Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rental...Sinatra Style

Do you have $2,600 to blow for a night?

If so, you could rent Sinatra's old house in Palm Springs. Nice pad. Check out the piano-shaped pool. Plus, the house still has Sinatra's original state-of-the-art sound system. It's even decorated with furniture from the 50's.

To really do it right, you'd have to load the place with top shelf liquors and drop a bunch on some sweet 50's suits and cabana wear. Red Bull and board shorts would just look stupid hanging around that pool.

Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim | Agua de Beber | Buy


The concert venue has been changed from Ross Dining Hall to Proctor Hall. I've only been to Middlebury campus twice (Sepomana 2005 and a visit to their art museum), so I don't know what the venue change means. I inquired to the show's presenters and got the following reply:
Proctor is actually smaller and easier to work logistically. It'll be a much more intimate and appropriate atmosphere. And it's literally 500 yard away from Ross, so it shouldn't be a big deal.

Sounds like a good deal to me. Proctor Hall houses dining facilities, the college store, lounges, and the radio station, WRMC-FM.

Don't miss this great lineup at Middlebury's annual music extravaganza, put on by the fantastic WRMC 91.1 FM. seh-PAW-muh-nuh 2008 will be featuring:


8:30 PM - 2 AM
Ross Dining Hall, Middlebury College
$8/advance (here)
$10/at the door

Afterparty @ The Bunker hosted by PALMS OUT SOUNDS:

Menomena | Muscle N Flo | Buy

The Ruby Suns | Tane Mahuta | Buy

The Capstan Shafts | Defenstration Makes Good Neighbors | Buy

Megafaun + Greg Davis + Oak | May 2nd | Monkey House

Friday night looks to be a busy time for music listeners in the Champlain Valley. Psychedelic pop and low-fi songs will be all the rage at Middlebury. But if you are interested in something with more space (and potentially more spaced out), then check out this show in Winooski:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

F45th Ticket Giveaway | Foals + Ruby Suns

F45th is proud to announce a ticket giveaway for a sweet show scheduled for Monday:

To try your luck at scoring a pair of tickets, send an email to false45th [at] gmail [dot] com (with the subject "I WANT FOALS TICKETS") by midnight on Friday, May 2nd. Two random names will be chosen and notified on Saturday morning.

Foals are the latest young lads from England herald as the "next big thing."  Their dance-punk debut, Antidotes on Sub Pop, is full of hooks, speed, and is catchy as hell. I'm usually a bit skeptical of bands that get all the press out of the clear blue, but in this case it seems pretty on point. They are in the Bloc Party/Futureheads/Maximo Park spectrum - 4/4, tight, precise, and fun.

Even further from home, New Zealand based The Ruby Suns will be sharing the stage. Their recently released second album, Sea Lion, has been one of my recent favs. The album can lazily be classified as the new Brian Wilson pop/psychedelia (hello Animal Collective), but I find it more interesting then that. The disc includes plenty African and Polynesian instrumentation, resting in the ground recently cleared by Vampire Weekend and Yeasayer. I'm looking forward to a double dose of these Kiwis, as I'll be catching them at Middlebury College's spring music festival on Friday.

The show will kick off at 7 PM with local low-fi two piece The Breaking In.

Get your emails in. Second place is $10 bucks at the door.

Foals | Balloons | Buy

Foals | Two Steps Twice | Buy

The Ruby Suns | There Are Birds | Buy

Green Up VS Race Cars

This Saturday marks the 38th anniversary of Green Up Day. On the first Saturday in May thousands of Vermonters participate in the nation's largest roadside clean up. Each year my neighbors and I spend a few hours collecting the beef jerky wrappers, Dunkin' Donut cups,Skoal tins, (once even a f'n cot) that are revealed by spring's thaw. It's amazing how much shit people throw out their window, but, each year I pick up a bit of the mess. 

At the same time on Saturday I'll be lured from my good deed by 100 race cars lining the streets of downtown Barre. The Thunder Road Merchants Bank Car Show kicks off the 49th season of Barre's infamous paved oval, Thunder Road Speed Bowl. I mean, how can I miss the pit stop contest? The car show starts at 9 am, ending in a parade to the race track at noon, followed by the Merchants Bank 150.

The conflict. Woes me.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Trippin' Mix & Pics | Savannah, GA to Carrboro, NC | April '08

Birdmonster | All the Holes in the Walls

Saturday, April 26, 2008

4.25.08 Show at The Bakery | Views

I really liked the space. It was small, funky, and enjoyable.

Scout Niblett was a bit drunk, but very entertaining. She kept on egging people on to ask her questions between sets. She told a story about an old boyfriend that she called Wolfie, inspiration for song of same name. His mother ran an animal shelter.
Scout's drummer was renamed  himself Coke-a-Cola Jackson.

Sadly Fantastic Dungeon and their burlap outfits had me thinking of Scarecrow from Batman Begins throughout the night.

Scout Niblett | Wolfie | Buy

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Scout Niblett et al | Burlington | Tomorrow

Secret show tomorrow night. Shhh shhh.

Secretly Canadian recording artist Scout Niblett is stopping by Burlington tomorrow night on her way from Montreal to Bard College. The music of English born and bred Niblett is primarily minimal in style, many songs consisting of spoken word, but others that flat out whale. An "arty Cat Power" may not be too far off the mark (2 Cat Power references in 24 hrs?). In the last handful of years she's collaborated with everyone from Howe Gelb to Songs Ohia to Bonnie "Prince" Billy. I've heared nothing but rave things about her live shows.

Locally it'll be rounded out with:
Jenny Montana & her sister Bridget Martin
Cccome? (Lee Anderson of Radiobean/The Radiator 105.9 FM)
Fantastic Dungeon (Wes from Brixton Guns/Yes & No Stories)

It is all taking place at a secret location called The Bakery. Doors open at 9 PM sharp and will be closed at 9:30 or when the place fills up. If you don't already know where I'm talking, contact noah at cndmnt dot com for further instructions. Blindfolds required.

UPDATE | Bernie on Colbert | Monday Apr 21


Stephen worries that Senator Sanders' call for a redistribution of wealth will overcrowd his yacht club.

Here's the segment:

Original post:
The Times-Argus is reporting that Sen. Bernie Sanders will be on The Colbert Report on Monday night. Must see TV indeed.

Robert Schneider | Stephen, Stephen | Buy

Dirty Poncho

Found on pg. 49 of this week's edition (4.23.08 - 4.30.08) of Boston's Weekly Dig. Hats off to Biru for sending this over.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sera Cahoone

Photo Courtesy of Gregory Perez

Sera Cahoone is a Seattle based singer-songwriter who has drummed for indie favs Carissa's Wierd and Band of Horses. She got out from behind the kit in 2006 and found herself self-releasing a highly lauded album full of both old-school country music and modern low fi, having one dubbing her “the love child of Cat Power and Buck Owens.” Sera's major release for Sub PopOnly as the Day is Long, came out in last month and has been on constant rotation at the house. It is one heck of a gorgeous atmospheric country-folk album. 

Sera is touring this summer with Grand Archives, led by Mat Brooke (ex-bandmate from Carissa's Wierd and Band of Horses). The two groups will be making a stop at Higher Ground's Showcase Lounge on June 8th

Sera Cahoone | Only as the Day is Long | Buy

Sera Cahoone | You Might as Well | Buy

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Matthew Loiacono | Kentucky

Now that F45's "upstate porch rock" favorites Kamikaze Hearts are on hiatus, we find ourselves searching for something to fill the void. Thankfully KH mandolin maestro Matthew Loiacono(and Collar City Records honcho) has put together a fantastic sophomore solo effort. Kentucky officially drops next week, but Matthew has put together a great contest that'll get you listening and dissecting right away. The question he is asking all that will listen is "why is the album called Kentucky?" He's offering a full download of the album (available here) and will award $50 to the individual who emails the correct answer. Hints are located throughout the album, so listen closely. Conversely, $50 will be awarded for the "most awesome, yet incorrect" answer. Get paid cold hard cash to listen to great music? Awesome.

Hurry, the contest ends this Wednesday, April 23rd.

At some point Matthew is going to need to get paid for his musical existence, so he's rewarding folks who pay 10 bucks for the limited edition (100 copies) CD version of Kentucky with access to a special website with lyrics, song notes, and bonus material. An amazing deal on its own!

Matthew Loiacono | Modest Birds | Buy

Matthew Loiacono | Vaults & Crowns | Buy

On the Sidewalk Over By the Courthouse

Somebody left a bunch of chalk on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse in Montpelier this weekend and encouraged people to write whatever they wanted to write. As I was hanging with my kids checking out all of the sidewalk art, I noticed these few lines from Neutral Milk Hotel's "Two-Headed Boy".

It's nice to see that a fellow NMH fan lives in town. However, it also reminded me of something I saw in a review once of NMH. The reviewer pointed out that while Jeff Mangum's lyrics sound good coming out of his mouth, if you write them out and read them, they're pretty friggin' stupid.

Two-headed boy
all floating in glass
the sun it has passed


Neutral Milk Hotel | Two-Headed Boy | Buy

Unfortunately, my joy of seeing some NMH lyrics scrawled in front of the courthouse was sqaushed when I turned around and saw this inane bit.

Kill cops. Give me a break. It's a stupid statement to make anywhere but particularly here in Montpelier. These aren't the cops who killed Amadou Diallo, Eleanor Bumpers or Michael Stewart. Montpelier cops are more likely to help you get the chain back on your bike than bust your chops over something. Saying "Kill Cops" is just one of those stupid things that people think makes them sound radical to their like-minded friends but just comes off looking moronic.

If you want to make an anti-authority statement, go ahead. Just don't write something that ruins the discourse.

It's Open

The creme stand is now open. In my book, that means it is officially summer.

The Power of Suck

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Osheaga Lineup Announced

A summer rock festival overlooking Montreal from an island on the St. Lawrence River is a pretty amazing thing. The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival is now in its third year. Despite super line-ups in years past (including Sonic Youth, Flaming Lips, Tokyo Polic Club, Feist, Wolf Parade, etc.) I've yet to attend. Reason being is that it took place on Labor Day weekend. The beginning of September is a pretty magical time to be out in Vermont's wilderness, both years found me deep in the mountains amidst their last green days (even though it rained like a sun of a gun in '06). Thankfully this year's music is taking place at the beginning of August. The only downside I see with this set of dates is that it is during a non-holiday Sunday and Monday, unless you celebrate National Friendship Day. (Update: a glance at my calendar finds Monday, August 4th to be some sort of Canadian holiday identified as "Civic Holiday." The funny thing about this holiday is that it is not universally recognized across the country. Two provinces (including Quebec) and one territory do not recognize it at all, and five other provinces do not oblige employers to offer holiday pay. Beyond that, it doesn't even have a universal name. Click here for more info. According to one website the intent of the holiday is to "not work." Given that canadians also celebrate Labo(u)r Day, does that mean they have two holidays focused on not working? Also, is the festival's move from Labour Day weekend to Civic Holiday an in-country joke? Any Canadians out there that can make sense of this madness?)

What sets this festival apart from the masses is its location. Parc Jean-Drapeau on Ile Sainte-Helene was created as a public park in the late 19th century and is most famous as home of Expo 67 (but also for the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Grand Prix of Montreal, and a Six Flags) . The island was actually consolidated with several nearby islands using earth excavated during the construction of the Montreal Metro and it's related "Underground City." Expo 67 is the most successful world's fair of the 20th century and is regarded by most Canadians as one of the country's finest cultural achievements. Sadly the island today contains only a few buildings from this event (out of the original 90), but those that are left are spectacular: Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome (originally the United States Pavilion, currently an environmental sciences museum called Montreal Biosphere), Casino de Montreal (originally the French Pavilion and the Quebec Pavillion), and my personal favorite Habitat 67.

A month ago a buddy and I took a personal tour of this landmark concrete housing development. It was created out of a 24 year old McGill University student's masters thesis. The structure is based on Moshe Safdie's deep interests in the socialist ideals of the 60s and, as you'd expect, was very controversial. (Interesting note related to controversy and ideals, American Apparel was founded by Safdie's nephew, Dov Charney). It's a truly wild place, which made me feel like I walked onto the set of Gattaca.

Ok, enough of the architecture and history lesson, on to the music:































$105 (+ service charge) for the first 5000 weekend passes/$120(+) for the rest. $67 single day tix.

And like all festivals, expect acts to be added to this list.

They Might Be Giants | Purple Toupee | Buy

Friday, April 18, 2008

Stephen Malkmus | MASS MoCA | Apr 4

I'm finally catching up on some old posts. Here are a few thoughts and photos from Stephen Malkmus' show at Mass-MOCA down in North Adams on April 4.

John Vanderslice opened the show. I have a few of his songs but they've never grabbed me. I don't hate them but I rarely dial them up either. So, I was hoping his live show would make me swoon. Not so much. I liked his personality on stage and a few of the songs were interesting but I never felt connected or amazed by his stuff.

One thing I did like about Vanderslice's set was the final song when the entire band climbed down into the crowd and performed a song unplugged. Yes, I know The Decemberists, Arcade Fire and other bands do this too but it was still entertaining to see.

Malkmus was in the best mood on stage I've ever seen and that includes about a dozen Pavement shows and one solo show. He was smiling, laughing, joking around with people and never seemed annoyed to be there. All of those things have been rarities in his past shows. Then again, he has two little kids at home these days. Being a father of two little ones myself, I imagine he's enjoying the boredom peace of the road more than during his pre-parenthood days.

My feelings about his live performance is the same as the ones I have for his latest album. If he'd just give up the three minute solos, he'd have some great songs. Within each of his 6+ minute long songs, there's three minutes of Pavement-era jangly guitar hooks and engaging if laconic lyrics. If the songs were all boiled down to those three minutes, it'd be one of the best albums of the year. However, Malkmus has developed some sinister love for guitar noodling. The problem is that they aren't solos that do long builds and releases of tension. They're just linear long-distance noodling. I enjoyed the show but I would have been loving it if he just played the base song.

The big surprise of the night was MASS MoCA. I had never been there before but loved the place. It's an excellent example of reused space. The old textile mills have been converted into a complex of restaurants, shops, apartments, art galleries and performance space. While the room for the concerts is just an ordinary big box, all of the surrounding spaces are fantastic.

Malkmus commented on the place a few times. At one point he half-joked, half-politicked that the place was a great use of our tax money. Then later he said, "We have nothing like this place on the west cost. We don't even have anything like this west of the Mississippi. The only things we have west of the Mississippi is crystal meth and Steve Albini." Good line.

Someone asked him why he went on FOX News and he brushed it off with a joke saying, "Hey, I'll need a career after music. So, now I could be another slow talking guy on FOX." I still think it was lame to go on the station.

Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore were at the show. Here's a great thing about the two of them. They are big stars in the indie music world and could easily go backstage and watch the show from the wings. However, they just hang out in the crowd with the rest of the fans. I remember seeing them at various shows in NYC in the 90's and it was the same thing. They always get a few people chatting them up but they treat everyone with kindness and respect. Good people and true music fans.

A friend I ran into at the show spoke to Kim and mentioned how much he enjoyed the show they played in Burlington last year. She thanked him and said they enjoyed playing up here. It's probably a standard answer they give to fans but it's still kind to not just dismiss people.

One of my favorite exhibits that I saw at MASS MoCa were the upside down trees in one of the courtyards. Between their pots looking like transformers and the wire and poles holding them, it gives the look of electrical wiring which connects the display with the buildings' industrial past. Plus, seeing the trees in the winter before the leaves bloomed made the trees look like shredding wires emerging from a transformer.

I didn't take this last photo of the trees. It's courtesy of Make Up your Mind.

MASS MoCA's blog has links to other reviews of the show.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Hub Vermont

Got a small business? Writer? Tired of doing all your business in coffee shops? Well, The Hub Montpelier is your golden ticket out of Capitol Grounds.

Here's the idea...The Hub Vermont is an office on State Street in Montpelier that is geared towards people who want an office environment but don't have the cash or need for a full private office in the heart of downtown. For $350 a month, you can join The Hub and use the conference rooms, offices, common space and facilities for the few hours you need an office each month. There's even an $80 a month option where you can use 50 workstation hours a month. Plus, you can use the place as your business address and receive your work mail in a PO Box within the office.

While I don't need this service now, I used to work out of my home which got a bit lonely after a while. I think I would have enjoyed being in an environment like this where you see people coming and going throughout the day and get to have some casual conversation. Plus, it can work as an incubator for ideas as you discuss issues with the other members.

You can download a brochure in a pdf format here.

The only downside to something like this is if you get an annoying loudmouth in there who makes it difficult to work. So, if you have an abrasive personality, do everyone a favor and don't sign up.

Pond Skimming at Bloton Valley

About two weeks ago, Bolton Valley closed up shop for the ski season. However, on their final weekend, they juiced the fun with their annual pond skimming. Before looking through the videos, keep in mind that it was in the mid-30's on the day of the pond skimming. So, that's a cold bath these folks are face-planting into.

One addition to the event this year was a jump. This dude pulled off a full flip before entering the water face first.

Nice backsplash for this guy. Where'd he find a full body orange snow suit. Aspen Penitentiary?

This guy almost looks like he was diving into the pond.

Leave it to a shirtless guy with a mohawk to get across the pond.

Make Your Own Kaleidescope

If you like puttzing around with silly crap on the internet, I've got just the thing for you. A classic internet time killer.

It's called Drawtoy vs Byokal but it's just a cool kaleidescope maker. You draw in the large black area in a similar way to how you'd play around with the paint program that comes with MS Windows. However, there is a rotating wedge that spins around the box like a radar scan. When it passes over part of your drawing, it replicates it in the small circle like a kaleidescope.

Like I said, it serves no value but to entertain you for a while...but that's pretty much the whole purpose of this blog. So, click away.

Performance Art or Bonfire?

Alexi Murdoch

This one is easy. If you like Nick Drake, you'll like Alexi Murdoch.

I'm not saying that aspects of Alexi Murdoch remind me of Nick Drake. I'm saying that Murdoch's album Time Without Consequence sounds like an album of lost Nick Drake songs. It's amazing how similar they sound; from their instrumentation to the tonal pitch of their voices. The biggest differences between the two are that Murdoch's songs are slightly more upbeat (but that's like saying ant is taller than a termite; nobody is rocking out here) and Murdoch is a Scotsman to Drake's English heritage. That's about it.

So, if you like Nick Drake, treat yourself to a fine album of Alexi Murdoch.

Alexi Murdoch | All My Days | Buy

Alexi Murdoch | Dream About Flying | Buy

SculptCycle 2008 Update

Last September, I posted about a new collaboration between FreeRide, the Montpelier Downtown Civic Association and local arts community called SculptCycle 2008. The basic idea was that people would donate old bikes, the bikes would be given to artists to create sculptures, the sculptures would go on display around Montpelier during the summer of 2008 and then the sculptures would be auctioned off at the end of the summer to raise money. I love the idea.

Well, it's getting closer to the date of the opening of the displays and SculptCycle has updated their website with some key dates for this summer.

Saturday, June 7th, 12 to 3pm: Opening Celebration with SculptCycle Tour

Create a hat/mask at the ReStore workshop and bike/walk between SculptCycles.

Saturday, June 7th, 12 to 3pm: SculptCycle Opening Reception

Evening reception to recognize SculptCycle artists and sponsors - donations welcomed. SculptCycle Judge announces artist awards.

Friday, August 8th, 4 to 8pm: Montpelier Art Bike/Walk

Bike/walk through an evening of art.

Throughout September: Silent/On-Line SculptCyle Auction

Starting in September, select number of SculptCycles will be silent auctioned with remaining SculptCycles to be auctioned in live auction in October. Bids can be placed through SculptCycle website.

Saturday, October 4th, 5 to 8pm: SculptCycle Art Auction and Reception

Evening reception to live auction select number of SculptCycles. Tickets to be sold.

The site has one small teaser photo of one of the sculptures. If you put that one in the Christ Church pocket park, you'll have kids riding it all day long. Very cool.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Musee Mecanique | Coming to Burlington | Apr 18

Before opening an email from the folks at Tick Tick, I had never heard of Musee Mecanique. I'm still not sure how to pronounce their name. However, after opening their myspace page and letting their songs play in the background for a little while, I'm a whole lot more interested in them.

They have an acoustic folk sound that blends in electronics and a wide variety of other instruments such as cello, violin, lap steel, saw, keys, etc. It gives a nice full sound from a minimalist base.

The interesting thing is that they are currently unsigned. Their albums aren't available on Emusic or iTunes. There aren't any posts listed on The Hype Machine about them. How the hell does Tick Tick keep coming up with these completely unknown yet potent bands? They must have a secret indie rock decoder ring or something.

Regardless, on Friday night, Musee Mecanique will be dragging their glockenspiel into The Skinny Pancake in Burlington for a show with Bridget Martin of Seoul and Jenny Montana. Showtime is 8pm.

Musee Mecanique | Two Friends Like Us | Buy


On Thursday night, the ACLU will be holding a public discussion about privacy laws in the internet age at the Langdon Street Cafe from 6pm to 7:30pm. Here's the rundown from the ACLU's website:


The Changing Law And Culture Of Privacy In The Wired Age

Come think out loud about how our views of privacy are evolving as wired culture becomes the norm.

Join us Thursday, April 17 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Langdon Street Cafe for a conversation with panelists:

* Frederick S. Lane (First Amendment legal expert and specialist in emerging technology)

* Thomas Streeter (UVM sociology professor and specialist in media, technology, law, and culture)

* Matt Shagam (UVM grad student specializing in Internet media and social trends)

* Allen Gilbert (ACLU executive director).

Free and open to all.

Unfortunately, my son has a school play at the exact same time and I won't be able to make it. I'd like to hear their opinion on who owns blogs. Do I have any rights to this yackfest or does it all belong to I'm guessing it's the latter but could Blogger sue someone if the writer of the blog sold their blog to someone else? Hopefully, some other the other bloggers in the area will be there for it and will have a full report.

Yo Gabba Gabba!

When I was a kid in the 70's, the freakiest kids shows were put together by Sid and Marty Krofft. I never understood what the hell was going on during H.R Pufnstuf or Sigmund & the Sea Monsters but I kept watching simply because...well, I'm not sure why I watched but I liked the freakiness.

These days, it seems like the torch of freaky kids programs has been passed to the lead singer of The Aquabats, Christian Jacobs (aka The MC Bat Commander) and his show Yo Gabba Gabba!. My daughter is completely in love with the show but I can't, for the life of me, figure out what the hell is going on. Yet, it's incredibly colorful and fun to look at. Check out this sample to see what I'm talking about:

The dude in the orange hat is DJ Lance Rock and Biz Markie occasionally makes an appearance but, occasionally, they work in some indie rock as well such as when they used a Low tune in a cartoon.

Good stuff...even if it's freaky.