sports onstage you’d be excused for thinking so. She can leap tall buildings with a single guitar, it’s…. St. Vincent! And Annie Clark’s show the other night in Detroit is now yours for the taking, courtesy Big O, which has posted MP3s of the HDTV webcast that wound up on Dime A Dozen. It comes with downloadable artwork.

MP3: St. Vincent – The Fillmore, Detroit, Michigan; November 14, 2017

She’s touring in support of her latest album, Masseduction, which one reviewer likends to “a futuristic, pop-horror acid trip.” Check out the full setlist, below – she does old faves in the first half of the show, then the new record in the second.

Disc 1

      Track 101
. Marry Me 4:42
      Track 102
. Now, Now 4:34
      Track 103
. The Strangers 4:08
      Track 104
. Actor Out of Work 2:43
      Track 105
. Cruel 4:02
      Track 106
. Cheerleader 4:14
      Track 107
. Strange Mercy 4:26
      Track 108
. Digital Witness 4:04
      Track 109
. Rattlesnake 3:57
      Track 110
. Birth in Reverse 5:55


      Track 201
. Hang on Me 5:05
      Track 202
. Pills 4:45
      Track 203
. Masseduction 3:30
      Track 204
. Sugarboy 4:22
      Track 205
. Los Ageless 5:18
      Track 206
. Happy Birthday, Johnny 3:14
      Track 207
. Savior 4:34
      Track 208
. New York 2:51
      Track 209
. Fear the Future 2:41
      Track 210
. Young Lover-Dancing With a Ghost 4:27
      Track 211
. Slow Disco 2:53
      Track 212
. Smoking Section 4:17

Have a Merry Beatles Christmas! (on vinyl…)

The Beatles’ annual holiday tradition of recording jolly Christmas messages for fan club members was an important part of the band’s relationship with their most ardent supporters, affectionately referred to by them as “Beatle People.” Spanning 1963 to 1969, The Beatles’ holiday recordings were originally pressed on flexi discs and mailed to fan club members each December.

Never released beyond the fan club until now, The Beatles’ seven holiday messages have been newly pressed on a rainbow of seven-inch colored vinyl singles for The Christmas Records box set, to be released worldwide on December 15. The limited edition collection presents each vinyl single with its original flexi disc sleeve artwork, accompanied by a 16-page booklet with recording notes and reproductions of the fan club’s National Newsletters, which were mailed to members with the holiday flexi discs.

Also on December 15, the Deluxe Anniversary Edition of The Beatles’ 1967 masterwork, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, will debut worldwide in high definition digital audio (96kHz/24bit). The Deluxe Anniversary Edition features the album’s acclaimed 2017 stereo mix, plus 18 additional tracks, including complete alternate takes for the groundbreaking album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo. The expanded edition also features the 2017 stereo mix and an instrumental take of “Penny Lane” and the 2015 stereo mix and two complete alternate takes for “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

On the same date, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’s 2017 stereo mix will be released in two distinct 1-LP vinyl editions: a 180-gram black vinyl LP and a limited, collectible picture disc vinyl LP. Produced by Giles Martin for this year’s universally heralded ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition releases, the album’s new stereo mix was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by Giles’ father, George Martin. Praised by fans and music critics around the world, The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition is 2017’s most celebrated historical music release and an ideal gift for Beatle People here, there, and everywhere.

Tommy Keene 1958-2017 R.I.P.

Rocker was only 59 at the time of his death.

By Blurt Staff

Wednesday evening, November 22, power pop auteur Tommy Keene passed away unexpectedly at his Los Angeles home. The exact cause of death has not been announced, by his partner indicated that Keene died peacefully in his sleep.

From his early days on the Washington D.C. punk and new wave scene through his major label stint on Geffen Records in the mid ’80s through his latterday work that saw him release five albums on the Second Motion label (now called Schoolkids Records, it is BLURT’s sister business), Keene was an unapologetic champion of immaculately crafted, energetic, and lyrically emotional rock ‘n’ roll. Go HERE on the website to read our appreciation of Keene via previously published interviews and a new essay by BLURT editor Fred Mills.

Below, watch a clip of Keene and his band doing his classic tune “Places That Are Gone” on the Conan O’Brien show.


Watch New John Howard Cover + Video of Nick Drake Song

Noted British singer songwriter has been in the business since around the time Drake was releasing his fourth album.

By Blurt Staff

A year ago, veteran singer songwriter John Howard released his acclaimed Across the Door Sill, and he’s currently writing material for his next solo record. (In the meantime a Granite Shore album, Suspended Second, was also released.) En route, he’s got a new single, “From the Morning,” that will officially drop Dec. 1; an EP will arrive in February.

Howard notes, “The song was written by the brilliant singer-songwriter Nick Drake in 1972 for his final album ‘Pink Moon’, and it has long been one of my favourite songs of Nick’s. The sleeve pic for the single, by the way, was taken in Manchester in 1972, the year that Nick Drake recorded and released his recording of From The Morning‘, and just twelve months before I left home for London to begin my own recording career.”

You can order the single at all the usual digital outlets (including iTunes), and if you want a preview, check out the haunting, beautiful video for it, below, which he has posted to YouTube and his Facebook page.



Watch New Sex Pistols-inspired Video from Jean Caffeine

It was definitely not the winter of love, either…

By Fred Mills

A couple of months ago we reviewed lapsed punk rocker Jean Caffeine’s superb new album, Sadie Saturday Night, a kind of rock ‘n’ roll musical memoir. “Lapsed?” you ask? Currently Austin-based, Caffeine came of age hanging out on the San Francisco punk scene, later moving to NYC where she also immersed herself in Lower East Side cultural goings-on. So she was there.

You can check out the first video from the album, “All Girl Band,” and after that, check out a killer clip for the track “Winter of Hate,” which has more than just a couple of Easter eggs lurking amid the arrangement for punk and Sex Pistols fans.

The video description reads thusly:

“The song is about seeing the Sex Pistols break up show at Winterland in San Francisco in 1978 and the feelings of frustration and loss about their show and breakup. It’s also a snapshot into the first wave San Francisco punk scene that participated in and includes pics of notable California punks and other punk performers who came through town. Directed by Paul Beck who co-directed, A Scanner Darkly as well as videos for Molotov and David Byrne. Paul says, “this video is like a little documentary of the era.” Jean Caffeine assisted-directed. SF punk photographers Jim Jacoy, Richard Alden Peterson, Ruby Ray, James Stark contributed photographs. Video footage by”

Connect with Caffeine and get album and tour info at her official website and her Facebook page.


Video Premiere: Sultans of String “Hallelujah” (L. Cohen cover)

Classic tune taken from the Canadian band’s very special Christmas album.


Let’s kick off the holidays with a video premiere from Canada’s award-winning ambassadors of musical diversity, Sultans of String. Their latest release “Christmas Caravan” is out now and you can check out the video for their version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, featuring vocals by Rebecca Campbell here:

The genre-hopping “Christmas Caravan” was recorded and co-produced by John ‘Beetle’ Bailey. You may recognize a few titles, but you’ve never experienced seasonal music quite like this before.

“We wanted to make a real contribution to the Christmas repertoire, and hopefully create some new standards” explains bandleader/violinist Chris McKhool. “This is a Christmas album, but approached from the perspective of a world-music band. We explored diverse genres, from Quebecois fiddle tunes to collaborating with a traditional Turkish string ensemble, and jump around from African roots music, Gypsy-jazz, rumba flamenco, ska, and the grandeur of the symphony.” The Sultans of String are Chris McKhool, Kevin Laliberté, Eddie Paton, Drew Birston and Chendy Leon.

Also, lending their talents to the songs on this album are 6x Grammy winning Paddy Maloney (The Chieftains), Ruben Blades & Luba Mason (Panamanian 7 Grammy and 5 Latin Grammy Award winner), platinum-selling jazz vocalist Nikki Yanofsky, 2x JUNO/Grammy Winner Alex Cuba, Benoit Bourque of Quebec’s Bottine Souriante (3x JUNOs, 4x Gold, 3x Platinum records), Sweet Honey in the Rock (Grammy winning all-woman, African-American a cappella group), Cameroon’s Richard Bona (Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock), Canada’s singer to the stars Rebecca Campbell (Emmylou Harris, Alanis Morissette), singer Mary Fahl from NYC’s October Project, a recording collective of Turkish Roma violinists in Istanbul, Sudanese-Canadian singer Waleed Abdulhamid, Nashville-based JUNO Award winning country singer Crystal Shawanda, sitar virtuoso Anwar Khurshid, and hang drum player David Charrier from France.

This recording was produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

Sultans of String will be kicking off a fresh Canadian tour this weekend, on November 26, in Peterborough. Following a Christmas and New Year’s break, they head to the UK in January. Go here to view the complete itinerary, which will include selected dates in the US during 2018.

Minus 5’s Scott McCaughey Suffers Stroke, In “Stable Condition”

Chicago, Il.

Above photo taken exclusively for BLURT by Marty Perez at the Sept. 23 Chicago appearance of Filthy Friends.

By Fred Mills

Anybody remotely familiar with BLURT will know that we consider Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M., Minus 5, The Baseball Project, Filthy Friends, etc.) a permanent member of our extended family. We’ve hung out with him numerous times during our SXSW day parties, more recently getting to reconnect with he swung through our home base of Raleigh with The Baseball Project.

So yesterday we received word that Scott had suffered a stroke while on the road. According to a post at the Minus 5 Facebook page by his wife, Mary Winzig:

Scott McCaughey, the ever-smiling, sunglasses-wearing front man of the bands The Minus 5 and the Young Fresh Fellows, and side man to countless bands — including M. Ward, The Baseball Project, Tired Pony, and R.E.M. — suffered a stroke while on a West Coast tour with Alejandro Escovedo. He is in stable condition. Loved by many and a best friend to all, Scott brings a very bright light to the stage. In his ever-changing hats and loud sports coats, Scott exudes such joy while he performs.“Scott McCaughey is one of the unsung heroes of rock n roll. A true believer and one of the most creative people I have ever met.” says guitarist Peter Buck.

The road to recovery will be a long one, and we believe it will come through music. We can’t wait to see him back in action. The collective energy of the entire creative community is powerful enough to overcome this hurdle. With the love and support of all of you, Scott will continue to share his love of music with the world. We promise to provide continued updates and will share any messages of support you want to send with him.

Sent with love from Mary Winzig (wife of Scott McCaughey) and the entire R.E.M. community.

Then earlier today Winzig added the following:

Thanks Y’all for all the kind words, thoughts, prayers, messages, videos, texts, emails & calls. Scott is in a great medical facility & we trust the doctors & hard-working staff implicitly. We have such a long road ahead, but with your love & Scott’s amazing drive and work ethic, we will get there. Being surrounded by caring folks, our family & friends & Y’all — gives us hope beyond messure. Many of you are asking what you can do — and those answers are coming. Sean Nelson wrote a beautiful piece for The Stranger, (Thanks, Sean! Love you) about Scott & there are other ideas as well brewing as well — (gofundme, benefit concerts, etc). We are also getting a PO Box for cards & letters in Portland (Thanks Shari & CB, xo) In this struggle, we are truly learning the definition of “it is not a sprint, it is a marathon.” Thanks to all, put on your favorite record, & everyone embrace the healing power of music in this time. We love you.

An outpouring of expressions of support from fans and peers followed the initial announcement, of course. There’s not much I can add at the moment, other than we’ll keep you updated on Scott’s progress and any of the future plans that Winzig mentions above. Hang in there, brother, we got your back.

Read “The Return of Scott the Hoople,” about McCaughey, elsewhere on the BLURT site.

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young 1953-2017 R.I.P.


By Uncle Blurt

The man with the thunder-striking riffs has left the building: AC/DC cofounding guitarist Malcolm Young, who had been suffering from dementia for some time, passed away earlier today, Nov. 18, He was 64. Young reportedly died peacefully at his home surrounded by family.

“Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young,” AC/DC wrote in a statement on Facebook. Malcolm, along with [brother] Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC. With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band. As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man. He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted. He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.”

“As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special. He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever. Malcolm, job well done.” – Angus Young.

Young’s nephew, Stevie, replaced him on the band’s recent tours when it was clear he would not be able to perform anymore.

Neil Young To Release “The Visitor,” Open up His Archives Online


By Barbi Martinez

On December 11, the day before his birthday, Neil Young gave his fans an early birthday present with the following announcement at his Facebook page:

Hi there,
December 1st will be a big day for me. The Visitor will be coming to your town. I will be going to my town. You will be able to hear me and see me. My archive will open on that same day, a place you can visit and experience every song I have ever released in the highest quality your machine will allow. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. In the beginning, everything is free.
Lots of Love,

The Visitor will feature Young backed again by Promise of the Real. Note that the vinyl version of the album won’t be available until the first week of January, according to; it will reportedly include a digital download, at least for those who preorder the album. Meanwhile, over at the Neil Young Archives website, Young provides additional info about his plans. Scroll near the end of the “note” he wrote for some intriguing details about the proposed audio quality of the online streaming archives – Young, of course, is a notorious stickler for high-end audio quality and had had skirmishes over the years with compact discs, MP3s, and of course streaming itself.