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

Listen to this: Patrick Watson

Filed Under: Wicked Good Music
Written by Brendan
Monday June 4, 2012

I just finished listening to Patrick Watson’s new release Adventures In Your Own Backyard and liked it enough to inspire me to write something here for the first time in months. Having just returned from a whirlwind 10 days overseas, this simple, sweet and sentimental album is the perfect way to soothe out and transition back home.

Here’s a Tiny Desk Concert recorded last week:

Here’s Adventures In Your Own Backyard on Spotify, iTunes or Amazon (where it’s currently just $4.99).

Patrick Watson will be opening for Andrew Bird in the Higher Ground Ballroom on Friday, July 20.

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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.

Re: I Still can’t get enough of this song

Filed Under: Wicked Good Music
Written by Brendan
Monday April 16, 2012

Is it just me, or is the song in the previous post paying obvious homage to Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings” from Nevermind?

I find myself singing/muttering both of them to myself interchangeably and often muddled together.

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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.

I still can’t get enough of this song

Filed Under: Wicked Good Music
Written by Brendan
Tuesday April 10, 2012

Watch Cloud Nothings perform my favorite track so far in 2012, the 9-plus minute “Wasted Days” from their recent release Attack on Memory via fuse.tv:

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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.

Favorite Music of 2011

Filed Under: Standout Tracks, Wicked Good Music
Written by Brendan
Monday February 6, 2012

Obviously this is a little late as we’re now well into 2012. Just ignore that, and check out the wonderful music below.

2011 was a strange year for me in terms of music consumption. Due to work overload and a rapidly evolving landscape of music sources, I didn’t buy nearly as much music as I did the previous year (nor did I see nearly as many shows, nor really did I keep up with this blog as much as I’d like to). That being said, while I was slacking on the listening, there were many bands out there really getting at it. This is a compilation of my favorite tunes among the really fantastic releases of 2011.

If you “like” this site on Facebook, and want a copy of this year’s CD, just send me an email using the link in the upper right of this site, and include your mailing address. If you dig any of the music featured, please support the artists making it by going to their shows, buying their albums, and letting your friends know they should give a listen as well.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify (partial playlist).

2010
Artist Song Album
Wye Oak Civilian Civilian
The Antlers Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out Burst Apart
Milagres Here To Stay Glowing Mouth
Akron/Family Light Emerges S/T II: The Cosmic Birth And Journey Of Shinju TNT
Fleet Foxes Blue Spotted Tail Helplessness Blues
The Generationals You Say It Too Actor-Caster
Fort Lean Beach Holiday Fort Lean EP
The Rural Alberta Advantage Tornado ’87 Departing
The Cave Singers No Prosecution If We Bail No Witch
East River Pipe Tommy Made A Movie We Live In Rented Rooms
Apex Manor Teenage Blood The Year Of Magical Drinking
Ty Segall Where Your Head Goes Goodbye Bread
Girls Honey Bunny Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Iron & Wine Big Burned Hand Kiss Each Other Clean
The Thoughts Orange Sky I Won’t Keep You Here
Thao & Mirah Eleven Thao & Mirah
WATERS For The One Out In The Light
Youth Lagoon 17 The Year Of Hibernation
The Head and the Heart Rivers and Roads The Head And The Heart
Ezra Furman & The Harpoons I Killed Myself But I Didn’t Die Mysterious Power
Darwin Deez Radar Detector Darwin Deez
The Middle East Jesus Came To My Birthday Party I Want That You Are Always Happy
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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.



Favorite new (to me) albums of 2011

Filed Under: Album Reviews, Wicked Good Music
Written by Brendan
Tuesday January 10, 2012

My (mostly-inherited) vinyl collection got a lot of play this year – I’ve been trying to expand my musical knowledge & interest outside of the material that’s come out in the past 10 or so years.  I really never listened to much classic rock, jazz, folk, etc – I spent most of my childhood listening to hip-hop and (I’m not afraid to admit it) stuff like Dave Matthews Band.  So I missed out on many of the bands who influenced a lot of the music being created today.

I’ve worked my way steadily through 100 or so albums, and while some have been real duds (looking at you, Seals and Crofts), I’ve really taken to more than a few of them.  I’m not accustomed to writing about music from previous generations, but in the interest of sharing what I’ve been doing during the pretty sustained silence on this blog in the past 6 months, here’s a look back at some new (to me) favorites:

Steely DanCountdown to Ecstasy

I’m now ashamed to admit how little I knew about and how little I’d heard of Steely Dan.  I’ve listened to Countdown to Ecstasy, Katy Lied, Can’t Buy A Thrill and Aja a few times each, and while the others have highlights, I really think Countdown to Ecstasy is the most impressive, cover to cover.  Speaking of, the photo on the back cover of this album has inspired more than one “who would you be in you were in Steely Dan” conversation, and is likely to inspire more as it’s definitely one of the most played LPs I have.

Countdown To Ecstasy on Amazon mp3

Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection

Packaged in a glossy, heavy duty cover and accompanied by a full-sized lyric booklet, this 1970 release, Elton John’s third, has also become a favorite.  With vague echoes of some of his better known tunes, this album has a really different sound than anything I’d heard of Elton John’s (which was admittedly mostly pop hits from later in his career).  A “concept album” about the American West, this album didn’t have any released singles, though I have a few favorites (“Son of Your Father” among them).  If you can get past some of the clunkier thematic elements and accept this as a concept album, it’s a great listen.

Tumbleweed Connection on Amazon mp3

Roberta FlackFirst Take 

Part soul, part jazz, Roberta Flack’s 1969 debut album was recorded when she was still playing intimate shows in tiny venues like D.C.’s Bohemian Caverns, a spot I frequented for a spell when I lived down there.  It is absolutely magical to put this album on, crank up the volume and close your eyes.  First Take has started me on yet another exploration, delving into the Jazz bins at Burlington Records.  If you’re in the mood for something a little different, you should definitely give this a spin.

First Take on Amazon mp3

If you’re unfamiliar with these albums, I highly recommend giving them all a listen.  If this post is old news to you, maybe it’ll at least serve as a reminder of how awesome these albums are, and encourage you to listen to them again.

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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.

Trying out Spotify

Filed Under: Wicked Good Music
Written by Brendan
Friday July 22, 2011

For those of you not in the know, Spotify is a service that essentially lets you listen to almost any music you want to for free, in any order that you want, and share it all with your friends. While I’m still playing around with it and feel pretty ambivalent right now (I’ve never really been into the internet music listening services like Pandora or Grooveshark), one cool feature is putting full playlists out there for anyone’s listening. Well, anyone with Spotify that is.

Unlike other services, like 8tracks, which randomize the order of songs in your playlists to get around some sort of licensing issues, Spotify plays them in the order you choose. What better way for me to share my Favorite Music compilations…

Without further ado, for those of you with Spotify, here are links to those playlists. For those of you who haven’t checked it out, you can request an invitation here.

Favorite Music 2006
Favorite Music 2007
Favorite Music 2008
Favorite Music 2009
Favorite Music 2010
Favorite Music 2010 B-Side

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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.

8tracks mix: 5/20/2011

Filed Under: Wicked Good Music
Written by Brendan
Friday May 20, 2011

Well it’s Friday again, and __insert mandatory cultural reference/rapture joke__, and I thought I’d share some more music. Kind of a bummer that the service I’m using to share this music, 8tracks, only has a flash player so this isn’t able to be heard on the convenience of say, your iphone. But I’ll live with it, and so will you. Cause other than that, it’s pretty cool, and I love that they let me embed the mix right onto this page.

As I announced on Facebook earlier this week, I’m hosting a show next Friday, May 27, at the SEABA Center on Pine St, featuring Brooklyn’s Girls In Trouble (conveniently found in this playlist). I’ll have more about that on Monday (I’m trying to line up an opening act), but for now, enjoy the aural warmth:

If you dig any of the music, listed below for your reference, please support the artists making it and pick up an album or two. The first time you play through this playlist, it’ll be in the order below. On subsequent listens, it’ll be randomized (legal mumbo jumbo).

Chad Vangaalen
Burning Photographs from Diaper Island

Okkervil River
Wake and Be Fine from I Am Very Far

Man Man
Knuckle Down from Life Fantastic

Girls In Trouble
Lemons from Half You Half Me

Fleet Foxes
Blue Spotted Tail from Helplessness Blues

The Antlers
Putting The Dog To Sleep from Burst Apart

The Dodos
Sleep from No Color

Panda Bear
Afterburner from Tomboy

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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.

Good new music

Filed Under: Wicked Good Music
Written by Brendan
Monday May 16, 2011

I’ve picked up a few albums lately that have really stood out, and I wanted to recommend them in case you’re on the lookout for something new to listen to.

Fleet FoxesHelplessness Blues
I admit to being a latecomer to the Fleet Foxes bandwagon – they wowed indie crowds with their self-titled debut in 2008, but I hadn’t heard their music until earlier this month when I bought their latest album. They play a very approachable folk-rock, with obvious influences of Simon & Garfunkel. They sing songs that are heartwarming and easy to relate to, without being heavy handed, cheesy or “hip”.

The AntlersBurst Apart
Another band who slipped under my radar until recently, The Antlers have put out a new album that is certain to be near the top of many 2011 favorite music lists. It’s full of rich, mostly downtempo tunes, and manages to be dark without being dreary. And The Antlers were able to pull off an album mostly about love and heartbreak without sounding anything like the millions of other albums addressing the topic.

Thao & MirahThao & Mirah
My friend Aaron, an occasional collaborator on this site, introduced me to Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn in 2004. I’ve been captivated with her music ever since, though I haven’t loved any of her work nearly as much as I do this near-perfect collaboration with Thao Nguyen (of Thao + The Get Down Stay Down). It’s got a lot of positive, raucous, noisy energy (including handclaps, Aaron!) amidst the stunningly soft, sultry and sweet vocals of both Thao and Mirah, contrasted with soft, acoustic guitar driven numbers featuring almost piercing vocals. I was instantly obsessed with this album, and I’m confident that you will be too.


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.