Monthly Archives: February 2018

Flaming Lips Earliest Music Get Reissued + Pitchfork Photo Fail

The above photo is (cough) a tad more relevant than the one published by the so-called indie rock champion media outlet…

BY UNCLE BLURT

Good news for Flaming Lips fans, of which yours truly can claim ground zero membership in, having mail ordered the band’s first 12″ EP when it first started appearing in punk zine reviews in the mid ’80s, and subsequently seeing (and interviewing) the then-trio on the Lips’ first full U.S. tour. (Contact BLURT for details, interview transcript, and flexi-disc of live performances.)  According to our savvy media peers at Pitchfork.com:

The Flaming Lips are releasing two new remastered collections of works from their early career through Rhino/Warner Bros. The releases feature music from the band’s days with Restless Records before signing to Warner Bros. in 1991. Scratching the Door: The First Recordings of the Flaming Lips—a 19-track compilation of tracks by the Lips’ original lineup—is available April 20. It features the band’s first two cassette demos and their debut self-released EP. The second release is Seeing the Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings of the Flaming Lips 1986-1990, a six-CD box set spanning the band’s four Restless Records albums—Hear It Is (1986), Oh My Gawd!!!…The Flaming Lips (1986) , Telepathic Surgery (1989), and 1990’s In a Priest Driven Ambulance (With Silver Sunshine Stares). It also includes two discs of rarities and is out May 25.

No need to elaborate further. Longtime Lips fans will already have all the material, since it has come out, variously, via the band’s own archival efforts, Record Store Day vinyl-only releases, and sundry bootlegs. (There is – cough – no truth to the rumor that yours truly ever directly contributed to any of those bootlegs.) New Lips buffs to the cause will find many a moment to thrill and then scratch one’s head, because we are not in “Yoshimi” territory, Toto.

Oh, and since Pitchfork is breaking the news today, we must commend them for their equally savvy Flaming Lips photo illustration, pictured below. For some reason, I only recognize one band member who performed on Lips albums prior to 1991…  I mean, even the website’s photo caption indicates it’s from 1994. Sheesh. ENTER TO WIN: Submit your L-R list of the musicians in the below photo to Pitchfork and win fabulous prizes! (Contest void where prohibited by law.)

Listen to Stream of Awesome New Buffalo Tom Album

Quiet and Peace from the Boston heroes arrives this Friday via North Carolina Schoolkids label.

By Blurt Staff

We’ve touted the greatness of Bill Janovitz as well as  his veteran Boss-town outfit Buffalo Tom numerous times in the past (ask any staff member about his or her times in the audience back during the ’80s college rock years or, more recently, in Austin and SXSW and onward…). So to have BLURT’s compadres at the Schoolkids Records label drop the band’s new record Quiet and Peace on March 2 is a real treat – and we are soaking in the album stream posted today at the Los Angeles Times. Check it out at that link, along with an interview with the band, or selected tracks at Schoolkids’ Soundcloud page. Meanwhile, here’s a track that grabbed us here in the office by the ears this morning and didn’t let go, “Lonely, Fast and Deep” – it’s classic BT, and so true to the group’s Boston roots it should be the city’s new anthem:

Watch Rare Minutemen 1985 Acoustic Public Access TV B-cast

By Uncle Blurt

The ever-diligent Dangerous Minds website has unearthed a good-quality half-hour video of the late, great Minutemen performing an unplugged set for Los Angeles public access television in 1985. The footage has circulated quite a bit in the past, including this relatively recent 2013 YouTube upload, but it’s still always a welcome addition to the daily mix. (How unplugged? Drummer George Hurley plays bongos against Mike Watt and D. Boon’s acoustic guitars.)

In addition to certain key Minutemen numbers, the video includes the band’s takes on Meat Puppets, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Blue Oyster Cult. I can personally testify to the latter pair of bands figuring high on the Boon, Watt, and Hurley Top Ten lists. To that I can testify, having hung out with the band for close to a week in 1985, interviewing them and semi-surreptitiously bootlegging their shows opening for REM that fall; BOC was frequently mentioned as an influence on Boon and Watt. The version of BOC’s “The Red and The Black” on this video is classic – all they needed was Will Ferrell to jump onstage and add some more cowbell.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the set has also been bootlegged numerous times, audio-wise, with some M-men fans going to great lengths to clean up and remaster the material. If you hunt, you can find decent quality audio downloads and maybe an actual CD version. How about an official release, gang?

RIP, D. Boon. Never forget.

Watch Peter Himmelman’s anti-AR 15 Video

“My God, I’ve been purified, I’m a human vaccine Gonna save my race with my AR 15.”

By Fred Mills

It’s called “Mass Killin’ Gun,” and it’s a new song that Peter Himmelman wrote in direct response to the Parkland massacre and the ensuing heated debate about guns and gun control. With over the top lyrics such as the ones quoted above, it should be clear to everyone except Ted Nugent and Wayne LaPierre that, here, Himmelman’s dripping with sarcasm towards the pro-gun lobby and Americans’ love affair with guns. Check it out:

Um, add YouTube to that list featuring the Nuge and the NRA maniac – as The Wrap points out, Himmelman received a takedown notice from YouTube that indicated he had violated the platform’s community standards. They stuck to their decision even after he queried the specifics of their decision, telling him, “After further review of the content, we’ve determined that your video does violate our Community Guidelines and have upheld our original decision.”

The fact that I am posted the video to the site does suggest something had been resolved between this morning and the time of The Wrap’s original post on Feb. 22, of course. But there is the larger issue of exactly what YouTube defines as their standards; overt hate speech and beheading videos would certainly qualify. But a socio-political statement in which the singer is playing a cartoonish character? Even the Parkland shooting survivors would “get it” and they’d probably applaud Himmelman for trying to make a statement; don’t forget, these were the folks who were standing and applauding at the CNN town hall meeting while Senator Marco Rubio was doing his level best to insert his size 10 wingtips into his mouth.

Himmelman told The Wrap, “It was meant to be ironic. Obviously I don’t endorse going around killing people with an AR-15. It wasn’t gun control that spurred the song. I was just trying to imagine someone so derange dand what was going through his mind.

“It’s not a shining moment for YouTube [which] claims it’s trying to give people a voice, but when you of peek behind the curtain all you see is the Wizard of Oz, and it’s just one big machine. They’ve grown so much, they’ve become just another giant bureaucracy, everything they’ve been trying to disrupt has come full circle and now they’re just the man.”

The truly ad part about all this, though, is not that YouTube took down a video by a popular artist just because they feared it might be too controversial – it’s that we have in America a pretty significant percentage of the population who will read the lyrics and not see them as ironic – and be supportive of them as a result. Why is that little voice in my head telling me that Ted Nugent will be covering this song in concert soon?

The lyrics:

The right to bear arms is deeper than my bones It shall not be infringed upon, a law set in stone Yeah I know it’s about militias, but details are such a bore And anyway, I’m getting ready for the next civil war…

I’m holding a thing of beauty, an incredible machine Makes me feel like a man, a more powerful human being I keep it oiled, polished to a shimmering sheen I’m in love with my AR 15

I don’t use the thing for hunting I don’t keep it around for fun When society breaks down I’ll grab it and I’ll run I’ll head for the hills when the war’s finally begun You can’t kill en masse if you ain’t got a mass killin gun

There’s so much to hate, so much that is obscene Am I the only man, with no thought that is unclean My God, I’ve been purified, I’m a human vaccine Gonna save my race with my AR 15 

I don’t use it for hunting I don’t keep it ’round for fun When society breaks down I’ll grab it and I’ll run I’ll head for the hills when the war’s final years begun You can’t kill en masse if you ain’t got a mass killin gun

I’m holding a thing of beauty More deadly than a guillotine It’s more than a weapon, it’s my semi-automatic wet dream With it I am invincible, I get higher than a shot of morphine You know I love my AR 15

I don’t use it for hunting I don’t keep it ’round for fun When society breaks down I’m gonna grab it and I’ll run I’ll head for the hills when the war’s final years begun You can’t kill en masse if you ain’t got a mass killin gun

Incoming: Michelle Malone’s Kickass “Slings & Arrows” Album

Pure, unfiltered Georgia soul lined at the edges with bluesy Americana and primal punk ‘n’ roll…

BY FRED MILLS

Without a doubt, Atlanta’s Michelle Malone is one of the South’s quintessential flag-bearers, having rocked as hard and as long as all of her Georgia peers while not once serving up an artistic misstep. About to drop is her new album, Slings & Arrows, and it is a freakin’ scorcher. You want some early proof? Check out opening track “Just Getting Started” over at her Soundcloud page.

This Friday, March 2, marks the official national release of Slings & Arrows  on Malone’s own SBS label (smart fans lodged their orders early on via a grassroots crowdfunding campaign, and you can still grab autographed records, colored vinyl, and teeshirts at her official website). To date, she’s released more than a dozen studio albums, and while I’m loathe to utter the cliched phrase “if you thought her last album was good, wait until you hear this one…” – her last one being Stronger Than You Think, reviewed HERE – this time out, it’s nigh-on impossible to avoid saying it.

Wait until you hear Slings & Arrows, music fans. It will absolutely, totally, kick your ass. Do I look like I’m kidding here? Our review will post in a couple of days to give you plenty of time to queue up at your local indie record store…

 

Video Premiere: Kevin Daniel “Myself Through You”

Choice title track from the artist’s upcoming record in March.

By Blurt Staff

Americana/blues/alt-country virtuoso Kevin Daniel’s new EP, Myself Through You, will arrive March 16, via Creative Entertainment Network/The Orchard, described as “a mix of roots rock riffs, Americana flavor, alternative country backed by pedal steel guitar, flugelhorn, and bluegrass banjo.” Indeed, as evidenced by the title track (not to mention this wonderful video for the tune “Born A Preacher”), it’s all that and much more. We’re proud to unveil “Myself Through You,” in fact, here at BLURT. Check it out:

Explains Daniel, “I chose to name the album after this song because it’s got a lot of what I love in music, banjo, organ, and great harmonies. It’s a bit of a departure from my more country-tinged stuff, but I think pushing yourself is often how you get some of your best work. The music video itself was shot on probably one of the coldest days of the winter so far, it was maybe ten degrees that day? Maybe less. It was super, super cold which is why I kept dancing and moving. Originally, I was just supposed to sort of walk around Brooklyn but decided if we were going to’ be outside all day, then I needed to keep moving around.”

The new record was recorded in the summer of 2017 at Brooklyn’s Degraw Sound with Benjamin Rice (Jack Penate, Silya & The Sailor, Aoife O’Donovan). It follows 2013’s debut FLY, and is the culmination of a career that’s began blossoming during the North Carolina native’s childhood and steadily developed through high school orchestras, a pair of jazz/blues bands, a bluegrass outfit, a punk/ska combo, and even an a capella group (he was a tenor, in case you’re wondering).

Watch for Daniel and his band, currently based in NYC, hitting the road this spring and throughout the summer. Details at his official website – and don’t confuse him with that other Kevin Daniel (a pop artist) or even that other Kevin Daniel (a visual artist). This guy’s the real deal.

Upcoming dates:
March 16th at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC, NY
April 4th at The Fire in Philadelphia, PA
April 7th at The Pour House in Raleigh, NC
April 14th at The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ
More to come…

Video Premiere: Hymn For Her “Acetylene”

Beautiful ballad taken from their latest album.

By Blurt Staff

Hard-twangin’, fuzzbox-stompin’ guy/gal duo Hymn For Her have been a fixture on the American and Euro roadways the past few years, touring behind their blistering 2013 album Lucy and Wayne’s Smokin’ Flames and the more recent revved-up Drive Til U Die (listen to it at their website). Yeah, that band, the one touring in a deluxe Bambi Airstream, which did double duty as a recording studio for DTUD, along with studio sessions with the likes of Vance Powell, Mitch Easter & Jim Diamond. Now Lucy and Wayne have got a new video from the album to share, at their YouTube channel. just in time for all you sweethearts and Valentine’s Day – bask in its luminous glow, and feel free to sing along as you allow us to give you an advance peek. Check out “Acetylene”:

According to Lucy, “‘Acetylene’, it’s about the vast circle of life & sharing those moments with ones we love along the way. It was inspired in Menomonie, WI, written in Beaver Island, Mich., recorded in our 1961 Airstream in Swampville, FL, mixed by Mitch Easter (of REM engineering fame) in Kernersville, N.C. and mastered in Nashville, Tenn. It’s on our last release, Drive Til U Die.…so the song has had quite a journey. Our daughter joins us singing harmonies at the end.”

She adds that a new album is currently in the works, saying, “We recently finished working on a full length CD with Vance Powell that will be released at the end of August 2018. We are beginning to work on a video for the first song on the album in February. The songs on this release are a variety of many styles and many emotions, all played by the two of us.”

The band kicks off a new round of touring this week, starting Feb. 16 in Sarasota, FL. Just look for the music venue with the Airstream parked beside the load-in doors. Tour dates at their website.

Hear Franz Ferdinand Cover Angel Olsen

Asheville, NC, artist steadily increases her national – and international -stature.

By Barbi Martinez

Angel Olsen, who was our 2016 Artist of the Year, continues to grow her admiring fanbase – among those fans, the young men of Franz Ferdinand, who have covered her classic “Shut Up Kiss Me”. Check it out, below.