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

Standout album: Out of the Shadow by Rogue Wave

Filed Under: Album Reviews
Written by Brendan
Wednesday October 27, 2010

Rogue Wave - Out Of The ShadowAs happens in the last several months of every year, I’m getting worn out from new music overload, and I’ve been re-exploring stuff in my music catalog from 2004 and 2005. Among the gems that I’ve found is Rogue Wave’s debut album, Out Of The Shadow. If this one isn’t in your collection, I highly recommend you pick it up.

At the time the album was re-released by Sub Pop in 2004, the band consisted of Zack [Schwartz] Rogue, bassist Evan Farrell, drummer Pat Spurgeon and guitarist Gram Lebron, though most of this album was written and recorded by just Schwartz.

The album evokes a gamut of emotions with its stripped down acoustic ballads and full-band, hook-driven pop songs. It has sunny, laid-back California vibes and darker, lonely undertones. There isn’t a misstep or a bad song on the album. Even in places where Schwartz’s lyrics seem trite or pun-based (in this postage stamp world / you can all get in line / and lick my behind), the lush musical accompaniment and the genuine emotion in his voice manage to overcome.

I saw Rogue Wave two or three times between the release of this album and their followup, 2005′s Descended Like Vultures, and they definitely stand out as one of the more entertaining acts from that period. Though I can’t say that I love the direction their most recent two releases have taken, I do think that Out Of The Shadow ranks as one of my favorite pop-rock albums of this decade.

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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.

Something for your ears

Filed Under: podcast
Written by Brendan
Friday October 22, 2010

I can’t really decipher why, but I’ve been terribly uninspired to write lately. Maybe it was the nasty head cold last week. In any case, in lieu of something to read, how about something to listen to? Here’s a small selection of new music that I’ve been enjoying lately. Hope you dig it, and if you really enjoy any of the songs, please consider supporting the artists and purchasing their albums.

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Track list:

Broken Social Scene – World Sick from Forgiveness Rock Record
British Sea Power – Zeus from Zeus EP
Broken Bells – The High Road from Broken Bells
farm – hotel manners from Sat., Cloudy, Calm, 36º F, 10:44 p.m.
Gayngs – The Gaudy Side of Town from Relayted
Stornoway – Zorbing from Beachcomber’s Windowsill

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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.

Where do you buy music online?

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Thursday October 14, 2010

I wrote last month about the end of Amie Street — whose dynamic pricing model provided extremely affordable music, especially for those of us who tend to buy music every Tuesday. To make matters much, much worse, emusic.com announced recently that they are changing their pricing model next month, effectively halving the amount of new music I’ll be buying each month.

So I’m hoping that while I haven’t been paying attention, some amazing new (or underused) service has emerged. I think I’d go back to buying physical CDs before I’d buy another iTunes album, and Amazon.com is often as expensive (though they do run some great sales).

How do you get your music (legal remedies only)?


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.



Photos: Dungen @ Monkey House 10/12/2010

Filed Under: Live Shows, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Wednesday October 13, 2010

I’m lacking the motivation to put much of it into words, so I’ll just share some extra photos. I enjoyed Dungen, though I didn’t stay for their full set as it didn’t begin until after midnight and I just can’t hack that like I once could’ve. The Monkey House was packed, and for good reason.

The shows two openers were the highlights for me — both Maga and The Entrance Band put on impressive performances that would have stood out on their own. That I was able to see them back to back for just $8 seems an injustice. If you live in this area, put Maga, a Burlington-based band, near the top of your list of bands to see. And if you’re into psych rock, definitely check out The Entrance Band (though not via their myspace page, which definitely has some sort of virus on it). Photos:

Bryan Parmalee of Maga

Bryan Parmalee of Maga

Maga

Maga

The Entrance Band

The Entrance Band

The Entrance Band

The Entrance Band

Gustav Ejstes of Dungen

Gustav Ejstes of Dungen

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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.

Show preview: Dungen @ Monkey House tonight, Oct 12

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Tuesday October 12, 2010

Dungen

Photo by Karl Max

Swedish psych-rock-folk-ers Dungen play the Monkey House tonight with The Entrance Band and Burlington’s own Maga. Unless you speak Swedish, you won’t understand a word, but their music definitely speaks for itself. I’ve been listening to their recently released album Skit I Allt and am definitely psyched to see these guys. While I’m more excited by the guitar-driven rock songs like “Hogdalstoppen” and “Barnen Undrar,” I think that the majority of stuff on their latest album has more of a jazz feel, making the intimacy of the Monkey House a good fit.

For just $8, I can assure that you won’t be disappointed.

Have a listen to “Marken Lag Stilla” from their September release:

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Dungen w/ The Entrance Band, Maga
Tuesday, October 12 @ 9:00p.m.
The Monkey House
Winooski, VT

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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.

Cee-Lo Green tells it straight

Filed Under: Standout Tracks
Written by Brendan
Thursday October 7, 2010

There’s a very good chance you’ve seen this video (or the newer official video), as it’s been out for about a month. But I can’t get the song out of my head, so I wanted you to suffer the same fate. So go ahead, hit play on the video below.

The song, aptly named “Fuck You,” is as straightforward as it sounds. It’s a message to the women who have wronged Cee-Lo set over a Motown beat, and is as catchy as “Crazy,” from the Cee-Lo/Danger Mouse collaboration Gnarls Barkley. I still throw on their 2006 release St. Elsewhere every now and again, and am looking forward to what else Cee-Lo has to offer on his upcoming album Lady Killer.

p.s. apologies to my mom (a regular reader) for the language. you probably want to skip 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.

Good new music

Filed Under: New Releases, Standout Albums
Written by Brendan
Monday October 4, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about new albums. So long, in fact, that to list everything I’ve purchased since the previous post (July 22) would make this less a blog post and more a short story. So maybe just some highlights then…

First and foremost, if you haven’t yet picked up The Suburbs from Arcade Fire (side note – weren’t they once The Arcade Fire?), then stop reading now, click this link, buy the album, and enjoy. It’s only $5 on Amazon right now.

I recently picked up a few albums released earlier in the year upon recommendations from friends, and I highly recommend all of them. This list includes Teen Dream by Beach House, Broken Bells’ self-titled album, and Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More. All three albums are fairly mellow and pretty widely accessible.

Pick A Dream from Tumi & The Volume is definitely my favorite new release that I’d never heard of. A friend recommended it a few weeks back, and it’s been on pretty heavy rotation ever since. It’s like k-os with a little less rap, or some sort of Black Eyed Peas collaboration with an R&B artist. If you like hip-hop, check this album out.

Speaking of hip-hop, if you haven’t heard of Das Racist, it’s time to check them out. Dan Bolles first brought these guys to my attention, and while I admit that my first reaction was to laugh them off, I’ve come to understand their shtick and I have to say that am really impressed with their newest mixtape, Sit Down Man. The clever wordplay, dripping irony and ridiculous concepts they’ve crafted are definitely worth listening to – just be sure to give the whole thing a listen before passing judgment. Did I mention that it’s free?

Also available for free is the debut album from Burlington’s own Villanelles. While farm’s recent release Sat., Cloudy, Calm, 36º F, 10:44 p.m. is my favorite from VT this year, the Villanelles have earned themselves a close second. Give them a listen.

Of Montreal and Ra Ra Riot round out the recommendations with solid performances on False Priest and The Orchard, respectively. If you like the previous work by either, I recommend the new albums. If you’re new to Of Montreal, start with an earlier album before getting into this one. And if you haven’t heard Ra Ra Riot, I highly recommend both of their albums for the standout strings (cello and violin), frequent falsetto and general pop-rock goodness.

Broken Bells - Broken Bells Tumi And The Volume - Pick A Dream Ra Ra Riot - The Orchard Of Montreal-  False Priest Mumford & Sons  -Sigh No More farm

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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.

Wrapup: The xx @ Salle Wilifred-Pellitier 10/1/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Saturday October 2, 2010

Being that I stalk the live music scene in both Burlington and Montreal (and sometimes Boston and D.C. as well), I was able to act quickly enough to score 2nd row seats to last night’s performance by The xx at Salle Wilifred-Pelletier at the Place des Arts in Montreal. The lighting was amazing, the venue was a top-notch theater, and the sound quality was spot on.

All in all, I enjoyed myself at the show, but I also felt a little disappointed. Although I went into the show knowing full well that a good portion of the sound created by the band is electronic, I couldn’t help but be disappointed by the guy on the drum machine. Frankly, it’s really distracting and takes away from the show to have the person at the center of the stage essentially be pushing buttons with his index fingers. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen some seriously impressive drum-machine work, but this was pretty standard stuff. Honestly, if they had kept the drum machine off stage, I would have enjoyed the show so much more.

The xx @ Salle Wilifred-Pelletier, Montreal - Oct 1, 2010

Female vocalist and guitar player Romy Madley Croft sang wonderfully, though her guitar work seemed even more sparse and simplistic than on their album. She also had absolutely zero stage presence, only uttering a couple of thank yous to the audience. I definitely could have gone for a bit more engagement. Bassist Oliver Sim was more engaging and talked with the audience on a few occasions, though not enough to compensate for the silent Croft. Their music is so personal, sexualized and sultry that I definitely expected more.

The xx @ Salle Wilifred-Pelletier, Montreal - Oct 1, 2010

Like I said, I did enjoy myself, and I think that The xx performed their music fairly well, but I don’t think I’d see them in concert again until they incorporate some more actual instruments (I think a drummer and an additional percussionist could handle most of the work of the drum machine) and create a little more rapport with their audiences.

The xx @ Salle Wilifred-Pelletier, Montreal - Oct 1, 2010

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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.