Thursday, June 28, 2007

US v Argentina Streaming Free Online

CLICK HERE to watch the game for free online from 8:50pm to 11pm EST. Good picture quality.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wilco Update | UPDATE

Here's a few quick updates about Friday's much-anticipated Wilco show at Shelburne Museum.

Tickets: As of now, it appears there are still some left. However, it'll probably sell out. So, act now if you care to go.

Weather: It looks like the heat will break and Friday should be gorgeous for an outdoor show.

Traffic: Between the poor access roads, the typical rush hour traffic and concert goers, the traffic is going to suck. Leave early.

Food: Shelburne Museum doesn't allow alcohol or bottles but everything else is fair game.

Oxfam: Wilco is working with Oxfam to spread the word about the problems with the Farm Bill. Therefore, Oxfam will have a booth at the show with materials available explaining the issues surrounding the bill and what you can do about it. Wilco will probably also mention it during the show.

The problem with the Farm Bill is very well summed up in this article in the NYT by Michael Pollan called "You Are What You Grow". If you'd like to be a part of the Farm Bill Action Team for Oxfam in the future, there's some info on how to join here.

Post Show: Due to local noise restraints, the show should be ending on the early side of the evening. Therefore, to keep the night rolling, the folks at Monkey Bar in Winooski have put together a post-show concert.

On the bill will be Micah Blue Smaldone, Anna Pardenik and Dynasty (which I believe is another project from some folks in Nest Material). I saw Smaldone open for The Kamikaze Hearts last year and the guy has this great pre-war era feel to his earthy acoustic folk blues. It should be a good way to keep the party going.

UPDATE: In addition to the food info from Nick in the comments, another friend sent over this tidbit about the show down in Northampton:

The break after Low was VERy short at the Pines in Northampton; not even half an hour, I'm told. Seems the band is aware of curfew issues and want to play for a long time; even mentioned it on stage at the Pines.
So, if Low plays a 45 minute set, Wilco could be on by 7pm and done by 9:30 or so.

Wilco | (Don't Fear) the Reaper (Live)
Micah Blue Smaldone | Coal Black Crepe | Buy

Photo courtesy of fusaka

Kris Gruen opening for Sean Lennon Tomorrow


SEAN LENNON
with Montpelier's own Kris Gruen
Thursday, June 28th
Higher Ground Ballroom
$17 advance $20 day of show Doors 8:00 Show 8:30

Copa America | American Fooligan

I know I've been posting a lot of soccer stuff lately but bare with me. There's just a lot going on right now in the soccer world. Besides the U-20 World Cup starting this week in Canada, the Copa America has started in Venezuela. Despite the Copa America being the championship of South America, the US (and Mexico) have been invited to participate. Why? Money. However, it's a good deal for the US team because it's a tough competition and it's one of the most coveted trophies on the planet.

The downside is that, due to back-to-back tournaments with the Gold Cup, the US is sending a B-team to Venezuela. Lots of young and inexperienced players. Who knows? Maybe they'll catch lightning and shock some people. They start play tomorrow against a stacked Argentina team. If they can keep the loss to just a single goal differential, it'll be a great accomplishment. Then they can focus on topping Paraguay on Monday and Colombia on Thursday. The games are on some channel that I don't get but my friend Todd does. So, I'll be camping on his couch for the next week.

Now, regarding the picture of the crazed gringo above. That's the photo of some guy who goes by rks and is posting to his blog called American Fooligan as he follows the US team around Venezuela. He's blogging from his Blackberry so the updates are pretty frequent. Even if you aren't into soccer, it's a good read simply from the travel perspective. He's already been told he's going to die by some lady in a bar.

There's another blog called Previous Projects where the writers claim they are going to start posting from Venezuela during the tournament. However, nothing has shown up yet.

Montpelier's Guerrilla Garden

The guerrilla garden in Montpelier is back. I noticed it last weekend while walking down Main St. It's in the vacant lot where a fire burned down the "Guitar Sam building" a few years ago.

I know Bo of Eat More Kale fame did it last time. So, I'm assuming he's doing it again this time. Regardless of whoever is doing it, they're doing a good job. It even has a cage for the tomato plant this year. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the tomatoes ripen to see who has the guts to walk over and pick them.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Charlie Rose's Vault

If you've got a lot of time to kill and are a fan of Charlie Rose's interviews, be sure to check out Rose's new website with hundreds of hours of interviews available to be streamed. In just the music category alone, there are 331 different artists and many of them have multiple appearances available. Lou Reed, Moby, Peter Buck, David Byrne, Elvis Costello, Mike Mills, Phil Ramone and many others are represented.

The only downside I've found to the site is that you have to have that browser active to have the interviews play. You can't just listen to the interviews in the background while you're working on some other browser window or program. I guess Charlie thinks seeing his hunched back is important to the context of the interview.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tokyo Rockabilly Dancers

These bad asses meet each Sunday in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo to compare hairdos, crank up the rockabilly and dance the day away.

I've never felt so motivated to visit Tokyo.



Courtesy of Mondhexe of Deep Soda.

US 2 Mexico 1 | Feilhaber Smokes It

Considering that it was the game winner in the Gold Cup championship match, Benny Feilhaber's volley from outside the box is well worth posting. Hell, if it was in a third division reserve match, it would still be a beauty.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tighe Dombrowski's Bomb

This might be the best goal of the year for any American playing abroad. It's from Tighe Dombrowski, who is originally from Wisconsin but now plays for IK Sirius in Sweden's Superettan (2nd division).

The only thing taking away from this 45-yard blast is that it might have deflected off a defender. I can't tell if Dombrowski just put a lot of swerve on the ball or if it ricocheted off the defender's head. Regardless, putting one in from 45 yards is pretty sweet.

Oh, and check out the crappy stadium the game is being played in. It looks like a high school field but the clip seems to have been taken from a TV broadcast. I guess Swedes like their soccer enough to watch it on TV but not enough to build a decent stadium.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Horse Feathers @ The Skinny Pancake 6/19/07

horsefeathers, tonight. The name hit familiar when I received an email with that title from a friend in Albany. But why familiar, I couldn't place it. The email was an urgent call for me to make their show that night at a brand new spot in Burlington. The friend had just seen them the night before and couldn't contain his excitement: I must say, their current live incarnation is fucking beautiful and i HIGHLY recommend trying to do everything you can to get to the show tonight. It wasn't until after dinner that I got a chance to take a listen to their sound. As soon as the first line was out of the lead's mouth it all came together: Horse Feathers. Last summer I came across a couple tracks of theirs - even blogged them. I took a mental note to check out their disc when it was to be released, but it got lost in the ether.

I quickly called a friend and we raced out the door, barreling up the interstate - making the 40 mile trip in record time. The Skinny Pancake is a sort of a hipster creperie located in the basement of the beautiful new building overlooking Burlington's waterfront. It was their opening night. The shop is tasteful, clean, and rustic with a variety of crepes (even a couple tasty looking desert ones) and handful of fine brews on tap (Switchback, my favorite!). The place was fairly packed, reaching about 60 people at the high point of the show - primarily UVM students detoxing from their freshman Phishead days. In any event it was a pretty ballsy way to open a restaurant.

After a backpacker guitar wielding opener (in turquoise shorts and sandals to boot), the three members of Horse Feathers took to the small riser in the corner. Immediately they grabbed the attention of the audience - swooning harmonies, dancing banjo, weeping cello, tender lyrics. My previous impression of Iron & Wine still held true, but I couldn't shake the Will Oldham feeling I had (was it the fact that the lead, Peter Broderick, looks a bit like an Elvish Oldham?). To round it out I was reminded of Broderick's other PDX based group, Norflok & Western.

The next morning I found myself looking at the band's upcoming tour dates thinking, who the heck do I know in Baltimore, I need to send out an email!

Horse Feathers - Hardwood Pews.mp3
Horse Feathers - Blood on the Snow.mp3

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Blue Van

I've actually been meaning to post about The Blue Van for almost two years. However, I kept forgetting or putting it off. This actually happens with a lot of stuff. The Blue Van is just the worst example of it. To combat this problem, I've actually started keeping a pad of paper on my desk to write down things I want to post about. Sometimes I feel like the guy in Memento with no short-term memory.

Regardless, back to The Blue Van. These garage rockers hail from the Kingdom of Denmark, started playing together in 6th grade, moved to Brooklyn for a while, played 50 shows in NYC and I think are now back in Europe. If you like that classic garage rock with a big organ sound, these guys are for you.

They also must be some of the strongest musicians on the circuit because they apparently lug that 425 lb. Hammond organ to all of their gigs. Upstairs shows must suck.

In 2005, they released The Art of Rolling and last year, they came back in 2006 with Dear Independence. It isn't anything that progresses the garage rock art form but it's good music for blaring out your windows on a hot summer afternoon.

The Blue Van | Word From the Bird | Buy
The Blue Van | Product of DK | Buy

Gold Cup

I know this gets confusing for people who don't follow this crap regularly but there's another soccer tournament going on right now. It's called the Gold Cup and its the championship of North America, Central America and the Caribbean. However, due to the lack of quality national teams in this region, it's a tough tournament to get excited about until it gets down to the semifinals. That's why I've held off on posting about it until now.

Unlike the U-20 World Cup that I've been posting about, this tournament is for the full men's team and the US is one of the two favorites to win it (with Mexico). On Thursday, the US will play Canada, who has looked surprisingly good, in one semi while Mexico will face the tiny French territory of Guadeloupe in the other. Just the fact that Guadeloupe has made the semis should be an embarrassment to all the departed teams from the tournament. Hell, the place is only about the size of Oklahoma City in terms of area and population.

The US v Canada match will be on Fox Soccer Channel at 7pm EST on Thursday while the Mexico v Guadeloupe match will be on GolTV at 10pm EST. The finals will be on Sunday in Chicago at 3pm EST on Fox Soccer Channel. Hopefully, it'll be a US v Mexico final.

Also, here's a few amusing soccer-related articles:

Lastly, here's the Week 11 MLS Goals (courtesy of Climbing the Ladder):


And since we're just a few weeks from Beckham's arrival, here's Ali G interviewing Beckham and Posh Spice:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Devendra Banhart | Coming to UVM | Sep 23

He's a hippie and a folkie. So, I should be annoyed by Devendra Banhart but I'm not. In fact, Cripple Crow was one of my favorite albums from 2005. The album has more to do with the chamber pop sounds of Sufjan Stevens than it does with the freak folk movement that Banhart is regularly linked to.

Well, while Banhart's website hasn't announced the show yet, Brooklyn Vegan posted his 2007 tour dates on Friday which includes a stop at UVM's Davis Center Grand Ballroom on Sep 23rd. I can't find any ticket info yet but once I do, I'll be sure to post it.

The Grand Ballroom looks like a cool space though. After so many months of driving by the construction of that building, it'll be nice to finally check out the interior.

Devendra Banhart | I Feel Like a Child | Buy
Devendra Banhart | Now That I Know | Buy

Barter More Kale

I had missed Bo's post on his blog earlier this year but I think, based upon this follow-up post, Bo's offer to do a barter exchange for his t-shirts is still valid.

Here's how Bo describes the deal:

I have an offer for you. I’d like to trade you one of my hand-made shirts for something from you. You could trade almost anything….art, crafts, a pick from a Bon Jovi concert, photos, music, t-shirts, poems, autographed napkins, a food that your town is known for, you get the picture. My shirts are worth @$23 per…so I hope you’ll send me something worth more than a buck or two…dig? You can just send it (whatever) to me, or you can email me ahead of time. Contact me through my site. So, in return for your trade, you tell me what size and whether you want a men’s, womens, or kids style. I’M GOING TO SURPRISE YOU WITH THE COLOR AND DESIGN. It will not say “Eat More Kale”! I’m going to send one of my more “limited edition” shirts.
Pretty good offer since his shirts generally go for about $20 a piece. The rest of the details are in his full post.

By the way, you can also get a free Eat More Kale screensaver on Bo's site now.

Counting Backwards From 1,000

The best man in my wedding and occasional commenter on this blog, NDFromNJ, is also writing his own blog these days. His involves brief movie reviews and is called Counting Backwards from 1,000. However, Nik has a great sense of humor which makes his reviews pretty entertaining.

Here's his entire review of Original Sin:

"Antonio Bandaras bangs Angelina Jolie like a wind up monkey bangs his little tin drum. I am pretty sure other stuff happened but I don't know what it was."
Here's his take on The Fountain:
"It sucks. It's pretentious. It's Sucktentious."
There's also plenty of more serious reviews on his site of movies he liked. Check 'em out.

Community Garden Update

Last year, I chronicled our largely futile battle with switch grass in our community garden plot. Well, this year, we're trying a different approach. In an attempt to keep the grass to a minimum, we've buried 1" x 10" boards around the edge of the plot and covered it in landscape fabric.

The idea is that the boards will prevent new roots from running into our plot and the landscape fabric will starve off the grass already in the garden. We'll see how it works. I can see grass growing under the fabric already. However, it seems to be in less quantity than we dealt with last year.

So far, we have strawberries, yellow and red grape tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, lettuce and nasturtium growing. I still have to get our pumpkin plants in the ground later today.

While I was at the garden yesterday, a brief shower passed over and gave us a rainbow. I tried taking a picture of it but it didn't show up very well in the picture. However, while I missed the rainbow, I thought the photo was still pretty cool and worth posting.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Cat Empire | Higher Ground | Jul 18th

I had thinking about posting about The Cat Empire for a few weeks when I noticed the other day that they'll be playing Higher Ground next month on Jul 18th. Now, I can't say I'm a huge follower of the Australian band. However, I find their tune "The Car Song" to be a perfectly infectious summer ditty. Most of the rest of their self-titled album falls into the ska bucket which I don't drink from but I love "The Car Song".

The Cat Empire | The Car Song | Buy

Fujiya & Miyagi | Club Lambi | Jul 10th

Back in early May, I missed British electronic groove masters, Fujiya & Miyagi, when they hit Montreal with Peter, Bjorn & John. Well, I'm getting a second shot at them when they come back next month to Club Lambi to headline a show on July 10th. It sucks that it's a Tuesday night but I haven't made the drive in a while.

Here's the one problem...I can't figure out how to get tickets. They don't seem to be available via Admission.com and the club's myspace site doesn't seem to have any ticket info. Chalk it up to Reason #10,786 "why myspace sucks"...lots of ugly crap and little useful information. I guess I'll try emailing the club and seeing what happens. If anyone knows anything, please let me know how to get tickets for the show.

"Ankle Injuries"


"Collarbone"

U-20 World Cup Roster Update

The roster for the US U-20 World Cup team was announced this week.

GOALKEEPERS:
Brian Perk (UCLA)
Steve Sandbo (SMU)
Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS:
Tony Beltran (UCLA)
Amaechi Igwe (New England Revolution)
Ofori Sarkodie (Indiana University)
Nathan Sturgis (Columbus Crew)
Julian Valentin (Wake Forest)
Tim Ward (Columbus Crew)

MIDFIELDERS:
Freddy Adu (Real Salt Lake)
Bryan Arguez (D.C. United)
Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen)
Dax McCarty (F.C. Dallas)
Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew)
Anthony Wallace (F.C. Dallas)

FORWARDS:
Andre Akpan (Harvard)
Josmer Altidore (N.Y. Red Bulls)
Gabriel Ferrari (Sampdoria)
Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)
Johann Smith (Bolton F.C.)
Sal Zizzo (UCLA)

It's nice to see so many professional players on the roster. Of the 21 players, seven are still in college while 11 play in MLS and 3 play for clubs in Europe. Heck, the depth is getting so good for the US at this level that Preston Zimmerman who is signed to Hamburg in Germany was left off the roster. Just a few years ago, he would have been a shoo-in for an U-20 team with that pedigree.

The other interesting thing is that five of the players (Perk, Adu, Altidore, Arguez and Wallace) are so young that they'll be eligible for the the next U-20 World Cup in 2009.

The US starts their group play games in Montreal on Sat, Jun 30th against South Korea. The following Tuesday, Jul 3rd, they'll be playing Poland in Montreal. Their final group round match will be against Brazil in Ottawa on Fri, Jul 6th.

I have my ticket for the South Korea match but the Poland match conflicts with the 4th of July parade in Montpelier...a can't miss event. I'm still up in the air whether I'm going to make the trek to Ottawa. I guess it depends on how the first two games go. Tickets are available via Admission.com.

Music Festival + Guerrilla Gardening = Cool Idea

Trying to think of a cool way to drum up attention for a music festival? Why not try some guerrilla gardening.

That's what organizers of the Hegyalja Music Festival in Budapest did recently. Overnight, they went out and planted 800 plants in otherwise barren spots around four Hungarian cities. Apparently, it worked and they received national media coverage for the stunt and festival which is pretty good for the cost of 800 plants.

You can see more photos of the plantings here.

That's a much better idea than more annoying flyers cluttering up lamp posts around town.

Here's a book on guerrilla gardening if you're interested.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sci-Fi July

I'm not much of a sci-fi fan but I like fun events and late night movies. So, I'm excited to see the Savoy Theater in Montpelier will be hosting a special film festival next month called Sci-Fi July. Each Friday and Saturday night during July, they'll show a classic science fiction film at 11pm. The bonus is that admission will be just $4.

Here's the schedule:

Friday, July 6 BLADE RUNNER (1982)

Saturday, July 7 METROPOLIS (1927)

Friday, July 13 TRON (1982)

Saturday, July 14 DUNE (1984)

Friday, July 20 THX 1138 (1971)

Saturday, July 21 SOLARIS (1972)

Friday, July 27 ALPHAVILLE (1965)

Saturday, July 28 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)

I wish Blade Runner and Metropolis weren't the same weekend because I'd like to see both films. I might also check out Tron since I still recall playing the video game and seeing the film in my youth. Lastly, seeing 2001 on a big screen would be cool too.

My one fear would be how well it'll be attended. A few weeks, jds, gps and I caught an 11pm showing of The Host at the Savoy and we were the only people in the theater. It'll be a lot more fun if the theater is full for these classic films.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sodastream

Considering that Sodastream called it quits earlier this year, I'm a few months late with this post. However, who cares...they might be new to you.

I stumbled across this Aussie pair about a year ago when I fell for their cover of "Southside of the World" on the Will Oldham tribute disc I Am A Cold Rock. I Am Dull Grass. It's dark and somber yet captivating, melodic and accessible. They sounded like some sort of a cross between Doveman and Belle & Sebastian.

That led me to emusic and a copy of their 2004 album A Minor Revival. The album isn't as dark in its sound as that Oldham cover but the broad chamber pop sound was still there despite being a duo. The songs are generally fed from an acoustic guitar but also contain cello, piano, drums, horns and back-up vocals. Yes, their sound isn't original but it's hard to deny an album so chock full of enjoyable songs.

I just wish I had been a fan of theirs back in April of 2004 when they played Radio Bean in Burlington. My bad.

Sodastream | Brass Lines | Buy
Sodastream | Blinky | Buy
Sodastream | Southside of the World (Will Oldham cover) | Buy

Dinosaur Jr. & Lou Barlow | Higher Ground | June 10th

Various thoughts about Sunday's show:

  • I didn't bring my camera. So, no pictures. However, that's OK because my pictures generally suck and we got seats along the rail in the back and I wouldn't have wanted to lose my seat to go up close and take photos. My back was killing me from spending the day building a playset from hell. So, I was quite happy to have a seat.
  • As the opening act, Lou Barlow did an acoustic set. Very cool set list. He did both "Skull" and "Magnet Coil" from Bakesale. Plus, I called out for him to do his cover of Ratt’s “Round and Round” and he obliged. He was few interactive with the fans. Then he finished with "Home" from his new album which I also like. So, I enjoyed the set despite the growing dim of back-of-the-room-talkers as the set went along and the non-fans arrived.
  • Higher Ground had a sign posted on the front door saying "Tonight's show will be very loud. Ear plugs are available at the box office for $1." That was a dollar well spent. At the end of his opening set, Barlow introduced his last song by saying "I have one more song and then I'll come back with the other guys and all hell is going to break lose." He was right. Despite being all the way in the back, it was ridiculously loud. J Mascis had himself surrounded with Marshall stacks and even blew one of his amplifiers during the show. However, despite the massive volume, the mix wasn't bad.
  • Overall, I enjoyed Dino Jr's set. I’m not a huge Dino fan but more of just a fan Green Mind and Without a Sound. So, I was pleased that they played some stuff from those albums ("Wagon" & "Feel the Pain"). However, I also enjoyed the other stuff as well. Besides Mascis’ occasional extended unnecessary guitar wankery, they keep it pretty melodic so it’s fairly poppy within a rockin’ context.
  • Watching Barlow play bass during the Dino set was kind of weird. He has this odd arm motion with his right arm. He doesn’t just move his arm at the elbow but he swings his arm at the shoulder also. Therefore, he winds up strumming his bass at a 45 degree angle. I don’t remember him playing like that at the Sebadoh shows but that was a long time ago. Regardless, it was something to watch.
  • I'm looking forward to jds' review of the Jackson Browne show the same night. As I was sitting at the show, the similarities between the two shows struck me. Both local shows on the same night were featuring artists past their prime playing to fans enjoying the music of their youth. The difference was that one was acoustic and the other one would have made a dead man's ears bleed.

The National | High Noon Saloon | June 9th

After reading that I had missed my chance to see The National in NYC last week, TK, False 45th's Senior Midwest Correspondent, sent over this review of The National's show in Madison, WI.

Photo courtesy of rob_thomas.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After seeing flight delays nix Flatlander's review of The National in NYC, I thought I'd give him a hand and pinch hit.

Madison's a super cool town but its music scene can be lacking at times, forcing me to travel to Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis or behind to catch the bands I want to see. Every now and then, Madtown gets it right and the stars properly align.

It can be sometimes rare for an act to play Madison while the buzz is building. With the newly-released Boxer getting rave reviews and five sold out NYC dates in tow, to catch The National at a venue like High Noon for $13 appeared to be a steal.

I wasn't too familiar with The National when I caught them at last year's Pitchfork Festival. After hearing the band getting constantly lauded by trusted music sources like Brian, I decided this opportunity couldn't be passed up.

In a perfect world, Madison would get more acts to my liking and even better, they'd get them to play a great, small venue like High Noon, which sold out. It's rectangular and long, front to back, with a balcony in the rear and if they extended the balcony along the sides of the room, it'd have an even better First Avenue vibe with better capacity and viewpoints.

At 6-6, I really don't struggle with viewpoints and as usual, there was ample room stage right six feet from the stage. The band sounded great from the start and it took me a while to figure out what lead singer Matt Berninger's deal is.

Berninger, more often than not, acts like he's singing a lullaby to a kid and doesn't want to wake the others nearby. If you prefer that your lead singers annunciate and get bombastic, Berninger will get on your nerves.

The National's last two albums, Alligator and Boxer, delightfully grow on you the more you listen to them but Berninger seems to be taking that approach to a new level. It's like he's trying to lull you to a certain comfort level before the band sneaks up on you.

It took me a while to realize he's a rare team player that doesn't need to dominate every song with his voice. For The National, it's all about the mesh with the other musicians, so it made the band's crescendos and the times he upped the vocals resonate even more.

Personally, I wish there were more of those moments on Boxer like there are on Alligator. Lit Up might be my favorite song of theirs and it was a highlight live, just as Berninger being drowned out as the audience shouted the chorus of Mr. November was the show's most riveting moment.

It was well worth the cost to see the band flush out the songs live. The guitar work was surprising and the driving beats kept the show humming along as they created a sound billed as 'atmospheric' (for one, I'd be intrigued to hear what a claustrophobic band sounds like).

The only complaint was having to stand behind the one overcaffeinated shit-for-brains that insisted on clapping loudly during the quiet intervals. Even his girlfriend telling him to S.T.F.U. and Berninger verbally bitch-slapping him a couple of times didn't get the hint across. I suppose if you're wired on Jagr bombs or whatever else, you may not be cognizant you're the only idiot clapping when the rest of the fans are quietly listening to the show. If I wasn't older or didn't have the experience of dealing with jackasses like this repeatedly during the few years I worked concert security as a part-time gig, I would have been really tempted to clock him.

Opening Acts
While I'm venting about ignorant fans, is it possible for people to shut up at a concert? I mean seriously, do these people gab away at movies too? I pay a ticket to hear the freaking band and when you get an opening band that doesn't suck like Shapes And Sizes, it's embarrassing when they attempt quiet interludes and are drowned out by everyone in the joint being a chatty Kathy. Go outside and gab, or shut up and listen. At times, Shapes got weird for weird's sake but for the most part, they were pleasing to listen to. The first band up, Talkdemonic, forced me to use a sentence I never really figured I'd write in my life: That band with just the chick on the violin and the dude on drums really rocked.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Peony | "Red Charm"

One of the great local gardening treasures is Countryman Peony Farm in Northfield. It was started by Bill Countryman who died about two years ago. The guy was a nut for peonies. Up on the hill, just south of Norwich University, on Winch Hill Road Countryman planted every known variety of peonies. He was amazing and, based upon the number of times I saw his name pop up in gardening articles, a well-known expert in the field of peonies.

Unfortunately, he didn't have much sense on how to sell the plants. If you go to the farm, you'll have trouble finding it since it's poorly marked. You'll eventually just find a large field of peonies with a house at the end of a dirt road running along the side of the field. I'm not even sure if his family has kept the farm going since his death but you used to have to just go knock on his door to buy any of his plants. That would be followed by digging the plant up yourself.

However, despite dealing with all that crap, it was worth it since he had a spectacular collection. One of his suggestions was a peony called "Red Charm". As you can see in the photo above, it's blooming light a set of trucker high beams right now in our yard. It's great and those blooms are each about the size of a softball. They'll stick around for about two weeks unless we get a torrential downpour before then. However, one of the beautiful aspects of "Red Charm" is that they require minimal maintenance. I stuck that thing in the ground about four years ago and, besides putting a peony ring around the plant each spring, I don't touch it.

If you don't want to go down to Countryman Peony Farm, Boots Wardinski at the Montpelier Farmers Market sells "Red Charm" also.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

100,000th Visitor to False 45th

Domain Name
optonline.net ? (Network)
IP Address
24.46.244.# (Optimum Online (Cablevision Systems))
ISP
Optimum Online (Cablevision Systems)
Location
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : New York
City : Brentwood
Lat/Long : 40.781, -73.2522 (Map)
Distance : 238 miles
Language
English (United States)
en-us
Operating System
Microsoft WinXP
Browser
Firefox 2.0
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.4) Gecko/20070515 Firefox/2.0.0.4
Javascript
version 1.5
Monitor
Resolution : 1280 x 800
Color Depth : 32 bits
Time of Visit
Jun 10 2007 2:49:33 pm
Last Page View
Jun 10 2007 2:50:35 pm
Visit Length
1 minute 2 seconds
Page Views
2
Referring URL
http://www.bestweeke...7/06/08/listen-up-3/
Visit Entry Page
http://false45th.blo...her-ground-june.html
Visit Exit Page
http://false45th.blo...her-ground-june.html
Out Click
The Wagon
http://www.fileden.c...01%20The%20Wagon.mp3
Time Zone
UTC-5:00
Visitor's Time
Jun 10 2007 2:49:33 pm
Visit Number
100,000

Friday, June 08, 2007

Barre In Transition

Barre, my fair city, seems to be on the up and up. Despite a string of bad press (there has been plenty), we are currently experiencing a surge of new businesses and youthfulness that seems to be signaling a bright future. The picture above is of El Sol moving in to the vacant Quiznos, the latest in a long list of new shops in the downtown. Here's a rundown:

  • The Pit Stop - 24o N Main St. A breakfast and lunch diner that is "Nascar with a Puerto Rican flair." They took over the old Farmer's Diner two months ago.
  • Granite City Brewing - 14 N Main St. Two brothers started a brew supply store a year and a half ago that turned into a brew pub last month. Pretty good small batch brews that change with the day and food that's so far been a bit trying, but positive.
  • LACE - 159 N Main St. This weekend marks the grand opening of Local Agriculture Community Exchange, a Vermont food market/cafe/community kitchen/community space. LACE is the brain child of Ariel Zevon, Warren Zevon's daughter (Werewolves of London, Lawyers, Drugs and Money, etc). Her godfather, Jackson Browne, is performing a pair of fundraiser concerts this weekend (I'll report after the Sunday show). The LACE hysteria is getting ridiculous, as the press has started to swarm, people are coming to the shows from a reported 24 states, and even the state's complete congressional delegation, Bernie, Leahy, and Welch, are going to be on hand.
  • The Firehouse at Barre - 8 S Main St. The owners of a local flower shop, Emslies, are taking over the City's recently decommissioned classic circa 1900 fire station. Planned to open later this month, the building will include an "urban garden center," cafe, and craft gallery.
  • Espresso Beuno - 136 N Main St. Young Barre couple (one an established barista) opening an espresso bar serving a variety of specialty coffee drinks using a local dairy and roastery. Opening mid-July.
  • El Sol - 210 N Main St. Mexican restaurant relocating from the commercial strip in Berlin. Best Mexican food in Central Vermont. Laugh if you must, but it's the only place I turn to get my fix.

Warren Zevon & Jackson Browne - Mohammed's Radio, December 1976

Reminder: Dinosaur Jr | Higher Ground | June 10th

Just a quick reminder that Dinosaur Jr roll into town this weekend to play Higher Ground on Sunday night. The bonus is that Lou Barlow will be playing opener, as well as Dino band member. Tickets still appear to be available via Higher Ground's website.

On a down note, the Snowden show has been canceled. There wasn't any reason given. Too bad. I was looking forward to jumping back and forth between the two shows.

Dinosaur Jr | The Wagon | Buy
Dinosaur Jr | Puke + Cry | Buy

Bill's Basement Tapes | The Doors | Mar 3, 1967

In attempt to maintain my poorly updated series of posts about my friend Bill's fantastic bootleg collection, here's a few cuts from a clean crisp sounding Doors show at The Matrix in San Francisco on March 3, 1967.

The classic rock radio format pretty much killed The Doors for me in my youth with their constant replaying of "LA Woman". However, the boot of this concert has led me to better understand their appeal as a swaggering blues band with a fairly intense live show.

The Doors | Soul Kitchen (Live)
The Doors | Money (Live)
The Doors | Who Do You Love? (Live)
The Doors | Break On Through (Live)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Play Ball!

Friday is opening day on the Mountaineers' fourth season and their first one as NECBL title holders. Last summer, the team rode the wave of steady play headed by a large group of returning players. Most of those players have moved on but apparently, the team is now enjoying a good reputation among college coaches. Therefore, the team is claiming they've been able to recruit even better players for this season. The Times-Argus has a nice pair of articles on the hitters and pitchers.

It looks like the fate of star player Curt Smith is up in the air depending on whether he gets drafted in today's MLB draft. If not, he'll play for VT this summer and return to Univ of Maine in the fall.

Before tomorrow night's game against Holyoke, there'll be a banner raising ceremony and festivities. I think they're expecting a crowd over 3,000 for the game. So, get there early.

The rest of the season's schedule can be found here. Why are we playing Team USA on June 22nd? This isn't an Olympic year.

By the way, despite being a very successful franchise, the Mountaineers website still stinks. It takes forever to load and looks sooo 1999.

The Airborne Toxic Event | New Video

I think I'm mainly posting this video just to rankle the folks who left the angry comments on my last post about The Airborne Toxic Event. Plus, it's a good song.

"Does This Mean Your Moving On?"

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Pair of Remixes

Here's a nice pair of remixes.

The first one is a pop take on Dirty on Purpose's "Car No Driver" done by NYC's Cassettes Won't Listen. I love the original but I've been constantly hitting repeat on this thing for the last few days. Thanks to Jinners and the Music Slut.

The second one is a disco version of Tokyo Police Club's "Cheer It On" by Trey Told Em which is a combination of Girl Talk and Frank Musarra. Thanks to extrawack.

Dirty on Purpose | Car No Driver (CWL remix) | Buy Original
Tokyo Police Club | Cheer It On (Trey Told Em remix) | Buy Original

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Free Concert: Grit Pixies

A few weeks ago I posted about Eliza Lynn coming to town. She ended up getting a nice spread in the Times Argus and then her trio put on a great show last Friday at Langdon Street. She'll be back in the area tomorrow as part of her blues duo, Grit Pixies, to kick off Barre's Summer Concert Series. The Series consists of free concerts in Barre's historic City Hall Park (behind the "naked man") at 7 PM every Wednesday between June and August.


The Pixies can be caught on two local radio stations tomorrow afternoon. - "Jumpin' Country" Froggy 100.9 FM at 11 AM or WDEV 96.1 FM at 2:30 PM.

Here's the schedule for the rest of Barre's free Concerts in the Park:

Click here for more info on the acts and download mp3s.

How Mainstream Are You? | Last.FM

The Contrarian has a post up right now with a link to an entertaining little site that judges how "mainstream" your musical tastes are. The only rule for playing along is that you have to have an account on Last.FM. Basically, the site looks at what you are listening to and compares it to the rest of the population on Last.FM. Therefore, their definition of "mainstream" is actually just limited to the knuckleheads that took the time to sign up for Last.FM; which is far from the average person walking down the street. Having given that disclaimer, let the fun begin.

That's the profile above for my account on Last.FM. I seem to fall into the most common band which is about 20% "mainstreamness". Of my top 30 bands, my most mainstream band is Beck with 520,725 fellow listeners while my least mainstream band is Possumhaw with ZERO fellow listeners. What the hell? Nobody else in this whole big world is even interested in listening to a single track from Burlington's bluegrass quartet, Possumhaw?

Let's run down some other bloggers:

analog giant | 2.72% mainstreamness | Most: Aphex Twin | Least: King Tubby

Gorilla vs Bear | 5.53% mainstreamness | Most: Sigur Rós | Least: Bear Children

The Contrarian | 12.11% mainstreamness | Most: Pearl Jam | Least: Van der Graaf Generator

Largehearted Boy | 13.40% mainstreamness | Most: The Decemberists | Least: The Pillbugs

Eccentric Southern Gentleman | 15.36% mainstreamness | Most: Arctic Monkeys | Least: Broken Letters

Bradley's Almanac | 25.19% mainstreamness | Most: Radiohead | Least: Silkworm

Clicky Clicky Music | 26.59% mainstreamness | Most: Pink Floyd | Least: The Get Quick

Donewaiting | 28.95% mainstreamness | Most: Death Cab for Cutie | Least: The Evil Queens

extrawack! | 43.20% mainstreamness | Most: The Beatles | Least: Polyrock

Kris Gruen | "Little Boxes"

We don't get Showtime (save our nickels for Fox Soccer Channel). So, I've never seen the show Weeds before. However, as I understand it, a different band each week performs a cover of Malvina Reynolds' song "Little Boxes" during the opening credits. You can stream the past covers on the Weeds website.

Well, Montpelier's own Kris Gruen has been asked to submit a cover of the song for the show also and he sent over the two versions he recorded. The first one is a clean version which his label, Mother West Records, decided to submit and the second one is a dirty version, which I prefer. However, despite my disagreement with his label over the better version, they're both good covers. I particularly like the fuzzy electric guitar in the background buzzing and accenting the acoustic guitar.

I haven't heard anything yet about whether the show's producers have chosen his cover or not. It's better than most of the other versions up on the site though.

Kris Gruen | Little Boxes (clean version)
Kris Gruen | Little Boxes (dirty version)

Monday, June 04, 2007

The National | Bowery Ballroom | June 1st

Back in April, my wife and I decided to head for NYC for a kids-free weekend while my in-laws were watching the little ones. It sounded like a great time. However, it looked even better when I noticed The National would be playing the last of their five sold out shows at The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night. Being a devotee of the church of Alligator and Boxer, I wanted to get into that show. Plus, the last time I had seen them, it had been a freaky night with lead singer Matt Berninger walking out of the club and leaving the band on stage without him for the encore.

Knowing the shows were sold out, I asked some friends in NYC if they had any good ideas for scoring a pair of tickets. That led to a friend telling me about how The Bowery Ballroom drops additional tickets for sold out shows in the final days before the concert. So, starting the weekend before, I basically hit refresh on the TicketWeb site every time I walked by my computer. It became frustrating but the persistence paid off. On Thursday, we got tickets for the Friday night show. Everything was looking grand.

Then it went in the crapper. Despite it being fairly dry on Friday up here in VT, I guess a series of thunderstorms rolled through the NYC area during the late afternoon. That led to our first flight being canceled, being put onto a different later flight and finally having that second flight be canceled at 9:30pm. Basically, as the concert was starting down in NYC, we were staring at the disappointing departure board above. It sucked.

By the way, who the hell takes a plane from Burlington to Plattsburgh at 9:50pm on a Friday night? Come on. It's only a whopping 30.3 miles away.

So, I don't have anything to say about the show. Therefore, I'll just review the things we did get to do in NYC (after flying down at 6:15am on Saturday morning).

Union Square Farmers Market
Great, as always. Nice to get a hold of some fresh strawberries a few weeks before VT's strawberry season. While I didn't buy any starter plants down there, I have to say the starter plants at the Union Square market were larger, cheaper and healthier looking than the ones at the Montpelier market. Not as much variety though.

Mamoun's Falafel
Also great, as always. We actually managed to get a seat inside right during the lunchtime rush which made for a great show. Between watching the three guys behind the counter fly around in that tiny space without ever hitting each other and the parade of oddballs waiting for their Baba Ghannouj sandwiches, it's an entertaining show with your $3 lunch.

Big Ass Tack on the Sidewalk That I Stepped On
Sucked. The only amusing part of the painful experience was having some random guy freak out as I pulled this unbelievably long tack out of my foot. He just stood there frozen and bent over at the waist going "Aaaaaaaah, fuck, Dude!" Thankfully, the tack seemed to be clean. So, despite some blood and a few achy blocks, I was fine.

Hearth
We had dinner here in the East Village. Nice casual place with great food. I had some animal's cheeks and asparagus soup while my wife had sturgeon.

2A
An old favorite bar of ours. We stopped there for some drinks after dinner and hung out in the second floor lounge watching the street traffic below. Great people watching. Here was the odd thing...I've been sort of down on CYHSY since their last album stunk and their Burlington show was rather lifeless. However, 2A was playing their debut album while we were there and it sounded really good. Perhaps it was the belly of booze and wine, but I really enjoyed listening to it again. I think sometimes, I listen to music too often in the sterile environment of my house or iPod. An album can sound very different and more exciting in a public space.

Magnolia Bakery
We tried going to Chickalicious for desert but it was closed for maintenance. So, we decided to see what all the hype was about surrounding Magnolia Bakery and their cupcakes. After grabbing a cab across town, we discovered a line around the corner and down the block. I initially didn't believe it was for the bakery but it sure was. It's one of those "Only in New York" things. The place had a friggin' doorman and a thirty minute wait to get in! For a bakery! This isn't some hot club. This is a place that sells cupcakes.

I'm almost embarrassed to type this sentence but we then proceeded to wait in the half-hour line to get four cupcakes ($2 / cupcake).

Now, after a build-up like that, no cupcake is going to live up to its hype. The frosting was really good but the cake itself was kind of dry (and these were fresh out of the oven). Perhaps I've just become used to the chemically-laden cardboard box cupcake mixes but Magnolia's cupcakes were dry and ordinary; certainly not worth the wait.

Dylan's Candy Bar
We headed uptown for a little while on Sunday morning and stopped at Ralph Lauren's daughter's candy shop. The part I liked about it was the selection of retro candy bars downstairs. You don't find Mallo Cups, wax bottles, Zagnuts, candy cigarettes, Razzles and Paydays in many stores these days. My only disappointment was I couldn't find any Marathon bars or Reggie bars.

It was a big disappointment to miss the National show but, overall, we still had a fun weekend in the city.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Farm's CD Release Party

St. Albans rock trio Farm will be performing at Langdon Street Cafe in Montpelier this Wednesday to celebrate the release of their first LP, Gray Birds. Well, it was supposed to be a cd release party, but the 18 track long player got held up in the shop and won't be available until June 10th. It'll be a party none-the-less, as Farm will be teamed up with the North Country's Monsterbuck.

June 6 - Farm w/ Monsterbuck - Langdon Street Cafe

I had the following to say about Farm's show from last summer at Langdon Street: "...the music stayed stayed nestled in that neverworld where blues based-stoner rock and indie Americana meet." Click here to read the Times Argus's impression of Gray Birds.

From Esquire magazine to poor man's Walt Disney, Monsterbuck is truly fascinating. Click here to read a great blog post about their songs' "gorgeous melodies" and backstory. Upstate represent!

And mark your calendars now, as Farm is scheduled to play an August show at Burlington's Kriya Studio with one of the country's best alt/americana outfits, The Kamikaze Hearts.

Farm - Spineless.mp3

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Pants | Reunion Concert Film

A little over a year ago, wunderkinds of the late 90's Burlington music scene, The Pants, played a reunion show at Higher Ground. It was quite the event. Well, Bill Simmon is now almost done with both the concert film of The Pants reunion show and the documentary on the band. To celebrate the anniversary of the reunion show, Bill has released a clip from the concert film of The Pants performing "Vermont".

As I mentioned in my review of the show, I'm not a big fan of The Pants music. However, if the rest of the film is as good as this clip, it looks like Bill did a great job of capturing the show visually and aurally.



For updates on the progress of both film projects, bookmark Bill's Pants website. Bill has also made an mp4 file available for the iPod nation which you can get on Candleblog.

Also, for those that haven't seen it, here's the trailer for the documentary. I'm the wet blanket at the end talking about them being local legends.