Category Archives: Music News

This Week: Kinks’ ‘Village Green’ @ Autism Think Tank Benefit

By Blurt Staff

In a worthy benefit concert for the Autism Think Tank this Saturday, Feb. 23, the Kinks’ 1968 klassic “The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society” gets performed in its entirety at the Alex Theater in Glendale. It’s the latest in Paul Rock and the Wild Honey Foundation’s concert series in which key albums from rock’s rich tapestry are memorialized.

As usual, Rob Laufer will helm a stellar house band, and featured guests include guitarist-singer Elliot Easton; drummer-singer David Goodstein; bassists Derrick Anderson, Robby Scharf and Dan Rothchild; keyboardists Chris Price, Willie Aron, Jordan Summer and Danny McGough; guitarists Andrew Sandoval and Rob Bonfiglio; percussionists Nelson Bragg and Jim Laspesa; multi-instrumentalist Probyn Gregory; and string players Kaitlin Wolfberg and Lyn Bertles.

Check out BLURT’s previous coverage of the WHF’s 2018 tribute to the Buffalo Springfield, and their 2017 tribute to The Band, both photographed by our Los Angeles photographic wizardress, Susan Moll.

 

Connect Beyond Festival 2019 returns to Asheville in April

This year’s 3-day event in the North Carolina mountains to feature award-winning authors, musicians, filmmakers, and more.

By Fred Mills

One of the highlights of 2018, for me, was attending the Connect: Beyond The Page Festival & Conference, held at multiple venues in downtown Asheville, NC. The multi-day event featured a host of cultural luminaries, almost like a mini-SXSW – among my favorites was a presentation by NPR Music’s Bob Boilen, and North Carolina’s own Sylvan Esso band.

This year should be no exception, and the festival has been announced for April 5-7. Below are some of the details that have been released thus far – it’s a no brainer for NC residents, and I suspect it will draw attendees from all over the United States and possibly from beyond. It’s curated by Echo Mountain Recording Studio’ own Jessica Tomasin (read about Echo and other regional studios in this story by longtime BLURT contributor Bill Kopp; Tomasin is also co-founder of the Asheville Music Professionals organization) and produced by Crissa Requate of Mason Jar Media.

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Connect Beyond Festival has revealed the first round of participating panelists and performances for the 2019 event. Performances include book readings from award winning authors such as Tim Z. Hernandez (All They Will Call You), and David Rowell (Wherever The Sound Takes You: Heroics and Heartbreak in Music Making); musical performances including Nick Lowe’s Quality Rock & Roll Revue starring Los Straitjackets’ and more; and panel topics such as “social media revolution,” “fake,” “art of adaptation,” with film screenings and additional programming to be announced soon.

For more information:  https://www.connectbeyondfestival.com.

WHAT TO EXPECT:
 

INSPIRING SPEAKERS AND THOUGHT PROVOKING PANELS
Do you consider yourself an NPR junkie? Are you fascinated by storytelling and are curious about your community and beyond? Connect Beyond Festival is a living, breathing version of your favorite podcast. We’re bringing together some of the most distinctive minds of today to explore what it takes to be a catalyst for change, and how we as individuals can act on what matters to us.

 

CAPTIVATING FILMS AND DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS
First run documentaries that resonate. Short films that profile amazing people doing extraordinary things. Stories that implore you to expand your horizons. Connect Beyond Festival and Social Construct films have hand-selected some of the most gripping narratives of the last century and are serving them up all weekend long. Plus, dive deeper into the makings of a great film with the Q&As and presentations we have on the docket.

 

CUTTING-EDGE MUSIC CONVERSATIONS AND PERFORMANCES
We know you want more out of your weekend, so Connect Beyond Festival invites you to rise up, sing out, and dance along with us. Between fireside chats with your new favorite songwriters, and a wide-ranging lineup of guest performances, we promise you’ll get your live music fix at Connect.

 

COMMUNITY AND CONNECTIONS
Connect Beyond Festival attendees share a common desire to be challenged and inspired. To build connections and leave the world a better place. To attend a festival not just for the music, film, and art, but for the engagement and discourse. So, invite those around you into your world, and be open to entering theirs.

#metoo, Long Overdue for Rock World, Finally Arrives – for Ryan Adams

Longtime music biz open secrets about the erstwhile Whiskeytown wunderkind being a not-so-nice kinda guy break nationally.

By Fred Mills

For anyone who had been waiting for the #metoo shoe to drop in the rock biz, it was either a validation or a moment of psychological reckoning: The artist to be called out for sexual misconduct was not the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin, but industry darling Ryan Adams.

In an explosive New York Times investigative report,”Ryan Adams Dangled Success. Women Say They Paid a Price,” the subhead essentially tells the whole story: “Several women say Adams offered to jumpstart their music careers, then pursued them sexually and in some cases retaliated when they spurned him. He denies the claims.”

Adams, late of alt-country legends Whiskeytown and a prolific solo artist in his own right, has long been known for his acting out, both in public and private; on that latter count, his off- and back-stage exploits are the stuff of legend, as the BLURT coverage of journalist David Menconi’s biography and former Whiskeytown road manger Thomas O’Keefe’s memoir offer ample testimony.

The current allegations from Adams’ former wife, actress/singer Mandy Moore, musician Phoebe Bridgers, and others (including a woman who, if her NYT quotes are accurate, was under the age of 16 when her online sexual affair with Adams commenced) all paint the rocker as a dominating, manipulative individual who used his industry status to exploit multiple females over the years. Keep in mind, however, that allegations are not proof, and that the story is still unfolding at the time of this writing.

But also keep in mind that Ryan Adams has long been the subject of music industry whispers – that “bad boy” reputation was never restricted to just drinking a lot before going on stage and yapping about audience members shouting out “Summer of ’69.”

There’s been wall to wall media coverage of the story ever since it broke, and Adams has not only lost some key gear endorsements in the process, his label has yanked an Adams album that had been planned for April from its release schedule – some might say that’s the chickens coming home to roost for the musician.

At any rate, two stories that are must-reads for you, as they offer a much-needed perspective on what the Adams situation means for fans as well as the larger rock culture, not to mention how it is deeply relevant in the #metoo era. Please take the time to check out both of the essays:

Ryan Adams and the Betrayal of Teenage Girls,” by Anna Held (BuzzFeed News)

Ryan Adams Was Hiding in Plain Sight,” by Maria Sherman (Jezebel)

Watch Film Trailer for Upcoming Mojo Nixon Documentary

As we have said many times in the past, sometimes the news just writes itself, and we don’t need to add superfluous commentary…. Above photo by Kent Thompson, taken at a show during the ’80s at Charlotte’s Milestone Club that I also covered for some music magazine back in the day.

By Fred Mills

Yes indeed, the rumors are true: 2020 will bring a rock doc on the inimitable Mojo Nixon, indie rock hero, Tipper Gore scourge. (For a fun BLURT read involving Mojo, go HERE.) The long-overdue “The Mojo Manifesto”  is reportedly now-due from one Freedom Records & Films, and to cement that accusation, er, assertion, there is an official trailer.

Check it out:

Track Premiere: Lonesome Shack “The City is A Desert”

Get aHEAD of the curve and check out this awesome outfit… the March tour dates, too!

By John B. Moore

London by way of Seattle blues trio Lonesome Shack, cite everyone from Canned Heat to Lee “Scratch” Perry as influences. And those eclectic sonic connections come through loud and clear on “The City Is A Desert” off their new LP Desert Dreams. Blurt is stoked to premiere this new track for you.

“London is the biggest, most exciting city I’ve ever lived in and there are all kinds of people everywhere you look. You might say it’s the total opposite of where I used to live in Alma, NM,” said Lonesome Shack singer/songwriter/guitarist Ben Todd. “It’s so inspiring to be in such a thriving metropolis but there are these times when you’re packed in the tube like a sardine and you feel so far away from everyone. Or you’re walking down a crowded street and you’ve never felt so anonymous. Or you’re in a tall building looking down on a never ending urban sprawl and you feel like you’re seeing the expansive desert from the top of a mountain in New Mexico. Luckily in the desert, magic and loneliness walk hand in hand.”

Lonesome Shack’s Desert Dreams will be available March 1st on Limited Edition Vinyl, CD, digital and streaming formats via Alive Naturalsound Records.

Visit the band online at the official website as well as the Facebook page.

Listen to New Brian Jonestown Massacre Track

Mark March 15 on your calendars, fellow BJM devotees.

By Fred Mills

The Brian Jonestown Massacre has to be one of the most prolific bands on the planet, rivaling even Guided By Voices back in the day for recorded music output. Just the past year has seen a slew of releases, and now comes word that March will bring a self-titled full length released, as always, on founder Anton Newcombe’s own A Records label.

Track listing:

1. Drained
2. Tombes Oubliées
3. My Mind Is Filled With Stuff
4. Cannot Be Saved
5. A Word
6. We Never Had a Chance
7. Too Sad To Tell You
8. Remember Me This
9. What Can I Say

 

 

 

Check out a teaser for the new rec by way of the masterful psych-twang of “Cannot Be Saved.”

Watch Rabid New The Beasts (of Bourbon) Video / Album Incoming

 

Legendary Aussies pull no punches, based on early estimates….

By Fred Mills

The mighty Beasts of Bourbon are returning – or, more accurately, the members – Tex Perkins, Kim Salmong, Boris Sudjovic, Charlie Owen, Tony Pola – have regrouped as The Beasts, and the Bang! label is prepping to release Still Here on Feb. 15. Here’s the scorching first video, “On My Back,” followed by the label’s press release about the record. We are advised that you can preorder the import album here in the States, on both CD and LP,  via Forced Exposure.

After an extremely emotional final performance with the Beasts of Bourbon, Tex Perkins hit upon the idea of getting all of the band’s members, past and present, into a recording studio with no particular agenda. It was more of a celebratory thing he had in mind than anything else. Sadly, bassist Brian Hooper didn’t make it along as he passed away a week after the Beasts last show. Assembled in Soundpark Studio a couple of weeks later were Charlie Owen, Boris Sujdovic, Tony Pola, Spencer Jones, Kim Salmon, and Tex Perkins. They were unprepared save for some sketchy ideas, loose ends, and a couple of covers. With limited time the band knocked together a collection of jams pretty much true to the crazy M.O. employed back when The Axeman’s Jazz got laid down in that fateful eight-hour session in 1983. Songs weren’t so much learned as ideas were thrown together and recorded the moment they began to coalesce. Captured were: Brian Hooper’s “What The Hell Was I Thinking”, James Baker’s “Drunk On A Train”, Boris’ “Don’t Pull Me Over”, Kim’s “Pearls Before Swine”, Tex’s “On My Back” and “Just Let Go”, and Spencer’s “At The Hospital”. There was also Zappa’s “The Torture Never Stops” and Warren Zevon’s “My Shit’s Fucked Up” (was there ever a more appropriate cover for the Beasts?) Add to that some untitled jams that became the hilarious “Your Honour” and “It’s All Lies”. Sound like an album? You betchya! Deeply sad is that Spencer was only around long enough to make it onto one track. Absolutely wonderful is that he did make it onto the recording. And with such a funny and typically Jones style piece of observation as “At The Hospital”. With respect, this isn’t the Beasts of Bourbon. It would need to have Jonesy on every track to be that!

 

UPDATE: New Long Ryders Studio Album Will Be Available on Vinyl Too

 

Editor’s Note: Just got word that Psychedelic Country Soul, due Feb. 15 via Omnivore, will also get a 2LP vinyl release on British label Cherry Red. It will be somewhat pricey, but still worth the dough because, hey, it’s the freakin’ LONG RYDERS! Below you can read our original news item about the band from November.

Tear down those “Walls,” Mister President, and get ready for a serious ryde….

By Fred Mills

Breaking news alert – no, Trump hasn’t tweeted that we’re building a wall at the Canadian border. This is far more momentous, and musically speaking, it also involves a song called “Walls”: the mighty alt-country godfathers The Long Ryders have a new album scheduled to drop early next year. Longtime BLURT readers will already know of my longstanding devotion to Sid, Stephen, Greg, and Tom – you can check out a 2009 interview I did with Sid about the band around the time they were getting back together for some American shows.

Psychedelic Country Soul arrives Feb. 15 via Omnivore. Currently it is only listed as forthcoming in CD or digital formats, so let’s lobby for a vinyl version as well, fellow fans. (Note: go HERE for some details on the band’s awesome 4-CD 2016 box set; it’s a must own for any fan.) Here are the official details:

The Long Ryders, founders of alt-country in the 1980s, saddle up for the first time in thirty years with their biggest and best slice of Americana yet, the aptly named Psychedelic Country Soul. The album was produced by Ed Stasium (Ramones, Belinda Carlisle, The Smithereens) and features a eleven Ryder originals and a cover of their friend Tom Petty’s great song, “Walls.”

Recorded in Los Angeles at Dr. Dre’s studio, Psychedelic Country Soul is, in Long Ryder Sid Griffin’s own words, “the album we were always trying to make… each flavor which made the band unique is there be it C&W, rock ’n’ roll, troubadour folk music, raw R&B, or out-there psychedelia.” The Long Ryders (Griffin, ex-Jayhawk Stephen McCarthy, song publisher Greg Sowders and NASA veteran Tom Stevens) are supplemented on the album by old friends The Bangles on harmony vocals and stellar sideman Dave Perlman (Everly Bros. Hoyt Axton) on pedal steel guitar.

Yet, ultimately the album is The Long Ryders. With Griffin’s familiar electric 12-string guitar, McCarthy’s virtuoso Clarence White licks, Tom Stevens earthy bass and Greg Sowders swingin’ drums, Psychedelic Country Soul is an album for 2019 made with the flavors of yesterday which has the sound and the spirit of tomorrow. Get ready for the ryde of your life.

Tracklisting:

 

  • Greenville
  • Let It Fly
  • Molly Somebody
  • All Aboard
  • Gonna Make It Real
  • If You Want To See Me Cry
  • What The Eagle Sees
  • California State Line
  • The Sound
  • Walls
  • Bells Of August
  • Psychedelic Country Soul

 

’80s Ohio Fanzine “The Offense” Gets Book’d in Fine Style

A true legend and an indie-rock groundbreaking media outlet, the ’80s Ohio-based fanzine featured on Ohio television in “Cocteau Fever” (below), goes big with the 900-page “Book of Books” Collection, compiling the essential original print run. (Full disclosure: BLURT editor Fred Mills would become a regular contributor to the zine, and has no regrets whatsoever… )

If the tens of thousands of people who have viewed 10TV Eyewitness News coverage of “Cocteau Fever” on YouTube end up purchasing The Offense Book of Books, then its publisher will be very happy. Do you remember posting that video on your site a few years ago (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaOlNfC8_xQ)? Well, the Columbus, Ohio alternative music fanzine that was responsible for first spreading Cocteau Fever throughout the land can now be blamed for something else — The Offense Book of Books, which was released on January 3, 2019 and is a two-volume collection of all 888 pages of all 15 issues of The Offense, which appeared in its original “book” format from April, 1980 to March, 1982 before switching to a newsletter style and becoming The Offense Newsletter.

Offense publisher/editor/least-talented contributor Tim Anstaett: “My New Year’s resolution for 2018 was one way or another to get The Offense Book of Books out, which I had unsuccessfully attempted to do on several occasions in the past. And although at times this year the situation seemed to be quite dire, I never gave up, and ultimately the promise that I had made to myself for 2018 … ALMOST was kept!”

Tim’s involvement with the local alternative music scene in Columbus began in December, 1979, when he began booking bands from his own town and other Midwestern cities into Mr. Brown’s, a small club that was located a few blocks south of the Ohio State University campus. His stint there lasted four months, during which time the owner generously gave to Tim a total of 47 nights to fill. This represented quite a departure from what music fans in Columbus had by that time become accustomed to, and had sadly resigned themselves to, which was only being able to enjoy very-few-and-far-between opportunities to see good bands. Now, for the very first time, the music suddenly found itself gaining a true foothold in the city. And then only two weeks after the last show that Tim promoted at Mr. Brown’s had taken place, the first issue of The Offense was born on April 11, 1980. And two years after that, he switched to a morefrequentlypublished newsletter format and eventually resumed his booking of bands, bringing to Columbus such alternative music luminaries as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (three times), the Pixies (twice), The Fall (twice), and yes, the Cocteau Twins.

The first issue of The Offense was completely handwritten by Tim, and he was its only contributor. It was rather sloppily put together and included scene reports that he had written about towns that he had recently visited with the Cowboys, a local Columbus band that he had booked into Mr. Brown’s many times and was now managing and mismanaging. However, by the fanzine’s eighth issue its looks had greatly improved, circulation had increased to 1,000, and four distributors had come aboard (Rough Trade, Systematic, Skydisc, and Important), which helped the publication to become nationally and internationally known. It was called The Offense because its mission was to go on the offensive and help spread the word about all of the great new music that was happening. The letters of its name were titled forward because the zine was moving in the direction that the arrow going through those slanted letters was pointing — ahead. Issues regularly included heated letters to the editor; freewheeling interviews; analytical record, cassette, and live reviews; and scene reports written by people who actually lived in the cities that they wrote about.

Tim Anstaett can be contacted at tkarunner2001@aol.com. He has organized a few book release parties/readings in Columbus for The Offense Book of Books, at which many of the fanzine’s past contributors will be reading some of their favorite published pieces that they wrote. These are the events that have been scheduled thus far (all times Eastern):

Friday, January 11, 2019   6:00-8:00pm   Lost Weekend Records, 2690 N. High St.
Saturday, January 19, 2019   2:00-7:00pm   Ace of Cups, 2619 N. High St.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019   7:30-9:00pm   Two Dollar Radio HQ, 1124 Parsons Ave.

The Ace of Cups event will also include live musical performances from some of the past contributors (Nancy Kangas, Ron House, Mike Rep, and Paul Nini).

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The Offense Book of Books is published by Biblio Publishing, 1091 W. First Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43212 (614-485-0721) and is now available through Amazon (at https://www.amazon.com/dp/162249458X a single book is pictured, but it is the entire two-volume package that is described) and also through the Biblio Bookstore (at https://bibliobookstore.com/Music/The-Offense-Book-of-Books-by-Tim-Anstaettagain, the price listed is for the complete two-volume set). Anyone who can order three or more of the two-volume sets should not click one of the above links but instead either call Biblio Publishing or send an email to info@zippublishing.com, as that will enable him or her to receive a 25% discount on the order and lower the cost of each set from $89.95 to $67.47 (plus shipping). At the two January readings in Columbus, two-volume sets will be available for $70 each, and the purchaser will also receive a free, original, mint-condition back issue of The Offense of his or her choice for each set that he or she buys (back issues of seven of the fifteen Offenses are still available at this time.)

 

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From ye olde editor: I’m Fred Mills, and I approve this press release. I count Tim (who we “Offense” contributors knew as simply TKA back in the day) as both a peer and a mentor, as he was among the very first music publication publishers to take a chance on my (admittedly tenuous grasp of) rock journalism and make me a published scribe. So now you know who to blame. Tim, you remain an inspiration among your fellow zine writers and editors, and I have no doubt that you are similarly revered among those artists and bands you selflessly championed early on, long before they had achieved any measure of recognition in America. Salute, good sir!

Bonnaroo 2019 Official Lineup Released

 By Mark Jackson

Bonnaroo released the official lineup this week and as usual it was immediately meet with cheers and jeers. It seems no matter who a festival brings there are always people who have their own favorite bands and ideas of what a festival should be.

Bonnaroo has long been known for having a diverse lineup with a heavy sway towards alternative music and this year is no different, but you can see a move into the R&B genre as well. This is no big surprise and is to be expected with acts like Cardi B, Childish Gambino, and Post Malone gathering millions and millions of followers the festival is smart to see the trends and give the masses what they want.

Last year Bonnaroo made the brave move to convert the That Tent into a full blown EDM stage that rivaled in size and lights of the Who stage, this move seemed to pay off big time as there were thousands of fans who I believe never ventured far from that stage. I must admit this was one of my favorite stages after dark. The non stop dance music and bass drops kept the crowd going all night and into the early mornings. Another addition last year was the Grand Ole Opry set, a collection of performers and guest from the Nashville famous Grand Ole Opry House.

The farm has also expanded the entertainment from the confinement of Centeroo out into the Camping areas. “Bonnaroo has continually sought new ways to enhance the fans’ onsite experience and the 2019 event will emphasize this with an array of remarkable new features and improvements. In 2018, Bonnaroo made significant upgrades to the site’s communal areas, known as Plazas. Strategically located and well-lit public places throughout the campgrounds, Plazas include shade, free public Wi-Fi, showers, activities, charging stations, Clean Vibes Trading Post redemption centers, misting stations, medical, safety stations, information and portable restrooms. This year’s event features a “Sanctuary of Self-Love” campground experience curated by Hayley Williams of Paramore. Also, “The Yes Barn” presented by House of Yes and Little Cinema will once again feature jaw-dropping circus acts, mind-bending immersive cinema shows, wild theme parties, and Bonnaroo’s first-ever Pride parade.”

Here are just a few of this years headliners: Phish, Childish Gambino, Cardi B, Post Malone, Odesza, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers and The Lonely Island. Check out the poster above to see the entire lineup and then go get your tickets, they even have a layaway plan, so there is no excuse not the join the crowd down on the farm for Bonnaroo 2019…