Longtime readers are quite familiar with the excellent concert posts from our Senior Midwest Correspondent, TK (now going by TK856). Well, he's been bumped up to a full-time contributor. The post below is his first toss at this blog wall and we're expecting many more in the future. So, welcome TK full-time.
Monday, December 29, 2008
It was nice to be able to take part this time.
It was just over a year ago when the University of Wisconsin got Deerhoof to play a free show on campus. I was pretty excited at the prospects, only to have to go to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy that day.
I visited a friend in North Carolina last weekend and considered driving across the state because I've had a compulsion to see No Age again after catching them at the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago. Instead, I was able to catch them in Madison after getting back to the Midwest - for free.
After my buddy Adam and I got some good Peruvian food at Inka Heritage, we popped into Club 770 . It's a tiny venue that evidently is on the verge of being replaced.
No Age and opening act Titus Andronicus did their part to swing the wrecking ball on Club 770 Monday night. Despite my disdain for one-man groups playing with their toys, starter act Soft Circle didn't sound bad.
Then Titus Andronicus pulled two firsts...for me, anyhow. Their lead singer did his first couple songs in a winter coat with the hood pulled over his face, sticking his mic through the hood to sing like Kenny from South Park would.
Later, while playing harmonica, he dropped to his knees on stage. "An angry Dylan," Adam said.
Anyway, it was tough to resist their energy. At one point, the lead singer endured an assault conducted by his own fist and mic.
One of the things I love about shows like this is sometimes you'll see the band members holding down their own merch table. It gave me the opportunity to briefly shoot the breeze with No Age guitarist Randy Randall.
Super sweet and cool guy. Quite humble. He said Pitchfork was fun but agreed with me that the sound crews needed to have their asses kicked.
Titus turned out to be a good primer for No Age. The LA duo had one problem: drummer Dean Spunt needed to turn up his mic.
I understand if something is going to give, it will be Spunt's vocals rather than the uncanny amount of sound Randall conjures out of his guitar. Maybe it was the venue, maybe it was Spunt drumming while he sang, but his vocals didn't always come through clear and he shouldn't hide his voice.
OK, enough of the nitpicking. I love these guys. Same for the crowd.
In some ways, it was better than a regular venue. Between the small size and the already jacked-up crowd, it made for a volatile mosh pit.
Adam and I were tempted to join in but given my size and our blood-alcohol content, I think we made the better decision to just look on longingly. At one point, the pit almost tipped over the speakers to the right of the stage.
No Age was wired to play for the students and the crowd kept urging them on. They even unveiled a new track, which Spunt afterward titled "Fuck Prop 8 In The Face".
During one song, Randall jumped into the front of the crowd and started lashing away. The crowd formed a circle around him as he thrashed away.
On one hand, the show was every bit the chaos I hoped it would be. No Age's live work makes me eager for what the band has in store after Nouns, a disc I can't get enough of.
On the other hand, I have to wonder sometimes about the Madison music scene. I thought a band like No Age might have the place packed, but to each their own, I guess.
I'm not sure if I'll catch another show before the year ends. But No Age followed Deerhoof last month in Milwaukee, and with Pitchfork and Lollapalooza last summer, my Christmas stocking is already stuffed with great live performances.
photo courtesy of mel.opho.be concert photos
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
- Jingle Bells | Frank Sinatra
- O Come O Come Emmanuel | Sufjan Stevens
- The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You) | Nat King Cole
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer | Jack Johnson
- Silent Night | Johnny Cash
- Little Drummer Boy | Ray Charles
- No Christmas for Me | Zee Avi
- It's the Most Wonderful time of the Year | Andy Williams
- Have Yourself a Merry little Christmas | Frank Sinatra
- White Christmas | Bing Crosby
- Lo, How a Rose E're Blooming | Feist
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer | Gene Autry
- Baby, It's Cold Outside | Dean Martin
- A Holly Jolly Christmas | Burl Ives
- Christmas Song | Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
Friday, December 05, 2008
It's not often that Montpelier gets a cool show in town. So, this Friday's show at The Lamb Abbey is a bit of a treat.
Chris Brokaw, Will Johnson and Kris Gruen will all be performing sets starting around 8:30. For those unfamiliar with the trio, here's a rundown of the artists.
Chris Brokaw is the former frontman for both Come and Codeine back in the 1990's. He now plays in The New Year, has a solo career and recently played with Thurston Moore at this falls' All Tomorrow's Party festival in NY. Expect a mix of tunes from different parts of his career.
Will Johnson is the frontman for both Centro-matic and South San Gabriel which are two Texas-based bands consisting largely of the same members but possessing different sounds. South San Gabriel tends to be quieter and mellower. Both bands are good stuff though and I'm hoping for a mix of both.
Montpelier's own Kris Gruen will be kicking off the evening. He's been performing some new material recently which you can find on his myspace page. Beautiful stuff which sounded real nice when I heard him open at Higher Ground over the summer for The Avett Brothers.
The show is at The Lamb Abbey which is a bit of a word-of-mouth underground music club in Montpelier. If you need directions, email me at email@example.com. The show will start around 8:30. The artists will appreciate donations at the door. Oh, and it's B.Y.O.B. Enjoy your own choice of brew.
Chris Brokaw | I Remember (Suicide Cover) | Buy
Chris Brokaw | Move | Buy
Centro-matic | Covered Up in Mines | Buy
South San Gabriel | Evangeline | Buy
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Friday Dec 5
Tick Tick presents:
KIRA KIRA (Iceland), Dygn (Baltimore), Toby Aronson of OAK
At the North End Studio (294 North Winooski Ave)
$7 advance at www.ticktick.org, or $8 at the door
Kira Kira, Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir, is a founding member of Icelandic art collective Kitchen Motors. For the past 10 years she has tinkered with noises in bands such as Spúnk, Big band brútal, Stórsveit Sigríðar Níelsdóttur and as Kira Kira since autumn 1999 when she had a funny nightmare in Tokyo. She has composed music for theatre, dance and movies and performed exhibited extensively in her home country, Iceland as well as around Europe.
Kristin's visual work is often a staged haunting of some sort created with sound, smoke, wind and light presented in installations or on film: Singing black holes, blood driven cowboy hats hovering in thin air, a duel between smoke machines in castle towers, beset tape recorders, eternal explosions, trembling doors and someone who's dead by laughter or romance.
Saturday Dec 8
Tick Tick presents:
mi3 (free jazz vets with some strong electric influences!)
Saturday, December 6th
At the Firehouse Gallery
8pm, $7 at the Door
The members of mi3 are veterans of the Boston free jazz scene who have worked together for years, but this band's genesis took place in 2002 under special circumstances when Nate McBride was hosting a series called "mim" (modern improvised music) at Boston's Abbey Lounge, a tavern without a piano that was usually home to rock bands. Mi3 became the house trio with Pandelis Karayorgis playing electric piano. The results of the experience (both in situ and in the studio) were collected on We Will Make a Home for You (on Clean Feed), a notable release from 2005. The electric incarnation of mi3 might suggest what certain very high profile piano trios should sound like, combining some of the drive and riff-driven energy of electrified music with the fluid, complex creativity of jazz.
"If you asked me to make a long enough wish-list for musical projects, I'm sure I'd wind up asking for a trio with an elite post-jazz keyboardist smearing a Fender Rhodes electric piano over a snap-crackle-pop free jazz rhythm section. You can imagine how great it felt to have any such wish pre-empted by a disc that jumps right into the stratosphere with a leadoff take on Dolphy's "Gazzelloni" that fits the proposable scheme as tight as I could hope for. This disc just destroys me... "
Michael Anton Parker, Downtown Music Gallery (NYC)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
From the beer list at The Sierra Grille in Northampton, MA this past weekend. I tried to order it but they had already sold out of it.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
The Radiator is having a benefit show on Monday, Nov 17 at Club Metronome. Here are two reasons to go:
♫ The Radiator is a great radio station playing a wide variety of DJ-chosen music. However, nobody is getting rich. This is a community focused project that survives on volunteerism and some minimum underwriting from local businesses. So, you can support it by going to this show.
♫ There's a sweet lineup. I've not caught The Vacant Lots twice and am loving their VU-inspired sounds. And I've been hoping to catch Nosebleed Island for a long time.
$5 donation at the door.
What's a better way to kick off the holiday season than sharing music with some friends? With that in mind, the next date for the False 45th Record Club is Tuesday, Dec 2. Due to the growing number of people that want to participate, we'll start an hour earlier this time at 7pm.
The change this time is that we are going to do a night of cover songs. So, your two submissions must be cover songs. Our working definition of a cover songs is: a song by a band that was originally released by a different band. Simple enough.
All of the other rules still apply:
(1) Every genre and time period is fair game.
(2) The two songs must be from different artists and different albums. The emphasis is on variety.
(3) The songs have to be eight minutes or less.
(4) They can't be from your own band.
So, if you want to join the fun, email me two cover songs by Sunday, Nov 24th. Please include the name of the artist that did the original version since I'll include it with the tracklist.
Email songs to: False45thRecordClub@gmail.com
See you on Dec 2.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Here's my annual reminder about the sock sale at Cabot Hosiery in Northfield. It runs from 8:30-4:30 on Saturday and Sunday this weekend (and next weekend). If you are heading south on Rt. 12 from Montpelier, the Cabot factory is on your left a mile or two before downtown Northfield. Look for the sign along the road.
The video above is Eva Sollberger's excellent take on last year's sock sale. Some girl in Argentina even made a parody of her video. Check it out here.
Dan Bolles has a nice review in this week's Seven Days of Lendway's new album The Low Red End. Here's the money quote:
The band’s full-length debut, The Low Red End, casts a saccharine sheen over the city’s thriving lo-fi rock set. Their bright, hook-laden indie-pop owes heavy debts to Built to Spill, Olivia Tremor Control and, of course, Lennon-McCartney — but don’t we all?
See the info below for their CD release party on Friday night.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
It's been a good year for albums from local bands and you can add one more to the list. On Friday, Nov 14, Lendway will be releasing their debut album The Low Red End. The CD release party will be at Nectar's (9:30pm).
I was lucky enough to get a copy of it last month and it's been getting constant play ever since. The album is part Luna, part Grateful Dead, part Beatles and lots of foot-tapping melodies. It's one of those albums where a few songs immediately catch your ear and then you eventually find your focus shifting to other songs on the album. That's a recipe for an album that'll stick with you a lot longer than the typical debut CD.
Apparently, their goal is to immediately record a follow-up EP and then another full-length album in the spring. Then they'll be hitting the road out of VT on the strength of those albums. In the meantime though, they'll be at Nectar's on Friday night.
Lendway | Two Sleepy Arms | Buy
Monday, November 10, 2008
A few bits of Capstan Shafts news...
♫ About a month ago, Dean Wells moved to West Virginia from Lyndonville, VT. So, we no longer have a claim to the latest torch bearer of the lo-fi movement. However, he said in an email that he'll periodically be back up in VT. Hopefully, that'll mean a show or two in the area.
♫ The Capstan Shafts have recorded a song for a new indie rock compilation called "Fake Bookshelf" which is from an Australian zine called The Lifted Brow. it comes out on January 17. They still have zines in Australia?
♫ Last month, he played CMJ in NYC.
♫ Lastly & most importantly, Wells just released his third album of the year. This time it's a 6-song collection of singles called Cretin Flowers. The album is available via archive.org. Wells just asks for $2 or $3 to be sent his way via paypal. You can use his address of deanedwardwells at yahoo dot com.
It's a packed and stacked ten minutes of music; not a single dud in the six-pack. In fact, it even includes my new favorite Capstan Shafts song, "Space Nut to Ape Length", which is a cruising rocker with some odd "twangy yet humming" guitar in the background. I was painting the ceiling of our living room this weekend which meant the room was clear of furniture. Well, I had Cretin Flowers blasting away and the kids completely busted out into a dance party. In fact, I thought my son was going to go spaz straight through the wall during "Space Nut to Ape Length". Good stuff.
The Capstan Shafts | Space Nut to Ape Length | Buy
Oh, those Swedes! So filled with pop yet so poorly dressed.
Then again, it wasn't like VT was lighting up the fashion world in the 70's either. Regardless, it's fun to laugh at these promo shots from yesteryear.
Looking to kill a few hours? Well Fantastic Contraption is your answer.
Fantastic Contraption is an online physics game that my kids and I have been playing a lot lately. The game works well because it's a simple premise (move a ball into a box) that uses simple tools (wheels and sticks) but gets progressively more challenging. It's easy enough for my kids to work on solving the problems but complex to keep me interested. That's a recipe for many hours of free time disappearing.
You can also save your designs so they can be shared with others. Then once you've completed a level and shared your design, you can view other designs for that level. It's interesting to see how others have approached the same problems. On the higher levels, when I've been completely stumped, I've resorted to YouTube for help. Lots of people record their designs and post them there.
You can view a few of my designs here, here, here and here. And my son has one's here and here.
Just remember...I warned you about it eating up hours and hours.
One of my favorite albums this year has been Women's debut self-titled album. Imagine The Kinks recording in a garage into a boombox and you get an idea of what Women sound like. Lo-fi pop gems.
Well, they are starting to get some attention as shown by their recent swing through CMJ where they seemed to have played about nine shows in five days or something ridiculous like that. Fortunately, the VT is blessed with the killer instincts of the Tick Tick crew who got Women to make a stop in Burlington on their way to NY from their homes in Canada.
Besides have great ears for talent, the Tick Tick folks are great about pairing artists with cool and appropriate locations. Whether it's the solitude of a remote church for an acoustic show by an artist looking for confidence or, in this case, an industrial basement packed with local hipsters for a hot lo-fi band, Tick Tick gets the right venue for the right artist.
I had never been to The Fifth Element but was told to make a left onto Battery St. and go until it ends. The show will be downstairs. What could go wrong with such directions? I suspiciously followed the directions and found myself in some sort of industrial quarry/cement site. However, sure as shit, when I got out of the car I heard music. I found a door at one end of the building that was less then a typical entrance to a show and more like a door you'd see in a indistrial garage door at an auto repait shop. Then it was a concrete ramp into what looked like a pre-war storage basement for the neighboring business. A low celing with lots of exposed wooden beams and electrical conduits surrounded by random boxes, old windows and other stored items. However, it was actually somebody's apartment that Tick Tick uses occasionally for shows. Perfect atmosphere for a stripped down rock show. Minimalist for minimalists.
I missed Ryan Power's set but got there in time to catch The Vacant Lots. I had heard them briefly one night while walking past Red Square with my wife. Not knowing who they were, we stopped for a few minutes to listen. After about one song, I decided I wanted to know who they were. So, I asked a waiter and later dug up their myspace page.
This show was my first time to take in a full set of theirs. They are two people. Jared Artaud sports the Joey Ramone look as he knocks out deep fuzzy VU-sounding licks on his hollow-body guitar. Brian McFadyen is a teenager schooled in classical music but who hammers away at a stand-up drum set Mo Tucker style; someone needs to get him an upside down metal garbage can to complete the sound. Regardless, the kid does a great job of driving the droning beat until you find your head knocking up and down; similar to what happens to me during a Yo La Tengo show. Sucked in by the drone but floating on the melody. Good stuff.
After The Vacant Lots, Women were up. I wasn't sure what they thought odd playing such a unique venue but I later heard that they loved the place and were very excited to play there. Between their enthusiasm for playing an intimate show for about 40 people in a basement and my joy of seeing a band with only a debut album that I knew inside and out, I felt it would be a good show.
Here's the funny thing about Women. The production of their album is so rough that they sounded much cleaner live; even playing in such an industrial setting. They played everything I could think of off the album and everyone was into the show as they danced along. There was about a ten minute break while they restrung a broken string and they didn't play an encore. However, those were minor issues. Overall, it was a fun show.
At the end of the show, someone yelled "DANCE PARTY!" and immediately dance tunes came over the PA system. I was on the way out but for the rest of the folks, the night was just heating up. Well done, Tick Tick.
Women | Black Rice | Buy
Women | Shaking Hands | Buy
From Greg Davis
paul metzger and tim kaiser are coming to town & im really really excited about this show. itll be a rare chance to hear these guys play live. if you are at all interested in hand built, homemade, modified, circuit bent instruments, then this is the show for you. this promises to be a visual & aural delight. dont miss it!
About Paul Metzger
With some of the most inventive (and brilliant) playing heard in a long time, the buzz about Paul Metzger is raging through the improvisational music community like wild fire. His weapons of choice are a heavily modified fretless guitar and a 21-string banjo. On these almost-alien instruments, Metzger creates otherworldly sounds unique unto themselves. His long, elaborate gypsy raga improvisations are skillful sonic meditations that sound both ancient and fresh in their immediacy.He has released several recordings (including vinyl) in the past few years on the Archive, Roaratorio and Locust labels.
About Tim Kaiser
Having built over 150 electro-acoustic contraptions, Tim Kaiser has truly mapped out his own musical frontier. His sonic atmospheres are a kind of adventurous experiment leading to a singular, artistic voice. This is a hand-made music that Make Magazine calls "eclectic genius." Kaiser's recording Analog was released on the Innova label last year and he just finished work on two limited edition projects: Elements and Machine Music.
There's a nice new addition to the VT music scene...Burlington Underground. The site basically is a listing of shows in the Burlington area. The functionality works well with you being able to search either by date or by venue. The list of venues seems pretty exhaustive too. It's missing The Firehouse Gallery but I'm having trouble finding any other absent venues.
It seems like a good tool for planning a night out or checking out to see what's coming up for the weekend. Hopefully, the updating process is an automated program because keeping that calendar current would be a major pain-in-the-ass. I can barely keep the tiny show calendar in our sidebar updated.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Bo of Eat More Kale Shirts has a new design for the historic moment. It's based upon Shepard Fairey's OBEY Giant design of the 1980's but with President Obama. Very cool shirt.
I love writing "President Obama".
By the way, Fairey also did the well-known Obama poster that hung in every field office for the last few months. I wonder if Bo has shared his shirt design with Fairey. He'd surely dig it.
will.i.am | Yes We Can
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Tick Tick presents Montreal (and BTV) goodness:
CLUES (Montreal, featuring Alden Penner of the Unicorns and Brendan Reed of Arcade Fire)
ELFIN SADDLE (Montreal)
NOSEBLEED ISLAND (local)
At 143 North Avenue, 8pm, $6-$10 suggested donation
Thursday, November 6th
Elfin Saddle has come in the past, and also played a memorable show in Stannard on a very smoky december evening as the church's woodstove backdrafted crazily. They have a really creative approach to being a two person band.
Clues | Perfect Fit
Elfin Saddle | The Sun
Monday, November 03, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sometimes idiocy works.
Everyday I get 10 to 20 emails from bands/promoters/publicists/labels asking jds and I to write about their band/album/show. 99% of them immediately go into the cyber dustbin. However, one caught my eye due to the silliness of it. A publicist from NYC was offering us a spot on the guest list for a show at Langdon Street Cafe. Obviously, the publicist doesn't know that LSC is a "pass-the-hat" gig. So, it's like being offered free tickets to my son's soccer match. It's a kind offer but not one that has any value.
Having said that, it got me to take a second and listen to the band's music. And I have to say, I'm glad that I did.
Midwest Dilemma is a 23-piece band out of Omaha that plays...well...let's call it orchestral folk. I can't imagine that they'll bring all 23 members on the road with them. It's got to be some pared down version of themselves to make any sense financially. However, the number of folks on the stage may still equal the number of people at LSC on any given night. Either way, I like them and am going to check it out. It's local and they sound good.
The other bonus is that Kris Gruen will be opening the show for them. Kris is working on his next album and the new tunes he played at Higher Ground last summer sounded sweet. It should be a good show.
Midwest Dilemma | Chicago and North Western | Buy
Sunday, October 26, 2008
It's always nice to have a quality hometown show. It's doubly nice when the band ranks fourth on my "most listened to" list on Last.FM. That's where The New Year stand for me and why I was excited to see them make a VT stop for their first time.
In a rare move, my wife came to the show also. Prior to having kids, my wife and I would regularly hit shows together. However, due to the cost of babysitters and general exhaustion of parenthood, she's left the concert-going to me. So, it was fun to have her company for the night.
We got to Burlington early so we could grab a pre-show dinner. Here's the thing, it was a Monday night in Burlington and the economy is tanking. However, you would never know it from the restaurants. We had to go to four different places before we could find one with less than a half-hour wait. And we were only able to eat at Sweetwaters because we were willing to sit at the bar. I guess the financial downturn hasn't impacted the Queen City yet.
Lendway opened the show. I've known Michael Clifford, guitarist and vocalist, for Lendway for a few years. he used to work at Buch Spieler in Montpelier and would offer great tips on albums to check out. However, he would also share some of the tunes he had written and recorded by himself. Now, 99 out of 100 times someone you know casually gives you a copy of their music, it stinks. However, Michael's stuff was fantastic. Gorgeous pop songs that I'd play over and over on my iPod. The problem was that whenever I'd ask Michael about putting together a band, he'd talk about problems playing with this guy or that guy. It never worked out.
Well, Lendway has worked out for him.
My wife pegged their sound as being similar to Luna which is a good comparison. There's a bit of a Dead and Beatles feeling in there too though. Regardless, it's infectious stuff and they played it well. Their debut album is coming out next month and they're having a CD release party on Nov 14. However, I'll post more about those things later.
The New Year hit the stage around 10pm and immediately started ticking off songs from their new album. "Folios", "The Company I Can Get", "X Off Days" all fell towards the start of the set. In fact, I think we heard the majority of the songs off the self-titled release. Braving my permently foggy memory, I believe we also got "Gasoline", "End's Not Near" and "Chinese Handcuffs" off their prior albums.
Despite a slight rattle off the drum kit, the band sounded good. What sucked was all of the talkers in the back of the room. I could live to be 104 and I'll never understand why people pay to go to a concert and talk the whole time. It's arrogance. Why else would the talkers think what they have to say is more important than what is going on the stage? I'm not expecting people to be mutes (God knows I comment on the show to my friends mid-song; but with a brief interjection) but do they really need to carry on constantly?
it's just a shame because The New Year have some beautifully delicate songs that are quiet. When folks are chatting, it stomps all over the beauty.
Don't take that mini-rant as a sign that I didn't enjoy the show. The louder songs weren't impacted at all and I still thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening.
By the way, the photo below explains how they get the drumming piece done on "The Door Opens". Matt Kadane plays the cymbal while Chris Brokaw does the main drumming.
Lastly, Bradley's Almanac has posted the mp3 files from The Kadanes Brothers set at The Middle East from this past July. I'd also keep watching the 'Nac for the mp3 files from the Boston show of this tour with the full band.
While I was in Chicago for work recently, I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel. While it's a nice hotel and well located with beautiful views, I find all the memorabilia to be silly.
I was located on the Kiss floor which meant that whenever I passed through the elevator waiting area on my floor, I was met by a smiling Gene Simmons and the bands' guitars.
The silliest though and ultimate disrespectful move was in the bathroom of my room. Come on! Doesn't Roger Daltry deserve a more dignified location than right above my toilet?
However, like I said, the views from my room were sweet; right down to the river.
The headliner was indie starlets The Black Kids but the beast of the show was Team Band. The Chicago foursome was simultaneously a complete mockery of the entire indie scene bullshit and a ferociously rocking half-hour of music. They're excessively self-aware in a "Hey! This is all ridiculous but no less ridiculous than The Black Kids" way. However, while you chuckle at their antics, you find your head grooving, your heel slamming the floor in rhythm with the drummer and your brain thinking "Fuck Yeah!"
The Virgins and The Black Kids played next but Team Band had ruined any attempt on their part of having a good show. The brains of anyone paying attention had been become a toxic setting for the meager stirrings of the "hot band du jour".
The show poster from their myspace page may be the finest poster of the season.
Team Band | Team Band Fight Song | Buy
Team Band | If Rain (Sambassadeur cover) | Buy