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

Bands you probably already love without knowing: Freelance Whales

Filed Under: Standout Albums
Written by Brendan
Thursday January 6, 2011

I’m continually impressed with the musical choices ad makers are using, from Langhorne Slim or The Black Keys to Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, my favorite bands are popping up all over television these days. I do find it strange that the ads rarely, if ever, identify the band or song they are using, but hopefully they are making up for that in cash to the artists.

An ad I’ve seen a lot recently (I ditched cable TV a couple of months ago, so I’ve seen the ads mostly on hulu) is another great example, and a song I’m sure any reader of this blog would like. Without further ado, here’s an ad for the 2011 Chevy Volt, featuring “Generator 1st Floor” by Freelance Whales:

If you like that little snippet, I suggest listening to the song in full in the video below, and if you like that even more, I suggest picking up their most recent album Weathervanes (currently just $5 on Amazon).


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 Wrapup: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Wednesday August 4, 2010

After a fairly disappointing show in Burlington earlier in the week, I had fairly low expectations for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros at Osheaga. After all, if they seemed tired and uninspired on Tuesday, and didn’t have a break between then and their Saturday set, chances were they’d put on the same lackluster performance.

As an aside, and an introduction to the following photo, it amazes me when singers smoke cigarettes. It just seems like the two things are completely at odds with each other. Here, Jade Castrinos and bassist Aaron Older share a smoke backstage just prior to their set:

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros @ Osheaga 7/31/10

Luckily for me, the band (and particularly lead singer Alex Ebert) were able to really turn it on for their Osheaga set. Their connection with the audience was so much better (it helped that Alex came out into the crowd for a bit), their energy as a band seemed so much more complete, and the music was spot on.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros @ Osheaga 7/31/10

There was no sitting down for this one (thankfully, as the ground at the main stages was covered in gravel and rocks), but they didn’t need that kind of gimmick to get the crowd into the show. All in all, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros completely redeemed themselves in my eyes, and put on one of the best performances of the festival.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros @ Osheaga 7/31/10

When the stage managers told Alex that it was time to wrap up their set, he wasn’t really into it, so they played another song. Jimmy Cliff, who was set to go on directly afterward at the adjacent main stage (an excellent setup, for what it’s worth), found his way over to give the band a hard time. After a few seemingly harsh words for Alex as he left the stage, the two of them hugged it out and Jimmy ran over to start his set.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros @ Osheaga 7/31/10

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.


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: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros @ Higher Ground 7/26/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Tuesday July 27, 2010

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros played a sold out show last night at Higher Ground — the first sold out show I’ve been to in a long while, and despite the small inconveniences (shoving fights, etc) of such a crowd, it was definitely nice to see Burlington turn out to support a band who isn’t a washed up rapper and isn’t known for their jamming.

Security was incredibly intense – I’m not sure if it was in response to an incident or incidents, but I’ve never seen things like this before. There were cops in the parking lot with breathalyzers, cops in uniform patrolling inside and out, and burly plainclothes cops with incredibly conspicuous firearms at the door. A youngish looking kid in front of us who definitely looked like he’d had too much of something got a field sobriety test before they’d take his ticket. Not normally what I’d expect at a ES&MZ show, but like I said, maybe it was in response to something else.

We got a good spot stage-left where there are generally less people (farthest spot from the bars). I came to this show ready to dance, so it was nice to have a little bit more room. I was definitely expecting some craziness based on what I’ve read about their shows and seen on YouTube. But I have to say, this show lacked the crazy.

Edward Sharpe @ HigherGround July 26, 2010

Besides the lead singer, Alex Ebert, forgetting the words to a couple of songs (which he played off well enough), the music was really good. I particularly liked Jade Castrinos’ vocals and loved the sporadic trumpet playing. And Alex certainly put on a performance — bouncing, dancing, jumping and interacting with the people right up front. But his energy didn’t seem to spread, and I was left feeling that the band seemed a little fractured, or at the very least just a bit tired.

In a bit of a revolt against the standard practice of pretending to leave only to come back out for an encore after some applause, most of the band just stayed on stage after their “final” song, which I thought was a nice touch. That whole routine definitely gets tiresome. And for their final number, they invited people up on the stage until it was completely full, then went down to the floor and asked everyone to sit with them for the campfire-style “Brother.”

Edward Sharpe @ HigherGround July 26, 2010

Most of the tunes were off of their 2009 release Up From Below, though they definitely played a few that I hadn’t heard and enjoyed. For their bigger “singles” like “Janglin” (popular from being featured on a Ford Fiesta commercial) and “Home” which has apparently been on heavy radio rotation, it was very apparent that the band was sick of playing them. They seemed much more animated and energetic on some of their more low-key or lesser known songs like “Up From Below” and “Desert Song.”

All in all, this was a very good show. But I was (maybe wrongly) expecting something a bit more. Unfortunately, the band doesn’t have a day off between now and their set at Osheaga. I think they could really use it based on what I perceived to be a lack of energy. Here’s to hoping that the atmosphere at Osheaga provides them with a little extra spark.

Edward Sharpe @ HigherGround July 26, 2010


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.

New music acquisitions

Filed Under: New Releases
Written by Brendan
Thursday July 22, 2010

But first, a quick update: life is good.  Thanks to the generosity of a near-stranger, I will now be in attendance at the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros show on Monday.

I can only hope it’s 1/10th as cool as this:

Anyhow, I’ve bought a bunch of new music in the past couple of weeks. On a friend’s recommendation I picked up Starfucker’s 2008 self-titled release. It’s pretty lightweight electro-pop with catchy hooks and danceable beats interspersed with grinding, grungy synths. I also picked up Eminem’s Recovery, Obadiah from Frazey Ford (of Be Good Tanya’s fame), Made The Harbor by VT’s own Mountain Man, More Grey Hairs from Reks (who I learned about from following Akrobatik on twitter…), Disconnect From Desire by School of Seven Bells, and downloaded SUUNS’ Zeroes EP for free, a promotion to celebrate their signing to Secretly Canadian.

While his ability to rhyme is impressive as ever, Eminem’s tired song subjects are, well, tired.  Also, since he admits multiple times that his last two albums were shit, I’d love my money back for purchasing those two.

Though I have a tough time during the work day listening to music as melancholy and at times depressing as Frazey Ford’s, her voice is so captivating that it’s worth an exception.  I highly recommend Obadiah.

I’m intrigued by Mountain Man, an all-female trio who met at Bennington College in southern VT. It’s way stripped down (at times a capella) folk, driven by vocal harmonies. I need to listen some more before offering anything more.

Eminem - Recovery Frazey Ford - Obadiah Mountain Man - Made The Harbor Reks - More Grey Hairs School Of Seven Bells - Disconnect From Desire Starfucker - Starfucker SUUNS - Zeroes EP


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.

Cars love indie rock (and you should too)

Filed Under: Random Thought
Written by Brendan
Tuesday May 25, 2010

One of the reasons I started this site is to hopefully introduce some folks in the Burlington area to good music that doesn’t come from a jam band, in the hopes of boosting show attendance and encouraging more bands to come through here. I have nothing against jam bands, btw, I just think that people can become blinded by the aura surrounding them, and not realize there is a ton of other good music out there.

It occurred to me last night that car companies might be trying to do the same thing, even if they don’t know it. It seems to be a rapidly increasing trend to use indie rock songs in car commercials, dating back a couple of years to Ford’s use of a Band of Horses track.

Below, I’ve compiled a few of the more notable uses of quality indie rock in car commercials. Find yourself humming these songs? Me too. Maybe you like indie rock after all?

Band of Horses – Funeral (Ford Edge 2008)

Phoenix – 1901 (Cadillac SRX 2009)

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Janglin’ (Ford Fiesta 2011)

Airborne Toxic Event – Wishing Well (Buick Lacrosse 2010)

Band of Skulls – Light of the Morning (Ford Mustang 2011)

Can you think of any others that I’m missing? Leave ‘em in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. And as a side note, I completely support artists selling their tunes to “the man” – it makes the bands money, which means they can make more music, and opens up a completely new audience, meaning more people will (hopefully) buy the music that they are making.

***

Late Update: Another example just got sent to me:

Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks (Volkswagen)


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.