Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lambchop | Le National | Sep 23rd

I'll expand on my trip up to Montreal with Greg to see Lambchop last weekend later. However, I wanted to at least post the video I shot of Lambchop performing "Paperback Bible". I also filmed their entire performance of "Soaky In the Pooper" during the encore which sounded great. However, the file is 175MB and YouTube's maximum file size is 100MB. So, I have to figure out how to shrink it before I can post it.

In the meantime, enjoy this clip.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Vermont In the Blogs

Perhaps it just my own lack of self-confidence but I'm always stunned when I read about any aspect of the Vermont music scene on non-Vermont blogs. Last week, this happened twice...TWICE!

Sorry, I still have a bit of Art Brut on my mind from my last post.

Back on topic, here are the two posts about Vermont:

The first was from DoneWaiting which has been chronicling the recent tour of The Black Swans. I'm not familiar with the band but one of their tour stops was at Langdon Street Cafe in Montpelier. It sounds like they walked all over town last Saturday. The previous entry in their tour diary was about their stop in Burlington and playing Radio Bean. Overall, it sounds like they liked VT despite the small crowds.

The other post wasn't as surprising since Brad often mentions Vermont bands in his posts. However, the write-up on Bradley's Almanac for Burlington's James Kochalka Superstar was
surprising in it's breadth and depth on all things JKS. It must include every single link to JKS' internet presence. Plus, Brad, as always, hooks everyone up with the live mp3 files.

By the way, Casey has a video up from JKS here.

Michigan Dogs

I had meant to post about Michigan Dogs all summer but never got around to it. However, the Hot Diggity Dog Plus cart should still be parked during lunch at the Christ Church pocket park for a few more weeks. So, there's still time to try a Michigan Dog if you haven't already.

What the hell is a Michigan Dog, you ask? Besides being a one-way ticket to a lifetime prescription for Lipitor, it's a large hot dog with spicy chili-flavored sauceless ground beef on top and wrapped in a steamed sesame roll. For obvious health reasons, I wouldn't suggest eating more than one a month, but, ooooh, that one is so damn good.

The key is the flavored but sauceless meat. I don't know what crazy bastard looked at a hot dog and thought to himself, "You know what that needs...some more meat on top!" but they were probably from Michigan and thank goodness for their "Nicola Tesla-like" inventiveness.

The other benefit of the hot dog cart is that it's cheap. For $3.75, you can enjoy a Michigan Dog and drink while hanging in the pocket park which is always prime people watching territory.

Team Band

A few months ago, I posted about Team Band's rocking cover of Sambassadeur's "If Rain". Well, the Chicago quartet now has a nine track album available and it's a blast. They're basically, America's answer to Art Brut. Hooky and blistering rock with an unusually plentiful and healthy dose of self-awareness. From the band's NASL inspired name and logo to it's own "Team Band Fight Song" to their amusing lyrics, it's obvious that they understand music is as much a form of entertainment as it is an art form.


You can download the first four songs from the album from their website. To get the full album, sales seem to be done via email at

Team Band | Bond | Buy
Team Band | Team Band Fight Song | Buy
Team Band | If Rain | Buy

Eccentric Soul: The Big Mack Label

Tomorrow, at the blogger's panel at NEMO, I'm sure we'll all be ask how we find and decide what music we post about. Well, I'm still trying to think of a good answer to that question. It's tough because it's different almost every time.

One great example is how I came upon the spectactular new soul compilation from The Numero Group called Eccentric Soul: The Big Mack Label. A few weeks ago, I was going to lunch with k of Analog Giant and jds of Lat 44.2N when k started playing some new disc. It sounded great so I asked if I could borrow it. Well, for various reasons, I failed to get around to listening to it. Then about a week later, Casey of solidstate posted a podcast which included a killer tune from an obscure soul man named Ed Henry. That led me to buy the song from iTunes. The next day, I saw the disc from k again and started reading the track listings as I got ready to spin it. Then it hit me...damn...there's that Ed Henry guy again! I then checked the album's title and finally made the connection. I had learned of the album from two different sources.

And it was a great suggestion from both of them because the compilation is 19 tracks long of smoking 60's/70's soul without a clunker in the bunch. According to the liner notes, The Big Mack Label was a soul label out of Detroit that recorded its artist out of the label owner's house. That makes sense since the songs don't have a slick polished production to them. They feel more like one-take-wonders which is how I like my soul anyway. When listen to the album, you can just imagine all of these musicians crammed into one room in the house and the walls just shaking like they want to dance along with everyone else.

The Numero Group has apparently released three other Eccentric Soul compilations focusing on other under-appreciated labels. I haven't heard them yet but they are certainly at the top of my buying list.

So, when they ask how I find new music tomorrow, maybe I'll just say, "Sometimes, I just go to lunch with friends."

Mae Young | Let's Give Our Love a Try | Buy
Soul President | Get It Right | Buy
The Performers | Mini Skirt | Buy

Monday, September 25, 2006

NEMO Music Festival & Conference

In NYC, it's the CMJ. In Austin, it's the SXSW. In Montreal, it's POP Montreal.

And in Boston, it's the NEMO Music Festival.

The festival this year will run from this Thursday, Sep 28th to Saturday, Sep 30th. There's a boatload of bands playing around town. You can check out the schedule here. The bands that jump out the most at me are Yo La Tengo, The Mugs, Ladytron and The Long Winters. However, the beauty of these festivals is not checking out bands you already know and love. It's about checking out new bands you aren't familiar with and there are plenty of the schedule.

To check out the shows, you can buy a wristband for $25.

Or you can cough up $100 and receive access to the conference part of NEMO also. What does that extra $75 get you??? Me!

That's right. If you buy a full access badge, you can attend all of the industry panels during the festival and I've been asked to be a panelist on the blogging panel. Here's what NEMO's website says about the blogging panel:

Music Blog: Fanzines of the 21st Century9/30 1:45pm - 3:15pm Black Box
These days, music bloggers are finding themselves more and more in the spotlight of national media. But who are these people? Meet some of the area's top music bloggers as they discuss legal issues, blogging philosophies, how they select music and more.
Moderator: Robert Duffy –
With: Jay Breitling -
Paul Irish -
Dany Sloan -
Despite years of education and work experience, the first time I've ever been asked to be a part of a panel discussion is for posting Art Brut mp3 files. Kind of weird. However, it should also be a lot of fun.

Now the tricky part is figuring out what to say. I have a mere "Lionel Hutz like" understanding of the law so I won't have much to say about legal issues. And I never thought I had a blogging philosophy so I need to come up with something quick. Regarding "how I select music", it basically boils down to asking my friends what they've been listening to lately. Hopefully, I'll feel inspired on Saturday and come up with some more interesting things to say.

I don't believe they are streaming the conference. However, Brad from Bradley's Almanac may record the panel discussion. If he does and posts the file, I'll be sure to link to it.

Now, here's the fun part. They've given me a wristband for the festival to give away. So, here's the contest: The first person to email me with a good recommendation of a band to check out at the NEMO festival will win the wristband. Please provide a link where I can sample a song or two from the band you are suggesting. Email me at jamkids {at} gmail {dot} com.

Yo La Tengo | Magnet (NRBQ cover) | Buy
The Mugs | Firm Ground | Buy
The Long Winters | Scared Straight | Buy

River Art

Last Saturday, Friends of the Winooski River held their annual River Festival to celebrate the river and draw attantion to the crap people throw into it. The main activity was sculpture making using the objects that people had pulled out of the river during various clean-up projects.

In a community filled with people who compost and recycle like their lives depend upon it, who the hell are these people that are still chucking tires in rivers. Sweet Jesus.

Vermont Tire on River Street allows you to drop off old tires there. Certainly, a better option that rolling it into the river.

Knowing that Montpelier is the home to a lot of college students and that Shaw's grocery store is right next to the river, I'm surprised there aren't more shopping carts in the river.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Contrarian's Podcast

My ass is dragging after a brutal week of work but I wanted to throw a quick post up here to direct people to a cool new podcast. Casey, the music editor at Seven Days and blogger of solidstate, has decided to combine his knowledge of audio engineering with his boffo music collection. The result is The Contrarian's Podcast and it's a great listen.

Ignore Casey's opening overly serious voiceover work. Thankfully, he reverts to a normal speaking voice throughout the rest of the podcast. The two things I dig about the podcast is the diversity of music and Casey's commentary on the songs.

Regarding the diversity, you get Funkadelic, The Pernice Brothers, Neil Haggerty, Travellin' Wilbury's, some SwedePop, early Cee-Lo and a bunch of other crap. I love listening to a good mix of stuff; particularly when the quality stays high.

You can read Casey's post about the podcast here.

And you can go over here to download the podcast.

One last comment, if you like soul, be sure to stick around for Ed Henry's "Crooked Woman" in the 48th minute. As soon as I heard it, I bought it on iTunes. It's one of those classic songs that generate impulse buys.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Woody Woodpecker

Check out what a pileated woodpecker has done to a tree in our backyard. This is the work of one woodpecker; not a team of woodpeckers with little woodpecker chainsaws.

There must be an endless supply of bugs in that old dead poplar tree. The damage is even more dramatic towards the top of the tree.

Check out all of the wood chips at the base of the tree. This bird is making some nice mulch for the garden. Seriously though, I think I better take the tree down myself before the woodpecker and a strong wind take it down for me. The top of the tree would probably reach my house if it fell our way.

Beck | Nausea

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Old Crow Medicine Show

As I was getting ready to write this post, I decided to see what I had written about Old Crow Medicine Show in earlier posts. And you know what? Holy crap. I've been writing this rag for over a year and completely failed to write about my favorite bluegrass band. What an oversight.

Well, for anyone unfamiliar with Old Crow Medicine Show, they are a sextet out of Nashville playing a brand of old-time bluegrass. But they aren't a bunch of old guys. They're a bunch of young guys with a rock n' roll spirit. Sometimes they pick you a beautiful melody about Southern life while other times they'll get their fingers blazing and rip out a tune about cocaine addiction.

I became familiar with them when Nico, who writes Roll Bama Roll, introduced me to their 2004 album O.C.M.S. and its anti-war tune "Big Time In the Jungle". I had never spent much time listening to bluegrass before but I fell in love with the album. Bluegrass had always felt old and distant to me and my Northeastern upbringing. However, O.C.M.S. felt youthful and more contemporary with its songs about politics, drug use and road trips. It even featured an unreleased Bob Dylan tune in "Wagon Wheel".

Well, last month, they released another album. Big Iron World picked up right where O.C.M.S. left off with beautiful melodies delivering more tales of politics, love and drugs. The only difference I've found is that Big Iron World feels a bit more folkier at times but when those songs are as beautiful as "James River Blues", I don't care what genre they fall into.

Unfortunately, the closest their current tour takes them to VT is the Somerville Theater in Boston on Sep 28th. I had a ticket to go see them last year when they played Northampton, MA but I stuck working late and missed the show. Hopefully, I'll catch them one of these days.

From O.C.M.S.
Old Crow Medicine Show | Big Time In the Jungle | Buy
Old Crow Medicine Show | Wagon Wheel | Buy

From Big Iron World
Old Crow Medicine Show | James River Blues | Buy
Old Crow Medicine Show | My Good Gal | Buy

Wagon Wheel
Tell It To Me
Down Home Girl

Contrast Podcast | Handclaps

In the past, I've contributed songs to the various podcasts over at Contrast Podcast. However, this week, we upped the ante a bit. Tim, who runs Contrast Podcast, let me select the theme for the podcast.

So, what was my great suggestion for the masses of bloggers to dig out of their iTunes libraries??? Handclaps. That's it. Nothing high brow. Just simple but fun handclaps.

I love handclaps and even moreso, I love songs with handclaps. There's something raw, rhythmic and exciting about handclaps and they usually accompany the poppy type of songs I enjoy.

The problem with picking a theme for a podcast is that you need to come up with a real humdinger of a tune to justify the selection of that theme. And once the bar is raised so high, it becomes very difficult to succeed. At first I thought about going with a tune from Elevator to Hell called "Everything Made More Sense" since it features handclaps throughout the entire song as the backbeat. However, the beats are kind of off and I feared folks would think I was nuts for using a song with mistimed handclaps as the crown jewel of the theme. Then I thought of going with Eux Autres' "The Sundance Kid" but the claps get kind of drowned out in the regular drum beats. Then I decided to just go with the song that inspired me to send the suggestion to Tim in the first place. Super XX Man's "Coulee City".

The handclaps in "Coulee City" don't last very long but are good clean examples of how handclaps can enhance a song. So, I'm happy with the choice. In the comments, nobody has said anything about the song but it sounds like folks enjoyed the theme which is good to hear.

By the way, for the next podcast, Tim said the theme will be a surprise. Since it will be the half-year anniversary of Contrast Podcast, my guess is that Tim is going to make one podcast out of all the overflow suggestions that folks sent in after the various podcasts were full. But that's just my guess.

Elevator to Hell | Everything Made More Sense | Buy
Eux Autres | The Sundance Kid | Buy

Once In a Lifetime

Quick programming note: On Wednesday, September 20th, at 8pm, ESPN2 is going to broadcast the documentary Once In a Lifetime. It's about the rise and fall of the Cosmos during the 1970's. I haven't seen it but I understand it's not a bunch of X' s & O's crapola. This film focuses on the off-field insanity that surrounded one of the world's most popular soccer teams in New York during one of the more decadent decades. Lots of stuff about their partying at Studio 54 and the infighting among management. I'm looking forward to it.

Before seeing this announcement, I had been lobbying the Green Mountain Film Festival for them to show the movie during the 2007 festival. It sounded like they were strongly considering it. However, I'm guessing this broadcast of the film will remove it from consideration.

By the way, for those that didn't see the comment someone left regarding the film festival, it will run this year from March 16th to 25th. Now I have to come up with a new film to lobby for.

By the way, the film festival even has it's own wiki now. It's all grown up!

Here's the trailer:

Oh, and on a related note, here's the Week 23 MLS Goal Compilation video from Climbing the Ladder.

The Hero Cycle | New Songs

Bradley's Almanac also tipped me off a few weeks ago to some new songs from The Hero Cycle. You can catch both of the tracks on their myspace site. Of the two tracks, I prefer "Lovers Crime". It has a bit of an Asobi Seksu sound to it but still in the same Hero Cycle vein. The petite female vocals and fuzzy guitar wall is what makes me think of Asobi Seksu.

They don't have any shows scheduled right now according to their website but I give them big props for cranking out 14 shows up and down the East Coast during the summer months. It's probably not easy to book out-of-town shows when you are an indie rock band from Burlington that hasn't released an album yet. So, I give them credit for pushing it.

The Hero Cycle | Lovers Crime

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The New Year | Update

Last month, I posted about the show The New Year performed down in Boston. Well, if you want to see if I was off my rocker or not when I was praising the show, Brad of Bradley's Almanac has posted the mp3 files he recorded of the show.

Brad also has files from a recent Snowden concert and any Silkworm fans should not miss this post.

UPDATE: Whoops. I didn't realize Snowden had asked Brad to take the tracks down. I'm glad I got there early before the edict came down.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Here Come the Tourists

It's's foliage season.

Hear More Kale

Actually with a picture like that, I should have titled this post "See More Kale".

Anyone living in Central Vermont is aware of Bo Muller-Moore's Eat More Kale t-shirts. The guy is a local institution with his immediately recognizable and simple but artistic black ink t-shirts. I must have a dozen of them at this point.

Well, how many know of Bo's musical side? In addition to being a big music fan, Bo also makes instruments out of gourds, deer antlers, metal rakes and other non-traditional musical items. You can check them out at Riverwalk Records on State St. in Montpelier.

Now, Bo has busted loose with his own music recordings and posted them on his blog. The picture here of Bo though is misleading about his music. It isn't glam cock-rock or free-love hippie drivel. It's cool downtempo lounge electronica with nifty little vocal samples mixed in. I particularly dig the first track "The Arm That Swung the Stick" with its jew harp dancing with a bit of West African drumming and a speech clip about hatred. It works.

Overall, he did a nice job of mixing in a lot of cool little sounds around a main driving beat and vocals loop/clip. Positive Pie should have Bo do a DJ set there one night...assuming he's fully dressed, of course.

The rest of the tracks and Bo's story about how the recordings came to be can be found on his blog.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Norwich Football

On Saturday, I took my son over to Norwich University to see Norwich play Husson College. I'm not a big football fan; too slow paced with all the timeouts and whatnot. However, I do enjoy sitting in the stands on a beautiful warm September afternoon watching football.

I had never been to a football game at Norwich before. So, I didn't know what to expect. It was homecoming weekend so it was a big crowd. The Dockers crowd was out in full force with their cigars and beer buffalo bodies. However, nobody bothered us. The only trouble came from the noise of the event.

My son is four and still troubled by loud noises. So, we were in for a rough start when we stepped onto campus and found the entire Norwich football team jogging down the hill towards us. It was quite the thundering herd. It rattled my son a bit as he kept asking, "Why are they running at us?!?" Then we unfortunately got to the entrance of the stadium at the exact same time the marching band arrived. The crash-boom-bang of the band was enough to send him over the edge. He had had enough and we hadn't even gotten into the stadium.

Thankfully, the old gym was right behind us. So, we ducked into there. The great thing was that Norwich had a section of the gym set up with arts and crafts projects and games for the kids. So, we sat down and painted a bug catcher for a while and played a game of Chutes and Ladders. Parenthood means sometimes going to a football game and winding up playing Chutes and Ladders. It worked great though. He calmed down and we got into the game with about ten minutes left in the first quarter.

The game was fairly balanced with both teams scoring early and moving the ball up and down the field. Because it was so crowded and we got into the game late, we sat on the visitor's side. That was fine though because we were in that mid-70's sunshine which felt great that afternoon and the view of the hill and trees from that side is pretty nice.

We only made it to halftime before my little guy had seen enough. However, that was fine with me. With timeouts and injuries, the last four minutes of the second quarter had taken twenty minutes to play and I was bored out of my mind. Watching the continuous action of soccer definitely distorts your acceptance of downtime in other sports. I feel like screaming, "JUST PLAYING THE FRIGGIN' GAME!"

In the end, Husson beat Norwich 14-13 with Norwich's placekicker hitting the upright on the extrapoint and crossbar on a 48-yard field goal attempt with five seconds left in the game.

I don't think my son was won over by football either though. When I asked him what his favorite parts of the game were, he said the M&M's and sitting in the "little house" (aka the gazebo) in the park across the street from the campus as we left.

The other interesting part of the game was where we parked. Last December, I posted about the Lost New England Ski Areas Project and the old ski area that used to be run by Norwich University. Well, I was never quite sure where the ski area had been. However, I learned where it was on Saturday because they had us parking at the base of the old slopes. It's tucked in along the little road that surrounds the gazebo pictured above. You can clearly see where the slopes were cut and there seems to be a narrow trail up one of the slopes for hikers and/or mountain bikers. Maybe our next trip back there will be for a hike rather than a game.

Les Breastfeeders | Les Matins De Grands Soirs

Take the Les Breastfeeders Challenge? The next time you have a lengthy drive, pop in Les Breasfeeders new album Les Matins De Grands Soirs and start driving. You're guaranteed to arrive 25% earlier than you ever have before or your money back.

The Montreal quintet's sophomore release is frantic. That's the best way to put it. Frantic. They hook electrodes to your pulse from the first beats and don't let go until the disc is over. However, this isn't speed metal or something inaccessible. They've loaded this pop punk disc up with a million hooks.

The only thing I can't vouch for is the lyrics. I don't understand French. So, they could be singing about some crazy shit and I would have no idea.

The other tough thing about this album is getting it. It's not on eMusic or iTunes and I couldn't find a US distributor. So, I bought it from It took three weeks for the friggin' thing to clear customs. See, the terrorists have already won when we have to wait three weeks to get the latest Breastfeeders album.

They have a few southern Quebec shows coming up too.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Sherbrooke, QC @ Café Du Palais (with Xavier Caféïne)

Thursday, October 05, 2006
Montreal, QC @ Cabaret du Musée Juste Pour Rire (Bonsound turns 2 at Pop Montreal)

Saturday, October 07, 2006
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC @ Bar Le Metric

Sunday, November 12, 2006
Montreal, QC @ Maison de la Culture Maisonneuve (Francouvertes 10th anniversary)

The Sherbrooke show would be ideal for folks in the Northeast Kingdom and the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu show would be fab for folks in Montpelier and Burlington. Unfortunately, I'll be out of town for my parents 50th wedding anniversary during those shows. I wish my folks had planned their wedding date better back in 1956. Just kidding, Mom & Dad. I love ya. But wouldn't the following weekend have been better?

Les Breatstfeeders | Pas sans saveur | Buy
Les Breastfeeders | Tu n'est pas monchien | Buy

Garden Update

I haven't post much about our garden. We've gotten a bunch of carrots, cherry tomatoes and peppers. The celery was kind of puny and crappy. A few cucumbers.

We haven't kept up with the weeding though and the witch grass has overrun our plot. So, now it's basically a big pumpkin patch. We have five big pumpkins growing nicely. They should turn orange over the next few weeks and make some nice jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.

We tried planting a watermelon plant despite repeated advice from my sister that it doesn't get hot enough for a long enough period of time to grow them. But we had some extra space so we thought we'd give it a whirl. We got just one watermelon from the plant and, as you can see from the picture, it was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand.

Despite the small size of the melon, my kids were still excited to eat it. They're Grade-A watermelon junkies. Unfortunately, the fruit inside of the melon didn't develop far enough for it to be eaten. I guess my sister was right.

Performance Artist Again

I made it to the farmer's market this weekend and got to see the latest incarnation of the performance artist. This outfit isn't as dramatic and striking as some of the others have been. However, they've been going strong for two and half months with lots of interesting ideas. So, I'm not going to bust their chops for this week's costume.

By the way, I've heard a rumor that the performance artist is a collection of people and not just one person. They must all be of similar height and weight if that rumor is true since they always seem to be roughly the same size.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rogue Wave | Higher Ground | Sep 11th

I remember going to the DC Convention Center in 1991 to see Riddick Bowe fight Elijah Tillery. Bowe wasn't the title holder yet but was quickly rising through the ranks. As the hometown kid, he was the main event and we were pretty excited. However, the night turned upside down when the best boxer of the night was welterweight Sharmba Mitchell earlier in the evening. The Bowe fight turned into a debacle as Tillery started kicking Bowe after the first round bell which led to Tillery being disqualified which led to a small riot in the convention center and shots being fired outside. Needless to say, the main event was a disappointment while the undercard shined.

The Rogue Wave show at Higher Ground this week had a similar feeling to it with Foreign Born and Jason Collett playing the part of Sharmba Mitchell and the rest of the undercard.

It was blogger's night at Higher Ground as jds, gjs and I piled into a car and drove up to Burlington for the show. When we found parking in one of the first spaces of the first row, I thought we were in for another horribly attended show. However, I've gotten to the point that I don't worry about it too much. I've developed a bit of a callous to the awkwardness of standing in front of a stage watching a band with a handful of other people.

First up was Foreign Born from California. I had heard a few songs from them and thought they sounded OK but I wasn't expecting a lot. So, perhaps it was a case of having low expectations but from the very first song, Foreign Born sounded great. They were rocking with a tight overlapping compound sound. Simple set-up (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass and drums) but with Matt Popieluch charismatic vocals, they were fun to listen to.

They closed their set by inviting Gram from Rogue Wave and and some cute pixie of a lady up on stage to perform "Union Hall". With all of the handclapping involved in that song, it would make a good submission to Contrast Podcast #25 but more on that in a later post (I submitted Super XX Man's "Coulee City" instead).

Here's the best thing I can say about an opening the end of their set, I made a beeline to the merch table to buy their CD On the Wing Now. Here's the downside to pimping a band and their album...I can't find anywhere online that you can buy their album. It may be available only at their live shows. Considering that my copy is numbered "040 of 500", that's probably a good guess. Hopefully, at the end of their tour, they'll make it more available.

Next up was Jason Collett and his band of mustachioed Canadian cowboys. By this point, the room had filled up a bit and it certainly wasn't a poorly attended show. In the end, there were about 100 people in the Showcase Lounge.

When Collett isn't a solo artist, he's a member of the musical collective, Broken Social Scene. However, I wouldn't say his solo sound is in anyway reminiscent of BSS. More alt-country than art rock. The country vibe even extended down to the cowboy boots, flannel shirts, mustaches, bandannas and keyboards clad in roughcut barn siding. However, keep in mind...they're from Toronto.

For the first few songs of the set, I wasn't feeling it for Mr. Collett. It wasn't doing it for me. Perhaps I was still thinking about Foreign Born. However, as the set rolled on, I was won over. Collett's experience on stage came through as he bantered with the crowd and seemed comfortable leading and guiding his own band. He had one funny story about crossing the border into the US earlier that day which had been the fifth anniversary of 9/11. He said they were a bit concerned they would be hassled but they relied on an old trick. When the border agent asked them what kind of music they play, they told him, "Classic rock and oldies". He said the agents always wave the oldies bands through.

By the time, they cranked out "I'll Bring the Sun", I was completely in the bag for Collett. It was another enjoyable set from an opening band. Two for two. It was shaping up as a great night of music.

One last note on Jason Collett and his band...his bass player is one of the tallest musicians I've ever seen. I'm 6'4" and he was well above me. Plus, his torso is average size and it's his legs that are extremely long. Combined with the elongated toe of his cowboy boots and naturally large size of his bass, everything seemed out of proportion. He was a good bassist though; just interesting to watch due to his size.

He should form a band with Matt Berninger of The National and Eric Bachmann of Archers of Loaf and bill themselves as the tallest band in rock history. They'd just need to find a tall drummer. As I think about that lineup, that would be a pretty damn good band.

Last up for the night was the main event, Rogue Wave. Perhaps, it was a matter of having high expectations and having just seen two bands exceed my expectations, but I was disappointed in Rogue Wave. Yes, they have some good songs and when they played those songs, I enjoyed them. However, in general, they seemed lackluster and boring. There was something about Zach Rogue they sort of bugged me. jds put it well when he said, "Whenever I look at that guy, all I can think about it Smashmouth." That's a good way to put it because I felt like Zach was trying too hard to be a rockstar. The perfectly tussled dyed hair, never-ending fussing with his equipment & levels and all-around rockstar demeanor made me feel like he really, really, really wanted to be on the OC. So, that attitude combined with a lifeless performance gave me a bland, paint-by-number sense of the set. Good songs but with a bland delivery.

At one point, while other band members were dealing with equipment issues, the bass player, Evan Farrell, started talking to the audience which explained why the show was fairly well attended. Farrell used to live in Burlington and had plenty of family and friends in the crowd. He said he used to work at Ali Baba's Kebab shop. When a bunch of folks cheered for Ali's, Farrell said, "Oh, I see. You've been drunk before." Good line.

They did play at least one new song. Zach Rogue introduced it as "Ghost". Now, for our 8th anniversary last month, my wife gave me a sweet new camera. A Casio EX-60. This was the first show I had used it at. That's why all of these photos look weird. I was trying out the different settings to see which worked best in minimal light. Well, one of the cool features of the camera is the ability to record movies in good quality. So, I tried it out with the song "Ghost" and uploaded it onto YouTube for your viewing pleasure. It's only a minute long but gives you a little feel for the song and show.

Despite my bitching about Rogue Wave, it was a good night of music. Plus, having a few beers with friends is always a good way to spend a Monday night.

You can read gjs' review of the show on his site, Pages Within. I have no idea when we'll see a review from jds. Busy, busy man these days.

Foreign Born | Into Your Dream | band site
Foreign Born | Union Hall | band site

Jason Collett | I'll Bring the Sun | buy

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Peter Bjorn and John | Writer's Block

I haven't heard Swedish pop trio Peter Bjorn and John's new album Writer's Block yet but I like their previous stuff and two songs I've found on other blogs. However, my curiousity in the upcoming album has peaked now that I've read a review of the album on Dusted written by Seven Days' Casey Rea.

Musically, PB&J dip their fingers into three decades worth of pop like preschoolers with fingerpaints. The band freely mixes melodies and textures, ranging from the Zombies to shoegaze. Arrangements are kept simple, as not to detract from the always-cordial lyrics. The finest song on Writer’s Block is its single, “Young Folks,” which features a spot of whistling and a terrific guest vocal from Victoria Bergsman (the former Concrete), who sounds both detached and romantically willing. The tune’s frisky bassline and ’60s-style bongos make for a cheeky slice of urban sentimentality.
Sounds good to me. Now the question is "When will it be added to eMusic?"

Peter Bjorn and John | Young Folks | Buy
Peter Bjorn and John | Amsterdam | Buy

Bye Bye Langdon Street Bridge

It's gone. The Langdon Street Bridge was taken down last week and will be replaced with a new one in a month or so. The bridge had been there since shortly after the 1927 flood. I believe they are going to refurbish the old metal trusses and place them on the new bridge but they'll only be decorative. Hopefully, it'll look similar to the old bridge.

I feel bad for the owners of Global Gifts. You can just barely see their sign in the upper left hand corner of the picture. Those kind of stores rely heavily on the foliage tourists but when you are located on the edge of a construction zone and a temporary dead end, you're screwed. Little old biddies from England aren't going to trek down Langdon Street into that rubble to buy some knick-knacks.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Tree of Life

When I was born, my parents planted a tree near their house in celebration of my arrival. The tree grew big. The tree grew strong. A tree to be proud of.

After last week, this is all that's left of the tree. They said it had gotten too big and threatened them.


Guided By Voices | I Am a Tree | Buy

Summer's Over

It's official. The creme stand in Montpelier is closing for the season. Sunday is the last day.

For me, that signals the end of the summer. Going down there after dinner with the kids is a fun trip during the summer. I know we can always go Ben & Jerry's in town but it isn't the same. The creme stand has that old time throwback feel to it and since it's so popular, you always run into somebody you know. That never happens at Ben & Jerry's for whatever reason.

The problem with the summer being over is that I've failed to post about all of the sunshine coated summer pop albums I've been enjoying. So, I'm going to dump a few of them in one post. Better late than never.

The Essex Green
The Essex Green are now Brooklynites but they started here. So, I'm going to call them a Vermont pop band. And when a band releases such a good album, it makes you want to bend the rules to claim them for your little corner of the world. Cannibal Sea is 100% pure pop goodness. There's not a lot of variety to it but it's sameness doesn't bother me.

The Essex Green | This Isn't Farm Life | Buy

Saturday Looks Good to Me
Band names that double as a sentence kind of annoy me. So, Saturday Looks Good to Me started in a hole for me. However, I discovered them just when the sun was getting the upper hand on the northern chill in April. It was the perfect music to kick start the summer. Stuff that just makes your head and toes go thump thump thump in step with each other as your car window rolls down.

Saturday Looks Good to Me | Lift Me Up | Buy

The Morning After Girls
The Morning After Girls aren't exactly summer pop but they ceretainly aren't dark dreary tunes for November. Hailing from Australia, their album Prelude EPs 1 & 2 are stacked with rockers that straddle the line between retro new wave with the heavy echo and psychedelia with their acoustic rhythm guitars and sound effects layered in.

The Morning After Girls | Straight Thru You | Buy

Mojave 3
Mojave 3 is a band that I had heard of in the past but never heard. The way I learned about them is I read a review that said their new album was quite a departure from their earlier albums and very poppy. Well, I can't vouch for how big of a departure Puzzles Like You are from their earlier albums but I will atesst to its poppiness. It's there.

Mojave 3 | Bright Lights | Buy

Pelle Carlberg
You didn't think I was going to make it through a post about summer pop albums without mentioning any Swedes, did you? I actually briefly posted about Carlberg a long time ago but that was before his album Everything.Now! had come out in the US in late winter. If you liked the early Belle & Sebastian albums, then Pelle Carlberg is your man.

Pelle Carlberg | Summer of '69 | Buy

I posted about Darondo last winter when I was talking about Gilles Peterson's new mix CD Digs America: Brownsville USA. However, I guess a lot of people loved his soul stunner, "Didn't I", from that album because Ubiquity records release a bunch of Darondo's songs on a new album called Let My People Go. If you like Al Green, stop whatever you are doing and buy this album. You'll love it.

Darondo | How I Got Over | Buy

Oh well. Time for foliage season.

Only seven months until the creme stand opens again.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

South End Art Hop

On Friday night, folks in the Burlington area are going to get a musical treat. Eleven bands under one roof (or, more accurately, on one patio) over the course of about seven hours.

It sounds a bit chaotic but also a lot of fun. I wouldn't put too much faith in the exact start times for all of these bands but here's the schedule:

4:30 Greg Davis
5:30 Hammer & Saw
6:00 Ryan Power
6:30 Home Items
7:00 Oak
7:30 Magic Sparkle
8:00 The Smittens
8:30 "Party Star"
9:00 The Cripples
9:30 Nest Material
10:00 The Cush

The shows will be at the Green Door Studio (corner of Pine and Howard St).

Of the bands on that lineup, I most want to see Greg Davis, Ryan Power, The Smittens, Nest Material and The Cush. Unfortunately, I'm planning on visiting my sister in Maine this weekend. However, if the weather looks crappy for Saturday and Sunday, I may reschedule for another weekend which would free me up for this show.

Part of my interest in this show is seeing how the bands will set-up their instruments, play their set and pack up in thirty minutes. Hell, it takes Nest Material thirty minutes to play just one song.

Casey has more about the musical portion of Art Hop in this week's Seven Days.

Another interesting part of Art Hop will occur on Saturday at 1pm. Gahlord DeWald and Bill Simmon of Candleblog fame will lead a discussion about blogging, podcasting and generally making good use of new web tools. The free workshop is aimed at artists and small business owners (but anyone can come). The workshop will be at Gahlord's studio (Thoughtfaucet) in the building on the corner of Howard and Pine streets (4 Howard St. -- Art Hop location #12).

Ryan Power | Heat Sleep | Buy
Greg Davis | I Never Met Her | Buy
Nest Material | The Ship Begins to... | Buy

Bennington College Fall Concert Schedule

Last year, when I went down to Bennington College to see Jens Lekman I noticed that they were in the process of building a new student center/performance theater on campus. Well, the facility is now finished and ready for some shows. With that in mind, Bennington has booked a damn impressive schedule of shows for the fall semester.

Here's the schedule:

September 23 - The Extraordinaires w/ Pyramid Skeem and Corndawg
September 29 - Architecture in Helsinki
October 6 - Joanna Newsom
October 7 - The Dirty Projectors
October 27 - Brent Gorton & The Tender Breasts
November 4 - Land of Talk
November 18 - Beirut

Between AiH, Joanna Newsom, Brent Gorton and Beirut, that's four shows I'd like to see. Plus, with the exception of the first show, those are all weekend shows. That makes the drive down there much less annoying.

The shows are between $5 and $10 depending on the show and tickets are only available at the door. However, I wouldn't worry too much about getting skunked. There were only about 30 people there for Jens Lekman last year.

I have no idea what the sound will be like in the new place but it has to be better than the old campus bar (Downcaf) where I saw Lekman. That place was just four concrete walls with a concrete floor.

Regarding the drive, it's about two hours from Montpelier and one hour from Rutland. I don't know how far it is from Burlington but I'm guessing it's longer.

They may be adding other shows too and will be announcing the spring semester shows at some point. So, it may be worthwhile to bookmark their calendar page.

Architecture in Helsinki | It's 5! (Live On WOXY) | Buy
Brent Gorton | Cuddlecore | Buy
Beirut | The Canals Of Our City | Buy

MLS Goal Compilation | Week 22

The goals from Red Bull last week are beautiful...except for those hideous football markings. The new stadium in Harrison can't come soon enough.

Esther's Mixtape Collective

Feel like swapping mixtapes (or CDs) with someone? How about someone random?

Well, Esther's Mixtape Collective may be the thing for you. Here's how it works: Make a mixtape on either tape or CD. Send it Esther. She'll listen to it and based upon your preferred style of music, she'll find a mixtape from someone else to send back to you. So, someone out there in the world will be listening to your mix while you enjoy (hopefully enjoy) some random person's mixtape.

The last thing I need these days is exposure to any more new music. I can barely wade through all of the crap I have these days. However, this might might be a fun experiment. So, I'm going to send off a mix of my favorite tunes from the last few months. Here's what I'm sending Esther:

The Little Ones | Cha Cha Cha
M. Ward | To Go Home
Mando Diao | Lady
Mates of State | Fraud In The 80's
The Morning After Girls | Straight Thu You
The Mugs | Firm Ground
PAS/CAL | Poor Maude
Phantom Buffalo | Killings Not Ok
Radiogram | Summer Song Summer
The Rance Allen Group | Lying On The Truth
Sambassadeur | Kate
Snowden | Anti - Anti
Sonic Youth | Reena
Super XX Man | Collecting Rocks
Team Band | If Rain (Sambassadeur cover)
Yo La Tengo | Beanbag Chair
Asobi Seksu | Thursday
Brent Gorton | Cuddlecore
The Essex Green | Don't Know Why (You Stay)
Lambchop | Smuckers

It'll be interesting to see what I get back.

The Indoctrination Continues

I missed a few days of blogging while I was down in the NYC area over the holiday weekend to take my son to Yankee Stadium. Here's the issue, I grew up a Yankee fan but I'm raising my son in Red Sox Nation. So, I need to make the occasional trip down to NY to take him to Yankee Stadium to properly indoctrinate him to the ways of the Bronx Bombers.

So far, it's been working. We went last year and he had a great time. However, this summer, he asked me what Fenway Park was. I gave him the straight dope...I told him it the stadium the Yankees play in when they play in Boston. Hey, I didn't lie. But it was enough of a wake up call to get me to bring him down to the Bronx for a game.

Since he's only 4 (4 1/2 he says), I up the ante by adding in a bunch of different transportation options that he doesn't get in VT. I give him the whole "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" experience.

First up is the ferry. We park in Weehauken on the Jersey banks of the Hudson River and take the NY Waterways ferry over to the 39th St. ferry station. Last year, we got the added bonus of watching a seaplane land in the Hudson while we waited for the ferry. No such luck this year but he was still excited bu the few helicopters that went by.

The cool part of the ferry is riding on the top deck. The view of Manhattan is beautiful from the boat.

Once in Manhattan, the next form of transportation was the bus. NY Waterways provides bus service to and from the ferry station throughout mid-town. So, we took a bus down 42nd St. to Grand Central Station. My son loved being able to sit in a seat and not be strapped into a car seat. And the view from the high seat on the bus was great for him.

From Grand central Station, we took the 4 train up to the stadium. Thankfully, this year, he didn't lick the pole in the subway car. I had the heebie-geebies for a week after catching him do that last year.

The benefit of taking the 4 train rather than the B or D is that it pops above ground before arriving at Yankee Stadium. You then get a split-second view of the green grass of the stadium through a small opening in the right-field wall. It's quick but it heightens you expectation of the stadium. I made sure my son was watching when we rumbled by it. The quick ooh-aah reaction on his face was great.

The street scene outside of Yankee Stadium is also quite eye-opening for a kid raised in bucolic Vermont. So much activity. The rumble of the trains overhead. The shouts of the scalpers. And Stan's Sports Bar, of course (although I'll wait a dozen or so years for his first trip to Stan's).

During our walk up the ramps inside the stadium, I started thinking about how much I'll miss the ramps when they build the slick antiseptic new Yankee Stadium. There's something about the ramps I love. It has to do with the dark crude filthy roughneck sensation that they leave you as you enter the stadium. It makes you feel like a warrior in the battle rather than a passive viewer of the game and ultimately adds to the atmosphere at the game.

Then again, when my son took a digger running down the ramp later on, I understood why they would be replaced with insurance-company-approved escalators in the new stadium.

Our seats were about 2/3rd of the way up the upper deck but right behind first base. When I bought the tickets on Stub Hub, I thought they would stink. But they actually were pretty good. It's not a bad angle to watch the game from and the seats are in the shade the entire game which helps with his endurance.

Plus, you get a nice view of the Bronx from the upper deck.

One nice part of our day was that Jorge Posada, my son's favorite player, had a big hit early in the game. That got him clapping and dancing. As much as I enjoy a well-pitched 2-1 thriller, the 10-1 Yankee win was perfect for holding his attention.

At the end of the seventh and 2 1/2 hours of ball, he had had enough. I was fine with that. The score was already 8-1 and he had made it as long as the typical Mountaineers game. So, for him, that was a full game. Plus, it gave us a chance to exit and get on a train going back to Grand Central before the masses made a crush for the exits.

While waiting for the 4, I saw the hole in the ground where they are beginning to build the new Yankee Stadium. Because of all the memories, I'll miss the old stadium but I'm glad my son will have had the chance to experience the old place before they tear it down.