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.

Wrapup: Midlake @ Le National, 5/20/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews, Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Friday May 21, 2010

I first saw Midlake in the back stage of the Black Cat (D.C.) in 2006. They, along with Cold War Kids, were opening for Sound Team. A pretty damn good billing in retrospect, though I hadn’t heard of any of them at the time. I can’t say that I remember much of the Midlake set, so I’m thankful I got to see them again last night, and I will definitely not forget that show for a while.

I got really nervous when we first walked in – there wasn’t a single person in the bar area and the woman at the ticket booth knew who we were when we walked up to pick up our will-call. I just wasn’t ready for another empty show – my soul couldn’t take it. Luckily, there turned out to be a fairly decent crowd when we made it into the stage area.

Midlake @ Le National, Montreal - May 20, 2010

We caught one song from the second opener and were able to easily make our way down to the front as Midlake got set up. A few minutes before they came out, a remote-controlled helicopter flew out from the backstage and hovered around menacingly, seemingly taunting the audience. Oddly, people didn’t really seem to notice.

Midlake, who I was expecting to be a five-person band, rolled out on stage seven deep. That amounts to one person on the piano/flute/secondary percussion, four guitars (variably acoustic and electric), one bass and a drummer. I didn’t know until I was reading more about them this morning, but the initial band met in college, where they were all studying jazz music. Their depth of musical talent was apparent – never before have I been to a rock show where not just one but two of the band members played the flute (not to mention the two recorders that were played).

Midlake @ Le National May 20, 2010

Midlake’s sound is layered with richness and depth (thanks in large part to the 4 guitars). Their live performance really brings the music on their albums to life, lending it such sullen emotion and character. They played a good selection from both “The Trials of Van Occupanther” (2006) and their new release, “The Courage of Others.” The standout to me would probably be Roscoe, which in addition to being one of my favorite songs, was played masterfully. But seriously, there was not a bad song among them. There wasn’t much dancing, but there was enough tapping, bobbing and nodding to tell that the whole place felt the same way.

Tim Smith, the lead singer, definitely has a pretty reserved demeanor onstage, and actually seemed to be a little embarrassed at times when Eric Pulido, one of the guitarists and secondary vocalist, talked to the audience. For a band with such a serious sound, the stage banter was surprisingly fun and light-hearted. Midlake had some gear stolen a few nights before, and told the tale of yet another attempt at robbing them the night before the show, an attempt thwarted by one of the band members who ran down the would-be thief and tripped him.

Tim Smith of Midlake @ Le National May 20, 2010

Midlake are masterful, sorrowful, soulful musicians and the show last night was an impressive display of it all. I’m definitely looking forward to their next visit to this area.

On a semi-related note, I still have a lot of work to do on my photography and post-production work, but I am loving my new Panasonic DMC-LX3 camera, which took the photos in 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.

Tomorrow: Midlake @ Le National

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday May 19, 2010

Lo-fi indie rockers Midlake come to Montreal tomorrow. Doors open at 7pm at Le National (1220 Ste. Catherine Est).

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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.

Coming soon to Burlington

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday April 28, 2010

I hope anyone in the Burlington area can appreciate with me what amazing music our local venues are bringing to town these days. It’s actually bordering on too much good music at once (ok, that’s not technically possible, unless two shows overlap and I have to miss one).

There’s a handy Google calendar over there on the left that lists good upcoming shows in Burlington and Montreal, but I really feel the need to share with you the plethora of good acts that’ll be in the area over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, April 28
White Rabbits @ Petit Campus, Montreal
Listen | Tickets

Saturday, May 1
k-os @ Higher Ground
Listen | Tickets

Sunday, May 2
Yeasayer @ Le National, Montreal
Listen | Tickets

Wednesday, May 5
JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound @ Monkey House
Listen | Tickets (available at the door)

Friday, May 7
Shout Out Louds @ Cabaret Juste Pour Rire, Montreal
Listen | Tickets

Sunday, May 9
Givers @ Monkey House
Listen | Tickets (available at the door)

Tuesday, May 11
Drink Up Buttercup @ Monkey House
Listen | Tickets (available at the door)

Thursday, May 20
Midlake @ Le National, Montreal
Listen | Tickets

Unfortunately, it’s looking like I’m going to miss at least 2 of the Montreal shows. I wonder how much a cab costs…

Anyhow, thanks to Monkey House and Higher Ground for continuing to bring good music through the Burlington area – I really feel like this is the best the national indie scene has been represented since I moved here a little over 3 years ago. Keep up the good work!

[as a side note, I wanted to acknowledge my hatred for myspace, while still giving the site credit for being the easiest way to hear a few songs from any given band. sorry for including so many links there, but I think you'll find it as useful as I do for pure music sampling purposes. unlike iTunes, Amie St. or emusic, myspace lets you hear full songs, which I think is really important in judging the merits of a band.]

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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.

Monday Morning

Filed Under: Live Shows, Music for a Mood
Written by Brendan
Monday March 29, 2010

Without giving it much conscious thought, I often put on music that amplifies my mood. Eminem when I’m angry or need to really focus (seriously), Midlake or Elvis Perkins when I’m feeling melancholy or introspective, etc.

But sometimes music can also alter my mood, which I’m glad to say happened this dreary Monday morning in Burlington. I started off the day with Drink Up Buttercup‘s new album “Born And Thrown On A Hook“, and have moved onto Shout Out Louds‘ “Work,” and the combination of the two has me ready to get something done today. It was a long weekend, starting on Friday morning with a broken furnace and a backed up sewer line (a euphemism for a basement flooded with shit water).  But I’m halfway through “Show Me Something New” and I think that today might be ok.

p.s. Shout Out Louds and Freelance Whales are playing Friday, May 7 at Cabaret Juste Pour Rire in Montreal.

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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.