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Soundbites: Ryan's Song

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Ryan Morin - COURTESY OF BRENT HARREWYN
  • Courtesy of Brent Harrewyn
  • Ryan Morin

April 3, 2016, was a dark day for the Vermont music community — and the greater community as a whole. It was on this day that Ryan Morin, better known to some as DJ BP, unexpectedly passed away. Morin was a staple of the local hip-hop community, having been a member of projects such as the Lynguistic Civilians, the Aztext family and, most recently, UnKommon.

This coming Monday, April 3, marks the anniversary of his passing. To celebrate his life and legacy, a number of Morin's friends and colleagues present "B.P.M.: A Night for Ryan Morin" at Club Metronome. The night features a strong lineup of Vermont's finest hip-hop talent. Furthermore, it's a fundraiser for the newly established Ryan Morin Scholarship Fund.

Once fully funded, the scholarship will cover the cost of one camper's tuition at Camp Dudley at Kiniya, the girls' summer camp in Colchester, where Morin once worked as a counselor. Since this year's summer season is nearly upon us, the scholarship will bolster a camper's tuition for 2018. This is the first fundraising event for the scholarship, and a series of similar events is scheduled to take place over the next year.

The show features performances from the Aztext Family (Learic, Pro, Kin and Truth), Cultural Chemistry (Learic, Truth, Mr. Burns of the Lynguistic Civilians, DJ Kanganade of Self Portrait, Zach Crawford of SkySplitterInk and Jamie Bright of Silent Mind), S.I.N.siZZle, Bless the Child (Humble, Rajni, Transplante, Entricutt, Es-K and D Mitch), Jarv, Self Portrait (Trono, Rico James and DJ Kanganade) and DJs Mike Fulton, Fattie B and Craig Mitchell. Local spray-can artists from Anthill Collective bring their graffiti skills into the mix, creating murals and smaller pieces to be auctioned off during the evening. Local screen-print collective Unknown Arts serves up some limited-edition T-shirts, featuring designs from Warren Stickney, aka Truth. All proceeds go to the scholarship fund.

Given that the event falls precisely on the anniversary of Morin's passing, the performers plan to leave space for remembrances. Expect to hear tracks featuring the departed MC throughout the night, even during live sets from Cultural Chemistry and the Aztext family.

I recently spoke with Scott Lavalla, aka Mr. Burns, who told me they'll handle Morin's verses by interjecting prerecorded tracks, similar to the way A Tribe Called Quest handled their recent appearance on "Saturday Night Live," which paid tribute to recently fallen member Phife Dawg.

Morin and the rest of the Aztext Family were in the midst of putting together a new record when he passed. It's still in production, but a new cut called "Good Weather" from the forthcoming LP is set to drop on the day of the benefit. Check out theaztext.com for access to the new single. While there's no firm release date yet for the album, the group hopes to share it by spring of 2018.

The Good Fight

Tim Bridge - COURTESY OF TIM BRIDGE
  • Courtesy of Tim Bridge
  • Tim Bridge

Remember last week when I mentioned that Waking Windows had finalized its lineup? I spoke too soon! It turns out that the lineup wasn't so final after all. A spring two-night event, dubbed "The Battle for Planned Parenthood," pits a selection of Burlington-area college bands against each other for a chance to claim a slot at this year's festival. All proceeds go to support the Planned Parenthood umbrella organization.

Here's the gist: Bands play 15-minute sets, with 15-minute intermissions between them. Local comedian Tim Bridge emcees each night and fills the void between sets with standup. Bridge performs weekly at the Vermont Comedy Club with long-form improv comedy troupe the Unmentionables.

Though it was originally intended to feature bands from Middlebury and Champlain colleges, as well as the University of Vermont and Saint Michael's College, only bands from the latter two schools are participating. The winning band from each night scores a slot at this May's Waking Windows festival.

The first battle happens on Friday, March 31, at the Monkey House in Winooski. UVM bands include Aves Coop Quartet, Umbel, the Onlys and LizRd Women — the last of which also has members from Champlain. Spunhouse and Sead represent St. Mike's.

Battle No. 2 takes place the following night, Saturday, April 1, at ArtsRiot in Burlington. St. Mike's bands include Seven Leaves, Cosmosis Jones and Nice Guy Eddy. The UVM contingent features Full Walrus, 2%, Kudu Stooge and Another Sexless Weekend. (I haven't seen Another Sexless Weekend yet, so know very little about them. But, my God, that's one of the best band names I've heard in a long time.)

Of course, they wouldn't let just anyone judge this. The first night's panel of local celebrity judges includes Phil Yates (Phil Yates & the Affiliates), Tate Kamish (WRUV), Emily Clinch (WWPV), Ali Fogel (the Monkey House) and Tom Shahan (Little Slugger). Yates, Clinch and Kamish remain judges for night two, joined by Dan Kirk (WRUV) and Rob Liu (ArtsRiot).

BiteTorrent

Robert Cray - COURTESY OF JAMESL.BASS
  • Courtesy of JamesL.Bass
  • Robert Cray

The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival recently unveiled another chunk of its 2017 lineup. Newly announced participants include Robert Cray, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Sullivan Fortner Trio, Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh, Camila Meza Quartet, Dom Flemons Duo, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, BassDrumBone and the Vermont/New York Collective featuring Victor Lewis, Will Sellenraad, Ray Vega and Rob Morse.

I caught the Medallions' set at Club Metronome last Friday night. The zany time travelers (who are definitely not Madaila) delivered a high-energy set of '90s jams including Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time," Sugar Ray's "Fly," and Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It," among others.

During their rendition of R. Kelly's "Ignition Remix," I was reminded of a lyrical mystery I've never been able to figure out. At the beginning of the song's second verse, Kelly raps, "Now it's like 'Murder, She Wrote' / Once I get you out them clothes."

Could someone please tell me in what way getting someone "out them clothes" is in any way like Angela Lansbury's famous detective TV show, "Murder, She Wrote"? I mean, I guess I could just Google it myself, but where's the fun in that?

Listening In

If I were a superhero, my superpower would be the ability to get songs stuck in other people's heads. Here are five songs that have been stuck in my head this week. May they also get stuck in yours. Follow sevendaysvt on Spotify for weekly playlists with tunes by artists featured in the music section.

Blood Orange, "No Right Thing"

Björk, "Joga"

Kenna, "Long Gone"

Thief, "Closer"

Whitney, "No Woman"

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