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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.

2019 Austin Levitation Festival Night Three Report

In which our man on the ground, the esteemed Prof. Boydston, protects his lens from proximate fan damage because he cares about YOU, dear Blurt readers. Go HERE to view his report and gallery from the Austin blast’s first night, November 7, and HERE for November 8. (Pictured above: Levitation hosts the Black Angels.)

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Having no expectations about what to expect of John Cale it was hard to be anything but happily blown away by this 77-year old man’s performance.

This living legend came to rock, and with a great band that is what they did. And to sing his songs which are still about something.

The Black Angels set Cale up perfectly with a fantastic and dynamic set, as they continue looking for that dark cloud in every silver lining it. They found it tonight, keeping Austin Weird, and Dark. This band is responsible for Levitation even being a thing, let’s give ‘em a hand.

Earlier, White Fence from San Francisco also put in a brilliant set around the corner at The Empire Control Room and Garage, because that is what they do. Throughout their set I kept thinking if Syd Barrett and Ray Davies ever had a baby, it would be this band’s founder and creative force Tim Presley.

The LA-based Allah-Las came charging out of the gate as well, working a new LP and playing favorites from the previous three. They have a much ballsier sound live now, without changing what they do, and you know that can’t be bad.

More Black Angels on the Stubbs stage:

2019 Austin Levitation Festival Night Two Report

In which our man on the ground, the esteemed Prof. Boydston, protects his lens from proximate fan damage because he cares about YOU, dear Blurt readers. Go HERE to view his report and gallery from the Austin blast’s first night, November 7, and stay tuned ‘cos there’s more to come! (Pictured above: the crowd at Stubbs either trippin’ out or in the line for the bathrooms….)

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Things we learned Friday night, Nov. 8, at Levitation 2019 in Austin, Texas, in no particular order:

1) What Wayne (Flaming Lips) said…

2) The Rev in Mercury Rev must be short for Revelation, because they are one.

3) Death Valley Girls can lick ‘em by smiling, and leave ‘em to hang. [I see what you did there, John. – Lyric Ed.]

4) A year of touring for Broncho has turned them into a dynamic, crowd-favorite stage act.

5) Crocodiles are the best rock band I have ever seen, or at least since The Clash (and before that band cashed out).

7) Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dihr can jam with the best of them sitting down.

Tonight (Sat., Nov. 9), will feature White Fence, Allah Las, John Cale, and The Black Angels – and many more we hope. Worth noting is that Reverberation was originally founded in 2008 by Texas sonic/archival/renegade collective the Reverb Appreciation Society featuring key members of those very same Black Angels. [Who, I feel compelled to insert at this point in your narrative, John, once blew my 5-year old son’s mind at a deafening club soundcheck well over a decade ago. I still have the ear damage to prove it, and he still has the autographed 3-D poster to prove it as well. Have at it, gang, and please don’t return our photographer home with anything less than permanent ear damage from tonight. – Archival Ed.]

2019 Austin Levitation Festival Night One Report

In which our man on the ground, the esteemed Prof. Boydston, protects his lens from proximate fan damage because he cares about YOU, dear Blurt readers. More to come!

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Planet Stubbs (see colorful stage photo) and some class acts help lift Levitation 2019 into gear in Austin, Texas, Thursday night (Nov. 7).


A damn chilly night did not put a damper on Vagabon, Devendra Banhart, and the truly angelic Angel Olsen (pictured above). Many bands were blazing down the streets and around the corners, but once you get into a Stubbs BBQ groove, it’s hard to move on.

Tonight, the electric psych sounds of Holywave, Mercury Rev, and The Flaming Lips will light up this stage. And many many others around the corner.

Vagabon:

Banhart:

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.

 

Indie Film Festival 919 Returns to Chapel Hill Oct. 9-13

Famous names associated with the indie gems include Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Edward Norton, and Noah Baumbach. Check out key trailers, below.

BY DANIEL MATTI

The new Film Fest 919 is about to hit its 2nd year in Chapel Hill, NC. October 9th-13th. Silverspot Cinemas will have its seats filled with filmgoers to check out the hottest movies ranging from foreign films that took over the Cannes Film Festival to films that are coming out during the holiday season.

Top films include the opening night’s selection, The Marriage, directed by mumble-core king Noah Baumbach starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. There’s also JoJo Rabbit, directed by Taika Waititi, who some will know as the director of Thor:Ragnarok, and What We Do In The Shadows, both of which will have 2 screenings that you can catch. Other hot titles include Parasite (Bong Joon-ho), Waves (Trey Edward Shults), and Motherless Brooklyn (Edward Norton).

Check out the full list of films here. Tickets are available now.

Marriage Story Teaser Trailer

JoJo Rabbit Teaser Trailer

Parasite Teaser Trailer

Waves Trailer

Motherless Brooklyn Trailer

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.

Here’s a Band to Die For: Mercvrial

Check out a couple of crucial tracks, below.

By Fred Mills

Cue up sound of palm vigorously slapping forehead. It is a poorly-kept secret that we music writers sometimes let our mail tubs get to the point of overflowing before we finally get around to opening the packages – which, typically, are overflowing with music, much (most) of it dreck, but once in awhile, utterly captivating.

Such is the case with Mercvrial – which I assume is pronounced “mercurial” – and their 5-song mini-album The Stars, Like Dust, which just this week I belatedly discovered in the aforementioned mailtub.  They’ve been described, variously, as dreampop, neopsychedelia, and shoegaze, compared to Flying Nun- and Creation-era artists as well as our own vaunted Paisley Underground scene here in the States. So be it.

But why not simply check ’em out, below – our brothers over at The Big Takeover premiered a couple of tracks earlier in the summer, and they basically do the talking for the band that you need to hear. If you like what you hear, reach out to the band at the above link or via email (mercvrialmx[at]yahoo[dot]com) and demand more. I know I plan to. (And to David Mercvrial – thanks for reaching out to me in the first place. Looking forward to hearing you guys in the future.)

Just Out: Tracy Shedd “The Carolinas” Album

By Fred Mills

Way back in 2013 we enthusiastically covered NC-by-way-of-Arizona songwriter Tracy Shedd, who had just released her remarkable album Arizona. (Additionally, check out a review of it here.)

Shedd’s new one, The Carolinas, her sixth, has now officially dropped via NC’s Fort Lowell Records as of yesterday, Sept. 20, and it a dreampop delight. (Yes, folks, it’ll be available on vinyl as well courtesy Science Project Records.) I’ll save the review-style verbiage for later, but here are a few salient details the label has kindly supplied… First, though a couple of tunes… aw hell, let’s make it three tunes… for your sonic edification:

After having Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth sit in on drums for Tracy Shedd during a US tour, Shedd began writing songs for The Carolinas in her new home of North Carolina; combining her indie rock roots of 20-years with recent electronic experience from Band & The Beat.  The Carolinas is Shedd’s most playful, yet proficient, album to date, celebrated by the inaugural release of “Kissing and Romancing”: the superfun and fuzzy shoegaze single with its supercute and funny stop-motion video – followed by the second single “Holding On”: a classic indie pop dance hit in the making, accompanied by an engaging performance video.

Looking forward to some live dates from Shedd? Us too, no kidding!