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

Wrapup: The Head and the Heart @ Higher Ground 2/15/2011

Filed Under: Concert Reviews, Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday February 16, 2011

Last night, I caught The Head and the Heart (who opened for Dr. Dog) at the Higher Ground.  It’s the strangest thing, but their performance was so impressive that it really makes their album seem a little lackluster.  Not that I’ve stopped listening to it today (currently on the third time through), but the band has definitely come a long way since they recorded it (they originally self-released the album in July 2010), and their live act adds so much character to their music.

The Head and the Heart @ Higher Ground, Burlington VT

They clearly have such a good time playing that it was hard not to get swept up in it, but what impressed me wasn’t  just the energy they played with.  They also consistently belted out flawless 3-part vocal harmonies, thumped and shook impeccably timed percussion and threw in a jangly piano and some violin to boot.

Jon Russell and Josiah Johnson share the lead vocal duties, and both went all out.  Russell’s voice is normally deep and raspy, but he hits falsetto notes too.  Johnson was so crisp and clear that at times it was hard to believe there were other instruments playing.  Percussionist Tyler Williams went from four-limbed madman, nearly jumping out of his seat for entire songs, to egg-shaking time keeper, precisely placing shifts and tics.

My only hope is that as they continue to write music, The Head and the Heart finds a way to use vocalist/violinist Charity Rose Thielen’s voice more often.  She’s the perfect complement to the two male voices in harmonies, but it was her several solo lines that garnered the most attention from the audience (In “Rivers and Roads” and “Winter Song”), and I was seriously impressed at her vocal range.

All in all, I highly recommend seeing The Head and the Heart.  It’d be pretty hard not to have a good time.  Oh, and if they are opening for Dr. Dog and you plan on staying for that, make sure to bring your earplugs.  I brought the wrong ones, and only made it through the first 5 Dr. Dog songs before I couldn’t take the loudness anymore.

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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.

Recommended February shows in the Burlington area

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Tuesday February 8, 2011

With the arrival of the new year and the recent or upcoming launches of several music-related websites based in the Burlington area, I’ve been spending some time thinking about why I began writing here, and why I continue doing it.

One of the main reasons I began was to encourage more people in Burlington to go to shows.  I’m still baffled sometimes at certain shows selling out, while others play to a crowd of 30 — or less.  And I know from bringing friends to shows that a lot of the music I like is just categorically good, and generally folks are really happy when they come to a show with me.  The only barrier seems to be their exposure to the music, which I’m trying to solve by writing here.

To make a long story short, here are some upcoming shows in Burlington and Montreal that I’m either planning on going to, or really wish I could make it to but can’t.  If you like other music you’ve listened to or read about because of this site, I highly recommend going to any of them.  Try one out.  If you’re reading this from somewhere else, then check the venues around you for some of the bands listed below.  Based on past experience, I’m almost certain you’ll be happy you did.

Friday, February 11
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings @ Higher Ground
Tickets: $20

Tuesday, February 15
Dr. Dog w/The Head and the Heart @ Higher Ground
Tickets: $18

Wednesday, February 16
Interpol w/School of Seven Bells @ Metropolis (Montreal)
Tickets: $34

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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.

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.

This week’s music purchases

Filed Under: New Releases
Written by Brendan
Wednesday April 21, 2010

Yesterday I bought “Sleep Mountain” by The Kissaway Trail, “Shame Shame” by Dr. Dog, “Tango 3.0” by Gotan Project and “Travellers In Space And Time” by The Apples in Stereo.

All four are amazingly solid albums, from the retro-rock of Dr. Dog to the big orchestral sound of The Kissaway Trail to the shiny pop of The Apples in Stereo and the South American rhythms and hip-hop influences of Gotan Project.

All four are definitely worth picking up (The Apples in Stereo album is only $5 on Amie St right now).

I’m aiming to see An Horse and Kaki King at the Higher Ground showcase lounge tonight, and will hopefully have a wrapup to post in the next day or two…

Dr-Dog-Shame-Shame The-Apples-In-Stereo-Travellers-In-Space-and-Time Gotan-Project-Tango-3.0 The-Kissaway-Trail-Sleep-Mountain



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.