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Dropping Science 

Soundbites: Dropping Science, A Civil Union?, BiteTorrent

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from local MC, mover and/or shaker BURNTmd. But it’s not because he’s been resting on his growing laurels. Dude’s actually been quite the busy “B” lately. (Rimshot!)

In the months since we last checked in with the GTD Entertainment founder, he’s spent time working on a slew of new projects. Most recently a single with Reef the Lost Cauze, Phil the Agony and noted producer Illmind. Not to name-drop or anything, but Illmind’s credits also include Erykah Badu, 50 Cent and LL Cool J. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

That single, “Let’s Get Ill,” dropped earlier this month on Coalmine Records. It is part of a full EP of the same name scheduled for release on April 20 — yes, 4/20 — which, not to name-drop again, features contributions from Planet Asia, DJ Green Lantern and Akrobatik, among others.

Burnt also reportedly has some irons in the fire with a certain rapper named Snoop Dogg as well as a run of tour dates lined up in April with Keith Murray of Def Jam’s Def Squad, which includes Erick Sermon from EPMD and Redman of Method Man and Redman renown.

Where was I?

Oh, right, not name-dropping. Because that would be crass.

Anyhoo, it seems BURNTmd has really been reaping the rewards of his legendary work ethic of late. But this Saturday, the microphone doctor takes a step back and makes room for the next generation of local MCs with the Cash Prize Rap Battle at The Monkey House in Winooski, presented by GTD.

(Total aside: Given how clever hip-hop artists often are, wouldn’t you think GTD could come up with something catchier than “Cash Prize Rap Battle?” Here’s a free one: “War of the Words.” You’re welcome, B.)

In addition to the battle-rapping hopefuls, the evening will be hosted by DJ Fat Pat and feature performances from Boston’s Blak Madeen and Amadeus the Stampede. Also, Learic from local hip-hop heavyweights The Aztext is scheduled to appear, which would make for a great opportunity to ask about that follow-up album we’ve been waiting on for, like, two years. Seriously, Aztext. What’s the freakin’ holdup?

Anyway, congrats to BURNTmd on his recent successes. You deserve it, man. Because — not to name drop — according to a recent press release from Coalmine, Dan Bolles of Seven Days says, “BURNTmd is one of the hardest-working men in local music, period.” (Yes, I just name-dropped myself. Don’t try that at home, kids.)

A Civil Union?

Sticking with local hip-hop, I’m sorry to report that longtime champions of the 802 the VT Union are disbanding. According to a recent email from head honcho Nastee, everything is copacetic within the collective, which included DJ and MC Dakota and DJ A-Dog, among others. But, as Nastee puts it, “The Union served its purpose.”

Hard to argue with that. In addition to putting individual members of the group on the local map, VTU helped launch local hip-hop entities such as Lotus Entertainment, The Lab and Ice Coast Records, among others. Nastee writes that the Union have one last hurrah in store, a forthcoming mixtape called VT Union Is Dead. Word is, it also involves videos. Nice.

So, what’s next? Nastee and A-Dog have launched a new venture, 4Word Productions, which I expect we’ll hear plenty more from in the near future. In the meantime, Nastee has been busy as a producer, most notably working with up-and-coming NYC rapper Donny Goines on the recently released EP 20X. Goines reportedly will be in Burlington later this month, appearing at one of Nectar’s weekly True School hip-hop sessions.


  • Without question, the marquee event this weekend is the Rough Francis EP release at Nectar’s on Friday with Blowtorch and The Fatal Flaws. You can read my take on the EP here. (Spoiler: holy shit.) But if you have a minute, take the time to revisit the story of Death — local coverage, including ours, was pretty good, but New York Times scribe Mike Rubin wrote the definitive story (“This Band Was Punk Before Punk Was Punk,” March 12, 2009). Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. It is a remarkable tale and really puts the importance of the new EP into context.
  • Speaking of punk, Rough Francis ain’t the only game in town this week. Thursday night, Burlington’s bastion of teenage angst, 242 Main, hosts a smorgasbord of fun punk acts, including Boston’s Dead Ellington and locals Y69, Delirious Four and Rutland punkabilly outfit Midnight Saints. Also on the bill are Americana-punk sextet Larry and His Flask, who remind me of either a more muscular Avett Brothers or Social Distortion on Valium. That’s not a bad thing either way, really. Plus, when they arrive in Burlington Larry et al. will have spent the previous night (St. Paddy’s Day) playing with the Dropkick Murphys and Sick of It All at Boston’s House of Blues. I’m not sure, but this may set the world record for the greatest size disparity between clubs played in a 24-hour span.
  • More punk and hardcore goodness: Gas and Oil at the Odd Fellows Hall in Burlington this Saturday with Zebu, Big Black Toe and Before Nations. I was actually going to review the Burlington/Swanton trio’s 2009 album Middle of Nowhere this week. But I’m told they have a cleaner version available than what they originally sent me. So I’ll wait for now. However, no-fi recording or not, I dig ’em, and I bet you will, too. Assuming you’re not a total wuss, of course. Moving on…
  • In the ongoing hubbub over Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown recording, don’t forget about Michael Chorney, who is a big reason the album sounds the way it does — i.e., awesome. The “Chorn-dog” (Thank you, Ben Campbell!) has a new website — — with a bunch of fresh goodies, including three brand-new albums.
  • FYI: The Skinny Pancake (Burlington) is taking a brief “intermission,” music-wise, beginning this weekend. Check back in April.
  • Remember The Casual Fiasco? Will Read, a founding member of that late, great VT rock outfit, makes a homecoming this week. He’ll play a trio of dates under his new pseudonym, Small Mountain Bear, which he describes as a mixture of Wilco, Band of Horses, Bon Iver and Grateful Dead. Interesting. Catch him Thursday at Parima, Friday at Dan’s Place in Bristol, and Saturday at Radio Bean.
  • Last but not least, a shameless plug for the rowdiest show of the year: Everybody’s Favorite Irish Drinking Songs Band on St. Paddy’s Day at Red Square. There will be whiskey. There will be potatoes. There will, quite possibly, be blood.

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    About The Author

    Dan Bolles

    Dan Bolles

    Dan Bolles is the Seven Days music editor. His column "Soundbites" appears weekly.


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