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Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Band Alert!

Posted By on Thu, May 8, 2008 at 3:44 PM

I'm afraid the rumors are true. Denim-fueled speed-western truckstop rockers Chuch are no more. I, for one, am pretty bummed about it. The band was something of a Burlington oddity in that they virtually sidestepped the dues-paying phase most local bands are required to endure before they hit the road and seek their fortunes outside of the bubble that is the VT music scene.

From the outset, Chuch decided they weren't content to languish in Burlington vying for Tuesday night slots at Nectar's, and spent the majority of their time touring, ultimately building a solid fanbase across the country. You could argue that they were more popular outside the state than they were in their hometown.

Though I'm certainly going to miss Chuch, I'm happy to report that a new band has emerged, rising like a Phoenix from the ashes of cigarettes and stale beer that often littered the band's van. Ahhhh, memories.

Calling themselves Jesus Vanacho, the band is comprised of ex-Chuch rhythm section Justin and Noah Crowther — on drums and bass, respectively — Lightning Ridge axeman Ethan Rhea and Turkey Bouillon Mafia's Adam King on keys. The quartet debuts this Friday at Nectar's and I certainly plan to be in attendance. In the meantime, check out this track, entitled "Jetway" from their recently recorded demo.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Deli Sandwich

Posted By on Tue, May 6, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Greetings, Solid State!

There's a new deli in Burlington and I ain't talkin' about Sadie Katz — which, if you haven't been, totally rocks. One word: latkes. One more: mmmm . . . man, I'm hungry.

The deli I'm referring to is of the online variety and aims to serve up healthy servings of local music coverage. Originally based in NYC, The Deli Magazine has branches in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nashville and now, curiously, the 802. If the decision by a publication that historically focuses on major music markets to set up shop in a Lilliputian city such as Burlington seems odd to you, you're not alone. I'm not quite sure I get it either. But The Deli is here, perhaps to stay. I, for one, say "welcome to Burlington."

As the Music Editor for a competing publication, the knee-jerk reaction — and perhaps the reaction you folks might expect from me — would be to slam the website and dismiss it. But I prefer to take an alternate view of the new e-rag.

One of the enduring lessons I took from working for Magic Hat is that competition is not only healthy, but vital to the success and survival of almost any endeavor. MH founder Alan Newman is often asked if he views the high volume of competing VT and regional microbreweries as a threat. His answer is always the same: no. Newman's philosophy is that having more options creates more overall interest in craft brewing and, ultimately, more interest in Magic Hat. Given the fact that MH just bought Seattle's Pyramid Brewing Co. to become the third largest craft brewery in the country, he might have been on to something.

The Vermont music scene is larger and more diverse than it's ever been and coverage is essentially limited to three outlets: Seven Days, State Of Mind and The Burlington Free Press — I certainly don't mean to overlook the notable contributions of our state's various music blogs. But for the purposes of this conversation, I'm sticking with the professional media.

With so much music being created and so few outlets to report it, inevitably and regrettably, some stuff falls though the cracks. To be honest, there is probably room for another music publication in Vermont. And if The Deli does its job well, it can help kindle more interest in Vermont music, which in turn kindles more interest in Vermont music coverage.

The late Nineties Burlington alt-rock scene is regarded by many to be the "heyday" of Vermont music. In many respects, it probably was — though I firmly believe we're on the brink of another. A big reason that era was so incredible and is remembered so fondly — aside from the unbelievable wealth of great bands — is that there were more outlets writing about Vermont music. To name a few, Seven Days, the BFP's "Scene & Heard" and the late, great Good Citizen Zine provided excellent coverage of the VT scene and were a key factor in sparking widespread interest. 

As for The Deli itself, it's not bad. Perhaps a little jam-centric for my tastes — and the fact that Deli editor Adena Harford's boyfriend's band Silent Mind is prominently featured and hyperbolically reviewed seems a little suspect. But today is merely their soft launch and there's at least a skeleton for expanded coverage. I'll be curious to see how they do.

In the end, the focus for any local music publication should be just that, local music. Competition is great if it drives us to step up our game. Variety is even better. The more voices we have espousing the virtues of our homegrown music, the more ears the message will reach. Hopefully, that translates to more eyes perusing the pages of publications like Seven Days and, ultimately, more bodies in nightclubs to see local bands. A guy can hope, right?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hold me closer, Tony Danza!

Posted By on Fri, May 2, 2008 at 5:11 PM

So I'm sure you've all heard that Sir Elton John is coming up to Essex this summer.

Bizarre? Yes. Awesome? Also yes.

Tickets have been on sale since 10 AM this morning, and I don't know about all of your places of work, but Seven Days has had a few staff members tied to their computers for the better part of the morning. My friend Lani over at the Flynn photographed some of the Queen City's more dedicated fans lining up as early as 5:30 PM LAST NIGHT.

You can check out all the action on the Flynn Center's blog right here.

And did you know that with this concert, Sir Elton will have officially appeared in all 50 states? Yep. No longer sharing rank with George W. is sure to make the performer happy.

Pay Yer Pal

Posted By on Fri, May 2, 2008 at 4:22 PM

DJ A-Dog's web designer, Scott Campbell, has just set up a PayPal account on A-Dog's website to accept donations to help get him back on his feet. Click here to lend a hand.

Rocket, Man

Posted By on Fri, May 2, 2008 at 4:16 PM

This just in from the folks at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds: Of the 10,000 available seats for the July 21 Elton John concert, more than half were gobbled up as of late this afternoon. This unprecedented flood of sales shattered the previous record for a single day, presumably set by last year's Bob Dylan show — or maybe ZZ Top and Whitesnake? Anyway . . . wow. Just wow.

Here's the crazy part: Those numbers are not inflated by ticket agencies buying up huge blocks of tix as the Flynn recently launched an anti-scalping security doohicky to prevent such shenanigans. I didn't even know scalping was a problem for the Flynn.

Here's the even crazier part: Elton Fucking John is playing at the fair.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Breaking News

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2008 at 3:59 PM

It pains me to report that DJ A-Dog's house burned down early this morning. I just got off the phone with Nastee — A-Dog's VT Union collaborator and a fellow DJ — who told me that everyone was able to get out of the house unharmed, though there has been no sign of A-Dog's cats.

The BFD won't let A-Dog back into the house to see if anything is salvageable, as of this posting. But most of the DJ's records and equipment were in the house when it burned and it's likely safe to assume the loss is significant.

Nastee informed me that benefit shows are already in the works. I have no doubt that the Burlington music community will rally behind and support A-Dog to help soften the blow. I'll be sure to keep you folks updated as details emerge.

I can't say that I know Andy well, but he and VT Union were among the first local musicians to reach out to me when I assumed the role of Seven Days Music Editor. In particular, A-Dog put together a series of mix tapes to help educate me in the history of hip-hop and turntablism. He is one of the most genuine people I've encountered in my time covering VT music. And one of the most talented.

Thoughts and prayers . . .

Survey Says!

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2008 at 3:39 PM

I stopped by the Radiator last night and was a guest on Jim Lockridge's show Rocket Shop. Whenever I swing by the station, I find myself wishing I had more time to host my own show. It's always a blast to go on air and talk about new music. But for now I guess I'll have to be content lending a hand when I can. Ideally, I'd like to get a Seven Days show going and rotate DJing duties amongst staff and interns. We shall see . . .

Jim was kind enough to let me have the first half hour to play some of the music we've recently reviewed in the paper. I played tracks from new discs by The Plastic Billionaires, Shawn Grady, Rubblebucket Orchestra, Red Hot Juba and a new favorite, Forrest Mulerath. UVM roots duo The Goshen Ramblers stopped by for a live set as well. Good times.

While I was there, Jim mentioned a new survey Big Heavy World is conducting in partnership with the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. The idea is to get input from as many sources connected to the VT music scene (musicians, venue owners, fans, etc.) as possible to help BHW find new ways of supporting and promoting VT music. As always, a noble endeavor from Jim and the BHW crew. You can take the survey here. It only takes a minute or two.

And before I forget, Inner Fire District is playing tonight at the North End Studio on the corner of Archibald and N. Winooski Ave. This will be the last IFD show for several months as accordionist extrordinaire David Symons is headed to Poland and exiled on Church St. sax player Zoe Christianson is headed to Latvia.  The show starts at 9 p.m. and, according to Symons is "$5 for the proletariat and the destitute" and "$10 for everyone else."

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