It’s a surprisingly busy week, considering that this is the winter doldrums, the time of year, from about Valentine’s Day to St. Patrick’s Day, during which nothing much happens on the local front. But it seems the music scene is determined to keep momentum going, from the post-New Year’s boom right into spring. I approve.
With so much to get to, and without a single meaty piece to anchor the column, we’re pulling out all the stops and doing this week’s column all BiteTorrent-style. Buckle up.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever wanted to see DJs Fattie B and Craig Mitchell throw down in a winner-take-all battle royale. If I were a Vegas oddsmaker, I’d have a tough time handicapping this one. B’s got Mitchell on sheer size, but Mitchell would seem to have a reach and quickness advantage. I’m laying even odds here. We’ll have to wait a while to see that one — like, forever, methinks. In the meantime, the two will go head to head in another, less violent competition: Soundclash at the 1/2 Lounge this Tuesday. The DJ spin-off will pit the turntablists against each other in a friendly game of one-upsmanship to see who can spin the gnarliest R&B, funk and soul jamz. As Fattie B describes it, “We are telling people they better bring birth control, because we are gonna get heavy with the baby-making music.” Duly noted.
Mitchell and Fattie B aren’t the only news on the DJ front this week. Club Metronome hosts a pair of high-powered showcases this week: Sunday Night Mass with Montréal house giant Marc Remillard, and then Wednesday, February 23, with revolutionary hip-hop DJ Rob Swift, founding member of the legendary turntable crew the X-Ecutioners.
Band Name of the Week: Wolcott. First off, I love any band whose name lends itself to be so easily pronounced with Verbonics. Go ahead, try it out loud in a VT accent, “Wuhlkiht.” Fun, roight? Anyway, I spend most of my days sifting through nonsensical PR hyperbole, the vast majority of which makes me feel icky. But this Hinesburg quartet describes its music in such a sweetly innocent way that I couldn’t help but mention them. (Take that, slimy promotion hacks!) And I quote: “Wolcott is a group of Vermont teenagers that use percussive rhythmic techniques to create sound in an enjoyable fashion.” Be still, my beating heart. They’re at Radio Bean this Friday.
Band Name of the Week (Honorable Mention): Kissyface. Not as easy to Vermont-ify, but I chuckle every time I read it. Maybe it has something to do with writing this week’s column on Valentine’s Day, and making out is just in the air? In any event, the band is featured on the Golden Dome Musicians Collective’s new comp State and Main Records: Volume I. Unfortunately, they are one of the few bands from the disc not appearing at the collective’s CD-release bonanza in Montpelier this Saturday. Earlier in the evening, record store Buch Spieler will host an album listening party, followed by in-store performances by Simple Heart — whom I heart — First Crush and Mystic Crystals. Afterward, the rocking begins in earnest just down the block at Langdon Street Café with Lake Superior, Torch Canal, Sick Feelings, Sweet Hound, That’s What She Said (great name), Boomslang and Champagne Dynasty. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to spend more time in Montpelier. Might be time to make good on that one.
Nice to see RAQ’s Chris Michetti still rockin’ strong. He’s back in town this Friday as a part of the Disco Biscuits offshoot Conspirator at the Higher Ground Ballroom. The quartet also features the DB’s Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner, and drummer Darren Shearer from the New Deal.
I’d like to extend a warm, collegial welcome to the folks over at new online local music outlet Burlington Source. With any luck, the new website will add yet another fun, reliable resource — in addition to this one, of course — for folks interested in our cozy little scene. If you ask me, it’s a good thing for all involved. Burlington Source celebrates its maiden voyage with a launch party at Parima’s Main Stage this Saturday featuring Basic, Lazerdisk Party Sex and the Move It Move It. Welcome to the fray.
One of the strangest cancellations from this winter’s run of storms was undoubtedly GWAR, whose December 27 gig at the Higher Ground Ballroom was nixed as they were caught in a snowstorm in Boston — a storm that didn’t really touch us, if memory serves. If I may offer one minor, trifling detail: You’re GWAR! You’re fucking aliens! Do you mean to tell me that the overlords of the entire motherflippin’ universe don’t have snowthrusters on their spaceship? Or at least chains? (I know you’ve got some of those.) Weak sauce, gents. At least tickets for the 12/27 show will be honored at HG this Tuesday. Sure hope it doesn’t flurry.
You know who’s not afraid of a little snow? BURNTmd. Homeboy recently took the top prize at the Killington Rail Jam rap battle, adding yet another feather to his increasingly decorated cap. Wednesday, February 23, he’ll join Def Squad’s Keith Murray at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge. Burnt won’t be the only local, though. Also appearing are Lynguistic Civilians, S.I.N. Sizzle, Colby Stiltz, Memaranda, Aleck Woog, 4Word and DJ Yellow Crocs.
Township fans, take note: Marc Pinansky, guitarist and singer for the Boston-based arena-rock revivalists, is swinging through the area for a miniature solo tour of sorts with local roots songwriter and Waylon Speed guitarist Kelly Ravin. Obviously, he’s not playing solo acoustic cock-rock — though that would be rad. Pinansky’s solo stuff falls more in the country and singer-songwriter realm, but with an irreverence not far from that on Ween’s classic 12 Golden Country Greats. Catch Pinansky and Ravin at the Monkey House this Thursday, Radio Bean this Friday or Nectar’s this Saturday.
The Skinny Pancake has a rock-solid weekend of live music on tap. Thursday sees Providence art-folk outfit Moga drop by the Burlington creperie. FYI, the band comes from the same experimental folk scene that gave us the Low Anthem and Brown Bird, two perennial column favorites. Friday, local lo-fi indie-pop songstress Lady Lioness drops by. And you can never go wrong with Jamie Masefield and Doug Perkins, who swing though on Saturday.
New rule: If your mom emails me espousing the virtues of your band, I’m pretty much obligated to write about you. And to play nice. So, I’d like to pass along that local bluegrass outfit Something With Strings are in the midst of a Bluegrass Thursday residency at Nectar’s, during which they will grace the House that Phish Built every Thursday in February.
Finally, signs of spring are coming fast and furious — even if not outdoors. This past Monday, the good folks at Higher Ground announced that grass-punk favorites the Avett Brothers will hit the stage at the Champlain Valley Expo’s Midway Lawn on Friday, June 3. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 11 a.m.
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.
Lohio, Family Tree EP
Dinosaur Bones, My Divider
Okkervil River, Mermaid
Andrew Bird, Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, The Ultimate Collection