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Locals Weigh in on the Best Music of 2014


Published December 24, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.


We here at Seven Days spend a lot of time listening to local music. It often makes us wonder what the musicians who make that music tune in to. So each year we email local musicians, club owners, booking agents and other assorted scenesters to find out what music, local and otherwise, rocked their worlds over the previous 12 months. Here's what they said.

Pete Rahn, Lake Superior, Pistol Fist

Local: Boomslang, Boomslang

Nonlocal: Kaleo, Kaleo

Marc Scarano, Black Rabbit

Local: Screaming Skull, MMXIV

Nonlocal: Ex Hex, Rips

Says Scarano: Three-chord rock in the tradition of all my favorite 1970s punk and New Wave bands. Ex Hex is also my nomination for show of the year, at the Monkey House in October.

Eric Olsen, Swale

Local: Pours, Pours

Says Olsen: It's like melodic alchemy. They're level-12 wizards.

Nonlocal: Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2 (without kids); Ex Hex, Rips, (with kids)


Kelly Riel, Gorgon, Stickshift Records, Girls Rock Vermont

Local: Screaming Skull, MMXIV

Nonlocal: Pushin' it 2 the Limit, Pushin' it 2 the Limit

Michael Roberts, Wooden Dinosaur, the Rear Defrosters

Local: Alpenglow, Chapel EP

Nonlocal: Hiss Golden Messenger, Lateness of Dancers

Danny Coane, the Starline Rhythm Boys

Local: Barbacoa, Italian Medallion

Says Coane: Bill Mullins has the touch, tone and great melodic sense for this style of instrumental guitar music. Bill's the king around here!

Nonlocal: Noam Pikelny, Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe

Robert Resnik, host of "All the Traditions," VPR; Seven Days contributor

Local: Bob Amos & Catamount Crossing, Sunrise Blues

Nonlocal: Yusuf Islam, Tell 'Em I'm Gone

Phil Yates, Phil Yates & the Affiliates

Local: The Vacant Lots, Departure

Says Yates: They still count as local, right?

Nonlocal: The New Mendicants, Into the Lime

Pat Ormiston, Japhy Ryder, Invisible Homes

Local: Waylon Speed, Kin

Nonlocal: The Barr Brothers, Sleeping Operator; Damon Albarn, Everyday Robots

Kyle Thompson, DJ Fattie B

Local: The Write Brothers, Take Flight


Says Thompson: Hands down the best hip-hop album ever to come out of Vermont.

(Editor's note: Yup.)

Nonlocal: Prince, Art Official Age

Ryan Ober, Ryan Ober and the Loose Ends, the Horse, Led Lo/Co

Local: Lowell Thompson, Stranger's Advice

Nonlocal: St. Vincent, St. Vincent

Scott Lavalla, the Lynguistic Civilians

Local: Smooth Antics, Smooth Antics

Nonlocal: CunninLynguists, Strange Journey Volume Three

Ryan Miller, Guster

Local: Swale, The Next Instead

Nonlocal: EDJ, EDJ

Reuben Jackson, host of "Friday Night Jazz," VPR

Local: Steve Blair Septet, Ostinato

Nonlocal: Billy Childs, Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro

Matt Burr, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals


Local: Caroline Rose, I Will Not Be Afraid

Nonlocal: The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream; Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

Bobby Hackney jr., rough francis, seven days

Local: Swale, The Next Instead; Death, III; Screaming Skull, MMXIV

Nonlocal: Thee Oh Sees, Drop

Mark Daly, Madaila

Local: Caroline Rose, I Will Not Be Afraid

Nonlocal: Sylvan Esso, Sylvan Esso

Caroline O'Connor, Vedora

Local: Anders Parker, There's a Bluebird in My Heart; The Cush, Transcendental Heatwave.

Says O'Connor: Yeah, I know, the Cush live in Texas now. But they'll always be locals around here.

Nonlocal: The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream

Alex Budney, Nectar's, Seth Yacovone Band, Family Night Band

Local: Waylon Speed, Kin

Nonlocal: Vulfpeck, Fugue State

Justin Boland, Wombaticus Rex, Seven Days contributor

Local: The Write Brothers, Take Flight

Nonlocal: That Handsome Devil, Drugs and Guns for Everyone

John Flanagan, musician, Seven Days contributor

Local: Carton, Carlton

Says Flanagan: These Windsor gents' all-systems-go energy seems to have burnt off any homespun residue that often coats — and sometimes wrecks — well-intentioned local endeavors. They throw way down and write them straight. No mercy required from the listener. I visit their Bandcamp page to stream Carlton plenty. (Dear Carton, I probably owe you some money.)

Nonlocal: Tomorrows Tulips, When

Dave Keller, Dave Keller Band

Local: Pitz Quattrone, Movin'

Nonlocal: Gregory Porter, Liquid Spirit

Craig Mitchell, DJ

Local: The DuPont Brothers, Heavy as Lead

Nonlocal: Prince, Art Official Age

Sean Witters, Invisible Homes

Local: Caroline Rose, I Will Not Be Afraid

Says Witters: The production and vibe on this album is so cool. "Blood on Your Bootheels" unites rockabilly strut with a critique of white privilege that seems impossible in the genre, but which feels completely natural. Caroline Rose speaks truth to power in surprising and necessary ways.

Nonlocal: Johnny Marr, Playland

Justin Gonyea, Doom Service, Get Stoked! Records

Local: Gorgon, Secret; Tyler Daniel Bean, Repetition Vol. 1: The New & Very Welcome

Nonlocal: Violent Sons, Nothing As It Seems; Courage Cloak, Courage Cloak

Justin Crowther, Waylon Speed, Seven Days contributor

Local: Envy, Distorted Greetings

Says Crowther: It's from 1995, so I'm not sure it counts. But I recently discovered them and thought they had some great songs. I also imagined they would've gone pretty far if they would've stayed together.

(Editor's note: They did! The key members of Envy moved to Boston and became the Red Telephone. They are still together.)

Nonlocal: Hop Along, Get Disowned

Knayte Lander, Vicious Gift, Buch Spieler Music

Local: Chalice, Chalice

Says Lander: This collection of songs stands up to almost any heavy-metal record from 1981 to the present day. Driven and executed with enough power that the album has already been picked up by Alone Records overseas. I have to mention Chalice as my favorite "local" record before the band soon finds [itself] on Top 10 lists across the world. Vermont hail!

Nonlocal: Röyksopp & Robyn, Do It Again

Brian Nagle, DJ Disco Phantom, Waking Windows Presents

Local: Swale, The Next Instead; Pours, Pours

Nonlocal: Future Islands, Singles

Bryan Parmelee, Pours

Local: Swale, The Next Instead

Nonlocal: Shabazz Palaces, Lese Majesty

Gary Lee Miller, writer, Seven Days contributor

Local: Mark LeGrand, Burn It Down

Says Miller: Favorite local album that didn't happen: The one that is inside Brett Hughes' beautiful mind waiting to come out. 2015, pretty please? 

Nonlocal: Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

Ryan Clausen, Nectar's, Dead Set Tuesdays

Local: The Precepts, This Is How It Must Be

Nonlocal: Tauk, Collisions

Matteo Palmer, guitarist

Local: Masako, Call of the Mountains

Nonlocal: Coldplay, Ghost Stories

Jeff Margolis, Hot Neon Magic

Local: Elephants of Scotland, Execute and Breathe

Nonlocal: tUnE-yArDs, Nikki Nack

Nyiko Beguin, NYIKO

Local: Pours, Pours

Nonlocal: Future Islands, Singles

Brian Clark, Anachronist

Local: Anders Parker, There's a Bluebird in My Heart

Nonlocal: New Bums, Voices in a Rented Room

Brendan Dangelo, What Doth Life

Local: Violette Ultraviolet, Exiles

Says Dangelo: This music reminds me of Vermont. It's beautiful, well worn and lies in a crosscurrent of lonely backwoods rambling and someone waxing poetic in their smoking lounge.

Nonlocal: Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville

Alex Crothers, Higher Ground

Local: Caroline Rose, I Will Not Be Afraid; Swale, The Next Instead

Nonlocal: Hard to pinpoint. Sturgill Simpson, Sylvan Esso, Future Islands, Alt J, Mac DeMarco, Logic, the War on Drugs...

Michael Chorney, Michael Chorney & Hollar General

Local: All of them. A big hooray to those who make albums.

Nonlocal: All the ones made with no other reason than music in mind.

The original print version of this article was headlined "The Best Around"