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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

"Tablespoon" by Confetti Dreams

2667957697-1Confetti Dreams is the alter-ego of Burlington-based electro-folk songstress Lady Lioness, which itself is the pseudonym of regular gal, Erin Cavellier. Confused? Don't be. Just hit play on this track, "Tablespoon," from Confetti Dreams' forthcoming debut for Angioplasty Records — which, incidentally, is being produced by Parmaga's Bryan Parmelee, who sent this cut along. Then close your eyes and drift away in a wash of sweet, dreamy bedroom-pop. Enjoy … 


Confetti dreams - tablespoon


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

CMJ Recap: Badges? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges!

Aaand we're back! 

I had hoped to update my travels around the CMJ Music Marathon in semi-real time last week. But in hindisght, that was probably a little too ambitious. Between panels during the day, endless showcases at night and the general frantic rhythm of of the city, I barely had time to catch my breath, let alone sit down and write. So, in the interest of jotting my scattered thoughts down and sharing what I found, here are a some highlights — and maybe a lowlight or two — from the week that was.


Denver's the Lumineers put on the coolest show I saw during the Music Marathon, and it wasn't really close. The trio had the crowd at the Mercury Lounge hanging on — and often singing along with — every melodious word with an irresisitble blend of sing-song pop and rootsy Americana that recalls the sweeter side of the Avett Brothers, or perhaps Bowerbirds in their more uptempo moments. 

Here's a video of one of my favorite tunes, "The Dead Sea."


And here's one from a performance at the Skinny Pancake in Burlington last March.   

Continue reading "CMJ Recap: Badges? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges!" »

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CMJ Day 1: Sleep Disorders

Howdy, folks. And welcome to the 2011 CMJ Music Marathon, virtual edition, live from drizzly New York City. 

After a delay plagued arrival in NYC yesterday afternoon and a minor fiasco at registration — no, we don't know, or care, who you are. So you just go ahead and wait two hours for your credentials like everybody else, asshole — I finally found myself settled in for four days of rock and or roll in the city that never sleeps.

For the uninitiated, the CMJ Music Marathon is kind of like an east coast version of South by Southwest. For the next four days, every single band in the world will descend on the city and play showcase gigs at clubs and bars all over Manhattan and Brooklyn, in hopes that some killer label or high-powered record exec will discover them and turn them into the next Vampire Weekend. OK, that's maybe a slight exaggeration. It only feels like every band on the planet must be here. Still, it's an underground music lover's paradise. So obviously, the first thing on my agenda this week was … um, standup comedy. 

Eschewing the musical madness in Manhattan (for one night, anyway), I decided to begin the week's journey last night in Park Slope, Brooklyn, at a bar called Union Hall, for a performance by standup comic Mike Birbiglia. Birbiglia is a personal favorite, and the opportunity to catch him in an intimate setting was too good to pass up. I wasn't disappointed. And yeah, it was part of the Music Marathon. So there.

If you've never seen or heard him — he's an occasional contributor to "This American Life" and "the Moth" on NPR — Birbiglia is not a traditional standup. He doesn't tell jokes so much as stories about his own bizarre life experiences and general social awkwardness. While his bits are often wincingly uncomfortable, he also also exudes an irresistible charm that lures you in. Even when riffing on topics as dark as cancer or death, there is a sweet vulnerability in his style that makes him uncommonly relatable. His weaknesses and insecurities — outlandish almost to the point of caricature — make your own seem somehow more manageable. Or at least less crippling by comparison.

Sporting a scruffy beard, his set in the cramped basement of Union Hall — a remarkably cool bar overall, though the noise from the joint's indoor clay bocce courts upstairs was occasionally distracting … yes, you read that correctly — was an unguarded glimpse into Birbiglia's uniquely skewed psyche. The set was billed as his most recent touring show and album, "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend." In reality, it was a loose mix of stories from that show, his "What I Should Have Said Was Nothing" days and his off-Broadway show, "Sleepwalk with Me." But even his more familiar and structured bits — for example, his well-documented battle with sleep disorder — took on an almost improvisational feel. At times, it was as if he was opening his mental notebook to let us see his sketches in their rawest form. It was a treat.

Particularly engaging was the impromptu Q&A with which he closed his set. Birbiglia answered questions about living in New York (very expensive, apparently … who knew?), the week he spent living in a display window at Macy's (kinda creepy) and whether he ever hears from Dennis Eckersley. (That's a great story.) He also mentioned that he's currently editing a film version of "Sleepwalk With Me." You can check out a clip of the standup version below. 






Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"I Was So Wrong" — Justin Levinson

In today's column, I mentioned Justin Levinson would be taking to the stage at Nectar's this Friday, celebrating the release of a new single he recently recorded with Nashville's Madi Diaz. Here's that very single, in clever video form.


Thursday, August 04, 2011

Tell Us How You Really Feel

It's hardly news in Burlington that the Vacant Lots are blowin' up. The garage-psych duo have had quite a run of late, touring the country with the likes of Spectrum, dropping by showcases such as SXSW and the Austin Psych Festival, and signing to hip indie label Indian Summer. For TVL, it has been a very good year indeed.

But it seems in the midst of his wandering, TVL founder and front man Jared Artaud may be souring on the scene in which his band cut its teeth. In a recent interview with music website Rock Edition, Artaud offers some provocative words on the Queen City and its music scene. Here's an excerpt:

Rock Edition: What’s the music scene like in Burlington, VT?

Jared Artaud Jared Artaud: It’s a small city with a big scene: a lot going on, but not a lot happening. In the 4 years I have been in Burlington, I have always tried to get the most out of this city, but I am continually disappointed. There is a lot of activity locally, but not a whole lot that is drawing me out to experience it. There is a lot of mediocrity in Burlington. I think there is a great amount of comfortability and conformity here that I don’t correspond with. Honestly, I feel pretty detached with the scene here. [There are] not a lot of people making music that I like seeing live either. I spent my first year here going to everything, every show, every night. It took me a year to find a drummer to play with!

It’s equally difficult to invite other bands to come and play here, with a low attendance rate and excitement surrounding live shows. I think the greater disappointment with the Burlington music scene is this unspoken notion of, “Well, they’re playing this Friday night, but I’ll catch them next time they play.” How does a local musician make a living with that kind of attitude? That really doesn’t work for me. There are also only a few cool venues to play. Consequently, the scene gets old pretty quick, if you know what I mean. It’s a city that has great potential but continually disappoints, because there is so little really happening here, [and so few] bands that are really saying something. Do you know what I mean? That’s the kinda sad truth of the small city.

We play so few shows here, mostly just incorporating the shows into our future tours and not doing a lot of one-offs. Maybe one to two shows a year, tops. The funny thing, too, is people are always asking, “When are you playing here next?” You tell them you are playing next week and they don’t show up! So why bother at all? I’d [prefer to] just concentrate on writing, recording and developing my ideas, rather than worry too much about when or if we should play here soon. There is also a continual trend with bands leaving Burlington for bigger cities. We’ll see what happens.

Curious sentiment from a guy who said this in a 2009 interview with Seven Days:

The Vacant Lots circa 2009 “There’s just something about Burlington,” he says. “I really believe that a revolution is necessary and that we need to redefine our values and explore new roads. I believe that art can pave that road. And I really believe that is happening here.”

Artaud points to the wealth of artists and musicians, new and old, currently combating what he calls “the decay around us.” When asked to be more specific, his eyes light up. “There are some really great bands doing things here that weren’t happening a year, two years ago,” he says. “There’s a revitalization of spirit. Rough Francis, Blowtorch, Nose Bleed Island . . . these are all people who are expressing in this new light for our generation.”

In his RE interview, Artaud didn't air any grievances we haven't heard before. Disillusioned local musicians have been grumbling about the perceived limitations of the Burlington scene for decades — often blaming fans, as if a packed house is a birthright in BTV. We're not Brooklyn or Austin or Portland. And, for better or worse, we probably never will be. Still, Artaud's apparent change of heart is interesting. Maybe the scene really has diminished in the last two years — at the least, it is always in flux, and ebbs and flows constantly. Maybe for Artaud, Burlington has simply lost its lustre. It happens. Or maybe tasting the riches of higher profile scenes has just made ours seem provincial and plain by comparison. Or maybe Artaud is dead on and Burlington needs a kick its artistic ass. Still, one can't help but wonder how TVL would have fared without the support from bands such as Rough Francis and Blowtorch, and the Burlington scene at large that embraced them in their early days and helped put them on the map. Whether he's right or wrong, as TVL continues its ascent, here's hoping Artaud remembers that.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

So, About All Those Fun Shows at Parima …

It seems things at Parima are devolving faster than anyone expected. As Joe Adler, now-formally the talent buyer at the doomed Thai restaurant/music joint, writes today, the upcoming music calendar has been pretty much wiped clean, from now until the Pearl St. haunt closes in mid-September. All but a few shows have been canceled — including Burgundy Thursday tonight and the entirety of this weekend's slate. The full list of canceled shows is below. In other news, fuck.

Canceled Shows

Thurs, 8/4 - Burgundy Thursdays with Joe Adler featuring The Beerworth Sisters / Dusty Jewels / Don & Jenn
(Singer/Songwriter / Main Stage) 8:30pm, $3

Fri, 8/5 - Kelly Ravin with Lisa Marie Fischer opening
(Blues Rock / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Fri, 8/5 - Second Agenda
(Rock Hop Rebel Folk / Main Stage) 10pm, $3

Sat, 8/6 - Modern Grass Quintet ‏
(Bluegrass / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Sat, 8/6 - Squid City / Project Organ Trio
(Jazz / Rock / Main Stage) 9:30pm, $5

Sun, 8/7 - Queen City Bossa
(Bossa Nova / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Thurs, 8/11 - Eric and Matthias
(Singer/Songwriter / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Thurs, 8/11 - Burgundy Thursdays with Joe Adler featuring Carrie Ferguson / Bill Buyer / Chris Lewis / Tim Berry
(Singer/Songwriter / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Fri, 8/12 - Last October
(Acoustic/Folk / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Fri, 8/12 - Charley Orlando with Steve Hartmann opening
(Jam/Soul/Rock / Main Stage) 9:30pm, $5

Fri, 8/12 - African Party
(Acoustic Lounge) 11:30pm, $5, 60/40 (doors at 11)

Sun, 8/14 - Sarah Louise Pieplow / The Wendigos
(Punky Folk/Garage Rock / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Wed, 8/17 - Too Tight Trio with Kip Meaker
(Blues Rock / Main Stage) 7pm, $5

Thurs, 8/18 - Burgundy Thursdays with Joe Adler featuring Phil Yates & The Affiliates / Jimmy Ruin / Chris Jenkins / UMMA / TBA / TBA
(Singer/Songwriter / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Sat, 8/20 -  Matt Graham Quartet
(Jazz / Main Stage)7pm, $3

Wed, 8/24 - Too Tight Trio with Kip Meaker
(Blues Rock / Main Stage) 7pm, $5

Thurs, 8/25 - Burgundy Thursdays with Joe Adler featuring Robin Reid / James McSheffrey / Clara Berry / Kevin Greenblott / TBA / TBA
(Singer/Songwriter / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Fri, 8/26 - Ragged Glory
(Neil Young Tribute / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Fri, 8/26 - Funkwagon with Dr Ruckus opening
(Funk/Soul / Main Stage) 10pm, $5

Sat, 8/27 - Clara Engel
(Blues/Experimental / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Sat, 8/27 - Bobby Messano Band with Midnight Jones opening
(Blues / Main Stage) 10pm, $5

Fri, 9/2 - Black Mountain Symphony
(Progressive Folk / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Fri, 9/2 - Roots Center Benefit featuring TBA
(Main Stage) 10pm, donation

Sun, 9/4 - Zack duPont's "Let's Make A Record" Sessions featuring The Bob Wagner & Brett Lanier Duo and Maryse Smith
(Singer/Songwriter / Acoustic Lounge) 7pm, $3

Wed, 9/7 - Too Tight Trio with Kip Meaker
(Blues Rock / Main Stage) 7pm, $5

Thurs, 9/8 - Burgundy Thursdays with Joe Adler featuring Robby Hecht / Raph Worrick / Hillary Reynolds Band / Voices2
(Singer/Songwriter / Main Stage) 8:30pm, $3

Fri, 9/9 - Small Change
(Tom Waits Tribute / Main Stage) ‏7pm, $3

Sat, 9/10 - Jen Berger (Acoustic Lounge) 7:30pm, doors at 7pm


Sun, 9/11 - Zack duPont's "Let's Make A Record" Sessions featuring Nuda Veritas and Paper Castles
(Singer/Songwriter / Acoustic Lounge) 7pm, $3

Mon, 9/12 - Mildred Moody's Full Moon Masquerade featuring TBA
(Main Stage) 10pm, $5

Wed, 9/14 - Too Tight Trio with Kip Meaker
(Blues Rock / Main Stage) 7pm, $5

Fri, 9/16 - Triage
(Jazz / Main Stage) 7pm, $3

Fri, 9/16 - Red Hot Juba
(Hot Countrified Jazz and Blues / Main Stage) 9pm, $5


Monday, August 01, 2011

Heavy Metal Recital

I ran into Matt Hagen of Lendway/Nefarius Frenzy a week or two back, and he was positively raving about a surprise act at a recent Metal Monday, the metal series at Nectar's he's been curating/hosting with Metal Matt Longo from WRUV/ I mean, like, wouldn't-shut-about-it raving. The performer's name is Vika, and she plays instrumental versions of metal songs on her piano. And she rawks. Here's a clip from her last appearance at Metal Monday, playing Slayer's "Reign in Blood." FYI, I'm told she'll be back at Nectar's tonight …



Thursday, July 28, 2011


This just in from the lads at Angioplasty Media and GPN's Matt Burr, Daytrotter's Barnstormer series is coming to Vermont. Specifically, the Old Lantern in Charlotte on Sunday August 28.

For the unfamiliar, Barnstormer is like a mobile mini-festival curated by music site Daytrotter that, as its name implies, storms through barns — or in our case, barn-like structures — in random locales around the country, bringing buckets of indie rock cheer where e'er they roam. The VT date features some seriously rad acts, including White Rabbits, Deer Tick (uh-mazing website, BTW), We Are Augustines, Blood Orange and Doug Paisley (no relation to country star Brad Paisley … I think). Ticket info is right here.

Here's a link to a sneak peek clip from Daytrotter that should give you a bit more of an idea what we're in for.

And here is a vid from White Rabbits:


  And one from Blood Orange, just cuz.

Blood Orange - Sutphin Boulevard from Blood Orange on Vimeo.



Friday, July 22, 2011

Parima to Close in September … Sigh.

Well folks, another one bites the dust. And this one stings.

I've just gotten off the phone with Parima talent buyer, Joe Adler, who informed me that the venerable Thai restaurant/increasingly killer music venue will close its doors for good in September. The building was recently sold to another local business, which, for now, will remain anonymous until it has had a chance to inform its employees and make a formal announcement. Adler did note, however, that the plans for the new venture do not include entertainment. What a waste.

Parima 185 Pearl St Burlington
Adler said a blowout farewell party is planned for Saturday, September 17 featuring Jen Hartswick, Nick Cassarino and host of other local favorites. "It will be the craziest party you can imagine," he promised.

I don't know, Joe, I can imagine some pretty crazy parties. Although, I've been to several wild shindigs at Parima in recent months. Over the last year-plus, the juke joint has gone from being a fairly awkward place to see a show to one of the more consistently entertaining venues in town. From his weekly Burgundy Thursday series and the monthly Full Moon Masquerade party to puling in big ticket acts such as the Barr Brothers and Marco Benevento and lining up great local artists week in and week out, Adler and company have created a welcome addition to our cozy little music scene. Parima's impending closure will mean a big, honkin' void for local music fans this fall.

"It's been a great ride," he said. Indeed, Joe.

Parima will close its doors in September, but there is still a full calendar on tap in the meantime, including two shows this evening: an early gig with Rusty Belle, Flightless Buttress and Tommy Alexander, and then a late night throwdown with Bonjour-Hi!, Lazerdisk Party Sex, Craig Mitchell, DJ A-Dog, Mushpost, Bass Culture and DJ Disco Phantom.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hello, Shark!

Unfortunately, news of this show came in too late for me to make mention of or list in the paper this week. But local indie pop outfit Hello Shark are playing Muddy Waters in Burlington this very evening at 10 p.m. Here's hoping the heat has receded to not-life-threatening levels by then and/or that the AC at Muddy's is cranking.

Anyway, to help keep you cool in the meantime, here's a vid of Hello Shark from a recent performance at Foodbar in Portsmouth, NH. Enjoy.


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