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Biting Off



BB Gunnz
  • BB Gunnz

You know what we haven’t done in a while? A rapid-fire edition of Soundbites. Let’s rectify that, shall we?

I had a blast at Swale’s jam-packed CD-release show at Radio Bean last Friday. The band was excellent, as usual. If I were to make a list of my all-time favorite songs by Vermont bands, Swale’s “If You Get Lost” would be near the top. Actually, that sounds fun. Here are five local songs that I’d consider for that list, in no particular order:

“Wounded (You’re So Fine)” by the Pants

“shell (angelbreath)” by Ryan Power

“Kill Your Idols” by Slush

“Hollywood” by Lendway

“Good Winter” by Wooden Dinosaur.

Speaking of the Swale show, their “live karaoke” set — Swale served as the backing band for would-be karaoke stars — was one of the most enjoyable hours I’ve spent at a show this year. (Joe Adler’s take on Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” was especially awesome, as was a set-closing rendition of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind.”) It’s gimmicky as hell, but I could use way more live karaoke in my life. Just throwing this out there, but a whole night of live local karaoke, maybe once a year, would be ridiculously fun.


As a sports fan, I’m glad that the NFL refs are back. Now we can go back to being outraged over the world’s real problems, right?


Five more all-time favorites:

“Bloodboy” by Envy

“Misanthrope” by Construction Joe

“Carry” by Huffy

“Plenty Hands” by Parmaga

“Loose Thread” by Maryse Smith


Now that Swale have finally released their long-awaited full-length, I’m running low on great local artists to publicly harass for taking their sweet effing time releasing new records. Maryse Smith would have been one but, word is, her album is finished and will be released soon. (Woo-hoo!) It’s been more than a year since Nuda Veritas’ last full-length, not including the live album she released this spring. But given her upcoming collaboration with local MC Face-One, she gets a pass … for now. So who to pick on? Shelly Shredder? They’re new-ish and had a recent lineup change, but still. Parmaga? Feels like we’ve been waiting forever for that Ghost Pops follow-up, gents. What about Middlebury’s Alpenglow, the dark horse of this year’s Waking Windows fest? You’re all officially on notice.


Speaking of harassment, the PR dude for songwriter Sean Hayes has been bugging me since June about getting some ink when Hayes comes through Vermont … in November. That’s taking proactive-ness to obnoxious new levels. It’s a good thing I like Sean Hayes, and an even better thing that I love his new album, Before We Turn to Dust. The record’s out now and I highly recommend it. I’ll check back come November to see how you liked it.


Five more:

“For Erin” by Eef

“Remember” by Barika

“Monkey vs. Robot” by James Kochalka Superstar

“Confusion” by the Vacant Lots

“The Saddest Man in Showbiz” by the Jazz Guys

A lot of the songs I’ve mentioned are out of print, but you’d be surprised how many of them you can find online with some Google legwork. Brad Searles’ website, Bradley’s Almanac, is a great resource, especially for some of the 1990s tracks. It should be required reading for whippersnappers who wonder why aging hipsters like me can’t let the ’90s Burlington scene go.


Local hip-hop takes center stage this week with a pair of showcases featuring a mix of vets and newcomers from all over the state. The first, at Positive Pie II in Montpelier on Saturday, October 6, highlights central Vermont’s burgeoning hip-hop community with performances by Young Thayer, Bar None the Best, Young Trey, Beeps Loupo and DJ BaySix. The following night, Sunday, October 7, Club Metronome caps off UVM’s homecoming weekend with Clash of the Titans. The headliners, MI-6, the Clydes and BB Gunnz, are from New York City, but the rest of the performers are local: Dakota Burr, Jibba the Gent, Tonna B, A2VT’s Cadoux Fancy, Colby Stiltz and Smoke Wave. Word.


Five more:

“Easy Things” by Chuch

“Devil” by Farm

“Lights Low” by Will

“Drunk Tank” by Starline Rhythm Boys

“Maybe I Will” by Brett Hughes.


Professional tribute bands are the bane of my existence. One such band, Pink Floyd mimics the Machine, come to town this week — they’ll be at the Higher Ground Ballroom on Friday, October 5. Another, Badfish, hits the Ballroom next week, on Friday, October 12. The latter is a Sublime knockoff that justifies its existence not by reproducing the legendary ska-punk band’s sound but by “replicating Sublime’s essence.” I think what they meant to say was “by callously capitalizing on the tragic legacy of a dead man.” Sigh.


Five more:

“Cutting Open the Fiction” by In Memory of Pluto

“Weapon Factory” by the Wards

“Get Your Own Bag” by the Fags

“Bradley’s Almanac” by the Madelines

“Ball in the Sky” by Guppyboy.

I could do this list thing all day and still feel like I’m overlooking dozens (hundreds?) of songs, bands and eras — my depth of local music knowledge is pretty shallow before 1992. Got some favorites you’d nominate? Email me and make your case. I’d love to hear them.


Last but not least, MySpace had a big presence at this year’s SXSW, with lots of signage around Austin and several showcases. Initially I thought it was kind of pathetic for MySpace to feign relevance. However, a major label pal tempered my pessimism. He’d heard rumors that the social network was completely revamping, focusing on its music platform, and that it might actually be cool, even functional. It’s not like Facebook has cornered the market there — I find its band pages just as clunky as MySpace and as regular Facebook pages. And while Bandcamp is nice, it lacks its own social-networking capability. So there’s certainly an opening for someone to do it right. Anyway, the “new” MySpace, set to launch soon, is accepting invite requests. I checked out a preview video and it looks pretty good. The site is clean and appears to have a spiffy new player and the ability to host large pictures — a big help to press folks like me, since we require high-resolution images for print, and those can be tough to track down. Best of all? You can sign in through Facebook.

Listening In

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, eight-track player, etc., this week.

Dana Falconberry, Leelanau

Alameda, Procession

Sean Hayes, Before We Turn to Dust

Bon Iver, “Your Love,” cover of the Outfield

How to Dress Well, Total Loss