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.

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.

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.

Osheaga 2010 Wrapup: Arcade Fire

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Friday August 6, 2010

I can best describe Arcade Fire’s performance as the closing act of day 1 at Osheaga as awe inspiring.  Pardon my gushing, but Arcade Fire is absolutely one of the best few contemporary rock bands.  Their live show is a testament to their original song writing, musical talent (they all play numerous instruments) and raw energy.  And they really go the extra mile in spending the money and time creating such an elaborate stage setup and well-timed performance.

Even without the large video screen intermittently playing live shots of the band through a variety of lens filters and a pre-made series of film clips, their show is so visually compelling that it almost distracts from the music. Almost.

Arcade Fire @ Osheaga 7/31/2010

Playing a mix of songs from their previous 3 releases, Arcade Fire was as tight and polished as a band could be. They manage their playlist in such a way to keep the energy high with the old hits, while interspersing heavy, intense numbers like Rococo.  They treated us to three never-before-played numbers, “Deep Blue,” “Half Light II” and my favorite track off their latest album “Sprawl II,” featuring Regine on lead vocals.

Arcade Fire @ Osheaga 7/31/2010

While Win Butler commands the stage with his powerful voice and presence, and Regine Chassagne dazzles with her choreographed dances, elaborate costumes, accordion playing and sugary-sweet vocals, I have to say that multi-instrumentalist William Butler (Win’s brother) is the best performer in the band.  In fact, he’s an absolute maniac out there.  Nobody has ever made the xylophone look so hardcore.  Keep your eyes on him if you’re lucky enough to catch an Arcade Fire show. (William is pictured on the left of the photo below, absolutely wailing on the drum in his hands)

Arcade Fire @ Osheaga 7/31/2010

If you’re about to cry because you missed this show, and Arcade Fire isn’t coming your way – fear not.  They played a very similar set on YouTube last night (broadcast live from MSG), and it was every bit as impressive.  You can watch it here.

Arcade Fire @ Osheaga 7/31/2010

I will be stalking the Arcade Fire tour dates until I’m able to see them again, and I suggest you do too. And if you haven’t yet, pick up their latest albumThe Suburbs, on sale for $3.99 through today only at Amazon.

note: all photos in this post are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

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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.

Get Arcade Fire’s new album for $3.99

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Tuesday August 3, 2010

As of right now, The Suburbs, the new release from Arcade Fire, is on sale at Amazon for $3.99. After seeing a few songs off the album performed live, and being about halfway through the album right now, I can definitely say that you will feel very satisfied with your purchase.

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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 Albums: “A Balloon Called Moaning” by The Joy Formidable

Filed Under: Album Reviews
Written by Brendan
Wednesday June 16, 2010

The Joy Formidable - A Balloon Called MoaningDuring my weekly music search, I’m often annoyed at the amount of Arcade Fire references used to describe bands. Having had my mind (and ears) blown by the muscular, triumphant sounds and crushing decrescendos of The Arcade Fire at The Orpheum Theatre in May of ’07, I have no tolerance for it. It’s just not possible to make as much noise as them and still make it sound beautiful.

So I’m going to try my hardest not to be that cheap with my descriptions of The Joy Formidable‘s A Balloon Called Moaning, despite the obvious ease of such a comparison (see how I worked that in there, while at the same point dismissing it?). I’ll also try not to draw any simplistic connection between this album and Metric’s latest release, Fantasies, but know that I’m trying really hard.

The Joy Formidable are Ritzy Brian on vocals/guitar, Rhydian Dafydd on vocals/bass and Matt Thomas on drums – a London-based rock trio with serious sound. They’ve filled A Balloon Called Moaning with thrashing drums, driving guitar riffs and haunting vocals. I’m a sucker for accents – any accent will do, really – and The Joy Formidable don’t disappoint. Ritzy’s voice manages to shine through all of the sound, and on some songs – notably “The Last Drop” – almost serves as a sedative to offset the gushing energy of the music.

“9669″ is fairly stripped down compared to the other songs, and shows shades of a the theatrical male-female duet mastered by Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan of Stars. But you could almost miss the song entirely with such rich, powerful and emotionally charged music surrounding it.

It is definitely impossible to sit still while listening to this album. And I don’t run, but Rachel swears by A Balloon Called Moaning as a motivational jogging (soft j) companion. I guess my twitching, tapping feet and nodding head would tend to agree with the sentiment.

I highly recommend this album, and think you’ll find yourself turning it up and bobbing along with me in no time.

Check out the official video for their tune “Austere” from A Balloon Called Moaning:

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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.

More artists added to Osheaga lineup

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday May 26, 2010

Well, two months after picking up tickets to this summer’s Osheaga Music & Arts Festival in a dizzied state of excitement, the good news just keeps on coming. Osheaga just announced another dozen or so artists, including Ra Ra Riot and Still Life Still.

I think actually we’re now getting into the situation where there might be too many bands that I want to see, such that I’ll end up having to miss some sets. I guess in the grand scheme of things, that’s a pretty good problem to have.

So far, my ideal schedule would include the following artists:

Arcade Fire
Stars
Metric
Ra Ra Riot
Still Life Still
The National
The Black Keys
Beach House
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Blitzen Trapper
The Morning Benders
Horse Feathers


and if it works out, I’d also be interested in checking out:
Devo
Pavement
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Seu Jorge (of Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou fame)
Sonic Youth
Cage the Elephant
Japandroids
Galactic

p.s. Osheaga folks, if you’re reading this, I’ve applied for a media pass (hint, hint…)

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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.

Holy exciting shit!

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Thursday March 25, 2010

Just bought tickets for Osheaga. We’ve wanted to go for the past couple of years, but it always seemed like the lineup was missing that one extra special band that would make the trip worth it. So what did the good folks at Osheaga do? Well they got LOTS of extra special bands.

Seriously, this is ridiculous. Arcade Fire, Stars, Metric, The National and Black Keys all in one place! And just a short 90 minute drive from Burlington. I went to a wedding last summer on the same island where they hold Osheaga, and it was absolutely beautiful. If the bands above weren’t good enough incentive, Blitzen Trapper. Pavement, Jimmy Cliff and Beach House are all going to be there.

Holy exciting shit. I’m now counting down the days…

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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.