Young indie-folk chanteuse has got the right stuff.
By Fred Mills
Everyone, by now, has contended – and sometimes dueled – with suggestion engines and bots. You know, those oftentimes annoying boxes that appear on your screen below something you’ve been browsing on the web, as in “similar items,” “you may also like,” “other shoppers liked these,” etc. Here in the music biz, the strategy even predates Amazon in the form of the once-ubiquitous “RIYL” notations (aka “Recommended If You Like”) that would typically accompany an album review.
But whatever happened to the old-school “hey man, you gotta check out this artist/band/record, it’s right up your alley, and it’s just plain awesome!” that your friends or coworkers came rushing up to you on a Monday morning? Or, for that matter, whatever happened to us just reading record reviews and trusting the reviewer’s judgment?
Please allow me to “suggest,” then, indie-folk artist Peyton Brock who was recommended to me by a friend whose musical taste I can definitely trust. Ms. Brock is 13 years old and she lives in Georgia. On my initial listen I could hear elements of a young Mary Lou Lord, possibly a touch of lo-fi era Liz Phair, and – given the singer’s age – indie female singer-songwriters here in the contemporary era. The music is relatively minimalist, giving her sweet vocals an open sandbox within which to dance, and she is very, very cool. I predict that with time and experience, she’s also going to blossom into someone very, very special to a lot of people.
I’ll spare any more of my hype, and just let you check her out yourself. I suspect you’ll be playing it over and over….
For their third effort, Picture Us, the Melbourne-based five piece Money For Rope opted to produce, mix and master the entire record on their own. And it’s hard to argue with the results: a record brimming with energetic garage and surf rock, punctuated with strong moments of soul and psych.
You can hear for yourself with the Blurt premiere of the trippy title track.
“When I was young and left home alone along with my brother, I was surprised by my parents, who had returned home from holidays early; possibly as an act of deserving untrustworthiness,” said singer/songwriter/guitarist Jules McKenzie, describing the song. “I was rapidly cleaning up from a party, and wearing what was, unaware to me, dad’s best suit.
“It seems that when you are young you long to be older, and I wonder if when I am older, I will long to be young again. I wonder if there is a point in the middle where it crosses, and how I will feel about love. We recorded this through walkie-talkies we had as kids, where there was a ledger above a large orange button that gave the alphabet in morse code.”
The album, set for release next week, on Friday, March 8 ,on Cheersquad Records & Tapes, was recorded over the course of one long hot Australian summer.
This ace track from the rocker’s recent demos/rarities compilation “was like trying to scratch a squid’s back while blindfolded”—but indeed, the band managed to turn it into something! Watch the lyric video, below. And check out our 2018 interview with Mr. Polonsky as well.
BY JOHN B. MOORE
While it may have appeared like Jonny Polonsky was taking it pretty easy in the 22 years since his amazing debut, Hi, My Name is Jonny, came out, it turns out he was pretty busy all along. Aside from the handful of EPs and LPs he’s put out, Polonsky had been hording a slew of unreleased songs and demos (18, at least).
When Polonsky asked us to share the video for ‘The Same Song,’ we jumped at the opportunity. Well, not literally jumped, but did give an enthusiastic ‘Fuck, yeah!’. Again, not literally out loud, but in our heads.”
“I wrote the chorus to ‘The Same Song”’sometime in the late ‘90s and had it lying around for a long time. I knew it was strong but it just lay around like a head without a body for a long time and I figured that was that.
“In 2002 I moved to Los Angeles and reconnected with Lyle Workman, who I had met when he played guitar in a Frank Black’s band. Lyle is a great guitarist and a really nice guy, and he had a home studio so I thought it would be fun to work on a track.
“I played him the chorus and he helped me figure out a verse. I would play and sing some ideas, he’d say, ‘go up, no, go down, less movement’—it was like trying to scratch a squid’s back while blindfolded, but we managed to turn it into something.
“We brought in Nick Vincent, another Frank Black alum, who had played drums on the original FB-produced demos that had gotten me signed. Nick did a great job, I laid down guitars, bass and vocals, and we finished the entire thing in a day.”
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.
SoCal kings of cool serve up another winner – not to mention a stunning looking slab o’ wax.
By John B. Moore
If Blurt had a house band, there’s a pretty good chance the laidback, LA-based Indie Pop band GospelbeacH would be in the running. No less than our editor Fred Mills called last year’s sumptuous sophomore platter,Another Summer of Love, “not only perfectly titled, it’s a study in both perfect conception and perfect execution”; longtime contributor Barry St. Vitus described 2015’s Pacific Surf Line as a classic release as“viewed through the lens of the Buffalo Springfield, Flying Burrito Brothers, Chris Darrow and others who pioneered the sound and glorified So-Cal’s gilded palace of sin and sun with a country spin early on.”
So imagine how stoked we were to be asked to premiere the song “ Runnin’ Blind,” off their soon-to-be-released Another Winter Alive.
“‘Runnin’ Blind’ is our attempt to blend Krautrock with The Everly Brothers…lyrically it’s one of those prophetic songs that weren’t real at the time but life ended up imitating art,” said singer-songwriter Brent Rademaker.
The album features five previously unreleased studio tracks recorded during the band’s sessions for Another Summer Of Love plus five live songs recorded in London during their California Fantasy tour, revisiting stripped-down live versions of songs from their debut album Pacific Surf Line.
GospelbeacH’s Another Winter Alive will be available on Limited Edition Vinyl, CD, digital and streaming formats on November 30th via Alive Naturalsound Records.
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.
A Blurt Boot Video Exclusive: Simon Bonney & Bronwyn Adams (Live NYC) 5/14/2019 WARSAW
Filmed by Jonathan Levitt. Check out Bonney's latest record "Past, Present, Future" http://smarturl.it/SimonBonney
A Blurt Boot Exclusive: Psychedelic Furs "Only You and I" (Live Costa Mesa CA 7-19-18
Tribute: Tony Kinman (R.I.P.) and Rank And File - Video from "Long Gone Dead"
Blurt Audio Exclusive: Thin White Rope "The Fish Song" (from 2018 remaster of The Ruby Sea