Bits: Nicole Atkins, The Meat Puppets, The Twilight Singers, The Black Keys, A Place to Bury Strangers

  • Nicole Atkins will be playing a live acoustic session and chatting on livestream Wednesday, 1.19, at 1:30 PM ET/10:30 AM PT.
  • The Meat Puppets will be releasing their new album, Lollipop, in April, Paste reports. Their line-up now includes Shandon Sahm, son of Texan multi-instrumentalist Doug Sahm, on drums.
  • The Twilight Singers’ upcoming album, Dynamite Steps, is available for pre-order at Sub Pop. The pre-order entitles you to stream the album online immediately, and if you pre-order by 2.15, you’ll receive two non-album tracks.
  • Though they’ve had to cancel their Australia/New Zealand tour and part of their European tour, the Black Keys juggernaut rolls on with an appearance on Austin City Limits airing 1.22 on PBS, in a split episode with Sonic Youth. (The Keys’ appearance was taped about three months ago. I am very excited about this, having hoped for a Keys ACL for a long time now.)
  • A Place to Bury Strangers will hit the road again this spring, including SXSW gigs where they will premiere material from their forthcoming, as-yet-untitled album. These guys are amazing live.

    THU 3/10 – ATLANTA, GA – Masquerade*

    FRI 3/11 – DURHAM, NC … Continue reading

Bits: Juniper Tar, The Builders and the Butchers, Gregg Allman, Drive-By Truckers, The Black Keys

  • Juniper Tar has a frigging sweet deal in their online store: their full-length album To The Trees, The Howl Street EP, a lovely T-shirt plus a handmade mix CD. Eight bucks plus shipping. Get on that.
  • My Old Kentucky Blog has a new tune for you from the Builders and the Butchers’ forthcoming album, Dead Reckoning. Hot.
  • Gregg Allman’s new album, Low Country Blues, is streaming on NPR’s First Listen. It’s well worth a listen. (I think I may even like his cover of Skip James’ “Devil Got My Woman”, which is an accomplishment since that song is nearly sacred to me.)
  • Drive-By Truckers has begun posting behind the scenes episodes for their new album Go-Go Boots at their Vimeo page. You can find the first two episodes and other goodies there.
  • The Black Keys made a return visit to Letterman yesterday, and you can watch the performance at The Audio Perv if’n you missed it. And if you missed their great appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend, well, we’ve got that for you, too. (They also played “Tighten Up”.)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8A1yy_CrIc?fs=1]

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(Guest) Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: Nate Burrell’s Best of 2010

Regular Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog Jennifer is taking a well-deserved vacation, and NTSIB friend Nate Burrell was kind enough to contribute his favorite photos of 2010 from his own collection. In addition to being a hell of a nice guy, Nate is a great photographer, and we’re very pleased to feature him again.

The Black Keys:
To Summarize: this band kicks ass. They have since 2002, and they are finally getting their due respect on a wider scale in 2010. Their most recent release, Brothers, opened them up to popular outlets, due to its groove-thick gnarly sound and the hit single Tighten Up; but don’t be fooled- their catalogue prior to this year’s album is disgustingly good. Get learned if you haven’t already.
www.theblackkeys.com


Dan Auerbach stepping to the edge of the stage for the sold out crowd at the Pageant – St. Louis, MO.

Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three:
After successfully touring the US and the UK, as well as having been named Best New Discovery at 2010’s Newport Folk Festival, this St. Louis-based American Roots Music band is definitely a band to look for. Absolutely awesome … Continue reading

Bits: Cadillac Sky, The Due Diligence, Bill Monroe, Justin Townes Earle, The Black Keys

  • We are very sad to announce that Cadillac Sky are going on “indefinite hiatus”, i.e. they broke up. But I guess if you’re going to go, it’s good to go out on the best album of your career. And we still have The David Mayfield Parade to enjoy, along with projects the other guys will surely be involved with.
  • The Due Diligence is touring! Along with Crazy Brains and a number of local openers, they are hitting a number of joints down the eastern U.S., including a January 13 stop at Now That’s Class with Shivering Timbers.
  • The International Bluegrass Music Museum will be hosting the Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration in honor of what would have been the 100th birthday of the late bluegrass great September 12-14 in Owensboro, Kentucky. The amazing line-up will include Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Doc Watson, Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman, J.D. Crowe, Bobby Osborne, Eddie Adcock, Tom Gray, Kenny Baker, Curly Seckler, Everett Lilly, The Lewis Family, Bill Clifton, Rodney Dillard, Melvin Goins and Paul Williams.
  • Justin Townes Earle will be hitting the Late Show with David Letterman tomorrow night, January 5, while the … Continue reading

No More Words: Rock Instrumentals

Once upon a time, in the relative infancy of rock ‘n’ roll, rock instrumentals were such a popular form that some artists were dedicated entirely to instrumentals and some who, while having a few songs with vocals, built their reputation on instrumentals – artists like the Ventures, the Fireballs, Duane Eddy, The Surfaris and Dick Dale. In time, the popularity of rock instrumentals faded until today when it seems like rock instrumentals are mainly the domain of dinosaurs and noodlers.

Here are a few of my favorite rock instrumentals, ending with what I hope is a glimmer of hope for the future of good rock instrumentals.

Link Wray was a man ahead of his time. A stone cold and cool greaser with a dangerous sound, you can still hear his influence today on some of today’s music. If cool has a soundtrack, Wray’s 1958 hit “Rumble” is definitely a featured number.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NAq4HyoNe4?fs=1]

Released a year later, it’s difficult to believe that “Sleep Walk” by brother duo Santo & Johnny could even exist in the same universe as “Rumble”. It’s a dreamy piece with some of the most evocative guitar ever recorded.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogxTQXAgY3Q?fs=1]

In the late ’50s and … Continue reading

The Captain is Dead, Long Live the Captain

I’ll admit that it was only very recently that I began getting into the music of Captain Beefheart (a.k.a Don Van Vliet) and his Magic Band after realizing how many of the musicians I love have been influenced by it. Everyone from Greg Dulli to Joe Strummer to, well, practically everyone I’ve ever listened to and really enjoyed. The prize for most Beefheart tributes paid by one band may well go to the Black Keys who have covered four of Beefheart’s songs, including Beefheart’s own cover of “Grown So Ugly” (as discussed in this post).

Van Vliet passed away Friday morning, at the age of 69, due to complications from Multiple Sclerosis. For me, it feels fitting to pay my tribute to the influential and singular giant by way of the band who made me most familiar with his work before I began delving into the source itself. So here are the rest of those Black Keys covers along with the Beefheart originals.

“Her Eyes are a Blue Million Miles” is a touching song from an artist who was better known for freaking people out. Here’s a live rendition from 1978.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd2L1lkPaP8?fs=1]

Then the Keys turned it … Continue reading

Bits: Roky Erickson & the Black Angels, Robert Pollard, the Black Keys, the Low Anthem

  • Roky Erickson and the Black Angels: Night of the Vampire is now on Pitchfork’s One Week Only.
  • Paste shares the details on Robert Pollard’s latest batch of releases. Solo album on 1.18, Lifeguards on 2.15 and Mars Classroom on 3.29.
  • The Black Keys returned to the KCRW studios yesterday. You can watch or listen here.
  • If you haven’t yet grabbed the free download of “Ghost Woman Blues” from the forthcoming Low Anthem album, Smart Flesh, you can hear it while watching their beautiful video.

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Bits: Atlas Sound, Justin Townes Earle, The Wu-Tang Clan, Conrad Plymouth, The Black Keys

  • Atlas Sound has released two free albums this week. Download Bedroom Databank Vol. 1 here and Bedroom Databank Vol. 2.
  • Justin Townes Earle has updated his tour schedule, including some European dates and a show at the Kent Stage on February 8 with Jessica Lea Mayfield.
  • The Wu-Tang Clan has announced a full tour.
  • Our friends and internet drinking buddies Conrad Plymouth have announced a series of Wisconsin and Minnesota live dates, including the Muzzle of Bees 6th Anniversary show.
  • It’s been 11 days since I’ve mentioned anything Black Keys-related, but our friends at Rubber City Review have afforded me the opportunity to do it again. They have joined the dark side and finally become a part of the Twitter stream, and to promote this new foray, they have a special contest to win a pair of tickets to the sold-out Black Keys New Year’s Eve show in Chicago.

This isn’t really news, but Gorilla Vs. Bear posted their favorite videos of 2010, and it gives me the opportunity to mention one of my favorite albums of 2010 as their … Continue reading

Bits: Wu-Tang Clan, The Black Keys, Mumford and Sons, Robert Johnson, Drive-By Truckers

  • The Wu-Tang Clan are touring in December (and possibly beyond), including a New Year’s Eve show in Pittsburgh.

    12/4/10 San Diego, CA, 4th & B

    12/5/10 Los Angeles, CA, Club Nokia

    12/10/10 Dallas, TX, Granada Theater

    12/22/10 Boston, MA, Wilbur Theater

    12/26/10 New Haven, CT, Toad’s Place

    12/28/10 Providence, RI, Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel

    12/30/10 Philadelphila, PA, Trocadero

    12/31/10 Millvale, PA, Mr. Smalls Theater

  • Re-issuing relatively new albums with additional live material is the new black. The Black Keys will be releasing limited edition numbered vinyl package of Brothers on November 26 as part of a special Black Friday Record Store Day, which will include the original double vinyl and CD of the album, plus a 10″ of a live session recorded in Akron of select Brothers tracks (different from their recent iTunes session) and a poster
  • Mumford and Sons will be re-releasing Sigh No More on November 29 in a limited edition package that will include the original album on CD, a DVD and a bonus disc of songs recorded at a pair of live gigs at Shepherd’s Bush Empire last March.
  • Blues legend Robert Johnson would have been 100 … Continue reading

Rebirth of the Cool: Ohio Covers Ohio, Part One

The Black Keys have a way with a cover song and having long been champions of our shared home state of Ohio, it’s no surprise that they’ve covered a few of their fellow Akron-area musicians.

The James Gang, fronted for a time by Joe Walsh, formed in Cleveland in 1967. Their best-known song was a typically ’70s rock ‘n’ roll nugget called “Funk #49”.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_qHU_6Ofc0?fs=1]

While keeping the rock essence of the song, the Keys admirably trim the original’s excess making it, for me at least, far more palatable.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T0GzZuKbhY?fs=1]

While the Cramps formed in Sacramento, California, the dearly departed Lux Interior hailed from Stow, Ohio, just outside of Akron, and Lux and wife Poison Ivy lived in Akron for a couple of years in the early 1970s.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4BMW31juLc?fs=1]

While a somewhat less natural choice for the Keys than the “Funk #49”, their cover of the Cramps’ “Can’t Find My Mind” reveals an appealing glimpse of punk spirit and Auerbach’s penchant for fuzz guitar serves the song well.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0XOfMwMX1A?fs=1]

Devo formed in Akron in 1973 before eventually moving to California and never really looking back, but not before leaving the Akron music scene shaken, bewildered and inspired.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRENoPisFYk?fs=1]

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