Monthly Archives: December 2017

Listen to FIFTH King Gizzard Album of 2017

By Uncle Blurt

Seems like it was just last week I was purchasing the fourth album of 2017 by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. But that was SO last week… today the Aussie psych monsters dropped the followup to Polygondwanaland.

it’s titled Gumboot Soup, and you can hear it streaming at Bandcamp. Check it out, below; the eleven songs will play successively The vinyl edition – no doubt available in multiple colored wax limited edition iterations, and you can view two of them at their site as well as preorder them –  will arrive in April via the band’s Flightless label. No word yet if it will also be released on the group’s American label, ATO.

 

Keeping Up With The Gizzard Wizards

By Uncle Blurt

By any measure – Robert Pollard, Ryan Adams, even the Kardashian loonies – Australia’s King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard has had a, ahem PRODUCTIVE 12-month period. No, they didn’t announce pregnancies across the board, or sundry thin-skined beefs with fellow rockers, or a slate of one-off side projects – although those could be forthcoming in 2018, who knows.

But what they DID do is release no less than four (4, count ’em) new records during 2017, most in them in multiple formats and a dizzying array of colored vinyl iterations, with the mindbending Polygondwanaland (ask us about our special clear-vinyl copy…) arriving late in the year. But wait – did we say late in the year?

There have also been no less than four new singles:”All Is Known,” “Beginner’s Luck,” “Greenhouse Heat Death” – and now, “The Last Oasis.” Check it out, below, followed by the other three. We can’t even predict what will drop next week as 2018 unfolds…

Watch Short Film w/NC’s Jeffrey Dean Foster’s Music

Longtime BLURT fave and North Carolina indie rock scene mainstay also working on soundtrack for forthcoming executive-produced Scorcese film.

By Fred Mills

We’ve written about Winston-Salem artist Jeffrey Dean Foster often enough in the past (do the proverbial website search for recent and earlier coverage). Suffice to say he’s one of our North Carolina heroes, an indie rock/Americana mainstay whose work continues to inspire each time out.

Film director Alex A. Klein has served up a short film that features Foster’s music throughout that is particularly timely, and timeless. We hope you’ll take a look/listen. The description of Klein’s clip is as follows:

“A short film inspired by and containing Jeffrey Dean Foster’s songs “I Will Understand,” and “Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts,” from his album, “The Arrow.” A face-off and reconciliation of selves.

Starring Julianne Harper, who choreographed her own badass moves. Conceptualized, produced, directed and edited by Alex A Klein. Cinematography and overall awesomeness/patience by Mitch Perrin. Stedicam operation by Jonathan Pfundstein. Body double for Julianne by Mariah Perrin. First A.D. by Annie Dillon, who literally lent me the shirt off her back. Overall help and moral support on our Trade St shoot by Ella Klein. A big Thank You to the following downtown WS/NC establishments for lending us their space: The Wherehouse Art Hotel, Test Pattern, Mary’s Gourmet Diner and Dye Pretty. Filmed in Winston-Salem, NC.”


Foster’s not resting on his laurels, either. He informs us, “I’ve started compiling songs for a new record and spent last year writing and recording the entire sooundtrack for Abundant Acreage Available starring Amy Ryan and executive produced by Martin Scorcese.”

More details as they are revealed. Easily some of the most impressive news about the Tar Heel music scene in years, period. Check him out: http://www.jeffreydeanfoster.com/
https://www.facebook.com/jeffreydeanfostermusic/

Track Premiere: 6 String Drag “Waste of Time”

Ace tune by the gutsy North Carolina band taken from smokin’ new album, due out in early March. (Pictured above, L-R: Luis Rodriguez, Kenny Roby, Dan Davis, Rob Keller)

By Blurt Staff

Americana fans with long memories know well the name 6 String Drag: the hard-twanging Raleigh (NC)-by-way-of-Clemson (SC) outfit that helped usher in the golden era of alt-country in the early/mid ‘90s, predating both Ryan Adams’ Whiskeytown and scene bible No Depression. And although the members went their separate ways in 1998, 6 String Drag wound up reuniting in 2014 and released an acclaimed comeback album in early 2015.

Indeed, Roots Rock ‘N’ Roll (Royal Potato Family) was reviewed here at BLURT, our editor hailing the mix of power pop, rockabilly-esque twang, and bluesy soul: “It lives up to its title in every sense of the word—it’s rootsy as hell, and it’ll rock your ass off.. Maturity means you get to do a few things you didn’t quite have the skills or savvy to do 20 years earlier, and it also means you and the folks around you get to savor things because the moments of now tend to hover, deliciously, even while the memories of then continue to linger.” (Go HERE to listen to a track we premiered here in 2015.)

Resuming operations clearly gave the band a sense of momentum, and now they’ve got a smokin’ followup to RRNR due on digital, CD, and vinyl on March 9 via the Schoolkids Records label (formerly Second Motion and, full disclosure, our sister business). Titled Top of the World, it’s 11 tracks of pure 6SD, produced by – as was RRNR – Jason Merritt. By way of preview we are very proud to unveil the track “Waste of Time.” Check it out below; we guarantee it won’t be a waste of your time.

Guitarist/vocalist Kenny Roby—who is joined by co-founding bassist Rob Keller, plus guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Luis Rodriguez and drummer Dan Davis, plus guests John Ginty on keys and Matt Douglas on horns—notes that Top of the World “isn’t quite the almost live and somewhat frantic approach, like 1997’s [Steve Earle-produced] High Hat. And Roots Rock ’N’ Roll was really intentionally recorded like a ’50s and ’60s record. This record isn’t super layered but it isn’t always just a raw 4 piece approach. It just depended on the song — we just took it song by song in what we felt the song needed or wanted.”

Roby and Keller both acknowledge that the group has always been influenced by artists like The Band, Van Morrison, the Kinks, Rolling Stones, and Beatles, and that if one listens closely to the new album, traces of Rockpile, Thin Lizzy and Mott the Hoople might even be detected as well. As Keller explains, “We listen to a lot of different kinds of music, and of course that rubs off on us. We get on this wavelength where we will get into things at the same time. Recently, it’s been on the pop rockier side from ‘60s Kinks to ‘70s glam rock to ‘80s punk, power pop. We probably would’ve made more records like this had we stuck together all these years because we’ve always been into this type of music.”

But wait, as the saying goes, there’s more: The aforementioned High Hat, which was originally released on producer Earle’s E-Squared label, is getting a 20th anniversary reissue next month, on Jan. 11 (also via Schoolkids)—including as a limited/numbered white vinyl edition. So those Americana fans with long memories mentioned in the first paragraph will have even more reason to celebrate, as High Hat remains an acknowledged touchstone of the genre.

More details on the band and 2018 plans at their official website or at their Facebook page (where, incidentally, they recently announced being part of a special New Year’s Eve show in Raleigh).

Worth additional note: the above-referenced 6SD reunion came about after Roby invited Keller to play with him at a solo show promoting his 2013 solo album Memories & Birds (reviewed HERE), and they wound up doing some old 6SD faves. Around the same time BLURT published an in-depth interview with Roby, and you can read it HERE.

 

New David Childers Profile via Southern Songs & Stories Podcast

By Fred Mills

Since the BLURT braintrust hails from North Carolina we are partial to Tar Heel musicians – among them, the mighty David Childers (aka “the rock ‘n’ roll lawyer”). The gifted singer/songwriter, author, and visual artist is the subject of a new podcast episode from our friends at Southern Songs and Stories, who have been responsible for a number of superb audio and video profiles of our fellow Carolinians (recently on video: the Jon Stickley Trio).

Below is the link to the new podcast about Childers and his new Don Dixon-produced album, Run Skeleton Run. It’s described by SS&S thusly:

“In this episode, we explore the world of North Carolina singer songwriter, painter and former lawyer David Childers, showcasing his music and some of his influences, along with interviews of David, son Robert, label head Dolph Ramseur, producer Don Dixon, Avett Brother bassist Bob Crawford, and writer, musician and WNCW radio host Carol Rifkin.”

Link to: You Don’t Have To Say So Much: The David Childers Story

SS&S’s Joe Kendrick adds that coming up for them is a podcast that details “the history of Green Acres Music Hall, the little musical Shangri-La that could, which brought luminaries like David Grisman, John Hartford, Newgrass Revival, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Rodney Crowell and many more to a quiet corner of Rutherford County NC, from around 1979 to 1999.” We’ll be looking forward to that, Joe!

Smithereens’ Pat DiNizio 1955-2017 R.I.P.

Frontman for a long-tenured New Jersey band beloved for its alternative rock take on traditional rock ‘n’ roll.

By Fred Mills

In a year that couldn’t possibly get shittier, news arrived today that does just that: Pat DiNizio, guitarist/vocalist for New Jersey’s Smithereens, passed away yesterday (Dec. 12) at the age of 62. The cause of death has not been announced yet, but it’s known he’d had health issues in the recent past, including severe nerve damage resulting from a fall. The band announced the sad news at their Facebook page:

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Pat DiNizio, lead singer and songwriter of the influential New Jersey rock band, The Smithereens – America’s Band.

“Pat was looking forward to getting back on the road and seeing his many fans and friends. Please keep Pat in your thoughts and prayers.”

Another post read thusly:

“Today we mourn the loss of our friend, brother and bandmate Pat DiNizio.

“Pat had the magic touch. He channeled the essence of joy and heartbreak into hook-laden three minute pop songs, infused with a lifelong passion for rock & roll.

“Our journey with Pat was long, storied and a hell of a lot of fun. We grew up together. Little did we know that we wouldn’t grow old together.

“Goodbye Pat. Seems like yesterday.

“Jimmy, Mike, Dennis”

The Smithereens emerged on the US college rock scene in the early ’80s, issuing their debut LP Especially For You in ’88, winning over audiences with their immaculately crafted – but edgy, and hi-nrg – rock, that bore distinct overtones of classic British Invasion like the Beatles, Kinks, and Who, while still remaining distinctively contemporary. Memorable tunes by the band include “A Girl Like You,” “Behind The Wall Of Sleep,” “Only a Memory” and “Blood and Roses.”

DiNizio also released a number of well-regarded solo albums, and even found time to run the U.S. Senate (under the Reform Party banner) in 2000 as well as hosting an XM radio station and an ESPN show.

He will be greatly missed.

 

Listen to New Buffalo Tom Track

Brand new album from the beloved Northeast band arrives in early March.

By Fred Mills

Let’s cut to the chase: We have always loved Buffalo Tom. (So have I, personally – I interviewed guitarist Bill Janovitz before the band’s first, self-titled album had even come out in the United States in 1988.) YOU have always loved Buffalo Tom, from the mid ’80s through the alt-rock ’90s, and then again when the group resumed operations in 2007 following a lengthy hiatus.

So it’s exciting news to learn that the group has a new album, Quiet and Peace, arriving March 2 via the Schoolkids Records label – which just happens to be our sister business. It’s the followup to 2011’s Skins, and it has Janovitz, bassist Chris Colbourn, and drummer Tom Maginnis working with producer Dave Minehan.

Janovitz recently described the album thusly to Stereogum:

“This is a really dark, New England record to Chris. He thinks it’s one of our darkest yet. He kept using the words ‘weird New England.’ We’re [all] not natives, but we’ve all been here for 30-plus years — [drummer] Tom [Maginnis] is a native. There is that changing of seasons thing, how the weather affects people, and how people’s interactions affect each other. There’s something particularly New England that can be very strange, and I think that’s seeping into the lyrics as well”

Below, you can check it lead track “All Be Gone.”

Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life 2018 Dates Announced

The 2nd annual Bourbon & Beyond is set for Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23, 2018. The 5th annual Louder Than Life will be held the following weekend on Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30, 2018. 

 

To celebrate the success of Bourbon & Beyond’s inaugural year, Danny Wimmer Presents has announced a special Early Bird ticket sale now underway for Bourbon & Beyond 2018. A limited number of General Admission Weekend passes are available for $119.50 (matching 2017’s lowest price). To purchase tickets, visit:https://goo.gl/fg1KoW. Hotel and camping options are also available at www.BourbonAndBeyond.com

 

Held on back-to-back weekends, the first-ever Bourbon & Beyond (September 23 & 24) and the fourth annual Louder Than Life (September 30 & October 1) drew a combined 110,000 fans to Champions Park over two consecutive weekends in 2017, with a large percentage of attendees coming from outside of Louisville. 

 

“Danny Wimmer and his team promise big things, and they deliver,” says Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “I was especially impressed by the inaugural Bourbon & Beyond Festival, where they promised great musical acts, great food and, of course great bourbon experiences, and they excelled in every aspect. We look forward to 2018.”

 

“We look forward to the return of the Bourbon & Beyond festival after a successful inaugural year, as well as the fifth annual Louder Than Life festival. Events like these put Louisville on the national stage and enhance our city’s reputation as being an authentic music festival destination,” says Karen Williams, President & CEO of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life both draw a large number of out-of-town visitors to our city to enjoy a weekend of music by top, national performers, and also experience Louisville’s one-of-a-kind attractions and award-winning culinary scene.”

 

“The inaugural Bourbon & Beyond was a first-of-its-kind festival that gave Kentucky’s world-renowned bourbons equal billing with a roster of legendary musicians,” says Danny Hayes, CEO of Danny Wimmer Presents. 

 

Bourbon & Beyond artists included Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Stevie Nicks, Steve Miller Band, Eddie Vedder, and Buddy Guy, plus Amos Lee, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Clark, Jr., Paul Rodgers, Band Of Horses, and more.

 

Hayes continues, “Bourbon & Beyond was a showcase for, and celebration of, the craftsmanship, soul and sprit that is unique to Louisville, and featured award winning bourbons, master distillers, chefs, bartenders, and many other artisans.”

 

Check out the video recap highlighting Bourbon & Beyond 2017 here: http://bit.ly/BnBvideo

 

Full Bourbon & Beyond details and additional ticket packages will be announced in early 2018. 

 

The fourth annual Louder Than Life marked the festival’s biggest year yet, solidifying its standing as one of America’s premier destination music festivals. Louder Than Life2017 drew 60,000 fans to Champions Park to witness headlining performances from Ozzy Osbourne featuring Zakk Wylde on Saturday and Prophets Of Rage on Sunday, plus Five Finger Death Punch, Incubus – returning to Louisville for the first time in over a decade — Rob Zombie, Stone Sour, Rise Against, and nearly 30 other bands on three stages. 

 

To see the Louder Than Life video recap, go to:  

www.facebook.com/louderthanlifefestival/videos/1325054730955468/

 

Louder Than Life announce details and ticket information will be provided in late spring 2018. Visit www.LouderThanLifeFestival.com for details.

 

Danny Wimmer Presents is a producer of some of the biggest rock festivals in America, including Rock On The Range, Monster Energy Aftershock, Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville, Monster Energy Fort Rock, Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion, Chicago Open Air, Bourbon & Beyond, Louder Than Life, Monster Energy Rock Allegiance, Northern Invasion and more.

 

For more information, visit:

 

www.DannyWimmerPresents.com

www.BourbonAndBeyond.com

www.LouderThanLifeFestival.com

Track Premiere: les biches “North From the Airwaves”

Remarkable L.A. band closes out 2017 following a busy year. Pictured above: Jonathan D. Haskell, Keith Joyner, Zöe Ruth-Erwin (photo by Mark Velasquez)

By Blurt Staff

We’ve turned you on to, and hopefully you’ve tuned into, les biches, the current project of erstwhile Seven Simons/Twinstar (and Georgia native/L.A. resident) mainman Keith Joyner, earlier this year via Joyner’s “Opening Ceremony” essay (about a rather unique “dark tale from the mid-‘90s, guest-starring Love and Rockets, Genesis P-Orridge, Rick Rubin’s haunted mansion, and a Dante-worthy conflagration”).

BLURT contributor Robert Dean Lurie wrote about the band for their official bio, noting, in part,Named after a Jacques Brel song and 1968 French film, les biches is very much an anything-goes affair, harnessing the Wild West-possibilities of this new paradigm. And yet, there are a number of Joyner trademarks that remain ever-present: that keen sense of melody, the musical dexterity (always tightly corralled to the needs of the song), and a seeming inability to waste a single note. This is classic songcraft coupled with an openness to the unknown. As such, les biches is both a next chapter and a beginning, an invitation and a welcome home.

Already an impressive cast of collaborators has come on board: Sarah Negahdari (The Happy Hollows, Silversun Pickups, Pisces), Jonathan D. Haskell (Seven Saturdays, Glasz), Brian Reyes (The Little Ones), Travis McNabb (Better Than Ezra, Frankie Ballard), David Newton (The Mighty Lemon Drops), and Manuel Calderon (mixing engineer: Beach House, Animal Collective, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Some are here for a one-off, some could be considered auxiliary members, and one or two may reappear like comets. Joyner’s own role shifts and adapts accordingly.”

If you were prodded to check out les biches debut single “I Had A Thought” we featured in Joyner’s essay or that, plus four more over the course of the year, at the band’s SoundCloud page, you will definitely dig the group’s sixth and final single for 2017. It’s 8 minutes long, but every second of this dynamics-rich track is a rewarding one. Check out “North From the Airwaves” which is officially released on December 8. And note that the group is currently in heavy rehearsals, prepping to take a full band out on the road for 2018.

 Joyner details the new song:

 “Before releasing music in 2017 as les biches, I was in a band called Twinstar. We were together longer than The Beatles. Our tenure was marked by fits and starts, extended periods of hibernation, frequent personnel changes and infrequent live shows. Even so, we operated under the Field of Dreams “if you build it they will come” blueprint. That is, we put so much into the recording of our 2013 album The Sound of Leaving, that surely it would rise above the din and enable us to carry on making more records. It would be disingenuous to say we weren’t disappointed when that failed to happen.

“As we were finishing the album, I would often feud with my long-suffering bandmate Chris Candelaria about things like the bass frequency in the final masters, or the track order. In retrospect, it seems trivial given the few people that would hear it. And yet, those arguments signify that we cared deeply about the end result. It is, after all, the bane of every creative artist that anything worthwhile requires dedication and heart. But the risk that art can exist solely in a vacuum always looms large. The band came to an end, and I naturally drifted away from music in a melancholy mood, though there were certainly no hard feelings.

“Several years later, I found myself hiking in the volcanic hills of Myvatn, Iceland. (And before you think it, yes! Every asshole has been or is going to Iceland!) I am a firm believer that there’s nothing like physical exertion or a change in scenery to get the creative juices flowing. A melody crept into my brain. As I walked, it continued to mutate in subtle ways and became the silent soundtrack for the rest of the trip. And just like that, I was back in. This was my “new direction,” I thought. I wasn’t interested in writing pop songs at the time. Rather, I wished to convey what it felt like to walk past ancient cinder cones and boiling molten lava away from the world at large.

“Back in Los Angeles, I had already met Jonathan D. Haskell, the mercurial man behind the band Seven Saturdays. I was inspired by his unique and atmospheric approach to the Fender Rhodes. It was exactly what this piece of music required. So began our collaboration on what was meant to be the first les biches release. But the floodgates had opened, and a flurry of new songs materialized along the way.

“As such, North from the Airwaves becomes the last (and sixth) track to be released by les biches in 2017. To say that an eight-minute-plus song with no verses or choruses is my favorite of them all is no stretch. It was the elusive spark that changed the way I think about music, though I am keenly aware it’s a huge ask in the age of short attention spans. In other words, having built it, it’s more about the quality of the company these days. To that point, I am also joined by Travis McNabb (Seven Simons, Better Than Ezra) on drums and the fantastic Zoe Ruth-Erwin, who writes and performs under her own name, and collectively with Jonathan in the electro-dream pop duo P O L L A. This old world is full of noise and chaos. If you do stop to listen, we thank you more than you can know!”

 

 

Pere Ubu Cancels Tour Due to David Thomas’ Illness

Thomas, pictured center, above.

By Fred Mills

Pere Ubu, currently on a North American tour in support of latest album 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo, announced this week that it was cancelling dates due to health issues of frontman David Thomas. The official UBU Facebook page posted the news:

It’s with regret we have had to cancel our live shows on the West Coast of the U.S. David insisted on continuing the tour but his doctors have insisted he stays where he is for the moment. We will post a further update soon.”

Updates as they come in – and we here at BLURT send wishes of a speedy recovery for Thomas.