A Festival of Bacon

The following is a guest post by Ellie Burhans

I could wax poetically on the virtues of bacon – the smoky smell, the crisp way it crunches, the taste, how it complements nearly every other sort of food and makes it all just so much better – so when I saw adverts for an event called BaconFest in Hudson, NY, I knew I had to be there. What started as a word of mouth event got big publicity in the New York Post, causing literal trainfuls of people from NYC and Long Island to venture upstate to see just what the fuss was about. Even planners did not expect this first time out to be nearly as crowded or successful, and many of few vendors ran out of bacon by 1pm. Still, with a dollar of the $10 admission fee going to local food banks, it was hard to feel upset if you arrived early. Which thankfully my group did.

The smell of pork and smoke and BBQ goodness wafted through the air when we parked at 10am. As we walked through the small tent, we were pleased that each vendor was different from the next, though slightly bummed out that there were so few booths. A day of eating requires more than nine food vendors! I was slightly dismayed that there was only one booth selling bacon to take home. And yet, each vendor provided bacon goodness and early in the day, lines were short. Later, I found out that a space in the tent required a $200 fee, so it’s understandable that so few restaurants took a gamble on the first year of an event.

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Ticket Giveaway: Braids, Railbird and Hand Habits

Every now and then, despite my best attempt at recognizing and addressing my biases when it comes to talking about music, there’s just no point in hiding it. This is an example of a show where I truly enjoy every band and am excited to hear them all play in one night. And lucky for you, courtesy of Dellarocca Booking, we have two tickets to giveaway. Hit the jump at the bottom of this post to enter the contest. We’ll pick a winner closer to the show, which is Wednesday, September 19th upstairs at Valentine’s.

Opening is Hand Habits, which is the latest project from Meg Duffy and at this point I think it’s impossible for her to do something musically that I don’t enjoy tremendously.

Also on the bill is Railbird, whom I haven’t seen live since they played at Marketplace Gallery back in 2010 but that still stands out in my mind as one of the most enjoyable live sets I’ve seen in the Albany area. Their latest single, “Jump Ship” features Sean Rowe and Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel which you can preview below.

Headling the show is Braids, who are based out of Calgary, Alberta and presently based in Montreal, Quebec. Their debut release Native Speaker (Kainine Records) was shortlisted for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize and was nominated in two categories during the 2012 JUNO awards. The album was self recorded and self produced as was their 2009 EP, Set Pieces, released on Arbutus Records — the same small Montreal-based DIY label that released the early Grimes material. So good.

Hit the jump to enter the contest (and RSVP here).

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Your guide to RestFest 2012

Rest Fest is upon us, and if you don’t already know, it’s a music festival that takes place in historic St. Josephs Church in Albany. This year’s festival takes place on on Sept 7th, 8th and 9th, which is this weekend.

The full lineup may be daunting to those who aren’t familiar with all the bands, so here’s your full cheat sheet to this years show.

Sharon Van Etten — This years big headliner. She opened for Conor Oberst at the Egg recently, and was listed as a must-see act at Lollapalooza by Rolling Stone.

Willy Mason — Having two folk singers as parents may have something to do with Willy becoming one himself. He’s signed to Conor Oberst’s label and has toured with Death Cab and Radiohead.

Brian Dewan — Brian’s an artist who’s made cover artwork for David Byrne, They Might Be Giants and Neutral Milk Hotel. Dewan’s music is a solo effort with him playing the autoharp, electric zither, organ, and accordion. Brian’s sound is definitely a throwback, which many people will enjoy.

The Loom — Brooklyn based indie rock band. The Loom have played almost every major festival and have been touted as “the next big thing” by The New York Times. They incorporate a bunch of left-field instruments such as mandolin, French horn, banjo, ukelele among others.

Mount Eerie — Washington-based lo-fi band. Sounds like Bon Iver with much less shrieking and many more harmonies.

Hop Along — Female fronted indie rock which is much more airy than most. I really love three pieces and this is no different. Front-woman Frances Quinlan has been in Albany a few times, but not too many with her full band. Also nuts their album was recorded over a two-year period.

Common Prayer — Another Brooklyn-based indie band. Quite relaxed and melodic, easy and fun to listen to. The BBC has called their album “one of the year-so-far’s most recommended under-the-radar releases.”

The Parlor, formerly We Are Jeneric, is a local B3nson band comprised of Eric Krans and Jen O’Connor. I’ve seen them out a few times and they are amazingly tight live and their vocals are incredible.

Swamp Baby is another B3nson group deeply rooted in the Capital District music scene. Quite etherial and airy.

Barons in the Attic, another local B3nson group. These guys play out quite often and on the off chance you haven’t caught them, listen below.

Sgt Dunbar. Local. B3nson. Grand.

Giles Bennett and The Petrified Woods, Indie flavored country/Americana. Another B3nson group.

The Kamikaze Hearts — Albany based porch-rock. They will be reuniting for this Rest Fest. You may recognize member Matthew Loiacono of Matthew Carefully and Rosary Beard. No bandcamp link, but they’ve got a bunch of videos on YouTube.

Better Pills, which has almost no information whatsoever online, is a project by Brent Gorton, which sounds like the child of jazz and surf rock. To listen, you can download their album on their website.

Dryer, mid-90s Cap City college radio staple. Their regrouping landed them a Metroland cover story. Music on their MySpace.

The Ramblin Jug Stompers, Zydeco-ish, folk-ish, American string music. Music here.

GOLDTOOTH Rap rock, but in a good way. Music here.

Careers. Can’t find a single thing.

KC’s Music Monday: Airplane Mode Edition

I’m jetting off (literally) to Croatia later today, but I’ve got to take three planes and one bus to get to where I’m going. Which is rather gross and perhaps a bit crazy. Needless to say, I’m going to be spending quite a bit of time in headphones.

I’m heading out to attend Dimensions Festival. The fest is put on by the people behind Outlook, which is a four-day music festival that takes place in an abandoned fort in Pula, Croatia. Outlook has existed in its current form since 2008 and this year is the premiere of its sister festival, taking place at the same location a weekend following. You can check out details of the fest and the massive line-up here.

For your listening pleasure (and perhaps for my maintaining my sanity) I’ve compiled a collection of must-have mixes for time spent in transit.

Hit the jump! Maybe it’ll even come in handy for soundtracking any travels you do for the long weekend.

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Quality events for this weekend vol. 57

Friday August 31st

Keep Albany Boring radio with KC, Knomad (6-8pm) Looney (8-10pm) and Lo-Fi Lobo (10pm-12am). Tune in 90.9fm or via WCDBFM.com

August Troy Night Out: Art. Everywhere. Also, check out the Troy Critical Mass Bike Ride, art and live jazz at the Flying Chicken, Sweet Sue’s grand opening, and much more while you’re out there.

Troy Bike Rescue Benefit at Carmen’s: Lots of great music for a Summer night and some amazing food too.

“Just-in” Time for Friday with DJ Trumastr and guest DJ Element at Justin’s: No cover with a touring DJ from Germany. Top that.

Jason Lescalleet, Picther/Chen/Van Nort and Cristyn Magnus at UAG: Tons of talent and tunes right on Lark for you to start your night off with.

Xibalba, Alpha & Omega, Born Low, Hard Luck and more at the State St Church in Schenectady. Guaranteed heaviness.

Saturday September 1st

Open Mic at Ground Zero: Frist of the semester, free to attend, perform and free coffee and tea!

MC Battle hosted by Iron Solomon at Bogie’s. Featuring Iron Solomon, Shyste, Tone, Neighborhood Creeps, Mic Lanny and Grimace.

Music and Pizza with Emily Sprague at Salem Art Works: Two 45 minute sets and pizza with the performer.

Sunday September 2nd

2 for 1s and 1s and 2s at McGeary’s with DJ Trumastr. Special guest DJ Playground will be in the house. 2 for 1 drinks, and no work Monday!

Built to Spill and Helvetia at the Upstate Concert Hall: Photos and Recap

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This past Wednesday was Built to Spill, Helvetia and Revolt Revolt at the Upstate Concert Hall.

I unfortunately arrived as Helvetia was setting up, so apologies to the Revolt Revolt crowd. I haven’t ever seen Helvetia or Built to Spill live, so this was definitely a treat. Helvetia strongly reminded me of Control-era Pedro the Lion, but with a bit more math-y, solo-esque parts. It’s quite rare for me to be fully captivated by band live without ever hearing them before, but these guys had me hooked. Really crazy to me that the area in front of the stage wasn’t super packed.

Built to Spill, was, well Built to Spill. Very solid, and brought the energy and focus into the room. People seemingly came out of nowhere and packed close to the stage; there was no room to move at all unless you were all the way back at the bar. They played a really tight live set; barely anyone wasn’t dancing and everyone was having fun.

To check out the full gallery, click the photo above or hit the jump. Continue reading…