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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Slay Bells

Posted By on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 9:32 AM

'Tis the season to jolly. (Fa la la … and so on.) So, in the interest of spreading holiday cheer I present … Slayer, obviously. Thanks to Joe Cleary for passing this along.

 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rubblemania

Posted By on Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 11:24 AM

I doubt you've heard of them, but apparently there's this new band called "the Beatles" that Steve Jobs just discovered and is pimping like crazy all over his flash-in-the-pan website iTunes. Me? I don't really get it, what with all that moppy hair and the funny accents and that vulgar sound. Can't imagine they'll have much of a future. Besides, this rock and roll thing is just a fad. Gimme some Mitch Miller any day. Now there's music.

Anyway, apparently the kids dig it. For example, kids like Rubblebucket, whose cover of "Michelle" was just named one of the 50 best Beatles covers of all time by Paste magazine. Check it out …

 

Michelle



 

 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ryan Power Redux

Posted By on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Greetings, Solid State.

If you're reading italics at the head of a post, that usually means we have a special guest contributer — granted, it has been a while though. Today, freelancer extraodinaire Matt Bushlow checks in with some overflow material from his most recent 7D piece on Ryan Power. Take it away, Matt. [DB- ed.]

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Tasty Leftovers #1: Ryan Power

Over the years I’ve found that there are almost always great bits and pieces left over from interviews I’ve done with musicians and sources (the folks who go on the record about a musician’s backstory, talents, etc.). These are usually insightful stories or quotes that, for one reason or another, just don’t fit into the larger story.

I’ve decided to start posting these tasty leftovers at a new Tumblr called Tasty Leftovers. There you can find little anecdotes, thoughts about recent interviews, and perhaps even some audio. I will also be posting all of my Seven Days-related Tasty Leftovers here at Solid State.

Let’s get started. I wrote a profile of Ryan Power for the 11/17 issue of Seven Days. You may have read it. Power’s talents run the gamut: He’s an accomplished and original songwriter, performer, guitarist, and engineer/producer. As part of my research for the profile, I emailed several musicians he has worked with and asked them to contribute their thoughts on his work in all its forms. I could only use two short quotes in the piece, but there was so many recollections and kind, honest praise for the man that I wanted to include some more of them here.

Enjoy.

Matt Bushlow

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Burette Douglas, The Cush

We played at a party at Brett Hughes’ old apartment in Winooski. We didn't know anyone there except Brett, but the place was full of people. I think it was Creston [Lea] who introduced himself and we got to talking, then Ryan wandered by and he joined up in the conversation. Ryan and I really started to hit it off when we started talking about recording music. Recording is a real passion of mine and when you find someone else that is into it, you could talk all night. Which we did. At that time he hadn't yet released his first album. So we were all pretty new to town.

A little later we were still working on rounding out the band. We knew that Ryan could play just about any instrument so we asked him about playing keys for us. He said that sounded good. Over time he ended up playing keys and drums for us.

Ryan is a superb musician, he really knows music from the inside out. He knows all the technical parts as far as reading music and such. But he goes 100 percent off of vibe. He is so much fun to play live with. He really gets into it.

He quit playing with us full time once he released his first album, but we continued to play with him in Rock ‘n’ Roll Sherpa and he would sit in with us on drums from time to time. Although he didn't play in the band, he was still like a member in the band. He mixed New Appreciation For Sunshine as well as The Lonestar Chain album. He has golden ears, and has such a natural knack for mixing music.

We always bounce ideas off of each other and can talk for hours about recording. He is one of my favorite human beings. Truly a humble genius.

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Brett Hughes, Monoprix, Honky Tonk Tuesday

I finally got to play with him some in The Cush. I somehow found myself playing drums in the band, and he was on keys, playing parts I assume were mostly written by Gabby and Burette. Ryan plays pretty much everything, and he's got a great ear for phrasing and nuance. I loved his playing in The Cush: He held the songs together dynamically, and I took a lot my cues from him.

I love his songs, his singing, playing and arranging, and of course he's also a really talented recordist, engineer and producer. I'm jealous as hell.

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Chris Weisman

I first noticed Ryan in Michael Annicchiarico's freshman ear-training class at UNH in 1995. He had long hair and sat in the back and I had a crew cut and sat in the front. Mike would be going through the answers to a series of test questions and he always said "Who got that?" and had people raise their hands as he went along so he could gauge where the class was at. As the examples got harder it would just be me in the front and him in the back reluctantly raising our hands. That was the beginning of the twins thing.

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Tristan Baribeau, Villanelles

Ryan Power absolutely transformed how we heard our self-titled album, VILLANELLES. We had been mixing and playing with things for a long time before we brought Ryan in, and the man just has a way with sound. He was able to make things sound much more "organic" in the mixing process, which only comes with plenty of practice and patience. And on top of that he really is just the nicest guy.

He was always very eager to work things out, based on our budget and time frame, and was always appreciative for the opportunity to work with us. I have no doubts that I will use the resource that is Mr. Power for upcoming projects, because there really isn't anyone better in the area - and his resume proves that.

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Kyle Thomas, Happy Birthday

When we first started talking about recording, Ryan mentioned to Chris [Weisman] that he would love to help out if we wanted. I was used to doing everything myself, so I thought it would definitely relieve some stress for me to have him come help, and we all appreciate his recording skills so we asked him to do it.

He has a really great ear and he's not afraid to say if he likes something or doesn’t, which is really important in music production - having someone who doesn’t just say everything is great.

I think he was most important in the mixing process. There were about five months or so where I was just sitting alone in my studio working on the record and adding too much shit. When I brought it up to Burlington and mixed it with him, he just started subtracting shit and all of a sudden the music was breathing again and it sounded so much better. He really is great at mixing. It’s definitely extremely important to have an outside ear to give constructive criticism. And dang he is charming and attractive too!

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Seth Eames, Eames Brothers Band

Ryan and I go back awhile now, [to] right around the turn of the century. He has played drums on some gigs with us over the years. We also recorded a couple of songs for the Gezellig album with him holding down the beat.

Mostly though, Ryan and I are good friends. I have high respect for his music. His ability to translate what he hears. His songs are funky, abstract and honest... Recording with him recently was mostly just an excuse to hang out. Hopefully we caught some good music with his string of wires and tape, his raw sense of perfection and his serious humor.

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Gabrielle Douglas, The Cush

The first time [Burette and I] met Ryan was at a party and my first impression of him was that he is such a gentle soul. ... He is always able to lighten the room he walks into; he can provide you with a different perspective as if he is handing you a cookie; and his intentions with creating music are genuine, honest and compassionate. ... He has an incredible ear for music and his ideas always made logical sense with the emotional feel of the music.

I love Ryan. He is like a brother to me and I miss him very much.

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Casey Rae-Hunter, communications director, Future of Music Coalitionfounder, Contrarian Media; former Seven Days music editor; dark lord

When I first encountered Ryan's music it was a pretty random thing — like, a CD coming across my desk at Seven Days. Pretty much instantly I knew Ryan was a genuine talent. I started to hear his name being mentioned among my musician friends, and after I reviewed his disc, I made it a point to check out his live sets. Those were pretty excellent, too.

The thing that was difficult for me as the music guy at the local weekly is that it really made it tough for me to be involved in the scene as a musician and to connect with the local artists on that level. It's like there's always an artificial wall between you and the musicians, even if they respect you. Having been very involved in the local scene for a number of years as a player, it was kind of frustrating. The thing I loved about Ryan was that he had no airs — he was a genuinely open, gracious dude who didn't treat me like I was some kind of outside entity. When we talked about music or whatever, he was always humble and on the level. Not trying to bullshit me or sell me on anything. How refreshing! 

We ended up working on records together occasionally, but not actually together. I'd sometimes do post-production on sessions he recorded or mixed. I think he's got real talent there, too. Good ear, light touch, not afraid to experiment. He's also someone that other artists feel comfortable around, for all the reasons I mentioned

The only thing about Ryan is that I am still a bit jealous of him! I haven't listened to his new record(s) because some of my old Burlington friends are like, "have you heard Ryan's new album," and I think, why put myself through that? I'm only half-joking. Duder's like all smooth and creamy and handsome and talented and bearded and all the cool shit. Plus he's a really nice guy. Fuck that!

Seriously, though, he's a real gem and I will always appreciate having had the opportunity to listen to him and witness some of his artistic evolution. Tell him to send me his stuff so I can sob silently in the corner.

 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wooden Dinosaur: Live @ Iron Horse

Posted By on Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 1:03 PM

In an effort to get a jump on 2010 year-end round-up stuff — yeah, it's really time to start thinking about it — I've recently begun sifting through reviews and records, trying to compile my local favorites from the year that (almost) was. It's actually been surprisingly fun to rediscover albums that I dug at the time, but have receded from memory in the unending Sisyphean grind that is the newspaper bidniss — you're eternally on to the next thing almost as soon as you've finished the last. 

One such record in which I've thoroughly enjoyed re-immersing myself is Nearly Lost Stars from Brattleboro's Wooden Dinosaur. It's a marvelous effort, showcasing a truly lovely duo, Michael Roberts and Katie Trautz. It features a broad array of stylistic influences, all filtered through Roberts' unique folk lens. In other words, I really, really like it.

Anyway, Trautz was kind enough to send along links to videos from a recent Halloween show at Iron Horse in Northampton. MA. Here's my favorite of the bunch, "Paper Cars."

 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Angels & Demons

Posted By on Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Aaand we're back! Apologies for the radio silence this past week. Lots going on and I'm afraid my poor little blog, as usual, bears the brunt of my wacky schedule. C'est la vie.

Anyway, in the interest of getting back to business, today we're serving up a little slice of BTV expat goodness, in the form of an interesting bi-coastal collaboration between two of my favorite people, Casey Rae-Hunter (Washington DC) and Arthur Adams (San Francisco). The dynamic duo, collectively known as Strange Angels, have just released the first track, "Roses & Daises," from their forthcoming-at-some-point-but-knowing-Arthur-who-really-knows album. Casey was kind enough to send it along to me, and I thought y'all might like to hear it too. Enjoy.

 

Roses & Daisies



 

 

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