I know, I know. I’ve been rather overt — and shameless — in the last few weeks plugging the Burlington Bands 101 Showcase slated for Wednesday, September 23, at Nectar’s and Club Metronome featuring seven totally kickass local bands, two killer DJs, one über-talented emcee (not me, the other one), loads of giveaways and, of course, a poutine garden … ahem. What can I say? I’m excited about it and hope you folks are, too — especially the poutine. Plus, I love any opportunity to help out our good pals at 105.9 FM the Radiator, the beneficiaries of this show’s door revenue.
All of that said, since the show takes place the day this paper hits newsstands, it doesn’t really make sense to talk about it anymore. At this point, you’re coming or you’re not. So for the remainder of this column, you will not hear another peep about the show. Probably.
Deaf Jam, Epilogue
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a story about WRUV DJ Brad Barratt — aka “the Humble Janitor” — who is deaf [“Deaf Jam,” September 9]. Shortly after the story ran, Barratt emailed to thank me for writing it — humble, indeed — and also to inform me that his show, “Janitors From Mars!” would be changing time slots this fall, from Saturday nights at 8 p.m. to Saturdays at 10 p.m., beginning this week. You should tune in. Dude’s got great taste in punk and ska.
Anyway, Barratt’s email reminded me of an aspect of the story I really wanted to include but didn’t have space for. This kind of thing happens a lot, actually. Often, tangential bits, while interesting, just don’t serve the story and are left on the cutting-room floor, so to speak. Luckily for me, I have a column I can use to tie up any loose ends. Bonus!
While visiting Barratt at the station, I took the liberty of perusing WRUV’s CD stacks. I actually hadn’t had a chance to do so since the station relocated from its old digs in Billings a couple of years ago. Back in the day, one of my favorite pastimes was sitting in with DJ friends during their shows and checking out new music, specifically of the local variety. Perhaps I’m remembering this through rose-colored lenses, but I recall consistently being blown away by the sheer volume of local CDs in WRUV’s possession. With that in mind, I set out to locate the local section to see how it had grown in the last decade or so.
Much to my dismay, I found it hadn’t. It actually looked a lot like it did 10 years ago. If anything, the selection was smaller — though that could be a product of the general downsizing of WRUV’s library to accommodate its, um, cozier home.
Worse, the local collection is seriously outdated. To wit, amid the paltry stack — yup, stack, singular — I found a CD from one of my old bands that was released more than a decade ago, and it was among the newer discs. Exaggeration? Maybe a little. But I had a tough time finding more than a handful of albums released within the last two years.
Barratt echoed my disappointment. He said he would love to play more local music on his show. But the problem is — warning: I’m about to get really mad — local bands don’t send their CDs to the station anymore.
People, people. This is “Band Promo 101.” When you release a new album, you send it to the following: me, and every fucking college and independent radio station in the vicinity. Any questions?
The problem is not unique to WRUV. Jim Lockridge (Big Heavy World, the Radiator) has aired similar laments in conversations we’ve had over the years. Seven Days has helped rectify that situation by storing our archives in the Vermont Music Library, so anything local bands send me will eventually wind up there. But it can literally take months for those CDs to make the three-block journey from our office to Big Heavy/Radiator. And Radiator DJs don’t have 24/7 access to the library, which is technically a separate entity.
So here’s the solution. When you contact me about reviewing your CD, also take a minute — literally, one minute — to contact at least these three stations: the Radiator (www.radiator.org), WRUV (www.uvm.edu/~wruv) and St. Michael’s WWPV (wwpv.smcvt.edu). And by the way, each of those stations will be represented at the Burlington Bands 101 showcase … oops.
You’re good, Vermont musicians. People deserve to hear you. Jesus, they want to hear you. But you have to meet them at least halfway.
See what you made me do? I got so worked up that I just blew half my column chewing you out. I hope you’ve learned your lesson.
Moving on, the big news this week is the surprise return of one of my all-time favorite Vermont acts, Black Sea Quartet, who are reuniting for one show only this Friday at Montpelier’s Black Door. Scenesters who recall Burlington circa 2004 will remember the high-octane klezmer-ish outfit as among the most exciting live bands of the era, and I don’t need to tell them why this is great news. So, allow me to speak to the youngsters for a sec: You know how you guys think gypsy-punk hybrids like Gogol Bordello and World/Inferno Friendship Society are all that? Well, OK, they are. But you should really see BSQ. No, they’re not “punk” in any regard — beyond attitude, perhaps. But their take on Eastern European music is as inventive as any you’ll find. Trust me.
Best wishes to Greg Davis, who just embarked on a two-week Japanese tour in support of his latest album, Mutually Arising, which was released on Kranky Records in July. He’ll be back briefly before embarking on a lengthy West Coast tour in November with his other, um, “other music” duo, Sun Circle. Safe travels, Greg!
PossumHaw are back in action following a baby-makin’ hiatus with a show this Friday at Burlington’s best listening room, the Parima Acoustic Lounge. The nifty folk outfit will have a slightly new look — and a baby — as they unveil new mandolinist Steve Waud (The Winding Road) and bassist Pat Melvin (Kelly Ravin Trio). Welcome back, guys.
When you think “jazz,” Burlington restaurant The Scuffer is probably not the first joint that comes to mind. However, the homey steak-and-ale house is set to unveil a weekly jazz series with the PJ Davidian Trio beginning this Thursday. Davidian says the trio’s lineup will likely rotate from week to week, but the debut installment features bassist Anthony Santor and trombonist Andrew Moroz.
Finally, a public memorial for late, great local sax man Larry McCrorey will be held this Tuesday, September 29, at UVM’s Ira Allen Chapel at 3 p.m., followed by a reception in the Billings Student Center. And I’d suggest getting there early, as it will no doubt be very well attended.