Contrary to the misguided opinions of some, I do not run the local music scene. But if I did, my first order of business would be to call a meeting of the heads of state — in this case club owners and booking types — and lay down a few ground rules. The idea would be to increase communication between venues so that we can avoid potentially scene-fracturing scenarios, such as the one that may play out this Friday when local concertgoers will be forced to make an impossible decision between the New Pornographers with Maryse Smith at the Higher Ground Ballroom, and the killer local-rock showcase at Nectar’s featuring the welcome return of both Swale and the Brett Hughes-led swampy-tonk trio, Monoprix.
(Full disclosure time: There are at least two reasons why you should take anything I say about Monoprix with a grain of salt. One, my brother is the bassist. And two, the drummer is my 7D office-mate and all-around good guy Steve Hadeka. If you need a third reason, I could point out that Brett Hughes is my hero. But one of the reasons he’s my hero is because the original music he plays with Monoprix is stunning. So, I pretty much have to write about the band on the rare occasions they play live, even though I’m not technically supposed to. I’m so conflicted. Moving along …)
In addition to Swale and Monoprix, the lineup at Nectar’s will include perennial column favorites Cave Bees and — are you sitting down? — the Jazz Guys. That’s right. They’re baaack. I’m pretty sure the JGs are violating the statute of limitations regarding how long after a breakup one can throw a reunion show — their “farewell” was last December — but we’ll all let it slide just this once, right? Raise your hand if you’re not excited to dance to “Hakeem Olajuwon” one more time.
Some interesting tidbits from Swale: One of the reasons the band has been quiet of late is that drummer Jeremy Frederick was — I swear this is true — in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean for a month on a treasure-hunting expedition. He even scoped out the Titanic. No, not the shitty movie. The actual Titanic. With remote-controlled submarines. And Kate Winslet. (Just kidding about that last one.) No word on whether he scored any treasure.
The other big news from Swale: According to guitarist Eric Olsen, the band is finally, really, truly sending its long-awaited full-length album — and by “long-awaited,” I’m talking, like, almost 10 years — to be packaged and released by the end of this year. They call it A Small Arrival. I’ll call it a Christmas miracle.
I gotta say, I’m still conflicted about this Friday evening. The New Pornographers or the Jazz Guys? Maryse Smith or Swale? Little brother or Neko Case? Sweet, sweet Neko Case … where was I? Ah, yes, Friday’s conundrum. Screw it. Maybe I’ll just save myself the trouble and catch Rough Francis and Lord Silky the same night at Manhattan Pizza & Pub in Burlington. Seriously, what’s a music editor to do?
I had two revelations during this year’s Burlington Discover Jazz festival. One, Anna Pardenik may just be my favorite female vocalist in town at the moment. And two, Parker Shper’s filthy-good jazz trio yoUSAy Placate are criminally underappreciated. Catch them, with a slew of special guests, this Thursday at the Langdon Street Café in Montpelier.
Band Name of the Week: Apocalypse Five and Dime. This Brooklyn-based ragtime-punk octet — yes, you read that correctly — is kind of like a no-fi version of acoustic punkgrass darlings the Avett Brothers, with a tuba. Catch them at the greatest bar in the world, Charlie O’s, this Saturday, and again on Sunday at Radio Bean.
Band Name(s) of the Week Part 2: Did you know there are two regional bands that use a version of the term “night train” as their name? Neither did I. But in a bizarre coincidence that I couldn’t possibly make up, both bands are playing shows locally this Friday: Nightrain at On Tap Bar & Grill in Essex Junction, and Nite Train at the Naked Turtle in Plattsburgh. Will a mere lake be enough distance to separate the two groups, thus avoiding a potential cataclysm of cosmic proportions? Let’s hope so, although sound does travel better over water. May God have mercy on our souls.
Fun-loving DJ duo Bonjour-Hi! has an unusual show coming up this week, as they host Montréal electro-punk karaoke duo — yup, you read that correctly, too — Le monde dans le feu at 1/2 Lounge on … go ahead, guess … Friday! This is actually a return engagement for the Canadian trio. They last graced a Burlington stage in June 2009 with, coincidentally, the dearly departed/nearly restarted Jazz Guys at Radio Bean. In case you’ve forgotten, Le monde dans le feu project their lyrics — in French — against a wall so that the audience can sing along over pounding post-punk and electro groove. Sacrebleu!
Dubstep fans, take note: JahDan BlaKkamoore. Club Metronome. This Thursday. Three measly bucks. That is all.
Ace trombonist Dan Silverman writes that the next installment of his monthly open jazz jam session at On the Rise Bakery in Richmond will be the 27th!!! Why he chose that as a benchmark and not a more traditional number like, say, 25 or 30 is beyond me. Must be a jazz thing. Or, it could be because he’ll have noted vocalist Judi Silvano sitting in. For the unfamiliar, Silvano’s credits include collaborations with the likes of Joe Lovano, Rufus Reid and the legendary Charlie Haden. Check it out (when else?) this Friday.
Here’s a show not happening Friday. The Vermont Roots Rock Revival fill the final slot in a summerlong outdoor concert series at Burlington’s Battery Park, this Thursday. The monthly series has been organized by local electric folk-rock band Freight, and the last lineup includes them, Weaseldust, Y’ardy Yar, Healthy Option Dane and Cats Under the Stars.
Last but not least, I just had a nifty chat with folk songwriter Tao Seeger — that’d be Pete’s grandson, FYI — who is playing the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge this Friday (of course) with local songwriter Aaron Flinn. Unfortunately, due to a variety of reasons, we couldn’t fit it in this week’s issue. It happens. However, this sort of situation is precisely why Al Gore invented the Internet: so that I could post excess rock-star coverage on my blog, Solid State.
And finally, 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.