Daaaang! How can it be time for the South End Art Hop already? And how can it be this paper’s 15th birthday, to boot? Where, oh where, does the time go? (Answer: Into the Nothing from The Neverending Story. True story.)
The Art Hop is, bar none, my favorite local annual music(ish) event. It sounds super cheesy, but there really is something truly unique about the way the Pine Street district — can I call it a district? — comes alive, especially on Friday night. It may lack the marquee value of, say, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, or the Justin Bieber value of the Champlain Valley Fair, or the beer value of the Vermont Brewers Festival. But for sheer energy and atmosphere, you can’t touch the Art Hop. It’s just special.
However, all of these events do have something in common — schmaltz alert! They require a willingness to explore and a joy in discovery. Yes, even the fair does, in its own way. There is far more going on at Art Hop than I have room to relate in this tiny column — and we’re only talking music. So, it is incumbent upon you, dear reader, to do some of the legwork yourself. Use the handful of shows mentioned here as a starting point. Then keep your ears open, because you never know what you’ll find around the next corner.
This first show is a yearly staple and an obvious highlight: the Friday-night throwdown at Speaking Volumes. This year’s lineup includes showgazers Maga, acoustic pop songwriter Andrew Parker-Renga and whiskeygrass hotshots Gold Town.
Moving south on Pine, I’d strongly suggest dropping by the Green Door Studio to catch Villanelles and the Vacant Lots. The former have received plenty of ink lately — including a CD review in this issue. But it’s been a while since we’ve heard from the latter. In a typically cryptic series of emails, lighting engineer/vocalist Jared Artaud hints at some big news on the horizon, and whispers of another recording project have been on the wind around town. Stay tuned.
I tend to focus on the rock music in Soundbites, but I do love me some jazz and country, too. So, I might find myself hopping over to the Maltex Building to catch rambling Rick Norcross with jazz-country hybrid Blue Gardenias, a local supergroup featuring vocalists Juliet McVicker, Taryn Noelle and Amber deLaurentis.
And last, we have a new entrant, the Art Hop After Party at Signal Kitchen recording studio on Main Street — formerly Strangeways Recording. The lineup features up-and-coming blog sensation tooth ache., My Dearest Darling offshoot Errands, Maga (again), Sai U Drom and the indefatigable DJ Disco Phantom.
- Following up on last week’s puzzling Neko Case disappearing act, it seems we’ve got an answer as to why she — and Dan Bejar — were no-shows at the New Pornographers’ Higher Ground gig. Maybe. After some Wikipedia Brown-style sleuthing — an email to the club — 7D has learned that Ms. Case was stricken with food posioning. Of course, that explanation hasn’t sat well with certain disgruntled concertgoers, who have questioned the veracity of her excuse — mostly with pissy rants and demands for refunds on my blog. Look, I get it. People were upset Neko wasn’t there. And I agree, it sucks. And maybe, just maybe, the food poisoning thing is BS. But maybe it’s not. Regardless, knowing how private she is, if there is some other reason for her absence, we’re not gonna find out what it is. But I do know — because I asked her about it when we spoke earlier this year — that she was genuinely excited for the NPs to play in VT for all her new neighbors. I have a hard time believing Case would miss that show unless there were a very, very good reason. (Note to Neko: Call me!)
- Moving on, Saturday night, Nectar’s hosts a split bill of neo-soul siren Myra Flynn and indie songwriter Justin Levinson. That dynamic double team would be pretty noteworthy on its own, as it is whenever the pair appear together. But what’s truly special about this show in particular is that it will be — wait for it — their first together as husband and wife. Congrats, you crazy kids! (FYI: That sound you’re hearing is the collective breaking hearts of men throughout Greater Burlington. Sorry, guys.)
- Sadly, the Dum Dum Girls/Blue Button show scheduled for this Thursday at Club Metronome has been canceled. But our rad pals at MSR Presents wouldn’t leave the collective indie-hungry community hanging. They’re teaming up with the equally rad dudes from Angioplasty Media to present School of Seven Bells with Active Child and, of course, DJ Disco Phantom at Metronome this Sunday. Be there.
- Welcome to Dev Jana, who plays his first show as a local at The Monkey House this Sunday. The funk-influenced songwriter is a recent transplant from Phoenix and this July released a new album titled The Indeed.
- Haven’t heard from column favorite Zack duPont in a while. Word has it dude’s been pretty busy lending his general awesomeness to local songwriter Andrew Parker-Renga’s upcoming release. Well, this Sunday might be a good chance to get reacquainted, as the songwriter shares the Parima Acoustic Lounge’s cozy stage with Philly-based songwriter/harpist Gillian Grassie. Grassie will fly solo at Langdon Street Café this Saturday.
- Band Name of the Week: Squid City. As mentioned in these pages recently, veteran local electro-acoustic outfit That Toga Band are now Squid City. Why? Because I said so. OK, that’s not true. The band reportedly had grown weary of being misrepresented as a frat-rock band due to their Belushian name … for the last seven years. They’ll be at Burlington’s Manhattan Pizza & Pub this Saturday.
- And, last but not least, from the Department of Corrections: Last week’s riff about the Montpelier Downtown Music Festival contained one minor goof. A quibble, really. I mean, you could hardly even call it a trifle … ahem. I, um, got the date wrong. By a whole week. The fest, which features the drunken-pirate stylings of the Shanty Rats, honorary Vermonters the Toughcats, and rowdy arena-rock revivalists Township is this Saturday in the Farmers Market parking lot. Sincere apologies if you showed up last Saturday based on my sloppy info. First beer in the Three Penny Taproom beer garden is on me. (No, not really.)
Listening In (1995 Remix)
And finally, a bit of a change from the normal routine here, in honor of 7D’s big one-five. Instead of passing along what was on my iPod, etc., this past week, I’m digging deeply into the vault and offering a choice selection of local music representing what was (most likely) in the tape deck of my 1992 Honda Accord this week in 1995. Enjoy. And tune into my blog, Solid State, for more throwback fun all this week.
- The Pants, Fred Sex
- Envy, Distorted Greetings
- Chin Ho!, Exhaust
- Various Artists, Good Citizen The Soundtrack to the Zine, Vol. 1
- Huffy, Sunny Drive Time
- Eef, Three Minute Kings
- Madelines, Madelines EP
- The Fags, No Fleas Lunch Money and Gold Teeth