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Break Like the Wind . . . of Change

Soundbites: Break Like the Wind . . . of Change, Grizzly Men, Unplugged Plug, Starline Kudos, Fun with Gypsies


It’s a safe bet that when Scorpions rocked the clamoring masses like a, um . . . well, like a hurricane with the epic power ballad “Wind of Change,” they didn’t have President-elect Barack Obama in mind. For one thing, they were German. But check out these lyrics and see if they don’t send a cheese-metal shiver up your spine: “Take me to the magic of the moment / On a glory night / Where the children of tomorrow dream away / In the wind of change.” Dude. Hope really is international — even when it doesn’t rhyme.

Anyway, in honor of Mr. Obama’s historic victory, Change — with a capital “C” — and the fact that I was able to reference a German hard-rock band in a local music column and it sort of worked, we’re mixing things up a bit this week and unveiling an “all bites” version of Soundbites. So, in the words of Marvin Gaye, let’s get it on.


A couple of months ago, North Carolina-based “folk-punk” outfit The Avett Brothers flat-out rocked the Higher Ground Ballroom. I know because I was there, and it remains among my favorite shows of the year. Well, the band’s impending return has flown somewhat under the radar, perhaps because of the low-profile locale in Randolph. And that’s a shame. A boatload of shame — how smooth was that, Avett fans?

Well, I’m officially putting you all on notice that The Avett Brothers are coming back to Vermont this Saturday for a gig at the Chandler Music Hall which, according to my research, is in fact in Randolph. Weird.


This just in from Bear Cub Productions honcho — and Husbands AKA bassist — Chris Valyou: There is a kickass show this Sunday at The Monkey House! I’m as shocked as you are.

Headlining the bill are Canadian indie up-and-comers Listening Party, fresh off a weeklong stint with Montréal-based Pitchfork darlings Wolf Parade.

Local outfit Drive the Hour offer opening support, playing their first show in six months. They’ll unveil a fresh new sound and lineup, featuring Nick Trotter on Fender Rhodes. Trotter, incidentally, is replacing the group’s last bass player, Chris Valyou, who tells me the new direction sounds incredible. As an ex-member, I guess he should know.

Also on the bill are Burlington-based psychedelic Southern rockers — that’d be “stoner rock” to you and me — Vultures of Cult, which features members of Black Market Activities signees Romans.


Speaking of Husbands AKA, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Burlington’s ska torchbearers are playing an acoustic show at Radio Bean this Friday. That’s right. Acoustic ska. Bring on the fifth wave.


Continuing on a theme — acoustic music, not ska — the venerable Mad River Unplugged Music Series continues this Saturday at the Valley Players Theater in Waitsfield. This time around, New England-based songwriter Mark Erelli takes the stage with Boston’s Meg Hutchinson. Both tunesmiths are folk-circuit favorites — Erelli for gritty, topical musings and Hutchinson for elegantly crafted balladry. And if it’s part of Mad River Unplugged, you can bet it will be excellent.


Congrats to rockabilly stalwarts The Starline Rhythm Boys, whose recently released Live at Charlie O’s World Famous is their fourth consecutive album to top the prestigious Freeform American radio charts. For the uninitiated, FAR is an independent chart based in Texas that tracks airplay on freeform radio stations around the globe. In other words, it’s kind of a big deal. You can catch our world-renowned Boys at the Old Lantern in Charlotte on Saturday, November 22.


Gypsy-jazz fans will want to take note of a unique show this Sunday at Parima’s Acoustic Lounge as Django Reinhardt acolyte Lollo Meier makes a rare Vermont appearance. Vermont has no shortage of excellent local Gypsy jazz — Swing Noire, Will Patton, etc. — but Meier is in a class by himself. The Dutch guitarist is widely considered to be the preeminent modern Gypsy-jazz guitarist on the planet. Oh, he’s also an actual Gypsy. No kidding. The opportunity to witness a player of Meier’s caliber is rare indeed, particularly in such intimate environs as the Acoustic Lounge, which is arguably the best listening room in the area.


Those who prefer their Gypsy music on the headier end of the spectrum will want to check out Paul Metzger and Tim Kaiser at the Firehouse Gallery, also this Sunday. Point of order: I have no idea if either gentleman is actually a Gypsy. However, both are renowned artists in the improvisational music world. In particular, Metzger’s Gypsy-raga explorations with, among other instruments, a 21-string banjo — you read that correctly — are said to be simply hypnotic. Metzger is no slouch, either, with more than 150 handmade electro-acoustic instruments to his credit and an equally deft ear for atmospheric sonic adventures.


Burlington ex-pat Zack Martin’s last effort with trio-cum-duo-cum-solo project Carrigan, Young Men Never Die, is getting the re-release treatment from Los Angeles-based indie imprint Hello My Name Is Records. Burlington music fans have known how exquisitely excellent Carrigan’s masterpiece is since, oh, roughly 2006, when the album first surfaced. But folks in Cali are a little behind us Green Mountain tastemakers, I guess. How else to explain the ultimate dick move, Prop 8?

The reissue hits shelves — electronic and otherwise — on “Arbitrary New Release Day,” a.k.a. Tuesday.


An amendment to last week’s bit about the Neil Young Birthday Bash at Nectar’s on Wednesday, November 12. It is also local web radio station WBKM’s b-day. Who knew? It appears they’re getting in on the fun, too, and bringing some friends, including Chad Hollister, Aaron Flinn, The Kind Budsand APR. Neato.


Finally, here’s a list of shows this weekend that I would check out if there were more than one Dan Bolles — let that last bit roll around on your palate for a second . . . scary, right?

  • Friday: Cherry Cassette at Radio Bean; Lendway (CD release) and Barbacoa at Nectar’s; Murder By Death at Higher Ground Showcase Lounge. Close call. But Nectar’s has PBR, and I love me some surf noir.
  • Saturday: Blowtorch and Missy Bly at Radio Bean; The Avett Brothers in Randolph; Bombadil at Langdon Street Café. Another toughie, but Missy Bly’s latest album rocks.
  • Sunday: Rose Hill Drive at HG Showcase Lounge; Listening Party, Drive the Hour and Vultures of Cult at The Monkey House. Totally kidding. It’s the Monkey, and it ain’t close. Although RHD did tour with Van Halen . . .