Tuesday, October 30, 2007


As promised, Halloween brings the release date for the first Solah ep, a post-metal/noise collaboration between JB LeDoux and yours truly. It was truly a learning experience for me, especially the recording and mixing process which I'm completely new to.

Live Solah concerts to be following shortly, including a CD release party next month. Look for a full-length Solah LP to come in early 2008.

For best results, play loud while driving around in a thunderstorm.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


A great documentary on Norwegian Black Metal, focusing on the antics of Mayhem & Burzum. Those crazy kids with their loud music and church burnings and murders!







Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Just when I thought I would release my 2007 Top 10 Albums list, figuring I wouldn't find a new favorite, I pick up the new Wolves In the Throne Room...and fall in love with it. What an amazing album--it runs the spectrum from classic Black Metal to post-metal to experimental ambient and back again...such a diverse & masterful album. Very highly recommended.

Monday, October 22, 2007


The Boston Red Sox just won the 2007 A.L. pennant---hells yeah! What a comeback; down 3-1 & won three straight to take it. That effort deserves a replay of the Papelbon Jig!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


My good buddy Travis has just started a new local politics & culture blog called "Persona Non Grata" and you can check it out here--


Travis is a former award-winning Vermont journalist currently residing in Bristol, and he is one of the brightest and funniest guys I know. With his quick wit & journalistic experience, expect his posts (though sporadic, since he has a busy job & a baby daughter) to be well-written, well thought out highlights on the weekly Vermont blogroll. Definitely be sure to link to Persona Non Grata from your sites.

Currently he has two posts up, one about VT localvore culture (a subject he plans to make a regular theme; he's an amazing chef as well, so hopefully we might get some recipes) and another about everyone's favorite neo-con bitch hag, Anne Coulter. Enjoy!

Here's a really cool left brain/right brain test that a co-worker of mine sent me the other day. Watch the ballerina spin & find out if you're a daydreaming artist type or a milquetoast shirt-and-tie accountant. Unfortunately, according to this test, I fall firmly into the latter category.....


As many of you now know, Sunn O))) and Boris' "Altar" is one of my favorite albums of the new millennium. A lot has been written about this album, but surprisingly the best review I have found so far is from a post on a music forum called "Encyclopaedia Metallum".

Click on this link and scroll down to the second review by Bertliak entitled "No Beauty Without Danger". A must-read for any fan of this album.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Remember the good old days when they had just “church music” or “devil’s music” to choose from? Then it was “classical” and “folk tunes”. Then “classical”, “jazz” and “rock”. Then there was “bebob”, “cool jazz”, “free-jazz”, “jazz fusion”, “funk”, “disco”, “heavy metal”, “punk”, “post-punk”, “post-rock”, “death metal”, “black metal”, etc. etc. etc. It’s hard to put out an album these days without spending a week trying to classify exactly what the hell it is.

If the last few years have been any indication of what is to come in the music world, we should see new genres reproducing like rabbits by 2010. In section below, I play the role of the music blogger Nostradamus and predict the musical crossovers that are coming up on the horizon.

Post-Post Rock
Step one—turn on the drum machine to 3 bpm. Step two: lean guitar against amplifier to produce sustained feedback note. Step three: hit record; take two hour lunch break. Step four: Come back to studio, hit “stop” button, burn CD & send to record label.

Psych rock meets the reggae-tinged stylings of Dance Hall music. Taste the rainbow when King Crimson mixes it up with Yellowman.

Doom Twee
Have your mind blown to the sound of stacks of tube amplifiers blasting the oscillated fuzz of a downtouned bass alongside nasally, effeminate lyrics about anoraks and puppy love. Also know as SunnC86))))

New-Country Electro-Pop
Collaboration between Toby Keith and Kevin Barnes of “Of Montreal” out next Spring entitled “Don’t Tread on My Synaptic Unicorn Sediments”. Look for lots of southern drawl, lap steel, xenophobic lyrics & tons of phat Moog Rogue basslines.

Ambient Free-Jazz
Imagine an Albert Ayler solo slowed down it 1/50th speed…with enough reverb and synth pads to knock out a full-grown elephant on speed.

Imagine Faust meets Reel Big Fish. And then shoot yourself in the face.

Croon Metal
Step aside Atilla-- Harry Connick Jr. is taking over the reigns as the frontman of Mayhem for some Black Pack action.

So.....what are your predictions for future genres?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Recently I’ve made the jump from being a part-time vinyl listener to becoming an all-out convert. I’ve sold CD copies of many albums and bought the LPs instead and, with the exception of albums that have little to no chance of a vinyl release, I’ve pretty much stopped buying CDs. I won’t get into detail why, because I’ve already done that on another post.

While nearly every album sounds better on vinyl (to my ears at least), certain albums just sound infinitely better on wax than their digital counterparts. I usually find that music that relies heavily on ambience, nostalgia or a dedicated low-end are especially well-suited, so I made a list of some of my “must-have-on-vinyl” favorites.

(NOTE: I’ve kept off the obvious classics, such as Hank Williams or Louis Armstrong in order to focus on more modern or lesser-known works. Just know that if I were including them, they’d be pretty damn high in the list—play Satchmo’s version of “Stardust” and I’m easier than a drunk girl on prom night)

Karen Dalton, “In My Own Time”

Karen Dalton has only recently received a long-overdue re-evaluation by music critics and fans. Once described by “my favorite singer”, Dalton has a voice that sounds like a throaty, froggy cross between Janis Joplin and Billie Holliday, a voice that sounds older and craggier than its years betray. It is nearly impossible to reconcile with the sepia-toned portrait of a beautiful young woman pictured on the album cover

Not only are Dalton’s timelessly ancient vocals perfect for the warm crackle of a vinyl album, but the crystal-clean production of the bluesy, soulful instrumental arrangements sound amazing as well. Put the needle down on Katie Cruel and transport yourself back in time to the sound of gypsy fiddle and Dock Boggs-esque banjo plucking.

Bonnie Prince Billy, “Greatest Palace Music”

Will Oldham just seems to have one of those voices that lends itself to analog, producing timeless, complex and gently masculine tones that can melt both women & men like a candle with an extra-long wick.

“Greatest Palace Music” is one of my favorite Oldham albums, and I love how the reverb on Oldham’s vocals, the twangy guitars and the bassy piano blend into a virtual Sunday morning snuggle in a warm bed when played on vinyl.

Low, “Trust”

Low seems to be the only band that made it out of the “slowcore” movement of the late 90s/early 00’s (remember Bedhead anyone?). While they seem to be getting a lot of attention for their recent sonic evolution “Drums and Guns”, I’m still a fan of Low’s older, more dreamy work. While my favorite Low album is probably 2001’s “Things We Lost In the Fire”, I prefer the thick ambience of the follow-up album “Trust” for vinyl playback. The atmospherics are so foggy and dense that by the end of the first track “Amazing Grace” you already feel like you’re drowning at sea.

Sparklehorse, “It’s a Wonderful Life”

I pretty sure that if it was up to Mark Linkous, Sparklehorse would probably not release their albums on anything except vinyl. Hell, maybe even acetates or cylinder tubes would be more appropriate. The warm pops and crackles of an old vinyl record are so important to Sparklehorse’s sound that they even included them on the recording of “Babies On the Sun”. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is Linkous’ masterpiece, a clever blending of pop rock and lo-fi nostalgia that guarantees to both creep you out & get your foot tapping.

Beach House, "Beach House”

I’m not even sure why they bothered to release this album on CD—it almost seems like it was written and recorded specifically for a 180 gram platter. There is something majestic about how the lo-fi drum loops, fat synth tones, spacey slide guitar, halcyon vocals (all covered with enough reverb to kill a horse) come together to make the musical equivalent of a handful of Percocet. Such an underrated album; shame on those of you who missed them at Higher Ground last month.

Tom Waits, “Blood Money”

Ok, I guess any Tom Waits album could have made this list, and there are certainly a lot of better albums than Blood Money (“Small Change”, “Mule Variations”, “Rain Dogs”, “Bone Machine”, etc). However, “Blood Money” is still my top choice for vinyl Waits if only for a single track—“Coney Island Baby”. The song sounds like it could have been recorded as a drunken outtake from a turn-of-the-century Tin Pan Alley recording session. It’s about as haunting and beautiful as music can possibly get, and listening to it on vinyl can be absolutely paralyzing.

Bob Dylan, “New Morning”

“New Morning” is probably the most criminally overlooked Dylan album (a couple of years ago I would have said “Self Portrait,” but Wes Anderson took care of that by including “Wigwam” in “The Royal Tennenbaums”). “New Morning” is the culmination of Dylan’s attempts to truly “bring it all back home”, creating a country-tinged pastoral nostalgia that turns its back on the urban, amphetamine blues of his late sixties period.

No matter where I am, I can drop the needle on “New Morning” and immediately feel like I am sitting on the porch of a cabin deep in the woods on a cool, drizzly fall day, draped in corduroy and sipping a cup of coffee, limbs humming with a warming sense of peace and contentment. Whether it’s the warm, buzzing bass & organ tones, the intimate parlor piano tones, or the crisp pedal steel, there is something about this album that soothes the savage beast and absolutely begs for the physical ambience of vinyl.

Cat Power, “Moon Pix”

Sure, “The Greatest” is a fantastic album, but I’m still a fan of old school Chan Marshall. “Moon Pix” finds her at her most raw yet most elegant, combining melancholy & droney indie ballads (“No Sense”) with imaginative covers of covers (her version of Bob Dylan’s version of the Irish pub favorite “Moonshiner”) and even a bit of experimental rap-rock (“American Flag”). This is just far too intimate and dense of an album for passive listening—grab a cup of tea, put “Moon Pix” on the turntable and zone out on the couch for a half an hour. Then get up, flip the disc & do it again.

Sunn O))) & Boris, “Altar”

I will go out on the proverbial limb and say that “Altar” is, so far, my favorite album of the 21st century. The equivalent of a drone metal supergroup, “Altar” finds the drone lords of the East (Sunn o))) and West (Boris) coming together for the first time for a full-out collaboration, along with guest appearances by Dylan Carlsson (Earth), Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) and beautiful vocals by Jesse Sykes.

“Altar” has all the makings for a great vinyl release—heaving, fat Moog Rogue basslines, thick atmospherics, growling electronics and heavy guitar fuzz. Southern Lord records must have recognized that and in turn went all out for the record: a 3 x 180g set with full artwork and a poster that weighs over four pounds. Guess it’s not just the metal that’s heavy…

The set is fairly limited and a bit pricey (around $30) but it’s worth every penny if you can find one.

Anthology of American Folk Music

Ok, this one is kind of unfair…the set (compiled by the great Harry Smith) was originally released in 1952 on vinyl and is damn near impossible to find (and ridiculously expensive if you do). It was re-released on CD in 1997 as a beautiful six-disc box set with a 96-page booklet. The sixth disc is an enhanced CD that contains photos, interviews and (my personal favorite) Harry Smith’s early experiments in abstract animation.

Sounds pretty great, huh? Not good enough. For some reason, they never bothered to re-release the set of vinyl. And this music is just begging to be played on a turntable—it filled with haunting vocals, crackling recordings, twangy banjos and thousands of subsonic howls from the ghosts of America’s musical past. The fact that I have lived 28 years without having heard Dock Boggs’ “Sugar Baby” coming through a diamond-tipped needle at 33 1/3 is an abomination.

One piece of good news--a recent addition to the set (Vol. 4) has been released, and it IS available on vinyl. Let's hope the sales are high enough. to encourage them to press the main set.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


It has been a big year for Joy Division...

  • Rhino has re-released all of the band's studio albums on vinyl. They sound great and are available at Pure Pop.
  • Want to design your own Joy Division mixtape album cover? Download the official typefaces from Peter Saville's website.
  • A couple of JD/Ian Curtis themed films are coming out soon. First, a documentary directed by Grant Gee ("Meeting People is Easy") called simply "Joy Division" and then a Curtis biopic called "Control", directed by the band's former music video director Anton Corbijn. It is based on the book "Touching From a Distance", written by Curtis' wife Deborah.
  • There is a fantastic article from 2005 about Joy Division at the wonderful k-punk blog called "Nihil Rebound". You can find it HERE, about halfway down the page. It's pretty long, but well worth the time.
And for the uninitiated, check out Joy Division: Under Review and 24 Hour Party People.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I've been listening to the new Radiohead album "In Rainbows" all day & I absolutely love it. It's the best work I've heard from them since "Kid A" and I will be highly surprised if another album surpasses it for my favorite of 2007.

I'm exhausted and too tired for a full track-by-track review, but a bunch of other people have already done them. Including Casey--check out his review at The Contrarian.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I just added a link in the "SOT Friends" section (to the left) to a local blog about the making of delicious pies called "Nothing In the House". You should visit this blog if you are a fan of pies or pie-related activity.

I am sad to report that, despite knowing several individuals pictured on this website, I have yet to taste one of these delicious-looking pies. **self-pitying frown & whimper**

For the 20 or so of you who actually made it out to hear the dreamy sounds of Beach House at Higher Ground a few weeks ago, you're probably still reeling from the foggy beauty of their sonic Elysian fields. And if you were already a fan of theirs before the show, you probably noticed that they played a few songs that aren't on their wonderful self-titled debut album.

Well, those new tunes will be on their sophomore offering, Devotion, which will be released on February 26th via Carpark Records. This is definitely one of the my most anticipated releases for next year.

If you're a fan of the old vinyl like I am, be sure to get your pre-orders in right away--the original pressing of the first Beach House album was only 300 copies and sold out very quickly, with copies fetching $35-50 on eBay recently. However...due to popular demand, a second pressing of 500 copies was just completed and are available to order for only $15 (+s/h) from Heartbreak Records. Get it NOW or you will seriously regret it.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Let your life finally have meaning--get yourself an official "Jesse and the Rippers" t-shirt--

It's made from 100% cotton, so there's a good chance it could last "Forever"....

Repressed memories flooding back....**jay sucks his thumb and rocks in a corner**

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Animal Collective had their first appearance on the Conan O'Brien show last week, and in usual fashion they decided to bypass the poppier, more accessible songs from "Strawberry Jam" (i.e. "Peacebone", "Fireworks", "Reverend Green") and instead went with a highly experimental version of the not-so-Late-Night-TV friendly "#1".

Way to freak out the pseudo-hip yuppie types, AC! As Mr. Godard once said, the only way to combat the horror of the bourgeoisie is with more horror....


Just got the e-mail below from Greg Davis--sounds like a great show; hope to see you all there!

hey guys,
just wanted to let you know about a show im putting together at the
firehouse gallery on oct. 26th. tom carter played before with
christina in charalambides. he'll be playing a solo set. and kurt and
ruth are both from the band feathers and they will be playing solo
sets as well. should be a good one.

heres the info:
spread the word!

tom carter
kurt weisman
ruth garbus

firehouse gallery
149 church st.
burlington VT

friday, october 26th

A big thanks to Greg for booking this show, especially in the middle of a tour and all.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I'm not a big Arcade Fire fan, but the new bonlineb website that they have set up is one of the coolest things I have ever seen on the web.

Check it out and click around. Lots o' fun.

Friday, October 05, 2007


This blog has been a great excuse/motivator to get out and see a lot more live music this year. Whereas in the past few years I averaged about a half-dozen concerts/yr., this year I've had the pleasure of seeing quite a few talented artists do their thing. Here's a list off the top of my head--

Oak (x4)
Greg Davis (x3)
Dynasty (x3)
Snake In the Garden (x2)
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (x2)
Grizzly Bear (x2)
The Le Duo
Ryan Power
Hammer & Saw
Rock & Roll Sherpa
The Cripples
Party Star
Uncle Woody Sullender
Pink Bacon
Bob Dylan
Bob Log III
Beach House
Fujiya & Miyagi
Cat Power
Sonic Youth
Wooden Wand
Iron & Wine
The New Pornographers
Of Montreal
Zach Galifianakis
There Were Valleys
Josh Ritter
Apollo Sunshine
Han Bennink
Pharaoh Sanders

What a great year of music--and there are still almost three whole months to go! Thank you to all of the local musicians who work so hard practicing and lugging equipment around for small audiences and even smaller pay. We really appreciate it!

Monday, October 01, 2007


solah. darkcar [ep]. october 31st.


music to listen to while driving around alone in a massive thunderstorm.