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

Tasty new track from (David) Vandervelde

Filed Under: Standout Tracks
Written by Brendan
Tuesday April 26, 2011

I’m generally not one for singles – in fact I usually find myself pretty irritated every time a band pushes some “exclusive” single on me through Facebook/Twitter. I like listening to music like musicians like making it – by the album. I know that artists and labels, in an effort to make any money at all, are probably responding to the way the general populace is now consuming music, but I kinda wish artists would fight against it a little bit more by laying off the release of digital singles a bit.

Anyhow, that being said, I just stumbled across a wonderful song by one of my favorite songwriters, David Vandervelde (who is going by just his last name for this release?). I think I was tricked into clicking, because nothing mentioned a “single” or a “track”, but once I was on the page, I decided to give a listen, and I loved the song so much I had to share it here, against my own advice.

You can download the mp3 if you’d like it here. If you want more than just one track, I highly recommend his 2006 Daytrotter Session (free download) or his 2008 album Waiting For The Sunrise.

Vandervelde is currently touring, with upcoming stops in Chicago, D.C. (well, Virginia really) and Philly, New York and Boston (but sadly, not Burlington or Montreal).

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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 & Photos: Milagres w/ The Milkman’s Union @ Monkey House 4/22/11

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Saturday April 23, 2011

Last night’s show at the Monkey House was easily the best $5 I’ve spent in weeks. Well, that cheeseburger for lunch from The One Love Market last week might top it, but that was a damn good burger. And I guess I really spent more like $20 after the tshirt and album purchases. But you get my point — there was some really good music.

A quick aside for those who were at the show that I was neither the person shooting flash photography nor the professional photographer who stood right up front for most of the show, never once clapping or showing any interest in the music but helping himself to the best floor real estate the entire night. Not that I was irritated at either of those…

Husband & Wife opened the show, and for a band with such a terrible name, they were pretty good. I actually planned getting to the Monkey House late enough to miss them, based purely on their name. Shows me what that kind of judgementalism gets you… good thing they started later than I thought they would.

The Milkman's Union @ The Monkey House, Winooski

They were followed by The Milkman’s Union, whose frontman Henry Jamison (pictured above) is a Burlington native though the band calls Portland, Maine home. There seemed to be a pretty good hometown turnout for Jamison, including his mom (to whom he apologized for not being better at on-stage banter). They played a fairly long set, ranging from moody and mellow to witty and whimsical. Their baseball themed tune “Brooks Robinson” was my favorite.

Milagres @ The Monkey House

The highlight of the night was definitely Brooklyn’s Milagres. They were able to crowd themselves onto the Monkey’s small stage with surprising ease, considering the several keyboards and big drum kit. The band seemed really comfortable on stage, and all clearly had a great time playing music. Although the crowd thinned a bit before they came on, those who remained crowded closer to the stage to feed on the band’s energy.

Milagres in Winooski, VT

They played what felt like a bit of a short set, but what it lacked in length they made up for in quality. It was a really upbeat and catchy collection of songs, using the poppy electronic keyboards to complement tempestuous drumming, thick basslines and ripping guitars. The drummer was a bit of a short fellow, but his head often popped out above the cymbals as he fought to stay in his seat.

Their impressive performance leaves me wanting more Milagres, and I was psyched to hear they’ll be out with a new album on Kill Rock Stars in September. It’ll definitely be on my list of must-haves, and should Milagres be so kind as to return to the Monkey House for a third time, I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

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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 at the Monkey House: Milagres w/ The Milkman’s Union

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Friday April 22, 2011

Tonight, for the measly cover charge of $5, you can see not just one but two bands who you will likely not see again in a venue as intimate as The Monkey House. Milagres is a Brooklyn-based quintet with rich, layered instrumentation that could fill a stadium, balanced with darker, moodier numbers. Portland, Maine’s The Milkman’s Union, features Burlington native Henry Jamison, is a folksier take on rock.

I’m short on time today, so rather than extol the virtues of these two fine bands, I’ve included a video from each of them below so you can hear it for yourself. Should be quite the show… starts at 9pm.

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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.

The chance at a real connection

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Thursday April 21, 2011

On a day-to-day basis, I go to many sources to find good new music. I make a weekly habit of reading Largehearted Boy, Pitchfork and Paste. I follow my favorite record labels on Twitter and Facebook. And I click on any number of recommended links from other social network connections.

But the one source for new music that I find the most interesting is the recommendations of other artists who I enjoy. For example, Colin Meloy (of Decemberists fame) introduced me to Apex Manor via a Twitter recommendation. He strongly endorsed it, I trusted his recommendation, and he was right. Apex Manor’s The Year of Magical Drinking is one of my favorite releases of the year (and it’s just $5 on Amazon as of right now, in case you wanted to give a listen).

Ross Flournoy of Apex Manor is one of the more engaged Twitter users among the bands and musicians that I follow, so when he recommended today that I pick up East River Pipe’s new release We Live In Rented Rooms, I obviously jumped at it. I haven’t yet finished my first listen, but so far I like it enough to have inspired this post. And I love the viral aspect of the recommendations, each good band leading to another great find through a very simple online engagement.

Twitter, though used by some bands as a way to blast out spammy song/album sales pitches and impersonal show announcements to the masses, can also be used as an intensely personal and influential medium when artists are using it right. I for one would love it if more artists would use social networking to forge a deeper musical connection with their fans. Not just the music they are playing, but what they’re listening to as well. I value the recommendations of bands I like over just about any other endorsement that could be made.


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.

Late April/Early May shows to see in Burlington & Montreal

Filed Under: Live Shows, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Tuesday April 19, 2011

I’ve been dying to post more here, including a wrapup of the fantastic Iron & Wine show at Higher Ground this past Sunday. Unfortunately, 100% of my time at the computer has been consumed with work, and as this blog currently costs more money than it makes me, I’ve been unable to give it the attention it deserves. Apologies — I’ll do better.

But until then, there is some really good music coming through Burlington over the next couple of weeks. Here are a few highlights:

Friday, 4/22
Milagres w/ The Milkman’s Union @ The Monkey House, Winooski
Show: 9pm $5 (at the door)

Friday, 4/29
Villanelles EP release party @ Signal Kitchen (71 Main St), Burlington
Show: 9pm $5 BYOB (at the door)

Tuesday, May 3
In Tall Buildings w/ Maryse Smith & The Rosesmiths @ Monkey House, Winooski
Show: 9pm, $8 (at the door)

I know there are a few readers from Montreal, and there are also a couple of really good shows coming up. It’s been too long since I’ve seen a show up there (since BSS in December), and unfortunately I won’t be able to make it to these, so would someone please go and have fun for me?

Sunday, May 1
Freelance Whales @ Le National
Surfer Blood @ La Tulipe

Wednesday, May 4
Dan Mangan @ La Sala Rossa

Thursday, May 12
The Airborne Toxic Event @ La Tulipe

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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.

Starfucker @ Higher Ground 4/8/2011: Wrapup & Photos

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Sunday April 10, 2011

“No, no barricade — we’d rather they fuck up our equipment than have a barricade.” That was a wonderful start to a wonderful show, as Ryan Biornstad, Starfucker vocalist and jack-of-all-trades (guitar, keyboard, turntables, dancer) told Higher Ground security to stop backing people away from the stage as they sound checked.

I had really high hopes for this show and the band met my expectations, easily. There were lasers, a ton of dancing (on and off stage), and well, this photo does a much better job than I could of describing the energy at the Higher Ground’s Showcase Lounge:

Starfucker @ Higher Ground 4/8/11 Burlington, VT

Starfucker played a brief but exciting set, much of it from their recently released Reptilians, but also featuring some of my favorites from their self-titled debut LP, including “laadeedaa” and “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second.” Thankfully, there was a really good turnout, and I don’t think there was a single person there who didn’t have a wicked good time. The energy was infectious — smiles never left the faces of the five guys on stage, and it was impossible not to move to the music.

Starfucker @ Higher Ground 4/8/11 Burlington, VT

I’m fairly fascinated with the demographics of the crowd that turned out, further confusing my understanding of what makes people go to shows. It was a significantly different group of folks than I generally see out at the Higher Ground, and I’m glad to see a band like Starfucker have the draw to bring out such a seemingly diverse audience. If that many people turned out regularly to support live music in Burlington, there is no doubt that we’d become a regular stop between Montreal and Massachusetts. Thanks to the hard work of Angioplasty Media and MSR Presents, and the continued willingness of Higher Ground and Monkey House to host indie music bands, we’re on the way. But it’s fans who really keep these bands coming back, and I really enjoyed seeing so many music fans turn out on Friday.

Starfucker @ Higher Ground 4/8/11 Burlington, VT

I’d see Starfucker again anytime they came through town, and if you like to dance, I suggest you keep them on your radar as well.

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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.

Standout track: Okkervil River’s “Wake and Be Fine”

Filed Under: Standout Tracks
Written by Brendan
Friday April 1, 2011

While eating lunch and trying to get all my daily distractions out of the way, I stumbled across the recently released video for “Wake and Be Fine,” a single off of the upcoming release I Am Very Far (Due out May 10). When it was done, I immediately pre-ordered the album. The lyrics are, as usual, incredibly literate and poetic, and the music behind them is a lot richer and quite a bit more “rock-y” than anything else I’ve heard from Okkervil River. I’m really, really excited about hearing the rest of the album.

Check out the video below.

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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.