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.

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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: Jeff Mangum @ First Unitarian Church, Burlington 8/8/11

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Tuesday August 9, 2011

Though I admittedly waste way too much time paying attention to live music listings in Burlington, Montreal, Boston, D.C., New York and Chicago, sometimes all that wasted time pays off.  For every 50 shows I see that are in a city that I can’t make it to, I come across one gem like last night’s show that makes every freaking second worth it.

As a brief introduction for those unfamiliar, Jeff Mangum was most notably the the driving force behind Neutral Milk Hotel, indie rock idols who last released an album in 1998.  Yup, the same year I was heading off to college with posters of 2Pac and Wu-Tang Clan to hang on my walls, Jeff Mangum released what could be considered one of the best albums of my generation.

Last night, after taking a decade or so off of performing live music, Mangum proved to an adoring crowd of several hundred overheated fans that the wait was worth it.  And the audience responded in kind, pumping the packed, nearly 200-year old church with a palpable electricity.

A few songs in, as he was putting down one guitar and picking up another underneath a glowing red altar, the PA system popped and went silent.  Taking it completely in stride, Mangum picked up his folding chair and a guitar and sat on the floor facing the first pew to sing a tune while the issue was fixed.  With at least half of the audience singing along (at his request), he belted out an acoustic rendition of Two Headed Boy Pt. 2 as people streamed from the pews to the floor to sit beside him.

Playing a good mix of tunes from Neutral Milk Hotel’s two releases (Avery Island & In the Aeroplane Over the Sea), as well as a Daniel Johnston cover and an unreleased song requested by someone up front, Mangum gave us no hint as to his future as a performer, only a reminder of his talented past.

Kudos to everyone there last night (at least as far as I’ve heard) for respecting the artist’s request for no photos or recording of any sort.  It definitely spoke volumes about the quality of Burlington’s live music scene, and made me excited rather than envious for the first time in a while.

Extra special thanks go to Angioplasty Media and MSR for bringing this show to Burlington. Your efforts are more appreciated than I’m able to express on the internet.  Please keep doing what you’re doing.


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.

Daytrotter comes to Vermont

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday July 27, 2011

Exciting news from Daytrotter today — they are bringing their Barnstorming 5 tour through Charlotte, VT on August 28. The tour features White Rabbits, Deer Tick, We Are Augustines, Blood Orange and Doug Paisley. I saw White Rabbits a couple years back and definitely recommend their show.

But I recommend this more than anything for the venue and the experience itself — the show is being held at The Old Lantern Barn in Charlotte. The folks at Daytrotter are true pioneers of the music industry, and if the success of their Daytrotter Sessions are any indication, this is bound to be a special evening.

Tickets can be purchased here (it’s a little bit convoluted of a system, but they explain it well enough).

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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.

The Manifestivus 2011: Vermont’s “Local Festival with a Global Vibe”

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Thursday June 30, 2011

Coming up in just a few weeks out in Cabot, Vermont is the Manifestivus music & art festival on July 22 & 23. It’s a Vermont festival in the truest sense, “an uplifting international world music festival that promotes personal evolution through music, art and culture. The festival reminds us that we are one with each other, the land and all things.”

Featured artists this year include Brett Dennen, Toubab Krewe (whose bassist formed the festival in 2002), Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, and Burlington’s own Events are Objects. More artists can be found here.

Tickets are available at http://manifestivus2011.eventbrite.com/ (enter promo code IVY to save $10)

The Manifestivus will donate a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to Toubab Krewe’s School House Krewe Project, which is raising funds for the construction of a music school in Bamako, Mali.

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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.

Twitter-length review: Villanelles @ Muddy Waters 12/10/2010

Filed Under: Twitter-Length Review
Written by Brendan
Saturday December 11, 2010

missed harmonies, rocking walking basslines. better screamed than sung – maybe it was because they were trying to be quiet? I’ll try again.

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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: The New Pornographers @ Higher Ground 8/27/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Saturday August 28, 2010

The New Pornographers, on tour in support of their May release Together, made their first-ever visit to Burlington last night.  Conspicuously missing (empty microphone/spot on stage and all) was Neko Case, who happens to live in Vermont these days.  Nobody spoke about it, and the lone shout of “where’s Neko” was met a wall of rock.  I guess that’s all I have to say about it, because I haven’t been able to dig anything up, and to be honest, I thought the show was wonderful anyhow.

Opening was Burlington’s own Maryse Smith, recently profiled by Dan Bolles in 7Days.  While we were waiting in line to get in, the Higher Ground owner came out from the ballroom and told everyone to get in there quickly because the opener was amazing.  He wasn’t lying.  I thoroughly enjoyed her set, and hope to see more of her and her backing band around the Burlington area soon.

Maryse Smith @ Higher Ground 8-27-2010

The New Pornographers played a good mix of music from various releases, including “The Slow Descent into Alcoholism” off their nearly 10-year-old debut album Mass Romantic and “Crash Years” and “Your Hands (Together)”, a couple of my favorites off their latest release.

Kathryn Calder of The New Pornographers @ Higher Ground 8-27-2010

While I do think there was some level of anticipation/disappointment in the audience regarding Neko, it was pretty apparent that the band worked their way right through it.  Kathryn Calder, the female half of the lead vocalists (Carl [A.C.] Newman being the male half) definitely stood out to me.  While Newman’s stage presence and slurry banter kept the audience engaged between songs (he played only 5 strings on guitar for a good chunk of the show, and had some ongoing conversations about it), it was definitely Calder’s vocals that I enjoyed the most.

Carl Newman of New Pornographers @ Higher Ground 8-27-2010

The audience (a mixture of 30 and 40 somethings, from what I could tell) was both sizable and very into the show, which was great to see.  The room felt full though there was plenty of room to move around, and very little jostling for an ever-closer spot.  Though I do want to say that just because your friends get there early and stake out a good spot does not therefore give you and 10 others the right to join them and push other people out of the way.  Simple courtesy is too often overlooked.

New Pornographers @ Higher Ground BallroomAnyhow, the catchy hooks, rocking guitars and vibrant pop energy of The New Pornographers were all on display last night, and I look forward to catching them again.

**LATE UPDATE**
Dan Bolles reports that Neko had food poisoning…mystery solved.


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.

Argh! (or, how I blew it and didn’t buy tickets)

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Sunday July 18, 2010

Well it finally happened. Normally, when a show that I want to go to gets announced, I buy tickets right away. My philosophy has always been: why wait? So I’m not sure that I can explain why I didn’t jump on tickets to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Higher Ground when they went on sale a couple months ago. Sure, I’ll see them at Osheaga just a couple days later, but anyone who’s been to a festival can attest to the fact that a set there just isn’t the same.

Maybe it was that the past few indie shows I’ve been to have been completely empty. Maybe it was that I thought Rachel would get them. But whatever it was, the end result is the same. The show has sold out and I will not be seeing this incredible band when they come through Burlington.

Not that I needed the lesson, but it has definitely been learned. Never again.

If there are any good samaritans out there who would like to sell me their tickets (2), I’d be more than willing to pay above face value, as much as it would pain me to do so. Email me at opr@brendanbush.com


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

Filed Under: New Releases
Written by Brendan
Friday July 2, 2010

It’s been a few weeks since I posted about new music purchases, so there are a few to write about. In the past several weeks, I’ve picked up Night & Day EP by Chief, Star Tiger Star Ariel by Delays, Thank Me Later [Explicit] by Drake, Perch Patchwork from Maps & Atlases, The Five Ghosts and The Seance EP from Stars, Expo 86 from Wolf Parade and Carrots from Young Mammals.

While there isn’t a bad album among them, the standouts are definitely the releases from Maps & Atlases and Wolf Parade, which I highly recommend to everyone.

Two releases I’ve been thinking about but haven’t committed to yet are Delta Spirit’s History From Below and Blitzen Trapper’s Destroyer of The Void. Have you heard either?

Maps & Atlases will be playing at Metronome in Burlington on Monday, August 9, and I will most definitely be there.

Chief - Night and Day Delays - Star Tiger Star Ariel Drake - Thank Me Later Maps & Atlases - Perch Patchwork Stars - Five Ghosts Wolf Parade - Expo 86 Young Mammals - Carrots

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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.