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Friday, April 28, 2006

Toubab Krewe - Montpelier, VT - April 27, 2006

Toubab Krewe, hailing from both Asheville, NC and Cabot,VT, played their brand of West African jam-rock music to a capacity crowd at Montpelier's Positive Pie 2. The approximately 150 person crowd noodled their way through a two hour set based in Malian beats, improv jams, and kora breakdowns. It's amazing to witness the growth that this group, who started less then two years ago, has experienced. The music was strong, positive, and connected as ever, but they appear to be taking more risks and mixing in a handful of new songs.

TK will be playing numerous summer festivals, including Bonnaroo, the Joshua Tree Music Festival, and the Northeast Kingdom Vermont Music Festival, as part of a non-stop touring schedule that doesn't quit until August. The next step Burlington's Metronome tonight. Ex-Phish bassist, Mike Gordon, will most likely be seen lurking next to the stage, as he's said to be a huge fan and is reportedly receiving kora lessons from the Krewe's Justin Perkins.


More blurry shots available at Flickr.

Toubab Krewe at MySpace

Purchase Toubab Krewe's debut album at CDBaby

Toubab Krewe - Wassoulou/Bani.wma

Toubab Krewe - Bamana Niya.wma

Toubab Krewe - Moose.mp3 (live from Goombay Festival - 9/26/05)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Danielson UPDATE

Danielson's sixth and most accessible album to date, Ships, hits the shelves on May 9. Danielson (who can also be found under the monikers Danielson Famile, Daniel C. Smith, Bro. Danielson, Danielsonship, and Tri-Danielson) is part of the Sounds Familyre collection of artists (Half-Handed Cloud, Sufjan Stevens, Sereena-Maneesh, etc). What started out 10 years ago as a senior thesis project while finishing art school has grown into a group that has created multiple concept albums (Alpha, Omega, and Brother is to Son) and a reputation for wild "heart on sleeve" stage shows filled with uniforms and even the occasional nine-foot tall fruit tree costume (remember, art school).

For those who like Sufjan's quirky preciousness, but want something a bit more arty (and even more Christian), then Danielson's your man and Ships is your disc.

BTW, SXSW saw the debut of the group's documentary, Danielson: A Family Movie (or, Make a Joyful Noise Here). Click here for a preview (in .mov)

Pre-order Ships directly from Sounds Familyre

UPDATE: Danielson will be playing Higher Ground on July 21 with openers Phantom Buffalo! I'll freak if they give away ice cream and have a reading of Jane Jacobs' work while Glory of Love is playing in the background.

Danielson - Two Sitting Ducks.m4a
Danielson - Did I Step on Your Trumpet.m4a

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The 100 Worst Lyrics of All Time

The great independent weekly serving New England's major costal cities (Boston, Providence, & Portland), The Phoenix, has a hillarious piece out entitled The 100 worst lyrics of all time. While there's actually only a couple dozen on the list (it's a spoof on the VH1 specials), it includes a good number of doozies. For example:

LFO, “Summer Girls”
“New Kids On The block had a bunch of hits / Chinese food makes me sick/And I think it's fly when girls stop by for the summer, for the summer.”
We would print out the whole song, but we threw up after rhyming “speakin’” with “Alex P. Keaton.”

Train “Drops of Jupiter”
“Can you imagine no first dance, freeze dried romance five-hour phone conversation /The best soy latte that you ever had . . . and me”
First we’re travelling in space all fine and dandy, then he starts name-dropping fads from the year 2000 as if it’s a VH1 special and he’s Hal Sparks. Soy Lattes? Tae Bo? Yes, Venus did blow our minds.

Bruce Springsteen, "Glory Days"
"He could throw that speed ball by you / make you look like a fool"
Bruce, we hate to bring this up, because we think you're great and everything, and it might sound a little nitpicky and all, but it's just that . . . um . . . well, a fastball is what Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson throw and a speedball is what John Belushi took to kill himself. Unless you were trying to make a prophetic comment about Doc Gooden's career, in which case you did a great job.

America, "A Horse With No Name"
"There were plants and birds and rocks and things"
What, did he get tired? Rocks and things?

Take a look and don't forget to vote for the worst.

Peter Cetera - Glory of Love.mp3 (via Earfarm)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Free Cone Day

Today is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's. They may have sold-out to the man (Unilever) years ago, but the ice cream company that put Vermont on the map are keeping alive one of their greatest traditions. I just barely beat the high school rush to pick up a fine cone of Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl and a small dixie cup of Jamaican Me Crazy (served by a sweaty guy in a cow costume).

So stop what you're doing and get to the local Ben & Jerry's. The rainy weather is keeping the lines down.

Check out the Vermont production company, Dreamlike Pictures, and their film "The Green Movie." This piece includes a satire on the Unilever/B&J thing. Plus it includes a scene where the Burlington bumblegum twee pop group, The Smittens, play a Green Prom that's solar-powered, has organic food, etc. That's just how Vermonters role.

Purchase The Smittens latest, A Little Revolution, directly from their website.

The Smittens - Good Migrations.mp3
The Smittens - Gin and Platonic.mp3
The Smittens - Stop the Bombs.mp3

RIP Jane Jacobs

Steve Payne for The New York Times

TORONTO, April 25 (Reuters) - Jane Jacobs, the social activist and renowned urban development critic, died on Tuesday at age 89.

Jacobs, an American-born Canadian, is best known for her book "The Death and Life of Great American Cities", which, since its publication in 1961, has become a standard text on urban issues.

Jacobs, who was born in Scranton, Pa., advocated density and mixed use in communities, staunchly opposed large highways and warned of urban sprawl.


She moved to Canada from the United States in the late 1960s, concerned about her two sons being drafted to serve in the Vietnam War.

"Jane Jacobs will be remembered as one of the great urban thinkers of our time," Toronto Mayor David Miller said in a statement. "Her contributions and insights have forever changed the way North American cities are developed."

On May 9, 1996, Jacobs was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

"Her seminal writings and thought-provoking commentaries on urban development have had a tremendous effect on city dwellers, planners and architects," her citation on the Order of Canada Web site states. "By stimulating discussion, change and action, she has helped to make Canadian city streets and neighborhoods vibrant, liveable and workable for all."

In a 2001 interview for Reason magazine, she spoke about the distinctive nature each city should possess.

"It should be like itself. Every city has differences, from its history, from its site, and so on. These are important," she said. "One of the most dismal things is when you go to a city and it's like 12 others you've seen. That's not interesting, and it's not really truthful."

Jane Jacobs interviewed by James Kunstler

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Phantom Buffalo

Phantom Buffalo is a five piece out of Portland, Maine who has been knocking the socks of the British media. Their full length, Shishimumu, which was recorded some four years ago (but only released in England last year), has been called an aural orgasm by the BBC Collective (who also gave it 4/5), received a positive write-up in NoWax, loved by Said the Gramaphone (ok so he's Scottish, but he came across the album while in London), and was Mojo Magazine's "42nd best record of 2005." Their UK label mates include Belle & Sebastian, the Strokes, and Arcade Fire. Of course none of that guarantees that they are good, but at least one would expect to have heard of them, especially around northern New England. Have you heard of them? Chances are no. It's a disgrace to the USA. Originally conceived as The Ponys (the lesser known version), this group of art students make beautiful countrified psych-pop that's filled with strange and gorgeous detail and layers, but produced to sound incredibly simple. It's a bit reminiscent of The Shins and The Byrd's, but less straightforward and predictable. That's what I like about it best, whether the tracks get a bit folky, alt-jangly guitar-popish, or country, it's all a bit off-kilter and plenty interesting.

Luckily, Phantom Buffalo have already finished their second full-length, entitled The Unfortunate Phantom Buffalo Take to the Trees. If all goes as planned, it'll be picked up by a decent lable in short order and be made available in the fall. Between the new album and their scheduled cross-country trek across the country during the summer months, I feel that they're about to receive the buzz that's more then past due.

Photo courtesy of Somira Sao

Phantom Buffalo at MySpace

Video from their New Years 2006 performance at SPACE, Portland, ME

Dozen songs and interviews from an on-air performance earlier this year for WMPG's Local Motives program (thanks to The Air Strange)

Killing's Not Ok EP (2005)
Phantom Buffalo - Killing's Not Ok.mp3
Phantom Buffalo -
What Makes it Go.wma

ShiShiMuMu LP (2002)
Phantom Buffalo - A Hilly Town.wma
Phantom Buffalo - Distracting Salamander.wma
Phantom Buffalo - Cheer Up My Man.wma

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bummer, Man

This amazing year and a half old article from the Washington Post explores how the individuals who inspired Richard Linklater to write "Dazed and Confused," Wooderson, Slater, and "Pink" Floyd, filed suit against their old high school acquaintance back in 1993 for "defamation" and "negligent infliction of emotional distress." Amazing.
Drive By Truckers - Fox on the Run.mp3 (Sweet Cover)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

KONONO N°1 Coming to Higher Ground

This is crazy exciting:

Konono N°1 - July 18 - Higher Ground

There really isn't any way for me to explain Konono's music. It's addictive, inventive, and exciting. Their disc Congotronics was on loads of "best of 2005" lists.

This music is powered by spirits, and channeled through Konono N°1’s sound system, borne of the junkyard and transmitting aural fire. - Dusted Magazine

Here's their pr:
KONONO N°1 was founded over 25 years ago by Mingiedi, a virtuoso of the likembé (a traditional instrument sometimes called "sanza" or "thumb piano", consisting of metal rods attached to a resonator). The band's line-up includes three electric likembés (bass, medium and treble), equipped with hand-made microphones built from magnets salvaged from old car parts, and plugged into amplifiers. There's also a rhythm section which uses traditional as well as makeshift percussion (pans, pots and car parts), three singers, three dancers and a sound system featuring these famous megaphones.

The musicians come from an area which sits right across the border between Congo and Angola. Their repertoire draws largely on Bazombo trance music, but they've had to incorporate the originally-unwanted distorsions of their sound system. This has made them develop a unique style which, from a sonic viewpoint, has accidentally connected them with the aesthetics of the most experimental forms of rock and electronic music, as much through their sounds than through their sheer volume (they play in front of a wall of speakers) and their merciless grooves.

Purchase Congotronics at Insound

Konono N°1 - Paradiso.mp3
Konono N°1 - Mama Liza.mp3

Thursday, April 13, 2006

To NY and back by breakfast

Last saturday I took an early morning drive to NY to pick up a mtn bike that I won on ebay. The bike, of course, was a steal. But the even greater reward was the adventure. I met the owner on the NY side of the Crown Point Bridge. I followed the valleys on the way there (to Burlington and then down along Lake Champlain through farm country) and then up and over the Green Mountains on the way back (via Appalachian Gap). It was 170 miles of pure bliss - looking at the scenary, stopping to take pictures, picking up a fresh blueberry muffin, and jamming to tunes. The soundtrack was provided by The Wrens - Meadowlands, Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene, & Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones. Here are some of the sights.

Total, complete, ABSOLUTE!
Vergennes, VT Is the bus going to pick me up today? You betcha! Looking at Vermont who knew there was a Rodin on the monument in Crown Point?Eastern view from App Gap (notice the snow covered road - driving was a nightmare!)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Pin.mp3

The Wrens - Everyone Chooses Sides.mp3

Broken Social Scene - Baroque Social.wma

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

ABA in Barre UPDATE

There's an ABA team starting up in my town known as the Vermont Frost Heaves. Just like with the old ABA, the new one has proven to be kooky and entertaining - and our team will be joining the fray this fall.

Some of the interesting elements for this minor of the minors team are:
1) It's being undertaken by Sports Illustrated writer and Vermont resident Alexander Wolff (his trials and tribulations are being documented in the mag);
2) team payroll's are capped at $120,000;
3) team will be owned by the community ala the Green Bay Packers;
4) concession stands will feature locally produced food and drinks;
5) the 11th Man Rule enables someone from the community to suit up for and play in every home game; and
6) fans vote on team matters.

The last point is of great interest right now as I, a member of the Bump in the Road Club, have been asked to vote on the team's head coach. The two individuals both have backgrounds as assistance in the NBA, NCAA Division I, and even as head coaches abroad (Tralee Tigers of the Ireland Super League and the Ulriken Eagles of the Norwegian pro league). For such a fun and challenging start-up, each prospect seems eager and wild enough to take the job. I originally thought the native Vermonter, Will Voigt, who played high school ball up the road in Cabot would be the hands down winner in this contest. But then I read the introduction from his challenger from Chicago, Rus Bradburd.

Where Voigt's intro talked about the importance of a high-pressure defense and up-tempo offense, Bradburd's took an entirely different tact. He instead talked about how he sees "a team that will be responsible citizens within the community—socially, educationally, and environmentally." He continued with "I hope that the Frost Heaves can be an impetus for positive change at this unique time in our nation’s history." "Holy freaking cow," I thought, "this guy's trying to get a coaching job using the peacenik approach!" Seriously, who does that.

He continued with a run down of times where American sports have been on the forefront of social change (Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Mahammed Ali, etc) and also when it's "lead to a mindless herd mentality," such as when "fighter jets fly overhead at the Super Bowl in a numbing show of military force, while D.C. schoolkids don’t have adequate supplies." Just in case there was any ambiguity, he comes out and puts it on the table - he's a member of Athletes United for Peace.

I have no idea if a peace lover who's all-time favorite ABA player was the Burt Reynolds look-a-like bad boy Wendell "Mr. Excitement" Ladner can overtake the local "play it safe" kid (the obvious Dr. J is his #1) for the head coaching job. But it certainly has the potential to happen, because this is the ABA. This is Vermont.

Nada Surf - Where is My Mind.mp3 (Pixies cover via MyExBestFriend)

UPDATE:
You’ve picked a coach.Will Voigt, the 1994 graduate of Cabot (Vt.) High School who is currently coaching in Norway, will lead the Vermont Frost Heaves of the ABA for their inaugural season.
Some 739 of you cast ballots—more than 60% of the Bump Club membership. That’s a better turnout than in Presidential elections and in the typical New England town meeting. Thanks to everyone who voted.I’ll be back with more details in another Bump in the Road Club posting tomorrow. In the meantime, congratulations to Coach Voigt, and thanks and best wishes to our other finalist, Rus Bradburd.
Alexander Wolff
President and G.M.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - April 11, 2006 - Higher Ground, S.Burlington

Great show last night. CYHSY translated their disc's energy and excitement really well. They seemed to be having fun and trying to impress. Maybe it's because they've had to do it all on their own for so long, but it's obvious that they're resisting complacency. The sold out show lasted about an hour.

I had the destinct opportunity to go upstairs for the last song and the encore.They played four new songs. Spoke with Lee Sargent (all but Alec Ounsworth came out to talk to people afterwords) who said that they are really enjoying the new stuff and will be recording in May.

Look at a ton of pictures here. Slideshow of the same shots here.

Monday, April 10, 2006

wallpaper-by-numbers

Wallpaper-By-Numbers encourages writing on the walls with a variety of trippy bold prints and brightly colored backgrounds. Available in borders or full wallpaper sheets.








Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche.mp3 (via Stereogum)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Unreleased Album: Rolling Stones - Live’R Than You’ll Ever Be

Live at Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California, USA, Nov 9, 1969, SECOND SHOW.

Invented to capture live sound from remote locations during filming, the portable tape recorder could also double as a device to record a live concert. But how would it compare with a professional recording? The father of the modern bootleg, "Dub", answered any doubts on quality when he and his partner Ken issued Live’R Than You’ll Ever Be, on their TMoQ label [Trademark of Quality]. Live’R was the second set The Rolling Stones played at the Oakland Coliseum in November, 1969, on the US tour that made their fame.

Click here to read more about the history of this recording. Many thanks to BigO.

Rolling Stones - Jumping Jack Flash.mp3
Rolling Stones - Carol.mp3
Rolling Stones - Sympathy for the Devil.mp3
Rolling Stones - Stray Cat Blues.mp3
Rolling Stones - Prodigal Son.mp3

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

UPDATE Best Week Ever

According to VH1, my fellow Central Vermont blogger and dear friend, K, is having the Best Week Ever. His blog Analog Giant, was mentioned today on LISTEN UP: Your Daily Dose of the Best Music Ever. I'm new to BWE's blog - just used to seeing the washed up comedians hold on to any hopes of a career on the old tube.

The funny thing is the music that they liked off his site was the latest Pearl Jam leak, Parachutes. How hilarious and so VH1. I can't wait for the readers who came over from BWE to start reading his political rants. Boy are those comment sections about to get interesting.

Speaking of local bloggers getting noticed, Flatlander over at False 45th has received the honor of Seven Days' Post o' the Week. His post from last week talked about the high number of indie music junkies blogging from Barre/Montpelier.

And oh, the picture? The tag line is "Weren't you flying back to Bombay Today?" Love it. That's the type of day that K and Flatlander are having. They are all sorts of "F Bombay, I'm just going to paddle shirtless below this here castle while the chick catches rays. You picking up what I'm laying down? Bombay another day."

T. Rex - Cosmic Dancer.mp3

UPDATE:
Looks like K's week's getting better and better. He got the BWE mention once again, this time for the Gorillaz' covering the Editors' "Feel Good Inc." The funny thing is that I sent the track over to K a week ago after I got it from Bob who writes the great music blog Extrawack! He shares the majority of the credit, even though he probably got it from someone who got it from someone... Nothing's original on ye olde blogosphere.

The Editors - Feel Good Inc.mp3 (Gorillaz Cover)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Oven-door Thievery

I don't like seeing people get ripped off. 99% of the time I don't side with thieves. But every once and a while a thief's creativity is inspiring. And the people they are scamming, well, they just aren't helping themselves. Evidence:

April 1, 2006

Cooking up a flat-screen TV scam
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A rash of oven-door thefts may be linked to a recent case in which a woman bought what she thought was a flat-screen television, only to discover that the package held an old oven door, police said.

South Bend detective Sgt. Jim Walsh said police arrested a suspect Thursday they believe sold the appliance door to the woman. According to police reports, officers found an oven door and packaging materials inside the trunk of the man's car.

Oven doors are an increasingly hot item in burglaries targeting vacant properties. Walsh said police have investigated five recent burglaries where oven doors were among the items stolen.
Police have had two reports of the doors being sold as flat-screen televisions, and it's likely that others went unreported by the embarrassed dupes, Walsh said. Officers continue to investigate at least two other suspects who may be disguising oven doors and selling them.


Walsh said it's risky to buy products off the street, particularly without opening a package first to make sure the items are what they appear to be.

In the case of the bilked woman, she was approached by the suspect Feb. 20 at her workplace with an offer of a flat-screen television at a bargain price of $500. When the victim couldn't come up with the money, the suspect settled for $300.

But when she unwrapped the packaging, peeling away the bubble wrapping and the Wal-Mart store labels, she found a cord, a controller -- and an oven door.

"It's an elaborate job of packaging," Walsh said.

Can - Thief.mp3 (via An Idiot's Guide to Dreaming)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Free

I've been a member of the Washington County Freecycle group for a good number of months. It's a great little email list where people give away things that they no longer need for free. I'm a part of this group for a couple of reasons: 1. It lets me unload things I no longer need; 2. Helps me get things I've been looking for at no cost; 3. Allows me to buck (maybe nudge is a better word) the capitalistic system; and 4. I love seeing the stuff that people get rid of.

A good number of interesting things have come up, like a rototiller, windows left over from a renovation, clothing, chest freezers, etc. I've only picked things up once, and that was a box that included an odd selection of greeting cards, a toy cash register (my original intention), and a bunch of junk (it was a "must take all" posting).

But now I've come across two postings that I'm sure could only happen in Vermont. The first is an offer for a $5 Starbucks gift card. That's right, 5 free dollars to be spent at Starbucks. Talk about fighting the establishment.

I'll let the original posting describe #2:

Offer: Jamband Stickers

i have 3 phish stickers (one logo decal, 1 antelope and 1 high geere) and 1 string cheese incident sticker (the crosswalk hooper). pick up in montpelier or charlotte.

Again, only in Vermont.

The Tiny - Everything is Free.mp3

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Three for a Day

Trying to figure out what to do with that extra hour of daylight tomorrow? I’m using mine to listen to 3 new bands (well, one new and two old) I recently discovered. I know… that’s only 20 minutes per, but anyway…The common theme uniting these critically acclaimed, but little known bands is, that after a promising start together, each of their frontmen left for artistically and financially disastrous solo careers. In short, they were fools.

Taking them chronologically:

1. Leafing through the vinyl at the local record store, I was arrested by the fanciful artwork on the cover of an album titled Byzantine Labyrinth from a band called Return to Perryman. Further research, both online and on the turntable, proved revelatory. Apparently, this trans-continental prog-rock sextet caused quite a stir in the mid-Seventies with a series of “mind expanding opus works.” Fronted by angelic voiced Brit Reg Gulliver, RTP received a fair amount of critical acclaim for the album Endos Entropy, which hosted the lone 42 minute epic, Stratosfear, the only song to play on both sides of a vinyl record, and were often compared favorably to the likes of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and even Yes. That is, at least, until 1980, when their ill-advised frontman left the group and released Gulliver’s Travails theme album devoted to his trials and tribulations with his former label, Synthetic Records. Incidentally, bassist Niles Bissette didn’t fare much better with his company Floorverb Industries, which marketed (poorly apparently) an effects unit designed to make floors in small houses echo when walked upon like those in the marbled mansions of rockstars.

2. Pioneering screamcore band, Throat Culture, tore it up in the first half of the 90’s with a series of pugnacious albums Streptonukeleeosis, Cultivo de la Gorgantis, and Juggler Vain (the latter featuring a photo of an armless clown primping in the mirror with three bloody machetes lying behind him on the floor). Though I’m not much of a hardcore aficionado, I can’t help but appreciate a band that expressed such straight-up energy and aggression in it’s hardcore/thrash albums, with shards of heavy metal cutting through at times. Unfortunately, their promising start was cut short when lead vocalist, Sal DeBan, left the band to start a music label featuring heavy metal for toddlers. The Itsy Bitsy Spider never bit so hard.

3. Just last year indie-rock outfit Jesus, You’re Killing Me seemed destined for the stardom they didn’t give a shit about. Their debut (and only) album Façade to the Back, garnered blogger buzz that rivaled The Arcade Fire. Breathe is Broken was featured in the Sundance heralded indie flick Grouse Flock, MN, staring Michale Caine as a mobster and Parker Posey as a seductress on the run. Ironically, the group’s lead, Roger Juarez, left the world of secular music after being born again in the Southern Baptist tradition. He now plays church conventions and Young Republican rallies as Divine Right. The remaining 4 members still play in and around Ft. Lauderdale as The Something Incident.

Return to Perryman - Galaxas Lenticular IV.m4a
Throat Culture - Dissident Principle.m4a
Jesus, You're Killing Me - Breathe is Broken.m4a