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High Times 


click to enlarge Spit Jack
  • Spit Jack

This Saturday, April 20, is big day in the Green Mountain State and beyond. As it’s become known colloquially, “4/20” is like a stoner St. Patrick’s Day, a pseudo-holiday when folks who smoke a ton of herb celebrate by, um, smoking a ton of herb.

But this year, April 20 marks another unofficial holiday. Namely, Record Store Day, a day when people who buy a lot of music celebrate by … buying a lot of music. But the twist is that instead of purchasing new tunes online, fans physically go to real, live record stores, where all manner of deals, special releases and live performances await.

Were I the owner of one of our fine local record shops — say, Buch Spieler in Montpelier, or Pure Pop Records or Burlington Records in the Queen City — I’d look at the convergence of ersatz holidays as a supreme opportunity to take advantage of a market inefficiency, by which I mean wasted, trust-fund hippies with cash to burn. If it were me, I’d be blasting Phish reissues from the sidewalk, luring in unsuspecting stoners like the Pied (hash) Piper. They’d be powerless to resist.

Come to think of it, it’s probably a really good thing I don’t own a record store. Better to stay in my lane and whip off a rapid-fire edition of Soundbites. Try to keep up, stoners.


Speaking of 4/20, did you know that BurntMD smokes weed? True story. Anyway, here’s an update: The prodigal MC is now based in Colorado, where, as you may have heard, marijuana was recently legalized. That means this year’s 4/20 celebrations will be the first legal, post-prohibition observances of the holiday. It turns out, one of said Rocky Mountain high celebrations is a show curated by the kind doctor himself, featuring some marquee names, including DJ Premier and Justin BUA. BurntMD writes that the intent of the show — which, hand to God, is called Incredibowl’s 420 Extravaganja — is to “honor the historic sacrifices and struggles the marijuana movement has fought for decades to overcome.” OK, I made up that quote. But not the name. The Extravaganja is really just an excuse to get blazed and listen to killer hip-hop. But in the end, isn’t that what it’s really all about?

It’s been about four months since last we heard from Spit Jack. The local punk band went quiet after drummer Mike Forester choked to death on someone else’s vomit. Or moved home to Detroit, I can never remember which. In any case, they have a new drummer, Stone Bullet’s Seth Roya, and appear set to resume their quest to get kicked out of every bar in the state, beginning this Friday, April 19, at Hostel Tevere in Warren with Boston’s State of the Union and surf-punk bands Tsunamibots and Hardcore Sallies. Welcome back, gents.

Local cowpunk duo Red Clover and the Hermit Thrush are reportedly close to releasing their debut record. The boys were kind enough to send along a preview track that may or may not be called “Gin Eyes” — it was hard tell from how it was labeled. Whatever it’s called, I dig it. Lo-fi country with a punk edge will always own a special place in my heart, especially if you throw in booze — which I’m inclined to suggest is likely to happen this Saturday, April 20, when the band plays Finnigan’s Irish Pub in Burlington with Charlie Thunder. This just in from the Dept. of Are You Fucking Kidding Me? Kris Allen, the 2009 “American Idol” winner, drops by the Higher Showcase Lounge on Wednesday, April 24. That’s not especially noteworthy on its own. But get this. For the low, low price of $50, you can purchase a “quality time meet and greet” session with Allen, where “photos and autographs are allowed and encouraged.” If only there was a word for when someone accepts money to be in the intimate company of a total stranger…

In an unrelated story, I’ll be appearing at the next Rocket Shop Live “Musicians for Musicians” series at Main Street Landing in Burlington, this Wednesday, April 17. I’m on a panel talking about the relationship between the press and musicians. It’s free, but if you’d like to hang out after the show, you can make checks for $50 payable to “Dan Bolles.”

Band Name of the Week: Women Be Shoppin’. This one’s for you, Pat Milliken, wherever you are. WBS is an experimental side project of local songwriter Joshua Glass that plays “manic-depressive improv.” They’re at Radio Bean on Wednesday, April 24.

James Kochalka’s delightfully offbeat — and hilariously off-color — cartoon series, SuperF*ckers, is back after a brief hiatus. You can check out the original six episodes on YouTube, with six more episodes on the way, to be released weekly on Fridays. To celebrate, Kochalka plays a show at Radio Bean this Friday, April 19.

The schedule for the fifth annual Green Mountain Comedy Festival was announced this week. And it looks pretty awesome. In addition to headliner Todd Barry, the five-day festival features MTV’s Sara Schaefer, improv groups from Boston and New York, a musical-comedy showcase, a female comedy showcase, a family-friendly showcase and numerous workshops at venues from Burlington to Montpelier. The festival runs from May 22 to 26. For more info, check out

Speaking of local comedy, Laugh Local VT — sort of a kissin’ cousin to the Vermont Comedy Club and owned by local comedian Bob Thomas — is hosting a solid showcase at American Legion Post No. 3 in Montpelier this Friday, April 19. The lineup features eight local comedians doing 10-minute sets, including Nathan Hartswick, Natalie Miller, Kathleen Kanz, Tim Beavin, Cori Marnellos, Andy Lemieux, Regi B and Thomas.

Last but not least, a bit of shameless self-promotion! Since we retired our music blog, Solid State, and our staff blog, Blurt, Seven Days has lacked a good online outlet for arts-and-culture news and opinion — other than our regular website, of course. That’s been an unfortunate predicament — until now. We’ve launched a new blog, Live Culture, where you’ll find all manner of newsy — and viewsy — tidbits from our various arts beats, including theater, film, visual arts, dance and, yes, music. Check it out at And then be sure to leave lots of all-caps rants — or raves! — in the comments section.

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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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