Hexed | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Published February 9, 2011 at 10:16 a.m.

Who, or what, the hell is }hexdump?{ This is the second time I’ve posed the question in this column, and I’m still not entirely sure. I do know, however, that the local experimental trio sends out some of the strangest PR stuff I’ve ever seen. Take, for example, the packaging of their latest record, protocol analysis volume 1. The album arrived last week buried in — I’m not making this up — a large, pyramid-shaped diorama. The disc itself was ensconced in foreboding silver plastic vaguely resembling a hazardous-waste bag. Kinda creepy, but undoubtedly provocative — which is actually a pretty decent description of their music: creepy and provocative.

Formed in Burlington in 1995 as an “experimental sonic research collaboration,” the group fuses a variety of organic and electronic influences into a cold, sludgy maelstrom of industrial noise. Picture the Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk playing laser tag — to the death — in a steel mill, and you’re in the neighborhood.

This Friday, }hexdump{ present an art installation/album-release party, entitled transmutation, at the Off Center for the Dramatic Arts in Burlington. The multimedia showcase will, and I quote, “be an experimental art performance installation that examines the meaning of alchemy in a digital context and the multiple impacts it has on the human species in today’s world.” So … yeah. Mystery solved.

Lights Out

Songwriter Chris Smither will drop by the United Methodist Church in Middlebury this Saturday, February 12, as part of the After Dark Music Series. Though Smither is a nationally acclaimed tunesmith, his AD gig isn’t really news. Dude has played the series every year but one since its inception 16 years ago. What is news is that this appearance will be his last. After more than a decade and a half, After Dark is calling it quits at the conclusion of this season — with Hot Club of Cowtown — on Friday, April 1. No foolin’.

In a recent email, series founder Carol Green writes that declining attendance was the prime motivator in the decision to pull the plug. She also hinted at a conundrum no doubt familiar to other local concert promoters: If you book a great artist whom no one has heard of, moving tickets can be a tough sell. On the other hand, lean too heavily on the same rotation of acts and people will start to lose interest. That’s not a problem with Smither, though. He always draws well. Still, it makes you wonder how anyone succeeds in this biz, doesn’t it?

Being a small, indepen-dent promoter is a true labor of love. It’s largely thankless work. And, in most cases, it’s not especially lucrative. In fact, almost all the indie promoters I’ve spoken with over the years say they feel lucky when their shows simply break even. For After Dark to make it this long is quite a feat. Congratulations, Carol. And thank you.


I’m a big fan of August First Bakery & Café. It’s got tasty sandwiches, a friendly staff and, most important, strong coffee within stumbling distance of the 7D offices. In fact, August First has probably fueled more of my columns in the last year or so than anyone else — so, if you don’t like something I write, blame them. It’s hard to believe, but the café is about to jump up a notch in my personal regard, as this Thursday the owners unveil what we hope will be the first of many live-music nights, “Winter Songs in August.” Spearheaded by local neo-soul siren Myra Flynn, the lineup also includes songwriters Rebecca Padula, John Fuzek, Linda Bassick and Maryse Smith.

Band Name of the Week: Doll Fight! For someone whose primary instrument is the marimba, Jane Boxall is one seriously badass chick. Boxall, a classically trained marimbist, is the drummer for Burlington violin-punk outfit Pink Fury — a recent BNOTW designee. Her latest band is yet another entrant into the local punk fold, riot grrrls Doll Fight! The trio, which also includes guitarist Christine Mathias and bassist Kelly Riel, makes its debut this Saturday at the annual Hot Pink Party at the Langdon Street Café in Montpelier.

All-star Americana trio After the Rodeo is back in the saddle after a brief hiatus. The band, which includes guitarist D Davis, mandolinist Matt Schrag and bassist Pat Melvin, kicks off a short run of local shows this Thursday at the Bee’s Knees.

If there is one mistake bands have been making since the dawn of time — or at least the dawn of bands — it’s scheduling an album-release party before you physically have said album in hand. True story: I was once in a band that had three release parties before our album was ready. How were we not huge? But I digress. The movers and shakers at local hip-hop collective Rurally- Urban Records have a unique solution to that age-old problem: a prerelease party. Genius! This Friday, RUR celebrate the impending release of Face-One’s Dead Seas EP with a monster showcase at Manhattan Pizza & Pub in Burlington. Slated to appear: Aleck Woog, Brutally Honest, MC stranger, Zack Numbers, 2nd Agenda, MC Humble and, of course, Face-One. And look for a review the EP — postrelease, of course — in the coming weeks.

This just in — your sporadic Anders Parker update: Parker’s rock trio with Creston Lea and Steve Hadeka, Cloud Badge, returns to the stage this Friday at the Monkey House. Bob Wagner and Ryan Ober open. That is all.

Benevento-Russo Duo fans, take note: Marco Benevento (the shy one) will deliver a special solo piano show at Parima on Thursday, February 17, as part of of Joe Adler’s ongoing Burgundy Thursday series. Adler and local songstress Aya Inoue open. Tickets go on sale riiiight … now.

Given the recent double-barreled blast of wintry weather — holy thundersnow! — spring seems further away than ever, even though we’re kinda-sorta nearing the finish line. It’s true. Just ask Punxsutawney Phil. There is light at the end of the tunnel, a radiance fueled by our good friends at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. We’re still a couple of months away from knowing the full lineup. But bits and pieces of news have begun trickling out regarding this year’s jazz jamboree. Such as this choice nugget, quietly announced last week: BÉla Fleck and the Original Flecktones will appear as BDJF headline performers on the Flynn MainStage on Sunday, June 12. Think spring.

Last week, I left you with a riddle: “What is red and white — like, really, really white — has 16 arms and loves you?” I also promised to solve said riddle this week. But here’s the thing. Technically speaking, I can’t reveal the answer in these pages, because doing so would violate the only rule my esteemed employers here at Seven Days have ever really given me. Namely, that I can’t write about projects with which I’m involved … in print. This, of course, is why God invented blogs, where pesky things like “ethics” and “journalistic integrity” are less strictly policed. So, if trying to crack my code has found you lying awake at night … um, get a life. Then, log onto Solid State (7d.blogs.com/solidstate) this Friday, where all will be revealed.

Listening In

Once again, this week’s totally self-indulgent column segment, in which I share a random sampling of what was on my iPod, turntable, CD player, 8-track player, etc., this week.

  • Lia Ices, Grown Unknown

    Tapes ’n Tapes, Outside

    The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow

    Carla Thomas, Comfort Me

    The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds

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About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox.


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