Bloodshot Records celebrates 15th anniversary with concert series
Music lovers know that you can't judge an album by its cover, but often the record label is a fairly strong hint about the quality of the music inside. Most of the truly great record labels -- Stax/Volt, Blue Note, Motown, SST, Decca -- are so synonymous with a certain sound that you get a pretty good clue about what kind of music you're getting, too.
Chicago's Bloodshot Records -- celebrating its 15th year in business with a series of concerts, beginning Saturday night in Pittsburgh -- isn't quite at the aforementioned labels' level (yet). But for anyone interested in great roots-based rock 'n' roll, anything with the "Bloodshot Records" label is always worth listening to.
"It's all got some kind of roots or classic American tropes running through it, be it the Bottle Rockets or some more overtly country stuff like Wayne Hancock, or soul music like the Detroit Cobras," says Bloodshot co-founder Rob Miller.
"I kind of go through life thinking everyone's record collection is full of the Cramps and Howlin' Wolf, and Johnny Cash and Sex Pistols, and people don't really draw distinct lines between them -- well, I've discovered that's not really the case. We just like artists who take these traditional forms and molest them in their own special way and come up with something new and fresh."
The Bloodshot Beer-B-Q at the Smiling Moose in the South Side shows off Bloodshot's irreverent diversity rather well, with six bands, starting with the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir.
"They have a great love of Morrissey-era Britpop, and funnel that through a love of more punk stuff and the Pogues," Miller says. "It's kind of a raggedy collective -- they get up there and sing broken-hearted love songs about how your ex-girlfriend is a jerk.
"The Dex Romweber Duo -- you may know him from the Flat Duo Jets. He just recorded a seven-inch (single) with Jack White (of the White Stripes), a longtime admirer. Ha Ha Tonka have been getting a lot of Kings of Leon comparisons. They're from the Ozarks, really tight, really good. The Deadstring Brothers are like (the Rolling Stones') 'Exile on Main Street' as seen through the eyes of Detroit."
So Bloodshot is a little bit rock, a little bit country -- and you might as well throw in soul, punk, pop, bluegrass, blues and soul while you're at it. But after a few fantastic albums in the mid-'90s by Neko Case, The Old 97s and others, the "alternative country" tag has been hard to shake. Miller feels that's too simplistic, and the label doesn't get credit for its diversity.
"I think it's incredibly limiting," Miller says. "It's a term that when everyone coined (it), everyone here would just roll our eyes. Here, you're taking this incredibly broad spectrum of sounds and influences, capabilities and competencies and whatever, and just lumping it into a little glib hyphenate.
"On my good days, I just ignore it, and on my bad days I just want to go in my basement and hit things with a baseball bat. It just cheapens the whole thing."
The Beer-B-Q is an attempt to re-create Bloodshot Records' legendary events in Austin, Texas, during the South By Southwest conference, which started way back before anyone had heard of the label.
"The Pittsburgh one is free. We have six bands, there's food, if not free, extremely inexpensive beer specials, it's on the Fourth of July, there's an intermission to watch the fireworks, and the Bottle Rockets are headlining," Miller says. "Who better on the Fourth of July than the Bottle Rockets?"
Michael Machosky can be reached at 412-320-7901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Additional Information:
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers interested in playing internationally again
- Struggling Pirates SS Mercer finding himself out on infield’s left side
- Trooper fatally shoots burglary suspect inside Somerset grocery store
- Baldwin-Whitehall teacher charged with assault for hitting male student in chest
- Penn Hills teens risk arson charges, set car on fire for music video
- Steelers offensive line targeting injury-free performance as key
- Hampton High dance event doubles fundraising goal
- First Draft: Craft brewers rally to help one of their own rebuild
- Shaler Area incumbent out following primary voting
- Officials envision reinvigorated Allegheny County Airport
- Expert: Penn Hills loan could worsen stability