Category Archives: Music News

Hiss Golden Messenger Drops Live Album for Durham Public Schools Kids

“To give what I can.” Amen, sir. Grab the music at his Bandcamp page. HGM is a longtime BLURT hero par excellence.

By Fred Mills

North Carolina’s M.C. Taylor and his Hiss Golden Messenger collective have just surprise-released a live album, Forced Children: A Fundraiser for Durham Public Schools students. It’s a wonderful recording, intimate yet expansive and perfect for playing on the stereo loud and with the windows open since we’re all shut in anyway, and I will spare you any editorial blather and simply copy, below, the info at the Bandcamp page where you can order it. Suggested price for the digital release is $10 or more, and if you can kick in more than $10, please do. It’s for a great cause, and M.C. knows his shit.

From Bandcamp:

“When M.C. Taylor moved to North Carolina more than a dozen years ago now, Hiss Golden Messenger was his private enterprise, an outlet for the curious songs he composed quietly at his kitchen table in the country. But soon after Taylor and his budding family moved to a modest home nestled back from busy roads in the gentle Durham hills, he began building a network of local aces, all sympathetic to songs that documented his quest to be a better human being. Hiss Golden Messenger became and remain a community endeavor, an indelible part of North Carolina’s historic and contemporary musical fabric. The 15 songs of Forward, Children: A fundraiser for Durham Public Schools students are an instant illustration of that decade-long arc, a one-night snapshot of Hiss Golden Messenger’s metamorphosis from solitary songwriter fare to full-band jubilee.

“Just days into 2020, the quintet—well-rested from a holiday respite after a busy 2019 that included some 60 shows across the United States and the release of the gripping Terms of Surrender—loaded into their home region’s legendary hub, Cat’s Cradle, for a two-night stand. For nearly 90 minutes, they smoke, sorting through the greatest hits of the Hiss Golden Messenger songbook with the intuition of a band that accepts these tunes as gospel…

“The son of two teachers, Taylor taught for a spell at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, arguably the nation’s first public university, after finishing his graduate degree there, joining one of the country’s proudest educational lineages. His wife, Abby, is now an ESL instructor in Durham, and his children, Elijah and Ione, are in the fifth and first grades there, respectively. In mid-March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Durham Public Schools closed like most others nationwide, at least through mid-May. The necessary move means that many children throughout the school system don’t know where they’ll get their next meal, a profound failure of our social safety network but a profound opportunity for our collective help. All profits from Forward, Children will benefit the Durham Public Schools Foundation. “It’s my duty as a dad of students and the spouse of a teacher,” Taylor says, “to give what I can.”

Track Premiere: Datura4 “Mother Medusa”

Key track from the Aussie combo’s upcoming album West Coast Highway Cosmic. Also see link below for exclusive interview with frontman Dom Mariani, pictured above (photo courtesy Alive Naturalsound).

BY JOHN B. MOORE

You know how to keep your sanity during a forced global shutdown that has us all living like hermits behind closed doors? Still waiting for the CDC and the World Health Organization to sign off on this one, but pretty certain it involves listening to the song “Mother Medusa” by Australia’s Datura4 an repeat, with the volume turned up to an obscene level.

With the album, not out until April 17th, BLURT is able to hook ya up thanks to this exclusive song premiere.

You can also check out a recent interview that fellow BLURT-er Michael Toland conducted with Datura4 singer/guitarist Dom Mariani, long a fave of the staff here through his many musical incarnations, from the Stems to the DM3 to Majestic Kelp and, of course, his latest powerhouse outfit.

“The title actually came from Warren our drummer who used it to describe an over-zealous partner of a mutual friend,” says Mariani, of the tune.  “I liked the imagery of the ‘Mother Medusa’ and it set the scene for the inspiration behind the song. We here at D4 headquarters dig the heavy sounds, so to complement the lyrics the riffs had to be hard and heavy and the drums pounding like Cozy Powell on steroids.” (Below photo by Ben Taylor-Vivian)

The album, West Coast Highway Cosmic is coming out on limited-edition splatter colored vinyl, CD and digital/streaming formats via Alive Naturalsound Records.

Read our extensive past coverage of both Datura4 and Dom Mariani by simply entering his name into the search box on the homepage.

 

Track Premiere: The Bobby Lees “I’m A Man”

 (Photos courtesy of Alive Naturalsound Records)

 

BY JOHN B. MOORE

It takes a lot of balls to try and pull off a Bo Diddley cover. So it seems pretty apt that the female-fronted garage punk band The Bobby Lees not only attempt it, but do so with amazing results.

The Woodstock, NY, based foursome cover “I’m A Man,” on their new LP, Skin Suit, out May 8th via Alive Naturalsound Records. Blurt is stoked to be able to offer you the song premiere. Check it out:

“I’ve heard people say ‘you can’t cover Bo Diddley, you just can’t’ so I thought fuck it, let’s try,” said frontwoman Sam Quartin. “We had a lot of fun recording ‘I’m a Man.’ As far as the gender thing, when doing PR for this record, I’ve been asked what I want to be called.

“When I look at anyone else or myself, all I see is energy trapped inside a bag of flesh, so you can call me whatever you’d like! And sorry Bo Diddley, we failed but we love you.”


Skin Suit
was produced by punk great Jon Spencer, of the Blues Explosion, Boss Hog and Pussy Galore. The Bobby Lees will take the album out on the road starting in mid-March.

Mo’ width:

THE BOBBY LEES 2020 TOUR DATES:

3/13 CLEVELAND, OH – Mahall’s Locker Room
3/14 LOUISVILLE, KY – Rockerbuilt
3/18 AUSTIN, TX SXSW – Kick Butt Coffee Showcase
3/19 AUSTIN, TX SXSW – Live at Radio Milk (White Denim Studio) 8PM Showcase
3/20 AUSTIN, TX SXSW Bird Barn Showcase – SPIDER HOUSE BALLROOM
3/22 AUSTIN, TX SXSW BURGER MANIA lX Showcase – 3:30PM HOTEL VEGAS
3/22 AUSTIN, TX SXSW Chili Dog Fest
3/25 NEW ORLEANS, LA – Hi Ho Lounge
3/26 ORLANDO, FL – Will’s Pub
3/27 TAMPA, FL – Hooch & Hive
4/2 ATLANTA, GA – The Earl
4/3 CHARLOTTE, NC – Snug Harbor
4/4 PITTSBURGH, PA – Gooskis
4/11 CANTON, NY – St. Lawrence University Java Barn
5/8 WOODSTOCK, NY – The Colony Record Release Show
5/21 COLUMBUS, OH – Ace of Cups
5/22 CHICAGO, IL – Schubas Tavern
5/23 MADISON, WI – Mickey’s Tavern
5/24 OMAHA, NE – Lookout Lounge
6/27 MUDDY ROOTS FESTIVAL EUROPE – Belgium
7/17 BUFFALO, NY – Mohawk Place
7/31 ROCHESTER, NY – Lux

9/3-9/6 MUDDY ROOTS FESTIVAL – Cookeville, TN

[Mo’ dates to be announced soon]

Flamin’ Groovies co-founder Roy Loney 1946-2019 R.I.P.

The boisterous frontman was a godfather, a pioneer, and a hero.

By Fred Mills

Indie music fans were stunned this weekend to learn that Roy Loney had abruptly passed away on Friday due to severe organ failure following surgery. He was 73. The news was broken by photographer Roberta Bayley on Facebook, writing, “Very sad news. Roy Loney, the original singer of the legendary Flamin’ Groovies has died. Only minutes ago. Roy was a great talent, as a songwriter and performer, and a great friend. He was hospitalized last week, and I spoke to him Wednesday. He was in good spirits. He had a surgery this morning and never came out of it. Sorry, I have no other details. Roy will surely be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.”

Earlier this year Loney was scheduled to reunite with the band he cofounded in San Francisco in the late ’60s, the Flamin’ Groovies, for a tour of Europe during which the plan was to perform classic ’71 Groovies album Teenage Head. In June, however, he suffered a fall at the airport and injured his head, preventing him from continuing on the journey. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Loney reportedly recovered from the fall but subsequently began to experience a decline in health “for reasons unconnected to the accident” and had to go into the hospital on several occasions.

The Flamin’ Groovies official Facebook page paid tribute to Loney via multiple posts, and fans poured forth with their own tributes.

In addition to the iconic Groovies (with whom he cut three albums and a 10″ EP during his 1968-71 tenure), Loney fronted several bands including the Phantom Movers and Roy Loney & the Longshots. He would also work in A&R for ABC Records as well as manning the counter of legendary Bay Area record store Jack’s Record Cellar. Over the years the fiery Loney became recognized as both a godfather of the punk movement and a spearhead of the roots-rock and rockabilly revival, and though he went into the studio only sporadically, whenever a new Loney-related record appeared, the rock community treated it like a genuine gift.

Below, check out a few classic Loney tunes, including three with the Groovies (the first one is from this past May):

Next Wild Honey Foundation Trib Show: Lovin’ Spoonful

Cue up Feb. 29 on your calendar, then queue up!

By Blurt Staff

The Wild Honey Foundation collective, which BLURT has frequently supported over the years – follow this link to our coverage to date, featuring super-shutterbug Susan Moll’s exquisite visual renderings, such as this one – has announced that the Lovin’ Spoonful will be this year’s tribute subject at the charity’s annual benefit concert. To date such icons as the Kinks, Buffalo Springfield, the Band, the Beach Boys, Big Star and the Beatles have gotten the Wild Honey Orchestra treatment, and it has never been less than first class.

The Spoonful concert takes place Saturday, Feb. 29, at Glendale’s Alex Theatre, and it will benefit the Autism Think Tank. Consider throwing your financial support behind the ATT yourself even if you’re not able to attend the show next February.

 

Video Exclusive: Nextgen Jazz Quartet, Birdland, NYC 10/28/19

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

The Nextgen jazz quartet, composed  of both current and former NEC students, made their NYC debut at the esteemed Birdland jazz club. Ye Huang and his crew of musicians laid it down hard for the capacity audience, and once they hit their stride, were untouchable. It’s been a long road for the band to get to this stage, having recently come off a tour in China.

Just like when I reviewed the album earlier this year, I can tell that each musician has a virtuosic streak running through their veins because a few times the band seemed to pulling in different directions. That said, when it gelled as it did for much of the concert,  the energy and elation felt in the room was palpable. I offer up a Chris Mondak tune for Blurt readers  to get a sense of what I experienced that electric evening here in Manhattan. Watch the video, below.

Incoming: TX Levitation Festival Nov. 7-10

Official poster, above, tells you everything ya need to know, fellow headz! Below, check out some images from our previous coverage, by John Boydston.

By John Boydston & Fred Mills

In most places across the U.S., early November does not bring music fests; the festival season typically wraps up by September. Not so in Texas, where the annual psych-O-delick gathering known at the Levitation Festival reigns supreme. (Below: the late, mighty Roky Erickson, the event’s patron saint, from the 2015 gathering.)

This year it takes place November 7-10 in Austin (in the Red River Cultural District, which will be familiar to any punters who have ever been to SXSW), and with everyone from event founders the Black Angels, krautrock legend Damo Suzuki, festival stalwarts the Flaming Lips, and power merchants High On Fire, to slightly less-unhinged (but still majorly intense) artists like Angel Olsen, Kurt Vile, Chelsea Wolfe, and David J on the bill over the course of the weekend, it’s safe to say that some major cranial expansion is in order. Plus some random opportunities for major physical expression.

We’ll be on hand, with Levitation fest veteran and longtime BLURT shutterbug John Boydston telling the tale in words and images. For the time being, check out the just-announced set times for each day, along with details on how to order tickets, right here. (First photo below: ye old Blurt editor’s favorite psych band on the planet, the Rain Parade.)

Oh, and don’t eat the brown acid, kids. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top will not approve.

 

Massive Attack 9/27/19, NYC (REVIEW + VIDEOS)

Dates: September 27, 2019

Location: Radio City Music Hall, New York City, New York

A sold-out performance at Radio City Music Hall cemented the UK group’s reputation once again.

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

On September 27th, I witnessed the greatest concert of my life. Massive Attack, who I’ve been waiting to see for over 20 years, came to NYC and performed their massively influential Mezzanine LP.

In front of a sold-out audience, Massive Attack played the album out of order while including a mix of the most unexpected cover songs (including “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”, “10:15 Saturday Night” – see the Bauhaus and Cure classics, below – and “I Found a Reason”) peppered throughout. With the band saying nothing to the audience during the entirety of the show, we were exposed to a carpet bombing of devastating, gut-wrenching visuals that, in conjunction with the music, left me reeling.

It was the case of developing on themes of political repression mated with the ceding of our lives to technology over the past 20 years that caused tears to well up in my eyes. This was art at its highest and most powerful level. These were no random images. Each one was part of an elaborate theory that we the people are losing out and that the smear of materialism spread over us to make us seem like we’re advancing is just smoke and mirrors.

If lead singer Robert Del Naja is provocateur Banksy – as the rumors have it – then this was one of his finest moments as an artist, essentially shredding the trauma of the past 20-odd years in front of our eyes, just like that painting at Sotheby’s in 2018. As a close mate of mine and I made our way out the exit, I knew my life had changed in a substantial way. With the crowd dispersing into the rush & rumble outside, my thoughts turned to the unity that was built between all of us in attendance, which comforted me that there’s still hope to turn things around.

I managed to film some additional video for our readership to enjoy – check the material, below.

VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Bevis Frond 9/26/19 Oxford, England


“We’re All Fronds on This Bus”: indeed, live at Oxford’s storied Jericho Tavern, the wheels went ‘round and ‘round until the ecstatic punters were ready to be wheeled out themselves. Below, watch clips of “Lead On” and “Olde Worlde” (pay attention to the extended spoken intro for the latter, incidentally).

BY NIC LINTON

Last Thursday I had the rare opportunity to catch up with Nick Saloman and his band of merry men, at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford. The venue, which I could have easily mistaken for a broom cupboard, turned out to be the perfect choice for an intimate evening in with The Bevis Frond.

It was a no-nonsense affair complete with something old, something new, and plenty of psychedelic guitar heroics. No introductions were necessary, the raw energy of the music spoke for itself. Great to see such a quintessentially English act previously described as unsung heroes, literally singing their hearts out to such a warm reception.

Track Premiere: GospelbeacH “Let It Burn”

There’s probably no sweeter SoCal sound circa 2019 than this band – review of 2017’s “Another Summer of Love” is here – as the title track from their upcoming album, “Let It Burn,” offers ample evidence. (Photo credit: Chuck Harris) RIP the amazing Neal Casal, one of Blurt’s heroes.

BY JOHN B. MOORE & FRED MILLS

It should come as no surprise to even the casual visitor of this site, that GospelbeacH is a Blurt favorite. So much so that many of you know to come here for regular song premieres from the band – late last year we offered up a track from their 2018 gem Another Winter Alive, for example. And their 2017 offering wound up on many of our contributors’ best-of releases for that year, with editor Mills observing, “The band’s debut album, 2015’s Pacific Surf Line, wasn’t shy about its Cali worship; two of GospelbeacH founder Brent Rademaker’s other groups, psychedelic warriors The Tyde and mystic Americana wranglers Beachwood Sparks, have shared similar sentiments. But Another Summer of Love is a remarkable achievement unto itself.”

We don’t like to disappoint, (the feckless leaders in D.C. have that role handled) so here’s a first listen of the song “Let It Burn,” the title track off the band’s soon to be released new LP. The song boasts a cameo by the brilliant, late Neal Casal who passed away just weeks ago.

“‘Let It Burn’ became a secret little mantra in my head while dealing with some heavy changes in my life, mainly loss. Letting go wasn’t good enough I had to burn those negative feelings before they killed me,” said singer-songwriter-guitarist Brent Rademaker. “Trevor [Beld Jimenez] and I came up with some verses to my open C-minor tuning and we cut it live with a cool flat dry 1970s production by Jonny Niemann. The great Nelson Bragg orchestrated the perfect So-Cal harmonies.

“Little did I know I would need to call on that mantra again, when just months after finishing the album we would lose our dear brother Neal Casal. Neal’s otherworldly guitar playing weaves this whole song perfectly together and the outro solo that closes the whole album says more to me than any lyric we could’ve written. Neal made GospelbeacH legit, when we told him we were making a “rock” record he just shook his hand and shushed me up, plugged in and played his guitar…no second takes.” Hesaid,  “Just let it burn.”

GospelbeacH’s Let It Burn will be available October 4th on Limited Edition Colored Vinyl (grab it here, as I did – Ed. Mills) CD, digital and streaming formats via Alive Naturalsound Records.