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

Where have I been?

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Wednesday March 28, 2012

I’m not actually going to answer that – it’s actually a question to you. Where have I been that I’ve not, until just about 15 minutes ago, heard of, nor listened to, The Cat Empire? And why, more importantly, was I too oblivious to see until just now that they’re playing this weekend for 2 nights in Montreal, when I’ll also coincidentally be there?!?

While listening to my favorite radio station – WRUV (90.1 in the Burlington area, and http://soundtap.com/wruv for anyone else) – I was just introduced to their album So Many Nights.

Stop reading this, as it’s much more important to listen to this, if you’ve got Spotify:

The Cat Empire – So Many Nights

When you’re done, riddle me this – do I see Youth Lagoon on Friday and Band of Skulls on Saturday, or do I skip one or the other for The Cat Empire at Metropolis?

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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.



2011 Favorite Music Word Cloud

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Friday February 10, 2012

When putting together the post on my favorite music from 2011, it struck me that it might be interesting to see if there are any reoccurring words or themes in the lyrics. With the exception of 2 songs that I could neither fully understand nor find lyrics for on the internet, here’s what my favorite songs of 2011 were talking about:

Thanks to Ross Flournoy of Apex Manor for taking the time to write down and send me the lyrics for Teenage Blood, which features a couple of my favorite lines from last year’s crop:

I’m a cat de-clawed but I’m eager for a little wrestle time
You’re a green-eyed minx with a tender spot for the risky kind


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.

And life gets in the way…

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Thursday September 29, 2011

It has been a pathetically long time since I’ve written anything here, and I feel pretty shitty about it. I was so motivated for so long, and always found time to go to random shows and sit down and write. Unfortunately, life has been a whirlwind for the past couple of months and I sort’ve lost the plot.

I don’t plan on abandoning this site for much longer though… I’ve been listening to a lot of classic vinyl, and I’ve got a lot to talk about, when I have time. Not long, I hope. If only my iPad cold transcribe my thoughts I’d have much more luck. Alas, the wait goes on…

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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.

Too many bands are dying

Filed Under: Random Thought, Wicked Good Music
Written by Brendan
Friday August 5, 2011

Figuratively speaking of course.  But seriously, this is getting worrisome.  I’m still upset about the loss of Drink Up Buttercup (RIP May 2011), Wolf Parade (RIP 2010) and Port O’Brien (RIP 2010), and now I’m mourning another.   The Middle East announced via Facebook earlier this week that they were ceasing to be:

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,

writing to inform you that we’re ceasing. i’m not sure if we’ll make more music later on or not.

we don’t feel like playing anymore for a whole lot of reasons that i won’t list here and i’m afraid if we continued any longer it would just be a moneygrab. i’d rather go hungry. thank you to all those who came to shows.

we had fun.

t.s elliot wrote ‘you are the music while the music lasts’, but he also wrote that confusing little book about cats so don’t put too much stock in his quotes.

i’m very tired. until next time.

sincerely yours,

the middle east.

Yeah, that’s the same Middle East that recently released I Want That You Are Always Happy, my favorite album of the year to date.  While I do have to give them credit for going out on their own terms, I’m also selfishly pissed that I’m not going to see them perform live.  They were definitely on the top of my must-see list, and it really sucks to be adding them to the list of lost bands so soon.

To celebrate their work while mourning their loss, here’s The Middle East’s “Jesus Came To My Birthday Party:”

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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.

Wow

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Wednesday July 20, 2011

Just came across this video of the Muppets performing “Sure Shot” by the Beastie Boys. Absolutely incredible:

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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.

Not all purchases are equal

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Tuesday February 22, 2011

I came across an interesting article from NPR’s All Things Considered, talking about where your money goes when you buy an album. The conclusion is this:

“While the many layers of complex contracts, discounts and placement programs can make it tough to know exactly how much of your dollar a band gets from a retail outlet, there’s one reassuring certainty. When you buy your album directly from the band, it actually sees significantly more money.”

I definitely prefer to have heard any new music a band might be playing on tour before going to see them play it, so I don’t think I’m likely to change my purchasing habits that much in terms of buying albums at shows. But I will continue buying t-shirts from bands to make up for the couple of bucks they’re losing when I buy their album on Amazon.


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.



Efterklang presents “An Island”

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Wednesday February 2, 2011

An IslandLast night, I hosted a public/private screening of An Island, a film by Vincent Moon featuring Efterklang (an amazing Danish band featured on my Favorite Music of 2010).

In brief, the movie was filmed on a small island in Denmark (where, presumably, some of the members of Efterklang grew up) over a period of four days last summer. It’s about 50 minutes of part music video, part documentary and part artistic statement. But before I tell you more about the film, I wanted to applaud the entire concept of its release.

Via facebook (and potentially other avenues?), Efterklang promoted their video by inviting anyone who had room enough for 5 people to host a screening. You could publicize it and let folks RSVP through their site, or you could mark it as “full” and invite folks offline (which is the option I chose, with very limited seating space). They were hoping for 100 screenings, and as of this post they are up to over 400. Anyhow, the film was due out yesterday, with one special premiere screening the day before. They delivered the high quality Quicktime file to me over the weekend via one of those file-sending websites, along with a bonus mp3 and a few instructions.

Both as a concept and as an actual experience, the idea of a band releasing a film about them via their fans is amazingly cool. I’d love to be a part of more of these events in the future, and if the response from the guests last night is any indication, I won’t have any trouble filling seats. In fact, if I did it again I think I’d try to upgrade to a larger space that could be open to the public as well.

Vincent Moon is fairly well known in the indie music world, largely in part to his Take-Away Shows series on La Blogotheque. He created in An Island a precise yet unpolished work of art. It’s dark without being dreary, and conceptual without being campy. He mixes sounds (both in the music of Efterklang and in other “found” noises) in such a manner that they are both a result of and the impetus behind the visuals.

I had a couple of favorite parts, where incredibly precise (and mostly very unique) sounds melded so well with the rhythm and point of view of the film that I literally felt like I was in the movie (it helped that I was projecting it onto a 60+ inch screen and playing it through my Bose Companion 5 speakers).

Specifically, there is a scene where the lead singer of Efterklang and another band member are walking through a soggy marsh in the rain with microphones, capturing the sloshing sound made by their shoes and the tapping and splattering sound made by the rain, and finding a way to make it sound wonderfully musical. And a later scene, where the whole band and a small crowd of others perform the song “Alike” using such instruments as the broom-on-floor, the popping balloon and a variety of other random percussion instruments, in addition to more traditional ones like guitars, drums and horns.

I don’t know how they plan on releasing it in the future, but they are still accepting new screenings and I highly recommend you think about hosting one if you’re interested in seeing this film.

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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.



Well that explains things

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Wednesday January 12, 2011

Interesting article from the AP on why listening to music can give you chills…

To your brain, music is as enjoyable as sex

By Malcolm Ritter
Associated Press

Whether it’s the Beatles or Beethoven, people like music for the same reason they like eating or having sex: It makes the brain release a chemical that gives pleasure, a new study says.

The brain substance is involved both in anticipating a particularly thrilling musical moment and in feeling the rush from it, researchers found.

Previous work had already suggested a role for dopamine, a substance brain cells release to communicate with each other. But the new work, which scanned people’s brains as they listened to music, shows it happening directly.

While dopamine normally helps us feel the pleasure of eating or having sex, it also helps produce euphoria from illegal drugs. It’s active in particular circuits of the brain. [...]

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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.



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.