Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Anatomy of Rock Star Parking

Neil Cleary | That Girl's in Love

Monday, January 29, 2007

Rock Me Amadeus

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Arcade Fire | Play High School Cafeteria

I don't understand all of the facts but it seems Arcade Fire did an impromptu show on Friday night in the cafeteria at Canterbury High in Ottawa to raise money for the school. I think Richard Reed Perry is an alumnus of the arts school. Regardless, someone shot this video of them performing "Intervention" from their upcoming album Neon Bible.

Photo courtesy of kelrecords.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sonic Youth | Coming to Burlington | Feb 18th

It isn't too often we get a big name act to come to the Queen City but next month the elder statesmen of indie rock will ride their wall of noise into town. Sonic Youth will be playing Higher Ground on Sunday, Feb 18th.

Even if you are not a big fan of Sonic Youth, they're interesting to see due to the massive throbbing wall of feedback, fuzz and melody they build throughout the show. By the end, you feel as if the soundwaves are passing right through you; shaking your internal organs along the way. Pretty cool experience.

Like many people, I loved their albums from the late 80's and early 90's but then lost touch with them as they moved into more and more experimental stuff. However, they reigned their sound in for last year's Rather Ripped. The songs are much more elementary and less demanding of your devotion. The result is their most attractive album in over a decade.

That's important because, according to their song statistics from the Sonic Youth Concert Chronology, they tend to play mostly new stuff with a few nuggets thrown in here and there. That site is exhibit #1 as evidence of the love fans have for these guys. Kind of crazy.

Exhibit #2 will probably be the sold out show on the 18th. There aren't too many indie rock bands that can sell out the big room at Higher Ground but I think it's a safe bet to say, "Buy early or risk getting skunked."

Sonic Youth | Reena | Buy
Sonic Youth | Incinerate| Buy
Sonic Youth | Purr (Acoustic version) | Buy

Photo courtesy of Rob Boudon.

2006 Year End Survey | The End

Well, after about thirty survey responses, the 2006 Year End Survey is done. When we started this we never thought so many people would play along but the turnout was fantastic. Thanks to everyone that participated. And thanks to everyone that read them. It seems like folks enjoyed them based upon the feedback we got and the spike in traffic.

If we do it next year and get such a large response, we'll probably post two a day rather than one a day. The only negative feedback I heard was that it dragged on too long. Completely understandable.

A few final thoughts:

(i) It looks like The Books and Deehoof were the two top shows of the year.

(ii) There was zero consensus on the song or album of the year.

(iii) Getting out of Iraq seems to be the most popular wish for 2007 and the mid-term elections was the stand-out event of 2006..

(iv) Bo is the only person to have his 2007 wish come true already.

(v) One of the cool things I learned from the survey is that Danny C from the Starline Rhythm Boys lives four houses down the street from me. I had no idea we were neighbors before I started this thing.

(vi) The biggest difference I noticed between the responses we received and the ones b.f. at extrawack! received was the length of the answers. Vermonters are some wordy bitches...in a good way. The responses here were often paragraphs rather than sentences. I don't know exactly what that says about Vermont but I think it ties into that overriding sense of individuality among Vermonters.

Friday, January 19, 2007

2006 Year End Survey | Casey Rea

This the last survey response. The end. And what better way to wrap it up than by turning to the overseer of the Burlington music scene, Casey Rea. Besides being the music editor of Seven Days, a writer for Dusted and a fellow blogger, Rea released a cool atmospheric post-folk EP (Soft Rock) this year under the name The Contrarian. Think of an ethereal electronic bent on Elliot Smith and Sun Kil Moon.

Rea put an expanded list of his favorite albums of the year up on solidstate last month but he was also kind enough to drop some faves on us, as well.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins — "Rise Up With Fists!!!!"

Such biting lyrics, such gorgeous vocals. Sexy and distrubing at the same time. Gentlemen, you do not want Ms. Lewis to call you out.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Gorgoroth — Ad Majorem Sathanas Glorium.

I forgot to even put this in my year-enders on my own blog! But damn, I listened to it a lot this year. I don't always enjoy black metal; it often sounds like it was recorded in a grim and frostbitten broom closet. But this album is perfect. Totally evil and necro, but with a musicality rarely heard in the genre. And Gorgoroth are the real deal: the singer drank a dude's blood after almost beating him to death. Not that I condone that kind of behavior.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Tough one. I'm not easy to impress, concert-wise. Unless the show is in my living room, with free intoxicants and no hippies. Brian Wilson is always awesome; I saw him for the third time this year. Al Jardine was there!

The Books at Higher Ground were rather impressive. It was amazing how they replicated the sound of their records with acoustic guitar, cello, vocals and sparse beats. The wordsmith in me also enjoyed their free-associative projections.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

I've enjoyed interacting with local music and culture geeks on the interweb. It allows me to fulfill my socialization needs without all the awkwardness of "meatspace." I hope to have 99 percent of my interactions take place digitally in the New Year.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

You mean besides a transformative shift in human consciousness that makes believing in religious fairytales obsolete? Umm, more time to work on music. And travel.

Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins | Rise Up with Fists!! | Buy
The Contrarian | Soft Rock Two | Buy

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sasha Dobson

If you enjoy the vocal stylings of NYC's Sasha Dobson, you might say she has a cool jazzy lounge style with a Brazilian backbeat. If you don't like the Santa Cruz native, you might say she sounds like bland 70's AM Radio easy listening crapola. Since I'm posting about her, I obviously fall into the first camp.

To further show the dichotomy of Dobson, she is scheduled to play Lincoln Center on Feb. 22nd but she was also recently the KCRW Top Tune of the day. Besides Sufjan Stevens, I can't think of too many artists that have pulled off that double.

Dobson's debut album, Modern Romance was released last August.

Sasha Dobson | Crescent | Buy
Sasha Dobson | Without You | Buy

Will It Blend?

This site, Will It Blend?, has been mentioned everywhere lately but in case one of you haven't seen it yet, it's a quality way to kill twenty minutes.

Basically, it's a website to sell blenders. Expensive friggin' blenders, that is. $400 for the home version and they don't list the price of their commercial blenders which usually means they are ridiculously expensive.

Regardless, the fun part of the site is their series of videos where they destroy crap in their blenders. 53 Hot Wheels are turned to dust. Cans of Coke explode. Hockey pucks become instantly unplayable. And on and on. Plus, the weird overly folksy nature of the host Tom Dickson gives the whole experience a very campy feel.

My kids love, love, love this site.

Here's the video where he pulverizes his iPod. They later sold the "iPod dust" on eBay for $765 to raise money for charity.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

2006 Year End Survey | Michael Barrett

Michael Barrett lives in Boston these days but during the 90's, he was a vital cog in the Vermont music scene. Having been involved with Guppyboy, The Sixth Great Lake, The Essex Green and The Ladybug Transistor, Barrett now produces his own music and art work under Stratford Projects. On the Stratford Projects site, you can check out some of the cool show posters he did for his bands over the years.

For a comprehensive history of Barrett's band, be sure to read jds' two part post about them on his former home Latitude 44.2N.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

Tom Traubert's Blues - Tom Waits

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Hokey Pokey - Richard and Linda Thompson

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Belle & Sebastian/New Pornographers @ Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN 3/8/06

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Moving to Boston, MA from Nashville, TN

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

Best wishes to you and your family. Keep making things.

Tom Waits | Tom Traubert's Blues | Buy
Michael Barrett | Chill Out | Buy

Cold War Kids on Letterman

If you follow this blog you'll notice two shows vying for your concert dollars on March 31st. There's the Cold War Kids and Tokyo Police Club at Pearl Street in Northampton, MA VS Bishop Allen and Say Hi to Your Mom at Bennington College. Just in case you were leaning towards the prolific Bishop Allen (which no doubt would be a great show), here's CWK busting the "lame-o late night TV performance curse" with Hang Me Up To Dry on Late Night with David Letterman (December 20th). If they can have this much energy on TV, makes me interested in checking them live.

2006 Year End Survey | Rusty Romance

27 down and three to go.

When we sent out the emails two months ago, we sent the survey questions to both Montpelier's City Manager Bill Fraser and the Montpelier CD shop, Buch Spieler without knowing what they had in common. Well, after hearing back from Fraser and Kevin Macneil Brown on behalf of Buch Spieler, we learned that they were both in a band called Rusty Romance. I had no idea about that but I like living in a town with a City Manager who rocks the guitar on weekends.

I had even photographed them during last summer's 4th of July parade without knowing they were a popular local band. I just thought it was cool to see Kevin from Buch Spieler rocking out to The Dead's "Aiko Aiko" on the 4th.

In 2005, Rusty Romance released their debut album Who Brought the Fun? which is available via CD Freedom.

Bill Fraser
1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

Mark Knopfler/Emmylou Harris - This Is Us

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Rusty Romance - Who Brought the Fun? (Of course!!!)

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Alejandro Escovedo at Casbeer's in San Antonio, Texas

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Musically? The fact that guys like Tom Waits and Bob Dylan put out some of the best and most vital music of the year.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

Well, I certainly hope Britney and K-Fed and Pam and Kid can patch things up!! Otherwise getting everyone home safely from dangerous places in the world would be great.

Kevin Macneil Brown
1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

Neko Case - "Hold On, Hold On": Two minutes of twangy, chimey pop bliss.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Chas Smith - DESCENT: Dense, mysterious, slow-moving sculptures in sound.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

A selfish response, perhaps: Rusty Romance at Waterbury Center Grange. Ultimate proof that what the audience brings to an event is crucial.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

A smear of light on the horizon.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

That the light on the horizon spreads far and wide.

Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris | This Is Us | Buy
Neko Case | Hold On, Hold On | Buy
Rusty Romance | Moxie!!! | Buy

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Knitta Please

Welcome to the cuddliest version of tagging. Knitta Please are a team of graffiti knitters who are “warming the world, one car antenna at a time” by tagging public property with wool. The Knitta crew have left their guerilla art in places ranging from the Great Wall of China to the Notre Dame Cathedral. If there ever was Vermont appropriate vandalism...

Birdmonster - Ball of Yarn.mp3


2006 Year End Survey | Holy Smokes Booking

While I was in college, the only thing I accomplished outside of my schoolwork was maintaining part-time employment as a pizza delivery guy. That's why I'm always impressed when people are able to do stuff like run their own booking agency while still in college.

Jacob Wolf is a senior at Bennington College but also runs Holy Smokes Booking and books the shows for Bennington College. Definitely more impressive than slinging pepperoni for tips.

In the past, Wolf has booked Joanna Newsom, Beirut, Architecture in Helsinki, Jens Lekman and many others. This spring, he's bringing in White Magic, Bishop Allen, Say Hi To Your Mom, Land of Talk, Emperor X and some big names that aren't fully baked for release yet. Plus, don't forget the Bennington Sunfest on Saturday, May 19th with The Spinto Band, Anna Oxygen, Deer Tick and others.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

'Star Witness' by Neko Case. I couldn't really get into Neko Case before, but after hearing this song I'm a big fan. A close runner up is 'Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above' by Cansei de Ser Sexy for pure pop genius or 'Only Skin' by Joanna Newsom for epic awesomeness.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Ys by Joanna Newsom. Runners up include: Let's Get Out of This Country by Camera Obscura. Applause Cheer Boose Hiss by Land of Talk, which may be just an EP but its damn good! And Bishop Allen has been doing great stuff all year.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Man Man, Man Man and Man Man. Of the three times I saw them this year, the best was definitely Sunfest at Bennington College. They knocked it out of the park. I've never seen a live show like it. Incredibly energetic, exciting and different. I don't understand how these guys do this night after night and still keep their clothes so white.

Meanwhile, Joanna Newsom was also fantastic in a totally different way. I've never seen an audience so completely riveted. In a room of at least 400 people, you could have heard a pin drop. She is utterly captivating.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Midterm elections were a big plus. Maybe America hasn't lost its mind completely?

But the best thing about 2006 was going on my first national tour. Nothing quite like it. Lots of fun.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

Personally, I hope to graduate this year. That would be great. I won't ask for anything else right now.

Neko Case | Star Witness | Buy

Darc Mind

In general, I leave hip-hop to bloggers like Analog Giant who know a lot more about it than me. But every since KEXP sent out a track from Darc Mind last month on their Song of the Day Podcast, I've been loving the Long Island duo's Symptomatic of a Greater Ill.

Here's the deal...the album was recorded a decade ago. However, between the time that the record was finished and it was released, their label Loud Records folded. That sent it into legal purgatory for the next several years until Anticon Records finally released it last August. It looks like Loud Records is now owned by Columbia which probably means a bunch of corporate lawyers with lots of time and budgets available to them sat on this thing to the detriment of fans and Darc Mind. Just lovely.

While I like the tone of MC Kevroc's vocals, what kills me is the beats and loops that DJ Webb D threw together. The little guitar sample and deep bass line on "Visions of a Blur" and soft smooth xylophone on "Outside Looking In" give the album more of a DJ lounge feel than most hip-hop albums. Another good late addition to the 2006 music catalog.

You can download their live performance at KEXP's studios from the KEXP Live Performances Podcast.

You can read Analog Giant's post about Darc Mind here.

Darc Mind | Visions of a Blur | Buy
Darc Mind | Outside Looking In | Buy

Monday, January 15, 2007

Beckham Mania

Since Thursday's signing of David Beckham, soccer, MLS and David Beckham have gotten more attention in North America than they have in...well, ever. Quite frankly, it's been downright weird for longtime soccer fans to find soccer being discussed so frequently. Here are a few examples of the mania:

[i] The story made the front page of about 79 US newspapers and even more outside the US.

[ii] The Game has challenged Beckham to a game of one-on-one soccer. When a soccer story makes it into the world of hip-hop, MLS has achieved some massive exposure.

[iii] The LA Galaxy have now sold twice as many season tickets as their previous record high (about 2/3rds down the article).

[iv] Check out the spike in traffic to MLS' website following the signing.

[v] The expansion team Toronto F.C. has sold 2,600 season tickets since the signing. They now are over 10,000 total season tickets sold and the stadium only holds 20,000 fans...and they only have about eight players so far.

[vi] Now there are reports that Dutch star defensive midfielder Edgar Davids may be signing with Dallas and Brazilian, former star, now-bloated, forward Ronaldo may be coming to NY.

[vii] Watch Beckham's interview on ESPN and the following analysis.

[viii] Beckham on Good Morning America. Almost as awkward as that Stephin Merritt morning show interview.

[ix] The slimy British tabloids have already come crawling for dirt on Beckham's new teammates. They even have a story about Becks' wife being offered a Playboy photo shoot.

Friday, January 12, 2007

2006 Year End Survey | Brian Clark

I think I've seen Brian Clark perform more this year than any other musician. Between his work with Kris Gruen's band and a recent modified I See Hawks lineup including Clark, I saw him play three or four times in 2006. And while I wasn't in Austin last spring, Clark played down at SXSW with Gruen. It's always good to have some SXSW representation in the year end survey.

Clark said he has been saving money to get some recording equipment which has cut back on his CD consumption but still came up with a few favorites of the year.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

“Living Proof” by Cat Power.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

The Greatest by Cat Power. Great backing band.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Serena Maneesh at SXSW. The outer layers of the band came across as too many musicians playing too many parts as individuals, at times lacking a unified whole. But the drummer and the bassist were astoundingly tight and completely in the pocket. They created a kind of massive bedrock, upon which the rest of the band dripped and swirled and kicked all their parts and pieces. Those two band members alone made the most impressive music I’d seen in a long time.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Making music, if we’re still talking only about music. 2006 was and is a very stressful, difficult and, at times, sad year. This was true all over the world. But I fell in love with guitars and amps and microphones all over again this year. I fell in love with the tiny bits of time I could steal away and think (for chrissake) only about the next little melody, the next chord descending, what word should follow the last.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

Well, there’s a hell of a lot to wish for these days- what with all the signs of a hastening, fiery apocalypse on the way- but if I’m limiting the answer to musical realms, the continuing democratization of the music business comes to mind. I like that independent labels have evolved from ‘bands that can’t get signed’ to loud voices growing louder. Bands choose to remain independent now. The big guys are watching obsolete business models lose ground or fail. I don’t want to wish anyone harm, but I’m anxious to move beyond large entities effectively controlling what music is available to the average listener. And I like the direction that recording technology is taking, in terms of being able to record an album for not so much money. Though I’ve not delved too far into it, I’m very curious how the internet will continue to affect labels’ ability to distribute music, and listeners’ ability to acquire it. It’s a long subject to get into, with a lot of tangents branching off it... maybe I should nix all that and just say I want to hear what Paul Westerberg would do with some time left alone in a studio by the end of ’07.

Cat Power | Living Proof | Buy
Kris Gruen | Tender Theory | Buy

Thursday, January 11, 2007

That's Why They Called It the Beckham Rule

A few thoughts about today's big soccer news of David Beckham signing to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy:

(i) I like it. In general, I want MLS to be a league for young Americans to develop rather than a playground for retiring superstars. However, this isn't going to start the second coming of the NASL. The league has a rule in place to prevent too many signings of this nature. Plus, Beckham is one of the only players in the world that this move would work with. His celebrity is bigger than the game here. He'll be on the late night talk shows, the morning shows, the tabloid pages and TV ads. He'll be a brand all to himself. There are many better players in the world but only Beckham would generate this much publicity for the league.

(ii) Don't buy these figures of $250M for five years. Here's how it'll work...MLS will pay him $400,000 a year. AEG, the owners of the Galaxy will pay him about $9M per year and the rest of the value of the contract is in Beckham's image rights. Unlike most athletes in the world, Beckham will be able to sign his own endorsement deals. If the Galaxy has an endorsement deal with company XYZ, then company XYZ can't use Beckham's image in their ads without also compensating Becks. Additionally, Beckham can go out and sign an endorsement deal with a competing brand and the Galaxy wouldn't be able to stop it. He did not have those image rights at Real Madrid but now he will. Those rights are believed to be worth about $40M per year. That's how they get to $250M over five years.

(iii) Skin in the game. I like the fact that he'll own his image rights because it will give him a major motivation to not treat MLS as a retirement plan. If he sucks on the field, the value of those image rights will drop.

(iv) Game of the Week. The big winners in all of this is ESPN who bought the TV rights to MLS last year before all of this occurred. Their ratings will certainly increase above what they had projected when they signed the deal. Now, the question is how often they'll show the Galaxy. There'll be a big temptation on their part to hawk Beckham each week.

(v) More attractive destination. The best part of this deal for current fans is that it should attract better foreign players to the league. There are already rumors that Ronaldo and Edgar Davids will be following Becks. However, I'm not talking about superstars. I'm talking about players from the top half of the second tier of players rather than the bottom half of that tier.

(vi) They're still the Gals. People shouldn't expect LA to dominate simply because they signed Beckham. As a right midfielder, he's not going to score very often. His two best assets are free kicks and long crosses. Yes, there will be a few highlight reel free kick goals. But not enough to dominate the league. And he still needs a strong supporting cast to create space for him down the wings and finish his crosses. The fact is that the Galaxy missed the playoffs last year with a 11-15-6 record. They'll probably make the playoffs with him but Dallas and Houston are still much better teams in their own conference.

(vii) Pace yourself. Beckham won't be arriving until late July or early August. The media and fans will have to be patient. He still has to finish his season in Spain and then take a break for a month or two before being good to go.

(viii) Paging Mr. Kovalenko. Anyone want to bet how long it'll take for the thugs in MLS to attact Beckham's ankles? MLS refs allow a lot of crappy tackles that European refs always whistle. Therefore, almost each team has a thug like Dema Kovalenko or Joey Franchino who has built their career around rough tackles. It'll only be a matter of time before one of them nails Becks with a "Welcome to MLS" assault on his knees.

(ix) Once again, I like it. This season will be fun to watch.

Velvet Underground Acetate

At this point, any fan of The Velvet Underground knows the story of the rare acetate a guy found at a flea market in NYC with alternate versions of the songs on their first album. Well, it appears that mp3 files of the recordings have surfaced and WFMU has posted all of them.

While the versions are different than the takes that are on Velvet Underground & Nico, they aren't radically different. Also, the recordings are very scratchy. Eighteen years of listening to CDs has conditioned my ears away from pops and hiss of poorly maintained vinyl.

Having said all that, if you are a VU fan, they are interesting to listen to. Mo Tucker's drumming is so different from the known versions that it makes me wonder how much variability she carried with her night to night (which I think is kind of cool). The absence of the piano, however, on "I'm Waiting For the Man" deadens the song. I do like the noisy solo during "Run Run Run" on this take though. It's flairs out more with lots of screeching; not as clean as the final version.

It stills amazes me that they took these recordings to record executives in 1966 and got signed. It's so distant from everything going on in popular music in 1966. I guess it speaks to the influence Warhol had at the time within the NYC arts culture.

2006 Year End Survey | Team Band

Team Band wins the award for the survey contributor furthest from Vermont. Hailing from Chicago, they are America's answer to Art Brut with their self-aware brand of pop punk and love for SwedePop covers.

For those in the city of broad shoulders, Team Band will be at Beat Kitchen on Jan. 25th. You can download their EP from their site by clicking on Audio.

Guitarist Chad Belfour sent over his top choices for 2006.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

- I am very tempted to say "Team Band Fight Song", but it might be a three-way tie between it, "Mr. Tough" by YLT, and "Dirty Money" by Clipse. I just got that Clipse record and that song is stuck in my head.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

- I liked the Camera Obscura, Yo La Tengo, Tokyo Police Club, and Clipse albums. Does that get me my Pitchfork Club card? So much time was spent on Team Band this year, that I worry I missed some good records. I'm going to have to catch up.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

- I saw some great shows this year!

Art Brut at the Empty Bottle the night before the Pitchfork Festival was great. The energy level was amazing and Team Band was referred to many, many times. The Bruts are great.

Depsite the heat, I really enjoyed some sets at the Pitchfork Festival, particularly Liars, Art Brut, and Jens Lekman. Jens Lekman is simply amazing, although he is quite odd, and I unfortunately was part of a very awkward conversation between Jens and Eddie Argos. Just thinking about it makes me grimace.

Seeing Scratch Acid play at the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary Block Party was thrilling. What a tremendously under-rated band! Odd story: when I was in high school my fledgling rock band opened for our bass player's older brother's band, in which played Brett from Scratch Acid. I had no idea at the time how cool that was.

Of course, Team Band played some amazing shows!

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

1. Not the World Cup
2. Starting Team Band

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

I'll spare you any platitudes and clichés and just say that my number one wish for 2007 is that my next daughter sleeps a lot better than her big sister did when she was an infant. I'll update you after she is born in April!

Oh, and that people hear Team Band! I might trade that for sleep, but I'm not sure.

Team Band | Julie (Jens Lekman cover)
Team Band | Team Band Fight Song | Get
Yo La Tengo | Mr. Tough | Buy

Here's a video of Team Band doing a cover of Jens Lekman's "You Are the Light":

Life of a Blogger

Caleb Daniloff is a freelance writer, VPR commentator and blogger in the Champlian Valley. His most recent essay on VPR was about his life as a blogger which I think any fellow blogger would find amusing and accurate.

You can read his blog here.

This song from Sprites fits his essay well. [Note: Sprites' singer/guitarist Jason Korzen used to be in Barcelona which had a hit among soccer fans called "Kasey Keller". That explains why Sprites' website links to DC United, MLS and Big Soccer on their links page.]

Sprites | I Started a Blog Nobody Read | Buy

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Free Sand

This is a public service announcement for folks in Montpelier.

Now that we have snow back on the ground, I thought I'd tip everyone off to a little known town freebie. If your driveway is a bit slippery, you can get free sand and salt mix from the Public Works Garage. Every resident is allowed two five gallon buckets full of the stuff each day.

The Public Works Garage is just past the Water Treatment Plant on Dog River Road across from the Little League baseball fields. As soon as you enter the gates, you'll see the pile of sand straight ahead with a shovel sticking out of the pile. About 50% of the time, they come out and ask to see you driver's license to verify you live in Montpelier. So, don't get any funny ideas, you Middlesex folks.

It's a good cheap way of keeping your your walkways safe.

Burlington Waterfront

I stumbled upon this video by The Deadbeat Club the other day and liked it.

Nice photos + scenic lake + Magnetic Fields = worth posting.

2006 Year End Survey | Vermont Mountaineers

Considering that our FileDen bandwidth allotment took a major hit this week when we posted the Arcade Fire track, we thought we could let it cool off a bit by posting the survey response from Brian Gallagher, the General Manager of the NECBL Champions Vermont Mountaineers.

Gallagher had a great year putting together a team that got a lot of key players to return, started hot in June and continued to roll through the playoffs until they were champions. Regarding star third baseman Curt Smith and next year's team, here is what Gallagher had to say via email:

Curt [Smith] has told us he is returning, and I am waiting to receive his contract. He is draft eligible this year and a lot of teams have been asking about him, so he may be drafted and we could loose him.

We should have 8 players returning if we can avoid the draft and injuries!

Sounds good. Gallagher also sent over his favorites of the year.

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

When I received your questions, I realized how busy my schedule was that I didn't get to a concert this year. I listen to the radio a lot, but don't buy a lot of music and can't even give you a favorite song or album this year! I listen to classic rock and current country music and my favorite group is the Rolling Stones.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

My favorite memory of 2006 was the Mountaineers winning the NECBL Championship, which shouldn't be a surprise!

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

My best wishes for 2007 is for heath and happiness for friends and family and for the 2007 team to win back to back titles.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cold War Kids & Tokyo Police Club | Coming to Northampton | Mar 31st

For a long time I was resisting the hype surrounding Cold War Kids. They seemed like a fad and their songs weren't grabbing me. However, someone had sent me a pair of their songs and they kept popping up on my iPod. And damnit! They grew on me.

Now I've bought Robbers & Cowards and am enjoying the hell out of their brand of "suburban angst soul" (how's that for a hideously named musical genre?). Now, to top it off, they are coming to Northampton. Bastards. Geez, by spring, I may be a full-fledged fan.

The show will be at Pearl Street. They are also playing La Sala Rossa in Montreal two nights later but I'd rather drive to Northampton on a Saturday night than Montreal on a Monday night; even though the Montreal show will probably be a hotter show.

You can see the full run of tour dates here.

Now add in the fact that another one of my new faves Tokyo Police Club will be opening for them, it's a great night of music.

Cold War Kids | We Used to Vacation | Buy
Cold War Kids | Hospital Beds | Buy

Here's CWK's video for "Hang Me Up to Dry":

2006 Year End Survey | Bob Carlton of The Sixfifteens

I don't think I'd be out of line by saying that Bob Carlton is the key of the Saratoga Springs indie rock scene. He spent nearly a decade in the well-toured pop-punk outfit Dryer and then moved on with ex-Dryer drummer Joel Lilly to found the expansive indie pop-rock outfit The Sixfifteens. With The Sixfifteens on hiatus, Bob recently started a booking agency, Deskjet Booking, and continues to play solo shows in and around upstate NY. This is what he had to say about '06:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

That would have to be White Collar Boy by Belle and Sebastian. Though the entire record was a dissapointment to me, I really enjoyed that track.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain by Sparklehorse was an amazing record and a huge surprise. I love records that require spending time with and this one needed some serious time. But after several listening it became my favorite record of the year.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Deerhoof at Skidmore College. I haven't seen a show like that in years. It was just amazing how they took the stage and owned it. The band just floored it and plowed through song after song and then closed with a My Bloody Valentine cover. Sadly I can't remember what the song was, but I do remember yelling "Oh fuck...they are playing My Bloody Valentine".

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

2006 was a huge huge disaster for me on many different levels but the one huge bright spot was the birth of my daughter. She is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me and is the only thing that makes 2006 worth talking about.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

I just want to wish everyone a healthy and safe 2007.

The Sixfifteens - Montreal.mp3
Belle and Sebastian - White Collar Boy.mp3


Monday, January 08, 2007

Stephin Merrit on Good Day Atlanta

What happens when you put a prickly artist on a peppy morning show? The result is two minutes of awkward television.

Courtesy of Michael K. of The Parallel Campaign.

2006 Year End Survey | Ryan Power

Ryan Power has left the Green Mountains for the Ozarks. I'm not entirely sure why but the note on his website gives the impression it's just for the winter. If anyone knows more about it, let me know.

I saw Ryan Power at Positive Pie a few months ago and loved his post-rock sounds enough to pick up his disc loventropy. Besides being a good album, it has some of the coolest packaging in my entire CD collection.

In addirion to the move to Arkansas, the other big news from Ryan Power is that he has made his entire discography available as free downloads on his website. So, go fetch yourself some tunes.

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

any song by Judee Sill

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Tony Remington's "DJJD JudgmentDay"

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?


4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

I stopped drinking alcohol and then started again. Hopefully I'll stop again.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

May 2007 bring an end to suffering for all sentient beings.

Judee Sill | That's the Spirit | Buy
Ryan Power | Heat Sleep | Get

Sunday, January 07, 2007

More Arcade Fire Tracks

Three weeks ago, I was marveling at how well Arcade Fire and Merge Records were keeping the lid on tracks from their upcoming album Neon Bible. Well, now three tracks have leaked and it's threatening to become a flood.

I posted about "Intervention" last month. Now, Obscure Sound has posted "Black Mirror" and Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits has "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations" (as well as "Black Mirror" also). However, if you are reading this on Monday, I wouldn't be surprised if the links are already down at the request of the band.

If the links are dead, you can stream "Black Mirror" by following these directions (courtesy of Greg at The Pages Within): Go to Arcade Fire's site. Click on Win's section. Then click on Win's scrapbook and finally, click on the goofy-ass picture of the band that appears. Then the song will play.

You can also watch this peculiar video by Richard Reed Parry that tells you about Neon Bible and plays clips from various songs.

The release date for Neon Bible is slated for March 6th. Here is the tracklisting:

1. Black Mirror
2. Keep The Car Running
3. Neon Bible
4. Intervention
5. Black Wave / Bad Vibrations
6. Ocean of Noise
7. The Well & The Lighthouse
8. Antichrist Television Blues
9. Windowsill
10. No Cars Go
11. My Body Is A Cage

"No Cars Go" was also on their debut EP. However, I'm guessing this will be a different version of the tune. It's a standard of their live show and they performed a different version of the tune back in 1995 for a White Session broadcast on French Radio. The strings are more prominent and the pace is quicker.

Arcade Fire | No Cars Go (White Session) | Buy

Photo courtesy of jessiqua.

January 6th | 57°

Being able to air the house out on January 6th is just plain freaky.

Friday, January 05, 2007

2006 Year End Survey | The Hero Cycle

One of my favorite local bands this year was The Hero Cycle from Burlington. In fact, my iTunes library shows that I listened to "Breathing In", "American Proxy" and "You vs Them" about 55 times since last April when Casey's Sound Bites article tipped me off to them. Basically, if you like Broken Social Scene then you're an excellent candidate for Hero Cycle fandom.

Last month, their debut EP (including the songs above and two more), Lakes and Ponds, became available on emusic. So, go use your monthly downloads on some solid groove enducing music.

Next month, on Feb. 21st, The Hero Cycle will be playing Higher Ground as openers for Lymbyc System.

Frank Smecker
1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

"Lonely Lonely" Feist (Frisbee'd Mix) Open Season

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Broken Social Scene 'Broken Social Scene'

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

M. Ward @ Sommerville Theater, MA

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Dave Joyal of Silent Drive got our drummer a Noble and Cooley Drum Endorsement (haha). Also, the smile on my face when al jazeera went international, it was also a relief to see the democrats take over the house and senate along with Bernie Sanders.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

My best wishes for 2007 is for Holy Fuck to return to Burlington VT to play a show and I would like Barak Obama to officially announce his running for presidency, and i also cross my fingers for endegenous development and solidarity economics to further strengthen here in the states, it seems to be working alright in venezuela ;)

John Gorman
1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

Girl Talk "Smash Your Head" (it was 'assembled' in 2006 I think)

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

Mew 'And The Glass Handed Kites'

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Pretty & Nice @ the Narthex

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Danny Carey doing what he does best.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

Lily Allen & Ellen Allien get together and make one hell of a fun album.

Mike Prall
1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

Well, it may be an obscure one, but they just made an album called Hey You Kids!, and you all simply MUST find it. The band is called The Jellydots, and my personal favorite is called Bicycle. Don't be scared away by the subject material.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

A Brooklyn-based group called Falcon self-released an album this year. We played with them in NYC and they were pretty awesome. myspace.com/falconmusic. check them out.

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

I caught Deerhoof on their way through with The Fiery Furnaces. 'Hoof definitely stole the show. Pretty knockout, if you ask me.

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

Well, we finally got rid of that pesky Crocodile Hunter. Score one for the War on Terror. Now, as long as we stay the course, we'll take care of those pesky Shiites.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

Hopefully, The Arcade Fire will put out a really great album. And The Spinto Band. And Wong Kar-Wai.

Feist | Lonely Lonely (Frisbee'd Mix) | Buy
Girl Talk | Smash Your Head | Buy
The Jellydots | Bicycle | Buy
The Hero Cycle | Breathing In | Buy

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Latest Novel

There aren't too many bands names more pretentious than My Latest Novel. If Stephen Colbert called The Decemberists "hyper-literate prog rock", wait till he gets a hold of My Latest Novel. But enough about their name.

They hail from outside of Glasgow and are being called the Arcade Fire of Scotland. Although, they are too folky for that title. Arcade Fire rocks much harder than these Scots. However, they do have a warm weighted Celtic sound. So, since they are from Scotland, let's call them a cross between Arab Strap and Belle & Sebastian.

Their debut album, Wolves, came out last fall and I've been enjoying its chamber folk sounds. A lot of bloggers have been hailing their standout epic tune "Sister Sneaker Sister Soul" with its slow massive build to a sonic flury. However, while it is a good tune, it isn't really representative of the album. The tunes below give a better sense of the album.

My Latest Novel | The Reputation of Ross Francis | Buy

Here's the video for "Pretty In a Panic":

Top Ad Tunes

One of the more interesting year end lists is the one from AdTunes.com; a blog dedicated to music in commercials. It's their Top Ad Music of 2006.

I used to get annoyed when bands would allow their music to be used in a commercial. However, I've softened a lot over the last few years. Now, I understand what a windfall these ads can be for the musicians and what that money means to them, their family and financial security. I still think its a crappy thing for a rich successful band like Led Zeppelin to sell their souls to Cadillac. But I'm going to cut Regina Spektor and her ilk some slack when its the difference between health insurance and going without.

Here are the commercials for a few of AdTunes' Top Ad Music of 2006:

Regina Spektor for XM Radio

The Go! Team for Honda Civic

Röyksopp for Geico

You can buy all of the tunes in their list from this site on iTunes.

2006 Year End Survey | Starline Rhythm Boys

One of my favorite musical moments this year was when some crazy lady in her pajamas (and no shoes) came storming into the pocket park in Montpelier during an outdoor lunchtime set by The Starline Rhythm Boys. As she made her way across the park, she was screaming at the band, "TURN IT DOWN! I LIVE FOUR BLOCKS AWAY AND YOU ARE MAKING MY WHOLE BUILDING SHAKE. STOOOOPPPP IT!" The band stopped, looked at each other and busted into Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire". Great little moment.

Between recording and playing live, guitarist Danny Coane of Vermont's finest honky-tonkin', rockin' billy band joined the fun and sent over his 2006 favorites.

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

I know for me my fave albums for 2006 were James Hunter's "People Gonna Talk" and Los Straightjackets w/ the World Famous Pontani sisters and Kaiser George - "Twist Party".

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

Favorite concert was absolutely Los Straights w/ the sisters & George at Higher Ground Election Nite Nov 7 2006 - UNBELIEVABLE STAGE SHOW - WAY AHEAD OF ANYTHING YOU WILL NORMALLY SEE. And only about 50 people in attendance - what a shame!

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

one of the busiest and best years ever for The Starline Rhythm Boys.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

we are on the verge of signing with a new, small, indie record label, Cow Island Music, in Boston and they will be re-releasing our first two CD and our new one, "Red's Place", which has been in the can for OVER 2 years!!

James Hunter | No Smoke Without Fire | Buy
Starline Rhythm Boys | One Small Favor | Buy

The Starline Rhythm Boys have two upcoming gigs this weekend:

Fri, Jan 5th 9:00pm
86 Main St., Middlebury, VT 05753

Sat, Jan 6th 10:00pm
Jct Rts 100 & 17, Waitsfield, VT 05673

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Corleone Treatment

Italian soccer is a creepy business.

Concert List

Flatlander's Sebadoh post has reminded me of a handful of other great regional shows of note that can help us get to spring. Drum roll please...

1/5/07 Pretty & Nice w/ The Wards & The New Siberians & Paper Thin Stages & Party Star - Club Metronome - Burlington, VT
1/13/07 Greg Davis - Eagle's Lodge - Northampton, MA
1/25/07 Carrigan w/ Township - Club Metronome - Burlington, VT
1/25/07 Sloan - La Sala Rossa - Montreal, QC
1/26/07 Camera Obscura w/ Essex Green - Pearl Street - Northampton, MA
1/29/07 Camera Obscura w/ Essex Green - La Sala Rossa - Montreal, QC
2/03/07 Grizzly Bear w/ The Dirty Projectors - Iron Horse Music Hall - Northampton, MA
2/04/07 Grizzly Bear w/ The Dirty Projectors - Main Hall - Montreal, QC
2/06/07 Arcade Fire - Ukrainian Federation - Montreal, QC
2/07/07 Arcade Fire - Ukrainian Federation - Montreal, QC
2/08/07 Arcade Fire - Ukrainian Federation - Montreal, QC
2/09/07 Arcade Fire - Ukrainian Federation - Montreal, QC
2/10/07 Arcade Fire - Ukrainian Federation - Montreal, QC
2/15/07 State Radio - Higher Ground - S Burlington,VT
2/21/07 Lymbyc Systym w/ Relay & The Hero Cycle - Higher Ground - S Burlington, VT
2/27/06 Hammer & Saw - Langdon Street Cafe - Montpelier, VT
03/12/07 Of Montreal w/ Grand Buffet - La Tulipe - Montreal, QC
03/24/07 Sebadoh - La Sala Rossa - Montreal, QC
03/29/07 Sebadoh - Pearl Street - Northampton, MA
03/30/07 OK Go w/ Silversun Pickups & Snow Patrol - Metropolis - Montreal, QC
4/27/07 Dr. Dog - Iron Horse Music Hall - Northampton, MA
4/28/07 Dr. Dog - Higher Ground - South Burlington,VT

Of course, if anyone has 2 tickets for Arcade Fire's sold-out shows feel free to let us know. We'd like to do what we can to hype this under-appreciated band.

Pretty & Nice - Hey Hey Come On.mp3
Lymbyc Systym - Truth Skull.mp3
Dr. Dog - California.mp3

2006 Year End Survey | Bill Simmon

Bill Simmon is a Burlington filmmaker who is currently working on the final touches of two upcoming films about locally legendary band The Pants. One film will be a documentary about the band called "High Water Mark" and the other will be a concert film of their May 2006 reunion show at Higher Ground. Both are slated for 2007 releases.

You can see clips of Simmon's other films on his myspace page.

When Simmon isn't working on films, he produces segments for VCAM. In fact, if you have any interest in creating a program for Chittenden County public access TV, you should contact him. Simmon will work with you on how to go about getting your program on the air.

However, the side of Simmon that most readers here will know best is his blog, Candleblog. The multi-topic group blog was awarded the Seven Daysie for Best Blog in Vermont in 2005.

Having caught a pair of shows with Bill this year, I know he's also a big music fan (and a great resource for info about the Burlington scene over the years). So, here are his favorites for the year:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

"When I Get Rich and Famous" by Arthur Adams

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

The Crane Wife - The Decemberists

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

The Pants reunion show, absolutely (2nd place: Decemberists in Montreal)

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

I got married!

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

I'd sure like the war in Iraq to end peacefully. Short of that, I'd like to know what's really going on on Lost.

The Decemberists | The Crane Wife 3 | Buy

Here's the trailer for Simmon's film High Water Mark:

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sebadoh | Coming to Montreal | March 24th

The original line-up of Sebadoh is reuniting for a long tour that will certainly test those rebuilt relationships. On March 24th, the show will stop at La Sala Rosa. However, I wouldn't be surprised if the show gets moved to a larger venue as the date gets closer. It's happened before with shows at La Sala Rosa. I think the booking agent there must have dreams bigger than his room. Hell, the calendar on La Sala Rosa's website doesn't even list the show at this point. Regardless, I'm going.

Sebadoh's Bakesale is one of my all-time favorite albums. So, I'll make the trek in hopes of catching a few of the tunes. Plus, it's a Saturday night which makes it easy and sweet.

And I'm curious to see what all of those overly emotional Lou Barlow fans grew up to be like.

You can see the full set of tour dates here.

Sebadoh | Brand New Love | Buy
Sebadoh | Skull | Buy

Here's their video for "Rebound" off of Bakesale: