Jul 022018
 

See previous monthly Best-Of lists here.

best songs june

The Big Sip – Two Hips / One Night


When an album features the credit “Tenor Sax (Track 5),” you know I’m starting with Track 5. And the sax doesn’t disappoint when it finally arrives on this arty-jam-funk journey, but there is so much going on beforehand you forget it’s coming. Crazy keyboard sound effects, off-kilter Phish rhythms, and some insistent melodies that push through the chaos. It’s off the band’s debut EP Sip Responsibly. Continue reading »

Dec 152017
 

best vermont songs

Holy moly, Vermont artists released a lot of songs this year. I’m just talking sheer quantity: a lot of songs.

This may seem a blindingly obvious observation, but here’s why it struck me. When this site launched this past January, we posted Best Songs and Best Albums of 2016 lists to kick things off. The twenty selections on each were just things I’d come across in the preceding twelve months. This year, though, I made a more concerted effort to be thorough. All year I was trolling Bandcamp and Soundcloud and YouTube and Facebook, which drove the point home for me. I already knew Vermont musicians were prolific, but dear god. One songwriter alone released 36 double-sided singles!

The point being, narrowing this list down to twenty songs was brutal. That’s a testament to the bounty of great music coming out of Vermont. Some of my selections come from bands known to any Vermont music fans; others are by musicians not really plugged into “the scene,” off on their own somewhere releasing amazing stuff. There’s no overarching theme, and in a different week, this list would probably change. But these are my favorite local songs of the year – today at least. Continue reading »

Jun 222017
 

best vermont music

We’re finally at about the six-month mark at what has been a long and deeply stress-inducing year. But there’s perhaps some small comfort that 2017 has so far been a great year for music. So to celebrate being halfway through – as well as County Tracks’s own six-month birthday – we’re rounding up some of the best Vermont-made songs we’ve heard this year so far.

We narrowed the list down to a dozen for the sake of sanity, but couldn’t go without mentioning some of our other favorite tracks, which we listed at the bottom. We also rounded up as much as we could in a Spotify playlist. Enjoy! Continue reading »

Feb 212017
 

sam morris

The night Leonard Cohen died, Vermont songwriter Sam Morris wrote two songs. Heartbroken at the passing of his favorite songwriter, Morris channelled his grief into lyrics that recall Cohen’s earliest albums.

“He has been number one in my book for quite a while,” Morris says of Cohen’s death. “It was a lot like getting kicked in the face. I went on a binge for about a week afterwards, listening to nothing but New Skin For the Old Ceremony and Songs of Love and Hate. I wrote the last two songs the night he died, with the first one nagging at me for a few more days.”

Titled Songs to Help You Sleep – a nod to Cohen’s early album titles – Morris’s new EP offers a musical balm to those similarly mourning the loss of one of music’s greatest songwriters. The Cohen influence is clear throughout, but Morris’s songs stand up beyond mere homage (for one, he has way more “gift of a golden voice” than Cohen ever did). Standout track “Left the Candle Burning” channels Cohen’s gift for blending darkness and light, Leonard-esque lyrics like “I touched the clouds of murky night / From which the day is born / I left the candle burning / As the beast tore off its horn” segueing into a softly melodic sing-along chorus. Continue reading »