For the last two weeks in Soundbites, we've been revisiting some of the excellent recordings made in Vermont through the first half of 2015. Given the voluminous number of notable local albums, EPs and singles that have already rocked our ears this year, that's been a daunting task. And it hasn't left much print space for anything else in the ol' column. So here are some music notes and news you can use for the upcoming holiday weekend and beyond.
Did you miss out on tix for the now-sold-out Madaila boat cruise on Saturday, July 4? We're not gonna lie. That pretty much sucks. It's gonna be one rad three-hour tour. But here are some other BTV options you could try on July 3, Burlington's Independence Day celebration, that might tire you out enough that you won't mind missing it …
• Find a friend with a boat and lurk behind the Madaila ferry, pirate style. (Also, if you live in Burlington and don't have at least one friend with a boat, you're doing it wrong.)
• Failing that, swing by Juniper at Hotel Vermont for an all-day BBQ bash with live music from local tunesmiths Brett Hughes & Caleb Elder, Francesca Blanchard, Great Western, Eric George, John Abair & Collin Cope, among others.
• While you're by the water, sneak away from the family for a cold beer and to check out the newly improved — and shady, thanks to a fancy new awning! — outdoor patio at the Skinny Pancake. There you'll find Philly funksters the Royal Noise.
• Farther away from the maddening crowds, I highly recommend Northampton-based gypsy-punk band Bella's Bartok at Red Square — that goes double if you're a fan of Gogol Bordello.
In non-freedom news, the 37th Middlebury Festival on the Green gets under way this Sunday, July 5, at the Middlebury Recreation Park. If you're expecting a quaint little community fest, think again. Well, I mean, it is Middlebury, so it's gonna be inherently cute. But the lineup for the weeklong fest is impressive, beginning Sunday with ascendant local badass songwriter Caroline Rose — who, BTW, just recorded an episode of NPR's "Tiny Desk Concerts." Listen for that to air soon.
Other highlights this week include funky Canadian blues act the 24th Street Wailers (Monday, July 6); excellent Cambridge, Mass.-based indie-folk darlings Darlingside (Tuesday, July 7) and folky sweethearts Mike + Ruthy (Wednesday, July 8). For more on the acts playing the MFOTG over the closing weekend (July 9-11), check out next week's Soundbites column.