Young Music City indie rock quartet submits dreamy standout from recent debut album.
By John B. Moore
The Nashville-based foursome Fine Lines technically may still be the new kids in town – together for under two years – but damn, have they managed to zero on an impressive sound during that short period of time. Made up of refugees from the Alabama and Indiana music scenes, the band’s members came together in Music City, USA and quickly got to work on their debut record, Contact.
After listening to this stellar album, we are stoked to premiere a video for their single “Morning Sun.”
“”Morning Sun” is a song I wrote one snowy weekend while visiting my hometown of Indianapolis,” says singer/guitarist Chris Probasco. “It’s about leaving a place that was once familiar and returning to feel like a stranger. It’s about finding companionship in that loneliness.
The video was shot live in the East Nashville home studio of Don Bates as a part of his “Around the House” series. Don, who was also the engineer on our album, Contact, set the band up in his living-room-turned-studio and operated a single camera, capturing the band in a completely unique setting.”
Along with Probasco, Fine Lines also includes bassist Dustyn Roth, singer/songwriter and guitarist B.L. Reed, and drummer James Thompson.
The band has two upcoming shows, November 9th at Ghost Train Brewing Co. in Birmingham, AL and December 16th at Reggie’s in Chicago. Tour dates and more: https://finelinesband.com/home
Title track from the indie wunderkind’s album of the same name—guaranteed to make you feel great and NOT anxious, yo. (Go HERE to read Newski’s awesome 2016 essay for Blurt, “The 7 Best Countries & 3 to Avoid for Traveling Musicians.”)
By John B. Moore
Brett Newski, along with being wildly talented, Willie Nelson-level prolific and a favorite here at Blurt Magazine, is also the epitome of DIY (we’re talking 1980’s hardcore punk rockers who booked their own shows, handmade their merch and cut, pasted, folded and packed every album they every made-type of DIY). The kid is making his bones, regularly trekking across the globe to play shows in some dude’s living room or getting snagged by someone like the Violent Femmes or The new Pornographers to open their shows. So when he asked us if we’d be cool hosting the video for the title track off his new album, Life Upside Down, we said “Fuck that! We’re gonna interview you as well.”
So as he packed for a long tour that will take him across Europe and back to the U.S. for a slew of shows, he sighed (I’m assuming – this was all handled via e-mail) and said “sure thing. What do you want to know?” (Again, assuming here. It’s not like we’re Bob Woodward with endless hours of tapes here).
It seems like your last EP, The Stars Are As Good as A Nightlight, just came out. Are you just having a wildly prolific period at the moment I hit burnout two years ago after playing some 600 shows in three years. After a break and finding a girl who really stabilized my brain, I’m ready to get after it again. I had to get back to the reason I started doing this in the first place, catharsis and fun.
Sonically “Life Upside Down” is a very ’90s sounding record channeling a few of my first influences (early Weezer, early Green Day, Gin Blossoms, Better Than Ezra, early BNL, old school BECK)…and more recent influences (Nada Surf, Frank Turner, New Pornographers, Delta Spirit, BEN Kweller, Manchester Orchestra)
You have not been shy in the past of talking about your anxieties (thank you for that, by the way). Do any of the songs on this new record address those feelings?
There are a few “anti-anxiety songs” on every record. Now as the number of songs in the world moves toward infinity, I want the songs on “Life Upside Down” to have utilitarian value as well. If they are disposable, I am not doing my job.
You’ve been kicked out of Wal-Mart for playing and recording and successfully played a Dollar Store, if I remember correctly. Any other retail sites on your bucket list?
Yes, sir. Kmart, Best Buy, Aldi, IKEA, McDonald’s and the neighborhood Greek restaurant. We get kicked out of almost every pop up show we do. We call this series DORK ROCK BUM RUSH. Most people enjoy it, but the staff typically wants us dead.
You seem to be constantly be on the road. How much time off have you taken the past few years?
I don’t take off-time other than a lazy Sunday here and there. Work is a medicine that combats my worries and keeps them in check. However it’s important to not work too much, because you generally hit a point of diminishing returns after 8-10 hours of work per day. Once you do that, you’re hurting yourself professionally and also in your brain and your relationships.
You’re about to tour Europe. What’s next for you? Johnny B! Coming to visit you in Philly, November 15! We have a pretty hectic ‘n long Euro and US tour on the books. I’m working with my friend Paul Langton in America. He’s a brilliant radio promoter from Boston and we have a very similar taste pallette in music.
Plans for any additional new music?
I’m working on my first book actually!
One of my dream albums is to post up in Cuba for a month and make a lo-fi album with only a cell phone. Would that be neat? Also I have been working with my drummer/collaborator SPATOLA on more albums. He is amazing and he looks just like Dave Grohl.
Killer track by the power pop auteur plucked from upcoming album, due out Sept. 28. We think they got it…
By John B. Moore
As tough a facade as we occasionally put up here at BLURT, even we can’t resist a Sweet, perfectly-crafted power pop song. So, when Paul Collins—musician, producer, and author—asked us if we wanted to premiere “Go,” from his newest album, Out of My Head, we said “hell, yes!” Check it out:
“’Go” is the second video we have shot for the album and, like the record, it’s straight from the hip,” said Collins, who of course played in pioneering outfits The Nerves and The Beat before going solo. “Our good buddy, Derek Davidson, rented a high-end video camera and we knocked it out in three hours. We wanted something live and fresh, kinda like Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ but without all the production. I think we got it!”Paul Collins’ Out of My Head will be available on limited edition vinyl, CD, digital, and streaming formats September 28th, via Alive Naturalsound Records.
And for wax fans, here’s a link to order the beautiful, limited starburst vinyl. It’s limited to just 200 copies, so don’t procrastinate…
Phoenix outfit takes a l’il sonic vacation to sunny Florida and hops in a tanning booth….
By Blurt Staff
sure if you’ve heard this yet, but the guy currently squatting in the White House is a real asshole – I mean, seriously, a racist, misogynistic, egotistical dullard appealing to the worst instincts of humanity – so, not a cool guy. The Phoenix-based band Wyves may have caught on to him as well, as they just put out a stellar, rollicking slice of satire with their new single, “Mar-a-Lago,” is a sweet little tune written in the first person as Donald Trump.
“Instead of just talking about how horrible or absurd he is in literal terms, I wanted to take an approach like “A Day In The Life” or “Sympathy For The Devil” to highlight his ridiculous ways by boasting about his base loves about him,” says Wyves singer Corey Gloden “This includes him going to Mar-a-Lago on the weekends to play golf with world leaders and business partners. I wanted the chorus to read like a brochure and like an 80’s tropical beach song in a major key, like “Kokomo”, offset with dark cryptic lyrics.”
The band was cool enough to let us bring it to you for the premier.
The song is off their new record, R U OK? Listen to “Mar-a-Lago”:
Wyves formed in 2015 and released their debut album, Spoils of War, the next year. That first single (sharing a name with the album title) was named #1 single of 2016 by the Phoenix News Times. Over their three years of existence, the band has shared the stage at festivals and as direct support with acts such as Gary Clark Jr, Dr. Dog, Govt. Mule, Juliette Lewis, and many more.
North Carolina indie rock godfather serves up a gem of a flashback. (Photo credit: Daniel Coston)
By Fred Mills
As North Carolina’s Chris Stamey quips, “Here it is, the followup to my first single, ‘The Summer Sun’—after only 41 years!”
The songwriter/rocker/producer is talking about “Greenboro Days,” which we here at BLURT are honored to be able to present to our readership. I’ve been a fan ever since the mid ‘70s, when he emerged as one of indie-rock’s earliest movers and shakers with his outfit Sneakers. Since then he’s consistently delivered the sonic goods, and this new track is no exception, so check it out:
The folk-pop tune’s available now at Spotify as well as Amazon. It was produced by Chris and Jeff Crawford and features Dan Davis (drums) and Jason Foureman (acoustic bass), plus John Teer from Chatham County Line on fiddle and mandolin, and Peter Holsapple from The dB’s (who also has a new record out, the Omnivore-issued Game Day album) on harmony vocals. (The tune will tweak the memories of longtime Stamey/Holsapple watchers who have the pair’s Mavericks collaboration from the ‘90s.) According to Chris, “’Greensboro Days’ is a folk-rock lament about traveling from summer into autumn, on steel wheels.” Those steel wheels can be viewed in the accompanying lyric video, which is considerably more than just a typical “lyric video”:
“Greensboro Days,” then, makes for a fitting followup to Chris’ “Summer Sun” single from ’77. It’s released on Stamey’s recently reactivated Car Records label, which released some true gems in the late ‘70s from Holsapple, Stamey and The dB’s, Big Star’s Chris Bell, and Sneakers. It’s more than appropriate, considering the back pages Chris recently thumbed through in his A Spy in the House of Loud musical memoir. The city of Greensboro is just a few miles from where Chris grew up, in Winston-Salem, and it played an influential role during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s when the North Carolina indie scene—and Stamey himself—was establishing its musical footing. And speaking of the Car label: He also has plans to release a new solo album, The Great Escape, via Car in early 2019, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Incidentally, fans wanting to dive a bit deeper into “Greensboro” can snag a free download of Chris’ sheet music for the song at THIS LINK that he kindly provided. The sheet music is from his songbook New Songs for the 20th Century.
Terrific tune culled from eponymous album, due out this week on Omnivore. Above: Jason Falkner and John Brodeur.
By Fred Mills
Brooklyn-based John Brodeur has been releasing top-shelf pop records for a number of years now, and in his current incarnation as Bird Streets and new album Bird Streets he’s knocking the ball out of the park. The album was produced by the mighty Jason Falkner (Jellyfish, Beck, etc.), who also plays on it and shares co-writing credit with Brodeur on all but two tracks. It drops August 10 via Omnivore, and we are extremely pleased to be able to unveil a track for our readership. Check out “Carry Me”:
Sings Brodeur, tellingly,
“Let’s raise a toast my friends To new beginnings and bitter ends Flip the hourglass again ‘Cause morning’s breaking soon…”
Brodeur comments on the song, saying, “I left Falkner’s place one evening having been instructed to return with ‘something that rocks.’ This old lyric full of car crashes and explosions seemed to fit the bill. We knew almost immediately that ‘Carry Me’ was going to open the record, it just had this undeniable vibe. In a way, it was the first Bird Streets song—the one that made me realize we weren’t making just another John Brodeur record.”
The record was primarily produced and recorded at Rhetoric studio in Los Angeles, and among the other musicians appearing on the record are Miranda Lee Richards and Luther Russell.
Both Brodeur and Falkner will be appearing onstage together for some shows August 25-26 in Los Angeles; joining them will be bassist Keith Hosmer and drummer Ben Lecourt. Brodeur’s official album release party will be August 9 in NYC, and you can keep track of the shows at his Bird Streets website.
Stompin’ tune taken from latest album Children of Paradise. (Photo by Cristina Arrigoni)
By Fred Mills
“I wanted it to feel like Judgment Day.”
That’s veteran rocker Willie Nile, on his song “Earth Blues,” an apocalyptic-lined powerhouse of a number even by Nile’s own blazing standards. And it’s no surprise, either, as his new Children of Paradise album (released July 27 on his own River House label) is a relentless, topical look at the turbulent darkness that currently engulfs us, what with tracks like “Getting’ Ugly Out There,” “Seeds of a Revolution,” and “All Dressed Up and No Place to Go.”
We’re pretty stoked to be able to premiere the video for “Earth Blues.” It was directed by Ehud Lazin, and Nile notes that he “filmed a show in June in Asbury Park, NJ, and used footage from that along with shots of the environmental chaos going on around the world. Lazin did a great job directing it. It’s got all the things I like about rock ‘n’ roll. It’s heartfelt, pissed off, in love, on fire, and out of its mind all at the same time.” Check it out:
Of the song, Nile says, “I wanted to give the earth a voice with all the chaos that’s going on with it. The ocean level’s rising, the weather’s changing for the worse and the climate for living a decent life here is going to hell. There’s a mass of plastic garbage the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean for cryin’ out loud! A hundred years from now, the people responsible for letting it fall into ruin will be long gone and won’t give a damn and our descendants will be left to suffer and deal with the darkness and difficulties to come. They do it all for the money and nothing else, and our grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to have to pay for it. It’s not right and it’s not ok. That’s why I wrote ‘Earth Blues.’ I wanted to write a rocker with an anthemic chorus and I’m thrilled with how it came out. The band was on fire the day we cut it. I wanted it to feel like Judgment Day.”
Indeed it does, sir.
Nile’s 12th studio album was co-produced with Stewart Lerman (Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, Norah Jones) and cut with his crack live band (guitaristMatt Hogan, bassist Johnny Pisano, drummer Jon Weber). Also on the album are guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Steuart Smith (Eagles/Rosanne Cash/Rodney Crowell) and keyboardist Andy Burton (John Mayer/Rufus Wainwright/Ian Hunter), plus backing vocals by singer-songwriter James Maddock, Leslie Mendelson (Bob Weir), and Frankie Lee.
Brooklyn, NY – November 17, 2017 – Portrait of musician Kevin Gordon. Photo credit: Jacob Blickenstaff
Rock ‘n’ roller transcends labels and genres – and he’s right on time, at that. From his new album, Tilt & Shine, out July 27.
By Blurt Staff
Though often tabbed as a songwriter or an Americana artist, Kevin Gordon is really a rock & roller. He proudly flies the rock & roll flag on “Right On Time,” a three-and-a-half-minute, tongue-in-cheek ode to the road. And Blurt is proud to be the one to introduce this track to you.
Gordon captures the strangeness of missing loved ones, the road as an in-between space of disconnection, the nerves of trying to make a sound check six hours away, as the guitars keep pushing. It’s a track from his vivid, swampy new album and artistic high water mark ‘Tilt & Shine,’ out July 27 on Crowville Media.
Gordon says, “I did a lot of driving when touring in support of the Gloryland and Long Gone Time records. The song is triggered from little moments—a morning in a motel in Marion, Virginia opens the story. The van I had at the time had 185,000 miles on it — and three out of four speakers blown — when I bid it goodbye. It was also an acceptance of that life—the over- romanticized ‘road,’ which I still love but which has become extremely familiar.”
He adds, “And being who, and what, I am, it’s easy to feel alienation in that literal distance from your family—distance that becomes metaphorical, in a fearful way. I also felt the challenge of writing a song with such a familiar phrase as its title and refrain. With my friend Gwil Owen, hopefully we crafted something that’s real, and fresh.”
Speaking as a huge fan of late ’80s/early ’90s British psychedelia – My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3, and Loop especially – I couldn’t be more thrilled to unveil a brand new track from the Hair & Skin Trading Company, the band formed by John Willis (drums), and Neil MacKay (bass, vocals) following Loop’s demise; they were augmented by Nigel Webb (guitar) plus the short-tenured keyboardist/sampler player Richard Johnston.
Longtime contributor Jonathan Levitt has just interviewed MacKay and Willis for BLURT about their classic 1992 album Jo in Nine G Hell as part of our “The Story Behind the Album” series which Levitt spearheads. (Check out, in particular, his profile of Thee Hypnotics’ Soul Glitter & Sin.) And not only did he obtain from the band an unreleased live recording of one of the album tracks to include, they also supplied him with an exclusive track from their forthcoming new album, I don’t know where you get those funny ideas from.
Check out the brilliant “Nihil” below and don’t forget to read the interview at the above link.
Now that the smell of burnt fireworks and Lee Greenwood-led jingoism has finally faded, we thought it was about time to focus on some West Coast explosion of talent. Blurt is proud to offer the song premiere of Smash Fashion’s new track “Rompus Pompous,” in all its glitter-encrusted frenetic glory.
The song is the title track from the LA.-based glam/punk/power-pop band’s latest album (their fourth to date, for those counting) Rompus Pompous, which came out just 2 days after the nation’s anniversary, July 6th.
“Our title track ‘Rompus Pompous’ is a case of textbook narcissism… which seems to be running rampant!” says front man Roger Deering. Along with Deering, the band is made up of ex members of London Quireboys, Smack and Rock City Angels.