Soundbites: Slam Dunk; Autumn in Winooski | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Soundbites: Slam Dunk; Autumn in Winooski


Published October 4, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated December 26, 2017 at 4:47 p.m.

Emma Ruth Rundle - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Emma Ruth Rundle

Slam Dunk

It's a week of firsts for both Higher Ground and the Vermont music scene in general. On Saturday and Sunday, October 7 and 8, HG hosts dunk!USA, the South Burlington club's first-ever on-site, indoor music festival. The two-day mosh is the first stateside edition of the annual dunk!festival in Zottegem, Belgium, which focuses on all things "post-" — post-metal, post-punk and, most notably, post-rock.

Father-and-son team Luc and Wout Lievens founded the European dunk! in 2005 and are set to bring it back for a 13th year next spring. South Burlington resident David Zeidler, known for his ongoing Cinema Casualties horror film screening series, is largely responsible for orchestrating the American edition. The gore enthusiast writes for the online music magazine Arctic Drones, which specializes in a number of genres, but most especially the kind of styles represented at dunk!.

In spring 2016, Arctic Drones published an article highlighting the most-anticipated post-rock festivals in the world — all of which were in Europe. Zeidler yearned for something similar to dunk! a little closer to home, and reached out to the Lievenses for advice on how to make his dream a reality. As luck would have it, the founders were looking to expand dunk! to the States, and, after some negotiating, the Belgian fest found a home in the 802.

Attendees can move freely between the HG Ballroom and Showcase Lounge all weekend. Chicago-based "post-post" band Pelican headline Saturday, with support from Emma Ruth Rundle, Astronoid, Tides of Man, This Patch of Sky, Ranges, Appalaches, Zhaoze, Of the Vine and locals Sad Turtle. Also hailing from Chi-Town are Sunday's headliners, Russian Circles. Opening acts that day include Junius, Arms and Sleepers, Coastlands, the End of the Ocean, Pray for Sound, set and setting, Au Revoir, thisquietarmy, Unconditional Arms and KYOTY.

Additionally, the Monkey House in Winooski hosts a pre-dunk! mini-showcase on Friday, October 6. Joining Burlington's Ghastly Sound, Savage Hen and KiefCatcher are Austrian post-rockers Lehnen and Detroit-based shoegazers Man Mountain.

It's worth singling out both Rundle and Zhaoze. Rundle is a guitarist with the Los Angeles post-rock bands Red Sparowes and Marriages. She'll be the only female-fronted act on the dunk! bill. And Zhaoze, who hail from Guangzhou, China, will travel the farthest to be here.

The tricky thing about adding "post-" to a well-established genre is that sometimes musicians and fans alike disagree about what exactly qualifies a project to sport a fancy, hyphenated descriptor. These contentious discussions usually rely on naming well-known bands as a point of reference. (Try it for yourself! Ask a knowledgeable music fan to describe the specific sounds of post-punk and see what kind of a non-answer you get.) Given that Zeidler is a local authority, we asked him to take a stab at describing post-rock.

"Any [genre] that has 'post' before it can be difficult [to describe] because it's not necessarily that thing," he responded cryptically while sipping coffee at Burlington's Muddy Waters. "Post-rock isn't necessarily just rock. Post-punk isn't punk. [The genres] start with a concept and branch out. So, you'll have bands like Blood Brothers and At the Drive-In and These Arms Are Snakes that are post-punk, but they don't sound like each other."

"It's the same thing with post-rock," he continued. "What you tend to see are extended compositions [with] a strong focus on creating a soundscape. A lot of times there isn't a singer, so you're not going to have a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure. I feel like the composition tends to be more artistic, because you have to create some sort of narrative that doesn't involve vocals and words."

In an email, Zeidler emphasized "cathartic crescendos" as integral to post-rock architecture. Given its generally wordless nature, it's one of the least prescriptive rock genres and can be quite transcendental. And, you know, totally righteous.

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Autumn in Winooski

Autumn Records in Winooski - JORDAN ADAMS
  • Jordan Adams
  • Autumn Records in Winooski

Attention, vinyl lovers: A new record store called Autumn Records just set up shop in Winooski. The boutique vinyl emporium, located on East Allen Street at the top of the Winooski traffic circle, opened its doors for the first time on Saturday, September 30. Seven Days caught wind of the then-forthcoming music hub this summer when a mysterious Instagram account announced the store's impending arrival.

The name Autumn Records was vaguely familiar. We wondered, Didn't local experimental music guru Greg Davis once operate a record label with that same name? He did indeed. Davis founded the CD-R label in his DePaul University dorm room 20 years ago. It turns out that he's the new shop's proprietor.

"The whole idea and plan came into motion in November of last year," he told Seven Days from behind the counter of his new business. Davis had his eye on the 'Noosk from the beginning. That's because, with Pure Pop Records, Speaking Volumes and Burlington Records — the last of which employed Davis for several years — the Queen City is pretty much at capacity in terms of record stores. The avant-garde composer signed the lease on the Onion City space in July and began moving in about a month ago.

The shop is sparsely decorated but well stocked with an ample supply of cross-genre discs. Blond wood and exposed brick give it a modern, urban feel. Stereo equipment, cassette tapes and an adorable, pint-size selection of CDs are also available.

What you might see in the shop this week is but a fraction of the stock. Davis mentioned "zillions" of other records yet to be put on the sales floor, including the entire classical section.

Given the shop's name, might the label get a second wind?

"Eventually, I wouldn't mind putting out records again," Davis said. "Maybe [I'll] put out some of my stuff I've always wanted on vinyl."

Autumn Records celebrates its grand opening on Saturday, October 7, with an all-day event featuring vinyl DJs Taka, Cre8, Matthew Kloss, Cranky and Burlington Records owner Ian Doerner.

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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.

Rick Astley, "Never Gonna Give You Up"

Glass Candy, "The Possessed"

Tricky, "Evolution Revolution Love"

Leikeli47, "Money"

Near North, "Good About You"

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