A collection of musically themed musings by Brendan Bush in Burlington, VT

This week’s music purchases

Filed Under: New Releases
Written by Brendan
Thursday May 27, 2010

This week I picked up ForPlay EP by Saint Motel, Spiral by Dr. Lonnie Smith and Inter-Be by Peter Wolf Crier. I also pre-purchased the upcoming album The Suburbs by The Arcade Fire, and with it, got two free downloads from the album (“The Suburbs” and “Month of May”).

Saint Motel was recommended to me by two different friends, and I’d like to pass along the recommendation. It’s high energy pop-rock with a nice sprinkling of falsetto, lively drums and driving guitar. The album actually reminds me a bit of The Coral, whose 2005 release The Invisible Invasion was a favorite of mine from that year.

If you’re in the mood for jazz, (or what has been dubbed “soul-jazz”), I definitely recommend the album from jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith. Jazz organist? Yup.

Finally, the Arcade Fire tracks, particularly “Month of May” have me pumped for not only the full release (out on August 3) but particularly for their set at Osheaga. Have I mentioned Osheaga recently?

Dr Lonnie Smith - Spiral Saint Motel - ForPlay EP Peter Wolf Crier - InterBe


Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

More artists added to Osheaga lineup

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday May 26, 2010

Well, two months after picking up tickets to this summer’s Osheaga Music & Arts Festival in a dizzied state of excitement, the good news just keeps on coming. Osheaga just announced another dozen or so artists, including Ra Ra Riot and Still Life Still.

I think actually we’re now getting into the situation where there might be too many bands that I want to see, such that I’ll end up having to miss some sets. I guess in the grand scheme of things, that’s a pretty good problem to have.

So far, my ideal schedule would include the following artists:

Arcade Fire
Stars
Metric
Ra Ra Riot
Still Life Still
The National
The Black Keys
Beach House
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Blitzen Trapper
The Morning Benders
Horse Feathers


and if it works out, I’d also be interested in checking out:
Devo
Pavement
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Seu Jorge (of Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou fame)
Sonic Youth
Cage the Elephant
Japandroids
Galactic

p.s. Osheaga folks, if you’re reading this, I’ve applied for a media pass (hint, hint…)

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Cars love indie rock (and you should too)

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Tuesday May 25, 2010

One of the reasons I started this site is to hopefully introduce some folks in the Burlington area to good music that doesn’t come from a jam band, in the hopes of boosting show attendance and encouraging more bands to come through here. I have nothing against jam bands, btw, I just think that people can become blinded by the aura surrounding them, and not realize there is a ton of other good music out there.

It occurred to me last night that car companies might be trying to do the same thing, even if they don’t know it. It seems to be a rapidly increasing trend to use indie rock songs in car commercials, dating back a couple of years to Ford’s use of a Band of Horses track.

Below, I’ve compiled a few of the more notable uses of quality indie rock in car commercials. Find yourself humming these songs? Me too. Maybe you like indie rock after all?

Band of Horses – Funeral (Ford Edge 2008)

Phoenix – 1901 (Cadillac SRX 2009)

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Janglin’ (Ford Fiesta 2011)

Airborne Toxic Event – Wishing Well (Buick Lacrosse 2010)

Band of Skulls – Light of the Morning (Ford Mustang 2011)

Can you think of any others that I’m missing? Leave ‘em in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. And as a side note, I completely support artists selling their tunes to “the man” – it makes the bands money, which means they can make more music, and opens up a completely new audience, meaning more people will (hopefully) buy the music that they are making.

***

Late Update: Another example just got sent to me:

Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks (Volkswagen)


Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Wrapup: Midlake @ Le National, 5/20/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews, Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Friday May 21, 2010

I first saw Midlake in the back stage of the Black Cat (D.C.) in 2006. They, along with Cold War Kids, were opening for Sound Team. A pretty damn good billing in retrospect, though I hadn’t heard of any of them at the time. I can’t say that I remember much of the Midlake set, so I’m thankful I got to see them again last night, and I will definitely not forget that show for a while.

I got really nervous when we first walked in – there wasn’t a single person in the bar area and the woman at the ticket booth knew who we were when we walked up to pick up our will-call. I just wasn’t ready for another empty show – my soul couldn’t take it. Luckily, there turned out to be a fairly decent crowd when we made it into the stage area.

Midlake @ Le National, Montreal - May 20, 2010

We caught one song from the second opener and were able to easily make our way down to the front as Midlake got set up. A few minutes before they came out, a remote-controlled helicopter flew out from the backstage and hovered around menacingly, seemingly taunting the audience. Oddly, people didn’t really seem to notice.

Midlake, who I was expecting to be a five-person band, rolled out on stage seven deep. That amounts to one person on the piano/flute/secondary percussion, four guitars (variably acoustic and electric), one bass and a drummer. I didn’t know until I was reading more about them this morning, but the initial band met in college, where they were all studying jazz music. Their depth of musical talent was apparent – never before have I been to a rock show where not just one but two of the band members played the flute (not to mention the two recorders that were played).

Midlake @ Le National May 20, 2010

Midlake’s sound is layered with richness and depth (thanks in large part to the 4 guitars). Their live performance really brings the music on their albums to life, lending it such sullen emotion and character. They played a good selection from both “The Trials of Van Occupanther” (2006) and their new release, “The Courage of Others.” The standout to me would probably be Roscoe, which in addition to being one of my favorite songs, was played masterfully. But seriously, there was not a bad song among them. There wasn’t much dancing, but there was enough tapping, bobbing and nodding to tell that the whole place felt the same way.

Tim Smith, the lead singer, definitely has a pretty reserved demeanor onstage, and actually seemed to be a little embarrassed at times when Eric Pulido, one of the guitarists and secondary vocalist, talked to the audience. For a band with such a serious sound, the stage banter was surprisingly fun and light-hearted. Midlake had some gear stolen a few nights before, and told the tale of yet another attempt at robbing them the night before the show, an attempt thwarted by one of the band members who ran down the would-be thief and tripped him.

Tim Smith of Midlake @ Le National May 20, 2010

Midlake are masterful, sorrowful, soulful musicians and the show last night was an impressive display of it all. I’m definitely looking forward to their next visit to this area.

On a semi-related note, I still have a lot of work to do on my photography and post-production work, but I am loving my new Panasonic DMC-LX3 camera, which took the photos in this post.


Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

This week’s music purchases

Filed Under: New Releases
Written by Brendan
Thursday May 20, 2010

It’s been a few years since the last Band of Horses release, so obviously I’ve been eagerly awaiting their new release, “Infinite Arms.” I was pretty disappointed in the first listen, but am slowly working my way into more rotations, and things are definitely looking up. I think my biggest complaint is that Ben Bridwell’s voice (and the accompanying reverb) has always so powerfully defined the band’s sound, but their latest effort seems to have toned that down. It’s not that they still aren’t making quality music — it’s that I feel much less of an emotional connection to it. You can stream the full album at the band’s website via the link above.

I also picked up “Brothers” from The Black Keys, “Revolutions Per Minute” from Reflection Eternal (Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek) and “Saul” from The Whitsundays. The Black Keys continue to prove that two people can make an incredibly diverse and expansive collection of music, and I highly recommend their new album. I’m definitely undergoing a bit of a hip-hop renaissance, and Reflection Eternal is proving to be a wonderful vehicle for my trip down memory lane. I’m actually just listening to The Whitsundays for the first time now, so not much to report there as yet.

Band of Horses - Infinite Arms Black Keys - Brothers Reflection Eternal - Revolutions Per Minute

The Whitsundays - Saul



Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Tomorrow: Midlake @ Le National

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday May 19, 2010

Lo-fi indie rockers Midlake come to Montreal tomorrow. Doors open at 7pm at Le National (1220 Ste. Catherine Est).

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

This week’s music purchases

Filed Under: New Releases
Written by Brendan
Friday May 14, 2010

Better late than never – too many other things to write about this week, so this got pushed back til Friday instead of Tuesday or Wednesday (new music comes out on Tuesdays, for those of you unaware).

Anyhow, this week’s releases happen to come out directly in the middle of two epic release weeks, so I kept things reasonable. I picked up “High Violet” by The National and “Sea Of Cowards” by The Dead Weather (one of Jack White’s side projects).

I’m still settling in with The National effort – as with their previous two releases (“Alligator” and “Boxer“), it’s taking me a while to digest. And like the previous two, I’m sure that once I’ve been able to spend enough time with it, I’m going to be a big fan.

The Dead Weather album I’m not so sure about. Full disclosure: I’ve found the White Stripes releases to be pretty hit-or-miss, and I really loved the previous album from The Dead Weather (“Horehound“), so I think I might just be a sometimes-fan of Jack White. But I just didn’t get the same visceral response from this record as I did for the last, and what I liked most about “Horehound” was indeed that raw emotional connection and subconscious head nodding/foot stomping.

p.s. The National has four previous albums on sale for $5/each on Amie Street right now.

The Dead Weather Sea Of Cowards The National - High Violet


Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Standout Album – “Down The Way” by Angus & Julia Stone

Filed Under: New Releases, Standout Albums
Written by Brendan
Thursday May 13, 2010

Angus and Julia Stone - Down the WayAngus & Julia Stone are a brother/sister duo hailing from Sydney, Australia. Their recently released album “Down the Way” is a mix of lushly arranged, rootsy folk and quieter, more breathy bedroom pop. Both of their voices are outstanding, whether it is one or the other or both singing on a track.

Each of the songs definitely stands on its own, and as an album create a beautiful picture that’s had me hooked since I first picked it up a couple of months ago.

I can’t find any of their mp3s available for public use, so I’m embedding a video below for a sample of their music. The album is on sale for $5.00 on Amazon now, and I highly recommend picking it up.


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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

7 Questions for Drink Up Buttercup

Filed Under: 7 Questions, Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday May 12, 2010

I’m not going to dwell on last night’s DUB show at the Monkey House – let’s just say that I counted this time, and there were 9 people there. I was one of two that stood up to watch the show. The band was great – they definitely put everything they could have into it, considering the circumstances. Video of them playing “Even Think” from their recent release “Born and Thrown on a Hook” is at the bottom of this post.

Drink Up Buttercup @ Monkey House, Winooski VT

I had the chance to talk to James Harvey, the lead vocalist, after the show. He was very down to earth and assured me that even though they drove from Montreal to Maine to Vermont (note to tour director: Montreal-Vermont-Maine would have made more sense) and were not feeling all that well, they still had a good time and didn’t regret making the trek.

James was also kind enough to send me answers to 7 questions I had, posted below. Thanks to Jim for the thoughtful answers, and thanks to DUB for coming to play in Burlington, even if I didn’t get to see the trash can in action.

BB: Your album “Born and Thrown on a Hook” reminds me of something I wrote in 2007 about Okkervil River’s “John Allyn Smith Sails” – the coolest reworking of the coolest song about suicide that I’ve ever heard. You also mix beautiful sounds with macabre settings — is that an intentional juxtaposition?

JH: I’m not really a dark person, I love playing music that sounds fun and singing pretty melodies. I definitely view the world as an extremely dark place though, and I muse on that a lot when I’m writing my lyrics. Lyrically I think that a lot of the songs on our record are warnings. Maybe the world isn’t as dark as I think it is. Hopefully not. I’m just saying, people who you think are your friends have spoken ill of you for infinitesimal personal gain. You have been cheated on, even if you don’t know it. It’s just the way the world is. There is good stuff too, depending on who you surround yourself with. Even if they seem good though, they could be worse than someone who comes off as a total creep. Really nice people who use a lot exclamation points to express themselves scare me.

BB: Tell me a little bit about the album cover – pure artistic expression, or a commentary on something specific?

JH: Neil Krug is an amazing photographer. We wanted to use something of his for our album cover because we dug his vibe. All of the songs on the album are voyeuristic. Each song is a brief look into a certain characters world or a different world with it’s own cast of characters. The photo that we happened to pick jumped out at us as a scene that could have been one of the songs on the album, but isn’t. The album cover is essentially the hidden track on our album that doesn’t exist.

BB: Have you been to Vermont? What for, or what have you heard about us?

JH: We’ve never been to Vermont, but we hear that your syrup is as sweet as honey.

BB: Do you ever wish you were in the audience at a DUB show, or do you get the same high from playing the music that the audience gets listening to you play it?

JH: I think it’d be cool to see our band play live for sure. There is this crazy energy that I feel when our band plays music together. My face starts to buzz, it’s kinda like that feeling you get the first time you kiss someone, the first time you make out. I can feel when the audience is feeling that way too. You can just tell. It’s like the room is full of industrial-strength magnets, but they are all pulling together and pushing away from each other simultaneously.

BB: What’s your beverage of choice before, during and after a show?

JH: Irish whiskey is my drink. Can’t really do whiskey at the shows though, because I tend to get what the band calls “Jim-faced” when I drink the dark stuff. Lately I’ve been sticking to vodka on the rocks pre-show and post-show. The clear stuff keeps me in check somehow. I also always bring two bottles of beer on stage to keep things going but not too going during the set. That’s a DUB standard.

BB: I’ve read at least 10 album or show reviews, and nobody seems to agree on how to describe your music. Can you do it in one sentence?

JH: A Kubrick film viewed through a kaleidoscope?

BB: Can you name a few bands you’ve been listening to a lot lately?

JH: Most of the music that I’ve been getting into has been the music of bands we play with. I’ve been really into Maps and Atlases music since we toured with them. They are amazing musicians, virtuosos. I got a preview of their full length and I can’t wait till I can get my hands on it. It’s gonna blow minds. I’m also really looking forward to going on tour with Free Energy because I’ve had a bunch of their tracks on repeat in the car recently. They write really great pop songs that I can’t seem to get out of my head.

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Tonight: Drink Up Buttercup @ Monkey House

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Tuesday May 11, 2010

Please, Burlington, don’t let another show be killed because nobody shows up. You won’t regret this one.

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.