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

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.

Favorites of 2010 are on the way

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Tuesday December 14, 2010

I’ve been spending my musical energy the past week or so on whittling down the (very long) list of my favorite songs from this year. I’m still working on it, so things might be a little slow on here until I’m done, but I just came across a video of one of my favorite artists from this year – Angus & Julia Stone – and I wanted to share it. It’s from a show this past summer at Café de la Danse in Paris.


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: Angus & Julia Stone @ L’Astral 5/30/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews, Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Tuesday June 1, 2010

Sunday was marathon day in Burlington, so to avoid the crowds I headed up to Montreal to catch Angus & Julia Stone. I wrote about their latest album, Down The Way, a couple of weeks ago. Read about it and listen to one of their tunes here.

This was my first time to L’Astral – in fact, the first time I’d heard of it. That’s a bit of a rarity, especially given the size of the venue and the fact that I’d passed it several times before when in the neighborhood (Metropolis and Club Soda are both within blocks). It’s a pretty cool venue, minus the two huge deadspots created by giant pillars just off the front corners of the stage. They list capacity at 600 standing, and though last night’s show sold out, I have a hard time believing there were nearly that many people. That made for a decent spot by the side of the stage and room to walk around if I felt like it.

The balcony level is really cool, especially for the folks who get there early enough to have a chair at the very front. I wasn’t one of those people, but I did snap a photo from in between two of them:

Angus & Julia Stone @ L'Astral - May 30, 2010

Anyhow, to the music. Jeff Robataille (sp?), a local, opened with a few songs with an acoustic guitar. A few of the teen girls up front seemed to find him quite special, but I didn’t particularly care for it.

After fixing a snafu with the haze machine (apparently it had hazed the backstage area quite effectively, but hadn’t made it through the curtains to the stage area), Angus & Julia Stone took the stage. To describe their onstage presence as meek isn’t really fair, because it doesn’t capture their earnest and obvious tenderness, but they are both very, very quiet. They played a couple of songs alone, then were joined by a bassist and a drummer for nearly the rest of the set.

Angus & Julia Stone @ L'Astral - May 30, 2010

The music was as ethereal and delightful as I had expected – a very impressive performance by this clearly talented sibling duo. Julia’s voice definitely stole the show in my eyes. Her sweet, breathy vocals also showed flashes of a stunningly powerful and rich sound, leaving me thinking her range as a singer isn’t even partially captured by their catalog. And her Dorothy-red high-heeled shoes definitely added to her impressive aura. Angus & Julia played a wide selection from both of their albums, and were about to play a new one when someone yelled a suggestion from the audience which they played instead (I wish I had shouted words of encouragement for them to try the new one – they were obviously hesitant and easily overwhelmed).

Julia is also an impressive musician – playing both acoustic & electric guitars as well as harmonica, trumpet and piano.

My favorites were “Yellow Brick Road” and “I’m Not Yours” from their latest release. Neil Young, an inspiration and a subject of “Yellow Brick Road,” was definitely well represented and honored with their tribute. I’d actually pay really good money to see that collaboration.

For all their shyness, both Angus and Julia managed to share some quite endearing and entertaining yarns about the subject or the impetus for a particular song. Honestly, I just don’t get why a person would respond to a love-song manifesto from Julia Stone with a hip-hop ballad (one of the stories she told), but then I also don’t get why Emily Haines or Amy Millan have sad love songs to sing. Who are the morons that are screwing these people over? I guess it’s hard to complain when it results in such emotionally charged goodness for my ears.

Angus & Julia Stone @ L'Astral - May 30, 2010

Although I love Angus’ voice on their latest record, I think that he certainly has the most room for growth in terms of the band. He has a pretty voice, and when sung softly, his lyrics are incredibly compelling and touching, but I definitely found myself wishing he’d step out of his shell and really wow the audience with something more.

Angus & Julia Stone is a show I highly recommend seeing if they are in your area. And if they aren’t, I’d still recommend picking up their latest album. I’m glad I made the haul to Montreal last night, even though the U.S. customs agent gave me an unnecessarily hard time on the way back in (which the Canadian border guard correctly forewarned me about on the way to Canada), and clearly had his facts wrong when it comes to “proper documentation” and the legalities of making photocopies of one’s passport.

p.s. Julia covered the tune “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease. Need I say more?

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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.

This week’s music purchases

Filed Under: New Releases
Written by Brendan
Tuesday March 30, 2010

The only album I’ve bought so far this week is Angus & Julia Stone‘s “Down The Way.” It is simply beautiful music.

It balances sad, spiritual, hopeful, dark and dreamy. I’m just about to finish the album and just put it on repeat.

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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.