Merry Christmas, hippies! Let us gather ’round the bong, light the patchouli Advent candles and take a moment to consider the true meaning of the season, which is, of course, money. So, really, Hippie Christmas is just like regular Christmas, only, you know, with better drugs.
As I’m sure you’re all aware, this weekend Burlington’s own phavorite sons Phish will appear together in concert for the first time since their “final show” — wink, wink — at Coventry in 2004. Boy, how time flies. Of course, if you’re reading this, it means that you’re probably not in Hampton. Which means you’ll have to wait at least a couple of days for the first reports to trickle in: “Dude, they were so much better in (insert arbitrary year here).” And I bet your mellow is pretty well harshed by that fact. But take heart. There are plenty of music-y things to occupy your time this week, most of which cost roughly 400 fewer dollars than heading to Virginia — and that’s not even taking gas into consideration. We’ll get through this, I promise.
First up, we have a remarkable collaboration between two of the area’s most innovative musicians — and no, I’m not talking about Trey Anastasio or Mike Gordon. Get over it already.
Independently of one another, Seth Eames and Michael Chorney are very highly regarded artists. The former as half of mountain-blues stalwarts The Eames Brothers. The latter for a seemingly endless list of projects, not the least of which includes work with Anaïs Mitchell and his own mind-bending jazz experiments with Magic City and viperHouse.
Last year, Eames released his second solo album, Two Moons Pullin’ Down on Me. Expertly conceived and executed, the hauntingly gritty album was easily among the year’s finest and rightly earned a spot on the Seven Days list of “Top 10 Vermont Recordings of 2008.” While Eames obviously deserves the lion’s share of credit, it was Chorney who produced the record and added subtle but key instrumental flourishes, rounding out the disc’s mysterious ethereal qualities.
According to a recent email from Chorney, those recording sessions led to a number of late-night collaborations in which the two reportedly “hit it off” musically. Those sessions led to a pair of “very late-night” sessions in January, during which the duo recorded a new album. Entitled It Disappears, the record is “casual but delightful,” according to Chorney. Perhaps that’s a biased take. But I’m inclined to believe him.
Most of the tracks are first takes, and a few were quite literally the first time either had played the compositions. Editing was kept to a bare minimum, so the album comes with blemishes intentionally intact. But given the caliber of players, one has to imagine that’s hardly a detriment. In fact, it’s sort of the point. As Eames puts it, “People try all sorts of things in the studio to try and get that late-night vibe. The only way to do it is to do it.” Indeed.
Chorney and Eames are embarking on a short tour around the state to play tunes from the new album. Though you can catch them later this month at Montpelier’s Black Door Bar & Bistro (March 20) or the Bristol Bakery & Café (March 27), I would suggest attending this Friday’s performance at Parima’s Acoustic Lounge. If you haven’t been, it is by far the area’s best listening room. Though to be fair, it gets bonus points for the opium-den feel — by the way, it is strictly BYOO.
HELLO, OLD BEAN
Next, we check in with an old standby, Radio Bean — raise your hand if you thought I was going with The Monkey House there ... hell, I even thought I was. Anyhoo...
As per usual, the Bean boasts a pretty nifty weekend of music, beginning Friday night with new-ish surf-ish rock ... ish local outfit Torpedo Rodeo. These guys are completely new to me, but I’m digging the tunes on their MySpace page. Especially “Don’t Give That Guy Whiskey,” which I really hope isn’t about me. Nasty blues guitarist Eric Sommer opens the evening, followed by alt-whatever sweethearts The Rosesmiths and indie-rockers The Villanelles. Sounds like fun, no?
Saturday night sees The Fatal Flaws’ next installment of their monthly Foofarawk series, which means it’s time for me to come up with my monthly excuse as to why I can’t go. Actually, I’ll be out of town — not seeing Phish. But that shouldn’t stop you from going.
I’d recommend sticking around afterwards, as a smorgasbord of noise invades the tiny hipster haunt. Of particular note is psych-noise outfit Heaven People, led by Danny Moore — Thurston Moore’s nephew. Yes, that Thurston Moore. Also on the bill are Connecticut-based experimental synth duo Arabian Blade, experimental auteur Tucker Andrews and a slew of local acts, including electro-folk up-and-comer tooth. ache, Rats Cops — a hardcore band featuring members of Oak and A Snake in the Garden, whom I erroneously listed as “Ratz Cops” in a recent issue ... whoops — and extremely dirty pop outfit Lawrence Welks and Our Cross to Bear/a>. A word of warning, though: This show is not for the faint of ears.
It’s a new month, so that means it’s time for a new band in the ongoing Live Album Recording Residency at Nectar’s. This time around it’s reggae outfit Pulse Prophets, every Thursday in March.
Congrats to The Center Bakery & Café in Waterbury, which celebrates its one-year anniversary this Saturday with an all-day jam featuring members of The Prodigal String Band, The Eames Brothers, Taryn Noelle, Colin McCaffrey and Billy Caldwell, among others.
On Wednesday, March 11, Montpelier’s Langdon Street Café bids farewell to experimental outfit kuFui, who will play their final show that night. And smack in the middle of “Geek Week,” no less. (As an aside, Geek Week is awesome. Trust me.)
Hinesburg’s Good Times Café also has an excellent show coming up on Wednesday, March 11, as Swing Noire’s David Gusakov and Dono Schabner will be joined by mandolin marvel Will Patton for a night of Gypsy jazz, choros and “cowboy waltzes.” Giddyup.
We haven’t heard from our old pal Ryan Ober in a while. The onetime member of legendary late 1990s B-town alt-rockers Invisible Jet is playing a rare solo show this Saturday at Nectar’s, armed only with a guitar and a kick drum. Color me intrigued.
I’ve made it almost an entire column without mentioning music at The Monkey House. Believe it or not, the streak will continue as I mention this: The Winooski hotspot unveils the first in a series of monthly standup-comedy nights this Sunday with local funny folks Kathleen Kanz, John Lyons, Roger Miller, Tracie Spencer and Martha Tormey.
Finally, perhaps you’ve heard through the grapevine that a certain Tony Bennett might be making a Vermont “quadrified” appearance this summer. Organizers can’t confirm just yet, so stay tuned...