R.E.M. – In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 LP

Album: In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003

Artist: R.E.M.

Label: Craft Recordings

Release Date: June 07, 2019


Despite breaking up nearly 10 years ago, there are still few bands from the ‘80s and ‘90s that can still command allegiance from the masses like R.E.M. Sure there are a slew of groups from that era that can brag about cult status, but R.E.M is among the few who have managed to hold on to their core early adopters from their I.R.S. years and bring along an entire generation of new fans when they moved onto the much larger Warner Bros label in 1988. Which brings us to this stellar vinyl reissue of In Time their best of 1988 – 2003 collections.

The set, released less than six months after the band’s Reveal album, covers their time on Warner from 1988’s Green up to this point. The label Craft Recordings, like they have with other R.E.M. vinyl reissues, have done a brilliant job. Released on 180-gram vinyl, they made a limited run on translucent blue – simply stunning. This marks the first time in 15 years this record has been out on vinyl.

The double LP set includes 18 songs, including two from soundtracks (the so-so “All The Right Friends” from Vanilla Sky and the stunning “The Great Beyond” from Man On The Moon) as well as two previously unreleased tracks, “Animal” and “Bad Day”. The records are housed in a deluxe gatefold jacket. Unlike many of the quickly thrown together vinyl re-releases that are almost routine nowadays, In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003, along from being crammed with great songs, is gorgeously designed, befitting a band as important as R.E.M.





Bad Spell 5/31/19, Atlanta

Dates: May 31, 2019

Location: Star Bar, Atlanta GA

Live at the Star Bar, and ready to wield some sonic magic…


When a band like Bad Spell jumps into the fray you kind of assume they are going to kick ass, and in fact they ought to damn well bloody rock because it ain’t the first rodeo for these cats individually, not by a long shot. Brian Malone (guitar) headed up The Forty-Fives, a definitive lights-out garage band. Shane Pringle (guitar, bass) was with the very active Tiger! Tiger! and others. And Pietro Digenarro on drums is a force of nature. They do not disappoint. We caught up with ‘em at Little Five Points’ famed Star Community Bar, where they blasted through material from their kickass new album Don’t Go Out Tonight (Midnight Cruiser Records) — which, incidentally, notched a 4-stars-outta-5 rave review here at BLURT recently. As our reviewer duly noted at the time, “Bad Spell’s energy level kicks the needle into the red, pulling back at just the right times, in order to make the next punch deadlier.” Which ain’t a bad description for their live show, too.


Monolith on the Mesa Festival 5/17/19 & 5/18/19

Dates: May 17 & 18, 2019

Location: Taos, New Mexico

Taos will never be quite the same again… until next year. Go here for our pre-fest feature and interview.


The inaugural Monolith on the Mesa festival, held on May 17 &18 in Taos, New Mexico, left an indelible mark on the audience and bands alike. With a relentless two days’ worth of seismic torrents pummeling the area, ear drums were shattered and the geology of Northern New Mexico will never be the same.

Unable to attend myself I managed to draft in musicologist, photographer, and raconteur John “Rastaman” Galuska, who withstood the sonic onslaught and fog of mystical herbs to bring you two days of images from the festival. —Jonathan Levitt, Blurt Psych/Levitation Editor


Friday, May 17

Dead Meadow

Spirit Mother

Super Giant









Woven Hand

Saturday May 18


Crypt Trip



Pinkish Black





Mark Lanegan / Simon Bonney 5/14/19, Brooklyn

Dates: May 14, 2019

Location: Warsaw, Brooklyn, NY

Two sets at the Warsaw venue from two longtime favorites—but sadly, only one of them delivered the real Kielbasa.


I was finally able to catch Simon Bonney and his wife Bronwyn Adams live for the first time. I’m a huge fan of their work, both on Simon’s solo albums as well as with Crime and the City Solution, whose 1990’s masterpiece, Paradise Discotheque, will be revisited here in the not too distant future.

Simon and Bronwyn (above, with the author) put on an intimate show for the assembled audience, showcasing songs from Bonney’s solo records which was engaging and emotionally resonant . A career spanning compilation of Bonney’s solo output has just been released, available here.  Also check out the exclusive video I shot for BLURT to see what you missed:


Being a fan of Mark Lanegan’s body of work, I was less than impressed with the rather frosty sheen to his live show. Shunning interaction with the audience, Lanegan instead chose to perform as if the audience didn’t exist and he was merely fulfilling a contractual obligation. Two-thirds of the way through, I walked next door inside the venue and ate a Kielbasa sandwich, which proved far more entertaining.

Nick Waterhouse 5/20/19, Atlanta

Dates: May 20, 2019

Location: Terminal West, Atlanta GA

Live at Terminal West – THE place to be on an otherwise dead Monday night, as it turned out.


Nick Waterhouse will transport you to a pre-snarky, pre-psychedelic America when what mattered most was love, and the ability to translate the ensuing heartbreak that follows into a soul-driven R&B number. Throw in some beatnik-jazz and coffeehouse-rockabilly arrangements and that’s Nick. I have attempted to create some funky photographs from the Atlanta show at Terminal West to try and to capture Nick’s funky world.

With a few more shows in Texas to go, Waterhouse and band were wrapping up a world tour last week behind his latest self-titled LP released by Innovative Leisure this spring. It’s getting deserved rave reviews, and as it’s his 4th LP, why self-titled? Explained Waterhouse, “After it was all done, I realized it was probably telling the strongest story about my own motives and perspectives.”

But take my word – all the records are good, so start with any of them.

Nick’s online home: and his cool Tumblr page:

Beale Street Music Festival 5/3-5/19, Memphis

Dates: May 3 - 5, 2019

Location: Memphis, TN


Beale Street Music Festival was held over the weekend of May 3rd-5th with a few of the headliners being Dave Matthews, G-Easy, Khalid, Shinedown, and Cardi B and a last minute surprise guest appearance of Miley Cyrus, thanks to Facebook and Beale Street Music Festival.  Facebook brought Miley in to kick off a new campaign named More Together #moretogether. Miley sang three of her own songs during the live Facebook recording and brought out a Marc Cohn to do a duet of his hit song “Walking In Memphis”. This is a great song to listen to anytime, but this time was even more special for me as I was standing next to the Mississippi River in the pouring rain as the lyrics go.

Day 1 Friday kicked off with the gates opening in the afternoon with Saving Abel on the Bud Light Stage and this stage didn’t stop rocking all night with In This Moment, Good Charlotte, and Shinedown.

The FedEx Stage Carried the Hip Hop acts of Blocboy JB and Lil Dicky as well as R&B superstar Khalid, while the Terminix Stage hosted Dirty Heads, Chvrches, and Dave Matthews Band and remember this is just day 1.

Saturday was unfortunately overcast with light rain most of the day with clearing up in the evening shortly after Miley’s performance, but not before making several muddy areas though out the park. This did not damp the spirits of festival goers one bit as most know, this is Memphis in May and rain often visits for at least part of the festival. Galoshes and a poncho are must bring items, even if they never leave the trunk. The thirty thousand plus fans tracked through the rain and mud puddles to their favorite stages to see such acts as Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Moon Taxi, Coin, Muck Sticky, Charlie Wilson, and Big Boi, before having to choose either One Republic or G-Easy for the headliner spot.

Beale Street sold out of all the three day passes and Sunday one day passes with thirty five thousand tickets being sold for Sunday. Sunday was a perfect day in the mid 70’s and sunny and the mud had completely dried out making for a great festival day for the thirty five thousand people who made their way down the banks of the Mississippi to party and see Cardi B perform, but first there was a lot of great bands to see. The moment the gates opened at 1p.m. there was a mad rush from many fans who rushed to grab a front or near front spot for Cardi and who would hold these spots all day without moving to ensure they would have a time that won’t be soon forgotten. As for other fans they would make their way around to such acts as Memphis rapper NLE Choppa who has jumped on the scene with two new hot videos that are racking up millions of views on YouTube in a short period. You may have heard of this young Memphis rapper from the articles in the news lately stating that he turned down a $3M record deal. Other great acts that performed on Sunday were Lord Huron, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Everclear, Moneybagg Yo, 6lack, and Gary Clark Jr.

This is a must watch for your next year festival possibilities, not only is this a great festival and staff, but it’s in Memphis, Tn with tons of things to do and see. Oh yeah and the best BBQ in the world!


Big Boi

Block Boy

Cardi B


Dave Matthews

Dirty Heads


G Easy

Gary Clark Jr.

Good Charlotte

In This Moment


Lil Dicky

Lord Huron

Miley Cyrus

Moneybaggs Yo

Muck Sticky

NLE Choppa

Ravyn Lenae

Saving Abel


St. Paul & the Broken Bones

Trippe Red

KEATS – Radio Sounds

Album: Radio Sounds

Artist: Keats

Label: self-released

Release Date: May 28, 2018

The Upshot: With summer, comes the need to kick out some jams and, given the mood, lighten the hell up. This is traffic-busting music for driving with the top down and one promising debut from a little-known journeyman with his eye on a prize.


Sadly, the number of good power pop albums released these days can be counted on one hand or less. Then, out of left field comes Tony Keats and a strong first release, Radio Sounds. We wish radio sounded this good anymore.

To be fair, these eleven, fresh-sounding tracks lean more towards ‘pop’ than they do ‘power’, yet each perky composition is carefully thought out and expertly played – featuring Keats’ prominent vocals and guitar, joined by Brian Pitts (bass/vocals), Kyle Walsh (drums/vocals), Brian Rogers (pedal steel), Don Eanes (piano, organ, clavinet) and co-producer, Dave Coleman (guitar, percussion). It’s the energy that rises out of this combination of players that thrusts their sound into the power category. Each arrangement sings – even before Keats utters a lyric – and that’s the secret ‘power’ behind each song. You can feel the fact that these guys love what they’re doing.

“Radio Sounds” – the initial track – sneaks up on you with its gentle reliance on Eanes’ piano and Rogers’ pedal steel. Yet, it soon amps up at the 1:04 mark, thanks to a tougher, full-band sound that makes the most out of tasty guitar, pedal steel and some subtle B3. This lone track frames Keats as a bit of a Jackson Browne clone (I know…not known for his power pop) while the guitar, here, is distinctly Lindley-esque. That comparison is immediately dashed with the upbeat chords of a more playful “Love & Affection” as Keats and crew deliver something sounding more akin to early Graham Parker, its nicely Vox-ish,? and the Mysterians organ vamp updated by sharp-toothed guitar stings and an juiced-up rhythm section. This is clearly driving music. The equally feel-good “Something Changed” features horns, pedal steel and has an underbelly of guitar strength plus a killer chorus.

The lone cover on the disc is a surprising one. Imagine having the unmitigated gall to cover something as sacred as Van Morrison’s “Cleaning Windows”? Yet, thanks to its ramped-up production levels – including the same uncredited horn section, great B3 and clavinet from Don Eanes – Keats’ warm vocal fits the track perfectly, right down to cloning Van’s quirky asides. One of the disc’s strongest outings is found in the beautiful “East Nashville Fireflies”. And beautiful is more than appropriate, given the delicate intro of piano, pedal steel and acoustic guitar as Keats offers a gentler, kinder vocal to fuel this love song to his favorite place to live (although it may well be about something else…). Throughout, Keats’ voice is the album’s greatest strength and he uses it to alternate between the thoughtful and heartfelt and, as required, the half-crazed, energetic and committed. The somewhat surprising, over-the-top intensity of “The Getaway“ suggests an uncharacteristic display of muscle to offset the band’s softer side, demonstrating their potential as tougher, more guitar-oriented rockers. It’s a nice balance – as evidenced at the halfway point of this song, where things slow down to reveal the same strong chorus set to the backdrop of a more focused, but still-gnarly, guitar treatment. A mellow ballad in the form of “The Only Way I Know How”, Keats’ voice is showcased further, and it seems there’s little he can’t do, vocally, the background instrumentation always working to turn what might be ‘harmless ditties’ into serious contenders, compositionally. “To Be Happy” stands out for its powerful, singalong-worthy chorus – a Beach Boy-ready sunshine song boasting hooks to spare (especially in the song’s final minute) plus some tasteful use of pedal steel. Likewise, “Raining In New Orleans” is, perhaps, Radio Sounds’ strongest foot forward. Not unlike Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night In Georgia”, it’s a soul-packed, slo-mo mood-maker which accentuates Keats’ abilities as front man, aided and abetted by his surprisingly tight band of fellow Nashvillians. It’s a warm, elegant track featuring great B3, the always-outstanding drum spark of Walsh (who, together with Brian Pitts’ quietly-powerful basslines, make this a rhythm section to reckon with), led by Keats’ confident vocal and some of his strongest songwriting. The somewhat jarring “Une Cerveza” (due to its sequencing after the exquisite “Raining”) is a fun, crowd-pleaser of a song, using punchy horns to drive it into Keats’ Jimmy Buffet moment, with another strong hook all its own.

The soft touch of “The Dream” serves as an appropriate coda to close this 11-track release. Another kinder, gentler treatment of the subject matter which – with thanks to some weeping pedal steel – picks up the pace enough for allow Keats’ to again rekindle the Parker-esque snarl in his voice to keep things interesting. As his band changes the instrumentation around him, all firm snare hits and swelling B3, the song proves a memorable closer – as Keats’ Dream, is still alive and far from over.

Filthy Friends + Dressy Bessy 5/19/19, Atlanta

Dates: May 19, 2019

Location: The Earl, Atlanta GZ

Live at The Earl, it was supa-group time…


It was remarkable how this band came out swinging at The Earl Saturday night.  Youda thought they were a new hungry band trying to get noticed, with something to prove, and a batch of urgent new songs you need to hear.  While all that is true – instead of being a new band Filthy Friends is a who’s who of veteran indie-rock giants who could be coasting, making a victory lap record and on cruise control.  This is a band that is hungry again, poised, and playing like they mean it.

The band is Corin Tucker (of Sleater-Kinney), Linda Pitmon on drums, Kurt Bloch, Scott McCaughey, and of course Peter Buck who is back in top form.   I haven’t seen him move, dig in, or jangle as much as he was here in way too many years and it’s great to see some fire back in his playing.  And how cool is it seeing Scott back where he belongs after recovering from a serious health issue a couple years back?

Based in Portland, OR Filthy Friends have just released their 2nd LP ‘Emerald Valley’ and has a few more dates this week as they head up the US East coast, wrapping up in NYC, then it’s off for a short Euro tour.   Go and enjoy some veterans showing the kids how to do it.

Upcoming tour dates are here:


Opening act was the great Dressy Bessy and they are with Filthy Friends until the end of the week, then continuing their tour into the summer, with a new LP release early June.
Don’t miss ‘em.  You’ve been warned.


Join John on Instagram @johnboydstonphoto.  Or visit for bigger galleries of weird birds and milky ways.

DATURA4 – Blessed is the Boogie

Album: Blessed is the Boogie

Artist: Datura4

Label: Alive Natural Sound

Release Date: April 05, 2019

Available on digital, compact laser disc, and sweet colored vinyl (see below).


Though best known as a power pop/garage rock god fronting the Stems and DM3, Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist Dom Mariani got his initial inspiration from the original wave of his country’s bluesy hard rock bands: Coloured Balls, Buffalo, etc. Joined by ex-Drones drummer Warren Hall, Dave Hole keyboardist Bob Patient, and Jack and the Beanstalk/Majestic Kelp bassist Stu Loasby, Mariani turns Datura4 into a tribute to his youthful influences. Blessed is the Boogie, the quartet’s third LP, goes right for the jugular, putting Mariani’s formidable six-string chops up front of a set of songs that could have come from 1974.

The blues is at the heart of “Run With Lucy” and “Black Dog Keep Running,” but to equate these songs with John Lee Hooker—or even Led Zeppelin—is to do them a disservice. When it comes to writing memorable tunes, Mariani can’t help himself, and while this isn’t the Badfinger-meets-Foghat mashup of which some wags have likely dreamed, it’s not far off.

Plus, Mariani is no macho cock rock shouter – no matter what backdrop he stands in front of, he’ll always have that slightful soulful, melodic power pop voice, backed here, as everywhere, with creamy vocal harmonies. Check the folk rocking “Not For Me” and “The City of Lights” and the overtly psychedelic “Cat On a Roof,” breaths of fresh air that meld Mariani’s pop sensibilities with the period sounds he evokes elsewhere. Ultimately, though, the record is all about riffing, strumming and soloing guitars—that Mariani drafts his exceptional axepersonship to such indelible tunes makes Blessed is the Boogie all the more satisfying.

DOWNLOAD: “City of Lights,” “Run With Lucy,” “Not For Me”

Datura4 previously reviewed:

Hairy Mountain

            “Demon Blues


Greta Van Fleet 5/13/19, Atlanta

Dates: May 13, 2019

Location: Fox Theatre, Atlanta

Live at the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta Monday night, these rock ‘n’ roll kids had their chops down. (The band plays tonight in Charlotte, NC.)


Greta Van Fleet’s “March of the Peaceful Army” tour is in full swing after a couple of sold-out shows at Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theater. They came out thundering into their fans’ favorite songs, which, based on this crowd’s reaction is – all of them.

GVF are the brothers Kiszka – lead singer Josh (22), guitarist Jake (22), bassist Sam (19) – and drummer Danny Wagner (20).



The band is touring North America and Europe for the rest of the year, playing songs from their 2018 LP “March of the Peaceful Army” and their 8-song double-EP release “From the Fires” which just won a Grammy for Best Rock Album. Not bad for a band of young 20-somethings dubbed by some as Led Zeppelin for Generation Z. Whatever they are, these kids are amazingly talented and stage-savvy way beyond their years and visibly having a good time bringing their original blues and rock to the young and old masses.


Opening for GVF for several upcoming shows is Ida Mae, an English husband-wife bluesy duo you will be glad you caught, so get there early enough.