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Scene Poll

Local musicians weigh in on the best music of 2012


Published December 19, 2012 at 9:02 a.m.

Swale, A Small Arrival
  • Swale, A Small Arrival

Recapping the best music from a given year is always overwhelming. So we asked local musicians, fans and assorted scenesters for their takes on the best albums (local and nonlocal) and Vermont concerts they took in this year. We also added a “wild card” category that was completely open-ended. Here’s what they said.

Caroline O’Connor (Vedora)

  • Local album: Michael Chorney and Dollar General, Dispensation of the Ordinary; and Waylon Speed, Valance
  • Nonlocal album: Sharon Van Etten, Tramp 
  • Concert: Sleepy Sun/White Hills at the Monkey House in April, and Anders Parker/Will Johnson at a house show in Montpelier in September 

Anders Parker (Anders Parker Cloud Badge)

  • Local album: Maryse Smith, Maryse Smith
  • Nonlocal album: Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill (“What’s for supper, Neil?” “Guitar, guitar and more guitar.”)
  • Concert: Thurston Moore at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, Burlington. Also, the Waking Windows festival in Winooski was great. I’m sure glad it exists. I hope that it grows and can bring in some more national acts.

Mike Luoma (music director, 104.7 FM the Point)

  • Local album: Swale, A Small Arrival (I’ve been intrigued by the work of Amanda Gustafson since the Wide Wail days, but no song of hers hit me quite like “If You Get Lost” did.)
  • Nonlocal album: John Fullbright, From the Ground Up
  • Concert: Blitzen Trapper at Higher Ground

Sean Hood (Hello Shark, 7D freelance music reviewer)

  • Local album: Maryse Smith, Maryse Smith (Hands down Burlington’s best post-breakup album.)
  • Nonlocal album: Justin Townes Earle, Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now
  • Concert: Nancy and Great Valley in a packed living room right at summer’s end
  • Wild card: I’m wicked stoked for Shelly Shredder’s debut double album, Colder Roses. (Just bustin’ ya balls, boys. Seriously, can’t wait!)

Eric Olsen (Swale)

  • Local album: Swale, A Small Arrival (Best? I don’t know about that. Favorite? Absolutely. After all the huff and puff and sidetracking and lost weekends and broken teeth and hospital bracelets and roofless bedrooms and solemn black suits and rude awakenings over the past decade, this album finally became physical. It’s like having a third kid, sans diapers.)
  • Nonlocal album: Father John Misty, Fear Fun
  • Concert: My favorite night this year, where I was stoked and proud as fuck to be living in BTV, was the Vermont premiere of A Band Called Death and the after-party at the Monkey House. I saw Death perform twice that night. No comparison.
  • Wild card: Man of the Year: Paddy Reagan. If you have to ask, you may never know why. He turned our little corner of the world into the center of the galaxy, one show at a time.

Matt Burr (Grace Potter and the Nocturnals)

  • Local album: Benny Yurco, This Is a Future
  • Nonlocal album: Father John Misty, Fear Fun
  • Concert: Carolina Chocolate Drops, Brenda, Floating Action  

Beckie Sheloskie (talent buyer at Charlie O’s, Montpelier)

  • Local album: Spit Jack, Whiskey Eyes
  • Nonlocal album: Viva Le Vox, Dirt For Sale
  • Concert: Public Enemy at Higher Ground

Michael Chorney (Dollar General)

  • Local album: Wooden Dinosaur, Spaces
  • Nonlocal album: Hmm. Not sure I really have one.
  • Concert: Saturn People’s Sound Collective at the Haybarn at Goddard College. Simply one of the best concerts I have ever heard by anyone, local or not.

Knayte Lander (State & Main Records)

  • Local album: First Crush, Halfway Home
  • Nonlocal album: The Gaslight Anthem, Handwritten
  • Concert: Billy Bragg at Higher Ground. (The man who changed music, war and love for me. For nearly an hour, he talked to me like an old friend after the show. A true marvel, that Billy.)
  • Wild card: Death, live at the opening of A Band Called Death at Essex Cinemas. Punk rock is born again, ageless in Vermont.

DJ Disco Phantom

  • Local album: Maryse Smith, Maryse Smith
  • Nonlocal album: Kindness, World, You Need a Change of Mind
  • Concert: Kid Koala with Adira Amram and the Experience at Higher Ground. (It was like nothing I had ever seen before.)
  • Wild card: I saw Joan Rivers at the Flynn earlier this year and it was awesome. She still has got it, and it was outrageous.

Alex Budney (talent buyer at Nectar’s)

  • Local album: Zack duPont, Somewhere in Between
  • Nonlocal album: Mayer Hawthorne, How Do You Do
  • Concert: Fishbone at Club Metronome

Toby Aronson (NNA Tapes)

  • Local album: Blanche Blanche Blanche, Wink With Both Eyes (This is truly next-level pop transmissions.) 
  • Nonlocal album: Julia Holter, Ekstasis
  • Concert: House show with Nate Young, Drainolith, A Snake in the Garden, Lord Bird and Sektor 420
  • Wild card: I am constantly impressed with Burlington’s ability to be open to new music. In a world of severe oversaturation and coverage of music based on cultural implication, it’s great to hear Burlington accepting new local and touring bands, [giving] a chance to absorb, dance or just be present with the jams.

Bob Wagner (Bob Wagner Band)

  • Local album: Zack duPont, Somewhere in Between
  • Nonlocal album: Jay Farrar, Anders Parker, Will Johnson, Yim Yames, New Multitudes
  • Concert: I had a special moment at the M. Ward show (Higher Ground), though I’m sure it’s not my fave pick of the year.

Michael Roberts (Wooden Dinosaur)

  • Local album: Michael Chorney and Dollar General, Dispensation of the Ordinary
  • Nonlocal album: Sonny and the Sunsets, Longtime Companion
  • Concert: J.P. Harris and the Tough Choices at the Stone Church in Brattleboro

Bryan Parmelee (Parmaga)

  • Local album: Farm, Farm
  • Nonlocal album: Chairlift, Something
  • Concert: Morrissey at the Flynn MainStage

Zack duPont

  • Local Album: Michael Chorney and Dollar General, Dispensation of the Ordinary
  • Nonlocal Album: Patrick Watson, Adventures in Your Own Backyard
  • Concert: Patrick Watson at Higher Ground with Andrew Bird
  • Wild card: Brett Lanier and Peter Krag, two superhuman Vermont-based musicians that everyone wants in their band. And if you don’t want them, you just never heard them play.

Rob Larkin (The Shandies)

  • Local album: The Toes, The Toes
  • Nonlocal album: Ty Segall Band, Slaughterhouse (Might as well throw in his other 2012 release, too: Twins. This kid is bananas.)
  • Concert: Rough Francis at the Precipice and the Cave Bees at the Radio Bean birthday party.

Ben Aleshire (Vermont Joy Parade)

  • Local album: Loveful Heights, Loveful Heights
  • Nonlocal album: Tik Tok, The Great Concavity
  • Concert: Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses at the Monkey House
  • Wild card: Hearing Randal Pierce’s composition for Orkestriska’s Box played on an actual copper plate in an antique music box was amazing.

Gregory Douglass

  • Local album: Anaïs Mitchell, Young Man in America (Would make Joni Mitchell jealous.)
  • Nonlocal album: Jesca Hoop, The House That Jack Built (Would make Kate Bush jealous).
  • Concert: Vermont Symphony Orchestra at the Flynn MainStage
  • Wild card: A recent Zack duPont performance reminded me of how much talent there is right here in the Green Mountains! 

Greg Davis

  • Local album: Chris Weisman, Maya Properties (Chris outdoes himself again with an epic, 88-track song cycle possibly about the end of the world and the beginning of a new universe. Did you know there is a crystal under Brattleboro?)
  • Nonlocal album: Editions Mego was the record label of the year, for sure. Almost everything they released this year was excellent, especially the Mark Fell records and the Recollections GRM series.
  • Concert: Kurt Weisman at Waking Windows and Drainolith, Nate Young, A Snake in the Garden at Mouse’s Roadhouse

Jason Cooley (Blue Button)

  • Local album: Ryan Power, I Don’t Want to Die
  • Nonlocal album: Japandroids, Celebration Rock; Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (One I can play at work, and one I can’t.)
  • Concert: Hess Is More at the Monkey House. (These days I much more enjoy watching a band happy to play their music instead of trying to look cool and withdrawn. Google them.)

Rebecca Kopycinski (Nuda Veritas)

  • Local album: Farm, Farm
  • Nonlocal album: The xx, Coexist
  • Concert: Rough Francis!

Matt Rogers (MSR Presents)

  • Local album: Maryse Smith, Maryse Smith
  • Nonlocal album: Tame Impala, Lonerism
  • Concert: Thurston Moore at Unitarian Universalist Church in Burlington
  • Wild card: Very excited to see what the Waking Windows 3 festival will look like this year. Should be a good one!