Soundbites: Shakin' Off the Rust, It's Your Birthday, Bite Torrent
Bear with me, folks. As I write this, I’m still reeling from a serious Beantown sports hangover, following a monumental playoff collapse by my beloved Boston Red Sox this past Sunday. If I seem incoherent, angry or otherwise disagreeable — more than usual, I mean — blame it on the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim). Ugh. Still, the show must go on, right? Right.
Earlier this year, I rather panned the latest album  from Montpelier-based Americana outfit Rusty Romance , Roots N’ Roll. While the instrumental performances were largely sound and the songwriting was decent, I took exception with several vocal performances on the disc. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I’m a bit of a stickler for things like “pitch.” It’s just how I’m wired, I guess.
Strangely, the band never got around to throwing a proper release party for the album. Whether that’s because of my tepid review or the fact that the CD came out on January 20, 2009 (aka Barack Obama’s coronation), is unclear. [Note: It is clear, actually. It was the Obama thing.]
Anyway, better late than never. This Saturday, Rusty Romance are finally celebrating the release of their not-so-recently released album with a show at Montpelier alt-venue, the Lamb Abbey. Nifty didgeri-duo the Earthman Band  open.
At this point you’re probably wondering why I would draw your attention to a band whose CD I advised you to avoid. Two reasons:
One, the show is a fundraiser for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer , in conjunction with the American Cancer Society , and it follows that organization’s annual Making Strides Against Cancer Walk the same day. In case you were unaware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month — and not, as Keith Olbermann recently referred to it on an NBC football telecast, “Breast Awareness Month.” That was in July. And it was awesome.
The second reason I think you should give Rusty Romance a chance is that they are unveiling a new vocalist, “sweetheart of the alt-country rodeo” Rachael Rice . [Total aside #1: I’ve come up with some really lame nicknames for various local musicians. But I like that one, and it seems to have stuck, as I’ve seen a few other media folks use it in reference to Rice. Peter Freyne would be proud.]
Rice is perhaps best known for her work with twangy local outfit the Cosmic Americans. She is also known for being one seriously badass vocalist. Her addition to the band could pretty much remedy my lone issue with Rusty Romance.
Man, I love a happy ending.
It’s Your Birthday
This Thursday, October 15, marks the birthday of one of the most influential musicians, well, maybe ever: Fela Kuti. You could make an argument that no single artist in history was as responsible for the current popularity of “world” music than the late Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer.
Here in Vermont, we actually have a pretty excellent Kuti tribute band, Movement of the People . The 13-member ensemble has really riled up the natives over the last year or so, packing local clubs where e’er they go. Though I’ve yet to experience them in person, I’m told by several folks with ears I trust that they’re the real deal. Good enough for me.
Not coincidentally, MOP just happens to have a pretty big gig lined up this Thursday at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge. Not only that, but prodigal axeman Nick Cassarino  will make a homecoming appearance with his new outfit, the 10-member hip-hop soul collective Lifted .
If you dig the review of local hip-hop maven Nastee ’s new album here , then I’d recommend you swing by Nectar’s on Wednesday, October 14 — the day this issue hits newsstands — and catch his True School residency with DJ A-Dog . Aside from the usual old-school hip-hop shenanigans, this week’s installment doubles as a CD release party for Boston-based MC Termanology , who will perform with DJ Deadeye . Expect appearances from Neighborhood and DJ Statik Selektah  as well.
It’s nice to see James Harvey performing again. This Friday the VT jazz icon will give a concert at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Burlington with a host of local luminaries, including Amanda Gustafson (Swale ), Jen Hartswick , Andy Moroz, Strength in Numbers ’ Bryan McNamara and James’ sister, Anne Harvey. Expect a mix of standards, original compositions and premieres of at least two new works that will likely appear on the pianist’s forthcoming album, Black Night, Black Flame.
I love that the live-music experiment at Muddy Waters is continuing. This Friday the coffeehouse welcomes B-town garage-psych favorites the Vacant Lots  and Montréal’s Shortpants Romance . The latter would normally win the (imaginary) award for best band name of the week, except…
On second thought, I might hand out that (still imaginary) award to Aussie hardcore band Robotosaurus , who tear up 242 Main this Saturday with a little aggro help from Rhode Island’s the Network , Albany’s Surrounded By Teeth  — also in the best band name running — and local folks Ghosting  and Anchors .
New (Old) Band Alert: In Memory of Pluto  brothers Bill and Zach Jandl have a sorta new band, Spirit Animal . Apparently, the “new” band — which also includes longtime friend Dan “not the mayoral candidate” Smith — actually predates IMOP by about six years, but has been on the back burner while the brothers Jandl have been focusing their efforts on being totally awesome in IMOP. Over the last six months, the group has been writing new material and preparing to unveil the new (old) band. Are they any good? Dunno. But the demos on their MySpace page sound pretty tight. The band has a show this Monday at a Burlington location I’m not supposed to tell you about. [Total aside #2: Anyone else kinda hungry for some bread?]
In the mood for some crazy-ass, almost unclassifiable jazz? I thought so. Do yourself a favor and catch Brooklyn-based trio the Inbetweens  — so named for their propensity to play “in between” styles, get it? — who play not once but twice in Burlington this Saturday: an early show at the Marriott Harbor Lounge and a late-night session at Radio Bean. The group features guitarist Mike Gamble, bassist Noah Jarrett — that would be Gabe Jarrett’s brother — and drummer Conor Elmes. The spacier-than-thou outfit is also celebrating the release of its third album, Quantum Cowboy.
Finally, go catch speedwestern revivalists Waylon Speed  at Nectar’s this Friday. The band hits the road later this month and won’t be back for a while. Plus, the show might just whet your appetite for their debut album, which should hit stores by Christmas.