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

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.

Split Tongue Crow, Split Tongue Crow

Filed Under: Album Reviews, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Friday December 3, 2010

Split Tongue Crow - Split Tongue CrowI often feel that there is some pejorative connotation to a qualification of a band as “local.”  It feels like by using “local” I am somehow putting a band in a lesser class.  I don’t know if that comes across to you or is just in my head, but it’s something that I don’t intend.

Because the fact is that while cities like Los Angeles and Brooklyn are well-known incubators of quality musicians, there are a number of Vermont-based bands who are putting out extremely high-quality music, but simply lack exposure.

The better for me of course, because I get to see these bands perform for a few bucks a pop, but I do feel like many of them deserve more recognition.

One such band is newly-named Split Tongue Crow (formerly Rogue Eyebrow), an alt-country outfit out of Rutland.  They’ve just released their self-titled debut LP, an easygoing, tender slice of Green Mountain Americana.

While much of the album has a fairly laid back feel, echoing roots in traditional American country music, there is definitely some guitar-laden country rock bubbling just beneath the surface.  “Avalon” which opens the album with Spanish-style string work, “Horizons,” and “No Reservations,” a slightly drawling tune that leans a little too far country for my tastes, show the potential to be fleshed out into heavier hitters at a live performance.

The songs featuring vocalist Cara White beside one of the male singers, like “Easy Come,” “Mother’s Okay” and “Midlife Missile Crisis” stand out as favorites of mine.  I dig the songwriting of the latter(“I’m hiding out in my own reverie, oh clever me/ no, never me, I’ll never grow old”), which to me is the highlight of the album.  The sorrowful tenderness, drowsy guitars and male-female harmonies are really touching.  Oddly I find myself craving Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” every time I hear the song.

“Manuel” picks up the pace a little bit, offering a bass-laden, danceable groove that keeps my feet tapping and my head nodding, while not feeling out of place on such a mellow album.

“The Day You Left This Earth (Dragonfly)” has a particularly personal connection to me, as the story of the dragonfly was related to me by my mother as a young kid, to help me come to grips with the death of a close family friend.  It may be an easy metaphor, but it worked for me then, and I can feel it working for White in this song.

One of these days, I’m going to catch Split Tongue Crow at a Burlington-area venue, and I can only hope that their live show captures the same character, emotion and honesty as this album.

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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.

Upcoming Shows in Burlington

Filed Under: Live Shows, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Sunday November 28, 2010

There are a few good shows coming up that I recommend seeing.  If you were to only go to one of them, I highly recommend Langhorne Slim.  He made my Favorite Music 2006 list, and I’ve been dying to see him live ever since.  His live show is supposed to be outstanding…

Wednesday, December 1
Langhorne Slim @ Higher Ground

Tuesday, December 7
Miniature Tigers w/Maga @ Monkey House

Maga is one of my favorite local acts, and sure to put on a good show. They alone make the cost of admission worth it, though I also recommend sticking around for Brooklyn’s Miniature Tigers.

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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.

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.

Wrapup: farm @ Monkey House 9/25/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Monday September 27, 2010

farm - Sat., Cloudy, Calm, 36 F, 10:44 p.m.farm put on an impressive performance Saturday night to mark the launch of their latest album, Sat., Cloudy, Calm, 36º F, 10:44 p.m.

The show was well attended, with about 50-60 people there when farm took the stage. As a quick aside, it was great to see a show at the Monkey House that well attended. The last couple shows I saw there (Givers, Drink Up Buttercup) were all but empty, so it was a nice change in energy, and brought a much more intimate feel to the bar. It was also nice to see Maryse Smith — who recently opened for The New Pornographers — in attendance, supporting fellow VT musicians.

The band — who records as a 3-piece — was joined by their friends Sam Boutin and Brennan Mangan for this show. Even with 5 people on stage, they managed to make the constant trading of instruments look almost effortless. At least three of them took a turn on lead vocals, and duties were shared on the drums, keys, guitars and a variety of other instruments. While it would be pretty easy for this to become a distraction to the audience, they were quick and seemingly practiced enough to make it interesting.

Most of their set was from their new album, though they also played 3 or 4 songs I hadn’t heard before. My favorites were “anticipating snow” and “hotel manners” though really there were many highlights. The only thing that felt out of place to me was opening with “is it wrong?”, a sleepy, spacy, stripped-down song that, while beautiful, didn’t really pull me into the show right away.

I found myself drawing comparisons between Port O’Brien (particularly the vocals on “getting cold” which sound remarkably similar to Van Pierszalowski’s voice) and Wild Sweet Orange, though farm definitely has a sound all their own. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing farm again, and recommend that Burlington indie music fans check these guys out soon.

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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.

Music in Burlington tonight

Filed Under: Live Shows, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Saturday September 25, 2010

If you’re in the Burlington area tonight, I highly recommend checking out the CD release party for farm at the Monkey House. If you can’t make it, make sure you pick up the new album, Sat., Cloudy, Calm, 36 degrees F, 10:44 p.m., sometime soon. It’s definitely the most impressive release I’ve been sent since I started writing here, and I’m really looking forward to hearing more from these guys.

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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.



Art Hop is tomorrow!

Filed Under: Live Shows, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Thursday September 9, 2010

I love living in the South End of Burlington. It’s the perfect mix of quiet & convenient, and it definitely has a very particular character. The annual South End Art Hop, a two-day festival of local art in all its forms, really lets that character shine, and makes me love living here all the more.

If you’re in town this weekend, Art Hop is the only place to be. There’s a ton of good music playing, and I for one am definitely planning on catching some. Not sure I’ll make it to Maga at Speaking Volumes, but I’ll definitely be checking out Villanelles and The Vacant Lots at the Green Door Studio on Friday. Hope to see you there.

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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.

On watching more local bands, and local bands to watch

Filed Under: Live Shows, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Wednesday September 1, 2010

I have to admit that I am not nearly as immersed in Burlington’s local music scene as I’d like to be. I still have yet to see a show at Radio Bean. The Monkey House shows generally start pretty late, and I don’t like driving out there unless I’m really motivated by a band I love. Metronome shows also start pretty late, and the one time I’ve tried to go to a show there in the past six months, they were 30 min late to even open the doors, let alone begin. It’s sad, but I seriously have a very hard time staying awake until 11:30 or 12 on a weeknight.

So the few times I’ve caught Burlington-area bands have been as opening acts at shows I was going to anyhow. I’d like to change that, and I’ve been hearing from more Vermont artists recently about new releases and live shows (keep it coming). So with this post, I’d like to kick off an attempt to see more local bands and write about them here.

To get it started, I might as well talk a little about the area bands I have seen, as I’ve been nothing but impressed with every one of them.

Maga

I saw Maga (soft g) open for Givers in May at The Monkey House.  I loved a few of their songs, and didn’t love others.  Overall, I left thinking I’d like to see this duo of Bryan Parmelee and Brett Fiorentino again.  It was Maga I bailed on seeing at Metronome recently because of my old-ness.  To make up for it, I wore my Maga tshirt in both Rome and Tel Aviv as a bit of free international exposure ;-)

Vacant Lots

Vacant Lots opened for, and put on a much better show than, Fiery Furnaces at The Higher Ground in June. They play heavy, droning psych rock a la Black Angels, and they play it well.  You can download Hypnotized, a 9-song release from Vacant Lots, for free here.

Also check out the video for “Let Me Out” by the Vacant Lots, written & directed by my neighbor Graham Raubvogel:

Maryse Smith (or Maryse & The Rosesmiths)

I had the pleasure of seeing Maryse Smith last week at Higher Ground, and to be honest, I’m ashamed I hadn’t heard of her before.  She plays tomorrow at The Monkey House, and I’m strongly considering going after my softball game, even though I’ll likely be at least slightly injured again.

Listen to Maryse Smith’s album Is Becomes Was (a bit more of a stripped down sound than the live show):

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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.