Sunday, December 31, 2006

Les Breastfeeders | "Funny Funiculaire"

From Les Breastfeeders' 2006 album, Les Matins de Grands Soirs, which can be bought here. By the way, Les Breastfeeders website is now available in English. Yay, for us mono-language knowledgeable folks.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 Year End Survey | Paul Searls

Paul Searls is a Vermont author, history professor and former faculty advisor at UVM to WRUV. Plus, he has a fantastic music collection (and is a longtime soccer fan) so we wanted to be sure to include him in our year-end wrap-up.

Between changing CDs in his player and reading Four Four Two, Searls penned the book, Two Vermonts, which was released earlier this year. Two Vermonts is a historical look at the tension between the competing forces of tourism, conservation and development in Vermont. It shows that the current struggles we have today with finding balanced solutions mirror the issues Vermonters faced all the way back to the 19th century.

If you received any Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Borders gift certificates for Christmas, Two Vermonts is available at the online store for each. Plus, I'm sure Bear Pond Books could have a copy within a few days.

Well, here's Searls' list of faves:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

That would probably be "Possible Harm" by Pony Up! A mechanically perfect pop song. Builds nicely, great harmonies, an excellent bridge. Kind of a cross between Electralane and the Softies. Has many of the same elements as one of the greatest songs from last year, Stars' "Ex-Lover is Dead," in that it moves forward in discreet but logically-flowing movements.

Other candidates:
Page France: "Chariot"
Silversun Pickups: "Lazy Eye"
Beirut: "Postcards from Italy"
and there must be 1000 others but those come to mind first.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

That has to be Christine Fellows' "Paper Anniversary." Such a wonderful album. I'm constantly amazed how CF can convey such a complex mix of emotions--wry humor, naivete, resignation, despair--with the slightest vocal inflections. Ranks up there with Tracy Shedd's "Blue" and "Exile in Guyville" in the pantheon of female singer-songwriter albums. It has beautiful sparse instrumentation but a mix of sounds and instruments that keeps it a lively listening experience throughout.

Other candidates:
Mixtapes and Cellmates: "If There Is Silence, Fill It With Longing"
The Sprites: "Modern Gameplay"
I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch here, but honorable mention to the new Aberdeen collection, "What Do I Wish For Now"

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

I'll pass on this category for lack of a sufficient sample. That's what kids will do for you. And to think how I used to see 3 or 4 shows a week when I lived in NYC...

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

You suggested it would be the World Cup, but actually I thought it was an awful, depressing, disappointing tournament, the worst since 1990. From the quarterfinals on, the only match I thought remotely exciting was Spain-France. But even if it had been a great tournament, it wouldn't have trumped the outcome of the election in November.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

The continued health and normal development of my sons. American troops out of Iraq without the country and region collapsing violently. Leyton Orient to avoid relegation. And a Sufjan Stevens album about Vermont.

Pony Up! | Possible Harm | Buy
Page France | Chariot | Buy
Silversun Pickups | Lazy Eye | Buy
Beirut | Postcards From Italy | Buy

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy | Cold & Wet

Here's the second video from Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's great 2006 album, The Letting Go. It's for the tune "Cold & Wet" and certainly allows BPB to retain the title of "one weird dude".

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2006 Year End Survey | Hannah Teter

Keeping with the sports theme, gold medal snowboarder, Hannah Teter of Belmont, VT has checked in with her favorites of the year. Teter smoked the halfpipe in Torino to take the top prize last February at the Olympics and then set off for a kick-ass year of celebrating.

To Teter's credit, she is also taking some time away from the thrill of being a world class athlete to raise money for World Vision which helps children living in poverty in Africa. Teter is giving 100% of the profits from the sale of her family's maple syrup, Hannah's Gold, to World Vision. So, $15 gets you a bottle of Grade A Vermont maple syrup and sends a few bucks to some desperately needy kids in Africa. Pretty good deal.

You can order the syrup here.

You can read more about her fundraising hopes here.

So, here's what Teter was diggin' this year.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

communicate by Strive Roots

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Songs of Freedom- Bob Marley

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Doobie Brothers live in IDAHO... no U DAHO

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Going to Torino and lounging in the heated pool, oh yeah, and biting a Gold Medal

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

Peace on Earth, Good will towards men (and women)

Strive Roots | Communicate | Buy

By the way, in case you didn't see it last winter, here's the video of Teter's gold medal run in Torino:


And here is the video of Teter getting Punk'd after she returned stateside:

Link Dump

I don't do many link dumps but I have a bunch of stuff piling up. So, here it goes:





  • While our year-end survey has rolled on, the originator of the survey, extrawack!, has also been posting the responses he's been receiving from musicians. Check out the responses from Carey & Traceyanne of Camera Obscura, Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal, Sammy from The Mooney Suzuki, Aziz Ansari of Clell Tickle fame and many more.


2006 Year End Survey | Alex Wolff

Any regular reader knows of our love of minor league sports, in general, and, specifically, the Vermont Mountaineers and Vermont Frost Heaves. So, we asked both teams to contribute to the survey. To both of their credit, they sent back responses which speaks well of their desire to be a part of the community regardless of whether that corner of the community is in their comfort zone or a silly music blog.

People who want to knock sports writers often say they are writers because they aren't capable of being athletes, GMs or owners. Well, Alex Wolff, a senior sportswriter at Sports Illustrated has shot that misbelief to hell. After years of writing about basketball, Wolff decided to throw his hat in the ring and started a hoops team in the ABA.

Well, so far, Wolff has proven to be a great owner by melding a strong community feeling, great gametime atmosphere and a well-run organization that has led to sell-out crowds. Additionally, as a GM, Wolff has put together a team with the third best record in the entire ABA and leaders of the North Division of the Blue Conference. Well done. I'd like to see an NBA owner knock out a few thousand words each week for a national magazine. Probably wouldn't happen.

This coming weekend, The Frost Heaves will play a pair of games in Barre against division foes, The Cape Cod Frenzy (does anyone really associate the word "frenzy" with Cape Cod?). The game on Saturday is at 7:05pm and the game on Sunday is a 1:05pm start. Tickets are available at the Barre Opera House Box Office.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?
2) What was your favorite album of 2006?
3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Because Wolff has been so busy with getting the team up and running in 2006, he didn't have much time to focus on music. However, he did send over a song associated with the Frost Heaves.

Since fans at the games bang cowbells to generate noise for the Heaves, the team has adopted the classic cowbell skit from SNL with Christopher Walken. As a result, Wolff sent over a musical mix of the skit that Phish Radio put together during their farewell shows in Coventry a few years ago.

Come on. How many team owners send music bloggers mp3 files? The guy is definitely a new mold of franchise owner.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

My wife and I have a five-year-old with asthma and we live maybe 8 miles from International Paper's Ticonderoga plant, so the best thing about '06 for us is that IP stopped the tire burn. That's sweeter than any song, more desert-island worthy than any album, and more memorable than any concert.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

As for my wishes for '07, an ABA title in the Frost Heaves' first season would be quite fine.

Blue Oyster Cult, Nazareth & SNL Cast w/ Christopher Walken | More Cowbell

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Trilobite

This is a horrible statement to make but if I had seen Trilobite's publicity photo before hearing their music, I probably wouldn't have taken the time to listen to them. That shot above is total cheese. It looks like something right out of Rock and Roll Confidential's Hall of Douchebags. Thumbs in the pockets??? Come on! Having said that, I'm glad I didn't miss the opportunity to hear their beautiful sounds.

Trilobite are from Albuquerque and their self-titled debut came out last month. It's filled with dark quiet but textured western folk songs. They basically exist where Brooklyn's quiet atmospheric Doveman meets the moody alt-country stylings of Okkervil River. I think they are going to be big with the clove smokers in Europe.

Trilobite's lead singer and songwriter, Mark Ray Lewis, is an accomplished writer outside of music having been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and winner of an O. Henry and a Pushcart for his fiction. Well, I guess his creativity runs over into music too because he's penned an album that leaves you feeling the remorseless dust of the desert southwest. Just don't let the photo fool you. They are worthy of your attention.

Trilobite | Pumpkin Farmer | Buy
Trilobite | Hunky Kentuckian | Buy

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating the holiday.

This is a video of the Holzknoddl Räuchermännchen Weihnachtsmann that I bought in Germany during the World Cup last summer. We call it "Smoker Father Christmas" and, as a souvenir, it kicks a t-shirt's ass.

Enjoy the peace of the next few days.

Friday, December 22, 2006

2006 End of Year Survey | Age Rings

Will Spitz spends his days writing for the arts and entertainment alternative newsweekly The Boston Phoenix. Free time is dedicated to singing and playing guitar for Age Rings. Acting more like a collective from the north country then the typical band, this 7 piece has seen their self-released debut album, look...the dusk is growing, welcomed with open arms. The Boston Globe has the following to say: An audaciously good album . . . If Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-era Wilco covered tunes by Pavement and Spoon, it might sound something like this band and these songs.

The LCD Soundsystem pick is quite interesting. The track was commissioned by Nike for it's Nike+ Original Run series. The series, now in its second installment (The Crystal Method were tapped for the first go around), is music made for running. Completely and utterly music that accommodates the runner. I've never been a Nike fan, but I think it is a brilliant idea. I can see the 45 min 33 sec track to be quite the aid in getting one into the zone. Curious to see how else companies that sell specific gear decide to capture more of the complimentary facets of it's target audience.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?
"45:33" by LCD Soundsystem

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?
Ys by Joanna Newsom

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?
Eels at the Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?
Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 5

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?
A peaceful end to the war in Iraq.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

2006 Year End Survey | Mike Donofrio

As the bass player for The New Year, Mike Donofrio was the only Vermont musican this year to play both the Touch & Go 25th Anniversary Festival in Chicago and Wall of Sound Festival in Dallas. Plus, the guy hasn't been working since August...by choice. And he welcomed his second daughter into the world in November. Any one of those events would make for a good year. However, all together, it makes for a fantastic year. Hell, it's downright unfair.

To follow up a fine 2006, Donofrio's other band, Saturnine, will be releasing their first new album since 2001 next year (called Rememberance of Things Past). The cool thing is that the album will be available as a free download. Once it's available, we'll be sure to post the link.

On a current link note, in August, Brad from Bradley's Almanac recorded The New Year's show at Middle East. Brad's review of the show and the mp3 files of the performance are available here. My review of the show is here.

Well, between kid duties, Donofrio sent over some survey answers.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

Destroyer – 3000 Flowers: This song make me think of rummaging through an old semi-forgotten drawer you and finding all sorts of cool stuff. I love the “Here Come the Warm Jets” riff towards the end.

Gnarls Barkley – Smiley Faces: As great as “Crazy” was overplayed in 2006. Don’t get me wrong, “Crazy” is a great song too.

Neko Case – Hold On Hold On: Edie, our three-year-old daughter, has excellent taste in music, and this was her favorite release of 2006. Beautiful, spacious, and swaggering.

BPB – Cursed Sleep: I was a big Palace fan back in the day, then sort of lost track of Will Oldham’s output. This is probably the best song of his I’ve heard yet. It’s been a perfect soundtrack for walking the dog in the woods this fall.

Bottomless Pit – Dogtag: I am a longtime Silkworm fan. This song fits solidly in their grand tradition.

Reissue: A New Kind of Water – This Heat: I heard this song once, in the van on tour, years ago and was smitten. I scoured the earth trying to find it, and then learned in late 2005 that ReR Music was planning a This Heat box set for 2006. I remain as smitten even after daily listening for months.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere

Uzeda – Stella: As individuals and as a band, this group is an inspiration. Their set at the Touch & Go Records 25th was outstanding, and their first release in 8 years improved the overall quality of the year 2006.

Bottomless Pit – 4 song EP (CD-R sold during fall 2006 tour): So great to have more music to listen to from Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen.

Reissue – This Heat box set, especially the Deceit LP.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006: Touch & Go Records 25th Anniversary. The whole day, especially seeing bands who traveled from afar (Uzeda, the Ex) or from the past (Scratch Acid, Big Black, Killdozer).

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Arrival of Lena (11-14-06)

Not working since mid-August, leaving plenty of time to hang out with Edie

Mid-term elections

See item 3 above

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

On a grand scale: some sense of order/decency/common sense restored to world affairs (I’m not holding my breath).

On a personal but kind of grand scale: health, balance among family, work, and personal pursuits.

On a personal and more modest scale: A few more New Year shows.

Bottomless Pit | Dogtags | Buy
The New Year | Age of Conceit | Buy

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Art Brut | Nag Nag Nag Nag

The first single of Art Brut's next album was released in the US yesterday. The album is due next year but no specific date has been set.

If "Good Weekend" and "We Formed a Band" didn't win you over, then "Nag Nag Nag Nag" isn't going to either. However, as an Art Brut fan, it's a good addition to their discography. It has all the things AB fans adore. Arena-rock guitars with a punk pace. Enough hooks to keep you hitting the "<< button" and Eddie Argos' classic lyrics and delivery.

It sounds vaguely familiar so I think they played it when we saw them up in Montreal last October. I remember Mark and I talking about how good the new songs sounded live.

The b-sides of the CD single contain one other new song and five live tracks.

By the way, they wanted to name the song "Nag Nag Nag" but that was already taken by Cabaret Voltaire so they had to tack on an additional Nag.

Art Brut | Nag Nag Nag Nag | Buy

U2 | Window In the Skies

Any regular reader here probably knows I'm not a big U2 fan. I think they are OK but have never been in love with them. Having said that, this video is fun, fun, fun.

The people who created it must have one huge kick-ass database of concert videos...and a huge budget to buy all of the rights to those clips. I guess it's called Universal Records.

2006 Year End Survey | Thomas Hughes of The Spinto Band

Not to be outdone by his younger brother, we received Thomas Hughes favorites of the year this afternoon.

I don't have much more to add about The Spintos from Sam's post yesterday. However, I will say that I had the chance to talk to Thomas earlier this year after their set in Montreal opening for Arctic Monkeys and he was a damn nice guy. Very kind and humble; particularly for someone with youth, talent, a killer album and a worldwide touring itinerary.

Trust me. If I had all of those things, I'd be completely insufferable.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

"Nervous Heartbeat" by Momus

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Half-handed Cloud - "Halos & Lassos"

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Fuji Rock in Japan

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

I got a Banjolele for my birthday and it is my favorite instrument right now.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

I hope Louie Anderson makes it all the way though it.

Momus | Nervous Heartbeat | Buy

Here's the Spintos video for their hit "Oh, Mandy" from Nice and Nicely Done


The photo above of Thomas was taken by Katie L. Thompson. You can see the rest of her photos here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oakley Hall

Oakley Hall released two albums during 2006 - Second Guessing and Gypsum Strings (wouldn't it of made sense to change the order of release?). Bloggers have called them psych-country-rock monsters and their sound ripping psychedelic country rock.

Here's a great performance of Lazy Susan during the Second Guessing CD release party at Union Pool, Brooklyn - Feb 4 2006.


Gypsum Strings
Oakley Hall Lazy Susan
Oakley Hall Living in Sin in the USA

Second Guessing
Oakley Hall Landlord
Oakley Hall Eyes, Lock & Steel

2006 Year End Survey | Sam Hughes of The Spinto Band

It's been a hell of a year for Sam Hughes. Last year at this time, he was finishing his final exams at Bennington College. Since then he been pounding the keyboards for The Spinto Band as they've toured Europe, Asia and the US as both headliners and openers for Arctic Monkeys, Art Brut and We are Scientists. The touring has been in support of their great 2005 pop gem of an album, Nice and Nicely Done.

Plus, Sam and his brother, Tom, were featured in Bennington's alumni magazine. Not as cool as touring with Art Brut but they were featured more prominently in the magazine than two other alumni that had been named "Voices of Their Generation" by TIME. That's respect.

One long range date to keep in mind for Vermont Spinto fans is May 19th. That's the day The Spintos will return to campus for Bennington College's 2007 Sunfest. I haven't heard what other bands will be playing but The Spintos are enough to get me down to Bennington.

One other connection between The Spintos and Vermont is the fact that Montpelier's own Tiny Meat was the creator of the Spinto Band wallets they sold on tour this year. MerchMikey with the sweet design.

Well, while awaiting their New Year's show in Philly, Sam sent over his answers to our questions.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

"The Champ" - Ghostface Killah

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

"Fishscale" - Ghostface Killah

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Fuji Rock Festival including perfromances by Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, Blackilicious, Fields, Franz Ferdinand, Gnarls Barkely and many more.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

My favorite thing about 2006 was watching Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies win the National League MVP award. It was a good season for him...

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

I recently subscribed to a beverage trade magazine which I'm getting for free, only because I told them that I was in the industry. Clearly I'm not, but I really like beverages and I hope they don't catch on to me because I really want the magazine.

Ghostface Killah | The Champ | Buy
The Spinto Band | Late | Buy

Monday, December 18, 2006

Another Great Chelsea Goal

Last week, I posted two soccer videos. One was Michael Essien's late bomb that gave Chelsea the win and the other video was of a long, long goal by Portsmouth's Matt Taylor that beat Everton's (and top US) goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Well, something weird happened this week that looks like a combination of the two videos. On Sunday, Chelsea won again in the 87th minute on another amazing goal from about 35 yards out. And the victimized keeper? Tim Howard. Ouch. Rough week for Timmy.

TV On The Radio - 'I Was A Lover'

2006 Year End Survey | The Mile Project

Joe Hudak is the creator of The Mile Project which is a cool art project taking place in Northern Vermont. Here's the idea: Joe is collecting drawings from anyone that will draw something for him. He is then screening those drawings onto one continuous canvas that's a mile long. Considering that each drawing is shrunk down to 2.5"x1.7", he needs about 40,000 drawings to complete his plan.

The idea isn't to generate a museum piece. The idea is participation and how participating in the arts can be democratized.

If you want to see some of the submitted pieces, go here.

If you want to learn more about submitting a drawing, go here.

If you are interested in pre-buying a piece of the final product, go here.

Well, Joe is also a big music fan and spent part of the year going to music festivals to collect drawings from the concert goers. However, he also took some time to send over his favorites of the year.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

If I hafta pick one, I think I'd have to go with something that is engineered to be a favorite, some chunk of immaculately processed crack to make my ears happy happy happy, and something that sums up the year (or the last several.) How about Nausea? Beck (www.beck.com) loves to play in the sandbox of my teenage decade (check out the 8 bit variations of tracks from Guero on iT(M)S...), and he's just weird enough to be ridiculously famous and lovable too.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

My Favorite Place to Drown by Michael Leviton (www.michaelleviton.com). I saw Michael open for They Might Be Giants (www.tmbg.com). He came out and played a whole set almost completely by himself on a ukulele. I know, I know, right now you're lunging for the bucket of Tiny Tim clichés you keep by your monitor. Well, stop. It was so great, I had to get the CD.

The album is a really cohesive, atmospheric thing. He creates a beautiful day on the beach, but doesn't skimp on the undertow. It lands somewhere between Ritchie Rich Atlantic east coast prep school summer out yachting on the cape, and marooned in the South Pacific of the thirties. Tracks with luscious names like Salt Water to Quench your Thirst, You'll Pay for your Day at Pleasure Island and the straight on Summer's the Worst are variations on a theme. Fickle teenage affection, with all the sand-kicking self loathing of being that age and unable to find love. This guy spins snickering melancholy better than Edward Gorey, and as sad as this thing's soul is, it's a wonder to listen to.

There are a bunch of reasons this has landed on the top of my CD heap for the year. The company I kept when I first heard it was the best, he was rad in person but I think the fact that this was just such a surprise.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

I went to a lot of little shows that were excellent, a ton at the 9:30 Club, and the NIN/Peaches bill were all great. The favorite would have to be the one I worked. I had my first vendor booth at the Virgin Festival at Pimlico, collecting little drawings for (brace for impact with vulgar, self-aggrandizing plug) my art thing, The Mile Project (www.1mile.org). We had a full frontal of the mainstage all day, and with the Jumbotrons I got to see the whole thing. I got 2000 drawings, plus we got free beer, free burgers, and had a great day watching Gnarls, the Raconteurs, Wolfmother and a bunch of other headliners. We also packed up and got to stand in the crowd for RHCP.

The music was solid, mainstream radio players, but what made the show great was the fact that It launched my paper golem into the air. I'll always thank Sir Richard Branson for that. A shivering second fav was a band with more heart and courage than most, Momster at the Art Cares benefit at JDK. Momster's members include a mother and son duo (there's the courage part), plus Dale the dude, and I think their orbit intersects Pluto's. They play anything, and their arsenal includes a collection of created instruments (electric helmet, anyone?) and bravado galore. Momster rocks.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

This one I'm going to have to bend the rules a little, there were only a few things great about this year for me, so I think I should put in as many as I can to overcompensate. America pulling it's collective head out of it's collective ass and taking the firecrackers away from the Republicans. My dog Pixie trying to fix the gaping holes in my life with her beautiful, walnut sized brain. Ten seconds of held breath before the fall. Creativity using the ol' eggtooth to get up and out. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor with a fake ID, a conversation about Kurt Cobain with someone who knew him, and a few other things that I'll allude to to keep your breath bated. Like you care.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

A changed mind. A mile long print. A future. Some peace on Earth. Some good will toward folks who don't much like us anymore. Some Lennon-style love. 40,000 little drawings. A good night's sleep. Getting the documentary made. Having a little fun.

Beck | Nausea | Buy

New Arcade Fire Song | UPDATE


I've been surprised that no songs from Arcade Fire's next album hasn't leaked. However, that ended when the BBC played a track called "Intervention" from the new album. Someone ripped it from the broadcast and it's now available on You Ain't No Picasso. Go and get it.

It's a great friggin' track and if the rest of the album matches the quality of this tune, it'll be a killer sophmore release.

UPDATE: As k noted in the comments, you can hear the version of "Intervention" that Arcade Fire did for KCRW over on Gorilla vs Bear. And you can watch the video of that KCRW recording over on Kingdom for a Voice.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Blog | Big Corduroy

Over on BigSoccer, there are a lot of folks whose love for soccer is only matched by their love of music. One of those guys is Alex Abnos. Since Alex and I share a lot of similar musical tastes and he's turned me onto a lot of bands in the past, I was glad to see he started his own music blog.

The blog (called Big Corduroy) started just last week. However, he kicked it off with an ambitious listing of his top 100 albums of 2006. Each day Alex is posting another ten albums. Good one to bookmark.

By the way, Alex also has a band called Tut Tut and a record label called Ironpaw Records.

Tut Tut | Mia Clarke's Theme

Wait For the Bass Player

He steps up around the 1:10 mark...then it's showtime.



Courtesy of b.f. at extrawack!

Friday, December 15, 2006

2006 Year End Survey | Ryan Maxfield

You didn't think I'd make it through this survey without fitting soccer into it somewhere, did you?

Ryan Maxfield grew up in Rutland, played soccer for UVM, got a job after college with the New England Revolution and finally landed as the equipment manager for US National Soccer Team. That meant he spent the last few years trotting around the globe with the team and spending this past June in Germany as the team competed in the World Cup.

Plus, he was the reason I was able to go to the World Cup which was easily the highlight of the year for me.

The picture above was taken backstage at a Tool concert in Hamburg, Germany last June. Tool are soccer fans and invited Maxfield (gray shirt), Kasey Keller (tan hat) and Marcus Hanneman (far left) from the US Team to their concert during the US training camp in Hamburg. Pretty cool experience.

Well, while Maxfield waits to learn who his new boss will be, he took some time to send over his favorites of the year.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

“The Pot” by Tool or “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley



2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

10,000 Days by Tool

My judgment was not swayed by meeting the band Tool in 2006. I have been a fan of Tool for many years and after the release of 10,000 Days I became reacquainted with all of the bands music. It is always in my playlists somewhere, somehow mixed in with Mos Def, Talib Kweli, The Roots, Bob Mould, and Elliott Smith.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Tool in Hamburg, Germany or Tool in Los Angeles, CA

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Obviously being a part of the 2006 U.S. World Cup Team and the World Cup itself, but more interestingly getting to meet and enjoy people throughout the world; especially the time spent with players such as Taylor Twellman, Matt Reis, Landon Donovan, Brian Ching, and Pablo Mastroeni (just to name drop a few). Most of all the little family that builds while on the road with the staff and players. I can look back on this year and the lead up to it and remember what a great time we all had.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

My best wishes would have to go out to the Myernick Family. Glenn “Mooch” Myernick passed away at the age of 51. He was an integral part of U.S. Soccer and the U.S. World Cup Team staff. He was always the person in the middle keeping us together and telling jokes to lighten the mood. He was always the one to say to the staff, “Lets meet in the bar for a drink.” after a tough day. He kept his whole life, and through osmosis our lives, in perspective. My best wishes go out to his wife Nancy, his daughter Kelly, and his son Travis.

Tool | The Pot | Buy

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Yellow Tangles

On Tuesday night, as I was driving through Massachusetts on my way to NJ, I called into VPR's 2006 Annual Music Show. I didn't expect it to become such a humorous affair but it did.

The problem started when I spoke to the screener. Here's how the conversation went:

Screener: Welcome to Switchboard. What band do you want to talk about?

Me: Yo La Tengo

Screener: What's the name of the album?

Me: I'm not afraid of you and I'll beat your ass.

Screener: Excuse me?!?!

I had never said the full title like that to someone who didn't know what it related to. I should have started my sentence with "The name of the album is "I'm Not Afraid..." but I didn't so I think she was taken back a little.

I quickly clarified that I wasn't threatening her and that was the title of the album. However, in the confusion of the moment, she wrote down the band's name as Yellow Tangles. The problem could also been the fact that I speak quickly, have a monotone voice and mumble a bit. Plus, I was on a cell phone. Regardless, the paper with Yellow Tangles was passed onto the hosts (Steve Zind & Bob Kinzel) of the show and Hoboken's finest were re-named for a few minutes.

The entire show is archived on VPR's site (along with the staff's picks and listener picks). However, I used Audacity to clip out the segment of the show with my call about Yellow Tangles. It's kind of funny to listen to.

Bob Kinzel & Steve Zind | Yo La Tengo = Yellow Tangles?

Pufferfish

I don't think I'll ever get sick of alt-country - at least not good alt-country. There's something about the hipster version of our forefather's classics that I'm drawn to. The dirty/dusty/rusty sheen layed over a steady suburban trained beat, tweased guitar strings, and a imperfectly pitched croon. It slays me.

From the other side of this continent comes Pufferfish. This three-piece from Seatlle share an aural place amongst Richard Buckner (my first love), The Band, and old-time country. Their month old debut album, Hello Zero, has received a fair amount of praise in their Northwest homeland. Pufferfish is set to perform a live in-studio performance on KEXP at noon on Dec 19th. These two songs have been in heavy rotation.


Pufferfish | Decoder Ring | Buy
Pufferfish | Familiar

2006 Year End Survey | Farm

I caught the St. Albans based three-piece Farm during a summer's evening in Montpelier. My post-show review gave the following description of their sound: ...the music stayed nestled in that neverworld where blues-based stoner-rock and indie-Americana meet. The members constantly switch instruments, so there is no permanent player on anything. Usually that cuts too deeply into a band's consistency, but in this case it provides just the right amount of variety.

As there is no obvious head to this body of sound, I'm going to consider Ben Maddox, a Deep South transplant and downtown merchant, as nothing more and nothing less than one leg of the triad. He took a few minutes away from working on the band's debut double album (few rough versions available at Myspace) to provide the following:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

Mr. Ambulance Driver by The Flaming Lips

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

The Eraser by Thom Yorke

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

I only went to one. The Flaming Lips

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

new baby on the way

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

baby is born without flippers.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Two Sick Goals

Here's a pair of bombs from this past weekend's EPL action.

The first one is from Michael Essien of Chelsea and the other is by Matt Taylor of Portsmouth. Unfortunately, it's US goalkeeper, Tim Howard, that gets caught daydreaming on the second goal.

Between the two, I like Essien's more. Taylor's has a bit of a "fluke factor" to it. Essien's was just pure power.

Thanks to Paul Searls for the links.



2006 Year End Survey | Nest Material

Two members of Burlington's Nest Material, Ben Hedstrom and Tanner McCuin have passed along their faves of the year. I once described Nest Material as a "cross between the mellow atmospheric technicians of Tower Recordings and the dadaism of Sun Ra." And I'm sticking with that description. You can decide for yourself by visiting their myspace site.

In addition to playing keys in Nest Material, Tanner also writes Highgate which is one of the more entertaining blogs in Vermont. That's why we weren't surprised when we received his excellent list below. Be sure to also check out Tanner's recent post about the re-mixed ending of Charlie Brown's Christmas.

Ben also plays in a band called Pink Bacon but I can't find a link for them. So, you'll have to track them down for yourself.

From Tanner McCuin:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

"Love Comes to Me"

Chills every time i listen to this; I've been waiting for a long time - since Master + Everyone, for Oldham to get back to the heart; and on "Then the letting go" he does. Was there ever any doubt? But with typical Oldham style, he returns, but never retreads. This time around, there is the accoustic guitar, and his voice, but also Dawn the Fawn, and Iceland. What a novel idea, that in the hands of a lesser song writer, would fail under it's own weight, but that is where Oldham proves his strength (i always knew it was there...) he sounds broken, diseased, hopeless, brittle, and ancient, but behind his voice and between the lines of the lyrics, there's nothing but hard, burning energy.

Someone asks me almost everytime i listen to him, "how can you listen to this sad bastard?"

I've never been so enlivened and encouraged by an artist, ever.

And the lyrics - fevered questions on love and god -

"When the numbers get so high, of the dead flying through the sky, oh i don't know why, love comes to me." and when your mouth is laying op' your head knocked back, and you don't cope, your'e out of rings and flowers and soap, love comes to me."

(you know what, fuck it i'm writing them all down);

"love comes to me; love comes and all, its my hands my heart my lips, and that is all."

and the best line:

"When the fever, hits your forehead again, and intrusive mice, chew up your bed, and you call on God, but God is dead. Love comes to You."

Did i mention the chills?

or maybe it's cause this year more than the rest i've been asking myself why love comes to me as well.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

What a difficult question to answer - 2006 had quite a few shiners for me; Most obvious a new BPB that sees him going back to his whispering roots, but ratcheting up the theatrics w/ strings and female accompaniment, defiantly some of this years best songs are on that album, but there are also a few clunkers that keep it from being the best album. This year's best album came out earlier and a little from the left field, though in retrospect i should have seen it coming. A couple of years ago i went to see The Mountain Goat at the Crocodile club in Seattle, and was blown away not by John, but by the opening act, "Black Mountain" - a sort of full band side project of "The Pink mountaintops"' Steve McBean. They rocked, and rolled, all over the crowd, and after figuring out just who they were, i was amazed. The Pink Mountaintop's first album came and went without much interest by myself, not that it was all that bad, but it wasn't all that good either. Reguardless, Black Mountain, was a killer album, and was in my top 10 of 2005 - though for whatever reason, i wasn't expecting a whole hell of a lot when a promo copy of "Axis of Evol" showed up at Pure Pop. I was pleasantly suprised by what i heard, so much so, that even, almost a year on, i still listen to it regularly.

"review part"

Ok, what can i say about this album - First off, disclaimer: There are more original albums from last year, there are more Avant albums from last year, there are more fun/dancable albums from last year, but there are no albums in my mind that have the right combination of all those aspects in one album. Each of Axis' seven tracks is an important component to the whole of this album; there is absolutely no filler here. The slow stoned malaise of Comas fades off and we may be left to think... i get it, stoned strummed guitar, yep ok... but then in comes the jesus and mary chain'd high end hiss, and McBean states almost reluctantly "Go..." and the whole thing becomes something altogether unexpected. Unexpected, but still so stoned, chugging lowfile bass runs up and allover the stomp and chug of the drums and the almost a little too drunk guitar strumming... But the best part, is the projector "beep" on the upbeat at the end of every measure... so brilliant and simple.

Whats next?

Oh, hmm, drum machine - kind of gnarly. Oh nice - more stoney, Velvets meet Sonic youth guitars, and a chorus "Tell your momma gonna stay out late tonight" - this was fun, and if we were drinking wiskey, i could probably dance to this, or at least fall over to this. And after i fell over, hit my head, and the world started to spin out of control, i could listen to "Slaves"

Easily the meanest, killer-est track on this album, summing up the whole, head full of Jesus and acid, end of the summer/dream, Dread and Manson, fear and neo-cons, Hippy nightmare Mcbean seems to be channeling. The drums pound out a caveman like loping rhythm while fuzzed out guitars and synths bend and snake all over the place, slowly boiling the pot while he stirs his lyrics in a fuzzed out high pitch drawl, against a backdrop of barely there "la la la la la la la la's" and jingle bells; The whole effect is of some dark ritual, and makes me want to smoke pot really bad. (but i don't anymore.)

but i'm on the floor, now my head isn't spinning anymore, and i can get up and sit on the couch, light a fag, and relax.

"Plastic man you're the devil" brings back the countrified clean guitar, and takes the tension down noticeably, it seems, he can finally express his distress with lyrics like:

"The suckers are playing with corpses, to the marching drums, flying low in silver bombers, under the heat from our troubled sun"
and
"And i wish i could save you, cause goddamn I'm a peace loving man, but plastic-man you're the devil, you just couldn't understand"

McBean seemingly comes to the conclusion, and resolves his dread, w/ "yeah yeah, you can't phase me, I'm living outside, I'm free. however, i he seems quite phased to me.

The ever present electronic buzzing, static, and hissing needs to be made note of at this point, as almost ever track features some form of dirty, post-industrial sound contamination - and whether this was intentional (i think it was.) or not, on repeated listening it adds soooo much to sonic palette, drums clip out out and distort, guitars sizzle and wretch; Mcbean's vocals are almost never clean, and the whole thing reminds me the jesus and mary chain's innovated use of distortion, echo and reverb; or white light white heat era Velvets.

On no track is this sound damage more evident and more masterful than on "Lord, Let us Shine" McBeans joyfull, neigh triumphant, plead to... well, Jesus. The Drum machine is back now, blown the fuck out, and the guitars are all buzz and fuzz; the high ends are all in the red, and McBean comes rolling in w/ the chorus, asking the Lord, if he would let us shine, would he be so kind? I have to laugh, cause it's so awesome - cmon jesus, let us shine you fucker. The Song positively jumps w/ joy, with a hopping bass and drum figure and the lyrics sing of Mcbean's accomplishments to the lord

We've been singing, with Jesus
in your house of love
We've been sending dead flowers
to the devil's son.
From the moonships,
to the stargates
under a desert sky
we wander the badlands
beneath the evil eye.

The song finishes we a rowdy chorus of "laaa, lalala, lalala, la la la la's" and a whole wall of casio's shredding and ripping up the place... and then

stop.

except for some distant repeating noise, we're at the end of the night, or it's morning, and that beep and boop is whats left over in your blood from the night before; i dunno - but it's just McBean, in a canyon of reverb; w/ his accoustic and he's wondering now, pleading, actually, for Jesus, to tell him, what he believes, and if he can tell us, how to get free.

I'm listening, shit yeah i wanna get free.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Nest Material at Art Hop? Can i say that?
Sure, i was sooo drunk though i hardly remember it, i had the worst cold ever, and decided to kill it with wiskey. except that i had my korg on my lap, and i was sitting cross-legged, it's not the heaviest synth in the world but when i got up after the 40 minutes or whatever, i had shooting pains in my hamstrings and groin muscles. That's rock n roll. Sorta.

I actually had the most fun when we played the firehouse that rocked!

Best show of the year for me though? YAHT or The Blow, or whatever they were calling themselves. They played at the Greendoor, or rather, the gave the greatest Powerpoint presentation ever, at the green door. Awesome and so very nerdy.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Finally being able to afford to buy the records i used to sell; going to the dentist for the first time in 8 years.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

For humans to realize that nothing is intrinsically connected, and that that is a good thing. I hope.

From Ben Hedstrom:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

'Getting It Wrong' by Sparklehorse

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Rather Ripped by Sonic Youth

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Christina Carter @ Green Door Studio in Burlington

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Playing in Oakland with the Blades of Grass

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

To get an album done, which was also my wish for 2000-2006


You can order Nest Material CDs through their myspace site.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy Love Comes To Me Buy
Sparklehorse Getting It Wrong Buy
Nest Material My Ship Begins to... Buy

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

VPR Switchboard's Annual Music Show | Tonight | Dec 12th

Quick programming note. Tonight from 7pm-8pm, VPR will host Switchboard's Annual Music Show: The Best of 2006. Bob Kinzel and Steve Zind will host the show.

I called in last year to plug The Go! Team's Thunder Lighting Strike but I don't think I'll be able to call in this year. I have to drive down to NJ tonight for work and will be out of listening range. Maybe I'll call in and then I can just listen to the show while I'm on hold.

The main thing I remember from last year's show was how much more I liked the choices of the callers than the ones they had pre-chosen for the show. Who knows if that'll continue but at least they've been using clips from Jenny Lewis and The decemberists in their promos for the show. Certainly, a good sign.

If you want to contribute to the show via email, you can use this form to submit your comments.

If you want to call into the show, the number is (800) 639-2211.

If you are outside of VPR's market, you can stream VPR from their main page.

2006 Year End Survey | WRUV

Before all of the students blow out of UVM for their winter break, I wanted to post the responses we got from the DJs at WRUV.

For those in the Burlington area, you can get WRUV at 90.1. However, if you are reading this blog and live in Burlington, I'm guessing you already know that and probably even have it programed into your car radio.

For everyone outside the Burlington area, you can stream WRUV online. They also archive shows from the prior week and make them available as mp3 files on the WRUV site. The station's signature program where they bring in local bands to perform live is called Exposure and airs from 8pm-10pm on Wednesdays.

From Emily Mae:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?


"this harness can't ride anything" chin up chin up

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Ys, Joanna Newsom

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Pitchfork Fest, although all the hipsters in blazers, boots and self-hatred in 95 degree heat made me a bit uncomfortable.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Either the fact that Bush's idiocy is slowly exposing itself, or all the unavoidable coverage of celebrity divorces, births, substance abuse, public nudity and crap-taking.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

That generational self-loathing overload will be the final nail in irony's coffin and that we will learn to communicate rather than shop or grow moustaches.

From Amanda (DJ & Program Director):

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

I have a hard time with "favorites," but I've been pretty obsessed with My Brightest Diamond lately.

My Brightest Diamond - "Something of an End"


2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

my favorite album of 2006 was Bring Me the Workhorse by My Brightest Diamond (Asthmatic Kitty Records)

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

seeing her play at Rebel in NYC during the College Music Journal Music Marathon as my favorite show

From Clayton Trutor:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

"In Anticipation of your Suicide" by the Bedroom Walls, on All Good Dreamers pass this way.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Camera Obscura's "Let's Get Out of this Country." They developed a sound of their own on this album. tied with the new mates of state album, "Bring it Back"

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Devotchka at Higher Ground

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

the return of Rose Melberg

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

I hope for a moratorium on mediocre country oriented albums by the leading ladies of indie pop (Jenny Lewis, Isobel Campbell, and Amy Millan come to mind immediately).

From Chris Parmer:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

Hello Bonjour by Michael Franti

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Yell Fire by Michael Franti

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Michael Franti Concert @ higher ground, or Flaming Lips concert @ patrick gym

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

The great concert line up at higher ground

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

End occupation in Iraq, more renewable energy incentives, and more pressure to end global warming.

Chin Up Chin Up | This Harness Can't Ride Anything | Buy
My Brightest Diamond | Something of an End | Buy
Bedroom Walls | In Anticipation of Your Suicide | Buy
Michael Franti | Hello Bonjour | Buy

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Coral Sea | "Look At Her Face"

I picked up this song on emusic recently while I was trolling through some lists and have been loving it ever since. It starts with strings and vocals that remind me of Magnetic Fields but then morphs into something that sounds like it would have been a hit on MTV in the 80's.

It's "Look At Her face" from The Coral Sea. Buy.

2006 Year End Survey | Bo Muller-Moore

We have merchants too! And not just any merchant. We have the king of printed cotton.

Bo Muller-Moore, the man behind the ubiquitous Eat More Kale shirts in Vermont is a big music fan and was kind enough to clean the ink off his hands to send over his favorites of the year.

By the way, if you are looking for a unique Christmas gift for someone, imagine your hipster friend's reaction when they unwrap a shirt with ravens, a bear, a turtle or a moose on it. I think he can still get the shirts out by Christmas but don't wait too long. I think he has a 1.5 week turnaround time.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

Biodiesel, by Circatree. Go to myspace Circatree to hear it. These young men have only played together for @3 months. They have quite a thing going. (the guitar player lived in Mont. until recently and hooked up with these youngsters to play some pants rattlin' trance rock.)

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Yell Fire by Michael Franti and Spearhead. I like my bass "loudy, loudy, louder.".

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

4 weeks before seeing Beck at Bonnaroo, I thought to myself, late one night, "What is Beck doing RIGHT NOW to prepare for Bonnaroo?". As it turns out: he was assembling an army of puppeteers and their "Beck Band" puppets to play along side him at his big Bonnaroo performance. He and his puppets wore the same clothes, played the same instruments, used the same props and even sang to their own respective camera men. Bravo Zulu Beck. You have gone above and beyond the call of entertainment.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

So much for supporting local.......Sirius Satellite radio. It has turned me on to more music that all of my friends combined. It also supports musicians, on specific channels, that don't get radio play on "testicular" radio.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

For the POLICE to play a reunion tour in mid-sized theaters. I'd pay $100 per ticket to see them at the Flynn or the Foxx, or the etc.ect. I love the Police and like people better if they also love and respect the Police (the band).

Michael Franti | I Know I'm Not Alone | Buy

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tokyo Police Club

While we all await next summer's release of Arcade Fire's sophomore album, you might as well kill some of the time with another band from Canada that reminds me of Arcade Fire.

Tokyo Police Club hail from Toronto and have only released an EP so far (A Lesson in Crime) but are getting some good buzz. Besides all of that crap, their quirky sound reminds me of Arcade Fire with brief spurts of the full band singing together. It isn't as multi-layered as the gang from Montreal but the abrupt shifts throughout their songs feels familiar to Funeral.

Tokyo Police Club | Citizens of Tomorrow | Buy

Here's their video for "Nature of the Experiment":

Salami or Luther

During last Thursday's Frost Heaves 104-95 win over the Chicago Rockstars, my wife had a debate over the Rockstars' point guard Brian Zirkle. Who does he look like more?

Salami from the White Shadow or the guy in Warriors (Luther) who schreeches "Warriors! Come out to play!" with the bottles clinking on his fingers.

I voted for the guy from Warriors but my wife was in the Salami camp.

By the way, the Frost Heaves won again on Saturday night and are now 9-2 with one of the best records in the entire ABA. Their next game is Thursday, Dec. 14th, in Burlington against the ABA defending champion Rochester Razorsharks.

What the hell is a razorshark?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Eddie Argos Down With the Fans

I don't have any good reason to post this picture of Eddie Argos from last October's Art Brut | We Are Scientists | Spinto Band show except:

  • I had to post something to knock that stupid photo of the High Fidelity musical off the top of the page.
  • I had failed to post it when I originally posted about the show.
  • It's a great friggin picture that perfectly captures the rock n roll spirit of that show.
By the way, if you zoom in on Ian's guitar strap, you'll notice he's sporting a Team Band button just like Eddie Argos did at the Pitchfork Festival. Art Brut and False 45th love Team Band.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Yeh! It's a Flop

Not everything should be a musical.

I'm 2 for 2. I was rooting for both the Bob Dylan musical and High Fidelity musicals to be unmitigated flops and it looks like my little Broadway voodoo dolls work afterall. The Dylan musical went down in flames back in October when audiences and reviewers finally realized that "Forever Young" doesn't work with "jazz hands".

Now, it looks like the musical for Nick Hornby's High Fidelity is going to suffer the same fate. Check out the review in the NY Times of last night's premiere:

A new musical is said to have opened last night on Broadway. I mean, I saw it. Or I think I did. It’s called, uh, wait a minute, it’ll come to me. Got it! “High Fidelity.” And if I close my eyes and concentrate really hard, I just might be able to describe a show that erases itself from your memory even as you watch it.

...

Of course “High Fidelity” presents a special problem to those who would convert it into a musical. How could any composer, aiming for a mainstream audience, hope to come up with a score that would pass muster with its own cool-conscious, musically exacting characters? Mr. Kitt (who worked on “Urban Cowboy” and “Debbie Does Dallas”) has responded by throwing a lot of watered-down pop and rock elements (heavy metal power chords, folkie acoustic guitar, R&B riffs and tinkly romantic piano) into a pot and hoping they congeal.

As a consequence the songs never acquire body or precision, even as satire. (Though there’s a mildly funny hip-hop revenge fantasy, sequences in which Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen materialize in Rob’s imagination feel like high-school follies routines.)

...

And while Mr. Lindsay-Abaire, the talented author of “Rabbit Hole” and “Fuddy Meers,” has incorporated most of the story line and many of the choicer details from the book, he inserts them almost randomly, as if desperately checking off a roster of what has to be included. The lists by which Rob tries to make sense of his life — Top 5 Break-Ups, Top 5 Things I Miss About Laura — are not so much integrated as simply included.

...

Still, “High Fidelity” definitely deserves a place in my own catalog of Top 5 lists. That would be on the roster of All-Time Most Forgettable Musicals. Now if only I could remember the names of the others.
Ouch. It should be gone within a week or two. Christmas came a little early this year.

2006 Year End Survey | Andy Brooks of the Mittens

Now that our Survey has us in Beantown, let's check in with Andy Brooks, the voice and guitarman for the three-piece Boston outfit Mittens. I gave them a heavy dose of love last winter, which can be absorbed here. I've found Mittens to be one of the hottest three piece rock 'n roll groups playing straight forward jangle pop ditties (not unlike The Shins).

The Vermont connection comes two-fold. The brother-in-law of Mittens drummer, Nick Buni, helped develop the Morse Farm Ski Touring Center in East Montpelier (if this snow keeps up maybe I'll be out there this weekend!). Secondly, their recent release, Fools On Holiday, was fully recorded and mixed at Pete Weiss' Verdant Studio outside of Bellows Falls, VT.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

My favorite song of 2006 is not of 2006, but it was most on my brain, week in and week out: 'Till There was You,' as done by The Beatles. It really highlights the best in Paul's voice. And it's such a moving message and pretty melody.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Also not of the year. Arcade Fire's "Funeral." When I hear it, I picture the band in black and white playing the songs live, totally going for it - sweating on some huge stage while playing for one on. Totally dramatic stuff.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Cirque Du Soleil's performance of "Love" in Vegas had me in tears. Not a concert in the traditional sense but I don't care. Also, The Subjects. Great band from Brooklyn. Caught them randomly at P.A.'s Lounge in Somerville. They mixed up weird and coy and bombastic.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

It's boring, but I'd be remiss to not mention the installation of a new, high-end gas furnace in my home as one of the top developments of the year. The prospects of me and my pipes no longer freezing truly gives me a burst of happiness not unlike finding money. Secondly, the successful return of Amare Stoudemire to the Phoenix Suns lineup. And when sanity returned to America's voting technique.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

That people stay healthy.

Mittens website
Mittens myspace site
Buy Mittens albums

The Beatles | Till There Was You | Buy
Mittens | Leeway | Buy