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Track Premiere: Beechwood’s “I Know It’s Not Right”

Instant classic tune has its roots on their latest album, Songs From The Land Of Nod.

BY JOHN B. MOORE

Somewhere between gritty garage rock and glam punk resides the New York-based trio Beechwood.

And damn, if it’s not a pretty cool place to live.

So when asked, Blurt jumped at the opportunity to host the premiere of their song “I Know It’s Not Right,” one of the outtakes from their 2018 album Songs From The Land Of Nod.

 

“I was in bad shape when I wrote and recorded this song,” said the band’s Gordon Lawrence. “I was physically and mentally broken and didn’t see a way out at the time, but I still believed that things would get better, even at my worst. I just didn’t know what that would look like or when it would be. It’s hard for me to listen this song because I don’t like to think of that time, but at least I was self aware enough to come out and say ‘I know it’s not right.’ I’ve never tried to justify what I was doing, but I knew it was wrong. I just didn’t know how to get help until about two years later. Recordings capture a moment in time, and as dark as things may have been, I’m still happy that I was able to capture how I felt, just in case I ever forget.”

Songs From The Land Of Nod was one of two records the band put out last year (the other being Inside The Flesh Hotel). Beechwood is heading to European shortly for a spate of dates.

 

BEECHWOOD 2019 EURO TOUR DATES
18 July @ Patronaat — Haarlem, NL
20 July @ Le Petit Bain — Paris, FR
21 July @ Le Galion — Lorient, FR
22 July @ Shacklewell Arms — London, UK
24 July @ The Hope and Ruin — Brighton, UK
25 July @ Relache Festival — Bordeaux, FR
26-27 July @ Binic Folk Blues — Bicnic, FR

(More dates to be announced soon)

Guadalcanal Diary/Woggles’ Jeff Walls 1956-2019 RIP: An Appreciation

 

From the Editor: Atlanta/Athens musical maverick Jeff Walls passed away this week from what was described as a rare  pulmonary disease. He’d battled it for some time, and a GoFundMe campaign that his old Guadalcanal bandmate Murray Attaway had organized had already raised $45,000 towards a double-lung transplant. At the GoFundMe page a tribute reads, “Jeff Walls passed away on May 29th surrounded by his family. With broken hearts, we will continue this fundraiser and all the scheduled events as a memorial to this remarkable man, and to continue to help his family with the overwhelming medical costs of his care.”  To call Walls a mainstay of the Georgia – and the entire Southern – indie/alternative music community would be an understatement; I saw him early on with the legendary Guadalcanal Diary in the mid ’80s, sometime later with his rockabilly project Hillbilly Frankenstein, and in recent years with garage maestros The Woggles (who were also beloved guests at BLURT’s SXSW day parties at the Ginger Man club in Austin – scroll to the bottom for a video clip from that show). You can read a moving remembrance penned by veteran Georgia music journalist Tony Paris here, and below, our man in Atlanta, John Boydston, submits his own memories in words and photos. There will be memorial concerts to help raise funds for his medical bills later this month: June 7 at The Foundry in Athens, and June 23 at The Earl in Atlanta. – FM

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Below: Woggles at Hole In The Wall, Austin SXSW, 2013

Jeff Walls was so up-close and friendly with everyone that you didn’t need to be a personal friend to get his full attention, and have conversations like you were in fact a longtime buddy catching up.   A mutual friend describes it well —  ‘When you were eye-to-eye with Jeff and he started telling you something, you just shut up and listened cause it was always amazing stuff.’   No matter what he was talking about it was cool and he let you in.   His friendliness, candor, and humor were always on.  Then throw on top of that what he is best known for: his incredible musical talents, showmanship, and studio chops that were already fully-formed when Guadalcanal Diary cut their first LP in 1984.  (True with that whole band in fact.)

Below: Woggles at Ginger Man, Austin SXSW, 2013
 

And the things I learned just following his Facebook feed and interacting there after I’d met him and shot a couple of SXSW gigs by The Woggles in 2013.   That band was a photographer’s dream, even in the darkest of clubs.  Especially in the darkest of clubs.   They shared my pics that weekend to great acclaim, and Jeff would continue to be highly complimentary of my “shutterbuggery” and thank me for my services every chance he got.   That was cool, cause I would learn Jeff didn’t say anything he didn’t mean.

Below: Jeff Walls w/Blasting Cap (which he formed with Guadalcanal Diary’s Murray Attaway) in Atlanta in 2016
I caught up with Blasting Cap, a band he put together with his wife Phyllis (on bass), GD co-founder Murray Attaway, and drummer Robert Schmid of the Swimming Pool Qs, and a gig at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta in early 2015.  I got some shots of band, and was sitting talking to Q’s singer Anne Boston (who were playing next), while Blasting Cap was winding down their set.  She said it looks like Jeff is getting ready to do something funky and suggested I go behind the stage and shoot whatever it was.  Got there just as Jeff was doing his Stratocaster toss, which I was not expecting.   Jeff’s rock and roll stage showmanship was never not on.   I attempted a GIF of that moment you can see here.

And you got deep thoughts from the guy too – here’s a quote from a private exchange we had on FB talking about the fickle biz he was in – “I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be successful and be admired for music that you secretly hated … Not that I’ve ever had that problem! I think that the less-imaginative, mediocre musicians usually have the opposite problem: They fall in love with everything they do (no matter how god-awful it may sound to others). Otherwise, they wouldn’t keep doing it.”

Below: Jeff Walls with the Plimsouls in Athens in 2016

The next year I caught Jeff in Athens, GA (Ath Popfest) in a retooled version of The Plimsouls, with that band’s original guitarist Eddie Munoz, and Atlanta’s Bryan Malone also filling in for a short East Coast tour.  I forget the bar name, but the stage area was set up like a living room, and these guys exploded for a power-set of Plimsouls hits. Jeff played bass.  Also got to talk to Jeff before the show and that conversation was mostly about how much he loved his family, many of whom were there and ready to rock.  Being a grandparent is the best, he told me.

While I do not have photos, I did catch Guadalcanal Diary twice – once in 1986 at 688, and then a reunion show in 1999.  Plus Jeff’s band Hillbilly Frankenstein in 1993 at Atlanta’s Cotton Club. That might be one of the best rock and roll shows I’ve ever seen, and his timing with the retro-upswing of the ’90s was spot on.    Night and day from GD’s music, it just proved what brilliant a musician and showman Jeff was.

Anyone who can do all that and be the world’s nicest guy will truly be forever missed and appreciated. (Amen. – Ed.)
****
Below: A video clip of the Woggles performing at the above-mentioned BLURT day party during SXSW in 2013.

Track Premiere: Eli Musser “Smile”

Culled from the singer-songwriter’s upcoming debut, it’s an instant pop delight.

By John B. Moore

New York, by way of West Virginia, musician Eli Musser name checks the melodic pop “Big Four” when it comes to influences: Beach Boys, Byrds, Big Star and The Beatles.

And it’s not hard to hear those influences on the song “Smile (‘Cause Somebody Loves You)” off his upcoming debut, Content, due out this fall. Check it out for yourself here, on this Blurt exclusive song premiere.

Says Musser, of the track, “I wrote ‘Smile’ as an anthem of optimism and comfort while going through a tough time: moving to New York in my 20’s brought a lot of changes and loneliness. The uplifting lyrics and hummable melody are simple and direct; the arrangement and production are also a knowing nod to the buoyant studio sounds of the late ’60s and early ’70s. It’s a song intended to speak to those who wonder if anyone has their back. The answer is ‘yes’.”

Content was mixed by Bryce Goggin (of Pavement, Evan Dando, Sean Lennon, Ramones, etc., renown). It’s familiar guitar-based rock, brimming with catchy pop melodies and refreshingly personal lyrics. Connect here: https://www.facebook.com/musserofficial

 

Track Premiere: Curse of Lono “Blackout Fever”

Track culled from upcoming, must-hear live album…

BY JOHN B. MOORE & FRED MILLS

Curse of Lono is easily one of the best Americana/Southern Gothic band to not actually come from the South or even from the America for that matter. Since their relatively recent founding, the London four piece has delivered  three near-perfect records (one EP and two LPs) on the Submarine Cat label – check out some of BLURT’s coverage to date:

Curse of Lono 12” EP

Severed LP

As I Fell

They are back with 4am and Counting, a stellar new album of stripped-down live versions of classics from their first two records. Recorded live at Rag Tag Studios in London, the band worked with Grammy-winning producer Liam Watson (White Stripes ‘Elephant’) and Mixer Oli Bayston (Boxed In) for this one. The record also features Pink Floyd slide guitar player BJ Cole and harmonica player Nick Reynolds. The record comes out on July 12th—although fleet-footed fans already scored it as a limited edition pink-vinyl LP on last month’s Record Store Day. (“Easily my favorite score during RSD 2019, from the packaging and sweet colored wax, to the actual sonics, as it has an immediacy and edginess I can’t recall experiencing in some time,” commented BLURT editor Fred Mills.)

As the band is obviously favorite here, we are beyond thrilled (or chuffed, if you’re reading this from the UK) to be premiering the song “Blackout Fever.”

“We wanted to capture the vibe we get when we’re jamming late at night,” explains frontman Felix Bechtolsheimer. “So we booked a couple of days in the studio, invited a few friends down and pressed record. Toe Rag Studios is an incredible place. There are no computers. There’s no technology to tempt you. We just played everything completely live like we do when we’re messing around in our rehearsal room, with no overdubs or studio trickery, so what you hear is exactly what was played.”

The band will be touring Europe for much of this summer, and you can view tour dates at their Facebook page.

More useful links:

 https://www.curseoflonoband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/curseoflonoband/

https://twitter.com/curseoflonoband

https://www.instagram.com/curseoflonoband/

 

 

 

Video Premiere: Jean Caffeine “Mad as Hell (in the White Night”

Ms. Sadie Saturday Night serves up a passionate revisit to the ’79 White Night Riots in San Francisco—and she was there that night, four decades ago, too.

By Fred Mills

About a year and a half ago we posted a review of Austin singer-songwriter Jean Caffeine and her nigh-on brilliant Sadie Saturday Nite album and accompanying stage show, which is effectively a sonic memoir going all the way back to her late ‘70s punk rock days in San Francisco.

We subsequently posted her videos for album tracks “All Girl Band,” a fond look back at her old bands The Urge, Pulsallama, and Clambake, and the Sex Pistols-inspired “Winter of Hate,” and now we are pretty proud to be able to present her latest video, below. It’s titled “Mad as Hell (in the White Night)” which commemorates the 40th anniversary of the White Night Riots in San Francisco, May 21, 1979. Jean notes, “The music for the song is co-written with Josh Robins from Austin’s Invincible Czars. He was a creative consultant on my Sadie show. His band tours the US doing live accompaniment/soundtracks for various silent films.”

Jean, in creating her Sadie Saturday Night one-woman show some time back, has written about her memories of that night – the riots were in response to the verdict in the Dan White trial, who, as she recalls, “received a very light sentence for murdering Mayor George Moscone and our first out council member Harvey Milk… The city ignited both metaphorically in protest and riot and literally…police cars were burned. After hearing the sentence, I tried to get home from a bar that night and ended up being chased by police along with a bunch of rioters… so although I was in solidarity with the protesters, it was a night of accidental activism on my part.”  It’s well-worth reading some of her additional remembrances now, so I’ll turn this forum over to Jean.

Incidentally, she has a new EP in the can that she hopes to release soon, so stay tuned for details. And upcoming tour dates follow Jean’s remembrance, below.

“One evening in 1979, I was in Day’s Saloon, a barn like old school Hoff Brau and Irish bar on Market Street, near Powell where the cable car turns around.  Days was owned by a couple of brothers. You could get an Irish coffee there, occasionally see a band (my all girl band, the Urge was pretty much the house band). You could get a corned beef sandwich there, on St. Patty’s. If you were lucky it might have been sliced by former roommate Will Shatter, of Negative Trend and Flipper. Days was a haunt of the Urge, and its benevolent bartender, Terese, was sister to my bandmates, sisters Mary and Julie Lawler.

“I had quit the Urge a year earlier in a giant huff over offenses and intrusions during a recording session – over conflicts with the owner of the small label that was recording our single. He was sleeping with one of us girls, not that I wouldn’t, but I wasn’t, because he was an asshole.  He and I quarreled during the  session. I thought the girls would stand by me, but as it turned out, not so much. Leaving the band, which consisted of two of my best gal pals from even before punk rock was tough – it left a big dent in my life, and they quickly filled my drummer void with another gal pal, and they stripped my drum track and had her redo it. Which hurt.

“After a year of no contact with the girls I starting having drinks at the bar at Days, visiting with Terese.  I guess I was laying the first bricks in rebuilding the friendship by putting my toes in friendly waters.  I visited with Terese for a while and she made me a sweet cocktail. I liked drinks that were more like food.  Drinks with a high butterfat count like Hot Toddies and Irish Coffee.  Terese had the radio on and we heard the verdict of the Dan White trial. White had killed mayor Moscone and City Councilman and pioneering gay rights activist, Harvey Milk.  The sentence was as light as Wonderbread. We were both steamin’ mad.

“Angry, I headed out onto Market Street south towards my apartment.  As I tried to cross Market Street, I got caught up in what I didn’t yet realize was a riot.  There were broken shop windows and looting. Apparently we weren’t the only people pissed off about the Dan White verdict.   The light sentence for a double murder was an outrage.  San Francisco reacted rightfully and righteously by going crazy. I was not prepared for what I saw going down on Market Street. I tried to walk in the direction of my place and I got caught inside a mob, which was running away from the police in a completely different direction.  I took a different turn and the same thing happened again and then again until I was chased with the mob to the park by City Hall where a line of police cars were smoldering, having been set on fire.  Although my sentiments were with the rioters, that night I became an accidental activist, and the memory of the night smolders like the cop cars I saw that night.”

*******************

Tour Dates:

May 21 Del’s Books n’ More, El Paso

June 7 Harvest House, Denton TX

June 8 The Kollective, AR

June 9 Lamplighter, Memphis

June 13 Mohawk Place, Buffalo

June 15 ArtBar ArtWord, Hamilton, ON

June 16 The Communist Daughter, TO

June 19, The Garnet, Peterbourough

June 20th L’Escallier, Mtl, Quebec

June 21 Bar Robo, Ottawa

June 22, Shaika Cafe, MTL

June 23, Grumpy’s, MTL

June 26th The High Low, Catskill, NY

July 7 Bar Redux, New Orleans

August 3rd 4pm The Parlour, Austin, TX w/ Prof. Fuzz

Sept 21 Rite Spot, San Francisco

 

 

Video Premiere: Floating Children “Hive Mind”

Glam-bam-thank-you-Ma’am! You’ll be ditching social media and reverting to real-world activities soon, thanks to the band and the surreal video’s creator. (Photos credit: Emma Esser)

By Blurt Staff

North Carolina musical institution The Floating Children take their “dancing tribe” on a surreal journey in the new animated video for current single, “Hive Mind.” Created by NC State College of Design professor Greg Carter, the video follows avatars of band members as they navigate the weird world of social media, ultimately re-discovering the bonding and uplifting power of music. The song itself also captures  the Floating Children performance aesthetic – building to a chanted crescendo, it piles crunchy guitars, a theremin, swelling harmonies, a toy piano, and more into what the band rightly calls “a mountain of ear candy.”

“It’s a bit like ‘Yellow Submarine’ re-booted for our new, digital age of human exploration,” says Carter (pictured here).

He’s not kidding – you half expect a pack of Blue Meanies to pop out of the frame at some point. We’re pretty stoked to be able to share the video with the BLURT audience, so check it out below:

Hive Mind – Black Hat mix from Greg Carter on Vimeo.

“We didn’t just go to town on this production, we went to the Emerald City by way of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory,” says Floating Children lead singer Billy Warden. “The glitter and glee of our shows are all over these grooves.”

Sums up guitarist Jeffo Holshouser: “‘Hive Mind’ is our glam band grand slam.”

The song was produced by Michael Graziano and Artem Smirnov at Raleigh’s Thread Audio studios, and the band subsequently discovered Carter’s animated art at Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum. They note that at that point they knew they “had their man – he could bring it to life with appropriate ‘zip and zow.'”

Fittingly, the Floating Children unveiled “Hive Mind” with a surreal “happening” at Raleigh’s leading downtown gallery, ArtSpace. The spectacle included:

  • The national anthem performed by Micah Gaugh on his famed double sax

  • Mister Rogers readings in character by Raleigh attorney Gene Davis

  • The percussion stylings of Bongo John

  • An appropriately antic set by the band which was crashed by a man in a gorilla suit

From “Hive Mind”:

“Can’t put your phone down?
Come to our gig in your town
You won’t need a code
Just let your joy explode …
Come on, expand your hive mind”

Incoming: N.C. Cold Mountain Fest w/Calexico, Milk Carton Kids, YMSB

Third annual acclaimed event takes place May 31-June 1 in Canton, North Carolina.

By Fred Mills

With the festival season already in motion (the celeb clusterfuck known as Coachella not duly noted), here in the Tar Heel state – where BLURT is based – the concert-going denizens are gearing up. Literally in our backyard is the third installment of the Cold Mountain Music Festival, taking place May 31 and June 1 in Canton, North Carolina, at the undeniably gorgeous Lake Logan, and our magic 8-ball tells us that it promises to be a winner.

Allow us to quote from the organizers, and watch this space for updates and additional info.

With music as its centerpiece, Cold Mountain is pleased to be hosting a tasting board of artists ranging from the folk, funk, Americana, bluegrass and post-rock worlds, with highlights including a very special full band performance by Grammy-nominated outfit The Milk Carton Kids, critically acclaimed “desert noir” duo Calexico, crowd-favorite bluegrass ensemble Yonder Mountain String Band, fast rising troubadour J.S. Ondara, and “soul queen” Kat Wright, among others. With two full days of nonstop music, attendees can expect an immersive and balanced weekend of electric, hip-shaking tunes and swoon-worthy acoustic melodies. Also to note, daily schedules and single day passes have just been released, making it easier than ever for folks to curate their ideal festival experience.

Tying it all together is Lake Logan’s pristine 300-acre property surrounded by the Shining Rock Wilderness Area of Pisgah National Forest, where a variety of outdoor activities will be available, including paddle-boarding (on Cold Mountain equipment only), swimming, and fishing (with valid permit).

With music, food, sun and sand, Haywood County’s own Cold Mountain Festival is the ultimate weekend retreat. General admission weekend, single day, and youth passes are available at www.coldmountainmusic.org and range from $20-$100. For more information on camping, dining, and more, please visit www.coldmountainmusic.org/faq.

 

 

Boy Howdy! Creem Documentary Film Interviews

Director Scott Crawford and writer/co-producer Jaan Uhelszki talk about their documentary on the legendary rock mag. Check out a film teaser as well as an extended trailer following the interview.

BY ROBIN E. COOK

Creem was a zany, larger-than-life rock magazine that could only have emerged in Detroit in the late 1960s. The personalities behind Creem were equally colorful, such as founder Barry Kramer and writers Dave Marsh and Lester Bangs. The magazine’s history is told in Boy Howdy! The Story of Creem, with interviews from former staffers and rock star fans.

The documentary was screened last month in Austin during South by Southwest, and Blurt interviewed the film’s director Scott Crawford and writer/ex-Creem scribe Jaan Uhelszki. (Ed. Note: Crawford, incidentally, originally founded Blurt in 2008, following the demise of his popular music magazine Harp; he subsequently handed off the reins to current owner Stephen Judge to embark upon a career in film. Jaan Uhelszki, in addition to her storied career as a journalist, was a contributor to both publications. I was proud to work with both of them. Don’t miss this film, period.—FM)

2019 Louder Than Life Festival Returns in Sept.

Louisville, Kentucky, September 27, 28, and 29 is where the dirty deeds will be done…

BY MARK JACKSON

The Louder Than Life Festival is back and louder than ever! The festival had a great lineup set for last year, and then the floods came and destroyed the park leading to the festival having to be canceled for 2018. If you know Danny Wimmer then you already know that this set back would not stop him and his team for 2019! This year Louder Than Life changed the location to prevent any chances of rain from stopping the fun. This alone was a great move, but Danny went above and beyond by reuniting two huge bands and bringing them to Louisville!

As if the one and only Guns N’ Roses wasn’t enough they also are bringing Staind who will perform for the first time in five years! This alone makes the festival news worthy, but wait there’s more like Disturbed, Slipknot, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, a Day to Remember, Breaking Benjamin, Godsmack, Three Days Grace, Chevelle, Halestorm, Ice Cube, Die Antwoord, The Crystal Method, GWAR, I Prevail, New Years Day, Dropkick Murphys, Stone Temple Pilots, Badflower, Suicidal Tendencies, joyous Wolf, Jelly Roll, and many more.

From the start this has been a premier festival and this year is set to take it to a new level. FYI all the camping passes have already sold out and ticket sells are on a record breaking pace to sell out soon, so you better hurry or else you will just be seeing all the highlights on social media while you are at work!

Go here to view Mark’s review and gallery of the 2017 festival.

Upcoming This Month: Monolith on the Mesa Festival

Put your transport settings on “Taos” (and don’t forget to bring ‘shrooms to this new festival,,,)

By Jonathan Levitt

The maiden Monolith on the Mesa music festival will take place on May 17 and 18th in Taos New Mexico. When I saw the lineup, I immediately booked my flights and started listening to some of the bands I thought I would never have a chance to see like Om, Dead Meadow, and Woven Hand.

Having grown up in the southwest, northern New Mexico was often a favorite summer destination for my family. Psychedelic music has often drawn inspiration from the desert southwest, with its dramatic thunderstorms and intense heat as well as certain mystical elements mythologized by folklore and druggy culture. Two years ago when I was living in Santa Fe it snowed on April 29th and then a few days later hail storms hit the area. Taos experiences even more unpredictable weather from what I hear, so things might get interesting! Festival founders Dano Sanchez and Roman Barham (we’ll be running an interview with them soon) have curated what looks to be the festival to beat in 2019.

There will be plenty of local vendors selling their wares, and according to the festival, both the indoor and outdoor venues should allow for a more intimate interaction between band and audience. I will attempt to film some of the festival for our readers in the hope that some of you will be similarly inspired to make the trek down to New Mexico. Anyway, on to a few of the bands.

OM, whose album Advaitic Songs has been on constant rotation in my life, manages to seamlessly blend Indian musical elements and their heavy narcotic churn.   Check out this amazing clip from 2013


Dead Meadow, who hail from Washington D.C., have seven amazing albums of psychedelic brilliance under their belt and this show from 2017 suggests what a blistering set they can deliver:

Let’s also not forget that Jason Simon is also a part of the band Old Mexico, whose brilliant album was reviewed in these very pages just a few months ago.

David Eugene Edwards’ band Woven Hand takes the fire and brimstone of 16 horsepower and blends it with widescreen mysticism. This show that was performed at a Synagogue in 2011, shows the incandescent transitory nature of their music.

There are also bands that I only recently discovered, such as Canadian band Weeed who bring the heavy on this titanic tune “Rainbow Amplifier Worship”—check out this live version:

And then there’s Green Druid with their sludge version of “My Sharona”:

Not to mention Pinkish Black with this epic track entitled “Loss of Feeling of Loss”: