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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Easy Being Green

Aaaand we're back! For at least a day or two. Then we're going away again for a few days because I'm moving … But then we'll be back again! And better than ever. As far as you know.

Anyhoo … this is relatively apropos of nothing, but in chatting with Bucket Hingley from the Toasters for a Q&A running in tomorrow's paper (to preview tomorrow's Metronome show!), I asked him if there were any younger up and coming ska bands that had caught his ears of late. I've been in a nostalgic kinda mood recently, particularly when it comes to my checkered first love, ska. Buck mentioned a few bands that were new to me, which you can read about tomorrow. After checking out the handful he suggested, one in particular stuck out to me, Indiana's Green Room Rockers. Check 'em out below. (And yeah, I know. Dude's a little pitchy. But it's still a cool tune, methinks.)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No Vacancy

Aaaand we're back.

Sorry for the lack of activity in this humble little corner of the interwebs of late. What can I say? It's been an interesting week. But enough excuses already. Let's get down to business.

Agenda item number one is some nifty exposure for one of this writer's local favorites, the Vacant Lots. The duo was recently featured on a mixtape over at Altered Zones, Pitchfork Media's sister blog. The band got some love on the big site too. And a nice review of the track that appears on AZ's August mixtape, "Confusion." 

Here's the Pitchfork link to the mixtape. And here's the AZ review. Congrats, dudes.

In other news, the town seems fairly abuzz over tonight's full-band David Bazan show at Metronome. Count me squarely among those giddy masses. But also count me among those who will try like hell to make it to the 'nome on time (for once) to catch the evening's opening act, Omaha's the Mynabirds. Check 'em out.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to the Future: 1995 Revisited, Revisited

Hey folks. Super busied up today getting ready for 7D's big 15th birthday party this evening (5p.m.-ish. Our offices at 255 S. Champlain St. You should come!) So this post is gonna be a quicky. 

Continuing our look back into 1995(ish), I've two more tunes from Club Fub. Eff's "Stable" and "Bradley's Almanac," the Madelines tune that inspired Brad Searles' totally awesome blog — where you can go to find all of the songs, and many, many other great tunes from Burlington's alt-rock heyday. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Mike + Ruthy, "End of Time"

We're going to take a break from your regularly scheduled retro reminiscences, to focus on a current outfit, Mike + Ruthy, who will be rocking the weekly Bluegrass Thursdays series tonight at Nectar's.

I had a great conversation with guitarist/vocalist Mike Merenda a couple of days ago, which I had hoped to post here. Unfortunately, I won't have time to transcribe the whole thing. So I'll sit on that until they come back around. It'll be worth the wait, I promise.

However, at the end of our phoner, I asked Merenda to choose one song from the duo's new album, Million to One, as a personal favorite and why. Here's what he said, as well as the tune itself, "End of Time." 

"End of Time" is sort of the launching point for the whole record. Just from a sonic point of view, I feel it's where the entire record comes from. And from an emotional point, it means the most for me. I definitely tend to write from the ether, and I never know what's going to come on the page. I don't sit down to write anything specifically. I guess I feel like it's to contrived to be like, "Well, now I'm going to go write a song." I try to keep it more organic — although that might be pushing it to say that's exactly my process. 

But that song came about at a very critical point in my life. It was right when Ruthy and my son was born. But then the same week, our friend was killed in Iraq, maybe two days after our son was born. And I had to sort through all of these very high highs, and very low lows: losing a childhood friend, and welcoming my first child into the world. I think that song bounces back and forth between bliss and desperation, and ends up somewhere in between. It's not telling a linear story, but for me it gets a lot of that emotion out of me, and into the world. -Mike Merenda

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Lock All the Doors: 1995 Revisited

If you missed last night's five-year Honky Tonk Tuesday anniversary … well, my friends, you missed a hell of a night. The cowboy boot-clad Queen City faithful were in rare, glorious form. You also missed the cameo appearance of the year. And no, I don't mean my humble return to the stage. Though I will say I pulled off a half-decent rendition of Buck Owens' "Close Up the Honky Tonks," and did justice to Gram Parsons' "A Song For You." But the real kicker was a surprise appearance from a local legend …

Neko Case.

OK, I'm messing with you. The local legend was none other than Eugene "Country Band-a Style" mothereffin' Hutz, who dropped by and did a killer version of "Folsom Prison Blues," complete with about three off-the-cuff original verses. Simply put, it was friggin' awesome. So friggin' awesome, in fact, that a female friend of mine approached Hutz outside afterward and said — and I quote — "I want to have your Gypsy babies." True story.

Anyway, speaking of mid-1990s Burlington greats, remember Tim Lauben?

To be honest, I had sorta forgotten about the guy. But back in the day, he was among my favorite local songwriters, right alongside Matt Hutton (Envy) and Tom Lawson (The Pants). But then I stumbled upon a Club Fub compilation over at Brad Searle's excellent website, Bradley's Almanac, and rediscovered how much I used dig his bands, Snowplow, Huffy and My Own Sweet.

So, to continue with the self-congratulatory celebration of 7D's 15-year anniversary, I offer two tracks from the aforementioned Club Fub comp. The first, Huffy's "Carry" from their Sunny Drive Time EP, a cassette I believe may still be in the tape deck of my first car, and probably worn away to nothing. The second is "Marble," from Snowplow's never-competed full-length. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

It's Your Birthday: Snapshots of 1995

Hey there, Solid State.

Believe it or not, but 7D turns 15 years-old this week. So in honor of that momentous milestone, I'm digging into the vault to find interesting (and potentially embarrassing) music-related mementos involving local bands who were active circa 1995.

Today's find: press photos. Like, actual, physical photos emblazoned with contact info that were gathering dust an old filing cabinet here in the office. As my boss mentioned while we were digging through them earlier, the idea of hard copy press pics feels so quaint compared to the .jpeg and .tif files we rely on now. But back in my day that's how we did it, and that's how we liked it, dangnabbit! Ahem.

But something else struck me about these pics too. Maybe it's just that 7D photog Matt Thorsen took most of them, but they are generally far more interesting and artfully composed than the bulk of the press pics I see on a daily basis, most of which are of the garden variety band-on-a-wall/bridge/tree/field/etc. Perhaps when you don't have the luxury of disposable digital files, you're less complacent about the pics you do take?

In any event, here is a sampling. I'm guessing they'll inspire some fond memories for many of you, as they certainly did me. Tune in later this week when we raid Bradley's Almanac for some Club Fub classics.

  ContructionJoe Pants2 Pants3 Phish1 ZolaTurn

ChinHo  Dysfunkshun


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Happy 9/02/10!

If you didn't grow up in the early 1990s, today's date may not have much significance for you. However, if you're old enough to remember "Beverly Hills 90210" — the original, not the atrocity currently airing — then September 2, 2010 is a glorious day indeed: 9/02/10. So with that in mind, I give you the one, the only, David Silver …

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

India Jones and the Temple of Boom: Das Racist Rides Again

My borderline unhealthy love for Das Racist has been well documented in these e-pages this summer. So imagine my delight to find an email with a link to a preview clip in my inbox today. Go ahead, imagine it, dammit … I'll wait.

The Brooklyn-based duo's second mixtape, Sit Down, Man, drops on September 14. But Pitchfork will have an exclusive video premiere of the mixtape's first single, "Who's That? Brooown!" this Thursday. In the meantime, here's the aforementioned preview.

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