Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly. For new content, follow these links:

OFF MESSAGE: Vermont News and Politics
BITE CLUB: Food and Drink Blog

72 posts categorized "Music" Feed

February 29, 2012

Soundbites Part Deux: Live Electronic Acts, Mardi Gras Kickoff and Hello Shark

For a variety of reasons, there were a few items we couldn't get to in this week's Soundbites. So in the interest of filling you in on all the music news that's fit to print — but didn't quite fit in the print edition — we're serving up a special Leap Day addendum to the column.


Thursday, March 1, is a big night for the local EDM scene, as two events look to capture the hearts, minds and shakin' asses of B-town bass heads.

Up first, we have a throwdown called Hoptronica M3 Edition, curated by Nexus Artist Management. The two-venue, three-room dance party will occupy Burlington's 1/2 Lounge, Red Square and the Red Square Blue Room and feature some 15 local, national and international (well, Canadian) DJs spinning a variety of genres, from hip-hop (Queen City DJs A-Dog and Dakota) to house (Nexus' Justin REM and Chris Pattison) and techno (Montréal's DJ Mini) to dubstep and moombahton (Montréal's Elo!I & Heights). There will also be a video DJ on hand, Boston's Jay Nightride.

Meanwhile, at Club Metronome, your bass-lovin' pals from Mushpost are hosting a Mardi Gras kickoff  highlighted by a pair of up-and-coming live electronic acts, Shigeto and Mux Mool. Both artists have recently scored national love from the likes of Pitchfork and Stereogum — the former for a snazzy, jazzy new LP called Lineage, the latter for a "mini" LP of beat collages and synth experiments, Planet High School. Also of note, local indie electro act Errands open the show.

Mux Mool Promo from Dan Huiting on Vimeo.

Continue reading "Soundbites Part Deux: Live Electronic Acts, Mardi Gras Kickoff and Hello Shark " »

February 22, 2012

American Original: More From This Week's Q&A With Anaïs Mitchell

So many words, such tiny word counts.

The interview with Anaïs Mitchell that appears in this week's Seven Days ("American Original") was but a snippet of a longer conversation we recently had with the local songwriter about her new record, Young Man in America. What follows is more from that chat, in which we cover reconnecting with Todd Sickafoose — her producer on Hadestown — how you make something sound both tribal and British, and working with Chris Thile from the Punch Brothers  — who are playing the Higher Ground Ballroom this Saturday, BTW. We also asked about her departure from Rightous Babe Records and her new label, Wilderland Records. (One thing we should have asked: Does this mean we have to stop referring to Mitchell as "Vermont's favorite Righteous Babe"? We sincerely hope not.)

Anais-1mb-Hi-Res-950x632SEVEN DAYS: You worked with producer Todd Sickafoose again on this record. After working together on Hadestown, I imagine there must be a good comfort level there.

ANAIS MITCHELL: It was quite different, because with Hadestown we had Michael Chorney's arrangements already. We came to Todd with a lot of stuff fleshed out, but then he really  brought his own sonic stamp to that record, in a major way. He had more of a free hand, I think. Todd is a pretty wild guy. He's very gentle and quiet, but he's very tenacious about his ideas. He gets on a sonic jag and sometimes you don't understand what he's doing. But then you ultimately realize it.  

I remember going into the recording and the only thing I was really lobbying for was that I wanted drums. I had shied away from that with the previous records I had made with Michael [Chorney]. And it's always been tricky for me because I have a lot of words in my songs and sometimes they make their own rhythm and it's hard to get in there. So I wanted a percussive feeling to reflect that "Young Man" energy.

Also, I had this idea about this harmonic chorus. I saw Levon Helm's band at a bunch of festivals this summer. Have you seen them lately? He tours with these women, I think one is his daughter, and then the other is from Ollabelle. It's so  gorgeous. They sing this call-and-response stuff and it sounds really Appalachian, or like work songs, field chants. And there is something about that that felt kind of ritualistic or tribal. And I wanted that. Also, a lot of the songs were influenced by these British ballads I had been listening to. So I said, "Todd, I want it to sound tribal and British."

Then different phases of the record came. Once he told me he was going to do a session with a flute player. I wasn't at the session, so I was like, "Really? Are you sure?" But ultimately that flute sound became really essential to the songs that it's on. Todd works in mysterious ways.

Continue reading "American Original: More From This Week's Q&A With Anaïs Mitchell" »

January 17, 2012

Miro Worship: An Ode to Weinberger

As campaign season heats up around the country, it's a safe bet the internet will soon be deluged with music videos produced by musically inclined boosters in support of their preferred candidates.

Typically, this is a national phenomenon reserved for presidential elections. (Remember Obama Girl? How about Hank Williams Jr.'s "The McCain-Palin Tradition"?) To our knowledge, there has never been an original music video made in support of a local candidate for any office at a town, state or federal level — though why "Bernie and the Jets" doesn't exist yet is beyond us.

That all changed today when Nate Orshan — aka Nato — threw his musical weight behind the Democratic candidate in Burlington's mayoral race, Miro Weinberger, with a song and video called "Let's Go Miro."

In just under three catchy-as-hell minutes, Orshan espouses Weinberger's various virtues, including that he's a "Green Mountain Boy through and through," has "mad negotiation skills" (skillz?), and will "get with our creditors and sort out all our bills." High praise. Though that last one is a touch confusing, since in general pop-music parlance, when you "get with" someone, it means … er, something other than negotiating. Then again, that could well be a creative strategy for reining in the city's debt.


Continue reading "Miro Worship: An Ode to Weinberger" »

December 09, 2011

Have You Seen This Guitar?

Johua Hardy's TelecasterThanksgiving weekend saw a rash of burglaries in Burlington's Old North End. Among the victims was Ben Hardy, a Seven Days freelance music critic, who returned from a ten-day vacation last week to find his house had been broken into and burglarized.

The thieves got away with a veritable studio's worth of musical items, including five guitars, two amps, a sound system and a turntable, as well as some clothing. But they also made off with something invaluable and irreplaceable: A Fender Telecaster signed by the members of Pearl Jam, given to Hardy's late older brother, Joshua, when he was a teenager.

In 1991, when he was 16, Joshua Hardy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The following year, he was granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to meet his favorite Seattle grunge bands. The MAWF flew the entire family from Durham, NH to Seattle. On the rooftop of Sup Pop Records' downtown Emerald City offices, the Hardys hung out with, well, a who's who of great grunge bands, including 7 Year Bitch, Love Battery, TAD, the Fastbacks, Monkey Wrench, Truly, the Young Fresh Fellows, Gas Huffer, Kill Sybil, Steel Wool and some dudes called Soundgarden. Later, the Posies took Josh record shopping. The following day, he chilled out with Nirvana. (He also spent time with Bill Gates. How grunge is that?)

Make a wishBut unquestionably, the highlight of the trip was receiving the signed Tele from Pearl Jam. Joshua Hardy died a few months later.

Following his death, Josh's parents hung onto the guitar. Last spring, they entrusted it to his younger brother so it could be played every day, which Ben says is exactly what Josh would have wanted.

"Now that guitar is gone," says Ben. "It's worth more to me and my family than anything else in the world."

Last week, Burlington police arrested a suspect in the Thanksgiving week burglary spree, David Verge, 32. Verge is accused of burglarizing as many as nine homes during that time. But he's not a suspect in Hardy's case, according to BPD detective James Trieb, the investigating officer in the Verge case.

Trieb notes that an uptick in burglaries around the holidays is typical, but that the Thanksgiving spree is still unusual. "There were many, many more burglaries in Burlington that week," he says.

Anyone with info regarding Hardy's guitar is encouraged to contact the BPD (658-2704) or to email this writer at [email protected]

WCAX also ran a story about Hardy last night.

December 02, 2011

Burlington Decoded: Stereogum Dishes On 802 Music

Burlington's music scene got some national love today when online tastemaker Stereogum included the 802 in its "Area Codes" feature, an ongoing series profiling various lesser known music scenes around the country. The piece has some nice quotes about the Queen City from local music mavens Alex Crothers of Higher Ground and Nick Mavodones from Angioplasty Media. (Mavodones also works at HG, BTW.)

Although the 802 area code encompasses the entirety of the state, the Stereogum piece is particularly Burlington-centric. Aside from passing mentions of Brattleboro and Bennington, music made outside of the state's biggest little city is pretty much ignored. That's somewhat understandable, especially considering it's a short piece coming from a writer with an outside perspective. Some small acknowledgement of the great tunes coming down from the mountains woulda been nice. But that's a minor quibble. 

The piece does a admirable job of dispelling the myth that Burlington is still a jam band haven. (It ain't. And if you think it is, you should try getting out more often since 2001.) Mavodones in particular notes the city's burgeoning indie, experimental and hip-hop scenes. And the inclusion of some videos from the likes of indie space rockers Parmaga, Death's punk progeny Rough Francis and indie folk sweetheart Maryse Smith, as well as links to download tunes from Villanelles, the Vacant Lots and Lawrence Welks and Our Bear to Cross, among others, is some cool exposure. But to really capture BTV music — an admittedly tall order in a scant 500 words — it might have been wise for Stereogum to cast its gaze a little wider than the Angio/NNA Tapes crew and their associated acts. Not that those bands and labels don't deserve the love — they certainly do. But the piece feels a little clique-y and narrow in focus. Still, it's always nice to see the spotlight shone on our humble little corner of the world.

Here's a link to the entire story. And here's a new video from a great non-Burlington Vermont band, Wooden Dinosaur


November 22, 2011

A Vermonter and His Didgeridoo Are Invited to Senegal

DSC_7054 fbUkeleles may be all the rage, but don't tell that to Pitz Quattrone. The East Montpelier resident, who's been performing since his teen years and playing and teaching the didgeridoo since 1993, is on a mission to spread the, um, drone.

Recently, Quattrone was invited to participate in the Senegal-America Project of the nonprofit Arts Are Essential, Inc. The Massachusetts-based organization, which represents artist-educators throughout the Northeast, offers enrichment trips to the West African nation for cultural and educational exchanges.

Quattrone says he'll be able to teach Senegalese kids how to play the didgeridoo — an ancient Aboriginal wind instrument — and to build their own out of indigenous woods. In addition, Quattrone will get to hang in a local recording studio with percussionist Tony Vacca of World Rhythms, and members of renowned Senegalese musician Baaba Maal's band.

All this fun doesn't come cheap, though; Quattrone is hoping friends, fans and, hey, kind strangers will chip in to help him defray the $3900 travel expenses. And, he points out, donations are tax-deductible. (See the Arts Are Essential website for details.) The trip is scheduled for December and January.

Meanwhile, Quattrone is "in the middle of" recording an album as part of 3 Trees, which also features oud, ney, mouthharp, percussion and chant. The trio's sound has been described as "Middle East meets Native Australia." The new release is due in early 2012.

Want to learn the didge yourself? Start practicing your circular breathing. Quattrone now offers lessons over Skype.



November 16, 2011

Flynn Center Artistic Director Arnie Malina to Retire

Arnie MalinaIt's big news when the artistic visionary of the state's largest performing arts center decides to call it a career. According to a press release issued by the Flynn today, Arnie Malina will retire at the end of January 2012.

"He's been there 15 years, 50 percent of the time the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts has existed," said executive director John Killacky by phone shortly after the announcement. "He's planning  next season, and we've written our grants, so a lot is already in play for next year," he added.

Malina spent many years running the Myrna Loy Center for the Performing and Media Arts in Helena, Mont., before arriving at the Flynn in 1997. During his tenure — and that of prior ED Andrea Rogers — a successful capital campaign transformed the Flynn from a "theater" to a "center," renovated and restored the art-deco facility, added the smaller FlynnSpace, and generally raised the profile of the organization.

Malina's passion for popular, experimental and international arts translated to a huge variety of shows coming to Burlington, putting the relatively small city on a much broader cultural map.

Vermonters have benefited, too, from a number of residencies at the Flynn, enabling locals to interact with, study, listen to and watch artists in the act of creation. This kind of connection apparently gives Malina a particular thrill.

Continue reading "Flynn Center Artistic Director Arnie Malina to Retire" »

November 10, 2011

Occupy Bordello

4Man, I wish Eugene Hutz would loosen up a little bit. With a little more charisma, he could really go places.

I'm kidding, of course. The Burlington expat and the leader of globetrotting gypsy punks Gogol Bordello has done pretty well for himself since leaving the Queen City a decade ago to seek his fame and fortune in New York City — he now lives in Brazil. He's appeared in films such as Everything Is Iluminated and Filth & Wisdom. He's canoodled with Madonna. He's become the poster child for music that cross-pollinates western rock and punk with Eastern European influences. Simply put, Hutz has become a star. While his considerable talent is certainly key to his success, his sheer force of personality — namely, his irresistible, devilish charm — has been equally important in his transformation from teenaged Chernobyl refugee to global sensation.

Those of us who have been around Burlington long enough to remember his 1990s punk band, the Fags, have always known Eugene is special. Last night, Burlington was treated to an intimate glimpse of just how enigmatic and compelling a performer he is: Hutz and a handful of his Gogol bandmates dropped by the Occupy Burlington camp for an impromptu — if not exactly "secret" — show at, or rather in, the fountain at City Hall Park.

Continue reading "Occupy Bordello" »

October 24, 2011

Fired Conductor Ronald Braunstein and VYOA Reach Settlement

Sota-RB-headshot-largeNearly a year after the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association fired Ronald Braunstein — and seven months since the former conductor-director sued the nonprofit — the parties have reached a settlement. You're probably wondering, for how much?

So did I. But today the VYOA issued a not-very-informative statement that basically suggests the opponents have kissed — or at least shaken hands — made up, and agreed to never say any more bad things about each other.

Here it is:

"The Board of Directors of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association and Ronald Braunstein are pleased to announce the resolution of their disagreements and the termination of litigation.

"VYOA wishes to make clear that under Mr. Braunstein's conducting, VYOA's students were inspired to reach new levels of musical excellence. As described by Board member Nancy Waples, 'It was truly remarkable to experience the connection he had with our students. The orchestra performed some of the most exhilarating concerts in the history of our organization and their passion was palpable throughout the concert hall.'

Continue reading "Fired Conductor Ronald Braunstein and VYOA Reach Settlement" »

October 17, 2011

Two Days, Two Rallies Bring Hundreds to "Occupy" Burlington (VIDEO)

IMG_3012Vermont's Occupy Wall Street solidarity movement saw some of its biggest rallies yet this past weekend, and its first steps toward harnessing the energy from these protests into more concrete action.

On Saturday, roughly 500 people filled City Hall Park and then marched up Church Street before heading up the hill to Fletcher Allen Health Care and the University of Vermont. There, protesters called for fair contracts for staff at the two institutions.

Contract talks between the administration and all three of UVM's unions are at an impasse, while nurses are already engaged in tough negotiations for a new contract.

On Sunday, fewer than 200 protesters gathered in City Hall Park for the first "general assembly" after four consecutive weeks of protests and speakouts.

Continue reading "Two Days, Two Rallies Bring Hundreds to "Occupy" Burlington (VIDEO)" »

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684