Friday, July 27, 2007


I think there are few of us who would disagree that Burlington, for such a small area, has a pretty diverse and successful music scene. While we obviously owe a great debt of gratitude to the artists who provide us with great entertainment (often for no pay or even at their own expense), I think the people who make it possible for these artists to record, perform and distribute their work locally also need a shout out. Here is my love-letter to just a few of such local establishments.


Since April 1998, Higher Ground has been supplying the Greater Burlington area with some of the best acts in local, national and international music, comedy, experimental theater, etc. While many (including myself) have been known to criticize Higher Ground for pandering to the jam-band and dad-rock crowd, they have always taken the initiative to bring in some of the best new musical talent, even when it is at the expense of box office receipts.

Take a look at some of the names that Higher Ground has brought (or assisted in bringing) to our little town in the last few months: Bob Dylan, Sonic Youth, Wilco, Feist, Grizzly Bear, Meat Puppets, George Clinton, Clipse, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Public Enemy...and this is just what I can remember off the top of my head.

Higher Ground and its staff--Spitting Out Teeth salutes you! Keep up the great work.

Check out the Higher Ground Wikipedia Page


Ok, I know I've put down our local indie record store on a few occasions, especially with my comparisons to Reckless Records. But I love this shop and can't imagine what I'd do without it. For such a small space, they have an incredibly vast and relevant collection, and are immensely responsive to the needs and desires of their customers. Who else around here is going to get you Animal Collective on vinyl? Borders? FYE? I think not.

You are also not going to find a more diversely knowledgeable staff than Pure Pop's employees anywhere in this area. Some of Burlington's best musicians, critics, bloggers, etc. have had a stint behind the PP counter and there is always someone there who knows more than you do about any genre you can think of.

The one element that was always missing for me was a Pure Pop web presence....and now it's here! The Pure Pop Online website allows you to special order your favorite CD's and vinyl, as well as check on info about local shows and read some of the fantastic blogs created by Pure Pop's employees (which, by the way--where are the ladies' blogs? We need at least one female music blogger in this area!).

Pure Pop, despite the stranglehold you have on my wallet, I love you. Thanks to Mike and his crew!


I'm not sure what I love more about the Radio Bean--the killer lattes, the peppermint iced tea or the incredible and diverse acts that they book. I've seen everything from acoustic folk to free jazz to hard rock to experimental and even comedy and theatrical pieces there, and I've always been impressed. While I wish there was a bit more space, it's still one of my favorite hangouts in Burlington.

Thanks to Lee & the crew at the Bean!


One of the newest art venues in town, the Kriya Studio does a great job of multitasking--visual arts exhibitions, experimental film nights & of course, some of the best live shows in the area. The space is perfect, the admission is always cheap and the shows are always presented in a casual yet professional manner. If you haven't been to Kriya yet, I definitely recommend checking out their website calendar or MySpace page and attending a show.

You rock Julia--thanks for of your efforts over the past seven months; looking forward to Kriya's 1st birthday party!


Have you been to any really good local shows lately that featured great experimental music from local and out-of-state artists? Or have you seen some really amazing hand-drawn concert posters around town? More than likely you can thank Tick Tick for that. They have been a major presence in the local music scene lately and are probably the biggest reason why the audience for experimental music of all sorts in the Burlington area seems to be increasing exponentially.

A big, well-deserved thank you to Dale, Graham & Julia!


The Monkey House has been a staple of the Winooski Main St. bar scene since the beginning of the decade, and has always been a unique place to hang out and enjoy a pint. From the African-themed decor to the unique furniture and theme-nights (i.e. iPod DJ Wednesdays), the Monkey in every way an alternative to the sports-themed coke bars and veterans' clubs that make up the rest of the Winooski nightlife.

The Monkey House took a hit during the start of the Winooski redevelopment project, fully closed for a brief period and then reopened only on weekends. However, the ownership of the Monkey recently changed hands, and it is once again a thriving seven-days-a-week club. And another huge added bonus is that the new owners have opened their doors to many of the area's more eccentric music acts, including several Tick Tick shows.

Thank you to the Monkey--we appreciate our little oasis in Winooski!

And last but not could I forget the Burlington music blogging community? Besides yours truly, there's SolidState, The Le Duo, Highgate, False 45, Transistor Blast, Record Store Guy, Greg Davis' Favorites, Grime News...I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch (sorry!)

And of course, even though he might have left us behind for the bright lights & pork-barrel politics of our nation's capitol, Casey Rae-Hunter's The Contrarian and ProgBlog will always have honorary "VT Blog" status in my mind.

Keep on rockin' Burlington. Or dronin'. Or jazzin'. Or whatever the hell you do. Just keep being creative because there are lot of us who really appreciate it.


the le duo said...

i think the link to the higher ground wikipedia entry is all fouled up... otherwise great post! i like the music scene here right now...

casey said...

So funny you posted this. I'm missing B-town big-time today; especially you guys....

jay said...

And we miss you too Casey--any plans to visit the old stomping grounds anytime this summer?

I just finished the book "Manhunt" and I'm on a huge Lincoln assassination kick right now, so I might make a long-weekend trip to D.C. soon to visit Ford's Theater and other related sites. I'll be sure to let you know when so we can meet up.

I fixed the Higher Ground wiki link--thanks for the heads up JB!

Tanner M. said...

great post Jay - we need to get a couple lady bloggers up in the digital-sausagefest. Leah, i'm looking at you.

Flatlander said...

Nice post. Well done. And thanks for the tip on some local blogs I was missing.