Gimme a Break: The Blurries
Self-proclaimed Janglecore quintet, The Blurries craft pop that has complex melodies and a sensibility that draws from Paisley Underground, Athens’ New South and New Jersey’s Hoboken sound. Yes it’s pop, beautifully layered, ringing guitar-filled, just-enough-distortion pop; it’s got a bite though, the synths are dirty, and there’s some real darkness in the lyrics. Guitarist Joey Shanks jokingly says, “Maybe we’re the nü-metal version of the Byrds.”
They also remind me a bit of The Title Tracks and of an Ann Arbor band, Starling Electric. The Blurries are currently working on new songs and hope to release a follow up to Paper Cuts in 2013. I recently asked Joey Shanks a few questions, check out his answers below! I think his answer to the last one is my favorite.
Hometown: Dallas/ Fort Worth, TX
Members: Andy Lester, Matt Shasteen, Bill Spellman, Kevin Howard, Joey Shanks
Album: Paper Cuts
For Fans of: Rain Parade, The Feelies and The Flaming Groovies
What was the inspiration behind Paper Cuts?
We were trying to make a Paisley Underground album with some muscle behind it. We jokingly called our thing, janglecore. Maybe we're the nü-metal version of the Byrds.
Who or what inspires you? Why?
We're all fans of Bowie, The New Pornographers, Kelley Stoltz and anything that's been in a Nuggets box set, particularly the Children of Nuggets compilation.
What have you been up to in the last six months? What are your plans for the next year?
Everybody in the band has been waiting for me to finish the next batch of songs. In the downtime we've played a handful of shows. Next year I hope we'll be releasing a new album.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve actually followed?
Spend a little more for a good pair of shoes.
What was the last piece of art (music, physical art, film, book, etc.) that really blew your mind? What effect did it have on you?
Last year a guy that bought our album through Bandcamp started sending me music recs. He sold me on Kelley Stoltz, who I had somehow overlooked. Funny, Stoltz had produced or played with lots of bands we listen to, and we all knew the big ad campaigns his songs are used for, but we never put it together. Since that recommendation, I listen to Kelley Stoltz almost daily. His cover album of Echo and the Bunnymen's "Crocodiles" makes me want to cover an entire album too. Just for fun. We'd probably just give it away too.
If you could travel anywhere in time past or future, where would you go and why?
London in 1967 would be cool. That's a time where all pop music was guitar driven and people were flirting with psychedelia but hadn't beaten everybody over the head with it.
D Magazine says you have a nice-guy attitude. Is this true? What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done? Are there bad guys lurking inside?
I think we're more polite than nice.
Why pop? Where do you think your affection and affinity for this type of music came from?
Well, "pop" means a lot of different things to different people. When we talk about pop, we think of the Beatles' song structure and then those bands that came after that took their cues from them and other sixties, guitar based music. We're all old enough to remember making music before laptop bands happened.
If you could play any venue at any time, what and when would it be?
40 Watt Club in the 1981.
Team Edward or Team Jacob?
Ah, so we're talking about the Edwardian Era vs the Jacobean Era in English history? The Jacobean Era was pretty important. John Donne, Ben Johnson and Francis Bacon really moved things forward in the Jacobean Era. The Edwardian Era was a shorter period but more recent. We got Einstein out of that period but he wasn't exactly hypothesizing in Hyde Park, so I'm not sure the English can really claim him. I think we're Team Jacobean.
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