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72 posts categorized "Music"

June 28, 2012

Soundbites Extra: Polka Edition

Some weeks, there are simply too many nifty music tidbits to fit in our li'l weekly music column, Soundbites. And sometimes, said nifty tidbits just come in way past deadline. (Friday, people. Friday.) 

In any event, to fill the void and keep you up to date on all the news that didn't fit for print — or came in late … FRIDAY, DAMMIT!— here's a quickie extra edition of Soundbites.

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PUMP UP THE VOLUME

The July 3 party at Speaking Volumes has become something of an Independence Day-ish tradition in Burlington. And with good reason. Now entering its sixth year, the annual bash behind the eclectic secondhand shop on Pine Street is a great off-the-beaten-path alternative to the madddening throngs along Waterfront Park and other locales around the Queen City, and a cool spot to catch the imitation bombs bursting in air.

Also, the party routinely features some great local musical talent, with this year no exception. Rocking for freedom this time around are danceable Afro-pop outfit the Move It Move It, vowel-challenged EDM duo Principal Dean & Snakefoot Are FRNDS, spacey apparitional popsters Parmaga and — always a crowd pleaser — "special guests."  

Continue reading "Soundbites Extra: Polka Edition" »

April 24, 2012

Rock Out(side): More Summer Concerts Announced

The good folks over at Higher Ground Presents announced a slew of outdoor summer shows this morning, including the headlining acts for the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival and a few choice dates at the Shelburne Museum. In chronological order, they are: 

LovettJuly 20: Andrew Bird at the Ben & Jerry's Concerts on the Green at Shelburne Museum.

August 1: Rufus Wainwright at Shelburne Museum.

August 7: Lyle Lovett at Shelburne Museum.

August 9: Gogol Bordello at Waterfront Park in Burlington.

August 10: Old Crow Medicine Show at Waterfront Park in Burlington.

August 11: Strangefolk at Waterfront Park in Burlington.

August 12: Citizen Cope at Waterfront Park in Burlington

That's a pretty star-studded midsummer run, no? Also of note are the openers for Old Crow Medicine Show on August 10: the Milk Carton Kids and the Lumineers. The latter band recently played a tremendous set at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge, thrilling a surprisingly large and enthusiastic midweek crowd and reaffirming my budding love affair with them.

Also, here's hoping Andrew Bird plays this:

 

April 12, 2012

We've Got the Shakes

Wanna go see Alabama Shakes at Higher Gound this Saturday? Of course you do. Problem is, the show is sold out and you forgot to get tickets. Bummer, dude. But you might be in luck.

Through the magic of being awesome, we've got two tickets to the show to give away. But we're going to make you work for them. To win the tix, go to our music editor's Facebook page, Dan Bolles — That Guy From the Seven Days, and post something funny. That's it. Around 5 o'clock, we'll review the postings and bestow the tickets on whomever most tickles our funny bone. And yes, you'll have to "like" the page first. And yes, it's a shamless ploy to drive up traffic. But hey, you might just score free tickets out of the deal…

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April 11, 2012

The Jazzmen (and Women) Cometh: BDJF 2012 Lineup Announced

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, leaves are confused and at a press conference earlier today the lineup for the 2012 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival was announced. It's official, folks. Spring has sprung in Vermont.

As usual, this year's lineup features a wealth of options, jazz and jazz-ish, to suit a wide variety of tastes. But in contrast to previous fests anchored by jazz icons such as Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins, the 2012 BDJF lineup feels a little less top heavy and more balanced throughout.

To be sure, there are some big names atop the marquee — Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Cliff and Diane Reeves, to name a few. But the bulk of the slate comprises a mix of heavy hitters (Christian McBride, Marco Benevento), rising stars (Donny McCaslin Group, Trombone Shorty) and lesser-known up-and-comers (Mary Halvorson Quintet, Asphalt Orchestra) that should place the notion of discovery front and center at this year's fest.

You can check out the entire lineup at the BDJF website, which launched today. But here are a few quick hits that have this critic pretty, um, jazzed. (Sorry.)

The Stooges Brass Band, City Hall Park, Saturday, June 2.

OK, I confess. I saw the name and had visions of a N'awlins brass band doing Iggy Pop. That's not quite what we'll get on Big Joe Burrell Day. But judging by this version of Chick Corea's "Spain," the band's mix of traditional New Orleans brass and urban beats and rhythms is a good consolation.

 

Continue reading "The Jazzmen (and Women) Cometh: BDJF 2012 Lineup Announced" »

April 05, 2012

Soundbites Extra: These Go to 11

Happy Thursday, music fans! And for baseball fans, happy Opening Day. (And for Red Sox fans, please look straight ahead. Nothing happened last year. Everything's fine. Dandy, even. Thumbs up! Oh, God …) 

Since this week's Soundbites column was put to bed, a few interesting tidbits have come in over the wire that merit some attention, in addition to some news and notes that didn't quite fit in the print the edition.

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First up, congratulations to your bracket-loving deejays at WRUV 90.1 FM. UVM's beacon of awesomeness is the winner of Soundtap Madness, a NCAA March Madness style tournament that pitted 64 of the top college radio stations in the US and Canada against one another to determine which one will leave school after their freshman year for the NBA. Or maybe who has the strongest online listenership. The press release was little unclear.

The tourney has been running since March 15, with UVM advancing through each three-day round with relative ease, save for an Elite 8 scare against Texas' Rice University in which they won with the radio equivalent of a desperation half-court shot at the buzzer — playing nothing but Phish bootlegs from MSG in 1997, which subconsciously caused every groovy UV alum from 1994 to 2006 to tune in. Hey, Texas. Don't mess with Vermont.

Continue reading "Soundbites Extra: These Go to 11" »

March 23, 2012

For Anaïs, a Short While Ago: Bon Iver Covers Anaïs Mitchell

Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Vermont's favorite (former) Righteous Babe, Anaïs Mitchell, became good pals a couple of years ago, when Vernon lent his airy falsetto to Mitchell's Hadestown recording and the two toured together through Europe. Recently, the Grammy-winning Vernon — who somehow won the 2012 "Best New Artist" statuette for his third release — did a version of Mitchell's "Coming Down," from her new album, Young Man in America, for Australia's Triple J Radio station. It's a nifty take on Mitchell's tune, and Vernon and company manage to make it sound, well, just like a Bon Iver song, which ain't exactly a bad thing. Check it out:

 

March 22, 2012

Soundbites Extra: Of Men, Jerks and Nicki Minaj

Since I spent the bulk of my column this week reliving SXSW fun, we're busting out a special online addition to Soundbites, filling you in on all the news that wasn't fit for — or at least didn't fit in — print.

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Speaking of SXSW, I caught these guys while I was there. They rock. You should catch them when they're here this Sunday, March 25, at the Monkey House, with Nude Beach, Rough Francis and DJ Disco Phantom.

 

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And speaking of the Monkey House, it'll be awfully nice to see our old friends Crinkles, who relocated to Brooklyn from Burlington, when they hit Little Williamsburg on Tuesday, March 27, with Brenda, SpoftSpot, tooth ache. and, of course, the ubiquitous Disco Phantom. (Is it possible he is, in fact, a phantom? Dude. Is. Everywhere.)

 

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Why is being an asshole such an effective strategy for attracting the fairer sex? On “Jerk,” the lead single from their 2011 sleeper hit debut, Stephie Coplan and the Pedestrians cheekily cop to the frustrating but irrefutable fact that the quickest way to woman’s … er, heart is to have “I-don’t-give-a fuck-style.” The stylish video for that song has since gone semi-viral, rocketing the NYC trio to the top of many a “band to watch” list in 2012 and endearing them to legions of dickish lotharios and the women who love (and hate) them. This Friday, March 23, Coplan and company heat up Radio Bean. And here's that nifty video:

 

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Steve WaltienIn nonvideo news, comedian Nathan Hartswick and his wife — and fellow comedian — Natalie Miller, recently launched a podcast series as a multimedia arm of their Spark Arts venture. The latest episode features Vermont native (and, full disclosure, longtime friend of yours truly) Steve Waltien. Waltien was recently added to the Main Stage cast at Second City in Chicago, which is a big freakin' deal in improv-comedy circles. Anyway, on the podcast, Waltien talks about comedy, his career in improv and, of course, growing up in VT.

 

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Last but not least: Going to see Jay Sean this Saturday, March 24, at St. Mike's? Be sure to say hello to Rob Larow and Jeremy Skaller (ex-Belizbeha), two former Vermonters who flew the coop and made good. Larow and Skaller run Orange Factory Music, a studio and production company in NYC and have had a hand in a slew of Billboard chart-topping dance hits for the likes of Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Beyoncé, as well as a bunch for Jay Sean. Here's one of them:

 

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March 15, 2012

SXSW Day 3: No Rest for the Weary

Editor's note: Seven Days music editor Dan Bolles is in Austin, Texas, this week attending the annual South By Southwest Music Festival.

It's a good thing I'm coming home Saturday morning. I'm not sure my wallet or my body would be able to take much more of SXSW. I'm having a lot of fun and seeing some great bands. But I'm running on fumes. Sometimes it's good to remind myself that I'm 33, not 23.

Yesterday's shenanigans included catching up with some old favorites, specifically Andrew Bird and Chris Thile's excellent band, the Punch Brothers. Incidentally, I've interviewed both Bird and Thile, and they remain two of my favorite Q&As. Both are articulate, interesting and entertaining. They're also both phenomenal live.

I caught Punch Brothers at a Warner Music showcase that also featured Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. who did an oddly touching cover of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." Here's a version:

 

Bird was the headlining act for a NPR showcase at Stubb's. BBQ and whistle rock. Throw in 80 degree weather (check) and you've got my personal paradise. As usual, he was excellent. And the songs from his new album, Break It Yourself, translate incredibly well in a live setting. It's a bummer he's not coming any closer than Boston on his current tour.

However, a band that is coming to Burlington — and that I'll be interviewing soon — is one of my favorite finds from last fall's CMJ showcase in NYC, the Lumineers. I just caught them a few minutes ago at the WXPN Day Stage, which you can stream. It'll be like we're rocking out together. Anyway, the Lumineers are playing Higher Ground on April 17. Fans of the Avett Brothers would do well to mark that day on their calendars.

 

 

March 14, 2012

SXSW Day 2: Randomonium

Editor's note: Seven Days music editor Dan Bolles is in Austin, Texas, this week attending the annual South By Southwest Music Festival.

Some scattered thoughts from the last 24 hours of SXSW:

Austin might be the most hyped "cool" city this side of Portlandia. But it is deserved. Granted, a booze-fueled shitshow like SXSW is probably not the time to get a genuine feel for the city. But everything you've heard about the live music capital of the world is true. The people are friendly, the food is absurd, the women are beautiful and the music … oh, the music.

Speaking of hype (and music), there is no shortage of either during SXSW. And it's wise to take everything you read and hear with a grain of salt. (Except from me, obvs.) To wit, a band called Lighthouse and the Whaler. These guys are one of the presumed "it" bands at SXSW this year. You'll hear about them soon, I bet. I caught their set last night, and there were several major label scouts in attendance. And with good reason. They're basically Arcade Fire lite. A safe, predictable knockoff that seems to be exactly the sort of thing that gets major label scouts all hot and bothered and pisses off people like me (asshole critics) because they're really not doing anything other than regurgitating someone else's brilliant formula. But people will eat them up when the hype machine kicks into post-SXSW overdrive. Look for them in a car commercial near you. 

I spent some quality time hanging with Casey Rae-Hunter last night. You may remember him as the "old Dan Bolles," or, the 7D music editor previous to myself. It occurs to me how lucky we were to have Casey during his tenure. He's possibly the smartest guy I know, a walking encyclopedia of music knowledge and, not inconsequentially, my mentor. If you haven't kept up with him since he left Burlington, do yourself a favor and check out his work with the Future of Music Coalition in Washington DC. Unless you don't care about things like artists' rights, net neutrality and other such pressing topics weighing on the hearts and minds of musicians and fans. It's important stuff.

If you ever go to SXSW, prepare to wait in line. A lot. For everything. Last night, I waited about 45 minutes in a line (which is short by SXSW standards) to see a band whose name I can't even remember and will probably never think of again once this paragraph is over. Then I went to the Belmont to see one of my all-time favorite bands, Built to Spill. There was no line. None. Thrilled as I was to get into the show and be within 20 feet of one of the most infuential indie rock bands ever, the fact that there wasn't a queue profoundly irritated me. I know most folks are here looking for the "next big thing" — myself included. But come on, people. Without bands like BTS, there would not be Modest Mouse, or My Morning Jacket or Arcade Fire — or, I suppose, the Lighthouse and the Whaler. Show a little respect. I will now step off my soapbox.

 

Being in Austin makes me think of "Friday Night Lights," a tragically underappreciated TV drama about high school football in Texas that really wasn't about football at all. Clear eyes, full hearts.

Being in Austin also makes me think about BBQ. I have yet to eat any BBQ here. I'll rectify that situation today.

The other thing being in Austin makes me think about are VT artists who have come here to live and play. Like Lowell Thompson, Greg Izor and, one of my favorite BTV bands, the Cave Bees. Lowell and Greg aren't here this week, but I'll get to see the Bees tomorrow, with Bill Mullins on guitar. I'm very happy about that.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find some brisket. 

 

 

March 13, 2012

SXSW Day 1: March Madness

Editor's note: Seven Days music editor Dan Bolles is in Austin, Texas, this week attending the annual South By Southwest Music Festival.

I'm sitting on a second-floor patio at the Austin Convention Center, overlooking throngs of lanyard-clad hipsters milling about on the street below. Most look confused. I can identify. But there's a palpable excitement in the air, too. That warm, welcoming Texas air. (It's about 80 degrees today. I believe I'm already sunburned.)

I arrive in Austin last night tired and irritable, and about an hour and a half late due to a lengthy delay in Hotlanta. But within minutes of touching down, I find myself in a ramshackle cantina call Polvos, gorging on the best Tex Mex I've had in years and swilling ice-cold Lone Star beers. My moods improves quickly, and drastically.

I make my way into in downtoan Austin and meet an old friend, Mike, at quiet bar removed from the bustling crowds a block away. Mike tells me he's been in town for 36 hours. He hasn't slept. He's a little tipsy. But he's jazzed for an afterparty with some bands on his label. Mike works for a subsidiary of a big-deal record company as a digital marketing something or other. He's says we're on the VIP list.

We're whisked past the line at what appears to have been a restaurant in a former life, but has been commandeered and transformed into a rock club solely for SXSW. I'm told this is not unusual and that entire buildings are often repurposed as rock-and-roll playpens during the conference every March. We discover there is free beer. I'm told this is also not unusual. My liver cringes.

Continue reading "SXSW Day 1: March Madness" »

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