Category Archives: Vinyl records

THE GERMS – What We Do Is Secret [RSD Black Friday LP; blue vinyl]

Album: What We Do Is

Artist: Germs

Label: ORG Music/Rhino

Release Date: November 23, 2018

https://orgmusic.com/

BY JOHN B. MOORE

The Germs may have only released one proper studio album before frontman Darby Crash died, but you’d be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of more influential hardcore/punk rock bands to come out of that era. Everyone from the Minutemen and L7 to Soul Asylum and Pennywise owe a debt of gratitude to that Southern California band of nonconformists. So, it’s frustrating just how few songs the band managed to record during their four years together.

Thankfully, ORG Music has just re-released this gorgeous blue vinyl limited edition copy of their 1981 EP What We Do Is Secret. Originally put out in 1981, just a year after Crash’s suicide, this 7-song album pulls together live tracks recorded between 1977 and 1980. The songs are sloppy, loud, a bit amateurish, all which add to the odd brilliance of the band.

Their cover of Chuck Berry’s “Round and Round” is one of the highlights of this mini-album that hovers around the 20-minute mark. The last two songs in this collection, “The Other Newest Ones” and “My Tunnel” captures the band playing a frenetically impressive live show on December 3, 1980 at LA’s Starwood. The songs show a band that was destined for much bigger things, but sadly, Crash intentionally OD’s on heroine just a few days later.

Unlike The Eagles or Steely Dan, polished studio musicians searching for perfection, a band like The Germs were about immediacy, spontaneity, and living that ethos that anyone (literally anyone) can be in a band. And while The Eagles and Steely Dan may have found a much, much bigger audience, they manage to do so without a fraction of the passion that a band like The Germs had.

DOWNLOAD: “Round and Round,” and “The Other Sweetest One”

 

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!

 

THE BLANKZ- It’s a Breakdown 7”

Album: It's A Breakdown 7"

Artist: THE BLANKZ

Label: Slope

Release Date: January 04, 2019

www.sloperecords.com

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

As Clay Davis in the Wire says “SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEET”! This is one incredible slab ‘o’ wax from the packaging to the short sharp and shock songs. The Blankz are from Phoenix and if you haven’t heard of them, don’t pay that no mind because I’m here to tell y’all this right here is some impressive music coming out of the Southwest that you need to take heed of. Taking subtle cues from Social Distortion’s Mike Ness with a dash of Rocket from the Crypt, the band come out guns a blazing on the title track “It’s a Breakdown”.  With lyrics like “Hang myself or Hang around” you know they ain’t messing around. It’s a joyful slab of pop punk yet it has some interesting subtext lurking just beneath the surface. The organ is a welcome addition and works really well in giving the tune a retro and more sophisticated feel. “You’re Not My Friend Anymore” is a slightly weaker tune but still packs a punch and shows just how talented the band is and how they’ve mastered the pop-punk genre. The production is excellent on these two tunes and makes me look forward to a full record when that day comes. I must also mention the 3-D packaging the glasses, the sticker and the deluxe sleeve. Most LP’s these days don’t put in as much effort so kudos to label and band for giving us a deluxe collectible for my own vinyl porn collection.

DOWNLOAD: “It’s a Breakdown” “You’re Not My Friend Anymore”

 

RISE AGAINST – Career (Vinyl Box Set)

Album: Career

Artist: Rise Against

Label: Interscope/Ume

Release Date: November 20, 2018

www.interscope.com

BY JOHN B. MOORE

There aren’t a ton of punk rock bands outside of the greats from the late- ‘70s through early ‘80s, who are strong enough to justify a career-spanning vinyl box set. Chicago’s Rise Against though clearly have earned that distinction.

 

Raised in the indie punk scene – the band’s first two albums were released on the Fat Mike-helmed, Fat Wreck Chords – the band came about their experience the tried and true punk rock way: touring the country is a crappy van and sleeping on the floors of fans after shows. So, their jump to Geffen Records for their third effort, though it brought about some predictably, if relatively muted taunts of “Sell Out!” seemed like a natural fit for an impressive band looking for a bigger soap box to stand on.

 

Geffen, alongside UMe has collected the band’s first eight records (everything but 2018’s The Ghost Note Symphonies, Vol. 1) into one massive archival set. Each record is pressed on 180-gram vinyl and comes with a hard cover book of Rise Against’ s oral history and a slew of rare band photos. The set includes The Unraveling, Revolutions Per Minute, Siren Song Of The Counter Culture, The Sufferer & The Witness, Appeal To Reason, Endgame, The Black Market and Wolves.

 

Of all the albums in the collection, their 2001 debut, The Unraveling, is fittingly enough their most uneven. There’s a powerful rawness to the songs, but singer Tim McIlrath was still finding his voice (figuratively and literally) and relied more on screams rather than the measured vocals he would perfect on later albums. The guitars, as well, slathered in distortion, don’t leave much space for any other instrument to be heard. But the band quickly learned from those mistakes in time for 2003’s Revolutions Per Minute and it’s follow-up the next year, Siren Song Of The Counter Culture. The latter houses the song “Swing Away Life” which remains their most recognizable song and one of the best slow-tempo punk anthems of the 2000s. Both records are among the band’s best efforts with a more cohesive sound and powerful political lyrics that are clear enough to be heard this time around.

 

The Sufferer & The Witness, released in 2006 continued the streak of great, political punk rock, but they slipped slightly on the mediocre follow up, 2008’s Appeal To Reason. The last three entries in this collection, however – Endgame, The Black Market and last year’s Wolves – found the band back to in top form. Over the course of nearly two decades, Rise Against has slowly and methodically carved out a niche for writing savvy political anthems that move easily from modern punk folk to distorted rock, all while ignoring current music fads in favor of a formula that have managed to perfect. This gorgeous box set is the perfect acknowledgement of that dedication.

DOWNLOAD: Plenty to choose from….

THE RATCHETS – First Light

January 01, 1970

Pirates Press

www.piratespressrecords.com

BY JOHN B. MOORE

New Jersey has long been the farm team for punk rock bands. Everyone from The Bouncing Souls to Gaslight Anthem have hailed from one city or another off the NJ Turnpike before going on to spread the punk rock gospel to the rest of the globe. The Ratchets prove yet again with their latest LP, First Light, that the Garden State is still churning out punk rock’s best and brightest.

Relatively MIA for more than a decade after the 2006 release of their debut, the band is back – a little older, but just as promising as that debut that brought about more than a few comparisons to The Clash. On First Light those Clash influences are still front and center, as well as some of Joe Strummer’s more thoughtful later work. You can also hear a hint of Springsteen’s influence on the lyrics all across this one, as well. (You  didn’t think I could write about a Jersey band without at least one Springsteen reference, did you?)

But there’s also plenty of other elements here that make the band sound impressively original: the Bluesy guitar riffs on “Drone Control,” the ‘70s hard rock vibe of “2-4-6-8 Motorway” (a cover of the Tom Robinson Band punk classic), and Jed Engine’s sandpaper rasp vocals that were made for punk rock. The band manages to flawlessly bridge the political urgency of late ‘70s British punk rock with modern concerns.

Crammed with memorable hooks, air guitar-worth riffs and whip sharp lyrics, First Light finds The Ratchets back in fighting form and, if this record is any indication, ready to take over the world.

DOWNLOAD: “Drone Control” and “2-4-6-8 Motorway”

RSD Black Friday Vinyl: Perry Serpa’s “Songs Inspired By Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked ” (Schoolkids Recs)

By Blurt Staff

So hopefully you read our recent feature/interview with singer/songwriter (and longtime music industry icon) Perry Serpa: “ABOUT A SONGWRITER: Perry Serpa does Nick Hornby.” As contributor John Moore wrote:

Perry Serpa, singer/songwriter best known for his work with the brilliant indie pop band The Sharp Things (profiled in 2014 at BLURT),  has brought fiction to life with his latest project: Wherefore Art Thou? Songs Inspired By Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked. Admittedly we’re treading pretty close to Being John Malkovich territory here, but Perry’s record (10 songs, just as described in the book) is simply sublime. Getting help from a number of his friends, Perry was even able to convince Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, Minus 5) to guest on a track. McCaughey, fittingly, is one of the musicians mentioned in Hornby’s book who played on the (fictional) Tucker Crowe tribute album… take a moment to let that sink in.

The album arrives today on vinyl LP as part of the annual Record Store Day Black Friday event, courtesy our sister business, Schoolkids Records. Below is the press release from Schoolkids. So get off your butt, go support your local independent record retailer, and check out Mr. Serpa!

————————————————–

“Magnificent. I love every song, words and music. It works completely on its own terms and sounds complete in a way that very few albums do anymore.”
-Nick Hornby


“The mid-70s derived hooks and instrumental flourishes are plentiful, but the standouts, fittingly, are the bookends: opener “And You Are?” features a Dylanesque vocal by Scott McCaughey of The Minus Five and the seven-minute closing opus, “You And Your Perfect Life” recalls Ray Davies at his most conceptual.”  
UNCUT


“From Wuthering Heights to Paranoid Android, there’s no shortage of songs inspired by works of fiction.But how about making an entire record based on a fictional album that’s described in a novel? That’s what Perry Serpa has done with Wherefore Art Thou? – a collection of unorthodox, literate indie songs built around clues scattered throughout Nick Hornby’s 2009 book, Juliet, Naked.”
 –BBC NEWS

“Now, Perry Serpa, singer/songwriter best known for his work with the brilliant indie pop band The Sharp Things… has brought fiction to life with his latest project: Wherefore Art Thou? Songs Inspired By Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked. Admittedly we’re treading pretty close to Being John Malkovich territory here, but Perry’s record (10 songs, just as described in the book) is simply sublime.” 
 BLURT

“What’s most impressive about Wherefore Art Thou? is that it’s mostly Serpa by his lonesome, creating not only a great album but also one that holds its own with its source material.”
 –MAGNET

“The album covers a wide range, stylistically, but they all sport Serpa’s smart songwriting.”

NO DEPRESSION

““And You Are?” is the opening track on the imaginary album, so likewise opens Serpa’s. And what a wonderful, evocative piece of retro, semi-baroque folk rock it is.” –FINGERTIPS MUSIC

Serpa notes, “The album is my version of the fictional album described in ‘Juliet, Naked’. I sang & played most of the instruments, but it also includes guests like beloved Americana singer/songwriter Laura Cantrell, Aja Warren, Edward Rogers, Don Piper and my son, Aidan, playing some mean lead guitar. A brilliant fellow named Ron Raymond played slide guitar and m’man James Pertusi mastered it and helped me record some of it as well.”

CURSE OF LONO – As I Fell

Album: As I Fell

Artist: Curse of Lono

Label: Submarine Cat

Release Date: August 17, 2018

http://www.submarinecatrecords.com/

The Upshot: With the band’s 2017 album, Severed, already in the BLURT hall of musical fame, we now turn to their kickass 2018 entry.

BY JOHN B. MOORE

Every once and a while you stumble on an amazing band that is so frustratingly under the radar that it makes you question the very concept of justice. The London-based five-piece, Curse of Lono, is one of those bands.

For three albums now, spread across the past three years, the band has turned in one nearly-flawless record after another and aside from the cheers coming from music reporters, some Americana devotees and record store nerds, the ripples in the pop culture lake never seem to go beyond one or two rings. The band’s latest effort, As I Fell, continues their streak of brilliantly simple and simply brilliant blend of Americana and Gothic Alternative Rock. Though the band has never been accused of being overly raucous, As I Fell finds the band at their most subdued, bringing about a strong Dylan vibe throughout the 11 songs here.

It seems almost unfair to single out one track from the next as the record is nearly devoid of any filler material. The band instead opts for creating a deeply moving Southern Gothic (yes, I realize they’re from London) sound that recalls everyone from the Cowboy Junkies to Nick Cave.

It sort of makes sense, given the remarkably twisted political world we are currently living in, that one of the best bands out there is not getting the attention it clearly deserves. Here’s hoping change is coming soon, on all fronts.

DOWNLOAD: “Blackout Fever” and “As I Fell”

 

Celebrate Record Store Day’s Black Friday Sale w/Schoolkids Records!

It’s that time!

Join Schoolkids Records Nov 22 for Black Friday 2018! Kick off the holiday season in high style. We will have a giant selection of picture discs, 7″ singles, rare and unreleased music. From A Perfect Circle to The Zombies, these are one-time only releases. Once they sell out, they are gone forever! you can view all the Black Friday releases here.

For those who do not know, Record Store Day was created to celebrate independently owned record stores. It’s day to bring the community together to celebrate the love of music. Records are pressed in specifically for this day. They are limited in the number pressed as well. These releases are only available at stores participating in RSD.  For many of these releases, it is the first time they have been available on vinyl. Unreleased music, live performances and picture discs from a wide variety of artists and genres highlight the day. Both of our locations will be open at 8 am.m to celebrate this day of friendship, love and music!
And yeah, Schoolkids is the Blurt sister business, so whattaya waiting for? Go get in line!

Discogs Online Music Marketplace Starts “Exclusives” Sales Site

Vinyl collectors, and maybe even a few cassette nuts, start your saliva engines!

By Barbi Martinez

The well-regarded music collectors’ portal Discogs – which operates as a user-friendly alternative to eBay and other online marketplaces – has been for months teasing it would be launching its Discogs Exclusive companion site. As The Vinyl Factory details:

The new platform, now in its beta phase, will sell a range of rare and limited release vinyl and cassette offerings including test-pressings, special editions, out of print fare and warehouse finds. So why start a separate marketplace for these items? Discogs’ Jeffrey Smith explains:

“We would have intense conversations with people working within the indie/major label communities; people who were Discogs devotees and passionate collectors themselves. There was a common story evolving. They have access to something neither we nor the Community have access to: test pressings or tiny amounts of out-of-print stock that can be hard to find — even in our own Marketplace. It felt like there had to be something we could do to help bring this stuff into the open for collectors everywhere, not just those with connections.”

Among the initial offerings (some of which have already sold out): limited cassette box sets of filmmaker/scorer John Carpenter, and White Stripes vinyl test pressings. (Guess which sold out immediately….)

Intrigued? Go to: https://exclusives.discogs.com/

KING BROTHERS – Wasteland

Album: Wasteland

Artist: King Brothers

Label: Hound Gawd!

Release Date: October 05, 2018

https://www.houndgawd.com/shop/en/SHOP/Vinyl/King-Brothers-Wasteland.html

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

I don’t often say it but where has this band been all of my life? Imagine this, if you take the John Spencer Blues Explosion’s unvarnished primal rock and the Miracle Workers’ bluesy stomp and grate a bit of Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind on top and then place it into a 350-degree oven and bake ‘til doomsday you might come up with the band King Brothers. I’m always impressed by bands from Japan that seem to possess an encyclopedic knowledge of a very specific style of rock and instead of being just mere imitators, are able to synthesize and place their own distinct stamp on it.  “Wasteland” is a stormer of an opener that is groovy and menacing at the same time.  And if you thought that couldn’t be beat then get ready for the barn burner of a tune “Bang! Blues” this song brings the goods, distortion cranked to 10, reverb, and that wonderful stutter snare roll combines for one mega crack to the dome. “Break on Through” is a thundering cruise down Route 66 heading to that rumble just outside the city limits and when the melee ensues, it goes down in slow motion, fists flying and blood spraying the scene.  “No! No! No!” cops the melody from The Who’s, “My Generation” but is more of a balls to the wall affair, I like the tune but wonder what the reasoning was for so transparently lifting from a band that seems to inform little of the bands oeuvre. What I don’t question is the lifting of the woo woo’s and partial song title from The Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil” on the track “Sympathy for Xxxxx”. Given the album’s musical leanings, this makes a lot more sense, because it’s obvious that The Stones’ brand of blues rock informs certain elements of Wasteland. This is a truly impressive album and one which has been on constant rotation here in my office. This high-octane record is truly worth acquiring and if the band comes to the states I will be first in line to see them.

DOWNLOAD: “Wasteland” “Bang! Blues” “Kick Ass Rock” “Break on Through” “Sympathy for Xxxxx”

Watch the video for “No Want” elsewhere on the freakin’ BLURT website…..