Soundbites: Traditions, Mashups and 'Marrow' | Music News + Views | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Soundbites: Traditions, Mashups and 'Marrow'

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Robert Resnik - COURTESY OF TODD R. LOCKWOOD
  • Courtesy Of Todd R. Lockwood
  • Robert Resnik

Here's a little media note for ya: Robert Resnik, longtime host of Vermont Public Radio's folk and traditional music show "All the Traditions," is finally back at the mic after a nine-month absence. Resnik had been away from his post and quarantining hard due to some personal health factors that made him high risk for COVID-19. He recently scheduled his first round of vaccination and has returned to the radio booth.

Resnik's first show of 2021 aired on Sunday. The episode is currently in the station's Replay Stream, which cycles through a number of current episodes of various programs, for a limited time. Check vpr.org to find out how and when to hear the broadcast.

"I'm so excited to be back," Resnik said in a recent phone call. "It's become a habit for me, and a bunch of listeners, too."

Though many VPR operatives currently produce their shows remotely — as interim "All the Traditions" hosts Moira Smiley, Mary McGinnis and Ida Mae Specker did — Resnik said he didn't have the necessary equipment to do so. For one, being away from his 17,000-CD collection housed at the station would have made it difficult for him to do his show justice because, he noted, he has only 1,500 or so discs at home.

"That's not enough," he said without a trace of sarcasm. Resnik added that he knows the VPR stacks so well he can essentially close his eyes and pull out any album from the colossal collection on request. Clearly, he's back where he belongs.

"All the Traditions" airs on Sundays at 7 p.m. on VPR.

Paint the Town Red

Stills from Ruby's "Marrow" - COURTESY OF RUBY
  • Courtesy Of Ruby
  • Stills from Ruby's "Marrow"

Singer-songwriter Katy Hellman is back in action with a new song and music video, "Marrow." Hellman co-fronted the much-loved indie outfit Julia Caesar, which rocked Vermont for a brief period in the mid- to late 2010s. She moved to Philadelphia a couple of years ago with Julia Caesar drummer Steven Lebel, and they created a new project called Ruby. The pair returned to Vermont in 2020 amid the pandemic.

Describing the new band in general terms, Hellman wrote in an email, "Ruby emerges at a point of tension. It is an ode to the wild grandness of being alive: explosive joy, dissonant chaos and deep guttural rage."

"Marrow" is the third single and title track from Ruby's upcoming debut, out on Monday, April 5. Hellman and Lebel tapped Grace Potter guitarist Benny Yurco to engineer the record. The video, shot by A Box of Stars' Macaulay Lerman and coedited and codirected by Lerman and Hellman, dropped on Monday. Watch it on YouTube.

The clip features a colorful cohort of dancers — including Justine Belle, Rachel Hawkins, Marcie Hernandez, Madeline Pajerowski, Drea Tremols, Donna Waterman and Lilly Xian — reveling in the splendor of a Vermont fall.

"I wanted the video to [reflect] the theme of changing form," Hellman wrote. As the folk-edelic song crescendos and climaxes, the cast wanders through fields, explores forests and plunges into creeks. As Hellman explained, those actions symbolize "the essence ... of the mystery of life and how we try to rationalize these underlying patterns the farther we get from them."

Be on the lookout for a review of Marrow in an upcoming issue of Seven Days.

Attachment Theory

I get a lot of emails from local musicians I've never met nor heard of with various story pitches, often with links or songs attached. Sometimes I get an extremely detailed, thorough pitch and, for whatever reason, I don't find time or space to cover the sender's work. And there are other times when I get a scant email, no more than a few sentences, with something that truly catches me off guard and knocks my socks off. And then I just have to write a little blurb about it in this column.

Jazz vocalist and Burlington native Andrew Richards recently sent along one such brief, humble message to share his first-ever self-written and -produced track, "It's Never Been the Same." And I just about swooned. His Chet Baker vocals, simple boom-bap drum machine beats and collaborator Peter Horger's warm trumpet solo converge to form a track that sounds both nostalgic and modern.

Hear it on Spotify.

Beat Mash

DJ Fattie B - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File: Matthew Thorsen ©️ Seven Days
  • DJ Fattie B

One of the Queen City's DJ royalty, Fattie B, just released a hot collection of mashups. Under the brand Fattie B Blends, the DJ constructed and uploaded more than 50 bangers to Bandcamp, inspired by the kinds of tracks he plays on his WOMM-LP the Radiator radio program, "The Bangers & Mash Show."

Just in case someone reading this doesn't know what a mashup is, think of it as a track that combines the vocals from one song layered atop the music or beats from another. It helps if they have the same chord progression, although there are ways around that. Sometimes more than two tracks get mashed up, which can make things even more fun. (A particular favorite of mine comes from DJ Topsider, who expertly combined Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," CHVRCHES' "Recover" and the Monsieur Adi remix of Lana Del Rey's "Born to Die." Google it!)

It seems like Fattie B tends to let well-known artists be the "voice" of his mixes, while lesser-known producers and electronic artists hold down the foundation. For example, he puts Eve and Alicia Keys' vocals from their 2002 hit "Gangsta Lovin'" with producer Mister T.'s funkalicious 2013 cut "The Party," and Radiohead's "Creep" over seminal chill-out artist St Germain's "Sure Thing."

In an email, Fattie B dished a bit about how much the last year has sucked for all of DJ-kind.

"The interaction between DJ and live humans is something I've missed so terribly," he wrote. "Having had this project to focus on and bring life to has really been something I'm grateful for."

Check into Fattie B Blends at fattiebblends.bandcamp.com.

Listening for Listings

As I write this column on what I hope is the last super cold day of winter, I'm mentally preparing for the surge of live entertainment that's sure to arrive once it's warm enough for outdoor events. Indoor nightlife is likely close behind. In fact, I've already heard about some things in the works. Hopefully I'll be able to share them sooner rather than later — you know, when there's actually something concrete to report instead of speculation and wishful thinking.

Some things are starting to happen, though! For example, I recently got an email from a talent booker at a local live music spot asking when we'd start publishing club dates again. Fun fact: We never stopped listing events online, including virtual ones, which was something we chose to do for the first time at the pandemic's onset. We did, however, pull the club listings and the entire calendar from the physical paper shortly after the world fell apart a year ago. For the last 12 months, there haven't been a ton of club dates, anyway, but we've done our best to list those online.

Memo to Vermont nightclubs, bars and talent bookers: As you begin to make your schedules, keep us in the loop! Send me an email, and we'll get your events all sorted out in our online listings. And, hopefully one day soon, in the paper, as well.

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.

Altin Gün, "Kesik Çayir"

Working Men's Club, "A.A.A.A."

Koney, "Combos"

GoldLink, "More (featuring Lola Rae)"

Tears For Fears, "Sowing the Seeds of Love"