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Monday, December 31, 2007

3-2-1...

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2007 at 9:20 PM

The other night I ran into Max Schwartz at The Monkey House where I had the pleasure of chatting with him about the local scene, young business ventures, social networking sites, and of course, The Jazz Guys.

Max shared with me that all music recorded by The Jazz Guys is available free to download online, a fact I had not previously been aware of. It makes sense, though. Free music is a great way to build a solid fan base. A fan base that will buy tickets to your shows, and in turn support your tour efforts.

Any other local acts have their full recordings available for download?

And oh yeah, Happy New Year!

I'll be celebrating back at The Monkey (no surprise there) where guests are encouraged to bring their own vinyl to contribute to a low key New Years. If you're looking for something a little more... raging... there's plenty going on around town; Chuch and Bad Suit at Nectar's, Grace Potter and Lowell Thompson at Higher Ground, and The Bean's New Year's Eve Variety Ball at The Radio Bean.

So what are your New Year's Resolutions?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Aaaaand We're Back!

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2007 at 11:24 AM

Greetings Solid Staters!

I'm in the midst of a two-week long break from all things writerly and the critical side of my brain has completely shut down. As such, I've spent the non-yuletide portion of my free time in blissful delirium, watching videos like this on You Tube:


God, I love vacation.

In other news, local pop icon Gregory Douglass has released a video for his song "Hang Around," which is now airing regularly on LOGO, MTV's gay and lesbian themed network. The vid is part of "The Click List," which allows viewers to vote for the videos they want to see aired. In order for Douglass to stay in rotation, he needs folks to lend a helping cursor and vote for his tune. Check out the video and cast your ballot here. You'll have to scroll down a bit, but you can vote as much as you'd like. Choose or lose indeed.   

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Post-Industrial Doodlings

Posted By on Tue, Dec 25, 2007 at 1:00 PM

I ran across an interesting link the other day that will make some of you laugh, and some of you cry — especially if you review music.

Check it out here.

The ‘article’ was actually written back in 2001. I can’t find any information about the site it’s on, but the fact that someone took the time to compile a list of phrases that could easily be lifted and placed in any review of technical music is totally depressing. And also amusing. My personal favorite is “they are shooting for ‘ambient techno’ and the result is ‘post-industrial doodlings’.” God, that’s good.

I once tried my hand at reviewing music, but even a list like this one could not have masked my failure.

I like music for two reasons. Either I identify with the lyrics, or it makes me dance. If I don't like music it's usually because it makes me cringe. And there's no thesaurus extensive enough to turn either of those statements into a full-out CD review.

I've always loved researching bands and writing about what in their lives inspired certain songs. I think the highlight of all the interviews I've ever done had to be when I finally asked Dave from Saves the Day who Anna was, a name that reoccurred in several of their early recordings. And right after Dave told me it was his sister, Anna called his cell phone. But anecdotes like that aren't enough to convince someone whether or not to buy an album. At some point, facts have to take a backseat to the reviewer's opinion.

And the sad fact is, when it comes down to it, many of those working to review music can't deliver much more than... well... 'post-industrial doodlings'.

Which is why I so admire those who do it well. Those that can listen to a CD and write a synopsis that is not just the same old regurgitation of the same old phrases.

Because I have to admit, it's gotten to the point where I go into reading any review with some amount of skepticism that it will tell me anything at all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Hate The Internet

Posted By on Tue, Dec 18, 2007 at 1:01 PM

Sweet merciful crap! I got hacked. Well not me, per se. But my MySpace page. I feel so . . . violated.

Apparently, someone or something cracked my password and has been sending weird messages and bulletins to all of my "friends" with links to — drum roll, please — adult websites! Awesome. Nothing like being a semi-public figure and having your name attached to porn. Guess I won't be running for office any time soon. No Obama-Bolles ticket in '08. Sorry, folks.

In case we're not MySpace buddies, the posts looked a little something like this (minus the web address):

All of our friends should know about this...

Kardashian did an video before Keeping up w/ the Kardasians

This is the only place you can see it for free

If you can not click on the address

myspace can be really gay sometimes

type it in, trust me it is worth it!

you need to be 18 and have a visa or mastercard

other videos are also there.


I'm no Hemingway, but come the fuck on! "Did an video?" "Can not click?" "Myspace can be really gay?" Do you mean that MySpace is really happy and fun? Or do you mean that . . . ohhhh, I get it. You're a moron.

I know the socially inept virgins who devote their time to devising these sort of hacks and cracks rarely leave the dingy confines of their parents' basement and can't be bothered with the finer subtleties of the English language. And I'm sure the half-wit who devised this particular gem didn't know he was hacking someone who writes for a fucking living — it's far more likely this is a generic hack than a specifically targeted hit. But if you're going to try and pose as someone's friend — especially a friend pimping a porn site — wouldn't you at least make an attempt to sound believable? I know third graders with a better grasp of grammar.

In any event, thanks to those who brought this to my attention. I actually hardly use my MySpace page anymore — I'm all about Facebook now, mostly because Scrabulous rocks! — so who knows how long this bullshit could have gone on?

So in closing, the lesson of the day is update your passwords regularly.

Speaking of videos, here's one from local metal chaps — and I do mean "chaps" — Amadis, filmed by Jeff Howlett of Howlerman Productions. It ain't porn. But it's close.



Monday, December 17, 2007

Radio Killed the Radio Star

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2007 at 8:22 AM

We all know Clear Channel is both evil and the death of independent radio.

Thankfully we have enterprising locals like Lee Anderson and Jim Lockridge to keep local independent radio alive.

But while we’re passing the time until January when I can tap into The Radiator's online stream at work, how about a little story about my own ‘too close for comfort’ experience with Clear Channel? It’s one of those stories perfect to tell on a first date, and let’s face it, we’re now on date number four. Or five? Heck, I’ve lost count. We’re in a full out relationship.

About a year and a half ago, I decided to try my hand at business. I won’t get into here, because you've heard it all before. But I will ask you not to tell me it won’t work, because if you do, I will have to put one of my Veterans on you.

Anyway. In trying to secure a business loan, I got myself a business counselor. A man who, with the best of intentions, set up a meeting for me with one of his good friends. Someone who ‘used to work in the music industry’. It wasn’t until about ten minutes into my meeting with the friend that I asked him what part of the music industry he had actually worked in.

“I headed up Clear Channel,” he said, with a bit of a gloat, and not one ounce of the shame my shocked face was trying to impose on him.

I was speechless. And frankly, a bit panicked. This man was more monster than mogul and I had willingly entered a meeting with him. I tried to remember if there had been a sign on the door on my way into the room. You know, something along the lines of, “If you enter this meeting, Clear Channel will officially OWN YOUR SOUL.”

For the next twenty minutes, I allowed the man to talk to me about how I should raise the proposed salary on my business plan so that I could reward myself with a little sports car and how if I decided to become a nonprofit, I could simply pay myself a large bonus at the end of every year with any profit that the company had cleared.

EVIL.

I interjected once or twice with my business’ actual mission, trying to convince the man that the whole point was to fundraise for other organizations, but he wasn’t having it. Or maybe he just wasn’t capable of conceptualizing it?

In the end the meeting did help me. It gave me a lot of advice on exactly how not to write my business plan. And convinced me to get a lawyer.

It also made me that much more wary of Clear Channel-owned radio stations, and all the more excited for small ventures like The Radiator. Best of luck to you guys! I’m excited to hear what your hard work turns out!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Holiday Wishlist

Posted By on Fri, Dec 14, 2007 at 3:10 PM

Ho ho freakin' ho, Solid State.

A few weeks ago, I sent out an e-mail to a large number of area musicians, club owners, promoters and scenesters, asking for some general holiday/new year wishes. I asked them to keep it short, sweet, interesting and above all, to avoid any corny "Peace on Earth" nonsense — not because I'm against peace, but because it's something we should be wishing for year-round, not just when Hallmark says to.

To my pleasant surprise, the response was overwhelming and I have waaaaay more submissions than I can possibly use, even for the two issues the responses will run.

The solution? Why Solid State, of course! What follows is a submission I received with special instructions that I print it in its entirety or not at all. Since I already have too much to work with already, I submit for your approval, The Holiday Wish List of Mr. Damon Brink, proprietor of Nectar's and Club Metronome.

My Christmas list…

I would like to see The Aztext continue to blow up.

I would like for Alex Budney to continue to rock worlds in whatever he chooses.

I would like for the staff at Nectar’s to have an unlimited supply of eggnog, Sugarbush passes, and joy (sorry for the cliché) cause they “piss excellence."

I would like the fans of live music to be treated to even more of it by the guys, like us, who are the real deal: Alex Crothers and the HG crew, Jim Lockridge at Big Heavy, Lee Anderson at Radio Bean.

I would like the same venues above to be treated to mobs and mobs of fans that just can’t get enough and who think that paying $5 to see and hear live expression through the art of music is actually a deal instead of a burden.

I would like to see Jay Z pick up Fatty B’s line, STEEZ.

I would like to see State of Mind magazine on the West Coast.

I would like to see One Love Communications revolutionize the way unsigned artists are booked, promoted and connected.

I would like to see Nectar’s go LIVE with streaming web radio and live webcasts of shows.

I would like to see Dan Bolles simply smile at his critics.

I would like to see The Zodiac Room born again as the crown jewel of Burlington’s Club/Venue scene.

I would like for more Burlingtonians to realize that there is some seriously good food at Nectar’s…yes the seats might be ripped and it may look a bit tired on the restaurant side…but the food is no joke, local, fresh and fucking great!

I would like to see more music, more activity, more festivals, more fun, more money, more smiles, more beautiful girls, more rippin guitars, more horns, more slick rhymes over thumpin beats, more female musicians, more crowds, more lines, more great, local food and … less ‘tude…dude.

I would like responsible, caring landlords

I would like to see Mayor Kiss get the support and respect I think he deserves for being the opposite of an ego driven, “must make decision now”, talk, talk, talk…type of politician we are so unlucky to have in so many positions today.

I would like to give away a ton of BOOZE – get really drunk with beautiful people – march down to the waterfront on a hot august night – strip down naked and play waffle ball – while shouting and rolling in the grass with glee … and have the entire Liquor Control Sub Committee as well as the VT DLC tell me the next day that they were there and even though we didn’t see each other…they had a really great time and can’t wait to do it again…

And to come back to some reality…I would like to sell Nectar’s for a million bucks – with a BIG RED BOW.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Witch Hunt

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2007 at 1:04 PM

I was all set to let fly with some serious musical bloggery today. But then I realized what day it was. Today is Thursday, December 13. Or, the day baseball died.

Before we continue, those with a thirst for "rants and raves of the musical kind" should head over to False 45th and check out the latest batch of 2007 Year End Music Survey results, including submissions from The Jazz Guys, the estimable Contrarian himself, Casey Rae-Hunter and yours truly. Have fun and we'll see you tomorrow.

For those who don't know, at 2 p.m. today, retired Senator George Mitchell releases the findings of his over-arching and controversial inquest into the use of performing enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. After 20 months and $60 million, the distinguished gentleman from The Great State of Maine will answer, in explicit detail, how widespread steroid and HGH use is in America's Pastime. And he's naming names.

After years of speculation and public discontent, Mitchell's report will shed a harsh and unforgiving light on the darkest corners of the game. Already, hours before the official press conference takes place, names have begun to leak and whispers of full-scale complicity from the Commissioner's Office to the bat boys can be heard around the country. The first name tossed to the wind? Roger Clemens, arguably the greatest pitcher in the history of the game.

Mitchell's report is rumored to contain as many as 80 names, many of them high-profile players. Of particular note, "several prominent players" from the New York Yankees are said to be implicated in the Senator's findings. But it's unlikely any team will emerge unscathed.

Without question, the validity of the ex-Senator's report will immediately be placed on trial. Mitchell was not granted subpoena power and relied heavily on word of mouth and, potentially, hearsay from a variety of sources around the league. As such, access to players and league executives was likely limited at best. Additionally, Mitchell serves on the Board of Directors for the Boston Red Sox. Many have already questioned the wisdom of employing an investigator so intimately involved with not only the game, but one particular team. It's certainly a fair question.

Baseball commissioned Mitchell with the admirable intent of clearing the game's good name. The pall cast on baseball by the looming specter of cheating has been nothing short of a black eye for nearly a decade. But are Major League Baseball and George Mitchell opening Pandora's Box?

Ironically, steroids likely saved the game. Following 1994's bitter labor dispute which led to the cancellation of more than 900 games and the World Series, baseball was on life support. Then in 1998, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's epic race to break one of the game's most hallowed records, Roger Maris' single-season mark of 61 home runs, sparked a resurgence of interest, rescuing baseball from a slow and painful demise. But as any fan of the game knows, McGwire and Sosa cheated. They were juiced.

While Mitchell's report will almost certainly nail some of the game's biggest stars, the question remains whether or not he'll bite the hand that feeds him and address the underlying and perhaps criminal issue of complicity from baseball's higher-ups. Does anyone really believe that Commissioner Bud Selig was completely ignorant to the cancer ravaging his sport? If so, what does that say about his competence to govern the game? Selig made a deal with Devil. It appears that payment may be coming due.

Judgment day may well be on the horizon for the game itself. Mitchell's report is merely the beginning. Players, owners, management and executives should all be held accountable for their crimes against the game. If they are, will anyone be left standing?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

(South) American Psycho

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2007 at 1:31 PM

Greetings, music fans!

Sort of in tandem with Bridget's last post, this video was sent to me today by a few co-workers. It pretty much covers all of my big guilty pleasures: gorillas, sickeningly sweet, mass-produced chocolate delicacies and Phil Collins. I imagine a few of you have probably seen it before. But it does provide a new fodder for the age-old debate: Do you like Phil Collins? Enjoy.




And yes, I know that gorillas are primarily found in Africa, not South America. But work with me here, OK?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Won't Stop Believing

Posted By on Tue, Dec 11, 2007 at 9:49 AM

The other night at the bar, a friend posed a question.

“Ok, what is your favorite guilty-pleasure song?”

As everyone listed their choices (heavy on the Kelly Clarkson), I thought long and hard. But I couldn’t think of one. Maybe it is that I don’t feel guilty for any of the music I listen to. Or maybe it was just the tequila.

“You don’t know yours? How about I call your phone and let it play?” my friend joked.

She was referring to my new ring tone: “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.

“That’s not a guilty pleasure, that’s just good music!”

“Oh please! Every hipster kid in America suddenly thought the same as soon as they heard Journey on the OC!”

I watched my share of the OC in college (who didn’t  have ‘OC and forties’ nights with their dorm buddies?) but my love of Journey was not born from some Ryan/Marissa love scene. Or Seth/Summer love scene? No, I think it was a Seth/Anna love scene…

Whatever the scene was, it wasn’t what made me love the song. I love “Don’t Stop Believing” for the same reason I like “Your Love” by The Outfield.

Because it’s awesome.

So who cares where I first heard it?

How many people do you know that fell back in love with The Pixies after Fight Club came out? Or maybe got into The Fray because of "Grey’s Anatomy?" Or perhaps saw that damn Target commercial and are now suddenly fans of The Go Team?

I won’t feel ‘guilty’ for any of the music I listen to, regardless of why. And I certainly won’t change my ring tone.

After all, I changed it to Journey for a good reason. Big Pimpin’ was getting old.

I would ask which songs are your guilty-pleasures, but I know better. Instead, how about you share which songs you refuse to feel guilty for loving? That's something I'd be more interested to know, anyway.

P.S. In case the photo up top didn’t clue you in, I’m not Dan. Nope, it’s me, Bridget, that Starbucks-hating, Veteran-loving Seven Days office manager back again! And it seems I’ll be here a little more often. I know Dan already has a tall blonde by his side (Hi Joanna!), but I’m going to do my best to fill her shoes in the online music musing capacity. Because as much as I love blaming my office accounting errors on the fact that I was a Creative Writing major, I’m even more excited to expose myself to all of your criticism with no excuse at all.

Especially you, 'Porknolt'. I’m saving all my Grace Potter comments for you.

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like X-Mas . . . groan.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2007 at 4:01 PM

Well folks, the weather outside is indeed frightful and so is Downtown Disney, er, Church Street. Have you folks ventured down our quaint pedestrian mall at night lately? I'm pretty sure they must have hired Clark W. Griswold to do the lights this year. They're positively blinding.

Anyway, with Christmas and New Year's fast approaching, 'tis the season to start making lists. Lots of lists. Shopping lists. Naughty and Nice lists. People to Kill lists. Soon-to-be-failed New Year's Resolution lists. And of course, year-end top ten lists.

This is a first for me. I'm sure somebody out there probably cared about what I thought about stuff prior to my employment at Seven Days — Hi Mom! — but now it's serious. I actually have to write about it. A lot. And well.

Frankly, the pressure is staggering . . . kinda.

In addition to my obvious year-end newspaperly duties, the nice folks over at False 45th were kind enough to ask me to participate in their year-end round-up, which is already off and running. As soon as I get my act together and fill out their survey, I'll let you know.

I was also asked to participate in The Village Voice's year-end roundup, which, frankly, isn't nearly as cool as it sounds, as I'm one of about 1500 writers contributing. I had no idea there were so many of us. Scary. Still, it's just nice to be asked.

This time around, the Seven Days CD round-up is going to be a bit different than in years past, mostly because Casey and I pretty much split the year right down the middle. As such, the estimable Contrarian will sift through his favorite local discs of the year, I'll do the same and we'll meet somewhere roughly in the middle. In a couple of weeks, all shall be revealed.

In the meantime, I thought I'd pose the question to the masses and and allow you, the vigilant denizens of Solid State, to make the case for your favorite local albums of 2007. So let's hear it, folks. What were your favorite local releases this year?

And the winner is . . .   

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