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Friday, September 29, 2006

Staying in.

Babysitting the drugged-out cat, drinking Shipyard's tasty Pumpkinhead brew and watching the new series of Dr. Who, and later, Bill Maher.

If you manage to get out tonight, go see Swale at Parima.

We'll catch up at Built to Spill on Sunday...

New Kool Keith album a "fake."

It has recently been revealed that the latest disc from leftfield MC Kool Keith is an industry hoax. The CD was sent to me, but I never opened the shrinkwrap. And I'm a fan. Musical spidey-sense? Perhaps.

The album in question, The Return of Dr. Octagon, was widely marketed as a sequel to the alias-happy rapper's 1996 classic, Dr. Octagon.

I wondered why Keith hadn't done any touring to support the release.

Read the full scoop here.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bad, awful, shitty rotten luck.


Brooke and I aren't particularly lucky with cats. Our first baby boy, Loki (the kid I'm mugging with in my blog photo) died of bizarre brain seizures. Now our little girl, Natashcha, is suffering from a mystery bone ailment.  Thankfully, Brando, our other boy, is strong like ox.

It began when we noticed  Natascha  only using three legs to walk. We brought her into the vet last night, thinking she may have sprained her paw wrestling with Brando. Because that dude is large, in charge and has periodic spells of jerkitude.

Sadly, the vet examined her in the very room in which we recently put Milla down. That cat belonged to my ex, Leda. She had been our dear kitty for years. It truly sucked.

Anyway, back to our present shit situation. The doc said that Natascha might have a sprain or a hairline fracture, and instructed us to bring her back the next morning for X-rays. Which we did.

I just got a call from the vet saying that she's got bone degeneration in her wrist. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be repairing itself. Possible causes may include viral or fungal infection (rare) or bone cancer (also rare, particularly in a one year-old).

A piece of her bone was removed, and is being sent to some lab for further testing. This takes 1-2 days, meaning we probably won't know until early next week what the next course of action should be.

Thankfully, she isn't in too much pain; she just doesn't use that paw to get around. But I wonder: what are we supposed to do if it's bone cancer? I can't bear to watch her suffer, but I'm tired of having to euthanize these poor little creatures.

So that's today's fun.

On a happier note, ex-Burlingtonian Brad Searles made the mother of all James Kochalka Superstar posts over at Bradley's Almanac.


Thanks for the comments... Isn't this supposed to be a music-related blog?

Natascha is all doped up on doggie painkillers, (for real — that's what they gave us) and is having a blast. They're non-drowsy, which means she's mobile. But I'm woried, 'cause she thinks she can run on her bum paw. But I'm glad she's happy.

We saw the X-Rays, and could totally make out a weird grey area over two bones in her wrist. The doc doubts that its cancer, but she's also never seen a fungus of this sort before, so who knows?

The bill was like, $500, though — yikes.

We'll get the tests back from the lab soon.

Other than that, things are OK.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Built to Spill audio excerpt.

As promised, I'm posting a portion of my recent interview with Brett Netson of Built to Spill.

It's a little grainy sounding 'cause my minidisc recorder is from the 1920s. Anyway, the segment concerns Netson's love for amp building, as well as our mutual distaste for much of today's music. We blab about ProTools too, but I edited out the super geeky shit.

Check it.

I've learned I have to stop saying "uh-huh" all the damn time if I'm gonna keep posting these clips. Guess it'll give me something to work on in my next interview.

Stopgap post.

Later today, I plan to post audio excerpts from my conversation with Built to Spill's Brett Netson. The band rocks HG on Sunday.

I may offer more such clips in the future. That way, you can be privy to some of the weird shit that happens in interviews — like Jolie Holland singing me a Willie Nelson song. Which really doesn't come across in print.

But now I'm at work, where my editing software isn't.

By the by, you might notice today's Seven Days is a little different, layout-wise. Let me know what you think.

And finally, Jenny Lewis is such a doll. Here's what's on her iPod, courtesy The Onion.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Scumdogs invade South Burlington.

Might want to get that checked out, dude...

Holy shit. We're all in for it now.

Monday, September 25, 2006

It's Monday.

I'm violating a cardinal rule of blogging: Don't Post Unless You Have Something to Say.


Anyway, I spent the weekend in a semi-laid up state, due to a weird lower back spazz. It's still kind of messed up. Not sure why — I missed a few days at the gym, and the body is having its revenge. I'm walking like a 70 year-old looking for the public restroom.

The Trachtenburg Family is tonight at HG, but standing up for any length of time will likely be painful.

Thanks to everyone who gave their opinion about my podcast! The next one will be that much better for it. Speaking of, I already have the theme and most of the tunes picked out. I'm gonna keep mum for now, though. And that's hard for a guy like me.

What else? Sue & Nick of Video Pigeon are blogging from their new Berlin (not New Hampshire) digs. Lucky bastards. I think...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Podcast #1.

Enjoy my very first podcast.

The Contrarian's Corner — Episode I: Freaks, Geeks & Sweetiepies


#1: I was drinking wine, so I sound friggin' stupid.

#2: There's a lot of fade-ins during songs. This is on purpose, primarily to discourage music thieving. Not that any of you good people would do such a thing. Also, it allows me to prattle about trivia and ruin some wonderful music at the same time.

#3 At one point, I mention the Beatles, calling them "Paul, George, Paul and Ringo." Yes, I'm aware there's only one Paul in the group. No need to point it out.

Other than that, I think it's pretty fun. But you tell me!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Soap Opera Madness.

This video has been floating around on YouTube for about a month now, but man is it bizarre! I'm not even gonna describe it. You just gotta watch.

Ken gets 'Spread.


Intrepid Seven Days reporter Ken Picard took one for the team and went to see the Widespread Panic show at Memorial Auditorium last night. As he's been known to enjoy himself a little WP, I asked him to write about his experience. Here's what he had to say:

Widespread Panic: Tuesday, September 19 @ Memorial Auditorium, Burlington:

It’s been, oh, a good decade or so since I last saw a Widespread Panic show — at the Back Yard in Austin, Texas, with a noggin full of brownies — and admittedly, I had my doubts. Guitarist Michael Houser has long since moved on to the great noodle session in the sky, and Casey Rea’s lamentably spot-on review last week of the new disc, Earth to America, more or less tore the band a new jam hole. Worse, WSP was booked into one of my least favorite venues, Memorial Auditorium, which has all the acoustical appeal of hollering into an empty paint can.

Then again, like lobsters and sex shows, Widespread Panic is always better live, and this one was no exception — even without the help of Duncan Hines. Reportedly, last night’s performance was only the fourth outing with the band for former Dead/Aquarium Rescue Unit guitarist Jimmy Herring, and he didn’t disappoint. It took him the better part of the first set to start flexing his muscles, but after the set break, the gymnasium smelled like Otto’s jacket and the energy level ratcheted up several notches.

I doubt the show sold out — it was a school night, after all — but it was comfortably warm in the house, with plenty of dancing space. Sadly, I missed the “Travelin’ Light” encore. But hey, my girlfriend was back in town and she’s much easier on the eyes than Dave Schools. Someone should tell him to lay off the Ho-Ho's.

Set list compliments of

1: Send Your Mind, Little Lily, Ride Me High > I’m Not Alone > Better Off, Crazy, Down, Tortured Artist > Henry Parsons Died
2: Good People, Heroes, Casa Del Grillo, Weight of the World > Mercy> Drums > Hatfield > Goin’ Out West > Chainsaw City

Encore: Time Waits > Travelin’ Light

So there you have it. A nice counter to last week's rather brutal CD review.

PS: Stay tuned for the unveiling of my first podcast, "The Contrarian's Corner," this Friday!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Go Plattsburgh!

Resonator are a cool instrumental band from across the lake. Aquarius Records is an awesome San Francisco music store.

Now the two are aligned:

RESONATOR Lost Language (Human Identity Recordings) cd 14.98   

The first few seconds of Lost Language, a blast of fuzzy crumbling distortion will have you expecting the latest slab of monster sludge, or a blast of pummeling downtuned brutality. And the bands pedigree might have you expecting something similar, guitarist Larry Dolan produced the debut full length from metallic post rockers Tides and drummer Mikey Lemieux used to bash the skin for metalcore heavyweights Drowningman. But what you get instead is some killer, super propulsive, slightly mathy, but very moody, instrumental rock, that harkens back to bands like Pell Mell. There's all sorts of definite reference points, Pell Mell is the most obvious, a simultaneously laid back and caffeinated burst of super energetic mathy groove. But can hear lots of nineties indie rock, plenty of SST, a bit of Tortoise, some Minutemen for sure. Surf rock guitars are wound tight beneath thick splashy swirls of open high-hat and frenetic almost funky drumming, the bass is sometimes slithery and dark, sometimes rubbery and almost dub like. Some tracks stretch into languid epics, others fly by, a manic expulsion of chaotic energy. Once in a while they sound a little like a less Joy Division obsessed Interpol, but again with that nineties instrumental rock vibe. The final track is the show stopper, a near half an hour epic, that almost sounds like the band took the first seven tracks and rearranged, reshaped, and reimagined them into one lengthy jam, keening angular riffs, wildly chaotic drumming, a hypnotic neverending epic, with cool backwards guitars, some My Bloody Valentine swoosh, the whole thing constantly shifting from full blown overdrive, to laid back lope, and back again, until the whole thing fades to a haunting soundscape of minimal guitar drone. Finally, a simple tribal rhythm emerges, and the track unwinds, a slowly decelerating coda, all muted rhythmic rumble and barely there melody. So cool.

Very cool to see.

Weddings & Allsorts.

Last weekend was tremendously fun. We went to the coolest wedding ever, and ate a crapload of terrific food.


Arthur Adams' funny and moving wedding song.

His band, Blammos, transformed into a lounge act for the procession.

Those same dudes pop-rocking at Radio Bean the night before.

James Kochalka cutting the rug with a bunch of tykes at the reception. I couldn't decide who was having more fun, James or the kids!

Unrelated things to ponder:

Should I get the new, 80GB iPod to replace my 30GB? There are rumors about a touch-screen video version for the holidays...

Bjork reunites with the Sugarcubes! Who's flying to Iceland?

The new Sunn O)) & Boris collaboration, Altar, is a monster. It's even got Jesse Sykes on it!

Montpelier's Eat More Kale dude gets musical. Courtesy False 45th and Norsehorse's Home Turf.

First official Podcast due Monday.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Built to Spill his guts.


Just got off the horn with Brett Netson, guitarist extrordiaire of Built to Spill — long-time faves of mine. Netson goes all the way back with them. Although he sometimes isn't in the band, he's played on every one of their records that I hold dear.

Cool dude, laid-back, no BS. We talked a lot of geeky shit about amps, which he also builds. I told him he should buy my '74 Fender Super Reverb, which, at this point serves as a coffee table in my studio.

There was also a good bit of bitchin' about today's mainstream rock. Suffice it to say, emokid1987 would not approve of our conversation.

By the way, I made up that last handle. But I'm sure there's a little brother on the Panic! at the Disco message board with that very username.

This Weekend.

Well, my social calendar is full!

Pal o' mine Arthur Adams is in town for Bill & Emily's wedding (that's Mr. & Mrs. Candleblog to you), and he's staying with me through Sunday.

Tonight, B&E are having a little welcoming shindig; then there's the James Kochalka Superstar CD release party at Club Metronome.

Tomorrow, Art and I are gonna attempt a Contrarian/Blammos collaboration on the ridiculous Beach Boys number "I'm Bugged at My Old Man." We'll see how that goes. I also have to cook some stuff for Sunday's reception. Yes. Me. Cook.

Later that night, he's gonna do one of those epic, Lazy Songwriter/Blammos jamz at Radio Bean.

The next day is the wedding.

It's a whirlwind of activity. Hope I can get my beauty sleep.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


210822_216_1I've got so much writing to do, but I just wanted to take a minute to say that the new Mastodon album, Blood Mountain, is kicking my ass. A giant slice of brain-rending, punky prog-metal. Perfect for wrestling sabertoothed snowcats. And drinkin.'

Maybe you should go buy it at Pure Pop.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fricke finds Grace.

Rolling Stone's David Fricke is one of that rag's most wizened contributors. I like him not just 'cause he's pals with Brian Wilson, but because he writes a helluva lot better than the current crop of Pitchfork-weaned hyperbolists. Most of the time, that is.

Anyway, he's got a regular column in RS called "Fricke's Picks," in which he tells readers about random stuff that probably wasn't produced by Timbaland. One of his latest raves is about Vermont's own Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. Here's what duder says:

GP&N are rising stars on the jam-band circuit, the opening act of choice for headliners such as Umphrey's McGee and the North Mississippi All-Stars. But Potter, who plays funky keyboards and sings like a fighting-mad Bonnie Raitt, is poised for bigger things on Nothing But the Water (Ragged Company), a record of country-blues basics fired up by her evident love for Little Feat and early-'70s Rolling Stones. And she is no pushover as a lyricist. "Give me back my jeans and my JJ Cale," Potter demands in "Toothbrush and My Table," showing she's got good taste and the right priorities when it comes to breaking up.

Shit kids, I just typed that by hand! There wasn't a cut-and-paste option; the issue hit my mailbox today. How's that for dedication?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006



A few weeks ago, the folks at Higher Ground asked me about Deerhoof. I said, "Hell yeah!" but wasn't sure if they took my enthusiasm to heart. Turns out they did. So mark those calendars for 11/01/06.

Also on the bill are Fiery Furnaces, who I go back and forth on. Mostly forth.

Anyway, it's great news. Everybody should plan on getting rocked in an unconventional fashion.

Check it:

Deerhoof — "Spy on You"

That tune isn't the best example of the band's punky weirdness, but it sure does crack me up.

Read more of my Deerhoof blathering here.

JKS Day.

To celebrate today's release of James Kochalka Superstar's Spread Your Evil Wings and Fly, enjoy the latest video from the album:

"Wash Your Ass"

Monday, September 11, 2006

Blog betterment.

Hi folks.

I've decided to start doing a couple of things that will likely make Solidstate several times more exciting!

I was inspired by a recent talk by Gahlord DeWald and Bill Simmon during Art Hop; my blog will benefit from the knowledge gained.

First of all, I've decided to categorize my posts like a big boy. This might make it easier for folks interested in re-living the Great Flaming Lips Debate of '06, or even the Beard Wars of the previous year.

Categories thus far:

General Announcements

Local Music

Live Music

Non-local Music


YouTube Nonsense

Casey's Music

Crazed Letters

Absolutely Unrelated


The last one will undoubtedly be chock full 'o posts.

Now for the really exciting part: I'm gonna do a monthly podcast. Think Ricky Gervais is fun? Wait 'til you get a load of me!

I'm planning on playing a bunch of music, some of it local, much of it not, interspersed with my always-precious commentary. It'll be like hanging out with me and drinkin' beers while I yell at my iPod. What could be more fun than that? I hope to have the first episode up in a couple of weeks.

Wanna help me come up with a title?

By the way, Art Hop ended up being pretty fun. Apologies to anyone who had the misfortune of speaking with me before I found my "zone." And congrats to Brooke, who busted her ass so our weird little community could bond.

Lastly, please welcome our pal Undead Molly to her "growed up," non MySpace blog.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A quick report.

Saw the Flaming Lips last night. A handful of songs, anyway. It was rather not good, so I left. More on that in my column, or maybe here. Or both.

Walked back down the hill, met a friend at the O.P., then swung into Radio Bean and had my head torn off by Nick Cassarino and his guitar brilliance.

And what a fine band he has. I'll be blabbing about them more in the near future.

As for now, I'm a bit hung over. Tonight is the Art Hop. Hurrah!


I decided to give a more in-depth review of the Lips' performance in next Wednesday's Sound Bites column. Be sure to read it, lest you miss my every precious, pithy comment.

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