I don’t know about you, but I’m still trying to wrap my mind around hologram Tupac performing at Coachella last week and the ramifications moving forward. Like, does this mean other deceased pop stars will start making appearances from beyond the grave? Has a new niche industry emerged? If so, who gets the money, the artist’s estate or record companies? Who’s next? It’s gotta be Michael Jackson, right? And if currently living rock stars don’t want their memories desecrated by holo-resurrection, do they now need to stipulate as such in their wills or record contracts? What about bands that are still living but over the hill? Could the Rolling Stones, circa 1970, go on tour now? Might new bands emerge that only tour as holograms, sort of like a super-futuristic Gorillaz? Could it work for dead comedians, such as Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor or Lenny Bruce? And does this mean the London Olympics could get Keith Moon to take part in their opening ceremonies after all (which they actually tried to do before being informed he’s been dead since 1978)?
It’s mind-boggling, really. I think we need a rapid-fire edition of Soundbites to clear our collective heads.
Local jazz giant James Harvey has had a rough go of it lately. He was recently hospitalized with an undisclosed illness and has been, as he puts it, “more or less homeless” otherwise. But it seems things are looking up for the noted composer and bandleader. Harvey writes that he’s recovering “nicely” on his family’s farm and has even started relearning to play the trombone. Harvey is best known locally as a pianist, but he built his reputation as a trombonist, studying under Cecil Taylor and performing with the likes of Don Cherry, Bobby McFerrin and Phish. Sadly, he’s been unable to play his horn for years, since he lost his front teeth following complications from drug addiction. But he’s giving it a go again, which he says has been a humbling experience. He’s also been writing a lot of new material, which he’ll unveil at Radio Bean in Burlington this Saturday, April 28, with a crack band consisting of Max Bronstein on guitar, Rob Morse on bass, Andrew Moroz on keys and Geza Carr on drums. Good to have you back, James.
Speaking of comebacks, the Burlington Coffeehouse songwriter series rides again. Founded in 1989 by late local songwriter Rachel Bissex, BC has known several homes over the years, including JM Noonies, City Market and the Rhombus Gallery. The series has been a staple of First Night Burlington celebrations since its inception, though a non-NYE show hasn’t happened since 2004. Jeff Miller, who helped Bissex organize the Coffeehouse almost from the beginning, has again picked up the mantle and will continue the revived series on a monthly basis at Studio A in Burlington’s North End Studios. The first edition is this Friday, April 27, with songwriter Tracy Grammer, who is touring behind a new album of previously unreleased material with her late partner, Dave Carter, entitled Little Blue Egg. Local songwriter Rebecca Padula opens.
Local rockers the Aerolites have an interesting show coming up. On Wednesday, May 2, they’ll be splitting a bill with songwriter Jim Keller, better known as a cofounder of the band Tommy Tutone and the cowriter of the song “867-5309/Jenny.” While it would be easy to dismiss him as a one-hit wonder, Keller is still actively writing. And more, he’s actually pretty good in a Bruce Springsteen-lite kind of way. He also counts Tom Waits among his fans. Says Mr. Waits, “Listening to Jim Keller’s music makes me feel like I have big plans, no worries and all of my hair.”
Taking a cue from indie music promoters such as Angioplasty Media and MSR Presents, who snag their favorite on-the-cusp touring bands to book at VT clubs, local comedian Phil Davidson is applying the concept to standup. The idea is to take rising comedic stars who might otherwise overlook Vermont and set them up with a show in our increasingly comedy-hungry state. First up, Mike Recine, this Saturday, April 28, at the Monkey House. Recine is a regular on the NYC comedy-club circuit and last year was tabbed to perform at the New Faces showcase at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montréal, which is kind of a big deal. Also on the bill, NYC comedian Erin Lennox, local funny man Aaron Black and Davidson.
Are you familiar with the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers? The group is an alliance of women from indigenous cultures from all over the world who promote “prayer, education and healing for the Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children for the next seven generations to come.” What happens after seven generations? No idea. But for the time being, it seems we’re covered. Anyway, the Grandmothers are organizing a 1390-mile horseback ride from Oklahoma to Montana that retraces the Cheyenne Exodus of 1878. What does this have to do with Vermont? Glad you asked. There is a local fundraiser for the project this Thursday, April 26, at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge. The show features comedian Josie Leavitt and local alt-country songwriter Lowell Thompson.
Prodigal guitar monster Nick Cassarino returns this week, and he’s got a new band. They’re called the Shift, and Cassarino describes the group, which features some of his old friends from the Lifted Crew, as “vision rock.” Nifty. He adds that the band recorded a debut record at the Barn last December and plans for a summer release. In the meantime, you can check ’em out at Nectar’s this Friday, April 27, with Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band.
Local twee-ty birds the Smittens will also have a new record out this summer, and a new label to boot. The band’s fourth full-length, Believe Me, hits stores in July and is being released on London’s Fika Recordings. Ryan Power engineered the recording, and the Tank Studio’s Rob O’Dea mastered it. (BTW, can we make a new rule that I only mention Ryan when he didn’t record some awesome local band’s latest album? At this point, can’t we just assume he did unless otherwise noted?) Also of note on the new album, local indie-pop songwriter Missy Bly, who reportedly will join the band on their European tour this summer. A few advance tracks from the album will be available in June. But if you really can’t wait, you can stream the first single, “Burning Streets of Rome,” at fikarecordings.com.
In celebration of the end of the spring semester at local colleges, local EDM crews 2K Deep and Mushpost are throwing a two-floor, three-room, 17-DJ bash called Clusterf*ck 2 at Nectar’s and Club Metronome on Wednesday, May 2. I’m told each room — the third would be the Metronome Lounge — will feature different genres, including dubstep, UK bass, moombahton, techno and whatever the latest sub-genre that happens to be invented that day is.
Last but not least, I goofed. Badly. In last week’s column, I accidentally implied that the Joe Walsh who is headlining the first installment of Zack duPont’s listening room series at the Black Box Theater in June is the same Joe Walsh who was in some band called the Eagles. Yeah, I got my Joe Walshes mixed up. However, the Joe Walsh coming to Burlington is in a pretty good band: the Gibson Brothers. But he is not a member of a legendary country-rock band with one of the greatest-selling albums of all time. Apologies to Joe Walsh. And also to Joe Walsh.
Once again, this week’s totally self-indulgent column segment, in which I share a random sampling of what was on my iPod, turntable, CD player, 8-track player, etc., this week.
Ramona Falls, Prophet
Sea of Bees, Orangefarben
M. Ward, A Wasteland Companion
Battles, Dross Glop
Allo Darlin’, Europe