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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

J DiMenna coming to Burlington

Back in March I gushed about J DiMenna's debut release Awkward Buildings. I gave it the "Elliott Smith, Archer Prewitt, and Jeff Buckley sitting in a cabaret having a drink with Leonard Cohen." Earlier this month his track Prayer Flag was featured on NPR's All Songs Considered. The host, Bob Boilen, said the following " . . . If you like great pop music, the type of music you may hear Elliot Smith or Jeff Buckley write, you should listen to J DiMenna. DiMenna's made a CD that's infectious. Its the kind of infectious music that took time to grab me, the kind of infectious music that I find myself singing and not realizing what it is or how it even crept into my subconscious."

DiMenna and his band are currently taking part in the CMJ festivites in NYC, like everyone else, but will be heading up to VT as part of their 'stick season' tour. The live show includes the hypnotic vibraphone of Brandy Noel, lap steel guitar/trumpet player Joe Novelli, Sean Donnelly on drums, and Kevin Thaxton on bass.

Oct 31 - CMJ Music Marathon - Mo Pitkins, New York, NY
Nov 2 - CMJ Music Marathon - Fat Baby, New York, NY
Nov 4 - Metropolis Records, Torrington, CT
Nov 5 - WEQX – 45th Annual Ski and Snowboard Expo, Albany, NY (1PM)
Nov 5 - Radio Bean, Burlington, VT (8PM)
Nov 8 - Bear’s Place, Bloomington, IN
Nov 9 - Vaudeville Mews, Des Moines, IA
Nov 11 - The Basement, Nashville, TN
Nov 13 - Tasty World, Athens, GA
Nov 14 - Relative Theory Records, Norfolk, VA
Nov 15 - Brillo Box, Pittsburgh, PA
Nov 17 - No Radio Records, Ithaca, NY
Dec 3 - Melody Inn, Indianapolis, IN
Dec 6 - Liberty D's, Norman, OK
Dec 7 - Launchpad, Albuquerque, NM
Dec 8 - Plush Tucson, AZD
Dec 13 - Red 7, Austin, TX
Dec 14 - KRTU San Antonio, TX
Dec 15 - Cell Block Mobile, AL
Dec 17 - The Grey Eagle Asheville, NC

Hopefully the boys will be ready to rock once they get to Radio Bean, as the afternoon show at the Ski & Snowboard Expo in the bowels of the Gattaca-styled Empire State Plaza in Albany will surely be a trip. I grew up going to that event and I can't remeber bands ever playing while I was checking out winter gear and trying to score lift tickets. But a band does what a band has to do.

BTW, the word on the street is that Awkward Buildings has sold out of its original pressing. A second release is planned for December featuring bonus material, including a collaborative video project from J and cover artist Roland Beccera, a video for Raggedy Ann, and additional footage.

All Songs Considered Podcast - Episode 121

J DiMenna - Prayer Flag.mp3
J DiMenna - To Meet You.mp3
J DiMenna - Awkward Buildings.mp3

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Toubab Krewe 2 Nights in Burlington

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Jurado

As I've professed before, Damien Jurado is one of my all-time favs. In celebration of his latest release, And Now That I'm In Your Shadow (out October 10th, but I've been lazy), he's provided a spot-on cover of Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" for Spin Magazine. If the handful of tracks that are streaming on his website and MySpace are any indication, this may very well be one of Damien's best albums.

Two items for the big Jurado fan:
1) torrent of live show from this past summer:
Damien Jurado - 6/10/06 - Lund, Sweden.
2) Audio Blog. Interesting idea, but the latest ones are sort of boring and sad. ie: "there are loud birds everywhere, I don't know if you can hear them. Crickets everywhere too" - October 1, 2006. The earlier entries, on the other hand, consist of some pretty sweet songs that he plays into the phone. Sounds good being all sorts of scratchy: July 18, 2006, July 20, 2006, & July 23, 2006.

Damien Jurado - Pink Moon.mp3 (Nick Drake cover)

And Now That I'm In Your Shadows (Secretly Canadian)
Damien Jurado - What Were the Chances.mp3

What Drugs Will Do To You

Here's a great YouTube find: Dutch prog-rock one hit wonders, Focus, playing "Hocus Pocus" on the Gladys Knight, of Gladys Knight & the Pips, TV show in 1973. This sentimal yodalelic groove rock masterpiece is made more bizarre by the drug fueled performance.


AMG's review:
Perhaps the most inspired bit of looniness to come out of the progressive rock era, Focus' "Hocus Pocus" was an absolutely irresistible combination of heavy guitar riffs, neo-classical organ, and Alpine yodeling. Sure, lead vocalist Thijs Van Leer also threw in some faux-angelic falsetto, plus a memorable break of rapid-fire, almost Muppet-sounding gibberish over a polka beat. But the descending yodeling line that serves as the song's chorus is the instantly memorable hook, ending with an ascending arpeggio whose squarely on-the-beat rhythmic placement turns the melody into a gleeful parody of neo-classical elegance. Although "Hocus Pocus" is nearly seven minutes long, its structure is pretty simple -- guitarist Jan Akkerman powers his way through the song's main riff, which alternates with passages during which Van Leer struts his stuff. And it isn't always yodeling, either -- besides the aforementioned polka gibberish, Van Leer takes two instrumental solos, playing more complex variations on the song's main riff. The first is an unaccompanied, manic flute solo drenched in echo, and the next is a polka-tinged accordion break over which Van Leer whistles energetically; there is a brief snippet of dubbed-in stadium applause at its conclusion. Toward the second half of the song, Akkerman grabs the solo spotlight during his main-riff sections, spinning off hyperspeed pyrotechnics that mesh perfectly with the insanity going on around him. Plus, there are plenty of short breaks for drummer Pierre van der Linden. The whole package is utterly bizarre, yet crazily infectious as well. Originally released on the 1971 album Moving Waves, "Hocus Pocus" caught on in the U.S. during early 1973, when it scraped the lower reaches of the Top Ten -- a feat rarely accomplished by Dutch bands. Although Focus never duplicated the widespread success of "Hocus Pocus" (nor, really, its humor), the song's spirited goofiness and musical virtuosity still sound fresh and unique.

Thanks AE for the find.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Langdon Street Round Up

The Bowmans/Kris Gruen show this past Friday ended up being one of the best shows that I've attended all year. Outside Montpelier's cooperatively owned coffee house was the first snow of the year. Inside was warm, comfortable, and exciting. I caught only the last two songs by The Bowmans, but little was heard as the time was spent talking to friends and settling into my first Organic Oatmeal Stout. Soon after Kris took the stage along with a full 4 piece band. The music was much fuller and expressive then his debut album, Lullaby School, - my head full of comparisons with Jeff Buckley (without the 90s era grunge and rediculous vocal range) and Heartbreaker-era Ryan Adams (minus any hint of pretention and a more prominent blues base to accompany the alt-country twang). I found myself wanting to take back the original "folk" label and replacing it with...I don't know...Americana Rock? That doesn't seem right at all. But the show was far more then a dude and a guitar.
For me it was pretty close to perfect.

False45th should have video and a write-up in the near future.

From Lullaby School
Kris Gruen - Tender Theory.mp3
Kris Gruen - In The Clearing.mp3

Kris Gruen - Further Down.mp3

Friday, October 20, 2006

Genius of Yankovic

Slate has a great article exploring "25 years of Weird Al." It truly is remarkable how current he's been able to stay ever since 1981's Another One Rides the Bus. I know Weird Al a different animal (maybe more of a parasite), but I can't think of any other performers who have stayed at the forefront of pop culture for a period that spans Queen to MIA.

His latest is White 'n Nerdy, which uses Chamillionaire's Ridin' as a basis to parody the world of geek – from Dungeons and Dragons to MySpace to Wikipedia to X Men to ROTFLOL. W 'n N is the hottest YouTube music video for the month. Check it:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Bowmans in Montpelier this Friday

Yesterday I posted on Kris Gruen's upcoming gig at Langdon Street Cafe, today I'll post on the group that he's sharing the bill with: The Bowmans.

The Bowmans w/ Kris Gruen - October 20th @ 10 PM - Langdon Street Cafe

Langdon Street's calendar incorrectly identifies them as The Bowman Sisters. They are most definately not The Bowman Sisters, which were around in the 1930s and are credited as the first country sister duet to ever recover. Furthermore, The Bowman Sister's father was the famed Charlie Bowman, fiddler with the original Al Hopkin's Hill Billies from Galax, Va. (my old stomping grounds). The Hill Billies are generally thought to be responsible for establishing the string band as an important part of country music. Bowman is credited with the song Nine Pound Hammer (of course stollen from African-American railroad workers).

Anyways, The Bowmans are twins from NYC via Iowa whose harmonies fuse a beautiful blend of Americana and indie-folk. Claiming Cat Power, Gillian Welch, Nick Drake, and Neutral Milk Hotel as influences, they self-describe their sound as "shades of Americana connect with characteristics of modern singer-songwriters; vaudeville blends with indie-folk; undertones of classical influences meld with loads of rock and roll edge."

Purchase The Bowman's latest, Far From Home, from AntiFolk Records here.


The Bowmans - On The Road.mp3
The Bowmans - Diggin for Gold.mp3
The Bowmans - The Kitchen Song.mp3

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Kris Gruen in Montpelier this Friday

I've been digging Lullaby School by Kris Gruen all summer. Early 30 something creative writing teacher in Montpelier, Kris’ debut album is full of tender yet captivating folk music. Via the Kris Gruen website:

From the outset, the deftly plucked banjo strings and soothing vocals on Lullaby School point to a tasteful array of Americana influences-- Bright Eyes, Sufjan Stevens and Jeff Buckley to recall a few. However, Kris manages to make this collection distinctly his own. With tracks like "Truffles", "Further Down” and "Enchant Me" he moves us from moods that at once haunt, then embolden, then lament with somber fragility.

Kris Gruen w/ The Bowmans - October 20th @ 10pm - Langdon Street Cafe

Click here to read the Seven Days review of Lullaby School by False45th's Flatlander.
Click here to purchase Lullaby School.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Time Eater: Line Rider UPDATE

As the weather gets colder I wait in anticipation for one thing: sledding. Nothing is like traipsing through the backcountry on a crisp winter day seeking out the next dangerous chute. Or letting a day at the office melt away as I launch off the backyard kicker with my two year old.

Luckily I've found something to hold me over until the season arrives. Line Rider is a simple, yet highly addictive, flash game that brings the kid out of me. A product of the DeviantART online artist community (wiki), Line Rider is a sledding game that lets you create a terrain and then watch to see if the little dude makes it. It has already ate up a good two hours of my time, but has been totally worth it.


N Lannon - Hollow Heart.mp3

UPDATE

Some folks with WAY more time and skill on their hands have turned this little game into something specatular. YouTube is full of people's Line Rider creations. This one is my favorite:
Thanks =A= for the link.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Joseph Arthur: Nuclear Daydream

I picked up Joseph Arthur's 2002 release, Redemption's Son, thanks to a KCRW stream. Though I found the album a bit unbalanced and at times fairly thin (even though he puts a trillion layers on his vocals), I kept Arthur on the radar. Now I'm glad I did, as Nuclear Daydream has just been released. While he's always had that global appeal that comes with being "found" by Peter Gabriel and touring with Ben Harper and lightweights like Gomez, the country-rock/Americana mixed with Leanord Cohenesque brooding seems to be the most sincere on this here fifth disc.

My Old Kentucky Blog is raving about a recent live Indianapolis performance and has the whole show available for download.

Joseph Arthur - Too Much to Hide.mp3
Joseph Arthur - Black Lexus.mp3
Joseph Arthur - Slide Away.mp3
Joseph Arthur - Last Train to Ithaca.mp3 (Not on Album)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Eliane Elias

Eliane Elias: Brazilian songstress with piano chops and a penchant for covers. While her recent album, 'Around The City,' is filled with originals that fit nicely in the background of a 30 something's wineparty, it's the bossa nova covers that stick for me. First is a reworking of Bob Marley's "Jammin," second a playful version of Beck's "Tropicalia."

Eliane Elias - Jammin(Bob Marley Cover).mp3
Eliane Elias - Tropicalia(Beck Cover).mp3

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars in Barre UPDATE

A soundtrack to a documentary whose focus is the making of the soundtrack? Sounds a bit circular, but well worth the trip.

It's the remarkable story of a group of six Sierra Leonean musicians who came together to form a band, not creatively titled, but to the point Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars) while living as refugees in the Republic of Guinea. Through music they find a place of refuge, a sense of purpose and a source of power. The film follows the band over the course of three years as they make the difficult decision to return to their war-torn country and realize their dream of recording an album of their original music. The award winning documentary (preview below) is touring the film festival circuit and will be making a stop in Burlington this week for the 17th Annual Vermont International Film Festival, with Q&A on the 15th.

After viewing the film you can wait 12 days and check out the live show at the Barre Opera House on October 27th. Their debut album was released last month on ANTI-records.

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars - October 27 - Barre Opera House

The Barre Opera House is a pretty spectacular Neoclassical building (which also houses City Hall). When opened in 1899, it was considered the finest theatre in VT. Reconstructed in the late 90's, it's still a great historic place to see a show.



All-Stars at Myspace
All-Stars on NPR

Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars - Living Like A Refugee.mp3
Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars - Big Lesson.mp3

UPDATE
According to the All-Stars booking agency, Rosebuds, and our local weekly paper, The World, the documentary will be shown at Monpelier City Hall this Saturday, October 20th, as a benefit for the Vermont Refugee Assistance non-profit.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

RIDE A BIKE!

The most detailed report identifying global warming affects in the Northeast was released yesterday by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment is the result of two years using multiple state-of-the-art climate models and weather records to project likely climate changes from New Jersey and Pennsylvania up to Maine through 2099. Some of the most impactful statements in the report illustrate how the environments of individual states are predicted to be impacted by current development trends; ie: New Hampshire's climate will be more like that of South Carolina by the end of the century; with lower greenhouse emissions, it would be like North Carolina. In the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region, without changes the climate would be like eastern Virginia's by century's end; with lower emissions, it would be more like Georgia's.

The Changing Northeast Climate: Our Choices, Our Legacy - Eight page summary of the report

Reducing Heat-Trapping Emissions in the Northeast - Two page fact sheet on climate solutions for the Northeast

Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast - Full Report

Hayden - Bad as They Seem.mp3 (Neiles Life)