Last week, NBC’s “The Voice” moved into its second stage of competition, the battle rounds. We’ll soon know whether Burlington-based contestant Nicole Nelson  will make it to the show’s final rounds.
(Note: “The Voice” airs Monday and Tuesday nights. This column is written on Monday morning, meaning we haven’t yet seen this week’s shows. It’s possible that by the time this column runs, Nelson’s episode will have aired. We’re just gonna go ahead and assume she’s moving on, because she’s awesome. But if she doesn’t advance: “Forget” you, Cee Lo.)
Regardless of how Nelson fares in the next round, her musical life will certainly go on. We hope it’s as a multiplatinum-selling superstar with a sweet new recording contract. But if it’s only as one half of Dwight & Nicole , that’s pretty great, too. When you shoot for the stars, it’s important to keep your feet on the ground. Austin-based songwriter Rebecca Loebe , who will be at Radio Bean in Burlington this Saturday, October 20, knows all about that.
Loebe was a contestant on “The Voice” last year. Like Nelson did, she chose Maroon 5’s Adam Levine as her coach and made it to the battle round, but Loebe didn’t advane. Still, she had quite an experience. So we reached out to see if Loebe had any sage words for our hometown favorite.
“Enjoy the experience, but see it for what it is: This is the entertainment industry, not the music industry,” writes Loebe. “Performing on the show feels different than a normal gig, I think largely because the environment is so heightened and judgment oriented. Be aware of that energy but don’t let it get the best of you! Stay true to your art.”
Pretty good advice, eh? But wait, there’s more.
“Once TV time is over, do your very best to connect with as many of your new fans as possible!” Loebe continues. “I have been honored by how many new fans and friends I was able to make through my appearances on the show. But I worked hard for it. In the weeks after my episodes aired, responding to correspondence became my full-time job. Let your new fans know where they can find you and your music, and try to convert them from being admirers of Nicole the Reality TV Singer to fans of Nicole the Hardworking Musician Who Is Going to Have a Long and Rewarding Career No Matter What.”
Amen. If you’ve seen Nelson on television but haven’t checked out her work in Dwight & Nicole, go check them out right now. I’ll wait…
Pretty awesome, right? Whatever happens on the show, the talent and drive that got Nelson this far will continue to serve her well on any stage.
As for Loebe, she’s gone back to the grind as a hard-touring songwriter (she dubs her style “post-brontosaurus indie-folk/crunk”). Certainly, the exposure from “The Voice” has helped her. But she’s not resting on her laurels. Her latest album, Circus Heart, is delightful, with songs that ooze wit and charm. She should find a receptive audience in the cozy confines of the Bean this weekend.
Before we move on, Loebe has one more bit of wisdom for Nelson.
“Lastly, take pictures! Write in your journal!” she writes. “Being on the show is an exciting blur and someday, when you’re being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you’ll want to have some mementos to share!”
After a 10-year run, local roots-reggae band Pulse Prophets  are calling it quits. In a recent email, bassist Alex Budney writes that there is no “Behind the Music”-style infighting; it’s just time to move on to other projects. The band has two local shows left: one this Friday, October 19, at the Brewster River Pub (formerly the Brewski) in Jeffersonville, and the last at Nectar’s on Friday, November 9.
Happy trails to Spit Jack  drummer Mike Forester, who is leaving Vermont this month to return to his native Michigan. The band’s remaining members, writes Forester, plan to continue playing once they find a new drummer. Or once they sober up enough to realize Forester has moved. (Why do I have a Spinal Tap-ish bad feeling about the fate of whomever mans the kit next for Spit Jack?)
Speaking of bands looking to fill lineup spots, local prog-metal band Kairos  seek a new lead vocalist. Typically, I wouldn’t announce a musician’s want ad in Soundbites — that’s what the classifieds section is for. But I thought Kairos’ Jeremy Gartner’s Facebook post was worthy: “The ability to sing, as well as scream, is a must, as well as the ability to create melody lines over odd time signatures. Must also look good in pleather.”
This week’s Band You Shouldn’t Google Image Search Award goes to … Bastinado ! Raise your hand if you knew the term “bastinado” refers to a sexual fetish involving rope and feet. I didn’t. And, oh, how my burning eyeballs long to return to those days of innocence! Anyway, Bastinado, the band, are an unusual live EDM duo that feature a didgeridoo and something called the Reactable Live. The latter instrument is what I imagine house DJs in Tron use at raves. It’s a tabletop setup that uses blocks to interface with a translucent display, creating a virtual modular synthesizer. By moving the blocks, you create different patterns, beats and loops — and look like a fucking wizard doing it. Juxtapose that futuristic instrument with the prehistoric didgeridoo, and you’ve got Bastinado, who will play Signal Kitchen in Burlington this Saturday, October 20. Oh, and wear good shoes. (For the dancing, pervs.)
They pour your drinks, they watch the door, they toast your bagel. Sometimes with a smile, even. They are the staff at Radio Bean. And their talents extend far beyond putting up with your demanding ass. This Friday, October 19, the Bean crew turns the tables, providing the night’s entertainment with the first-ever staff talent show. It’s a huge lineup, but some highlights include a collaboration between Kat Wright  and jazz pianist Shane Hardiman, Lee Anderson’s delightfully strange Appalled Eagles, roughly 27 acts involving booking guru Joe Adler , and the Fontanelles with Matthew Minor, who is the Bean’s longest tenured employee, FYI. One question, though: While all the employees are onstage, who the hell is gonna make my $5 shake?
Speaking of Kat Wright, her folk duo with Maggie Clifford, the Loveful Heights , is finally set to release its debut album. Wright’s husband, Lee Anderson, has been promising the new record for months now. I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m guessing it’s going to be something special. When Anderson is excited about something, it’s usually worth checking out. Find out for yourself when the Loveful Heights play North End Studios in Burlington this Saturday, October 20.
Last but not least, A Band Called Death , the long-awaited documentary from filmmakers and VT expats Jeff Howlett and Mark Covino about the proto-punk band Death — a sleeper hit at the LA Film Festival this past summer — makes its local premiere at the Essex Cinemas T-Rex Theatre this Saturday, October 20. Following the screening, which is part of the Vermont International Film Festival, there will be a special performance by the band and a Q&A session.
We’re switching things up this week. Rather than hip you to whatever random bands have taken up residence on my hi-fi of late, I’m suggesting you tune in to the latest edition of Seven Days’ killer music podcast, “Tour Date With DJ Llu.” In this episode, Llu sits down with Monty Burns of local hip-hop band Lynguistic Civilians. It’s a great interview with a member of one of the state’s hottest bands, and you can check it out at 7d.blogs.com/tour_date . While you’re there, listen to some of Llu’s other interviews, including chats with Anaïs Mitchell, Grace Potter and Myra Flynn.