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

Wrapup: The Thoughts @ Monkey House 11/7/2011

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Monday November 7, 2011

What can I say, I’m a sucker for falsetto. I wasn’t sure what was going to get me back to writing, but now I know the answer.  Though he didn’t need to play Radiohead and Neutral Milk Hotel covers to draw the comparison, The Thoughts vocalist Ian Williams made it easy for an overworked web developer-cum-music blogger to make a lazy comparison for reference.  Williams did a perfect Thom Yorke and a really good Jeff Mangum, but their original work was all The Thoughts needed to make me a quick fan.

Ian Williams of The Thoughts

Though I was one of maybe 3 people at the Monkey House to see The Thoughts tonight (the other 8 folks there were REALLY LOUD people playing pool in the back), they still put on a show that would have worked as well in either my living room or to a crowd of a couple hundred.  While the show was billed as a trio, Williams and violinist/harpist Katie Mosehauer were without percussion.  It may have livened up the show, but I was just as happy sitting in a chair at the front and resting my legs so my ears could do all the work.

Katie Mosehauer of The Thoughts

I only wish I’d paid more attention so I could have invited more folks to the show tonight.  I can’t think of a single person who I share musical interest with who wouldn’t have loved the performance.  The Thoughts are on the East coast for a few more shows, and are based out of Seattle.  If you have the chance to see them, I highly recommend it.  I’m already looking forward to their next trip east, and will be listening to I Won’t Keep You Here from now until then.

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.

Tonight at the Monkey House: Milagres w/ The Milkman’s Union

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Friday April 22, 2011

Tonight, for the measly cover charge of $5, you can see not just one but two bands who you will likely not see again in a venue as intimate as The Monkey House. Milagres is a Brooklyn-based quintet with rich, layered instrumentation that could fill a stadium, balanced with darker, moodier numbers. Portland, Maine’s The Milkman’s Union, features Burlington native Henry Jamison, is a folksier take on rock.

I’m short on time today, so rather than extol the virtues of these two fine bands, I’ve included a video from each of them below so you can hear it for yourself. Should be quite the show… starts at 9pm.

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.

Good shows upcoming in Burlington & Montreal

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday March 23, 2011

Here are a few shows I recommend seeing over the next month or so.

Monday, March 28
Young Galaxy @ Monkey House
$7 (at door)

I saw Young Galaxy open for Stars in December and would recommend them to anyone. Be prepared for a very pregnant lead singer…

Wednesday, March 30
Titus Andronicus @ Metronome
$10

You’ll have to like your rock a bit on the grittier & noisier side to enjoy this show. Expect a lot of sweaty excitement, and definitely bring earplugs.

Friday, April 8
Starfucker @ Higher Ground Showcase Lounge
$10

If you like to dance, this show is for you. Starfucker play high energy pop rock.

Tuesday, April 12
The Black Angels & Suuns @ La Sala Rossa (Montreal)
$17

The Black Angels are psych rock at its finest. I’ve wanted to see them since their 2006 release Passover.

Sunday, April 17
Iron & Wine @ Higher Ground Ballroom (sold out)

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.

Upcoming Shows in Burlington

Filed Under: Live Shows, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Sunday November 28, 2010

There are a few good shows coming up that I recommend seeing.  If you were to only go to one of them, I highly recommend Langhorne Slim.  He made my Favorite Music 2006 list, and I’ve been dying to see him live ever since.  His live show is supposed to be outstanding…

Wednesday, December 1
Langhorne Slim @ Higher Ground

Tuesday, December 7
Miniature Tigers w/Maga @ Monkey House

Maga is one of my favorite local acts, and sure to put on a good show. They alone make the cost of admission worth it, though I also recommend sticking around for Brooklyn’s Miniature Tigers.

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.

Photos: Dungen @ Monkey House 10/12/2010

Filed Under: Live Shows, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Wednesday October 13, 2010

I’m lacking the motivation to put much of it into words, so I’ll just share some extra photos. I enjoyed Dungen, though I didn’t stay for their full set as it didn’t begin until after midnight and I just can’t hack that like I once could’ve. The Monkey House was packed, and for good reason.

The shows two openers were the highlights for me — both Maga and The Entrance Band put on impressive performances that would have stood out on their own. That I was able to see them back to back for just $8 seems an injustice. If you live in this area, put Maga, a Burlington-based band, near the top of your list of bands to see. And if you’re into psych rock, definitely check out The Entrance Band (though not via their myspace page, which definitely has some sort of virus on it). Photos:

Bryan Parmalee of Maga

Bryan Parmalee of Maga

Maga

Maga

The Entrance Band

The Entrance Band

The Entrance Band

The Entrance Band

Gustav Ejstes of Dungen

Gustav Ejstes of Dungen

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.

Show preview: Dungen @ Monkey House tonight, Oct 12

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Tuesday October 12, 2010

Dungen

Photo by Karl Max

Swedish psych-rock-folk-ers Dungen play the Monkey House tonight with The Entrance Band and Burlington’s own Maga. Unless you speak Swedish, you won’t understand a word, but their music definitely speaks for itself. I’ve been listening to their recently released album Skit I Allt and am definitely psyched to see these guys. While I’m more excited by the guitar-driven rock songs like “Hogdalstoppen” and “Barnen Undrar,” I think that the majority of stuff on their latest album has more of a jazz feel, making the intimacy of the Monkey House a good fit.

For just $8, I can assure that you won’t be disappointed.

Have a listen to “Marken Lag Stilla” from their September release:

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.

Dungen w/ The Entrance Band, Maga
Tuesday, October 12 @ 9:00p.m.
The Monkey House
Winooski, 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.

Wrapup: farm @ Monkey House 9/25/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Monday September 27, 2010

farm - Sat., Cloudy, Calm, 36 F, 10:44 p.m.farm put on an impressive performance Saturday night to mark the launch of their latest album, Sat., Cloudy, Calm, 36º F, 10:44 p.m.

The show was well attended, with about 50-60 people there when farm took the stage. As a quick aside, it was great to see a show at the Monkey House that well attended. The last couple shows I saw there (Givers, Drink Up Buttercup) were all but empty, so it was a nice change in energy, and brought a much more intimate feel to the bar. It was also nice to see Maryse Smith — who recently opened for The New Pornographers — in attendance, supporting fellow VT musicians.

The band — who records as a 3-piece — was joined by their friends Sam Boutin and Brennan Mangan for this show. Even with 5 people on stage, they managed to make the constant trading of instruments look almost effortless. At least three of them took a turn on lead vocals, and duties were shared on the drums, keys, guitars and a variety of other instruments. While it would be pretty easy for this to become a distraction to the audience, they were quick and seemingly practiced enough to make it interesting.

Most of their set was from their new album, though they also played 3 or 4 songs I hadn’t heard before. My favorites were “anticipating snow” and “hotel manners” though really there were many highlights. The only thing that felt out of place to me was opening with “is it wrong?”, a sleepy, spacy, stripped-down song that, while beautiful, didn’t really pull me into the show right away.

I found myself drawing comparisons between Port O’Brien (particularly the vocals on “getting cold” which sound remarkably similar to Van Pierszalowski’s voice) and Wild Sweet Orange, though farm definitely has a sound all their own. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing farm again, and recommend that Burlington indie music fans check these guys out soon.

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.

On watching more local bands, and local bands to watch

Filed Under: Live Shows, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Wednesday September 1, 2010

I have to admit that I am not nearly as immersed in Burlington’s local music scene as I’d like to be. I still have yet to see a show at Radio Bean. The Monkey House shows generally start pretty late, and I don’t like driving out there unless I’m really motivated by a band I love. Metronome shows also start pretty late, and the one time I’ve tried to go to a show there in the past six months, they were 30 min late to even open the doors, let alone begin. It’s sad, but I seriously have a very hard time staying awake until 11:30 or 12 on a weeknight.

So the few times I’ve caught Burlington-area bands have been as opening acts at shows I was going to anyhow. I’d like to change that, and I’ve been hearing from more Vermont artists recently about new releases and live shows (keep it coming). So with this post, I’d like to kick off an attempt to see more local bands and write about them here.

To get it started, I might as well talk a little about the area bands I have seen, as I’ve been nothing but impressed with every one of them.

Maga

I saw Maga (soft g) open for Givers in May at The Monkey House.  I loved a few of their songs, and didn’t love others.  Overall, I left thinking I’d like to see this duo of Bryan Parmelee and Brett Fiorentino again.  It was Maga I bailed on seeing at Metronome recently because of my old-ness.  To make up for it, I wore my Maga tshirt in both Rome and Tel Aviv as a bit of free international exposure ;-)

Vacant Lots

Vacant Lots opened for, and put on a much better show than, Fiery Furnaces at The Higher Ground in June. They play heavy, droning psych rock a la Black Angels, and they play it well.  You can download Hypnotized, a 9-song release from Vacant Lots, for free here.

Also check out the video for “Let Me Out” by the Vacant Lots, written & directed by my neighbor Graham Raubvogel:

Maryse Smith (or Maryse & The Rosesmiths)

I had the pleasure of seeing Maryse Smith last week at Higher Ground, and to be honest, I’m ashamed I hadn’t heard of her before.  She plays tomorrow at The Monkey House, and I’m strongly considering going after my softball game, even though I’ll likely be at least slightly injured again.

Listen to Maryse Smith’s album Is Becomes Was (a bit more of a stripped down sound than the live 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.

7 Questions for Bear in Heaven

Filed Under: 7 Questions, Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday June 23, 2010

Bear In Heaven - Beast Rest Forth MouthBear in Heaven will be performing at the Monkey House in Winooski this Friday night, June 25. I’m pissed that I have to miss it for a prior engagement, and I highly recommend you check it out if you’re in the area. These Brooklyn rockers are said to put on one hell of a show.

Bear in Heaven frontman Jon Philpot was kind enough to answer seven questions for me, posted below for your reading enjoyment. Also, if you’re ever bored, check out some of the videos Bear in Heaven have posted on their blog. I’m not normally one to watch random web videos, but I found these to be really entertaining.

BB: Besides the bands you’ve been touring with, what have you been listening to lately?

JP: Gene Clark – White Light, Sibylle Baier – Clour Green, Vangelis – Earth

BB: There’s a lot of social networking “ghost writing” going on for bands these days, but it seems like you guys are actually using Facebook and Twitter yourselves to connect with your fans. Does that connection further your experience as a band, or are you doing it purely for our sake?

JP: It’d be weird for someone else to do our writing… they wouldn’t know what we’re doing/feeling. Only we do. Plus, it’s pretty fun to say something and have a bunch of people read it. Jokes! Good and bad.

BB: The energy created at a show is a two way street, with the band and the audience feeding off each other. Do you ever find it difficult to come up with the necessary intensity night after night?

JP: Our energy level doesn’t pose too many problems. There have been a few shows where we had intense amounts of travel before a show. But, really, if we can’t be semi-alert for 50-60 mins of a show then we have a problem… It’s totally true that we feed off the audience. But, we’re somewhere in between a party band and a space out band. I don’t fault people for not freaking out and just staring at us. Tho, I do enjoy when people lose there minds and go for it.

BB: Do you ever wish you could be in the audience at a Bear in Heaven show?

JP: No, I’d be too critical.

BB: Receiving Pitchfork’s “Best New Music” for Beast Rest Forth Mouth is a pretty big deal. Has that created any pressure on you, or was it all pretty much profit?

JP: It opened doors for us. There is additional pressure, but it’s pressure to be better. That’s not a bad thing.

BB: Is there any one show that stands out as the best from the past few months of touring?

JP: We had a great time in St Paul. Played the Turf Club when we were touring with Cymbals Eat Guitars and Freelance Whales. There wasn’t a ton of people there… but damn… the people that were there were incredible! Now the competition is on when we go back on tour this summer. Who’s gonna win? St Paul? Pitchfork Festival? Fargo?!

BB: How many of you are currently sporting the straight ‘stache? Any plans to go full ‘stache as a band?

JP: So far just two of us. No plans just yet. If we planned it, it would suck out all the stachexcitement.

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.

7 Questions for Drink Up Buttercup

Filed Under: 7 Questions, Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday May 12, 2010

I’m not going to dwell on last night’s DUB show at the Monkey House – let’s just say that I counted this time, and there were 9 people there. I was one of two that stood up to watch the show. The band was great – they definitely put everything they could have into it, considering the circumstances. Video of them playing “Even Think” from their recent release “Born and Thrown on a Hook” is at the bottom of this post.

Drink Up Buttercup @ Monkey House, Winooski VT

I had the chance to talk to James Harvey, the lead vocalist, after the show. He was very down to earth and assured me that even though they drove from Montreal to Maine to Vermont (note to tour director: Montreal-Vermont-Maine would have made more sense) and were not feeling all that well, they still had a good time and didn’t regret making the trek.

James was also kind enough to send me answers to 7 questions I had, posted below. Thanks to Jim for the thoughtful answers, and thanks to DUB for coming to play in Burlington, even if I didn’t get to see the trash can in action.

BB: Your album “Born and Thrown on a Hook” reminds me of something I wrote in 2007 about Okkervil River’s “John Allyn Smith Sails” – the coolest reworking of the coolest song about suicide that I’ve ever heard. You also mix beautiful sounds with macabre settings — is that an intentional juxtaposition?

JH: I’m not really a dark person, I love playing music that sounds fun and singing pretty melodies. I definitely view the world as an extremely dark place though, and I muse on that a lot when I’m writing my lyrics. Lyrically I think that a lot of the songs on our record are warnings. Maybe the world isn’t as dark as I think it is. Hopefully not. I’m just saying, people who you think are your friends have spoken ill of you for infinitesimal personal gain. You have been cheated on, even if you don’t know it. It’s just the way the world is. There is good stuff too, depending on who you surround yourself with. Even if they seem good though, they could be worse than someone who comes off as a total creep. Really nice people who use a lot exclamation points to express themselves scare me.

BB: Tell me a little bit about the album cover – pure artistic expression, or a commentary on something specific?

JH: Neil Krug is an amazing photographer. We wanted to use something of his for our album cover because we dug his vibe. All of the songs on the album are voyeuristic. Each song is a brief look into a certain characters world or a different world with it’s own cast of characters. The photo that we happened to pick jumped out at us as a scene that could have been one of the songs on the album, but isn’t. The album cover is essentially the hidden track on our album that doesn’t exist.

BB: Have you been to Vermont? What for, or what have you heard about us?

JH: We’ve never been to Vermont, but we hear that your syrup is as sweet as honey.

BB: Do you ever wish you were in the audience at a DUB show, or do you get the same high from playing the music that the audience gets listening to you play it?

JH: I think it’d be cool to see our band play live for sure. There is this crazy energy that I feel when our band plays music together. My face starts to buzz, it’s kinda like that feeling you get the first time you kiss someone, the first time you make out. I can feel when the audience is feeling that way too. You can just tell. It’s like the room is full of industrial-strength magnets, but they are all pulling together and pushing away from each other simultaneously.

BB: What’s your beverage of choice before, during and after a show?

JH: Irish whiskey is my drink. Can’t really do whiskey at the shows though, because I tend to get what the band calls “Jim-faced” when I drink the dark stuff. Lately I’ve been sticking to vodka on the rocks pre-show and post-show. The clear stuff keeps me in check somehow. I also always bring two bottles of beer on stage to keep things going but not too going during the set. That’s a DUB standard.

BB: I’ve read at least 10 album or show reviews, and nobody seems to agree on how to describe your music. Can you do it in one sentence?

JH: A Kubrick film viewed through a kaleidoscope?

BB: Can you name a few bands you’ve been listening to a lot lately?

JH: Most of the music that I’ve been getting into has been the music of bands we play with. I’ve been really into Maps and Atlases music since we toured with them. They are amazing musicians, virtuosos. I got a preview of their full length and I can’t wait till I can get my hands on it. It’s gonna blow minds. I’m also really looking forward to going on tour with Free Energy because I’ve had a bunch of their tracks on repeat in the car recently. They write really great pop songs that I can’t seem to get out of my head.

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.