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

Cee-Lo Green tells it straight

Filed Under: Standout Tracks
Written by Brendan
Thursday October 7, 2010

There’s a very good chance you’ve seen this video (or the newer official video), as it’s been out for about a month. But I can’t get the song out of my head, so I wanted you to suffer the same fate. So go ahead, hit play on the video below.

The song, aptly named “Fuck You,” is as straightforward as it sounds. It’s a message to the women who have wronged Cee-Lo set over a Motown beat, and is as catchy as “Crazy,” from the Cee-Lo/Danger Mouse collaboration Gnarls Barkley. I still throw on their 2006 release St. Elsewhere every now and again, and am looking forward to what else Cee-Lo has to offer on his upcoming album Lady Killer.

p.s. apologies to my mom (a regular reader) for the language. you probably want to skip this one.

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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.

Standout Tracks: “Right On” by The Roots

Filed Under: Guest Post, Standout Tracks, Track Reviews
Written by Eric
Friday July 9, 2010

Ed. Note: I’ll be filling in for Brendan for a few days.  Our musical taste arc has followed the same hip-hop to indie music (with some hip-hop interspersed) progression, so I hope to do this blog’s theme justice.

“Right On” by The Roots is the 9th track off of their latest release, “How I Got Over.”  While I highly recommend the entire album, I want to focus on this particular track.

A rework of “The Book of Right-On” by Joanna Newsom, this track immediately hit me with its haunting and mesmerizing hooks and break beats.  Newsom’s harp and voice combined with Questlove’s drums create a backdrop for this song that leaves the listener yearning for more.  An aside: you can read more about Joanna Newsom’s unique journey through indie music at NYTimes.com.

Black Thought deftly maneuvers through his verse. Like the rest of the album, his level-headed but strong flow drives the track with a sense of purpose.  On this occasion though, the lyrical gem of the track belongs to the other guest.  STS aka Sugar Tongue Slim, the Philly by way of Atlanta rapper, comes out of nowhere to steal the track with his verse. He quickly burns through his 45 seconds, dropping several scientific references and finishing with a sports analogy.  That combination is a key to my rap-loving heart. It’s the type of performance that makes you do a double-take and rewind to the beginning of it.

Sure, the track’s message is a bit shallow; it’s equal parts ego boasting and city repping.  But it certainly left an impression on me for days.  Give it a listen and let me know what you think:


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
Thursday May 20, 2010

It’s been a few years since the last Band of Horses release, so obviously I’ve been eagerly awaiting their new release, “Infinite Arms.” I was pretty disappointed in the first listen, but am slowly working my way into more rotations, and things are definitely looking up. I think my biggest complaint is that Ben Bridwell’s voice (and the accompanying reverb) has always so powerfully defined the band’s sound, but their latest effort seems to have toned that down. It’s not that they still aren’t making quality music — it’s that I feel much less of an emotional connection to it. You can stream the full album at the band’s website via the link above.

I also picked up “Brothers” from The Black Keys, “Revolutions Per Minute” from Reflection Eternal (Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek) and “Saul” from The Whitsundays. The Black Keys continue to prove that two people can make an incredibly diverse and expansive collection of music, and I highly recommend their new album. I’m definitely undergoing a bit of a hip-hop renaissance, and Reflection Eternal is proving to be a wonderful vehicle for my trip down memory lane. I’m actually just listening to The Whitsundays for the first time now, so not much to report there as yet.

Band of Horses - Infinite Arms Black Keys - Brothers Reflection Eternal - Revolutions Per Minute

The Whitsundays - Saul



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.

Podcast 1 (alpha) – Hip-hop since 2008

Filed Under: podcast, Standout Albums
Written by Brendan
Thursday April 29, 2010

OPRcast 1: hip-hopThis is the real reason I started doing this actually. I don’t get to spend enough time with other music junkies these days, and it’s really tough over email to communicate about every new album that comes out and every show you’ve been to. The year-end compilations are definitely the best method I’ve had up until now of sharing the really staggering amount of good music that my ears consume every year.

But I feel like there has to be something better. So I’m giving this a whirl – 30 minutes podcasts of varying genres and inspirations, mostly from albums that have come out in the past several years. Looking to try something new? Give it a whirl. I’ll post them here for streaming over the web, and they’ll be available via iTunes Podcasts for those of you so inclined.

This one is specifically for Eric and Erik. I’ve been sporadically buying hip-hop albums over the past few years, and felt like I’d finally put together a small collection worth sharing. Also, I’m seeing k-os at The Higher Ground on Saturday, so I’ve been on a bit of an afternoon hip-hop kick (like Red Bull, I think my days of hip-hop in the morning are over).

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download mp3 | iTunes (not available yet)

Track List
Fornever – Murs and 9th Wonder | Fornever (3:38)
What About Us? – Mr. Lif | I Heard it Today (3:00)
I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman – k-os | Yes! (3:12)
Say What’s Real – Drake | So Far Gone (3:51)
S**t is Real – Tech N9ne | Killer (3:43)
Get it right now! – Del The Funky Homosapien | Funk Man (4:52)
Scared – Jake One f/Blueprint | White Van Music (2:30)
The Leak – Elzhi | The Preface (3:34)

p.s. Lil’ Kim is coming to Higher Ground!?! How is she still touring? Or not incarcerated? Or alive? Were only it 1997, I’d be there in a heartbeat (admittedly, I put on Foxy Brown’s “Ill Na Na” as I began writing this post).


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.

Yes! Yes! Yes! k-os coming to Burlington!

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday April 7, 2010

Not sure if I used enough exclamation points there. thoughts?

Anyhow, this is seriously exciting news for fans of:

  1. hip-hop
  2. Canada
  3. Broken Social Scene
  4. life

During my year in Salt Lake City, I found and fell in love with one of the most innovative, intellectual and inspirational hip-hop artists out there: Canada’s own k-os (or K-OS or K-os). His 2003 release, “Exit” became one of the very, very few things to keep me sane out there. You may have heard one of the singles off of that album, “Superstarr Pt. Zero:”

To get to the point, k-os will be gracing Burlington’s Higher Ground with his presence on Saturday, May 1. DON’T MISS IT!

In case you still aren’t sold, or you are wary of a hip-hop show, please do note that k-os was featured on “Windsurfing Nation” from Broken Social Scene’s 2005 release “Broken Social Scene” (which I must say is by far their most impressive album).

I own all 4 of k-os’ albums: “Exit,” “Joyful Rebellion,” “Atlantis – Hymns for Disco” and “Yes!” — and well, you probably should too.

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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.