Due to blowing my entire column this week recounting the Furthur fracas, your regularly scheduled BiteTorrent has been moved to the friendly confines of this here blog. And a day early, to boot! Buckle up.
Fourth of July weekend is generally overloaded with live music — and even though there are few things more quintessentially American than Journey cover bands, I'm not just talking about Breakwater before the fireworks. This year is no exception, highlighted by what's quickly becoming a yearly staple: The fourth annual Speaking Volumes July Third Party in the parking lot of the kooky Pine Street shop — which, incidentally, offers a nice vantage point for taking in our annual simulation of bombs bursting in air. This year, the rain-or-shine BBQ (and raffle!) features four up-and-coming, and appropriately eclectic local outfits, including Prana, Brother Through Glass, The Feverbreakers and How to Stay Alive in the Woods. Admission is a $5 suggested donation the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation.
Meanwhile, just a short jaunt south to Bristol, those who prefer their music a smidgen harder — and a lot louder — should check in with the second annual Screaming for Change Festival at The Hub, which gets under way on Saturday. The two-day hardcore hootenanny features a jaw-dropping array of local and regional hardcore and punk bands. Rather than mention a few, and since I'm not restricted by a word count here — and mostly because I just friggin' love hardcore band names — here's the complete breakdown, in order, from headliners to openers:
Saturday: Bane, Unrestrained, Word for Word, Mantra, Our Fight, Sacred Love, Crucial Times, Problems, Born Under A Bad Sign, As We Were
Sunday: My Revenge!, The Effort, Battle!, Dead Icons, Outlast, Under Anchor, No Love Lost, Coughing Fit, Alive and Well, The Control, Crown of Lions
A two-day pass to all the festivities is $30. Single day passes differ depending on which day you go: Saturday is $20, Sunday is $15.
Should your tastes veer more toward the experimental, I'd suggest the post-fireworks bash at Radio Bean on Saturday. The mind-bending bill includes B-town micro-label Aether Everywhere's the le duo, B-town micro micro-label/brewery Mars Pyramid's VIKOMT and a really cool ambient psych-rock duo from Allston called 28 Degrees Taurus. For that last band, imagine if My Bloody Valentine took a fistful of uppers and got really into Jefferson Airplane and/or Burt Bacharach, and you're sort of in the ballpark. Should be a fun show.
Happy trails to local local soul man Joshua Panda, who embarks on a summer-long busking tour following a pre-fireworks send-off show at The Skinny Pancake on Saturday. Panda will hit the left coast for a spell, busking and playing clubs across the country before returning to celebrate a new album with a big homecoming show at the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival in late August. Safe travels, Josh.
This just in from Rough Francis: they've been added to this Friday's bill at 242 Main with Oakland-based spacey prog-punk outfit Genesis Climber and Northampton noise duo Horse Spirit Penetrates — who kinda sound exactly as their name implies they might. Or as RF front man Bobby Hackney cheerfully put it in a recent email, "it's gonna be a weird one!" Indeed.
I didn't get the CD in time to swing a review for this week's issue, but it bears mentioning that local rockers Reverse Neutral Drive celebrate the release of their debut album, the curiously titled Bringing Down Babar, this Friday at Nectar's. The rest of the bill is impressively varied, featuring rockers Workingman's Army and RedHouse, as well as hip-hop outfits The Lynguistic Civilians and Ill Intelleks.
And last but not least, after years of threatening to hang it up, prickly garage duo — and personal arch-nemeses — The Fatal Flaws are playing their last ever Vermont show, this Friday at Manhattan Pizza in Burlington with Montréal's The Broken Jugs and Queen City acts Chubby Wonder (aka Joey Pizza Slice) and The Toes. And believe it or not — I'm still not sure if I do, frankly — I'm really gonna miss them.
From the moment I took office as the music editor for this esteemed rag, Chris Beneke and Sasha Rodriguez, the husband and wife duo comprising the band, have been an unequaled — and unending — pain in my ass. From numerous letters to the editor calling for my job — and that of my predecessor, Casey Rae-Hunter, who, by the way, had already left 7D at that point — to countless blog flame-ups and cheap shots, to sideways glances in the streets and at shows, for the first year or more that I sat in this chair, The Fatal Flaws despised me. And I assure you, the feeling was mutual.
But then a funny thing happened. After months (years?) of dismissing the band as cranks — which, make no mistake, they are — I actually discovered a strange kernel of curiosity about their unhinged musings developing in my psyche. Anyone with that much slobbering vitriol had to at least make some mildly interesting music, right? That curiosity led me to a mid-afternoon set the band played at the annual Radio Bean birthday bash. Much to my surprise and abject horror, I uncovered a troubling truth: I really liked their music.
Despite the fact that they virtually cleared the room that day — which, in fairness, was filled mostly with young families, not exactly their target audience — the Flaws plugged away undeterred, offering scrappy, oddly catchy and endearingly sloppy little garage rock nuggets to the handful of us who cared (dared?) to listen. Actually, clearing the room may have been precisely why they were undeterred, come to think of it.
Eventually, The Fatal Flaws would corrode, er, earn a soft spot in my heart as well as garner my genuine respect. Their caustic, lo-fi garage rock opus, Scragged, even landed on my 2008 top-10 list of VT-made albums. Gradually, the overall tenor of our relationship changed too, and in moments, was almost amiable — though not without the occasional snide witticism, particularly from the ever-curmudgeon-y Beneke. But even those typically unprovoked barbs became sort of charming, in their own, irascible way.
I only ever caught the band live a handful of times. In fact, my reluctance/inability to make it to their then-monthly FoofaRAWK sessions at Radio Bean became something of a running joke. They'd remind me of each one a few weeks in advance, which meant I had about a week to devise an excuse not to go, which I almost unfailingly did — though in fairness, my excuses were usually legit. Usually.
It is fitting, then, that The Fatal Flaws would call it quits this Friday, because — drum roll, please! — I'll be out of town. No, really. I've got tickets for the Sox at Fenway because Friday is also — wait for it — my birthday. Coincidence?
(Actually, yes. But it's kinda weird anyway, right? How often do your most vocal critics go belly up on your birthday?)
In closing, to The Fatal Flaws: thank you. It's been a pleasure, and a pain. And knowing you, I imagine that is the only way you'd have it. Godspeed, Flaws.