Dec 192017

best vermont albums

After counting down the Best Songs and Best EPs last week, our year-end look back comes to a close with the Best Vermont Albums. This list could easily have been twice or three times as long, but for the sake of concision – and offering a brief scene intro for outsiders – I limited it to ten. The cream of the crop, the albums with not an ounce of flab or filler.

Genre-wise, they run the gamut, from instrumental bass funk to snappy power-pop, from horn-flecked Americana to roaring slacker-punk. Some tackle current events with wit and insight. Some focus more on chilling, eating sweets, or doing laundry. The only unifying characteristic here is quality. Continue reading »

The Best Vermont Music of 2017 (So Far)

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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 »

May 032017

waking windows vermont

We normally don’t do concert previews here. My goal with this young blog is to spread the gospel of Vermont music to an audience beyond the state’s sometimes-confining borders. And writing about regionally-specific events generally goes against that mandate.

This weekend’s Waking Windows festival is an exception.

Waking Windows is the Vermont music scene in microcosm. In some respects the Burlington equivalent of SXSW, Waking Windows surrounds a few bigger names (Real Estate and Dan Deacon this year) with dozens of the state’s best local bands. Naming the best Vermont artists playing the festival almost doubles as naming the best Vermont artists period. And that is exactly our mandate. Continue reading »

Jan 102017
Apartment 3

Apartment 3’s stated influences are a mix of beloved ’90s indie-rock bands (Pavement, Pixies) and current artists that also model themselves after said beloved ’90s indie-rock bands (Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall). So you know where these guys are coming from. But though their lineage is straightforward, this Vermont quartet beautifully executes the lo-fi crunch of their forefathers. The ten tracks on their self-titled debut album, just released on indie label Section Sign Records (which also released one of 2016’s best albums, Violet Ultraviolet’s Pop City), are blissfully fuzzed-out garage rock perfect for headbanging through clouds of weed smoke.

“Slacker” was the semi-derogatory label given this music in the ’90s – and the band itself embraces the term – but the washed-out vibes can’t hide serious songwriting. Beneath the haze, the catchy gems bring in beachy “woo-ooo” backing vocals and wonderfully whacked-out guitar solos, showing that slacker needn’t mean half-assed. Recorded in a bedroom recording studio (in, we assume, some building’s apartment #3), Apartment 3 is a great new addition to a laid-back-punk genre that never quite hit the mainstream but never went out of style either. Listen to the album below. Continue reading »