As we stand on the edge of the dog days of summer, staring down fall with a curious mix of longing and dread, we find ourselves at the height of Vermont’s festival season. And that can mean only one thing: It is time for yet another installment of the Northeast Kingdom Music Festival, which runs this Friday and Saturday. And that can mean only one more thing: I have another wedding to attend and will miss the NEKMF. Again. (Note to friends and family: I love you. But, please, no weddings the first weekend of August in 2011, OK? Just once, I’d like to go and check this thing out. I’ll even bring you with me. Deal?)
The NEKMF is entering its eighth year. And, while the fest’s lineup may lack some wattage compared to the star power of previous years, it is still an impressive, eclectic slate of bands. From perennials The Low Anthem, Holy Ghost Tent Revival and the Two Man Gentleman Band, to excellent local fare such as Vermont Joy Parade, Mayfly and KuFui, to renowned regional acts Brown Bird and Loveful Heights — among many, many others — there is really something to please most any musical tastes.
(Quick tangent regarding Loveful Heights: A reader who shall not be named recently emailed to opine that the Rochester-based band is “the sexiest duo on Earth.” So they have that going for them, which is nice.)
As fun as the music promises to be, festival regulars I’ve spoken with over the years suggest that the real draw of the NEKMF is the setting itself, the idyllic Chilly Ranch in Albany, Vt. Having never been, I can’t attest to that personally. Although I suspect it’s true. I mean, how many music festivals have their own spring-fed wells?
What’s more, the NEKMF remains one of the better values around for your entertainment dollar. Especially when you factor in camping, free water, swimming, reasonably priced vendors and — my favorite part — the BYOB policy, you almost can’t afford not to go. Seriously, do the math. I suck with numbers, but I’m pretty sure $60-75 for a whole weekend of entertainment is less than I usually spend just staying home. And, as they say at the NEKMF, “You never know until you go.”
Don’t remind me.
We begin this week’s BiteTorrent by checking in with a dear old friend, Aya Inoue. It’s been a tumultuous year for Inoue, not least because of the dissolution of her most recent project, the Leaves. I’m happy to report the local songwriter is back in the saddle with a new endeavor she’s dubbed The Amida Bourbon Project. They’ll make their debut this Sunday at Club Metronome, opening for local rockers Jangover. (Full disclosure: According to ABP’s website, my younger sister, Ariel Bolles, will be joining the band for its inaugural show. I mention this not to address the obvious conflict of interest, but to ask Ari why I had to read about that online. What gives, sis?)
Speaking of conflict of interest, local klezhobos Inner Fire District, of which my younger brother Tyler Bolles is a member, will play their last show with original clarinetist and exiled Church Street Marketplace busker Zoe Christiansen this Friday at Parima. Christiansen, who was the subject of my very first story for 7D — “Busker Dos and Don’ts,” in the May 16, 2007, issue — is leaving Burlington to attend the New England Conservatory. Take that, Church Street.
On to events that don’t involve members of my family: The town of Killington unveils a month of free music this Saturday as local prog-whatever band Japhy Ryder kick off the “It’s Cooler in the Mountains” series at the K-1 Gondola at Killington Resort. The series runs every Saturday in August and will feature Twiddle (8/14), Roots of Creation (8/21), and Barefoot Truth (8/28).
It is a huh-yooouge weekend for local hip-hop. Friday, the Monkey House hosts the New England Hip-Hop Showcase, featuring a slew of regional rhymers, including Young Rich, S.I.N.Sizzle and BTV’s own Colby Stiltz (see the review of his debut release). Saturday at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge, the stars are out in force supporting headliner Akrobatik. In addition to undergound hip-hop stars Kosha Dillz, Present Rhymes and 60 Piece, the lineup includes locals Stiltz, Woogmatic, Nastee, Habit and, of course, the microphone doctor himself, BURNTmd
Speaking of Higher Ground, with very little fanfare, last week the club announced that alt-rock icons The New Pornographers would be coming to town Friday, August 27, for a show at the Ballroom. That should make for the shortest commute of the tour for Neko Case.
Band Name of the Week: Fauxbois. This Boise-based group is currently touring with Built to Spill — a band with whom they share some notable sonic similarities and facial-hair sensibilities. But they will take a night off from supporting the indie-rock godfathers to rock the Monkey House this Thursday with support from a pair of Burlington outfits, Maga and Pacific Slope.
It’s a terrific week to be an indie-rock fan in the Greater Burlington area. As usual, the Monkey House picks up a lot of the slack to help satisfy our hipsterly sensibilities, boasting a slew of top-notch shows throughout the week. But it is actually Club Metronome that takes this week’s skinny-jean prize, as the club will host Chicago-based Barsuk Records signees Maps & Atlases, poptastic San Diego-based blogosphere darlings du jour Cults, and Brooklyn’s Laura Stevenson and the Cans. And just who might be responsible for such a wondrous evening of indier-than-thou goodness? Angioplasty Media and MSR Presents, of course. Have I mentioned how much I love those guys?
Sticking with Metronome, I’ve just received word that third-wave ska godfathers the Toasters will swing by the Burlington nightclub on September 29, with opening support from Rough Francis and — who else? — Husbands AKA. That sound you hear is my inner 16-year-old rude boy skanking his checkered pants off to “Pool Shark.”
And finally, this week’s totally self-indulgent new column segment, tentatively titled “Listening In,” in which I share a random sampling of what was on my iPod, turntable, CD player, eight-track player, etc., this week.
Best Coast, Crazy for You
Guards, Guards EP
The New Pornographers, Together
Envy, Distorted Greetings
Nuclear Power Pants, Wicked Eats the Warrior
Dept. of Corrections
The photograph accompanying last week’s profile of Chris Weisman (“Cult Favorite”) lacked a proper credit. The photographer was Kyle Thomas. We regret the omission.