Sep 012017
 

guthrie galileo

The electronically-influenced soul and R&B on Vermont singer and producer Guthrie Galileo’s majestic new album Modern Day Ripples generally sounds timeless. One track, however, is more of-the-moment: “Labor Day.” The album came out a few weeks ago, but this song offers a lot to think about this weekend in particular.

Over a bed of piano, synthesizers, and field recordings (more on those in a minute) that echoes James Blake or Frank Ocean, Galileo explores the ironies of a holiday meant to celebrate workers. “”Labor Day” was written on and in the days following the workers holiday [last year], a time when I was coming to understand the world with a class-based perspective,” Guthrie explains. “I was remarking to myself, as I went about the motions of my day job, about the fact that all the people I know worked during the holiday. The bosses and the management at work, however, were nowhere to be seen!” Continue reading »

Jul 282017
 

swale there's no one here

Back in 2005, guitarist Eric Olsen termed Swale “Vermont’s premiere slo-core band.” Twelve years later, this label has proven ludicrously inadequate. But it’s hard to come up with an equally pithy tagline to replace it. The quartet’s journey has taken them from their origins as a burlesque show house band recording EPs of ambient slow-burns to the sort of rock-soul-funk-pop-country hydra that can credibly cover both Sonic Youth and Tom Jones.

Not only will Swale’s third full-length record There’s No One Here easily be one of the best Vermont-made albums of the year; it’s sure to be one of the best albums period. A sprawling double-LP calls for an equally in-depth look behind the scenes, so we reached out to the band members to talk about every track. Continue reading »

Apr 172017
 

Anyone who listens to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast knows he is a vinyl obsessive. And anyone who follows him closely on Twitter will knew he is also a fan of Vermont quartet Swale (he’s shouted out both of their first two albums). So Swale’s newest track “Release Your Records” – sort of a theme song for the vinyl revival – will be right up his alley.

It will also be up the alley of any other vinyl aficionado, or really just anyone who cares passionately about music. However, Spotify users might not spot all the plays on words singer Eric Olsen packs into the lyrics. Here’s three puns in as many lines: “Spin the story of your life / Roll your sleeves and show your stripes / Deep cuts aren’t made with knives.” Continue reading »

Feb 172017
 

soule monde

Russ Lawton and Ray Paczkowski have been members of the Trey Anastasio Band for over a decade, but with Anastasio busy on Phish’s never-ending tours, they may have some free time on their hands. The duo has recorded their debut album as jazz-funk duo Soule Monde, Lawton on drums and Paczkowski on Hammond B3 organ. And from the sound of the first two songs they’ve released, Must Be Nice is a corker.

In Haitian Creole, “soule monde” translates to “smashed world” (the title of their first EP), though the moniker is sort of a coincidence – “Soule” is Lawton’s middle name while “Monde” comes from Paczkowski’s first name Raymond. “Smashed world” makes a good description though. While there are definitely world-music rhythms in the mix here, they’re smashed with funk, jazz, and far-out soul. Like Booker T. jamming with Ginger Baker, Paczkowski and Lawton make instrumental music of the most exciting sort. Continue reading »

Jan 202017
 

this land is your land

On a day that is scary for many people, we thought we’d post one of the more uplifting and hopeful pieces of music to come out of Vermont last year. It’s a gorgeous cover of “This Land Is Your Land” featuring a host of local musicians. Though originally recorded to support the state’s own Bernie Sanders, as Donald Trump prepares to get sworn in, the song stands above its original context as a plea for understanding and tolerance. It’s also a whole lot better than Bernie’s own foray into local music.

Soul singer Kat Wright, who recorded one of our favorite albums last year, sings lead on the bold gospel-soul arrangement. Backing Wright are (deep breath): singers Dwight & Nicole, Francesca Blanchard, Marie Claire Johnson, Smooth Antics’ Stephanie Lynn Heaghney, and Waylon Speed’s Kelly Ravin plus Wright’s Indomitable Soul Band (Bob Wagner on guitar, Josh Weinstein on bass, Ezra Oklan on drums, and Shane Hardiman on keys) with guitarists Lowell Thompson and Brett Hughes.

Whether you’ve heard of any of those names or not, this is a beautiful, moving cover of Woody Guthrie’s timeless song. And today we just might need it more than ever. Continue reading »

Jan 062017
 

When I launched this blog last month, I kicked things off with The Best Vermont Albums of 2016. I said after that I’d move on to what’s next, not just what already happened. Which I will, I swear (and I have a bit, highlighting great new material from Vultures of Cult (R.I.P.), The New Line, and 1881). But first, one final retrospective.

When putting together the Best Albums list, I realized many of my favorite 2016 songs were not on proper albums. They were from EPs, singles, preview tracks from 2017 albums, covers, or other one-offs. So, for one last look back, we’re counting down our favorite Vermont-made songs of the past year. Then onto 2017. Promise. Continue reading »

Dec 282016
 

Welcome to County Tracks, a new blog that aims to explore music new and old from the great state of Vermont. We’ll be kicking off in full in January, but we couldn’t let 2016 pass us by without a look back at all the great music the Green Mountain State produced. From heavy metal to light-as-air folk, Burlington to Brattleboro, Vermont musicians delivered incredible albums across the musical spectrum. Check out our countdown below, and see you back here next year. Continue reading »