Friday, November 30, 2007

World Cafe on VPR

When VPR announced their new programming schedule, I checked the schedule for any sort of indie rock shows. However, I did a very lame review of the schedule which basically involved reading the titles of the shows and judging them based upon that. One of those was World Cafe which runs from noon - 2pm on Saturdays. With a title like that, I immediately assumed it was some sort of afro/world beat show for hippies. Man, was I wrong.

A few weeks ago, someone mentioned to me that they thought they had heard Spoon on VPR. I raised an eyebrow and said something like "Are you sure?" while thinking "No friggin' way". Then I was out running errands one Saturday and popped on VPR. Holy crap, they were playing The Ramones' "Sheena's a Punk Rocker" and then a bunch of other cool tunes followed. It was great. When I got home, there was a message on my answering machine from a friend raving about all the good music he was hearing on VPR that afternoon. It was exciting to have a good show to listen to on the radio.

It turns out that World Cafe is a program from Philly's WXPN where it runs daily from 2pm-4pm. I'm not positive but I think we are getting a condensed version of the show's highlights rather than a rebroadcast of one of the week's regular shows. Regardless, it's nice to have something to listen to on Saturdays while running around in the car.

The Ramones | Sheena Is a Punk Rocker | Buy

Montpelier Winter Market

I should have been posting about this a few days ago but I've been slacking on my posts. However, if you catch this post early on Saturday, be sure to swing by the new Winter Market in Montpelier.

Based upon the success of the Farmer's Market every Saturday in Montpelier from May-October, they have decided to do a Winter Market in the Vermont College Gymnasium. The market will run the first Saturday of each month (10am - 2pm) from December to April. That means tomorrow will be the first market. Now you can see why I'm late with this post.

The market will feature local meats, cheeses, root vegetables, crafts, cider, etc. Basically, it'll be similar to the summer market except without the summer vegetables.

VPR had a commentary on winter markets today. One interesting statistic the commentator threw out there was that studies have shown that people have ten times more conversations at a farmer's market than they do at the grocery store. Anecdotally for me, that rings true. The farmer's market doubles as a social event for me as opposed to the grocery store where it's a rush to the finish line.

There are other winter markets across Vermont also. You can find a full listing of both summer and winter farmer's markets on this site.

photo courtesy of

Merge Records & Oxfam America Charity Auction

Want to help feed some hungry folks in Eastern & Central North Carolina? Buy this poster.

Merge Records and Oxfam America are teaming up to raise money for the Food Bank of Eastern & Central North Carolina by auctioning off various collectibles and memorabilia on eBay. The poster above is signed by all the members of Arcade Fire and is on auction until Sunday morning. The current bid is $760. That should feed a few folks.

If that's a bit steep for you, there are also signed posters from David Kilgour, Shout Out Louds and the Rosebuds available.

Arcade Fire | Age of Consent (New Order cover) (live)

Shout Out Louds | The Comeback Big Slippa Mix By ratatat | Buy

The Rosebuds | You Better Get Ready | Buy

Two New VT Music Blogs

A quick tip to two relatively new blogs focusing on Vermont music.

VermontMusic ► Largely focuses on the jam and bluegrass scenes and is self-described as "Vermont publicist and music lover, Rachel Carter, chats about Vermont musicians and bands and her love of the Vermont music scene!"

Burlington Music Journal ► More focused on indie rock with an unclear disdain for Higher Ground. Their tagline is "Taking back the scene from Trustafarian Jam Bands one show at a time."

I'm guessing these two wouldn't be swapping too many mix discs. I'm just glad to see more people discussing Vermont music.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bon Iver | November 30 | Higher Ground

Flatlander recently expressed his excitement for tomorrow night's headliner at Higher Ground's small room: Elvis Perkins. Although I expect the young Elvis to put on a great show, what has yet to be shared is MY excitement for the opening act: Bon Iver. The last few months has been blog-hype city for stunning self-released debut Forever Ago, For Emma. Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) recently signed to Jagjaguwar, one of the most consistent labels going (Besnard Lakes, Black Mountain, Julie Doiron, Okkervil River, Oneida, Parts & Labor, Sunset Rubdown, Wilderness, etc). Those two points were enough for me to pick up the album. It has been on repeat ever since. As the blog's have already said so appropriately, "Forever Ago, For Emma is a modern folk masterpiece, filled with deeply intimate songs of the most skeletal sort. Justin Vernon’s ghostly falsetto resonates with melancholy and sincerity, something that’s sorely missed in these days of manufactured “indie” hits."

After you get the free stream (here), head over to S Burlington on Friday and pay your 10 bucks. You won't be disappointed.

Bon Iver - Skinny Love.mp3 (self released album available at shows, Jagjaguwar will re-release 02/19/08)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hadestown is back

Last winter I caught the opening of something truly surprising: a great local bred folk opera. Hadestown was truly one of the best small stage theater productions I've been a witness to. Interesting adaptation, strong musical performances, engaging dialogue, questioning of the status quo. Here's the rundown:

For centuries, the tragic Greek myth of Orpheus & Eurydice, in which the lyre-playing Orpheus descends into the underworld and attempts to win back his fallen bride Eurydice through the power of music, has been mined by artists from all corners of the world – a testament to its depth and universal appeal. Anais Mitchell's Hadestown, created in collaboration with composer Michael Chorney and director Ben T. Matchstick brings this timeless story into a contemporary context that is poetically, musically and visually fresh. The folk opera takes its inspiration from Depression-era America: the underworld is not the land of the dead but an exploitative company town; Hades is a sadistic wall-building boss-king whose wife Persephone moonlights as the proprietress of a speakeasy; and Orpheus wields not a lyre but a banjo. But the opera is not so much a history lesson as it is a rich patchwork of artistic vision, social commentary and raw human emotion. Old-fashioned symbols of poverty and exploitation are fused with a kind of futurism — albeit a clunky, analog, "vintage" futurism (think post-apocalyptic Jeunet/Caro films City of the Lost Children and Delicatessen) — which prompts reflection on just how much we’ve evolved (or devolved) as a society since the 1930s. Above all, Hadestown is a love story – a love story exploring what becomes of the human condition under the most tragic and trying of circumstances.

The group is back this year playing at much larger venues then last year's limited run. It all kicks off this Thursday back in the granite city at the Barre Opera House. For the next two weeks the show will travel to Rutland's Paramount Theater, the Bellows Falls Opera House, Sommerville Theatre (MA), Johnson State College, Middlebury College, and Higher Ground. Higher Ground has all the ticket details.

This comes highly recommended.

Monday, November 26, 2007

DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist | Coming to Montreal | Jan 29

A few years ago, my brother-in-law gave me a fantastic Christmas gift. It was a copy of Brainfreeze by DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist. I had no idea what it was at first but the description on the cover intrigued me..."a nonstop live mix of strictly 45's and exercise in vinyl destruction". Oh, that sounded good. What followed was a frenzied layered mix of soul and funk with plenty of scratching peppering the aural collage. It quickly became one of the most prized CDs in my collection.

Now, over Thanksgiving dinner, the same brother-in-law tipped me off that Shadow and Chemist will be touring together again this winter. He's going down to NYC to hit the shows at Irving Plaza which tempted me until I noticed that the tour was coming to the Metropolis in Montreal on Jan 29. I know they aren't going to be performing Brainfreeze (currently out-of-print) in any form during this tour but the magic and skill between these two has made this a must-see show for me. I have no idea what their visual presentation will be, which is important since it's pretty boring to watch two guys flip vinyl, but the sounds should be a fresh delight.

Now, let's just hope for some good weather on Jan 29.

DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist | Brainfreeze - First | Buy

photo courtesy of ajmiller82

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Todd Barry | Thanksgiving Dinner | Buy

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Link Dump

Let's run it down:

Angioplasty Media has a sweet video of a bus in San Francisco that's been retrofitted into a performance space for bands. I'd love to see a show on that thing.

Highgate has a podcast available with tracks from This Heat, 13th Floor Elevators and Ike & Tina Turner. Nice.

Kingdom For a Voice has a review of Slash's biography. Combined with Motley Crue's The Dirt, it would probably make a fine Christmas present for the glam rock fan in your life.

The Dallas Morning News discusses Montpelier in great detail including the tower in Hubbard Park, Morse Farm and Somer's Hardware store. No really.

Dan at solidstate was a panelist at Indiecon talking about how bands should go about getting their name in the media. What? No bloggers on the panel?

◘ Jay at Spitting Out Teeth posted his top albums of the year.

The Contrarian has some photos of "Only-in-DC" bathroom graffiti. Go for the graffiti and be sure to check out the link that Tanner supplied. Crazy.

The Pages Within ponder my border-crossing behavior and resulting security issues.

♀ Indie Rock...matched off in an NCAA tourney bracket.

► Carnivals can wreak of a certain sadness but that sadness can also be damn funny.

◄ From the "Only in Japan" file, guys playing soccer with binoculars on.

Best goals of 2007 in MLS.

¶ Be glad you aren't traveling any of these roads tonight.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Fourth Annual Green Mountain Bob Dylan Wanna-Be Contest | UPDATE

It's that time of the year again. Time for another round of Dylan impostors angling and singing to be crowned the best Bob Dylan wanna-be in the Green Mountains.

Here are the details on this year's show:

When: Saturday, Nov 24 at 7pm
Where: Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier's City Hall
Cost: $10 (proceeds go to the building of a YMCA in central VT)
How to Enter: e-mail:

The date stinks for me since I'll be out of town for the holiday weekend. And I was surprised to see a $10 fee on a previously free event. However, I guess the money goes to charity and this area does need another gym.

Last year, there were about 300 people who showed up when it was held at the Unitarian Church. However, the Lost Nation Theater only seats about 150 people. So, go early or expect to stand.

You can read my post about last year's show which was won by Ethan Gilbert in the photo for his version of "Girl From the North Country".

M. Ward, Conor Oberst & Jim James | Girl From the North Country | Buy

UPDATE: I received an email pointing out a mistake I made in both this post and my post from a year ago about the guy in the picture above. Here's the email:

Hi! Just a note about your comment: "You can read my post about last year's show which was won by Ethan Gilbert in the photo for his version of "Girl From the North Country"." The guy in the photo you have pictured is actually Jeff Beerworth. He also sang Girl from the North Country. His sister is Anna Beerworth, who came in third. I think you have him listed as Ethan Gilbet.

Just a heads up!

Jeff Beerworth (I think he ended up coming in 4th?)

Anna Beerworth:

Catamount Trail

If cross country skiing is your thing, a new trail called The Catamount Trail has just been completed that now allows you to ski all the way from Vermont's Quebec border to its Massachusetts border.

Obviously, the 300-mile trail couldn't be completed in one day. So, it's been laid out near inns and lodges where you can crash for the night. The website for the trail even says that some of the inns will transport your gear to the next inn for you if you ask them. Sweet.

Another nice aspect of the trail is that 60% of the trail passes along private property. The folks who developed the trail received permission from each of the landowners to allow skiers to cross their property. It's cool that people were willing to allow that access to ensure that the trail was continuous from Quebec to Massachusetts.

The trail is also broken up into 31 sections that could each be knock out in a day. However, I'm guessing there are a bunch of nutters out there waiting for the southern valleys to get their first heavy coating so they can be among the first to complete the trail from end-to-end.

Another trail that is pretty cool (although just for summer use) is the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. The trail connects numerous ponds and rivers so you can actually canoe from the Adirondacks across northern VT and NH and up into the top of Maine. The trail even takes you briefly up into Quebec around the Lake Memphremagog area.

So, now someone should create a Nature Boy Hat Trick where you have to complete the Catamount Trail, Northern Forest Canoe Trail and Long Trail all within twelve months. Take that Highpointers.

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds | Nature Boy | Buy


So, who does Ronaldinho and Robinho idolize? Falcão

Falcão is currently the best futsal player in the world and his skills are sick. Check out the video above and you'll understand why Robinho has been quoted as saying that he watches tapes of Falcão to learn (i.e., steal) his moves.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Elvis Perkins | Coming to Burlington | Nov 30

Last Spring, Elvis Perkins took the stage in Higher Ground's Grand Ballroom as the opener for Clap Your Hands. Six months later, he's back as a headliner in the Showcase Lounge at Higher Ground and based upon his textured-folk-come-chamber-pop album Ash Wednesday and his earlier performance at Higher Ground, I'll be there.

I remember missing half of his set last Spring but the passionate half I saw was superior to the lackluster set that CYHSY dropped on us that night. In fact, I remember thinking that I wished Elvis was the headliner. Well, I guess I got my wish.

I had known for a long time that Perkins is the son of the actor Anthony Perkins who dies of AIDS in the early 90's. However, I just recently learned that his mother was a passenger on one of the flights on 9/11. Sweet Jesus. Either of those deaths would be a lot to bare. However, to deal with both in one lifetime is unimaginable. So sad.

Elvis Perkins | While You Were Sleeping | Buy

Elvis Perkins | All the Night Without Love | Buy

photo courtesy of One-Eyed-Cat

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pig Roast | Barre | Nov 16

It's hard to find good and tasty pig in Vermont. There's plenty to be thankful for living in the Green Mountain State, but roasted pork is not it. Sure we have a place or two, such as Finkerman's in Montpelier and Bonz Smokehouse in Morrisville, but they are a far cry from quality southern barbecue (click here for a full history of NC bbq). I went through a three year vegetarian stretch, but it ended because of my affection for the other white meat. Some of that was because I was trying to be be meat free in North Carolina, but pork with a side of hush puppies and slaw couldn't be denied. I'm so serious about this subject that my bachelor party started at West Asheville's Barbecue Inn (we won't discuss where it ended up).

I've got my fingers crossed for LACE's Pig Roast Feast scheduled for this Friday. LACE, which stands for Local Agriculture Community Exchange, opened up in downtown Barre in the summer and brought with it a diverse local-oriented grocery store, cafe, and educational center. LACE’s founder, Ariel Zevon, has made it her mission to help the Barre community reconnect with local farmers and provide healthy food to it's people. Ariel is the daughter of the late Warren Zevon.

LACE's "Farm Fresh Market and Cafe," which serves a rotating menu of in-season and local lunch goodies (such as sloppy joe's and turkey sandwiches) has been down for a week for a re-tooling. The Cafe is back with a family style dinner of 100% VT pasture-raised pork and sides for 10 bucks. The 9 member soul/funk/big band The Limes from Cabot will provide tunes starting at 6 pm.

I know I'm not traveling to the south, but I've got my hopes up that our VT farmers and local eatery can give me my fix.

Cake - War Pigs.mp3

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hey! Wanna Buy a Soccer Team?

Have you ever sat around with friends bitching about the management of your favorite sports team? Well, here's your chance to put your money where your mouth is and jump into the sports management business.

Ebbsfleet United is a soccer club in Northfleet, England which is east of London near the mouth of the Thames. They currently play in the English fifth division called the Blue Square Premier League (previously known as the football conference) where they sit in 9th (out of 24 teams) and six points out of the promotion playoffs.

Here's the fun part...this week, it was announced that the 20,000 members of the website MyFootballClub are each going to pay £35 a year and buy a 51% controlling stake in Ebbsfleet United. That's a little over $1.4M at the current exchange rate. The members will then be asked to pay an additional £35 a year to maintain their membership. That'll pour another $1.4M into the team each year. In fact, their goal is to increase the membership to 53,000 which would mean $3.8M annually for the club in addition to their traditional revenue sources.

Basically, for a fifth division team, that's a boatload of money for a club to play with. They'll be able to buy players they never would dream of touching with their current financing.

Now, here's where it really gets cooking...your membership at MyFootballClub gives you the right to vote on various team decisions. The fans will vote on the team's lineup and tactics for each match, which players to buy and sell, how to divide the annual budget and whether the coaches and staff should be fired or not. The head coach will post his impressions of the players, how they trained over the week and scouting reports of their next opponents and then the fans can either support his recommendations or vote for entirely different players and tactics. The results will then be delivered to the coach who will be tasked with implementing them without exception.

This truly puts the fans in control of the club. I think it's a fantastic experiment and I would be surprised if they didn't get promoted to the next division by the end of their next full season. Just the money alone should be enough to get them up to the fourth division (English League Two).

There's a full FAQ explaining how it will work on the club's website. The three key things for me is that 1) anyone in the world can join the ownership pool, 2) nobody is ever allowed to buy more than one membership and 3) profits from the club are automatically rolled back into the club. That's exactly how I'd like to see this model work.

So, I'm going to add a membership in MyFootballClub to my Christmas list and ride Ebbsfleet United to the Premiership.

EKIS | CD Release Party | Langdon Street Cafe | Nov 16

Montpelier's own, EKIS, will be hosting their CD release party at Langdon Street Cafe this Friday, Nov 16. The album is called The Hidden Jar and is available via their site. They're expecting to hit the stage around 9pm.

I haven't heard the album but based upon their appearance on WRUV's Exposure, they seem to swing between alt-country (or Americana; whatever you want to call it these days) and world pop.

EKIS | Just a Fact | Buy

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew | Ira Allen Chapel | Nov 12

"Shit. I forgot my ticket."

That's what came out of my mouth as we rolled pass exit 12 on I-89 on the way to see Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew at UVM's Ira Allen Chapel last night. Because I have horrible short-term memory problems, I typically use will call rather than risk leaving my ticket at home. However, UVM only allows you to use will call if you buy your ticket within 10 days of the show. So, they mailed me a ticket and I left it in my sock drawer.

My first thought was to just explain what happened to the folks manning the will call booth and hope for a forgiving soul. However, while they seemed sympathetic to my stupidity, they couldn't let me in without my ticket.

"Can you go home and get your ticket?"
"No. I live all the way back in Montpelier."
"What about the confirmation you were emailed? Do you have that?"
"No. If I had that, I'd have my ticket."
"If you can find a computer and print off the confirmation email, we can let you in."
"Are there any computers around here?" (Pretty dumb question to ask while standing in the middle of a college campus)
"Yeh. At the student center."
"Are there printers?"
"Shit. Hey, what if I take a picture of the screen with my confirmation? Will that work?"
"Yeh. That would work."

Hence the photo below. Many thanks to the kind folks at the will call desk who bailed me out there.

Arthur & Yu started the night with a 45 minute set of alt-western folk rock. Their album, In Camera, has more of a retro-Carpenters sound to it. However, in concert they were much more western rockabilly than 70's pop folk.

The problem with their set and, for most of the entire show, was that the sound was a muddy bass-heavy mess. It was way too loud of a soundsystem for that chapel. Why wasn't this show booked for the performance space at the new Davis Center? Was there a conflicting event? The sound got cleaned up about three-quarters of the way through Kevin Drew's set but the damage had already been done.

Both bands employed the crowd blinding back lights. Hey all don't want us to use flashes on our cameras and we don't want you to burn our retinas. I think we can all agree to not blind each other. So, stop with the horizontal backlights.

Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew came out with three guitarists including Drew, bassist Brendan Canning, Andrew Kenny (formerly of American Analog Set) on keys and a drummer. The beauty of seeing a band that has one album of material (not including the few BSS tunes thrown in) that you love, is that you get a set packed with all your favorites. "Safety Bricks", "Tbtf", "F--cked Up Kid", "Lucky Ones", "Backed Out on the" and "Farewell to the Pressure Kids" all got played.

As I mentioned above, the sound was miserably bad which significantly detracted from the night. Drew even remarked at one point that he thought the sound was "utter shit" and that the sound system was too big for the room. However, about two-thirds of the way through their set, it cleaned up a lot. I have no idea what they did but it did get better.

Part of our discussion on the way home was regarding Brendan Canning's age. With his graying hair, beard and glasses, he looked pretty old. However, I checked today and the dude is a year younger than me. Ha! I guess I was the old man in the room.

For part of the show, Drew pulled his hat down over his eyes. It's weird but it was interesting in its simplicity and unusualness. I don't think I've ever seen that before and it was a cool look for a while. I showed my son a picture of him this morning and he remarked, "Like when you play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey".

Kenny came out and played guitar for a song or two while Drew moved over to the keys.

The sound ruined what otherwise could have been a great show. I'm still in love with Spirit If... enough to consider going up to Montreal next month to catch the tour when it hits Le National. The other bonus of that show is that Los Campesinos! will be opening for them.

Oh, and the sound won't suck at Le National.

Lastly, fans of Kevin Drew should check out Dan Bolles' interview with him in Seven Days. Pretty dark heavy guy but he provides some thoughts on BSS and the new album.

Bowie Always Looks Killer

Check out the mugshot of David Bowie that The Smoking Gun has unearthed. It's from a 1976 pot bust in Rochester, NY.

The guy can look cool in any situation and the camera just loves that guy.

David Bowie | Queen Bitch | Buy

Sock Sale Video

Eva Sollberger has put together a great piece on the Cabot Hosiery sock sale (the sale continues next weekend (Nov 17 & 18; 8:30-4:30)). You can read her post which accompanies the video above on her blog Stuck in Vermont.

There's a sign at the sock sale I wish I had taken a photo of. It hangs behind the cash registers and says "Nobody has ever outsourced for quality." That sums it up nicely.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rowan Jacobsen | All Things Considered | Nov 13 | UPDATE

Calais author, Rowan Jacobsen, will be interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered about his new book, A Geography of Oysters. Apparently, the interview took place in a DC oyster bar and will contain plenty of amplified slurping.

It'll be nice to hear a local author during the national segments of the show for once.

UPDATE: The segment will now be running on Thursday (Nov 15) at 6:20pm.

Chutes and Abuse

One of my big pet peeves is when people (usually old folks) talk about how great life was in the 50's and how society is going to hell these days. It annoys me because I feel people easily forget the negatives and only remember the positives of times long ago. Everything becomes romanticized.

Well, to make this point, I have an odd way to show how the times have changed for the better since the "golden days of yesteryear". I was playing Chutes and Ladders this weekend with my kids when I noticed something striking. We were playing a "collector's series" edition that someone had given to them that represents the gameboard the way it was "back in the day". I imagine someone thought, "Oh, boardgames back then were soooo wonderful" when they decided to reprint the original board. Well, not so quite.

Just to refresh everyone about how the game works, the board has a hundred squares that you move across after spinning a dial. The object is to reach the final square before anyone else. However, the "fun" really kicks in when you climb the ladders to get ahead or slide down the chutes to fall behind.

If you land on a square depicting a child doing a good deed, you climb the ladder to the square with an image of a child enjoying a reward. Conversely, if you land on a square with a picture of a child engaging in misbehavior, you slide down the chute to the box showing the child suffering the consequences. Kind of creepy but it is what it is.

For example, if you land on the square above showing a girl bandaging a friend's leg, you climb the ladder to the spot below where you see the girl receiving a gift from her klutzy friend.

Conversely, if you eat too many apples before they are ripe... are punished with a stomach ache at the bottom of the chute.

Now, here's where things get kind of weird and uncomfortable; particularly when you have to explain the punishment to your kids.

At the top of one of the chutes (pictured above), you can see the boy fishing where he isn't supposed to be fishing. And what is the consequence for such a transgression???

That's right. You get kicked by an adult. What the hell?

In this one, a boy is yanking on a girl's braids. What's the result of his action?

You called it...some sort of smack from a parent. Was that sort of reaction to childhood misbehavior so accepted in those earlier days that they were laid out on popular board games?

I was so surprised to see these acts of abuse on a kid's boardgame that I googled an image of a current version of the game. Sure enough, while many of the milder behavior/consequences images in the new board (above) are the same from the "collector's series" edition, the images of kids being hit have been removed. It makes me glad I wasn't raised in the 50's.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Indiecon 2007

November 8-10, Burlington, VT
The Free All-Ages Big Heavy World Music Conference

Tonight is the kick-off for Burlington's version of South by South West. Indiecon, which is the product of the great lovers/promoters/champions of local independent music Big Heavy World, is in it's third year of bringing together the moving parts of the area's exciting local scene. Live performances, films, panel discussions, workshops are all on tap for the artists and music lovers alike. The listing of performances range bluegrass, hardcore, singer songwriter, and rock 'n roll. The panels include The Middle East's (Boston) booking agent, WRUV's music director, the owner of Nectar's/Metronome, and many others. As diverse as Burlington itself.

Here are a couple shows that look interesting. Check out the site for full schedule and bios.

Can't Face the Falling
All female tour de force of straight ahead rock, Channeling Sleater-Kinney and the greats of the girl scene.

Tim Williams
Picture an old, tattered copy of Whitman's Leaves of Grass sitting in a murky basement of whatever house you grew up in. Now, picture finding that one night at 3 a.m., reeling from the loss of someone or something, seismic or miniscule. When Work Is Done by Tim Williams is kind of like that. With each one of his songs Williams paints open door portraits of life hinging on piercing naturalness: the contemplative guitar, the dusty room reverb, and the voice that cracks with the freedom of two bottles of red wine. This is not some stock attempt at honesty and impact; it's a fresh, rough, impressionistic landscape of the world as he sees it...

The Marigolds
The Marigolds are a young Burlington based band, known for their modernized 1970's rock sound. Their uninhibited rock and roll attitude lends itself to refreshingly unpredictable live shows. The Marigolds originally formed as a Neil Young tribute band in New Jersey, where band members Jake Brennan (guitar), Hanna Hiller (guitar) and Dave Hughes (bass) attended the same grammar school. The band has since recorded two original albums, "City Alone" (2005) and "Buffalo" (2006). The Marigolds relocated to Vermont in 2006, added Eric Jags (drums) to the line up and is currently working on their third full-length album. The Marigolds' wickedly fun and eclectic repertoire makes them one of the most exciting young bands in the northeast.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Montpelier Rankings

I came across this site the other night that lists the top 101 US cities in numerous categories. So, being a dork who loves Montpelier and statistics, I clicked through a bunch of the rankings to see which ones contained Montpelier and its surrounding towns. Here we go...

Top Cities with the Largest Percentage of Likely Lesbian Couples : #81 --- Montpelier, VT --- 0.7%

Top Counties with Highest Percentage of Votes for 3rd Party Candidates (2004 Presidential Election): #93 --- Washington County, VT --- 2.6%

Top Cities Where the Highest Percentage of Males (18-34) Are Never Married: #3 --- Northfield, VT --- 90.5%

Top Cities with the Largest Percentage of Unmarried Partner Households: #46 --- Morristown, VT --- 9.8%

Top Zip Codes with the Lowest 2004 Average Net Capital Gain/Loss: #82 --- Graniteville, VT (05654) --- $91

Top Cities with the Largest Percentage of People in Hospital/Wards and Hospices for Chronically Ill: #28 --- Barre, VT --- 1.52%

Top Cities with the Largest Percentage of People in Hospital/Wards for Drug/Alcohol Abuse: #27 --- Plainfield, VT --- 0.78%

Top Cities with the Largest Percentage of People in Mental Hospitals or Wards: #29 --- Waterbury, VT --- 2.29%

Top Cities with Largest Percentage of People in College Dormitories: #45 --- Northfield, VT --- 36.38%

Top Cities with the Largest Percentage of People in Homes for the Mentally Ill: #15 --- Duxbury, VT --- 2.56%

Top Cities with the Most Residents Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina: #28 --- Barre, VT --- 1.6% and #82 --- Montpelier, VT --- 0.7%

Top Cities with Largest Percentage of Males in Community and Social Services Occupations: #51 --- Montpelier, VT --- 1.0%

In an odd sort of way, that's a fairly accurate representation of our area.

photo courtesy of IrenaS

Bottomless Pit | Hammer of the Gods

In the summer of 2005, Michael Dahlquist, the drummer for woefully under-appreciated post-punk band Silkworm, was killed when a model, attempting to kill herself, drove her car at 70 mph through a stop light and into a car carrying Dahlquist and two of his friends. It's one of those tragic fates that won't ever make sense.

This week, the surviving members of Silkworm, Tim Midget and Andy Cohen, along with Seam’s Chris Manfrin and .22’s Brian Orchard, released the debut album from their new band, Bottomless Pit. The Hammer of the Gods is a must-have for any Silkworm fan since it nicely continues that deep dark bassy pounding sound that Silkworm cranked out from 1987 to 2005. For the non-Silkworm fans out there, the Village Voice put it best when they described the sound as "classic-rock-for-punk-fans-hungry-for- something-slower-than-trad-punk".

One interesting note for regular F45 readers is that Mike Donofrio, bass player for The New Year, listed Bottomless Pit's "Dogtag" as one of his songs of the year for 2006 based upon a live recording from a Boston show in September 2006. That's a good call since, along with "Repossession", "Dogtag" is one of the standout tracks on the new record.

You can read Bradley's Almanac's post about the new album here.
The full review from the Village Voice is here.

Bottomless Pit | Dogtag | Buy

One last Silkworm note...there is a documentary in production called "Couldn't You Wait? The Story of Silkworm" about the band and is promised to be out soon. I don't know how soon they mean but, based upon this trailer, I'm officially in the "Can't Wait" category.

First Snow

Well, it finally arrived. The first snow fall of the year. About two weeks later than in 2005 and 2006 but of similar quality. It was gone by lunch.

Menomena | Coming to Dartmouth | Nov 8

I've received a pair of emails asking for details about the Menomena show at Dartmouth on Thursday night. So, here are some facts & figures...

Menomena is playing in the Fuel Rocket Club at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH on Nov 8. The show is open to the public and, best of all, it's free. Hell, when I saw The Mountain Goats there a few years ago, the beer was even free. It's the best deal around.

Opening the show will be the band Illinois who are from Philadelphia. Doors open at 9:30 and the show starts at 10:00.

The Fuel Rocket Club is located in the basement of the student union building at the corner of Main Street and Wheelock Street; across the street from the Dartmouth Green.

By the way, if you want to listen to the The Mountain Goats show from the Fuel Rocket Club that I mentioned above, there is an audience recording of the show on

Menomena | My My | Buy

photo courtesy of photojq

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sock Sale | Nov 10 & 11

Here it comes again. The annual sock sale at Cabot Hosiery in Northfield is this weekend (Nov 10 & 11) and next weekend (Nov 17 & 18). It runs from each day from 8:30am to 4:30pm and is located in the company's factory along Rt. 12 in Northfield. If you are driving south on Rt. 12, the factory will be on your left before you reach the town. Look for the signs.

People always laugh at me for loving this sock sale but it's a great deal. Socks that are $10 and up in the mall are $1-$2 at the sale. So, if you don't go hunting, go get yourself some cheap socks.
Piggy-backing on the popularity of the sock sale is the t-shirt/sweatshirt sale at Norwich University which I believe raises money for Northfield youth sport programs and the fleece sale at Black Diamond Fleece on Gallison Hill Road in Montpelier just pass the Civic Center. Lots of good deals at those sales as well. The one difference is that the Black Diamond fleeces are really expensive to begin with. So, sometimes, even at a 70% off, you're still dropping $20 for a thin pullover. The flipside is that it's all high quality stuff. I still have every fleece I've ever bought from them.

Popfest! New England

I'm guest blogging over at extrawack! this week and just wrote a post over there urging the New Yorkers to drive up to Northampton for the weekend to enjoy Popfest! New England. So, I thought I'd cross-post it over here to urge all the Vermonters to go down to Northampton for the festival. A lot of this post is retreaded territory for regular F45 readers but I don't feel like rewriting the whole thing. You can just pull the info you need for the festival out of the post.


This weekend (Nov 9 - Nov 11) is Popfest! New England in Northampton, MA which is one of those cute New England college towns where the tiny side streets are filled with cobblestones and corduroy sports coats are still in fashion. It's also been the center of the Western Mass music scene for the last few decades with clubs such as Pearl Street, Iron Horse Music Hall and The Elevens where all the Popfest! shows will reside.

The schedule for the festival is packed with 23 of the finest twee pop bands on the circuit these days. Most are from the northeast but others hail from Sweden, Norway, England and St. Louis. You can download a zip file sampler featuring songs from the bands here.

The standouts are:

The Capstan Shafts recently pulled down reviews of 7.7, 8.2, 7.2 and 7.8 on Pitchfork for his last four releases. There aren't many artists out there that can claim such high and consistent marks from Pitchfork. The Capstan Shafts (aka Dean Wells) is actually a one-man band that until last month had only been a lo-fi home recording project. Despite releasing 17 LPs and EPs, Wells had never played live before. It's not exactly clear why not but his performance on Sunday night at Popfest! will be his third show and only second with a full band. This is like catching GBV in 1993.

The Capstan Shafts | Sleepcure Theory Advancer | Buy

The Smittens are a twee pop band out of Burlington, VT that will soon be releasing their third album, Til the Summer's End, as well as a split 7" with Tullycraft where they cover The Angels' "My Boyfriend's Back". They'll also be playing on Sunday night. Additionally, Colin Clary of The Smittens will be doing a set during the Sunday matinée show with his side project Colin Clary + a Magog.

The Smittens | Doomed, Lo-Fi and In Love | Buy

To tie this back to NYC, two bands from the city will be taking the stage on Friday night. My Teenage Stride and The Besties will be playing back to back.

The Besties | Rod n' Reel | Buy

My Teenage Stride | Reception | Buy

Northampton is an easy three hour drive from the city (take the Merritt; not I-95). So, between a fine music festival and the simple joy of getting out of the city for a weekend.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Wiggly Old Party

I sometimes feel weird about being in my late 30's and still attending concerts regularly. However, these folks are ridiculous.

Courtesy of New York Magazine:

32, from Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey
Came with: “I’m here by myself.”
Wiggles shows: 126.
You brought props. My Wags the Dog hat and my Wiggles backpack. My shirt’s of guitar legends. Murray [the “red” Wiggle] is surrounded by Jimi Hendrix, Bo Diddley, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
What’s the farthest you’ve traveled for a show? To Sydney, Australia. I would go again in a heartbeat.

40, from Cresskill, New Jersey
Came with: son Alex, 4½.
Wiggles shows: 26.
Got props? I brought fruit-salad hats to tease the Wiggles. It’s kind of become a running joke.
Have you been to shows without the kids? Only two.
Did you feel silly? Oh, yeah. It’s all about being silly.
What’ll happen when Alex gets older? He’ll probably grow out of the Wiggles, but so what. I’ll still go to shows.

Stephin Merritt | NPR: Project Song

That's not Stephin Merritt in the photo. It's just the photo that was meant to inspire Merritt to write a song in just two days. Quite frankly, it looks like the living embodiment of the floor in my daughter's bedroom.

NPR has started a new segment called Project Song where they invite artists into their studios to record a song as NPR chronicles the "song creating process". Merritt was the first person to participate in the experiment. It seems a bit forced but it did offer some interesting insights into how Merritt comes up with lyrics and music.

Regarding lyrics, he likes to write at a bar with lots of noise. So, NPR built a bar in the studio for Merritt. Regarding music, Merritt once read an interview with ABBA where they claimed they never write their music down because they believe that if they can't remember the music then the fan won't be able to either. So, Merritt follows that philosophy. Considering how catchy both ABBA and Merritt's tunes are, they may have a point.

I wouldn't call the final product one of Merritt's best songs ever but it's pretty good for creating something out of nothing while being monitored like a monkey in a lab experiment.

You can watch a video of the entire segment on NPR's site. Just follow the link and click on "Watch Stephin Merritt's Two Days with Project Song".

Stephin Merritt | A Man of a Million Faces

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Gingerbread House Contest

If you take something as simple and wholesome as a gingerbread house contest and put it in the Montpeculiar community, you're bound to get some odd entries. And that's exactly what I'm hoping for from next weekend's Home Sweet Home contest at City Hall.

Here are the details: if you want to enter, build something cool out of gingerbread, fill out this entry form (ignore the deadline in the flyer above) and bring it to City Hall before 9am next Saturday, Nov 10. The judging will take place from 9-10:30 and then it will be open to the public. The winners will be on display in the windows of downtown business for the following month.

The purpose of the contest is to highlight the issues surrounding the lack of affordable housing in Central Vermont but the fun will be in seeing what the Vermonsters in the area make out of gingerbread, confectionery sugar and gumdrops. Rooftop solar panels made out of Kit Kats? Compost bins from boxes of Nerds? I can only hope.

The Original Sins | Sugar Sugar (The Archies cover) | Buy