Friday, August 31, 2007

Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew | Coming to UVM | Nov 12

Angioplasty Media has a post up about a cool upcoming show. Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene will be playing Ira Allen Chapel on UVM's campus on Nov 12 (corrected date). However, the title of the band is peculiar..."Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew".

At first, I thought it was just Drew doing a solo show (a la Feist at The Flynn on Sep 9) and songs off his upcoming album Spirit If... (the release date is the same day as the show). However, then Bradley's Almanac has a post up this week about the show in Boston in which he described it as "the new incarnation of Broken Social Scene, which includes mainstays Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, and drummer Justin Peroff, along with three new faces: Andrew Kenny (of the dearly departed American Analog Set), Sam Goldberg (Hawaii, Uncut, Bodega), and Bill Priddle (who is actually a now-returned founding BSS member)." Additionally, they played some BSS tunes in addition to Drew's solo material.

Regardless, I don't care what they play, I'm there.

Tickets will be available via the UVM ticket office.

Kevin Drew Tbtf Available on Sep 18

Potenco Charger

Here's a cool little gadget for the Vermont hipster. It's a portable generator from Potenco that you can use to recharge your laptop or iPod by simply pulling the string a bunch of times. Each pull generates enough energy to recharge your iPod for another song. So, if you pull the string for about two minutes, that would give you enough power for a day of grooving without impacting the environment.

Oh, I could see the cool cats on Church St. yanking their strings now.

However, the reality in Vermont is that people would first need to convert from Discmans to iPods up here. I've never lived anywhere that is so littered with Discmans. It's like people still think its 1997 around here.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Pinker Tones

Anyone looking for a pair of sonically stylish DJs from Barcelona? If so, I've got just the guys for you. The Pinker Tones. Mister Furia and Professor Manso (yes, those are their chosen names as dopey as they are) combined a few years ago to start mixing tunes in the style of Beck with the eclectic use of disco, tropicalia, odd samples, lounge grooves and snappy jazz riffs. Last year, they released The Million Colour Revolution and if I could go back to last year, it would deserve to be on my year-end list of good albums.

Plus, for some odd reason, I dig the fact they're from Barcelona. I have this weird soccer/music fantasy of The Pinker Tones spinning tunes at Nou Camp while Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry and Messi play beautiful fĂștbol in front of 100,000 grooving fans. I know it's as dopey of an idea as their chosen names but let a guy dream, won't cha?

One other note, if you're loving The Million Colour Revolution, last week, they released an album of remixes called More Colours!. It's available on both emusic and iTunes. I've finally gotten around to buying it and am still wading through the 32 tracks. Like most albums of remixes, some good, some bleh.

The Pinker Tones | TMCR Grande Finale | Buy
The Pinker Tones | Love Tape | Buy

Their video for "TMCR Grand Finale":

Their video for "Sonido Total":

The Church of Dylansis

Since I just mentioned The Believer's music issue in the last post, I thought I'd also comment on another article in that issue titled "Misguided Missionaries From the Church of Dylansis (And Other Rock Religions)".

The article isn't available online but the basic idea of the piece is that uber-fans of various bands (and particularly Dylan fans) tend to be so annoying with their smugness and know-it-all behavior that they actually turn people off to their beloved artists. I was reading the article in mild amusement until I hit this paragraph like a brickwall:

Enter the Dylan know-it-all. They're everywhere nowadays; have you met one? Likely between the ages of thirty and forty-five, these fanatics no doubt love their chosen master every bit as feverently as my dad does. They too have seen Dylan live multiple times, at least one of them involving long-distance road travel. They have a favorite song, and you can bet it's a lot more obscure than "Like a Rolling Stone." They can quote long sequences (and they won't hesitate to recite them) from Don't Look Back. If they don't own every album in the catalog, they've sampled enough from each stage of Dylan's career to justify having a favorite period. And they know the lore, the stuff regular people have to trawl through Wikipedia to find out. But the trait shared by all neo-Dylanites - and this is where they differ from my dad - is that they assume you love Dylan too.

A conversation with a know-it-all starts with a harmless comment: "So I was watching The Last Waltz the other day and thought, Man, if only I'd been around to see Dylan play with Robbie."

You [in playing-dead, "holy shit, it's a bear!" mode, hoping that if you stay very still, the problem will pass by]: "Uh-huh."

But Dylan fans love to commune, so you get: "How many times have you seen him?"

You [acting dumb now, buying time, looking for the exit]: "Who?"


And then you have to say zero. The alternative is to lie and quickly be found out, because there's going to be a quiz if you say you've seen him live: What was the encore? Did he play Lay, Lady, Lay"? Were the vocals as bad as they were at the Chicago stop on that tour? If this happens to you, the best thing you can do is go into what I'll call Operation Shutdown. Nod politely. Make no sudden moves. Sit there. Take it. Whatever you do: don't argue! Arguing only will make it worse.

OK. As someone that largely matches that description, I apologize to everyone I've bored to death with tales about various shows and bootlegs. And while I may not have done that too often with Dylan, I probably doubly guilty of doing it with Pavement babble. So, if I start up like that in the future, feel to box my ears.

By the way, have you ever heard Dylan's version of "Ring of Fire" with Johnny....

Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash | Ring of Fire

The Blow | Paper Television

Back in the 90's, my wife and I used to love Luscious Jackson's Fever In Fever Out. We'd joke that it made our apartment feel like a club when we put it on. Well, The Blow's Paper Television is the latest album to give us a similar feeling. The club is open.

The Blow is actually Khaela Maricich and Jona Bechtolt (of his own one-person band, YACHT). Bechtolt handles the beats while Maricich does the singing. As you may have noticed over the years, I'm a junkie for melodies. A strict diet of beats doesn't do it for me. So, it's kind of weird for me to get so excited about an album of electronic beats. However, the answer to that oddity is in Maricich's singing. She knits together a bunch of nifty vocal melodies throughout the album. That's what sucks me in.

The Portland duo are about to head out on tour and they're coming East. However, the closest they'll come to Camel's Hump is the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on Oct 6. Unfortunately, my wife will be out of town that weekend and I'll have the kids. So, no-can-do for me.

The Believer's music issue had an interview with Maricich which, if you can get past the awkwardness of the interviewer, is a pretty good read.

Lastly, perhaps I'm an idiot but I can't find anything to click on on The Blow's official website. It just has a spinning color wheel. Does anyone else see anything I'm missing? Perhaps, it's a study in minimalism...aka a waste of their fan's time.

The Blow | Parentheses | Buy
The Blow | Bonjour Jeune Fille | Buy

Here's the video for "Parentheses" with its karaoke theme:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pelle Carlberg | in a nutshell

Burnt out on Peter Bjorn and John but need a Swede fix before the new Jens Lekman album drops on Oct 5 (Sep 5 if you live in Europe)? Well, I'd suggest a sunny afternoon with Pelle Carlberg's latest album in a nutshell. I've been listening to it at least once every other day for about the last month. It's just a fun, head bopping album.

I liked Carlberg's previous album, Everything.Now!, but I found it to be a bit half-baked. The guy is obviously heavily influenced by Belle & Sebastian and while he nailed the "Mayfly" side of B&S, he seemed to miss on his attempts at the "Fox in the Snow" side of B&S. However, on the new album, he cut down on the number of quiet plaintive numbers and cranked up the pop to eleven.

My only complaint about the album is the hidden track on the last song. For chrissake, can we please be done with hidden tracks?!!? Yeh, it was cool when you found that Nirvana song at the end of No Alternative but by the time the next person did it, it felt tired. Now, it's just dumb and irritating. It's a good little song about the record industry but you have to fast forward through 4:13 of guitar picking and silence to get to it.

Pelle Carlberg | I Love You, You Imbecile | Buy
Pelle Carlberg | Middleclass Kid | Buy

Top Gun Motors

An actual ad for Top Gun Motors used car dealership in Waterford, PA. The half-skip move is killer.

Win Tickets to See The Meat Puppets

I'm heading down to NJ for Labor Day weekend but if you're sticking around Vermont, legendary Arizona trio, The Meat Puppets will be playing at Higher Ground on Sunday night, Sep 2. Even better, Seven Days is giving away a pair of tickets.

To enter the contest, click here and complete the entry form. If you are too lazy to spend a minute on Google to find the answers to their two trivia questions, here's the answers:

1. What's the name the Meat Puppets latest release? Rise to Your Knees

2. Who's the Burlington band opening for the Meat Puppets? Swale

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nostalgia for 1997

One of my favorite podcasts is Soundcheck from WNYC public radio. The host John Schaefer is amazing in the range of musical topics he can earnestly discuss. Well, last month, he did a show with David Browne of the NYT about the music scene in 1997. Browne recently wrote about the year in an article titled Pop Life ’97: Tunes Were Empty, but the Coffers Were Full.

You can listen to the podcast here.

The gist of their discussion surrounds the success the major labels experienced that year but they also hit on it being a good year for independent music as well. It was the last great hurrah for the major labels because illegal downloading hadn't become widespread and there were a bunch of wildly successful pop acts like the Spice Girls, N'Sync, Hanson and Puff Daddy. Bands like N'Sync were selling two million copies in just a week.

So, it got me thinking about the year and what CDs were released. After looking through my iTunes library, I'd agree that it was a really good year for music. It wasn't as good as 1994 or 2004 but there were a lot of releases that I still find myself listening to today.

Here's a quick rundown of albums I like that came out in 1997:

Yo La Tengo | I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One | Buy
YLT's best album ever. Album of the year for me.
>> One P.M. Again

Will Oldham | Joya | Buy
Like many of Oldham's records, it can be a bit spotty in places but tunes like "O Let It Be", "Bolden Boke Boy" and "Be Still and Know God (Don't Be Shy)" picks up right where the classic Viva La Blues left off.
>> Be Still and Know God (Don't Be Shy)

Smog | Red Apple Falls | Buy
None of Bill Callahan's albums are easy to get into and Red Apple Falls is no exception. However, you're rewarded with repeated listens as you fall for the trumpet peppering in the distant background of "The Morning Paper" and melancholy pedal steel of "I Was a Stranger".
>> I Was a Stranger

Silkworm | Developer | Buy
Yes, there are better Silkworm albums but there isn't a better Silkworm tune than "Never Met a Man I Didn't Like".
>> Never Met a Man I Didn't Like

Pink Martini | Sympathique | Buy
I was introduced to this one only recently which is good because I wouldn't have appreciated it in 1997. Now, it's one of my favorite albums to share with my daughter as we dance around the room.
>> Amado Mio

Luna | Pup Tent | Buy
Luna's first two albums were so good that everything pales in comparison. However, songs like "Beggar's Bliss" and "Bobby Peru" would fit right in on those early albums.
>> Bobby Peru

Lambchop | Thriller | Buy
The album that signaled the transition from Lambchop's country albums to their more diversified sound. Songs like "My Face Your Ass" were mellow melodic vulgar beauties while "Your Fucking Sunny Day" was a rocking melodic vulgar beauty.
>> Your Fucking Sunny Day

Cornelius | Fantasma | Buy
Cornelius' debut album threw pop culture into a blender and spat back a wonderfully crafted electronic pop album.
>> New Music Machine

Calexico | Spoke | Buy
The album that introduced me to the boys from Tuscon. The album confused me at first with all of the non-musical sounds layered throughout the album but I was fully sucked in by its dark intensity.
>> Sanchez

Buena Vista Social Club | Buy
It's on everyone's shelf and many buy it simply because it seemed like the right thing to do. However, those absent minded purchasers don't negate the beauty of the album.
>> Chan Chan

Bob Dylan | Time Out of Mind | Buy
Just when you thought the guy was toast, he snapped back with a dark stormy album of fear and mortality. Despite selling "Love Sick" to Victoria's Secret, it's his best album of the later stage of his career.
>> Not Dark Yet

Apples in Stereo | Tone Soul Evolution | Buy
An often overlooked album in the E6 catalog. A bit more polished than Fun Trick Noisemaker but still packing the heavy pop sing-a-long punch.
>> Seems So

Belle & Sebastian | Three EPs | Buy
If B&S had put all of these EPs on one album rather than spread them out over three EPs, it would have been as good of an album as If You're Feeling Sinister. Dog on Wheels, Lazy Line Painter Jane and 3..6..9 Seconds of Light are the albums that converted the fans of Sinister into B&S fanatics and groupies.
>> Dog on Wheels
>> Lazy Line Painter Jane
>> Le Pastie de La Bourgeoisie

Yeh, it was a pretty good year.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Festivus | August 25th | Cabot, VT

The college kids are starting classes, kids are going back to school, and I've been met with 40 degree mornings, but summer isn't over yet. There's at least one more installment on the Vermont camping festival circuit: The 5th Annual Sol Harvest Festivus for the Restivus (myspace).

Festivus started as a private party on the family land of Dave Pransky, previous mandolin player for the band Sol Harvest, now bass player for Toubab Krewe. This year it has evolved into a full day and night public festival showcasing an impressive lineup of both national and local acts. The festival site, formerly a summer camp, encompasses 93 acres of trails and even a swimming pond. This year the Pransky family has built a permanent stage in a natural amphitheater on the grounds. Here's the groups I'm most excited about:

Toubab Krewe: I've talked about them plenty on this blog, but I'm still blown away by their blend of Malian, American and Dirty South sounds. Officially from Asheville, NC (unofficially from Cabot, VT), they put on a live show that's extremely engaging and dynamic. Their work on the traditional Malian instruments, the kora (21-string harp-lute), the kamelengoni (12-string harp-lute), and soku (Malian horsehair fiddle), mix surprisingly well with guitar, bass, drum kit, and African percussion.

Eliza Lynn: Lynn made a quick tour through Central Vermont earlier in the summer and I've been excited for her return (previous posts here and here). She was voted best singer/songwriter in the 2006 Asheville Mountain Xpress Reader's Poll, appears on the recently released Putamayo Presents Americana, and has her sophmore release, Circles, set to release in early September. I've previewed the new disc and am totally blown away with the album's presence, which is much stronger and far reaching then her previous effort.

Adam Deitch with DJ Equal: Deitch is a session drummer who's resume includes keeping time for Slick Rick, John Scofield, Lauryn Hill, John Medeski, Meshell Ndegeocello, Justin Timberlake, Dead Prez, and dozens of others. DJ Equal is an internationally known turntablist whose studio credits include work with J Dilla, MF Doom, and Madlib - he's also spun live for everyone from Arrested Development, Pharoahe Monch and Hieroglyphics to the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra.

Live at World Cafe Live - 4.13.07
Toubab Krewe - Ray Forrester (live).mp3
Toubab Krewe - Moose (live).mp3

Monday, August 20, 2007

Yo La Tengo | Higher Ground | Oct 7, 2003

Continuing on my series of posts where I post full sets of shows I had previously only shared a few cuts from, here's the rest of the Yo La Tengo show at Higher Ground back in 2003. You can read my comments on the show back in the original post.

There are two songs which I can't identify. So, if anyone had help me out with them, I'd greatly appreciate it. Those tracks are just labeled as "Unknown".

Two bits of YLT news: In Sept, they'll be on tour in Europe and Texas. Tour dates here. The other bit is that they have released a two-disc DVD set of them performing The Sounds of Science. I just checked and it isn't on Netflix yet. So, you have to pony up the full load if you want to see it.

Yo La Tengo | Unknown #1
Yo La Tengo | Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)
Yo La Tengo | Little Eyes
Yo La Tengo | Season of the Shark
Yo La Tengo | Let's Save Tony Orlando's House
Yo La Tengo | Tears Are in Your Eyes
Yo La Tengo | Unknown #2
Yo La Tengo | How to Make a Baby Elephant Float
Yo La Tengo | Banter #1
Yo La Tengo | Georgia vs Yo La Tengo
Yo La Tengo | Tiny Birds
Yo La Tengo | Sugarcube
Yo La Tengo | Banter #2
Yo La Tengo | Nothing But You and Me
Yo La Tengo | Deeper Into Movies
Yo La Tengo | Sudden Organ
Yo La Tengo | I Heard You Looking
Yo La Tengo | Nuclear War
Yo La Tengo | End of Nuclear War and Applause
Yo La Tengo | Lewis
Yo La Tengo | Good Lovin' (Rascals cover)
Yo La Tengo | You Can Have It All
Yo La Tengo | Gates of Steel (Devo cover)
Yo La Tengo | Banter #3
Yo La Tengo | Stockholm Syndrome - False Start
Yo La Tengo | Stockholm Syndrome
Yo La Tengo | My Little Corner of the World
Yo La Tengo | Moonrock Mambo

13th Floor Elevators | "You're Gonna Miss Me"

Yeh, you've heard the song a million times but have you actually seen the guy play his jug before? Plus, the whole 60's poolside scene is pretty amusing.

Did You Know...

...Bush has visited every state in the country except for Vermont?

Maybe President Bush doesn't like Birkenstocks, or antiquing, or socialists. It could simply be that the health-conscious president just doesn't dig Ben & Jerry's high-fat ice cream.

Whatever the reason, Mr. Bush has not visited the state of Vermont. He has been to 49 other states and stopped off in more than 60 countries, including Albania, Uganda, Qatar — even Mongolia — but still no trip to Vermont.

"Vermont is the opposite of George W. Bush: It's granola, it's crunchy, it's liberal, and it's socialist," said former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who attended Middlebury College in Vermont and still vacations there.

And Mr. Fleischer knows firsthand what the president faces: When he went back to his alma mater — a school of about 2,000 students — to receive an award, "about 1,000 protesters showed up." No place is safe in the state, Mr. Fleischer said: "Even the tallest mountain peak, they'll backpack their way up there to protest the president."

Mr. Fleischer predicted that Mr. Bush, now on vacation in sweltering Crawford, Texas, will go because it will be "healthy to hit all 50 states."

"But he sure saved a doozy for last," he said with a laugh.
I'm guessing the guy will sneak in on a Friday night for a fundraiser at a private estate in the last month of his term just so he can say "I visited all 50 states".

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Smittens | Firehouse Gallery | Aug 16

Completing my recent trio of shows in art galleries and studios was last night’s show at The Firehouse Gallery on Church St. in Burlington. The show worked well for me because I was already going to be in Colchester for my final appointment with a nutritionist who is helping me maintain the weight I’ve lost (now down 55 lbs. since Easter). So, it was an easy hop over to Burlington for the show.

I had some time to kill before the show, so I decided to grab dinner. Unfortunately, I made a big mistake and chose to have some sushi at Sakura. I’ve eaten there a few times before and had stomach pains after each meal. However, like an idiot, I thought somehow tonight would be different. I was wrong. Same crap food and same stomach pains. Don’t eat at that dump. It sucks.

Despite having dinner, I was still on the early side when I went by Firehouse for the show. I could see The Smittens inside setting up for the show. However, nobody else was inside yet. So, I decided to wander back up to Borders to grab a few magazines; the latest issues of Four Four Two and Soccer America, as well as The Believer’s music issue. When I came back, the doors were open and Greg Davis, who was promoting the show, was collecting money at the door. However, he didn’t have change for a $20. So, I set back out onto Church St. to find some change. Unfortunately, all the stores were closed and the restaurants were too busy to help. But after some persistence, I found a place to break my $20 and I headed back to the show.

The Firehouse Gallery is a cool little room. Large floor to ceiling windows looking out onto Church St. and gallery-white walls which were displaying a collection of framed black & white photos. I should have kept with that theme and taken my photos in black & white too but I didn’t think of that until now. Like Space Gallery and Kriya Studio, the room isn’t really set up for good acoustics. However, both The Smittens and Lullatone seemed to understand this and turned down their amps.

Firehouse is also the smallest of the three rooms. However, with about fifty people in the room for the show (plus the band) there was a good energy to the show. It just goes to show that a small crowd in a small room can be just as exciting as a big crowd in a big room. The key is to just not have a ton of empty space for a show. Plus, about a third of the room came dressed in their pajamas which tweaked the mood in the room towards the positive end of the meter.

The Smittens started the night with a little band cheer; making a circle and putting their hands in the middle, they then shot their hands up like a sports team as they cheered something I couldn’t understand in unison. In all the shows I’ve seen over the years, that was the first time I’ve ever seen a band do that. It was goofy but it put a smile on my face that didn’t really leave all night. Their infectious pop tunes bopped along from one to another with healthy doses of good cheer from the band between songs. Alex, their keyboardist, was ill and not at the show but a lady who performed on their upcoming album did join them on stage for a few songs to share vocals and tambourine.

Here’s the beauty of The Smittens…they don’t take themselves too seriously. However that can be a difficult line to walk because if you’re too goofy, people won’t take your music seriously either. The Smittens did a good job of being light-hearted but still exhibiting enough care in the delivery of their pop melodies to make for a fun musical night. They even threw in a cover of Neil Diamond-circa-The Monkees’ “I'm a Believer” which fit in sonically perfect with the rest of their set.

Here's two new songs from their set. The first one is called "100 Roses" but I'm not sure of the title of the other one.

During their performance, Dana from The Smittens mentioned how they had just returned from a tour up and down the east coast and it had gone very well. I learned how well it had gone when I tried to buy a shirt between sets and they were sold out of all their large and extra-large shirts. Dave, the bassist, said the shirts went really quick. Good for them.

Between the sets, I spoke briefly to Vermont’s newest music blogger, Nick from Angioplasty Media. It’s brand new so there isn’t much there now but they have big ambitions. So, it’s probably a good one to bookmark.

It took Lullatone all of about ten minutes to set up. That’s one of the upside of seeing an electronica band whose laptops and keys can all be carried out on a table and just plugged in. I’m not a big electonica fan when it’s pure electonica so I thought I’d stick around for a few songs and then decide if I want to stay or go. Now, in hidsight, I’m really glad I didn’t leave because I smiled from the moment Lullatone touch the stage to the very end.

Lullatone is a two person band; husband and wife. Yoshimi Tomida handled all of the vocals while hubby, Shawn James Seymour, commanded the majority of the bleeps and bloops. However, the beauty of the guy was his infectious child-like enthusiasm. He seemed genuinely excited to be playing their first show in the Vermont and on their first US tour.

They started the night by asking for some volunteers to play some color-coded recorders that had tape over certain holes so they’d only play that one note. Then the people were choreographed to play along with his electronic beats while a video of colored raindrops ran in the background. It was just so different from the typical indie show that it was exciting and fresh.

Then later in the show, Seymour announced that for the next song, Tomida would be singing and he didn’t have anything to do. So, he wanted to play volleyball. He pulled out a big garbage bag full of white balloons with musical notes drawn on them and proceeded to toss them out into the crowd. That got everyone batting the balloons around the room as she sang her gentle tune. Once again, it was goofy but amusing. However, watching the white balloons float around the room against the background of white walls while the music played was sort of beautiful too.

Here's a video of the "balloon volleyball":

And another video focusing on their performance:

After about 45 minutes, they finished their set and left the stage. In a true encore moment, the crowd clapped and clapped until the duo shyly came back to the stage for one more song. This time they decided to do a dance song and got everyone up on their feet. It was fun way to end the night.

Here’s the thing about Lullatone, as I mentioned before, I probably wouldn’t spend time at home listening to their delicate electronica pajama pop. It isn’t what I’m typically drawn too. However, in concert and in that intimate setting, it was great. If they were playing again, I’d go see them again…and I’d bring a few friends along.

For the out-of-towners, here’s a list of their remaining tour dates:

8/20 Buffalo TBA
@ soundlab
110 pearl st, corner of pearl/swan, downtown buffalo 14202

8/21 Rochester
@ Boulder Coffee Co.
100 Alexander St. Rochester, NY 14620 Phone: 585.454.7140

8/22 Philadelphia @ Milkboy Coffee house w/ Alex Luquet

8/25 NY w/ alias pail, tristan perich/loud objects and more!
@ glasslands gallery
L Train to first stop Bedford Ave / JMZ To Marcy
289 Kent Ave (btw South 1st and South 2nd) Phone: 718.599.1450

Folk Art

Vermont is packed with roadside folk art. Wherever you drive in the Green Mountains, you pass sometimes odd, sometimes beautiful art in people's yards. Well, I've been riding my bike recently past a few of them and thought I'd post some photos of them.

The first one is on Portal Road in Middlesex. I'm not sure if this one is art or Yankee thrift but it still catches my eye every time I pedal by. It's a cool use of an old rural electrical pole.

The other ones are on the side of the barn at Sparrow Farm in East Montpelier. I spoke to the farmer about them and he said the one of the horses was originally done in the 1950's and they had it touched up at one point. Both lower corners of the painting have broken off over the years and while the lower left-hand corner was reattached, they simply cut the right-hand side of the painting off to deal with the break.

The painting of the Scottish Highland cows was done more recently by a local lady on the road who was raising them on her farm at the time. The lady happen to walk by while I was chatting with the farmer and he razed her about having the cows mooning everybody driving by. It was kind of funny.

I just like the idea of having art pieces outside and accessible where people can experience them and have them as part of their daily lives.

While I was up on the top of North Street, I took advantage of the clear day to snap a few shots of the hills, Camel's Hump and the view of Montpelier as you descend back down into the town along North Street.

NY Red Bulls 5 | LA Beckhams 4

If you missed last night's NY v LA match, here are the highlights. It was easily one of the most exciting MLS matches ever with nine goals, wide open attacking play and a last second game winning goal for NY in front of 66,000 fans.

All the eyes were on Beckham due to the fame surrounding the guy but the marvel of the game was 17-year-old Jozy Altidore who knocked in two goals and looked good throughout. When Altidore turns 18 this November, it's going to be a feeding frenzy from the European clubs trying to buy his contract.

And how the hell did Juan Pablo Angel score from that angle for the game winner? Great game.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kamikaze Hearts | Kriya Studio | Aug 11

So, I was all set to write a glorious post about the Kamikaze Hearts and Farm show at Kriya Studio last weekend but then I saw Dan Bolles from Seven Days had beaten me to it…and done it much better than I would have. In fact, his sentiments are so similar to mine, I’m just going to quote parts of his review (which doesn't seem to be available online) and then throw in a few additional comments.

Regarding Kriya Studio, Dan said:

If you haven't been yet, Kriya is officially listed at 333 North Winooski Avenue. Sounds easy enough, right? The trick is the eclectic artists' collective is actually behind the old bus station that now houses Global Market and a laundromat. It's confusing at first, but the Kriya folks were kind enough to put a sandwichboard sign out front directing traffic around the building. Thanks, guys!

To make a long, dull story short, I managed to find the venue after no small amount of head scratching and searching for a secret magical entrance. Man, I've really got to stop reading Harry Potter.

I had a similar experience. When jds, his friend John and I pulled up in front of the building, I said, “There’s a club here? Come on. This can’t be the right place.” Kriya is completely hidden from the road. You have to go down a flight of stairs and around to the back of the building to find the place. Even then, I wasn’t sure if I was in the right place until I saw someone collecting money.

When we arrived, there might have been a dozen people in the room but the room is so small, everyone turned around when we entered. I felt like I had walked into my neighbor’s living room unannounced.

The space is basically four walls, a few scattered chairs, no stage and a bathroom. It’s pretty sparse. It’s like going to a concert “East German style”…except they don’t sell beer at Kriya.

The other thing about Kriya is the toilet. It’s the loudest friggin’ toilet ever. You’re trying to enjoy the show but, every once in a while, you just hear, “SSSWWWWOOOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHH!!!!!!!” If you are in the back of the room, it entirely overwhelms the sound of the band; completely distracting. Who the hell sold them on installing that industrial turbo flusher?

That’s enough about Kriya, now for the good stuff. Farm was on stage when we arrived. Here’s what Dan had to say:

As per the Dark Lord' (Casey Rea) recommendation, Farm has quickly become one of my favorite local acts, and their sophmore release has been in heavy rotation on my iPod. As is the case with many newer groups in town, I've been meaning to check them out live for a while. But due to many demands on my nocturnal activities, the timing just never really worked out. Until tonight.


A few technical difficulties aside, Farm was in fine form all night, each member of the band switching instruments - drums, guitars, bass and synths - nearly every song. The crowd that began to trickle in over the course of their set was rewarded with some truly excellent local music in a cozily inviting setting.

There was a song that Farm did about two-thirds of the way through their set that was fantastic. I thought it sounded like The Velvet Underground and jds heard twinges of Warren Zevon but we both loved it. We asked Ben from Farm afterwards about the song and he said it’s a new song that they are planning on using on their next album. In general though, Farm was really good and nicely built their sound through the set.

Between the sets, jds and John left Kriya to go buy some beers. Apparently, while Kriya doesn’t sell booze, you can bring it in. So, we had some Peak Organic Nut Brown ale to enjoy during The Kamikaze Hearts’ set. That’s two shows in a row that I had Peak Organic Nut Brown ale. I’m on a roll.

After about a half-hour break, The Kamikaze Hearts started their set. Here’s what Dan had to say:

The band breezily chatted with the crowd while tuning various folky instruments - lap steel, mandolin, acoustic guitar, etc. - and then somehow managed to maintain the friendly interplay while burning through a blistering set.

Fans of The Avett Brothers, Okkervil River or local bluegrass faves The Powder Kegs would do well to check out the KH's new disc. Their brand of pop-inflected folk-rock is catchy as hell and is on par with or better than any of the aforementioned acts.

Damn straight. Well said. Even though I like those other bands, KH truly are better than those other bands. It completely befuddles me as to why they don’t have a larger following. Sometimes I like a band but fully understand why others don’t. However, that’s not the case with The Kamikaze Hearts. Their songs are accessible, propulsive and earthy. Familiar yet fresh. In an age of increased meritocracy with indie labels and the internet, I feel that somehow the majority of music fans are missing a good band.

One of the highlights of the show for me was “Boston Whaler”. It’s a song they performed a few years ago during a Skidmore College radio performance and put up on their site. When jds turned me onto them, that was one of the songs he sent to me and it fully clicked with me. Unfortunately though, they’ve never released it on an album. Then, last year when I saw them at Langdon Street, it didn’t make it into the setlist. So, wanting to hear it, I requested the tune. After a few attempts to recall the lyrics, they kindly played it and it sounded great.

Regarding the crowd (about 30 people for KH), Dan had this to say:

Fortunately, there were a few local booking dudes in attendance that evening who were as taken with both bands as I was, meaning we should be seeing both groups in the very near future. Stay tuned.

Hopefully, those booking agents will bring them back into town.

Here's a video from the show of Kamikaze Hearts doing "War Horse". The sound is good but it's so dark that you can barely see anything.

One last note about the show…I noticed at the merch table that KH was selling a vinyl EP called Foxhole Prayers. Apparently, it’s a re-release of a four-song EP from 2004. I don’t have a turntable though. However, I learned that it’s available on emusic and iTunes. So, I bought it when I got home. If you like KH, it’s a must-buy. In fact, the first track, "Tennessee" is one of the finest tunes they’ve ever released.

Montpelier Is a "Mountain Town"?

National Geographic Adventure magazine created a list of the top fifty towns to live in the US and Montpelier made the list as one of the top ten "Mountain Towns" in the country.

I like living in Montpelier but I've never thought of the place as a "Mountain Town". It's only at 500 feet above sea level and is in a valley between a few rolling hills; not mountains. Let's put it this way, if I can bike up ain't a mountain.

Also, how the hell does New York City not make the list of "Top Cities" over Gainsville, FL and Overland Park, KS? Stupid friggin' list.

Thanks to Montpelier Matters for the tip.

How Much for the Free Poster?

Do you know those posters that Higher Ground occasionally gives away for free at the end of shows? Well, some dude on eBay is trying to sell one from a Dr. John show for $75...and the thing even has a crease in it right across Dr. John's name.

Is the guy nuts or are those posters worth that much money? Perhaps I should take them down from my kids' walls.

Magnet & Gemma Hayes | "Lay Lady Lay"

Great but overlooked Dylan cover from a few years ago.

Magnet & Gemma Hayes | Lay Lady Lay | Buy

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dr. Dog | Space Gallery | Aug 9

When I was a kid, I loved going to different stadiums simply to check out new stadiums. Now, as an adult, I like going to shows in different clubs just to check out other venues. My father is a retired architect and perhaps my interest in buildings comes from him. Who knows? Regardless, after a few days of being on vacation last week, I got the itch to see a show. So, I decided to hit Space Gallery in Portland to see Dr. Dog even though I’ve never been a big Dr. Dog fan.

I think part of the reason I’ve never taken to Dr. Dog is due to an idiotic review of them I once heard on NPR. The reviewer said Dr. Dog doesn’t sound like any other band and then proceeded to play “The World May Never Know” which sounds exactly like The Beatles. Hell, it sounds so much like The Beatles, I thought it was a Beatles cover when I first heard it. Check for yourself. The link on the song title will play the song. However, as moronic as that review was, I shouldn’t have held a grudge against the band; just the reviewer.

After spending a classic New England evening boiling and eating lobsters while listening to playoff baseball on the radio (Mountaineers game), my friend Dave, who we were staying with in Maine, and I made the short drive into the city. Quick sidenote…while I love Portland, parking in Portland sucks. At 10:00pm, we still had to drive around town for a while to find parking and, even then, we were lucky to find one a few blocks from the club. I’m guessing it’s due to the crush of visitors during the summer but it’s a constant hassle in that town.

Space Gallery is a mixed media art gallery in the heart of downtown; very laid back place. I liked the artsy vibe of the club. After visiting Firehouse Gallery for The Mittens/Lullatone show and Kriya Studio for the Kamikaze Hearts/Farm show, I’d say Space Gallery is sort of a cross between the two places. More professional than Kriya but not as neat and tidy as Firehouse. The benefit of Space is that they serve beer there; including Peak Organic Nut Brown ale. Nice.

The downside to Space Gallery is that nothing in the room absorbs any sound. The walls are cinderblock. The floor is concrete. The stage is framed by steel I-beams (looks cool though). Hell, the ceiling is even made of bricks. Who’s ever heard of a brick ceiling? Once again, it looked cool, as you can see in the photo, but it isn’t an ideal space mix loud sounds into a subtle arrangement.

We missed the opener, Brenda, but arrived before Dr. Dog started. In fact, it seemed like Dr. Dog had just arrived themselves as they started loading their equipment up onto the stage. They set everything up quickly, marched through a quick soundcheck and then just started playing. The suddenness of their activity continued all night as they raced through a 45-minute set, said goodnight and immediately started breaking down their equipment while still on stage. I’m 100% cool with bands not doing encores since they feel completely fabricated the majority of the time but Dr. Dog was acting all night like they were double-parked. Perhaps they had a long drive ahead of them and wanted to get an early start to the trip but don’t leave us feeling that we’re inconveniencing them.

As for the set itself, it sounded OK. Lots of poppy stuff. Unfortunately, the muddy sound entirely wiped out the keyboards which is the most distinctive part of their sound. The keyboardist was playing all night long but I only heard him briefly during one of the songs. Most of the sound was guitar and drums. However, like I said, it was poppy stuff and the crowd was having a good time, so it was a fun way to spend an hour.

One other odd thing about Dr. Dog is how much one of the guitarists looks like fellow False 45th contributor, jds. When he walked onto stage, I did a double-take. Then I noticed he was wearing an apron and knew jds would never wear an apron on stage in August. jds has much better summer fashion sense. Everyone knows you only wear an apron on stage after Labor Day.

Seriously, an apron? Is “Applebee’s busboy” the new cool look or something?

Osheaga Music Festival Ticket Contest

Suddenly, this blog is starting to look like a county fair with all the games and prizes. Well, at least we aren't running this one; just tipping you off to it.

Seven Days is running a contest to give away a pair of 2-day passes to the big Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal on September 8th & 8th. All you have to do is follow this link and fill out the registration form. Then just sit back and wait to see if you won the tickets (or just a bunch of spam from Seven Days now that they have your email address).

I'm only kidding about the spam. They have my email address and they've never sent me anything annoying. By the way, if you haven't signed up for Seven Days weekly email called NOW (Notes On the Weekend), I'd recommend it. It arrives on Thursday with a bunch of suggestions for things to do over the weekend. They're usually pretty good tips. You can sign up for it here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Beckham Bangs in His First Goal

His first start yielded his first goal. He also had an assist on the night and left the game after an hour. I guess the gimp's ankle is feeling better.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Smittens | Coming to Firehouse Gallery | Aug 16

Last year, when I decided to post more regularly about local bands, the first band I wanted to write about was The Smittens. However, some sort of brain cramp occurred and I wrote about a bunch of other Burlington bands while never posting about The Smittens. Most likely, it was due to the fact that I hadn't had a chance to catch them and their brand of melancholy pop in concert before. However, that'll change Thursday night when they'll be playing The Firehouse Gallery in Burlington with the Japanese pop band Lullatone.

Here's the funky part of the's a pajama party. Now, I don't wear pajamas to bed and I don't want to scare anyone, so I'll just be there in my evening wear. However, I'm sure there'll be plenty of people there in their pjs which should make it a colorful evening.

The show is at 8pm and is $7.

The Smittens | I Hate Vermont | Buy
The Smittens | Good Migrations | Buy

Lullatone | Bedroom Bossa Band | Buy
Lullatone | Wake Up Wake Up | Buy

New Videos from The Go! Team

All three are from their upcoming album Proof of Youth. The album is due Sep 11 on Sub Pop.

Based upon these three tunes, put me down in the "highly anticipating" column.

"Doing It Right"

"My World"

"Grip Like a Vice"

Another CD Giveaway Contest

Before I left for vacation, a publicist for Fader magazine and Subaru offered me a chance to give away a copy of the new mix CD Fader/Subaru had put together to promote their WRX (some sort of a car). Well, I agreed to it because I had moments earlier been whacked with a $700 bill to have my Subaru Outback fixed shortly after having the warranty expire. So, I was going to write an angry post about "planned material failure" and how car companies suck. However, then I went on vacation and forgot to write the post. It also allowed me to calm down and realize that we're generally happy with our Subaru.

So, now it's just a giveaway. The track on the CD that caught my eye was a remix of Editors' "Camera". So, if you're an Editors fan, go ahead and throw your hat in the ring. The fifth person to send an email to false45th {at} gmail {dot} com asking for the disc will win it. Be sure to include your address in the email.

Editors | Heads in Bags | Buy

Stephen Malkmus | Live in Buenos Aires

About a year and half ago, I posted about a Stephen Malkmus bootleg that I was loving. It was from a show in Buenos Aires in 2004 where he performed solo with just an electric guitar and did a mix of Pavement, Silver Jews and solo material. Well, now with the extra bandwidth, he's the full show.

By the way, Malkmus has covered "Maggie's Farm", "Ballad of a Thin Man" and "Can't Leave Her Behind" for the soundtrack of the upcoming Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There. As you can see from the full tracklist of the soundtrack, it's a indie rock pile-on including Sonic Youth, The Hold Steady, Yo La Tengo, Calexico, Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Jeff Tweedy and many others. Sounds like ti was tailor-made for me.

The soundtrack will be released on Oct 30.

Stephen Malkmus We Dance
Stephen Malkmus Trigger Cut
Stephen Malkmus Loud Crowd Cloud
Stephen Malkmus Blue Arrangements
Stephen Malkmus Church on White
Stephen Malkmus Here
Stephen Malkmus Carl of the Clod
Stephen Malkmus In the Mouth a Desert
Stephen Malkmus Infinite Spark
Stephen Malkmus Malediction
Stephen Malkmus Maker of Modern
Stephen Malkmus Spit on a Stranger
Stephen Malkmus Father to a Sister of Thought
Stephen Malkmus Elevate Me Later
Stephen Malkmus No More Shoes
Stephen Malkmus Jenny & the Ess Dog
Stephen Malkmus Cut Your Hair (Intro)
Stephen Malkmus Animal Midnight
Stephen Malkmus Range Life

Bye Bye Scooter

Growing up watching Yankee games on WPIX meant spending a lot of time listening to Phil Rizzuto talk about anything but the baseball game at hand. He'd go on about Bill White stealing his jelly doughnut, the traffic on the GWB, his optometrist, goats mating or whatever passed through his head. And I loved it. I think he's part of the reason why I can't stand color analysts these days with their cavalcade of statistics and information. They don't allow the game to breath. Rizzuto knew it was a long season and there were other things to talk about.

Perhaps it's his influence that leads me to post about sports, gardening, pillow fights, etc. on a music blog.

And there was always his commercials for The Money Store.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Gwar interviewed on The Joan River's Show

Oh, the power of YouTube: Oderus Urungus and Beefcake the Mighty interviewed on The Joan Rivers Show, 1990.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Concert Calendar

We added a new item to our sidebar. It's a list of upcoming shows in and near Vermont that we're interested in. However, we both screw up occasionally. So, if we are missing a show, let us know at false45th {at} gmail {dot} com.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Farm | Coming to Burlington | August 11

So we've shared our love for The Kamikaze Hearts (with very good reason!), so now let's talk about the other band playing at 333 North Winooski Ave tomorrow night: Farm.

Kamikaze Hearts w/ Farm - August 11 - 7 pm - Kriya Studio - Burlington

Rock trio Farm, hailing from St Albans, VT, released an 18 track LP entitled Gray Birds about two months ago. It's been the soundtrack to my weekly law mowing all summer. My yard takes an hour and a half to get through, long enough to listen to the whole 75+ minute album once and a repeat of my two favorite tracks: Devil and 31. The album has a nice amount of variety (given the shared lead vocal duties and multi instrumental players), but it's the heavy blues based songs that speak to me the most. It's easy to dismiss it as stoner rock, but there's more depth to the songs then that. Horns and even a taste of delta blues. 31 is the only live song on the album, recorded at their Langdon Street performance from last summer. I was at that performance, so it may share special meaning to me, but I find Ben Maddox's guitar work throughout the second minute to be truly inspired. The boys have played a good number of shows since Gray Birds' release, so I expect them to be in top form.

Click here to read Casey's Seven Days review of Gray Birds ("spooky-ass Americana that’s unpretentiously rural yet musically sophisticated"), which can be purchased here.

Farm - Devil.mp3
Farm - 31.mp3
Farm - Spineless.mp3

Back-to-Back and Belly-to-Belly

Mike Gaggioli pitched a whopper of a game tonight and the Mountaineers completed a two-game sweep of the Newport Gulls to win their second consecutive NECBL championship. Gaggioli had a no hitter through 6 and 2/3rd innings. However, at that moment, I sent a friend an email exclaiming my amazement at how well he was pitching and it jinxed Gaggioli. The next hitter singled. So, I blew it for him. However, he pulled it back together and completed the one-hitter, 12 strikeout performance to win the game 3-0.

We were only able to listen to the game on the radio but it sounds like it was a nice celebration on the field and I wouldn't be surprised if the Fay Vincent Cup made its rounds through town tonight. Towards the end of the broadcast, the announcer said that there would be a parade through Montpelier on Saturday to celebrate the victory. However, in classic Vermont lackadaisical fashion, he didn't mention what time the parade would start. Plus, while the Mountaineers' website has been updated with tonight's result, there isn't any mention of the parade. However, if you're interested in the parade, I'd check that site and the Times-Argus site. There's also a chance the town's website could have info on it too.

REMINDER: Kamikaze Hearts | Coming to Burlington | Aug 11

Someone asked me recently what remaining shows I’m excited about this summer. Well, the one I’m most excited about is The Kamikaze Hearts at Kriya Studio in Burlington on Saturday, August 11.

I never got around to posting a list of my favorite albums of 2006 but, if I had ever mustered up the energy to do it, The Kamikaze Hearts’ Oneida Road would have been in my top five albums of 2006. However, since then, I’d say I listen to Oneida Road more than any other album from 2006 including my top album of the year, Yo La Tengo’s I’m Not Afraid…

The album is packed with warm porch folk tunes that build in tension and release in hooks better than most folks songs. Plus, unlike most indie rock these days, the songs aren’t packed with urban-obsessed lyrics. They speak to northern living much more clearly than other bands out there today.

So, combine that love for Oneida Road with the fact I had a great time when I saw them last year at Langdon Street and you have a hot show. The show is the same night that we get back from vacation in Portland and I’ll probably be dragging after a week chasing the kids & driving 3+ hours home. However, I’ll be there. It’s worth it regardless of how I feel.

Lastly, if you need another incentive to hit the show, Farm will be also be on the bill. Such a good night of music.

Kamikaze Hearts No One Called You a Failure Buy
Kamikaze Hearts Ash Wednesday Buy
Kamikaze Hearts Boston Wailer

Band of Horses | Aug 9

Band of Horses put on a fantastic show this evening. Pure rock show, with a tinge of southern charm (especially the case with the 5 or so new songs). They did a cover of the Mick Jagger/Keith Richards' tune Act Together, which was released on Ron Wood's solo album, I've Got My Own Album To Do.
Here's the only decent pic, the set list, and a shot of the poster that was handed out. Does anyone else think the bass player looks like a Jim Henson version of Herb from The Jazz Guys?