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

Twitter-length Wrapup: Hey Rosetta! @ Higher Ground 11/8/2010

Filed Under: Twitter-Length Review
Written by Brendan
Tuesday November 9, 2010

I don’t love all the shows I go to, and sometimes I don’t have so much to write about those shows. So I’m introducing a new form of review: the twitter-length wrapup. A 140-character (or less) summary of my experience. Here goes:

Not enough songs. Good vocals, but uninspired presentation. Small crowd. Cool instruments, but missing something. Drummer seemed bored.

Hey Rosetta! @ Higher Ground, Burlington VT, 11/8/2010

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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.

7 Questions for Hey Rosetta!

Filed Under: 7 Questions, Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Monday November 8, 2010

Hey Rosetta!

Photo credit: Jule Malet-Veale

Canadian rockers Hey Rosetta! are playing the Showcase Lounge at Higher Ground tonight (opening for Sarah Harmer), and bass guitarist Josh Ward was kind enough to answer a few questions for me in advance of their set. If you’re in town tonight, definitely check these guys out.

BB: Montreal and Toronto have been real incubators of quality indie rock over the past decade. Though it’s a smaller city, is there any such music scene in St. Johns, or are you pioneering the way? Do you think bands like BSS, Metric, Stars, etc have helped pave the way to a larger audience for other Canadian bands?

JW: It’s a funny thing, the St. John’s music scene. It has one of the most impressive amateur music scenes that I think I’ve ever seen, in terms of creative and talented people. With that, though, there are few bands from there who do it professionally, or go out and tour. It seems like music is always just something on the side. Your dentist might also be your favourite singer/songwriter. I think we’re lucky that we still have a small town kinda vibe. Chances are you know most of the people in the “scene” and as a result, there’s a lot of support.

There have been a lot of really amazing Canadian bands over the years who have certainly helped to make it possible for bands like us to do what we do. The bands you mentioned are great, and successful, proving that there is something to this “Canadian music.” We see it a lot when we’re out on the road. There’s a great respect all over for bands from Canada these days.

BB: I read on your tour blog that you’ll be bringing a smaller lineup on the next leg of your tour — who’s staying behind, and who makes that call?

JW: Well, on this leg we’re opening for Sarah Harmer, and her management wanted something a little lighter, and specifically smaller than we usually are. We had a discussion about it, and our guitarist, Adam, decided to sit this one out.

BB: I see that you’re working on a new album for early next year — did you write much of it while on the road, or did you take a break and make a more concerted effort to put together an album?

JW: Sometimes it is kind of difficult to find the time to really sit down and focus on writing an album while touring so much. A lot of these songs took a long time to develop. We would get together and bash out the tunes wherever we could find a little break, and do what we could (often forgetting most of the work we had done on them since the previous time we got together). There was no real extended break to strictly work on writing this album though. In fact, some of the tunes really only came together finally in the studio.

BB: You won several awards for Into Your Lungs – how has that success affected the creation of your upcoming effort? Did it create pressure, inspiration, something else?

JW: I’m not sure that success has affected the creation of the new album so much. Certainly we all feel a little anxious about it, though. There will likely be expectations from people of what it should be. I just hope this album can stand on its own. We really worked hard on it, and are proud of it as it is. Hopefully it won’t have to live in some shadow.

BB: Your band profiles have stayed pretty busy on Facebook and Twitter — who’s managing that stuff, and has the connection with your fans on those networks changed your experience as a band?

JW: We all kinda take part in that stuff. Our manager does some of the quick updates, but the rest is directly from one of us (usually Tim with the blogs, or Phil). It would be hard to imagine where this band would be without those types of networks. In the beginning, especially, we had a really strong internet community of fans and friends who helped us out immeasurably on our early tours. Not to mention getting hooked up with other bands and venues from abroad. It’s a great way to stay in touch with all those familiar faces we see on the road.

Thanks to Josh for taking the time out of a busy schedule. Here’s Hey Rosetta! playing A Thousand Suns (at a venue quite a bit larger than the one they’ll be playing tonight, but you get the point…):

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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.

Upcoming shows in Burlington & Montreal

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Tuesday November 2, 2010

There is a lot of good music over the next couple of weeks in this area, and I wanted to bring some of it to your attention (though you can always check for good upcoming shows in Burlington and Montreal using the calendar to the right). You can listen to any of the bands using the links below. I highly recommend any and all of these shows, and will be making it to several myself.

The Joy Formidable @ Petit Campus, Montreal
Thursday, Nov. 4

Morning Benders @ Higher Ground, Burlington
Sunday, Nov. 7

Hey Rosetta! (opening for Sarah Harmer) @ Higher Ground, Burlington
Monday, Nov. 8

Clinic @ La Sala Rossa, Montreal
Tuesday, Nov. 9

Glasser @ Il Motore, Montreal
Wednesday, Nov. 10

Horse Feathers & Anais Mitchell @ Higher Ground, Burlington
Wednesday, Nov. 10

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti @ Le National, Montreal
Tuesday, Nov. 16

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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.

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

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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.

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:

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

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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.

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.

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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: Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground Ballroom 9/22/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Thursday September 23, 2010

If you missed last night’s Broken Social Scene show, you really blew it — and don’t say I didn’t warn you. BSS treated us to over 2 hours of audio enjoyment, putting on one of the best shows — if not the best show — I’ve seen all year.

Openers The Sea and Cake started things off with an impressive performance, but I was so jazzed with anticipation that I could hardly pay attention. It’d been quite a while since I last saw BSS — a little over 4 years actually. The last time I saw them definitely stands out as one of my favorite shows of all time, at Merriweather Post Pavilion (MD) in the summer of 2006, along with Belle & Sebastian and Ted Leo/Pharmacists.

I was also at the BSS Presents… show in 2007 at the Ira Allen Chapel, but that was definitely Kevin Drew’s solo effort, no matter what it was called. Not to mention the sound quality was awful and Kevin Drew was sick. Needless to say, I’ve been waiting to see Broken Social Scene again for a long time.

Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene

Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/10

They played a nice mix of tunes from all 4 of their albums, as well as a cover of “Soul Unwind” by Apostle of Hustle (BSS guitarist Andrew Whiteman’s side project). I was only allowed to take photos during the first three songs, so they may make the show look pretty mellow — don’t believe it. There was plenty of sweaty rock energy on stage and off.

Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene

Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/10

Though I really wanted to hear “It’s All Gonna Break,” my disappointment was pretty easily overcome by some of my other favorites like “7/4 (Shoreline),” “Superconnected” and “Meet Me in the Basement.”

The band clearly had a strong connection with the audience, and their stage presence and banter really cemented that feeling. A few of them made a guest appearance at the Live Yo Gabba Gabba (children’s entertainment, for those without kid neighbors) performance earlier in the day, and Kevin showed off his newly acquired dancing skills by leading us in the “Peanut Butter Stomp.”

Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene

Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/10

There was a fairly new female addition to the band (sorry I can’t remember her name and can’t find it online), and she fit in wonderfully, singing “Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl” live for the first time, and absolutely killing it.

I think there were 8 people in the band last night, though a couple members of The Sea and Cake also joined them on stage for several songs. There were tons of different instruments played — well beyond what I’m used to seeing at a show. The trumpet and saxophone definitely stood out, and there was some solid harmonica work in there as well. There was also plenty of instrument-swapping going on as usual, a true testament to the talent of this band.

Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/10

Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/10

Broken Social Scene really brought their best last night, and I couldn’t be more excited to see them again in December at Metropolis in Montreal.


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: Broken Social Scene @ Higher Ground 9/22/2010

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Friday September 17, 2010

If you live in the Burlington area and there’s one show you see all year, I’d recommend it be Broken Social Scene next Wednesday, September 22 at Higher Ground in South Burlington.

I had a whole long post written out about why, but I decided to just leave it at that. They don’t need me to explain why – I’m sure the music will speak for itself, and I hope you are there to hear it. Here’s “Meet Me In The Basement,” an instrumental song from their 2010 release “Forgiveness Rock Record“:

I’ll post a review of the show and hopefully have some good photos to share, but please do yourself a favor and join me at the show.

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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.

Art Hop is tomorrow!

Filed Under: Live Shows, Local Bands
Written by Brendan
Thursday September 9, 2010

I love living in the South End of Burlington. It’s the perfect mix of quiet & convenient, and it definitely has a very particular character. The annual South End Art Hop, a two-day festival of local art in all its forms, really lets that character shine, and makes me love living here all the more.

If you’re in town this weekend, Art Hop is the only place to be. There’s a ton of good music playing, and I for one am definitely planning on catching some. Not sure I’ll make it to Maga at Speaking Volumes, but I’ll definitely be checking out Villanelles and The Vacant Lots at the Green Door Studio on Friday. Hope to see you there.

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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.