As you may have inferred by the fact that my interview with Blind Pilot drummer Ryan Dobrowski — a really nice dude, by the way — appears on the front page of the music section this week, I’m kind of excited for the band’s show at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge this Friday. In fact, I’ve had their debut disc, 3 Rounds and a Sound, pretty much on constant repeat for the last two weeks. Regular readers know that I’m a sucker for indie folk’s more sophisticated cousin, chamber folk. And that record has fairly well stated my desire for melody-driven, melancholy pop of late. Seriously, it’s among my favorite albums of the year. And, yes, it really is time to start thinking about “best of” stuff for 2009. What’s worse, it’s also time to start thinking about superlatives for the decade. Where did the oughts go?
The other reason — I can’t quite say the real reason, but it’s close — I’m excited for the show, is because it features someone many of you should already be familiar with: opening act Laura Veirs & the Hall of Flames. Great band name, by the way.
The last we saw Ms. Veirs, she was, by a number of accounts, stealing the show on the Flynn MainStage back in September, in support of everyone’s favorite haughty lit-rockers, The Decemberists. And that’s saying something, as Colin Meloy and Co. were excellent. And that’s also saying something, as their latest effort, The Crane Wife, probably makes my year-end “worst of” list. Or at least my “most disappointed with” list. But I digress.
I have to admit I was a little late to the party that night and only caught the tail end of Veirs’ set. But the buzz surrounding her performance was legit. As is the hubbub over her forthcoming record, July Flame, which features contributions from one of my favorite tragically underappreciated artists, Karl Blau. Trust me, you want to catch this show, and you want to get there early. And if you don’t believe me, check out the two free tracks available through Veirs’ website, lauraveirs.com. You’re welcome.
Imperfect From Now On
Speaking of indie music, it dawned on me the other day that we’re about to see a curious — albeit predictable — phenomenon unfold. Namely, that folks of a certain age who have been weaned on the last two decades or so of indie rock are starting to have kids. Hell, many of them already do. But that’s not the news flash.
What’s interesting is that this development sounds the alarm that the music with which this column’s chief demographic has grown up is about to become unequivocally, irrevocably lame. We are, it seems, getting old. (Note to whippersnappers: It will happen to you too, I promise.)
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the music itself is lame. Fret not, aging hipsters, Built to Spill still rule. But dated and lame are how our favorite tunes are sure to be perceived by our kids. It happens with every generation. I think it’s a rule, in fact. What will our kids be listening to instead? I have no idea. (Please, God. Just don’t let it be dub-step.) But they will think what we listen to blows. At least until they grow up a little and eventually come to appreciate it. This is also a rule.
But until then, what in the name of Doug Martsch are we to do?
The answer — to borrow a line from a song I hated as a kid because my parents loved it, but I now can’t listen to without breaking into tears for reasons I couldn’t possibly explain here — is this: Teach your children.
This Sunday, Montpelier’s Lamb Abbey plays host to a group called The Glory Montessori, helmed by local songwriter Kris Gruen. Posters for the show bill it as “a kid-friendly indie-rock concert benefiting the Montessori School of Central VT.” And on the surface, that’s exactly what it is.
Digging a little deeper, we discover the project comprises a new batch of tunes penned by Gruen, recalling his childhood days at the school — which his daughter now attends. You see where I’m going with this? Good.
The nine-piece band is made up entirely of Montessori parents, including The New Year’s Mike Donofrio. Additionally, the show will feature an opening performance by a duo that I’m not supposed to tell you about, but really wish I could because it’s excellent. Added to that, there will also be a “guided interpretive painting” session — for the kids! — during the show. And also, a bake sale … how indie is that?
Tying up a column bit from a couple of weeks ago: The voting for which current pop song The Jazz Guys will cover next, as a follow-up to their version of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” is now open. You can visit both the 7D staff blog, Blurt, and my blog, SolidState, to cast your vote. At the moment, Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” has a commanding lead over Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” But if you want my dark-horse pick, I think Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” pulls out the upset late. I’m giving 4-1 odds.
Speaking of gambling, remember last week when I went on a rant about the evils of gambling and the Rock Lotto at the Monkey House? Well, judging by the fact that there is another, completely unrelated Rock Lotto at the Lamb Abbey this Saturday, it seems you folks aren’t heeding my advice. Don’t say you weren’t warned. And, as always, play (music) responsibly.
Staying in the capital city, Montpelier finally gets a chance to see what all the fuss over The Vacant Lots has been about when the garage-psych duo makes its Golden Dome debut at the Langdon Street Café this Friday. They will also get a taste of B-town-esque covers, as there is a rare door charge at LSC for this one. But trust me, Montpeculiarians, the Lots are worth it. What’s more, they’ll be joined by a brand-spankin’-new hometown outfit playing its first gig, Sweet Hound.
Best wishes to local online radio station WBKM.org, which enters its terrible twos in grand style with a birthday bash at Nectar’s this Thursday, November 12, featuring their acclaimed house band, The Book ’Em Blues Band, The Kind Buds (see review here) and Will Dailey.
Irony of the week: Newish local, live electronica outfit Durians have a show at Parima this Saturday … in the Acoustic Lounge.
Last but not least, Gordon Stone has a couple of very special — even for him — performances coming up. This Saturday, the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts present The Sacred Forest at Burlington’s First Congregational Church. The show features the music of Stone’s latest album, Night Shade, reinterpreted by Senegalese choreographer Elhadji Mamadou Ba of Les Ballets Africaines de Sangomar. Using Stone’s music, Ba weaves song and dance into a dramatic tale of demonic possession and, ultimately, redemption — thanks to the guidance of a powerful shaman, no less. And here I thought Night Shade was just a killer album. Turns out it can perform exorcisms, too. The Sacred Forest will also be presented at the Barre Opera House on Saturday, November 21.