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

Bowery Presents: Broken Social Scene @ Terminal 5

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday January 19, 2011

Last night, I had the opportunity to join my friends at a concert in New York, while sitting in my living room in Burlington. Not to say that watching a concert on the internet is at all comparable to actually being there, but with all the lights off, my laptop plugged in to my TV and the speaker system turned way up, I have to say the experience was still quite something.

I want to sing the praises of The Bowery Presents, who brought me two nearly flawless hours of live-streaming of a Broken Social Scene show from Terminal 5 in Brooklyn. Arcade Fire tried this last year, but it was way buggy and drove me so crazy I ended up turning it off. Not this time. I had 2 or 3 quick hiccups, and we did have to refresh the page once when the video froze just before “Meet Me In The Basement.” But overall the quality was outstanding, and the end result was that I got to see BSS for a third time in just a few months.

I know I shouldn’t be so surprised about seemingly straightforward technology, but with quality as good as last night, I now consider catching a show online a viable option. We get some amazing bands coming through Burlington, but not all bands do — and even when they do, sometimes one show just isn’t enough. So it’s incredibly exciting for me to imagine what other bands I’m going to be able to see if promoters, venues and bands continue to do live events like this.

It doesn’t look like they’re going to post the complete set, but here’s “Forced to Love” from last night’s show:

As a side note, I loved how much they filmed drummer Justin Peroff — it really drove home just how incredible and incredibly hard working he is.

** LATE UPDATE **

They’ve put the whole show up. If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending a BSS show, I highly recommend that you find 2 hours to sit in front of your computer, in the dark, with the sound turned up loud, and watch this. Seriously.


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.

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

Comments Off

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.

Something for your ears

Filed Under: podcast
Written by Brendan
Friday October 22, 2010

I can’t really decipher why, but I’ve been terribly uninspired to write lately. Maybe it was the nasty head cold last week. In any case, in lieu of something to read, how about something to listen to? Here’s a small selection of new music that I’ve been enjoying lately. Hope you dig it, and if you really enjoy any of the songs, please consider supporting the artists and purchasing their albums.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download mp3

Track list:

Broken Social Scene – World Sick from Forgiveness Rock Record
British Sea Power – Zeus from Zeus EP
Broken Bells – The High Road from Broken Bells
farm – hotel manners from Sat., Cloudy, Calm, 36º F, 10:44 p.m.
Gayngs – The Gaudy Side of Town from Relayted
Stornoway – Zorbing from Beachcomber’s Windowsill

Comments Off

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: Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground Ballroom 9/22/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Thursday September 23, 2010

If you missed last night’s Broken Social Scene show, you really blew it — and don’t say I didn’t warn you. BSS treated us to over 2 hours of audio enjoyment, putting on one of the best shows — if not the best show — I’ve seen all year.

Openers The Sea and Cake started things off with an impressive performance, but I was so jazzed with anticipation that I could hardly pay attention. It’d been quite a while since I last saw BSS — a little over 4 years actually. The last time I saw them definitely stands out as one of my favorite shows of all time, at Merriweather Post Pavilion (MD) in the summer of 2006, along with Belle & Sebastian and Ted Leo/Pharmacists.

I was also at the BSS Presents… show in 2007 at the Ira Allen Chapel, but that was definitely Kevin Drew’s solo effort, no matter what it was called. Not to mention the sound quality was awful and Kevin Drew was sick. Needless to say, I’ve been waiting to see Broken Social Scene again for a long time.

Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene

Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/10

They played a nice mix of tunes from all 4 of their albums, as well as a cover of “Soul Unwind” by Apostle of Hustle (BSS guitarist Andrew Whiteman’s side project). I was only allowed to take photos during the first three songs, so they may make the show look pretty mellow — don’t believe it. There was plenty of sweaty rock energy on stage and off.

Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene

Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/10

Though I really wanted to hear “It’s All Gonna Break,” my disappointment was pretty easily overcome by some of my other favorites like “7/4 (Shoreline),” “Superconnected” and “Meet Me in the Basement.”

The band clearly had a strong connection with the audience, and their stage presence and banter really cemented that feeling. A few of them made a guest appearance at the Live Yo Gabba Gabba (children’s entertainment, for those without kid neighbors) performance earlier in the day, and Kevin showed off his newly acquired dancing skills by leading us in the “Peanut Butter Stomp.”

Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene

Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/10

There was a fairly new female addition to the band (sorry I can’t remember her name and can’t find it online), and she fit in wonderfully, singing “Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl” live for the first time, and absolutely killing it.

I think there were 8 people in the band last night, though a couple members of The Sea and Cake also joined them on stage for several songs. There were tons of different instruments played — well beyond what I’m used to seeing at a show. The trumpet and saxophone definitely stood out, and there was some solid harmonica work in there as well. There was also plenty of instrument-swapping going on as usual, a true testament to the talent of this band.

Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/10

Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/10

Broken Social Scene really brought their best last night, and I couldn’t be more excited to see them again in December at Metropolis in Montreal.


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.

Show preview: Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/2010

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Friday September 17, 2010

If you live in the Burlington area and there’s one show you see all year, I’d recommend it be Broken Social Scene next Wednesday, September 22 at Higher Ground in South Burlington.

I had a whole long post written out about why, but I decided to just leave it at that. They don’t need me to explain why – I’m sure the music will speak for itself, and I hope you are there to hear it. Here’s “Meet Me In The Basement,” an instrumental song from their 2010 release “Forgiveness Rock Record“:

I’ll post a review of the show and hopefully have some good photos to share, but please do yourself a favor and join me at the show.

Comments Off

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: Still Life Still

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Tuesday August 10, 2010

Day 2 of the festival was significantly hotter and sunnier than day 1, so Rachel and I left the Galactic show on one of the main stages a little early to catch some shade at the Scene Verte before Still Life Still came on. This gave me a great chance to get up close for some good shots at the beginning of the show.

Eric Young of Still Life Still @ Osheaga 8/1/2010

Still Life Still put on an excellent set, full of sweaty rock goodness. As a testament to their grit, after what seemed like a series of electric shocks from the mic as his sweat dripped on it, lead singer Brendon Saarinen just kept right on going without a word.

Still Life Still @ Osheaga 8/1/2010

Most of the set was from their 2009 release Girls Come Too, though they also played at least one new song. Their sound was tight and their energy and excitement was clear.  This was definitely in my top 3 favorite shows of the festival.

Brendon Saarinen of Still Life Still @ Osheaga 8/1/2010

Still Life Still is a must-see for lovers of rock music.  They remind me a bit of Broken Social Scene, with a little more of the rawness of Kevin Drew’s solo album (or whatever you want to call Spirit If…).  Their album is great, their show is better, and I’m really looking forward to their next release, which they are working on currently.

Aaron Romaniuk of Still Life Still @ Osheaga 8/1/2010

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.

Comments Off

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 Preview: Still Life Still

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Sunday July 25, 2010

One of the few email lists that I really enjoy being on is Arts & Crafts. I’ve learned about several bands from their newsletters, and always get the latest tour info from their impressive list of artists. One of the bands I first learned about in an email from them is Still Life Still, who signed to Arts & Crafts in March 2009. Their 2009 debut release Girls Come Too was partially produced by Kevin Drew (of Broken Social Scene), whose influence is very apparent on the album.

Their song “Danse Cave” made it to the short list for my 2009 favorite music compilation, but didn’t quite make the cut. Anyhow, I’m really looking forward to seeing Still Life Still at Osheaga next weekend, and wanted to give a little taste of their music. Without further ado, here’s Still Life Still performing “Danse Cave”:

Comments Off

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
Wednesday May 5, 2010

I’ve been really looking forward to this week for quite a while. 5 years, to be exact. It was way back in 2005 that Broken Social Scene last graced my ears with a new album (that self-titled album, coincidentally, still stands as my favorite of this decade). Anyhow, yesterday I picked up the new Broken Social Scene album “Forgiveness Rock Record” as well as “Together” from The New Pornographers, “Heaven Is Whenever” from The Hold Steady and “A Balloon Called Moaning” from The Joy Formidable.

Forgiveness Rock Record is easily the best album of the year. I’ll write a more formal review of it at some point in the near future. But until then, just go buy it. Seriously. Right now.

I’ve never been much of a fan of The New Pornographers, but I really got into A.C. Newman’s solo album “Get Guilty” from 2009, so I figured I’d give them a try, and I have to say that I love this album. Maybe Neko Case, who recently moved to VT, can convince the band to come to Burlington for a show?

The Hold Steady album is a significant improvement from their last effort (which was almost enough to make me give up on them altogether), and definitely a departure from their signature sound without completely redefining who they are. The Joy Formidable album is also definitely worth picking up.

p.s. JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound tonight at Monkey House in Winooski – don’t miss it!

Broken Social Scene Forgiveness Rock Record The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever The Joy Formidable - A Balloon Called Moaning The New Pornographer - Together


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: k-os @ Higher Ground Ballroom, 5/1/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews, Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Monday May 3, 2010

I pre-bought two tickets to the k-os show, in the hopes that someone would come with me. Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out (which I guess doesn’t surprise me – not many of the people I know here have much of an interest in hip-hop, and nobody had heard of k-os). So I headed out solo.

I got there about 9:15 (doors opened at 8), and I walked in to an almost entirely empty Ballroom. As in literally 15 people, tops. There was a DJ onstage and 1 or 2 people out on the floor. I can’t say that I was expecting a sold out show, but I definitely wasn’t expecting an empty one either. The first opening act tried to get people interested, beckoning for everyone to come up to the front (there were maybe 20 or 25 people by then), and most people obliged. Unfortunately, the DJ had technical difficulties, one of the MCs didn’t actually perform on any songs, and the one who did was less than stellar, so the energy died down pretty quickly. Underwhelming is a the kindest description I can offer.

Next up was iLL iNTELLEKs, and for two white kids from Vermont, they were OK. But they didn’t deserve to share a stage with k-os, even if less than 100 tickets were sold.

By the time k-os took the stage, there were maybe 70 or 80 people there. Despite such a pathetic turnout, everyone gathered up front and the majority seemed genuinely engaged. Most of the songs played were from his 2009 release “Yes!” though I definitely heard at least one from “Exit” and one from “Atlantis – Hymns for Disco.” All in all, I was really impressed with his performance and just wish Burlington could’ve made it worth his while to come play here, in the hopes that he’d come back. Unfortunately, I’m pretty confident that will not be happening.

k-os @ Higher Ground, Burlington VT

k-os definitely looks the part for a self-described indie hip-hopper. His skinny, tapered jeans were tucked into his high-top boots. Under his denim jacket was a sleeveless Broken Social Scene hoodie which was pulled up over a beanie that covered his thick mass of dreads. And he left his big aviator shades on for most of the show. He also seemed to enjoy the VT beer that someone in the audience handed him just after he took the stage (though he sure did nurse it!).

k-os @ Higher Ground, Burlington VT

He is an impressive multi-instrumentalist, playing acoustic and electric guitar, keyboard/piano as well as harmonica (when’s the last time you saw from a hip-hop artist?). He also has a good singing voice (“No auto-tune there” he said after belting out the refrain to one of his songs) which makes for a much more dynamic show than your typical hip-hop act. He was accompanied by a turntablist and a guitarist (who played both electric and acoustic guitars and sang on a few occasions).

k-os @ Higher Ground, Burlington VT

I was essentially standing front-and-center which made for some good photos and definitely had me very engaged. Thanks to those standing around me for realizing that with such a sparse audience, there was no need for pushing, shoving or jostling for position. I was able to comfortably “dance” the entire show which is always nice (I’ve never seen myself do it, but my guess is that my dancing looks something a little bit closer to “thrashing about”).

I hope to catch k-os again at some point, preferably playing to a much larger audience with a lot more energy.

k-os @ Higher Ground, Burlington VT

Comments Off

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.

Streaming on NPR: Broken Social Scene “Forgiveness Rock Record”

Filed Under: New Releases
Written by Brendan
Monday April 19, 2010

NPR is currently streaming Broken Social Scene‘s upcoming release “Forgiveness Rock Record” (out on May 4) in its entirety. I’m 5 minutes in, and I’m ready to forget about the Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning albums and finally move on. If the first song is any indication, then Broken Social Scene is finally back.

Check it out here:

or head over to the NPR site.

Comments Off

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.