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

Girl Talk and the rise of the mashup

Filed Under: Guest Post, Music for a Mood, Random Thought
Written by Eric
Friday December 31, 2010

[ed. note: I asked a few friends to help me get through the holiday season by writing a post for the blog. Here's Eric's contribution]

At the risk of telling you what you already know: a mashup is a song that is composed of two or more songs blended together.   In the last few years, mashups have risen to the level of a legitimate genre-spanning form of music.   The popular television series Glee dedicated an entire episode to mashups and the video game DJ Hero took mashups to XBoxes and PlayStations.

Gregg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, has been putting out mashup albums since the turn of the century.  His mastery of the mashup can most easily be noted by the low-quality work of competitors.  Check out this gem: Papa Roach vs. Rihanna.  Rather than bastardizing original works, Girl Talk creates mashups that enhance and extend the original works.  His 2006 release, Night Ripper, introduced the mashup into mine and many others vocabulary, but his latest work, All Day, is the culmination of the years he’s spent honing his craft.  For lack of a more detailed review, it just works.  The album is a free download and I highly recommend you check it out.

As an accompaniment to the album, I recommend checking out Mashup Breakdown created by Benjamin Rahn.  The site gives a visual representation of the songs used in All Day as it plays.  It’s quite amazing.

Girl Talk plays the Metropolis in Montreal on March 1, 2011.  Buy your tickets now and thank me later.

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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.

My favorite music of 2010

Filed Under: Music for a Mood
Written by Brendan
Tuesday December 28, 2010

Way back in the day (2004), my good friend Aaron (who you may know from his guest posts on this blog) shared with me a copy of his 2005 Favorite Music CD, introducing me to a whole new world of music.  It was that 80 minutes of musical joy that inspired me to start broadening my musical tastes, leading to a complete obsession with live music, an album purchasing habit that has become almost obscene, and eventually, this here blog.  In 2005, I decided to follow his lead and began compiling my own year-end CD to share with my friends, in the hopes that they’d also fall in love with some of the music, and share the experience with me.

It may be a little old fashioned to still make a CD (though I for one still use the CD player in my car), but 80 minutes does seem to be a good way for me to really pare down my favorite songs to the cream of the crop, as well as share it in a way that’s not too overwhelming for friends who may not be as obsessed as I am.  Below, I offer you a list of my favorite music of 2010.  The order doesn’t signify any sort of hierarchy — that would be way too difficult.  Instead, the songs are ordered as to present an enjoyable and cohesive listening experience.

If you like any of this music, please support the artists making it by buying their albums and going to their shows.  They continue to make my world a better place, and the only way they’ll keep doing so is if they are supported by their fans.

Angus & Julia Stone – And The Boys
From Down The Way ($5 right now on Amazon)

Midlake – Winter Dies
From The Courage Of Others ($5 right now on Amazon)

Dan Mangan – Robots
From Nice, Nice, Very Nice

Dr. Dog – Jackie Wants a Black Eye
From Shame Shame ($5 right now on Amazon)

Yeasayer – Ambling Alp
From ODD BLOOD ($5 right now on Amazon)

Wolf Parade – Pobody’s Nerfect
From Expo 86 ($5 right now on Amazon)

Wooden Shjips – Start to Dreaming
From Vol. 2

Drink Up Buttercup – Young Ladies
From Born And Thrown On A Hook

Frightened Rabbit – Nothing Like You
From The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Delays – In Brilliant Sunshine
From Star Tiger Star Ariel

Beach House – Lover of Mine
From Teen Dream ($5 right now on Amazon)

Decibully – Weakest Kind of Heart
From World Travels Fast

Gold Motel – Stealing The Moonlight
From Summer House

Good Old War – That’s Some Dream
From Good Old War ($5 right now on Amazon)

Efterklang – Alike
From Magic Chairs

Shout Out Louds – Walls
From Work

April Smith and the Great Picture Show – Terrible Things
From Songs For A Sinking Ship ($5 right now on Amazon)

Local Natives – Sun Hands
From Gorilla Manor ($5 right now on Amazon)

Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
From The Suburbs

Broken Social Scene – Meet Me In The Basement
From Forgiveness Rock Record

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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.

Holiday Music That Doesn’t Suck

Filed Under: Guest Post, Music for a Mood
Written by Aaron
Wednesday December 22, 2010

[ed. note: I asked a few friends to help me get through the holiday season by writing a post for the blog. Here's Aaron's contribution]

I don’t do Christmas music. The stuff is terrible. But this time of year, some people could care less. Otherwise respectable friends love the stuff. Much like crack cocaine or stale marshmallows — they’ll consume holiday music regardless of its quality or efficacy. Bah humbug (whatever that even means).

When your pals ask you to plug in your iPhone and provide the soundtrack to their mistletoe-ridden gathering, don’t fret. Here are a few holiday songs that don’t suck. This short list includes some Christmas songs, some Chanukah songs, some winter songs. Jesus even gets a shout-out once or twice.



The John Spencer Blues Explosion – High Gear: JSBX snarls out a rocker about a dude long-haul-trucking a load of candy canes through snowy mountain scenery. With reindeer.


Dressy Bessy – All The Right Reasons: Synths, snowmen, and sleigh bells combine in a pleasant twee tune from these Denver indie scenesters. Best part: it ends with a Chanukah ditty.


The Go! Team – The Ice Storm: Winds and sleigh bells whip against organs for a holiday-ish wintery instrumental. No religious agenda whatsoever.


Dar Williams – The Christians And The Pagans: Well-told tale of a family gathering with different winter holiday traditions. A modern folky classic.


Ben Kweller – Rock of Ages: It’s a 13th century Chanukah song. About the Maccabbees, duh. Sung rather sweetly and sparingly.


Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery – Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Two greats of the jazz organ funk out a wordless winter heavy hitter on dueling Hammond B-3s.


Steve Earle – Christmas In Washington: Easily the greatest neo-folk roots-rock song about Congress’s December lame duck period. And about Woody Guthrie’s campaign to elect Jesus Christ. It’s a bit to the left of most Christmas songs.


Johnny Cash – It Was Jesus: Not about Christmas. But very much about Jesus. If you’re into that sort of thing, nobody sings it better.


The Fiery Furnaces – Tropical-Iceland: Somewhere in the fuzzed-out rock minds of the Furnaces lies a winter wonderland of stray ponies and ice castles. I want to go there.


Pas/Cal – I Wanna Take You Out In Your Holiday Sweater: A light, non-denominational holiday romp with bells, handclaps, and delightful doo-woop vocals.


Jill Sobule – Soldiers of Christ: A pleasantly sung tongue-in-cheek indictment of extreme American religiosity. Not a holiday song unless you’re fighting The War On Christmas.


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.

I made it

Filed Under: Music for a Mood, Standout Tracks
Written by Brendan
Monday August 23, 2010

I spent the last 10 days in Rome and Tel Aviv, and while I’m glad to be back, I’m also exhausted.  I’ll get back to real writing soon, and have a new friend who I hope you’ll see writing on this blog in the near future.  But in the meantime, here’s Rococo from Arcade Fire (from their recent release The Suburbs), the song I listened to most while away.

p.s. Thanks to Aaron for filling in for me and sharing some quality posts.

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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.

Monday Morning

Filed Under: Live Shows, Music for a Mood
Written by Brendan
Monday March 29, 2010

Without giving it much conscious thought, I often put on music that amplifies my mood. Eminem when I’m angry or need to really focus (seriously), Midlake or Elvis Perkins when I’m feeling melancholy or introspective, etc.

But sometimes music can also alter my mood, which I’m glad to say happened this dreary Monday morning in Burlington. I started off the day with Drink Up Buttercup‘s new album “Born And Thrown On A Hook“, and have moved onto Shout Out Louds‘ “Work,” and the combination of the two has me ready to get something done today. It was a long weekend, starting on Friday morning with a broken furnace and a backed up sewer line (a euphemism for a basement flooded with shit water).  But I’m halfway through “Show Me Something New” and I think that today might be ok.

p.s. Shout Out Louds and Freelance Whales are playing Friday, May 7 at Cabaret Juste Pour Rire in 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.