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

The Manifestivus 2011: Vermont’s “Local Festival with a Global Vibe”

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Thursday June 30, 2011

Coming up in just a few weeks out in Cabot, Vermont is the Manifestivus music & art festival on July 22 & 23. It’s a Vermont festival in the truest sense, “an uplifting international world music festival that promotes personal evolution through music, art and culture. The festival reminds us that we are one with each other, the land and all things.”

Featured artists this year include Brett Dennen, Toubab Krewe (whose bassist formed the festival in 2002), Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, and Burlington’s own Events are Objects. More artists can be found here.

Tickets are available at http://manifestivus2011.eventbrite.com/ (enter promo code IVY to save $10)

The Manifestivus will donate a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to Toubab Krewe’s School House Krewe Project, which is raising funds for the construction of a music school in Bamako, Mali.

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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.

Wet your whistle: The Middle East – I Want That You Are Always Happy

Filed Under: Album Reviews, Wicked Good Music
Written by Brendan
Saturday June 11, 2011

The Middle East - I Want That You Are Always HappyIf you hadn’t already gathered, I listen to a lot of music. I listen all day long – generally 6-8 hours a day. I buy 2-3 new albums every week. I’m a glutton for music. So it’s with no lack of consideration when I call an album the best thing I’ve heard all year. With their upcoming release I Want That You Are Always Happy, Australian band The Middle East has earned that honor and then some.

While the overall vibe of the album is bleak, haunting and sparse, it would be a grievous mistake to try and put this album into a single genre of music or even try to boil down the overall vibe into a series of adjectives. Its breadth is nearly as breathtaking as its depth, each carefully placed note just as important as the spaces in between. The absence of sound in many of the songs creates as much presence as the guitar, piano, saxophone, banjo, harmonica or any other instrument or vocal.

The abstract background noises on several of the songs remind me of CocoRosie’s 2004 album La Maison de Mon Reve. In fact, the comparison definitely doesn’t stop there – the ethereal nature of both albums leaves me wandering, mesmerized, searching for an unattainable reality. There is also a Paul Simon influence that appears on a couple of songs, but in truth, the sound that The Middle East creates is all their own, almost incomparable.

It’s only slightly ironic that I mostly feel like crying when I hear this album — one thing is for sure, The Middle East wasn’t talking to their audience when they named this record.

There are also a couple of downright rocking, gut-punching tunes on the album. “Jesus Came To My Birthday Party,” a guitar drenched, tambourine smashing bliss-out is probably the best song I’ve heard all year, and the raucous, saxophone laced “Mount Morgan End” proves The Middle East to be unpigeonholeable. I might have just trademarked a word…

So with that in mind, knowing that no one song could possibly represent what this album has to offer, I do want to share one single with you, “Hunger Song.” It’s by no means my favorite, but because I know I can share it with you legally, I’ve included it here to wet your whistle, as it were.

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If you’ve made it this far into my gushing review, the only thing I have left to tell you is that you must buy this album. It comes out on July 12.

Extra special thanks goes to Patrick at Missing Piece Group for bringing this album to my attention, and for looking beyond the BS-laden “exclusive release” nature of so many modern buzz bands. I can’t possibly do this album justice, but I appreciate your willingness to let me try.

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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.

Yeasayer @ Club Soda, 6/8/2011 – Wrapup & Photos

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Thursday June 9, 2011

I made the drive up to Montreal last night to see Yeasayer at Club Soda and left impressed by both the band and the venue. It was my first show at Club Soda, and I hope to see another there soon. The two-tiered balcony and narrow, long shape provide for great viewing areas and great sound.

The show was opened by Hush Hush. I’d rather you find out for yourself what that set was like, but let’s just say it was one of the most unique experiences I’ve had in a while. If you get the chance, catch Hush Hush live. Bring your sense of humor, and leave your political correctness at home. Smith Westerns were up next, and while I had heard really good things, their set was pretty forgettable to me.

Yeasayer @ Club Soda, Montreal

The general atmosphere of the Yeasayer set felt slightly subdued. It was tough to say if it was the energy of the crowd, the energy of the band or the combination of both, but I definitely expected a much more raucous, face melting show. Not that I’m complaining – the music was fantastic, and I’m way more into Yeasayer as a band than I was before seeing them. It just wasn’t as out of control crazy as I’d expected.

Yeasayer @ Club Soda, June 8, 2011

Their music is remarkably more instrumental than I’d previously thought – ODD BLOOD (their most recent album) sounds more electronic-driven. While there were several keyboards and a drum machine or two on stage, it was definitely the drummer who creates much of their sound, accompanied by some impressive (though not quite loud enough) electric guitar work and thick, thumping, rapid basslines.

What’s more, their two (and sometimes three) part vocal harmonies were literally perfect. Having more than one voice adds such depth to the sound, especially when they all sound so good on their own and together.

Yeasayer in Montreal at Club Soda

I’d absolutely see Yeasayer again. The songs they played off of their two albums were all mesmerizing, as were the couple of new tunes. I’m already looking forward to their next release, and hope they consider Burlington as a stop on a future tour. The trips up to Montreal definitely take a toll, and I’d be hard pressed to do it twice for the same band.

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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.