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

Bands you probably already love without knowing: Freelance Whales

Filed Under: Standout Albums
Written by Brendan
Thursday January 6, 2011

I’m continually impressed with the musical choices ad makers are using, from Langhorne Slim or The Black Keys to Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, my favorite bands are popping up all over television these days. I do find it strange that the ads rarely, if ever, identify the band or song they are using, but hopefully they are making up for that in cash to the artists.

An ad I’ve seen a lot recently (I ditched cable TV a couple of months ago, so I’ve seen the ads mostly on hulu) is another great example, and a song I’m sure any reader of this blog would like. Without further ado, here’s an ad for the 2011 Chevy Volt, featuring “Generator 1st Floor” by Freelance Whales:

If you like that little snippet, I suggest listening to the song in full in the video below, and if you like that even more, I suggest picking up their most recent album Weathervanes (currently just $5 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.

Good new music

Filed Under: New Releases, Standout Albums
Written by Brendan
Monday October 4, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about new albums. So long, in fact, that to list everything I’ve purchased since the previous post (July 22) would make this less a blog post and more a short story. So maybe just some highlights then…

First and foremost, if you haven’t yet picked up The Suburbs from Arcade Fire (side note – weren’t they once The Arcade Fire?), then stop reading now, click this link, buy the album, and enjoy. It’s only $5 on Amazon right now.

I recently picked up a few albums released earlier in the year upon recommendations from friends, and I highly recommend all of them. This list includes Teen Dream by Beach House, Broken Bells’ self-titled album, and Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More. All three albums are fairly mellow and pretty widely accessible.

Pick A Dream from Tumi & The Volume is definitely my favorite new release that I’d never heard of. A friend recommended it a few weeks back, and it’s been on pretty heavy rotation ever since. It’s like k-os with a little less rap, or some sort of Black Eyed Peas collaboration with an R&B artist. If you like hip-hop, check this album out.

Speaking of hip-hop, if you haven’t heard of Das Racist, it’s time to check them out. Dan Bolles first brought these guys to my attention, and while I admit that my first reaction was to laugh them off, I’ve come to understand their shtick and I have to say that am really impressed with their newest mixtape, Sit Down Man. The clever wordplay, dripping irony and ridiculous concepts they’ve crafted are definitely worth listening to – just be sure to give the whole thing a listen before passing judgment. Did I mention that it’s free?

Also available for free is the debut album from Burlington’s own Villanelles. While farm’s recent release Sat., Cloudy, Calm, 36º F, 10:44 p.m. is my favorite from VT this year, the Villanelles have earned themselves a close second. Give them a listen.

Of Montreal and Ra Ra Riot round out the recommendations with solid performances on False Priest and The Orchard, respectively. If you like the previous work by either, I recommend the new albums. If you’re new to Of Montreal, start with an earlier album before getting into this one. And if you haven’t heard Ra Ra Riot, I highly recommend both of their albums for the standout strings (cello and violin), frequent falsetto and general pop-rock goodness.

Broken Bells - Broken Bells Tumi And The Volume - Pick A Dream Ra Ra Riot - The Orchard Of Montreal-  False Priest Mumford & Sons  -Sigh No More farm

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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.

Of Montreal to play in Burlington – while I’m in Montreal, where they are not from

Filed Under: Live Shows, Standout Albums
Written by Brendan
Friday June 11, 2010

What a cruel twist of fate. I just learned – via Angioplasty Media – that Of Montreal will be playing the Higher Ground on Saturday, July 31. That, as you may be aware, is the first day of Osheaga. I guess there is a small comfort in knowing that I’ll be immersed in an Arcade Fire show at the same time, but seriously, Higher Ground booking folks, I’d appreciate it if you’d cater to my personal calendar a little better ;-)

For those of you unfamiliar with an Of Montreal show – I’ve been lucky enough to catch a couple in the past two years, and they are quite a treat. Kevin Barnes, the lead singer, was gradually de-robed until he ended up in essentially a golden codpiece, wherein he was hand-painted by some sort of demons until he was completely red-as-the-devil. And that was about 1/100th of the insanity.

This video, of their song “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse” from 2007′s Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (my favorite album of theirs) should give you a better glimpse into the parallel dimension that you might get to be a part of:

p.s. tickets here.

Late Update (6/14/2010): Because one kick in the pants isn’t enough, Osheaga just announced that Of Montreal will be playing at Metropolis on Friday, July 30, while I’ll still be in Burlington. Argh!


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 Album: “Songs for a Sinking Ship” by April Smith and the Great Picture Show

Filed Under: Standout Albums
Written by Brendan
Wednesday June 2, 2010

April Smith and the Great Picture Show - Songs For A Sinking ShipSongs For A Sinking Ship, which April Smith self-funded via kickstarter.com, is an old-timey mixture of swing music and beautiful, syrupy vocal melodies.

April Smith and the Great Picture Show have created a sound unlike any other, and make it seem effortless to hold my attention from start to finish on their latest release. If you’re in the mood for something different, give it a spin.

Check them out below playing “Terrible Things” at an acoustic in-store session:

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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 Album – “Down The Way” by Angus & Julia Stone

Filed Under: New Releases, Standout Albums
Written by Brendan
Thursday May 13, 2010

Angus and Julia Stone - Down the WayAngus & Julia Stone are a brother/sister duo hailing from Sydney, Australia. Their recently released album “Down the Way” is a mix of lushly arranged, rootsy folk and quieter, more breathy bedroom pop. Both of their voices are outstanding, whether it is one or the other or both singing on a track.

Each of the songs definitely stands on its own, and as an album create a beautiful picture that’s had me hooked since I first picked it up a couple of months ago.

I can’t find any of their mp3s available for public use, so I’m embedding a video below for a sample of their music. The album is on sale for $5.00 on Amazon now, and I highly recommend picking it up.


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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.

Podcast 1 (alpha) – Hip-hop since 2008

Filed Under: podcast, Standout Albums
Written by Brendan
Thursday April 29, 2010

OPRcast 1: hip-hopThis is the real reason I started doing this actually. I don’t get to spend enough time with other music junkies these days, and it’s really tough over email to communicate about every new album that comes out and every show you’ve been to. The year-end compilations are definitely the best method I’ve had up until now of sharing the really staggering amount of good music that my ears consume every year.

But I feel like there has to be something better. So I’m giving this a whirl – 30 minutes podcasts of varying genres and inspirations, mostly from albums that have come out in the past several years. Looking to try something new? Give it a whirl. I’ll post them here for streaming over the web, and they’ll be available via iTunes Podcasts for those of you so inclined.

This one is specifically for Eric and Erik. I’ve been sporadically buying hip-hop albums over the past few years, and felt like I’d finally put together a small collection worth sharing. Also, I’m seeing k-os at The Higher Ground on Saturday, so I’ve been on a bit of an afternoon hip-hop kick (like Red Bull, I think my days of hip-hop in the morning are over).

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download mp3 | iTunes (not available yet)

Track List
Fornever – Murs and 9th Wonder | Fornever (3:38)
What About Us? – Mr. Lif | I Heard it Today (3:00)
I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman – k-os | Yes! (3:12)
Say What’s Real – Drake | So Far Gone (3:51)
S**t is Real – Tech N9ne | Killer (3:43)
Get it right now! – Del The Funky Homosapien | Funk Man (4:52)
Scared – Jake One f/Blueprint | White Van Music (2:30)
The Leak – Elzhi | The Preface (3:34)

p.s. Lil’ Kim is coming to Higher Ground!?! How is she still touring? Or not incarcerated? Or alive? Were only it 1997, I’d be there in a heartbeat (admittedly, I put on Foxy Brown’s “Ill Na Na” as I began writing this post).


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 Album – “Magic Chairs” by Efterklang

Filed Under: Album Reviews, Standout Albums
Written by Brendan
Monday April 26, 2010

Efterklang - Magic ChairsI’m still trying to navigate my way through the ins and outs of copyrights, etc., so I’m starting this series of posts with a band who has the mp3 I’m embedding available for free on their own website.

Anyhow, I listen to a lot of music — perhaps too much. Some albums I listen to only two or three times before putting them into the b-list that exists in my head. Others I’ll listen to obsessively until feeling some burnout. And others I’ll put on about once a week for an extended length of time.

It’s that last category of albums that I want to draw some extra attention to, in the hopes that you’ll give them a listen if you haven’t.

Today’s example is “Magic Chairs” by Efterklang. An mp3 of “Modern Drift,” the first song on the album, is embedded below for your listening pleasure.

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Magic Chairs is full of wonderful vocal melodies and a lush mixture of orchestral and electronic sounds. From the jubilant “Modern Drift” to the synth-driven pop of “Scandanavian Love” to the breathy whispers of “Natural Tune,” Magic Chairs floats around in an ethereal realm all its own. It’s simply beautiful music performed by an impressive array of Danish pop-rockers.

I was able to see Efterklang at La Sala Rossa in Montreal last month, and their performance was as flawless as their latest album.


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.