7 Vermont Bands

7Bands-2

SEVEN VERMONT BANDS TO TAKE NOTE OF

By A.J. Wachtel

All the participants in the New England music scene are on the same team. We just play a lot of different genres at a lot of variable venues throughout five separate states. Each of these assorted areas have their own special sound and unique characteristics. Check out what JATOBA, MISSION CREEP, CARTON, THE WRITE BROTHERS, CRICKET BLUE, VILLANELLES and DWIGHT & NICOLE all say about Vermont’s happening entertainment environment.

DWIGHT & NICOLE

(roots)

Dwight Ritcher – guitar/ vocals

Nicole Nelson – vocals

Noise: Where is your band located?

Nicole Nelson: We live in Burlington, VT.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Nelson: The scene is great. There are so many talented musicians, and lots of places to go see them do there thing. The only downside is that we aren’t home enough to really get to enjoy it !!

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Nelson: We are an original indie soul and blues band. I think people appreciate that our music is so heartfelt. We bring a lot of ourselves to what we do, and a lot of our passion for American roots music.

Noise: What’s your best song?

Nelson:  I think our best song is on our album that we haven’t released yet! Maybe “Electric Lights” or maybe “Hi Low.”

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Nelson: Mavis Staples

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Nelson: We are touring a lot now and we love it. Our next step is releasing our new album, and hitting the road even more to support it.

We have been fine tuning our day to day lives, cleaning house and getting really organized and healthy – all of the less sexy stuff! But it makes room for more freedom onstage and in the studio.

JATOBA

(groovegrass)

John Jamison – guitar/ mandolin/ vocals

Jason Scaggs – guitar/ banjo/ baritone guitar/ vocals

Elliot Jacob – bass

Marcel Leclaire – drums

Noise: Where is your band located?

John Jamison: Jatoba is located out of Brattleboro in Southern Vermont. Although we travel all over the northeast for shows.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Jamison: The good thing about the local scene is that there are some very dedicated music lovers that come out to see live music. However, since Brattleboro is so small there aren’t very many venues. So that is the bad part about it. There is a bigger venue opening up here called The Stone Church. That should be ready around late September or early October. Hopefully that will reinvigorate the local scene here.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Jamison: We describe it as a rebellious response to typical jamgrass. It has been described as groovegras with tight two to three part harmonies. It is steeped in bluegrass yet we throw in tasteful bits of composition that take it into realms of jazz, classical and rock and roll. We like to have fun with it so it is not a surprise when we go from a straight up bluegrass composition to something that resembles some sort of space funk and ethereal textures all while continuing to drive the music.

Noise: What’s your best song?

Jamison: What’s our best song? I think that we would be hard pressed to choose one since we all personally have our own opinions. As for me our best studio song is “Last Man Standing”, that is the title track for our upcoming album “Last Man Standing. As far as a live song I have been having a lot of fun playing “Closure” which is off our first album “Death, Fire and Picnic Tables.

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Jamison: The one great thing about our music is that we pull from influences everywhere. To name a few: Chris Thile, Tony Rice, Vulfpeck, Phish, Wes Montgomery, Grateful Dead, Radiohead, Del McCoury Band, Yonder Mountain String Band. The list really could go on and on.

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Jamison: The future is in positive transition at the moment. I have a son on the way so taking some time to get to be Dad is very exciting. Jatoba is not going anywhere though but there may be some lineup changes here and there. This will be great because I love playing with many different kinds of players. However, we will continue to be playing around the Northeast and surrounding areas.

MISSION CREEP

(garage/  psychedelic punk)

Gregory Damien Grinnell (Teledubgnosis) – instruments electrical and acoustical

Yuri Zbitnoff (Enuma Elish, Sky Saw/ Black Fortress of Opium) – drums

Ken Maurais: bass

extra members:

Jason Wolford (Teledubgnosis/ Machmen) electronics

Ted Parsons (Swans, Prong, Killing Joke, NIC) drums/ percussion

Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu/ Book of Knots) – bass/ synth

Scott Harding (Truckstop/ Kill Dog E) – guitar/ electronics

Steve Norton (Debris) – reeds

Noise: Where is your band located?

Yuri Zbitnoff:  Brattleboro, VT and Jamaica Plain, MA

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Zbitnoff: On the positive side, Boston suffers no shortage of excellent musicians and bands.  On the down side, Boston presents seemingly few opportunities to really cultivate a sound and develop an audience beyond the standard multi-band evening format.  Also, I think that there’s a certain insularity to the “scene” which has perhaps contributed to a perception of Boston being a sort of way station city.  In other words, a place to hone your craft for a while before you head off to Nashville, LA or NYC.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Zbitnoff: We play atompunk go-go jazz. MC is an intergalactic, trans-dimensional band. I don’t know how we fit into the scen”, if at all.

Noise: What’s your best song?

Zbitnoff: “Aeroflot.”

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Zbitnoff: Duke Ellington, Henry Mancini, Dick Dale, Sun Ra, Cinematic Orchestra, Martin Denny, Kraftwerk, ESG, Lee Perry.

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Zbitnoff:  We released our debut album On the Sea of Suns in late 2014 and are planning a follow up EP or LP soon – probably preceded by a few singles and whatnot. After a bit of a hiatus in 2015, we’re playing around the northeast in both traditional and non-traditional venues while adding some more improvisational elements and additional video and visual material. Better living through atompunk go-go jazz!

CARTON  

(alt rock)

Ryan Hebert – guitar/ vocals

Kiel Alarcon – guitar

Brendan D’angelo – bass

Bruce Black – drums/ vocals

Noise: Where is your band located?

Carton: Windsor, Vermont.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Carton: The closeness of the people that play music, and the general support of people that dig what we do. Getting older we appreciate what we have here, when we were younger we got all of our bitching out. I think we’ve moved into acceptance and gratitude.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Carton: We built a wall of sound and made them pay for it.

Noise: What’s your best song?

Carton: One we haven’t written yet and one we don’t play anymore.

People seem to dig this our latest release Total Modern Comfort.

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Carton: Somewhere between Katie Perry, Josh Groban and Bugs Bunny in a wig.

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Carton: Grow old, settle down, try that new Thai restaurant out, refinish the deck, watch more foreign films, put out another album.

WRITE BROTHERS

(hip hop)

Dante Davinci – drums/ programmer

Learic – vocals

Noise: Where is your band located?

Dante Davinci: Burlington, Vermont.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Davinci: It’s a small but talented scene with small town issues. Like living in a snow globe.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Davinci:  Brash, human and brutally honest. arguably the best hip hop band to come out of Vermont

Noise: What’s your best song?

Davincii: “Change is Coming” featuring  Jer Coons.

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Davinci:  Run the Jewels, Wu Tang, Atmosphere.

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Davinci:  We have a new single coming out soon and are working on an album. We will be doing live shows in August.

CRICKET BLUE

(folk)

Laura Heaberlin – vocals/ guitar

Taylor Smith – vocals/ guitar

Noise: Where is your band located?

Taylor Smith: Burlington, VT.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Smith: The best thing about the Burlington folk community is the level of support and camaraderie. We’ve never felt a spirit of competition from other bands. Everyone is genuinely rooting for each other and taking a lot of joy in everybody else’s stuff.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

Smith:  Burlington is, somewhat rightly, known more as a jam band town, but there’s been a kind of renaissance of songwriters in the last few years, and we’re thrilled to be a part of that. Our songs tend to be quiet, wordy and on the melancholy side. And we try to do interesting things with harmony.

Noise: What’s your best song?

Smith: There’s a song called “Eleanor” on our newest CD where we’re particularly happy with how the string arrangements turned out — that’s something we can’t really do live but that crystallizes the mood of the song in a way we’re proud of.

We’re also working on this new, lengthy song-cycle that we’ve only played out a couple of times, called “Corn King.” That’s probably what’s most exciting to us currently.

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Smith: In terms of songwriting, we’re influenced a lot by another Vermont artist, Anais Mitchell. We also really like Joanna Newsom, Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine, the Decemberists – you know, those indie acts that were just becoming cool when we were high school kids reading Pitchfork and getting mp3s from eMusic.

We aren’t consciously trying to emulate anyone in particular with our harmonies, but we get compared to Simon & Garfunkel and the Milk Carton Kids from time to time.

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Smith: Our favorite thing is playing new towns and meeting new and interesting people. So expect to see us out on the road!

VILLANELLES

(indie rock)

Tristan Baribeau – guitar/ lead vocals

Zane Gundersen – keyboard/ vocals

Seth Gundersen – drums/ vocals

John Rogone – bass/ vocals

Noise: Where is your band located?

Seth Gundersen: Burlington, VT.

Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?

Gundersen:  Lately, there seems to be a bit of a resurgence in rock music here in Burlington, VT, which is fun and exciting. There is a lot of willingness to work together among bands here as well. Show trades etc. Not as much of the clicky competition that you see in larger areas, for better or for worse I guess. One of the main problems I find is that the scene just isn’t really big enough. The Burlington scene and the Vermont scene are almost one in the same, so lately we’ve been reaching out to bands not only from the Burlington area but from around the state to play with to change things up, which has been cool too.

Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?

members:

Gundersen: We play a mix of melodic indie/punk and have been together for over eight years. We are a bit on the more progressive side of things for the Burlington area, which helps us stand out a bit I think.

Noise:  What’s your best song?

Gundersen:  It changes on any given day. Today it’s “Grey Goo.”

Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?

Gundersen:  Maybe Supergrass. Or Lizard Music.

Noise: What are your plans for the future?

Gundersen: Make more music we are proud of.

 

 

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