Friday, August 12, 2016

Swale Release Powerful New Video, a Cover of Sinéad O'Connor's 'Black Boys on Mopeds'

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 4:45 PM

Burlington's Swale have dropped a new video in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. A thoroughly researched photo montage, created by Swale guitarist Eric Olsen, shows every black woman and man killed by police between January 1, 2015, and August 1 of this year. The faces come and go at a terrifying pace, underscoring how the victims' lives were tragically cut short. The video features a newly recorded cover of Sinéad O'Connor's "Black Boys on Mopeds," tracked in recent sessions for the band's next album. 

As the blog Cover Me Songs reports, Olsen was inspired to create the video after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. "I hadn't seen any sort of aggregator of fatalities at the hands of police, so I started researching that," Olsen explains. "Collecting the data on all these people took some time, and by the time I was done, more people had been killed. So I added more."

The original song comes from O'Connor's 1990 album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, where it was a reflection on the killing of young black man Colin Roach. In 1983, Roach was killed inside a London police station, sparking a fury of protest and investigation.

Though the song was not written in connection with Black Lives Matter, it highlights the obvious and appalling trend of police brutality toward black people across cultures and time periods. The new video stands vigil and forces us to confront the insidiousness of racism and hatred, one face at a time.

Swale - "Black Boys on Mopeds" (Sinéad O'Connor cover) from Swale on Vimeo.

Swale's cover of "Black Boys on Mopeds" is available for download on their Soundcloud page.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

A New VT Hip-Hop Series, Sound Affects, Debuts at ArtsRiot

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 12:56 PM

  • Courtesy of Jarv
  • Jarv
A new monthly hip-hop series debuts at ArtsRiot in Burlington on Thursday, June 30: Sound Affects: A Community Event. The Sound Affects team introduced itself to BTV with a Waking Windows 6 showcase in May. But the ArtsRiot event marks the first shindig in the crew's permanent home. So, who are these guys?

According to local rapper Mertz, SA is a group of local rappers and DJs dedicated to raising the profile of hip-hop in Vermont and throughout New England by fostering a sense of community within a sometimes  splintered scene. It's kind of a "high tide raises all boats" theory.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lakou Mizik's Steeve Valcourt on Haiti, Music and Hope

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 12:07 PM

  • Thomas Freteur
  • Lakou Mizik
In January 2010 a 7.0 earthquake struck the small Caribbean nation of Haiti. Yet, amid the devastation, something surprising emerged: hope. During the day, volunteers from around the world worked to clear the wreckage. At night, the sounds of singing and drumming could be heard floating above the din. This resiliency in the face of tragedy inspired the formation of Lakou Mizik.

The band emerged in the wake of the Haiti quake, bringing together several generations of Haitian musicians of diverse spiritual, cultural and musical backgrounds.  Led by guitarist Steeve Valcourt, the group is a dynamic (and danceable) reflection of the vibrant Caribbean, African, French and American influences that inform Haitian culture.   

Touring in support of their debut album Wa Di Yo — released on Charlotte's Cumbancha and produced by Montréal's Chris Velan (Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars) and Iestyn Polson (David Bowie, Patti Smith, David Gray) — Lakou Mizik perform with Antibalas and locals Barika at the Waterfront Tent in Burlington on Saturday, June 11, as part of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. Seven Days recently caught up with Valcourt via email — with some translation and editing from the band's manager, Zach Niles.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Grand Point North Local Band Contest Is Open!

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2016 at 10:44 PM

Grand Point North
  • Grand Point North
For the fourth year in a row, Seven Days is running a contest to let our readers decide which Vermont musical act gets to open the Grand Point North festival in September. These can be bands, solo acts, DJs, the didgeridi-dude from Church Street, Bernie Sanders, whoever — as long as they are local.

BTW, for the nominated group to qualify as local, at least one member must currently reside in Vermont. Past winners were the DuPont Brothers in 2013, Dwight & Nicole in 2014 — and, last year, in a rather shocking — and awesome — turn of events, the Harwood Union High School Assembly Band. BTW, HUHS is the alma mater of fest founder Grace Potter.

Anyway, here's how the contest works:

The nomination period is now open and will be until Sunday, May 8. During this period, fans or artists themselves can nominate local acts they'd like to see on the GPN stage. Then, on Monday, May 9, voting will open to the public, and the real fun begins. The act with the most votes at the end of the day on Sunday, May 15, is the victor. The winner  will be announced the following week. 

Here's the link to the nomination page. And good luck!

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Song Premiere: "Seven Days," the DuPont Brothers

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 10:31 AM

'A Riddle for You,' the DuPont Brothers - COURTESY OF THE DUPONT BROTHERS
  • Courtesy of the DuPont Brothers
  • 'A Riddle for You,' the DuPont Brothers
Today is local songwriter Zack DuPont's birthday. So, of course, he's giving us a present, in the form a new DuPont Brothers single, "Seven Days." Because that's just the kind of sweet, big-hearted dude he is.

The song — which has nothing to do with a certain local altweekly — is from the DuPonts' forthcoming album, A Riddle for You, recorded with composer/songwriter/producer/generally awesome guy Michael Chorney. Here's what Zack's brother, Sam DuPont, had to say about the tune in a recent email:

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Watch Bernie Sanders and Vermont Musicians Sing 'This Land Is Your Land'

Posted By on Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 11:18 AM

Toward the end of last night's Super Tuesday rally in Essex, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined pianist Ben Folds and a crew of local musicians onstage to perform "This Land Is Your Land," a signature song of his campaign — at least in Vermont.  We've definitively established that Bernie's not much of a singer, but he had plenty of help. Although he wasn't on mic, we did get to witness some of the man's legendary rhythm.

You'll recognize several of the singers from a video some of his very talented constituents released in January. Vermont musicians Dwight Richter, Nicole Nelson, Kat Wright and Brett Hughes belted the gospel-inspired, acoustic arrangement, joined by Sanders staffer Paul Stovall (who earlier performed the national anthem) and Folds on piano. Wife Jane O'Meara Sanders, son Levi Sanders and a collection of grandchildren also joined the candidate onstage.

Without further ado, here's the video:

  • Video by James Buck

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Who Really Won New Hampshire? Vermonters!

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 1:02 PM

Craig Mitchell's Bernie Sanders tattoo - COURTESY OF CRAIG MITCHELL
  • Courtesy of Craig Mitchell
  • Craig Mitchell's Bernie Sanders tattoo
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won the New Hampshire primary in convincing fashion earlier this week — superdelegates be damned. But ol' Bernardo didn't hog the media love for himself. In share-the-wealth fashion befitting a democratic socialist, he shared the national and local media spotlight with a number of Vermonters in the wake of the primary.  

Here's a quick roundup of those getting some shine this week.

Vermont musicians were featured prominently at Sanders events, official and otherwise, in New Hampshire, most notably Kat Wright and Brett Hughes and Dwight & Nicole. A picture of Hughes and Wright made the print and digital editions of the Washington Post. And Wright, Hughes and Dwight Ritcher — aka the "Bernie Sanders Singers" — were the subject of the short New York Times video below.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Soundbites Extra: Signals Series Returns, LIVE at ArtsRiot Begins, Another Bernie Tribute

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 10:58 AM

  • Courtesy of Waylon Speed
  • Waylon Speed
The news about Alan Newman buying a stake in Higher Ground ate up most of this week's Soundbites column, so a few items got bumped. With the weekend nearly here, let's take a quick look at those bits and pieces.

Last fall, local experimental music composer Greg Davis served as the first-ever sonic artist-in-residence at Champlain College. As part of that endeavor, he curated a music series called the Signals Series. It featured notable experimental composers from around the country, including Jeffre Cantu, Ben Vida and Davis himself.

The series was such a success that Davis and Champlain College are bringing it back for the spring semester. The first installment is tonight, February 5, at the Lounge Gallery in the Center for Communication and Creative Media at Champlain College. This one presents Montréal duo Le Révélateur. Here's what you can expect, according to the artists themselves:

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Roundup of VT Entries to NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 3:11 PM

Josh Panda - JOSH PANDA
  • Josh Panda
  • Josh Panda
NPR Music is in the middle of its annual Tiny Desk Contest. Since mid-January, artists from around the country have been submitting short videos in the miniaturized style of the popular Tiny Desk Concerts series, in hopes of winning the grand prize. Said honors include recording a Tiny Desk Concert at National Public Radio's office in Washington, D.C., appearing on a taping of NPR's "Ask Me Another," and touring the country with NPR and contest sponsor Lagunitas Brewing Co. 

Vetting the submissions is an all-star panel of judges, including "All Songs Considered" hosts Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen — the latter of whom founded Tiny Desk Concerts — singer and producer Son Little, Lucius cofounders Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, and the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. And they'll be mulling over a goodly number of Vermont submissions.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Alan Newman Buys Stake in Higher Ground Nightclub

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 8:43 AM

  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Alan Newman
This just in: Local business mogul Alan Newman has purchased a stake in the South Burlington nightclub Higher Ground.

Newman, who has cofounded several notable Burlington businesses, including Gardener's Supply Co., Seventh Generation and Magic Hat Brewing Co., confirmed in a phone call with Seven Days late last week that he has bought out Higher Ground cofounder Kevin Statesir. Statesir opened the nightclub in its original Winooski location with cofounders Alex Crothers, Rob Hintze and Matt Sutte in 1998. For the past five years, Newman has run Alchemy & Science, a specialty beer company that operates as an independent subsidiary of the Boston Beer Company.

"For 30 years I had been a member of the Burlington business community," said Newman. "But for the last five years, I had excluded myself from that community. So what's going on in my head is that I need something to keep me entertained, I could use a way to make a little money and, boy, it would be great if that was something back in Burlington again."

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