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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Best Local Singles of 2014: Caroline Rose, "Blood on Your Bootheels"

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Caroline Rose - COURTESY OF JER COONS
  • Courtesy of Jer Coons
  • Caroline Rose
As 2014 comes to a close, we here at Seven Days are doing a lot of reviewin', revisitin' and reflectin' on the year that was. On the music front, this means selecting our seven favorite local singles and rolling them out each weekday, from December 22 through December 31 — except for Christmas, because Santa. Today's choice cut: "Blood on Your Bootheels'" by Caroline Rose.

Caroline Rose has been in some good company this year. And we don't only mean the local acts who also grace this particular year-end list. Rose's breakout 2014 record, I Will Not Be Afraid, found a home with Thirty Tigers, a boutique Nashville agency whose other clients enjoying good years include the likes of Lucinda Williams, Trampled by Turtles and recent Grammy nominee Sturgill Simpson, to name a few.

Like we said, good company. Though where Rose would host them remains something of a mystery, as the nomadic songwriter lives in her van. That vehicle is most often parked in Burlington, where she has become one of the most promising acts to call the Queen City home in quite some time. Need proof? Check out this video for the sociopolitically charged "Blood on Your Bootheels," a biting, timely track that premiered this year via NPR Music and helped put Rose on the national map.


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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Best Local Singles of 2014: Waylon Speed, "Until It All Ends"

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 9:00 AM

waylon_speed_20130923_028.jpg
As 2014 comes to a close, we here at Seven Days are doing a lot of reviewin', revisitin' and reflectin' on the year that was. On the music front, this means selecting our seven favorite local singles and rolling them out each weekday, from December 22 through December 31 — except for Christmas, because Santa. Today's choice cut: "Until It All Ends'" by Waylon Speed.

Outlaw dirt rockers Waylon Speed unveiled their best record to date in 2014, Kin. While it's hardly a surprise that this band of brothers — albeit two from other mothers — would forge yet another chrome-plated fusion of country and metal, the record's defining trait is the renewed power of its songwriting. Never before have the distinct styles of primary writers Kelly Ravin and Noah Crowther entwined so gracefully yet forcefully.

To wit, "Until It All Ends" is perhaps the catchiest cut of the bunch, but retains more than enough rusty twang to rough up those gleaming pop hooks. Also, how many hairy local rock bands could appropriate a melody line from k.d. lang's "Constant Craving" and actually pull it off? Not to mention cutting a video for that song that includes handguns, road sodas and Juggalos.

(Full disclosure: Waylon Speed drummer Justin Crowther is an occasional Seven Days contributor.)

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Monday, December 29, 2014

The Best Local Singles of 2014: Swale, "Popular Crowd"

Posted By on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Swale - COURTESY OF SHEM ROOSE
  • Courtesy of Shem Roose
  • Swale
As 2014 comes to a close, we here at Seven Days are doing a lot of reviewin', revisitin' and reflectin' on the year that was. On the music front, this means selecting our seven favorite local singles and rolling them out each weekday, from December 22 through December 31 — except for Christmas, because Santa. Today's choice cut: "Popular Crowd'" by Swale.

Swale's 2014 record, The Next Instead — and the accompanying remix record, Direct Inbreds — was something like the local rock equivalent to appointment viewing television. The album was among the most anticipated of the year and, following its release, among the most universally admired. (Seriously, try to find a savvy local scenester who doesn't name it among the year's best records.)

All with good reason. Seemingly in the midst of a creative wellspring, the local art-rock veterans are at the peak of their already considerable powers. The first glimpse that explosion was coming was early in 2014, months before the record's release, in the form of a remarkable video for "Joyless," shot on frozen Lake Champlain. We loved that one, but we dig the anthemic "Popular Crowd" even more.  

(Full disclosure: Swale bassist Tyler Bolles is the brother of Seven Days music editor Dan Bolles.)

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

New Vermont Art Venues in 2014

Posted By on Sun, Dec 28, 2014 at 2:48 PM

"volcano series" by Olafur Eliasson - COURTESY OF HALL ART FOUNDATION
  • Courtesy of Hall Art Foundation
  • "volcano series" by Olafur Eliasson
We can't speak to the art market in Vermont, but Seven Days keeps an eye on art venues. Happily, 2014 brought a trove of new options — and some world-class collections — to the state.

From a downtown community art center in Burlington to a sculpture park in Enosburg Falls, the galleries and event spaces that opened this year offer art enthusiasts plenty to see — and perhaps take home. 

Here are five new art venues you can resolve to visit in the new year. 

Continue reading »

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

What I'm Watching: The Big Cube

Posted By on Sat, Dec 27, 2014 at 9:10 AM

A purple, double-exposed George Chakiris in The Big Cube - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
  • Warner Bros. Pictures
  • A purple, double-exposed George Chakiris in The Big Cube
By a stroke of what is surely unintentional irony, the 1969 youthsploitation film The Big Cube, which I watched last week, is really, really square. Though it was marketed toward a youthful, late-'60s audience, The Big Cube certainly missed its mark. It plays like an old-timey melodrama just barely seasoned with a soupçon of counterculture.

Directed for Warner Bros. by Tito Davison, a prolific journeyman Mexican-American writer-director, The Big Cube is a plain attempt to cash in on the "threat" ostensibly posed by the drug-taking, hippie-hippie-shaking countercultural movement of the late 1960s. The film makes no distinction between gentle, pot-smoking flower children and violent, leather-clad motorcyclists — as far as it is concerned, no one under 30 is to be trusted.

Continue reading »

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Friday, December 26, 2014

The Best Local Singles of 2014: The Precepts, 'Revolvin''

Posted By on Fri, Dec 26, 2014 at 9:00 AM

The Precepts - COURTESY OF THE PRECEPTS
  • Courtesy of the Precepts
  • The Precepts
As 2014 comes to a close, we here at Seven Days are doing a lot of reviewin', revisitin' and reflectin' on the year that was. On the music front, this means selecting our seven favorite local singles and rolling them out each weekday, from December 22 through December 31 — except for Christmas, because Santa. Today's choice cut: "Revolvin'" by the Precepts.

As mentioned in a previous post, Aztext cofounder Learic has been prolific in 2014. While his work with Write Brothers might be his most cerebral, his live collaboration with multi-instrumentalists/producers Jer Coons and Eric Maier as the Precepts could be his most progressive and experimental. As Learic told us about the Precepts debut, This Is How it Must Be, in a July cover story:

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Best Local Singles of 2014: Write Brothers, "Extraordinary I"

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 9:00 AM

The Write Brothers, Take Flight
  • The Write Brothers, Take Flight
As 2014 comes to a close, we here at Seven Days are doing a lot of reviewin', revisitin' and reflectin' on the year that was. On the music front, this means selecting our seven favorite local singles and rolling them out each weekday, from December 22 through December 31 — except for Christmas, because Santa.

Today's choice cut: "Extraordinary I," by Write Brothers.

Honestly, given the amount of great music that now BTV expat rapper Learic, aka Devon Ewalt, has produced this year, the dude could fill up a list of the year's best singles all by himself — and we'll hear from him again in this series. But for all his efforts in 2014, Take Flight, his record with producer Dante Vezina as Write Brothers, might be his best.

It's at least his most ambitious and cinematic in scope. Bonus points: See if you can count the number of pop-culture references in the "Far Side / Pharcyde" bars in the first verse of "Extraordinary I." (Hint: It's a lot.)  


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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Palace 9 Will Show The Interview

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 5:30 PM


Merrill Jarvis III, co-owner of several Burlington-area theaters, has just announced that he will screen The Interview at the Palace 9 in South Burlington starting on December 31.

Last week, Sony Pictures cancelled the planned Christmas release of the Seth Rogen-James Franco buddy comedy after a group of hackers thought to be affiliated with the North Korean regime threatened terrorist violence against theaters. The film features a scene — leaked by the hackers — in which Korean leader Kim Jong-un is assassinated.

After public outcry about the censorship of the film, Sony announced today that The Interview will be available to theaters after all. Whether it will play at multiplex mega-chains like Regal Cinemas remains uncertain. What is certain is that Burlingtonians will get a look.

Continue reading »

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Looking Back on VPR's Best "Bumper Music" From 2014

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM

"Morning Edition" local host Mitch Wertlieb - COURTESY OF VERMONT PUBLIC RADIO
  • Courtesy of Vermont Public Radio
  • "Morning Edition" local host Mitch Wertlieb
If you're an unabashed National Public Radio geek like me, perhaps you've had the following experience: You suddenly recognize that the song used as the segue between one story and the next is a subtle — and sometimes not-so-subtle —commentary on the story you just heard. In radio, such melodic interludes are called "bumper music" or "musical beds."

In late October, I caught one such musical nod on Vermont Public Radio following the weekly sports piece by "Morning Edition" commentator Frank Deford. Following an especially long Game Six of the World Series, Deford aired a piece called "Start World Series Games Earlier; Let Us Sleep." 

In it, Deford bemoaned the fact that Major League Baseball insists on starting playoff games too late in the evening for most East Coast fans, especially kids, to catch the end of the game, "so children are denied baseball's championship and grow up mixed-martial-arts fans instead."

Following Deford's piece, VPR aired an instrumental cover of Eric Clapton's "After Midnight," which got me wondering: Who selects VPR's bumper music, and what were some of his or her favorites? And, what other musical inside jokes did I miss in 2014?

It turns out, VPR's morning bumper music is chosen by VPR's "Morning Edition" local host Mitch Wertlieb, who wakes up each morning at an ungodly hour so that the rest of us know what's happening in the world.

Continue reading »

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The Best Local Singles of 2014: Pours, "Unveiled"

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Pours - COURTESY OF MONIKA RIVARD
  • Courtesy of Monika Rivard
  • Pours
As 2014 comes to a close, we here at Seven Days are doing a lot of reviewin', revisitin' and reflectin' on the year that was. On the music front, this means selecting our seven favorite local singles and rolling them out each weekday, from December 22 through December 31 — except for Christmas, because Santa.

Today's choice cut: "Unveiled," from Burlington psych-pop duo Pours.

Pours' self-titled debut album, released on local imprint Section Sign Records, was among the most anticipated local records of 2014. It proved worth the wait, precisely because of cuts like this one. "Unveiled" is emblematic of the band's best qualities, melding spectral synth and guitar melodies with cascading percussion and fragile, crystalline vocal work.   

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