Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Kamikaze Hearts | Oneida Road

Last winter, jds tipped me off to the dirty folk goodness of The Kamikaze Hearts. We then caught them at Langdon Street in March and had a great time.

They have this warm layered acoustic sound with multi-part harmonies that feels like it was written for urban hipsters while telling tales of northern rural life.

It's like chocolate and peanut butter. City and country...together at last. They call their sound porch rock and I call it dirty folk. Either way, it's not James Taylor and it's not Fugazi. As one friend put it, it's like an uptempo Jose Gonzalez.

The disappointment was that they hadn't captured that same sound on their first album. It sounded thin and distant; lacking that intimacy I had enjoyed. So, for the last few months, I've been listening to the recordings from their radio session at Skidmore College's WSPN which sounded better.

That was until a few weeks ago when I heard their new album, Oneida Road. They friggin' pulled it off. They captured that sound I had fallen in love with during that show. It sounds great just like it did that night last winter. And, as you'd expect, the blog love is starting to pile up.

The opening guitar piece of "No One Called You a Failure" reminds me of Van Morrison's "Wild Night" but as it progresses, it develops a head of speed that gets your head and foot popping around. It has that feeling of being fresh and familiar at the same time.

According to the Collar City Records website, Oneida Road is coming out on Sep 6th and they are heading out on tour shortly thereafter. So, if you want to catch the quintet from Albany, NY, here are the dates:

Thursday, August 31: Cambridge, MA @ Club Passim

Thursday, September 7: Saratoga Springs, NY @ Skidmore College

Friday, September 8: Ithaca, NY @ Castaway's

Thursday, September 21: Buffalo, NY @ Sportsmen's Tavern

Friday, September 22: Chicago, IL @ The Note

Saturday, September 23: St. Louis, MO @ St. Louis University

Sunday, September 24: Indianapolis, IN @ Radio Radio

Friday, September 29: Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall

Saturday, September 30: New York, NY @ Mo Pitkins

By the way, this is the second quality release from Collar City Records this year. Brent Gorton's self-titled album this spring continues to grow on me more and more.

The Kamikaze Hearts | No One Called You a Failure | Buy
The Kamikaze Hearts | Ash Wednesday | Buy

From the WSPN Radio Session:
The Kamikaze Hearts | War Horse
The Kamikaze Hearts | Boston Whaler | Note: it's a crime they have recorded "Boston Wailer" on an album yet. Great tune.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Built To Spill | Coming to Burlington | Oct 1st | Kingdom For a Voice

Built To Spill was scheduled to play Higher Ground last April but had to postpone the show when Doug Martsch suffered a detached retna. Well, I guess the surgery was successful because the folks from Idaho will be at Higher Ground on Oct 1st in the big room.

Built To Spill is one of those bands that has been recommended to me a hundred times and I feel I should like but have never been able to get into them. Back in the 90's, the folks on the Pavement mailing list raved about Built To Spill but they didn't click for me. However, I've never seen them live and sometimes that can get me into a band. So, I'm gonna go to the show in hopes of finally figuring out what I'm missing.

By the way, ear farm has the live tracks from a show they did in Boise this June up on their site.

Speaking about Built To Spill also dovetails nicely into tipping everyone off to a new Vermont blog that talks about indie music and soccer. It's called Kingdom For a Voice and it's not actually new. It's new to Vermont since he recently moved to Vermont from Oklahoma. The blog has, in fact, been going since August 2005.

The reason Kingdom For a Voice (is that a Thoreau or REM reference?) and Built To Spill dovetail so well together is because last night KFaV posted about how Built To Spill kept coming up on his iPod while driving from Oklahoma to Vermont and how the song "Convential Wisdom" bugs his wife. You can also pick up the mp3 for the song over there.

It's nice to have another music blogger in Vermont. Let's go down the roll call again:

Lat 44.2N
Analog Giant
Underpants Records
Tiny Meat
Icebox Records
Kingdom For a Voice

stereojoe says he has stopped blogging for a while but hopefully he'll come back at some point.

Here's a video for Built To Spill's "Cars":

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bill's Basement Tapes | Stevie Wonder

This evening I went to an old fashioned neighborhood block party and had a good time catching up with folks I knew and meeting the ones I didn't know. One of the guys I saw was my friend Bill who is a fellow music nut. The difference is that Bill is an archivist of live music. The guy has hundreds of tapes and thousands of hours of music in his basement.

However, he isn't hording the stuff. He's sharing it with the world via etree and similar sites. The problem is I don't use bit torrent or FLAC files because I'm a bit of a technophobe and they seem complicated to me. That's why it's nice to know Bill because he can give me stuff on CD. Old school style.

He took me through the process of how he records the shows on DAT tape, brings it onto his hard drive, uses Wavelab to clean up the sound, and then about a half-dozen other software packages to prepare the shows for sharing. It was all pretty confusing to me but impressive. He said it takes about two hours to go from having a show on tape to having it ready to be shared.

Here's the cool part, he lent me a few discs of his shows and said he could convert my old bootlegs from indie shows in the 90's to discs (after cleaning up the sound). So, every once in a while, I'm going to try to share a few tracks from Bill's Basement Tapes. The downside is that I only have a cruddy little 100MB EZArchive account for sharing music. So, it'll only be a few tracks here and there but it's still worthwhile.

One of the shows Bill lent me tonight was Stevie Wonder at The Wang Center in Boston from 1995. He had it blaring out the speakers and it sounded great rolling across the lawn; even over the din of kids yelling.

Stevie Wonder | Singed Sealed Delivered, I'm Yours (Live) | Buy
Stevie Wonder | Sir Duke (Live) | Buy

Here's a video of Stevie Wonder performing "Uptight" with The Rolling Stones in 1972:

iPod Mystery Tune | Radiogram

I've had another song pop up on my iPod that sounds good but I have no idea how it got on there. It a little summer pop song called "Summer Song Summer" from a band called Radiogram out of Vancouver. On their website, they say they are an alt-country band. I don't hear it in this song but they can describe themselves anyway they want to. It's their website.

I like the male-female harmonies on the chorus and how the poppy chorus just leaps on you after the flatlining verses. It makes the hook stand out that much more.

So, thanks to whoever sent it to me or posted it on their blog.

Radiogram | Summer Song Summer | Buy

Farmer's Market Performance Art

It's been a few weeks since I posted about the performance artist at the Montpelier farmer's market. Betwwen being away during the weekend and forgetting my camera, I haven't had any photos to post.

However, I had my camera on me today and snapped this photo. In comparison to the outfits in early July, this costume is downright regal. Unfortunately, for them, a Black River Produce truck parked in front of them for a while which hid her from the crowd.

I had been wondering how the person entered and exited the market and whether they stayed in character or not. Well, a week or two ago, I happened to be there when they were leaving. They stayed in character and walked away from the market at a snail's pace; much like they are at the market. I didn't follow them down the street but they headed down State St. towards Main St. I'm guessing they went into one of the buildings along State St. and changed.

After the market, my daughter and I went over to the used instrument sale at Bethany Church that jds at Lat 44.2N had posted about yesterday. It similar to the ski and skate swap the Montpelier Recreation Dept. runs in the fall. People drop off instruments they want to sell and a portion of the sale goes towards Central Vermont Share the Music to raise money for music scholarships. It isn't as big as the ski and skate swap but there were a lot of instruments there and lots of buyers.

I flirted with the idea of picking up a small accordian to mess around with but I have zero musical ability. So, I just picked up the free music sampler disc from Lost Highway Records that were being given away. Listening to music is more of my thing.

Screw Lee Greenwood

This week, I've noticed a bunch of posters pop up around town for a Lee Greenwood concert at Norwich University next month. It's being billed as a "Night of Patriotism and Music" to welcome home the troops. What a friggin' bastard!

The guy used his jingoistic music to fan the flames of war leading up to the Iraq invasion. Then after Vermont has loss more soldiers per capita than any other state, he has the gall to come here and charge the families of these soldiers $20-$35 a pop to hear his crappy music. What an unmitigated asshole.

If it was a benefit show, I'd be more understanding but I don't see anything stating that all of the money is going to the people that lost their loved ones. This is just Lee Greenwood finishing the ass-raping over a barrel of these families that he started back in 2002. Unbelievable.

The only reason he should come to Vermont would be to apologize for being a cog in the war promotion & propaganda machine and to raise money for the families of the soldiers that have served in Iraq. Otherwise, he should stay away. And Norwich University and WPTZ should be embarassed to be associated with this fiasco.

Bob Dylan | Masters of War | Buy

Friday, August 25, 2006

Two Great Videos

Al Minns & Leon James dancing the Charleston on Playboy TV in 1959. The contrast with the staid "audience" is quite noticable. Thanks to cj for the tip.

The Mugs actually had a link to this video on their site. It's Sam & Dave with Booker T and the MGs on German TV in 1967. Stick around until the 6:00 mark to see them go off.

The Mugs

It's tough to make it as a band. It's even tougher when crap like your band's name gets in the way. The Mugs are a good indie rock band from Brooklyn. However, they must lose some confused potential fans who google The Muggs rather than The Mugs and get the bland Detroit blues band. One lowercase "g" can cost them a fan any day.

Oh, well. That's their problem. Not mine. After hearing them on KEXP, I found their site, ordered their album and have been enjoying it for the last month or so.

While it has a bit of a post-rock feel to it, I think it's just downtempo indie rock with palatable guitar melodies. I think what sells me on these guys is Jeremy Gough's vocals and the quiet underlying piano and organ that runs through a lot of the tracks. Nothing dominates their sound but they all blend together nicely.

Next month, they are going to launch a nationwide tour. However, the closest they are going to come to Vermont is Sep 28th when they'll be playing the NEMO Festival in Boston. I'm going down for the festival to be a panelist on blogging during the conference part of the festival but that won't be until Saturday, the 30th. So, I'll miss them. But at least I found their website.

The Mugs | While It Lasts | Buy
The Mugs | Firm Ground | Buy

MLS Goal Compilation | Week 21

Courtesy of Climbing the Ladder.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy | My Heritage

Next month, Will Oldham, aka Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, will be releasing his 713th album (The Letting Go). And I've been loving the beautiful single from the album "Cursed Sleep". So, I had Oldham on my mind when I discovered the hot new site, myheritage.com.

myheritage.com is a wonderful waste of time. You basically upload a picture of someone and their software finds celebrities and famous historical figures that look like the person in the picture. Since I always find Oldham to be a peculiar looking fellow, I thought I'd use his picture for my first test spin of the software.

Here are the results:

It looks like Oldham is more likely to resemble creepy historical figures rather than celebrities which makes a lot of sense. I could see Oldham, who spent some time acting earlier in his career, playing Bram Stoker or Nietzsche; although nobody is going to make a movie about either of those guys.

By the way, how the hell does Slovenian ski jumper Primož Peterka get listed as a celebrity. Plus, he doesn't look anything like Oldham. I guess that's why myheritage.com is only in beta phase so far.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy | Cursed Sleep | Buy

Here's the video for "Cursed Sleep":

Crankin' Rhythm

Someone needs to take this bad boy out on the road with them. An "indie blogosphere love storm" is awaiting the first musician that hauls this baby out on stage with them. So much cooler than a drum machine.

On Monday, my kids' daycare was closed. So, I took the day off and took them down to the Montshire Museum of Science for the day. We've been there a number of times and even played with this exhibit before. However, Monday was the first time this thing struck me as a cool instrument for a concert.

With more and more artists like M. Ward, Hanalei and Hotel Lights touring with acoustic guitars and drum machines, I thought this thing would be a good replacement for the drum machine. Here's how it works:

There are six plexiglass wheels connected to an axle. Each wheel has a number of holes in the sides of the wheels where you can place plastic pegs. The wheel on the far left can only hold one peg while the one one the far right holds up to eight pegs. The ones inbetween can hold up to two, three, four and six from left to right. The black knob next to the start (green) and stop (red) buttons controls the speed of the wheels. As the wheels spin, each time one of the plastic pegs pass the electric eyes in the top back of the instrument, it plays a beat. The one to the far left plays a deep bass beat while the one on the far right plays a high-pitched cymbal sound. The ones inbetween play other inbetween drum sounds.

So, by altering the pegs in the various wheels, you can create various rhythms just like a drum machine. The beats can't get as complex a drum machine but they can be complex enough to accompany an acoustic guitar and bass.

The real payoff though is the show. Watching the artist insert and remove pegs and adjust the speed of the wheels would be kind of cool. Certainly more interesting then some guy typing into a laptop. And I'm guessing you could even hook up some lights to it so that when the pegs pass the electric eye, it not only plays a beat but also emits a quick flash of light. In a dark club, that would look pretty cool with the wheels spinning around and lights flashing.

And you know the blogosphere would love it.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Yo La Tengo | Mr. Tough

Thanks to Bradley's Almanac for the tip on this high-quality video.

MLS Goal Compilation | Week 19/20

Lots of nice goals in this package; particularly the first one.

Make Your Own Ticket Stub

Do you have a favorite concert that you've seen or would like to see? Want the ticket stub from the show?

Well, this site can help you out. You enter the concert info and it generates an image of the ticket stub. It's that easy. You can even order a refrigerator magnet of the ticket.

It's a silly little website but is a kick to play around with. Thanks to b.f. at extrawack! for the link.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Tobias Fröberg

Feel like having one of those whirlwind romances with a song where you instantly fall in love with it's pop melodies but burn out on its simplicity within a month? Well, have I got the song for you.

Tobias Fröberg is a Swedish pop merchant who, on Aug 22nd, will release his second album. It's titled Somewhere In the City and contains the song I'm all hot and bothered by recently, "When the Night Turns Cold".

Imagine Jose Gonzalez with frantic bongos, back-up singers, xylophone and and more hooks than old man's fishing hat. The thing is great and I fell in love with it within the first thirty seconds of hearing it.

Having said that, I've had these sort of daliances with songs before and they always flame out. The songs I love year after year take a long time to grow on me. So, I'm expecting to be tired of this song by the time Columbus Day rolls around. Hopefully, by then, I'll have found other tunes on the album to devour ("What a Day" has the early lead in that category).

If you really fall in love with the tune, you can catch Fröberg in Boston on Sep 12th at Paradise Lounge and Montreal on Sep 15th at Cabaret du Musee Juste Pour Rire. That leaves two open dates while he's traveling from Boston to Montreal. Too bad he doesn't have a VT show plugged in there since he'll be traveling through. other tour dates can be found here.

Tobias Fröberg | When the Night Turns Cold | Buy

Friday, August 18, 2006

Asobi Seksu | Coming to Montreal | Sep 19th

September and October are shaping up to be crazy months for shows. I'm slowly getting around to posting about all of them. Here's what I've posted so far:

Sep 11th | Rogue Wave | Higher Ground
Sep 12th | M. Ward | La Sala Rosa (Montreal)
Sep 23rd | Lambchop | Le National (Montreal)

Add to that, Asobi Seksu at Green Room in Montreal on Sep 19th. I've never seen the NYC dream popsters but I like their new album Citrus and have heard they are a good live band. I'm defnitely going to the Lambchop show. So, catching Asobi Seksu would mean two trips north in one week. Hmmm. I'll have to think about this one.

The show is at Green Room (on Rue St. Laurent) which I haven't heard of before and can't find a website for. The show isn't listed on Admission.com but there is another show at Green
Room listed. So, hopefully, when tickets go on sale, Admission.com will sell them.

Asobi Seksu | New Years | Buy
Asobi Seksu | Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) | Buy

Here's their video for "Thursday":

The Fun and Games

If the internet was around in the late 60's all of the indie kids would be raving about The Fun and Games. Conversely, if The Fun and Games were a new band today, they'd be red hot in the blogosphere. Their classic 60's pop sound with layered instrumentation and harmonies (a la The Beach Boys and Phil Spector) would fall right in line with bands like The Spinto Band, Of Montreal and Olivia Tremor Control.

In the late 60's, The Fun and Games were the cat's meow of the Houston music scene with Red Crayola. They even had a minor chart hit with their song "The Grooviest Girl In the World". It reached #78 on the Billboard Charts. I love the guy's yelling of "TAAA!" at the end of the line "and I'm the guy with impecible tastes. TAAA!" Great little moment.

However, the band never broke through. Then they went out to LA and recorded two songs, "One" and "We". They debated which song to release as their next single. The band wanted "One" but their management pushed for "We". So, they released "We". The song flopped on the charts. Meanwhile, Three Dog Night recorded and released "One" a few months later. The song went to #2 on the charts. The Fun and Games' version of the song was permently shelved; never to be heard by the public.

That was the straw that broke the band's back. They stuck together for another year or so but were done by 1970.

There was also some bad incident where their record label set up a showcase show for them in LA but the lead singer, Sam Irwin, decided to spend a lot of time insulting the staff of the record label. That apparently led to the label pulling promotion for the band. So, some of their lack of fame is due to their own mistakes too.

Last year, a division of Universal Music decided to re-release their only full-length album, Elephant Candy. Plus, they tacked on a few singles as a bonus. Previously, none of their music had ever been released on CD before. However, it's barely on CD. I ordered the album from my local record store back in April but it just finally arrived earlier this week. Amazon claims they have just one copy in stock. So, go and get it.

The Fun and Games | The Grooviest Girl In the World | Buy
The Fun and Games | The Way She Smiles | Buy
The Fun and Games | Sadie | Buy

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Did you like Mazzy Star? If so, then may I suggest some Helene?

It's tough to compare anyone to Hope Sandoval because there is a whole package with Sandoval that is tough to match up to. However, Helene's voice has that same sexy seductive quality that launched a thousand crushes on Sandoval in the 90's. And the instrumentation has that somber dark VU essence while remaining catchy enough to suck you in.

Last month, England's Helene released their second album, Routines and I've been pulling it up on my iPod repeatedly. I came across the album while poking through a bunch of "Best of 2006" lists on emusic a few weeks ago. The downside to them is that there isn't much about them on the internet.

Their myspace site doesn't have much info and their page on Series 8 Records is a bunch of gobilygook about themes for the songs and whatnot. The amusing thing is that neither their myspace site nor their label mentions any comparison to Mazzy Star. It's as if they think that if they don't mention it, nobody will notice it. It's like John Cleese in Faulty Towers yelling to everyone, "Don't mention the war!" when the German guests arrive.

Oh, well, it doesn't matter. The important thing is that they crank our beautiful tunes.

Helene | Apostille | Buy
Helene | Nothing To You | Buy

Monday, August 14, 2006

The New Year | Middle East | Aug 11th

Some bands seem to tour constantly while others make limited club appearences like The New Year. Therefore, you have to make the effort to catch them when you can. That's why I made the trip down to Boston last Friday to catch the multi-guitar sonic beauty that is The New Year. The band had flirted with the idea of a Vermont show (even momentarily considering Bill's barn) but ultimately decided to do one show in Boston and one in Brooklyn.

My friend, Peter, and I made the 180 mile trek down to Cambridge early Friday evening for the show. We got down there in time to grab a quick bite to eat with some longtime friends of mine at Phoenix Landing and even play some silly music trivia game which won us a Coors Light t-shirt which we gave back. There's no need to contribute to the landfill problem in America by accepting a crappy-ass logo shirt for a crappy-ass beer.

We then headed over to Middle East Upstairs to catch the first of the three bands, Kahoots. I had been downstairs at Middle East a number of times but never upstairs. It's a nice little room. You never feel far from the stage. Kahoots are a band from Martha's Vineyard. I've never associated Martha's Vineyard with any sort of rock music; just folkies playing to sunsets. So, I had a bit of a bias against them for that reason. However, they had a few good songs and held my attention for 45 minutes.

After Kahoots' set, I met up with b.f. of extrawack! and Brad of Bradley's Almanac. Go ahead and make your "room full of bloggers" jokes...I'll wait...hey, good one...OK, seriously, it's great to talk music with b.f. & Brad. Nice guys who know a boatload about music. Brad also caught part of the 50 ft. Wave & Throwing Muses show downstairs but made it upstairs in time to record The New Year's set. Hopefully, the files will be up on his site soon.

Nina Nastasia was up next. I'm going to defer to extrawack! and goth brooks for opinions on Nina Nastasia. I wasn't in the right frame of mind for judging her performance. It was 11pm on a Friday night and I was having fun but looking down the barrel of a three hour drive home after The New Year's set. So, I wasn't looking to hear some quiet plaintive folk songs. I needed to keep the energy going. Therefore, I spent her set focusing on things other than her music. But b.f. and goth brooks liked her a lot and their opinions are probably more valid for the reasons I mentioned above.

Middle East runs a tight ship because each band came out right on time including The New Year at midnight. They opened with "Age of Conceit" which was a huge treat since it's often left out of their sets since it requires them to bring other guitars with a different tuning. However, they brought them on Friday and it was a great way to start the show. Chris Brokaw's sudden rapid drum beat called the room to order and then once they had everyone's attention, Matt Kadane's gentle strumming and hushed vocals led the song into its ultimate build-up and fiery ending.

The set also included a bunch of other favorites like "18", "Disease" and "Carne Levare". When you're standing there and they get all four guitarists kicking, it's quite the aural salad of rhythm, melodies and fuzz that gets your head moving. They had a bit of electrical buzzing throughout the set that would be noticeable and distracting during the quieter portions of the songs but would become imperceptible as the songs progressed.

The New Year doesn't always do the automatic encore but I guess the 200 folks in the room made enough noise to bring them back out for two more songs. They closed the set with "Gasoline" which is another favorite. The show ended at 1am but here's the cool part, somehow Paeter and I made it from the back of the room at Middle East to Peter's house in Montpelier in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Considering the walk to the grage, waiting to pay and finding our way back to Storrow Dr., that's great time in getting home. The show would have been worth the drive even if it had taken the usual three hours but the quick drive made the night that much sweeter.

The New Year | Age of Conceit | Buy
The New Year | Carne Levare | Buy

Here's the video for The New Year's "Disease":

I See Hawks in L.A. | Bill's Barn | Jul 15th

This post is about a month old. I think that makes it a record. The longest period after a show until I finally got around to posting about it. Oh well, I'm sure I'll break it someday.

One of the many cool things about living in Vermont is that it doesn't look like the rest of the country. While the rest of the US has lost a lot of it regional uniquities with homogenous development, Vermont has made a large effort in preserving it's older buildings. And not preserving them as museum pieces with a showy National Historic Landmark plaque but as active buildings with daily uses.

One example is the barn that belongs to my friend, Bill. The barn was built in 1888 and is still standing strong. For a large part of the 20th century, the barn was used for barn dances within the community. When Bill bought the place, it still had a stage, concessions area, built-in benches along the walls and a solid floor for dancing. So, he decided to bring back the community barn dances of yesteryear.

The latest barn dance (or "concert" in 2006 lingo) was a month ago. The band I See Hawks in L.A. had an open date on their tour and through a connection with a friend of Bill's, they were booked for Bill's barn in East Montpelier. There are a lot of cool concert venues in the world but how often does a band get to rattle the rafters of a 130 year old barn. Plus, their alt-country sound fit in perfectly with the surroundings.

The only album I have from I See Hawks is their 2006 release, California Country, which I wasn't crazy about. I love alt-country but found that California Country's highly polished production had pushed their alt-country sound over into 70's Eagles-esque soft rock with a country flair. However, when they fired up their amps in Bill's barn the antique timbers provided a nice warm rattle that gave them a great country tone. Perfect setting for them. Coupled with the cooling summer night, lots of good friends and cold beers, it was a choice show and evening.

One amusing aspect of the stage in the barn is the drum riser. It's the highest one I've ever seen that didn't involve Tommy Lee spinning in a cage 50 feet in the air. When you looked at the band from the floor, you could see the drummer's face a full head above the lead singer. But it didn't affect the sound one way or the other.

Thanks to Carter for the photos.

I See Hawks in L.A. | Raised By Hippies | Buy
I See Hawks in L.A. | Midnight in Orlando | Buy

Mud Bogging

At The New Year show on Friday night (I'm writing the post tonight), I was telling some friends that I had to drive back to Vermont that night because, in the morning, my son was going to a mud bog with a friend and their family. That often prompted the question, "What's a mud bog?" Well, my son's friend's parents sent over these photos of the afternoon. Basically, it's a lot of mud and trucks. A little boy's dream.

Wordplay Starting at The Savoy | Aug 18th

I don't normally talk about movies coming to the Savoy. Mainly, just because I haven't seen the movie and don't have much to say about it. However, when I saw a trailer for Wordplay and received an email from the Savoy saying it was starting later this week, I thought I'd share my one anecdote that supports the premise of the movie; that some people are crazy about word games.

We've all heard the stories about music groupies and baseball annies but did you know there are word game groupies too? A friend of mine used to date a girl that was a complete nut for crossword puzzles. She would do multiple puzzles a day; couldn't get enough of them. The way someone would talk about their favorite athlete or musician, she would talk about her favorite puzzle writers. Then one day, she was walking down the street and saw the guy who writes the crossword puzzles for her large city newspaper. Her pulse quickened as she went up to him, introduced herself and began to fawn all over him. She went on and on about how great his puzzles are, her favorite clues, etc. Well, the guy is so flattered, he invites her to a bar for a drink. Drinks becomes dinner and dinner becomes a trip back to his place to see his puzzles which becomes...I think you can guess the rest of the story.

She never called him again and he never called her. It was just a one-night Wordplay tryst. Now, she goes around proudly telling folks she had a rendezvous with the guy.

I doubt there will be any equally juicy stories in Wordplay but it gives you a good idea about how fanatical people can be about word games.

WORDPLAY: Starting Friday, August 18 | Every evening at 6:30 & 8:30 | Sat-Sun-Mon at 1:30 | Baby-friendly matinees every Monday at 1:30

Kris Gruen | Coming to The Black Door | Aug 19th

Next Saturday, Aug 19th, Kris Gruen will kick off an East Coast tour with a show at The Black Door (9:30pm). Kris will be playing with a band and is out supporting his release from earlier this year, Lullaby School. A few months ago, I reviewed Lullaby School for Seven Days. You can read the review here. Or I can save you the suspense and just say, "I liked it."

I've seen a few bands at The Black Door but I've never gone there specifically to see a particular artist. We also have a gift certificate for dinner there. So, I think my wife and I are going to make a night of it.

By the way, the burgers at The Black Door kick ass.

On Tuesday, Aug 22nd, Kris will be opening for Bishop Allen in Boston at Middle East Upstairs.

Kris Gruen | Tender Theory

Saturday, August 12, 2006


These are so good, they don't even need any introduction. Enjoy.

Thanks to Neil Cleary for the first one and extrawack! for the second one.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Winner of Everything | UPDATE

It's all over. The Mountaineers have beaten Torrington 4-1 in Game Two to win the NECBL title for 2006.

Congratulations! Great season! Go out and get shitfaced!

Hopefully, a bunch of these guys will return next year to defend the title.

On the internet broadcast, they announced that there will be a celebration at Capitol Plaza on Friday at 11am. Kind of a peculiar place to host it (I would have guessed the statehouse lawn or ballpark) but Capitol Plaza is a big supporter of the team. So, it'll work.

Pavement | Winner of the | Buy

Come on, "We Are the Champions" is too damn obvious.

UPDATE: I spoke to someone who works at Capitol Plaza and is associated with the team. They said the early start was due to the players having to leave town. Some had flights and long car drives. So, this was the only celebration they could do.

They said there were about 300 people at the celebration and it only lasted about twenty minutes. Disappointing that they couldn't do something bigger and at a better time but understandable.

One Down. One To Go.

The Mountaineers came from behind to beat the Torrington Twisters 4-3 in Game One of the best-of-three NECBL championship series last night. Tonight, they'll play for the title down in Torrington. If they lose, the decivise third game will be back in Montpelier on Friday night.

Here's one of the goofy aspects of this league. As the playoffs roll along, some of the players have to report back to their colleges. So, teams can lose key players as they get closer to the championship. One example is last night's starter, Josh Satow. The guy threw six strong innings and largely stayed ahead of the hitters. However, today, he's flying to Arizona to report for the fall semester at Arizona State. It sucks for him because he won't be able to celebrate with his friends if the team wins tonight or tomorrow.

If the Mountaineers win, will Montpelier have any celebration for the team? I doubt they could put together a parade on such short notice. Perhaps a party on the statehouse lawn on Saturday would be a good idea.

Once again, besides WDEV, you can listen to the games via the NECBL website.

Photo courtesy of the Times-Argus.

Starline Rhythm Boys | Christ Church Pocket Park | Aug 10th

I really need to start carrying a camera with me all the time. You never know when someone is going to bring the crazy.

Today, it's was some nutty lady screaming at the Starline Rhythm Boys during their lunchtime show. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Montpelier Downtown Community Association sponsors a series of outdoor concerts during the summer called the Brown Bag Series. All of the shows are in the pocket park next to Christ Church. Normally the shows are a bunch of folkies. So, I don't pay the shows much attention. However, today, my friend I was meeting for lunch is a fan of Starline Rhythm Boys and their brand of rockabilly and country/western. So, we decided to grab some hot dogs and listen to the band in the park.

About 3/4 of the way into their their hour long set is when the fun started. As they finished one of their songs, some old lady in her pajamas and no shoes comes storming across the pocket park. She gets to about ten feet of the band and lets them have it. "TURN IT DOWN! I LIVE FOUR BLOCKS AWAY AND YOU ARE MAKING MY WHOLE BUILDING SHAKE. STOOOOPPPP IT!"

I just start laughing. Few towns have such a collection of kooks like Montpelier. The lady then turns around and starts heading out of the park mumbling to herself and waving her arms. The band looked at each other, conferenced for a few seconds and launched into Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire". Hilarious. Great choice.

Now, it was loud in the park but not that loud. I was able to talk to my friend next to me without much problem and my hearing sucks. If the lady truly lived four blocks away, she must have been living in the meadows or up in the Liberty Street area. I can't imagine that the volume of the show was rattling anything in either of their shows. Could she have heard it? Probably. Rattling the building? Like I said, she was kind of nutty.

That's why I need to carry a camera with me more often. This post would be so much better with photos of the lady screaming at the band and waving her arms. Jeb Wallace-Brodeur, the photographer from the Times-Argus, was there shooting the show. So, hopefully, he has a few pictures of the incident but I doubt they'll print those in the paper.

By the way, next Thursday, the Brown Bag Series will feature Hollywood Farm; whoever the hell they are.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Editors | La Tulipe | Aug 1st

It's been over a week since I saw Editors up in Montreal but I'm just finally getting around to posting about it now. No particular reason except a lot of work, the Mountaineers' playoffs and a short trip with the family during the weekend.

Last Tuesday, I headed up to Montreal to catch the boys from Birmingham due their retro-new wave thing. I've been enjoying half of The Back Room and heard good things about their live show. So, I had fairly high expectations for the show. To the Editors' credit, they surpassed my hopes for the show.

I was meeting some friends up there for dinner before the show at the French bistro L'Express. So, since I would only be endangering my own life, I stopped along the shoulder of I-89 to take this picture of the higway sign that explains a large part of why this blog is called False 45th.

At the end of the Revolutionary War, Article 2 of the Treaty of Paris stated that the border between Vermont and Canada would be the 45th parallel. However, the surveyors screwed up and laid the border north of the 45th parallel. Therefore, there are people in Vermont that are actually supposed to be Canadians; particularly the people in Derby Line and Newport; hence False 45th.

By the way, for those readers outside VT, a weird circumstance of the VT-Canada border is the opera house and library in Derby Line. The combination building sits right on the erroneous border. Therefore, the audience sits in the US while the stage and performers are in Canada. In the library, the books are in Canada while the checkout is in the US. Odd little factoid about the border.

Now, I need to learn how to build this picture into the template for this blog so it appears up top with the name of the blog. But that's for another day. Back to the show.

Despite my friends being an hour late for dinner, the food at L'Express was great. The hanger
steak with garlic butter was perhaps a bit heavy for a pre-show meal but so damn good. Because we were now an hour late, I thought we were going to miss the opening band, Lake Trout. However, when we got to La Tulipe at 10pm, they were just taking the stage. They must have added a third band to the bill.

Lake Trout sucked the suckiest of sucks. I can't believe they scored the opening slot for a hig-profile band like Editors. They basically felt like a band that was trying really hard to be a rock band but just can't write good songs. They tried a little of everything. Slow ballads...check. Jams...check. Searing guitar solos...check. Smoke machine coming out from the the drum set...check. Faux-hawk hairdo...check. Metal moments...check. Heavy echo...check. They threw everything at you but none of it stuck because they don't write good songs. It's as simple as that. Thankfully, they stopped after about 45 minutes and let the stagehands set up for Editors.

A little after 11pm, Editors took the stage. However, that's not an accurate description to say they "took the stage". Much too passive of a description. They basically exploded onto stage and pounced upon the audiences' consciousness. Loud, tight and rocking. I forget the exact set list but I think they got everyone going with "Someone Says" and "Blood" right out of the gates. No easing into the show with these guys. They start in the deep end with a cannonball splash of eletricity.

Indie rock doesn't have many "Rock Stars". To be a "Rock Star", you have to be a bit narcissistic to demand the audience's attention for every minute of a show. Plus, you have to have the charisma and sex appeal to pull it off. Indie rock tends to shun all of those qualities. However, that's not the case with Tom Smith, the lead singer of Editors. The guy is a "Rock Star". He has the energy of Jon Spencer, the freakiness of Joe Cocker and magnetism of Jim Reid. You don't want to take your eyes off of him during the entire set. Is he the best singer out there? Nope. Is he the best guitarist or keyboardist? Nope. Does he make for a fun show? You betcha.

The full setlist was:
Someone Says
All Sparks
You Are Fading
Weight of the World
Camera (much better live than on the album)
Open Your Arms

For the encore, they finished as strong as they started. "Lights" and "Fingers in the Factories". Too great hooky rockers to leave you tapping the steering wheel the whole way home.

One comment on their light show. It did a good job of bathing the stage in dramatic lighting throughout the show. However, I felt like I was squinting for a large part of the show. What is the idea behind shining super high intensity bright lights at the crowd? I can't believe the band wants to see the audience...you know the old adage: The scariest part of show business is the front row. I doubt Editors wants to see the freaks in the crowd. So, do they think we like squinting like Magoo to protect our dilated pupils?

Actually, I have a second comment about the light show. I found it interesting that they had the identical lighting rig as Secret Machines had when they came through Burlington in 2005. If a band is trying to avoid constant comparisons to bands like Secret Machines and Interpol, they shouldn't be taking their light show with thme on tour. [By the way, I just noticed that Lake Trout opened for Secret Machines last month. So, there's another connection between the bands.]

The drive home was uneventful. By the way, the US border agents continue to be much less scrutinous than the Canadian agents. Canada asks me about a half dozen questions when I enter Canada but the US agents just pretty much want to know if I enjoyed the show. Then they wish you good night.

Oh! What a Series!

Last night, the Vermont Mountaineers defeated the Sanford Mainers 3-2 and won the Northern Division championship series of the NECBL. They will now take on the Southern Division champions, Torrington (CT) Twisters, in the NECBL championship series.

Here's the highlights of the very closely played best-of-three series between Vermont and Sanford:

Game 1: On Saturday night, Vermont won 2-1 when Mountaineer outfielder Robbie Nickle gunned down the tying Sanford run at the plate with two outs in the top of the ninth. Walk-off home runs are exciting but a game-ending play-at-the-plate is equally dramatic.

Game 2: On Sunday night, Vermont was leading 5-2 in the top of the eighth and had the bases full with nobody out. It clearly looked like a Mountaineers sweep. However, Sanford got out of the inning without any runs scoring. Sanford then scored three runs off the Mountaineers and their star reliever, Mark Murray (15 saves, 0.00 ERA), in the bottom of the eighth to tie it up. Sanford then went on to win the game in the bottom of tenth to force a decisive Game Three back in Montpelier.

Game 3: On Monday night, Vermont fell behind 2-0 before scraping two runs back. Then the skies opened up in the bottom of the seventh. The downpour only lasted about 15 minutes but was heavy enough to turn the infield into a mudpit. After putting my daughter to sleep, I headed back to the field in hopes they would restart the game. However, after a friend and I waited for about an hour, they called the game and announced it would continue on Tuesday at 6:30.

Well, to the credit of the fans about 1,500 of the 2,000 fans that had been there the night before returned last night to watch the last two and half innings. And what a two and a half innings they were.

In the ninth inning, Sanford had the bases loaded with only one out. They then hit a perfect double play ball to second baseman, Troy Krider. Krider, who plays at Evansville with VT shortstop, Robbie Minor, double clutched with the ball which caused a collective gasp in the crowd. But Minor came flying over the second base bag, took the toss from Krider, turned the ball around in a flash and gunned out the runner at first. Great play. The Mountaineers' bench came pouring out onto the field to congratulate the team for getting out of the jam.

In the bottom of the ninth, Curt Smith, who has been the best hitter for VT all year (.323 bat avg, .419 slg pct), led off the inning with a slicing double down the right-field double. After an intentional walk, the Mountaineers tried to advance the runners to second and third with a sac bunt. The Sanford pitcher fielded the bunt, spun to third and fired. I thought Smith was toast. However, the ump called him safe. Bases loaded. Since the Sanford coach had argued a few other calls in the series, I thought for sure, he'd be screaming out of the dugout. But he never budged an inch. The only thing I can imagine is that the third baseman's foot must have been noticably off the bag.

That's a brutal mistake in that situation. He probably got cross-footed while scrambling back to the base after coming in for the bunt. Regardless, between his mistake and Minor's quick turn on the double-play in the top of the inning, the entire series had come down to two defensive plays. One perfectly executed and the other not.

After a strikeout, Kyle Massie lifted a fly ball to centerfield. It wasn't a deep ball but the throw was still a little late and up the third base line. Smith crossed the plate and was swarmed by his teammates. The crowd which had been louder than I had ever heard it, exploded with cheers. A great and fun moment.

As the players celebrated on the field, fans were allowed to go on the field to congratulate them and join in the celebration. That's one of the great parts of small-town baseball. Going on the field at Yankee Stadium following a World Series win would get you a billy club to the back of your head from some NYPD on a horse. Here, they just opened the gate.

So, tonight, Vermont starts the the Best-of-Three championship series against Torrington. Game Two will be down in CT tomorrow night and Game Three would be back here on Friday night if it's needed. Torrington won both of their games against Vermont this season and have not dropped a single game in the playoffs so far.

Since I'll be going down to Boston for The New Year show on Friday, I'm hoping the series gets wrapped up in two games. I can imagine myself calling home for updates.

By the way, if you can't make it to the ballpark for the games, you can listen to them online via the NECBL website.

Photos courtesy of the Times-Argus.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

MLS Goal Compilation | Week 18

Carey Talley's bomb, the second one in the video, has to be the goal of the week.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Favourite Sons

OK. Anyone who blogs about music gets lots of emails from record promoters touting their latest customers. Because my brother-in-law has had some bad experiences with record promoters, I usually feel negative towards anything coming from one of them. I've even been working on a post about the crazy band descriptions that promoters throw at you but that'll wait for a later day.

Today, I received an email from someone hyping a band called Favourite Sons from NYC. I took a minute to listen to the tune and you know what??? It's a decent tune. Cool little rocker with a bunch of hooks.

I don't know much else about the band because their website has jackshit on it and my company's filters block myspace. But like I said, I like this tune. So, I thought I'd throw it up here as a quick post. It's from their upcoming album, Down Beside Your Beauty, which comes out Sept. 12th.

I checked YouTube to see if there was a video for it. I didn't find one but by searching for "Favourite Sons", I found this sweet highlight video of Machester's favourite son, George Best. So, while it doesn't have anything to do with the band, it's a great video to watch. Enjoy.

Favourite Sons | Hang On, Girl | Buy