2021 Top Tens

Lucy Dacus at PHOME, Portland, ME

End Times Fun from the B&B gang. Stay safe. Keep rockin’.

Dylan Metrano (Tiger Saw)

  1. Jon Batiste “We Are” Largely because seeing him perform live at the Green River Fest this summer was transcendent. Absolutely one of the greatest living performers.
  2. Ada Lea “Hurt” from “one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden” Best song of the year. Literally on repeat all the time on my iPod.
  3. Low “Hey What” It took me a few listens to even like it, but it keeps growing on me. Low is simply one of the greatest bands ever.
  4. Charlie Marie “Ramble On” For my money, the best country singer out there.
  5. Lucy Dacus “Home Video” Something we can all agree on. My wife’s number one. Terrific show in Portland this summer.
  6. Faye Webster “I Know I’m Funny haha” A modern classic. Like if you could listen to a mint julip. Also great at PHOME in Portland.
  7. Judy Blank & Dylan Earl “Never Said a Word” / “Throwing Lines” Killer double A-side single from the best in the biz.
  8. Leon Bridges “Gold-Diggers Sound” My favorite soul singer today.
  9. Idles “Crawler” Some excellent rock music.
  10. Mess Esque “Mess Esque” The latest from Mick Turner.
  11. Lorde “Solar Power” I’m all in.
  12. James Blake “Say What You Will” from “Friends That Break Your Heart” Another song on repeat for me. So gorgeous.
  13. The Black Keys “Delta Kream” Fun! Also the “El Camino” box set reissue with the live in Portland, Maine discs.
  14. Valarie June “The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers” She’s a good witch.
  15. Sia “Music (Songs From and Inspired by the Motion Picture)” I like the movie and the music.

Also, Khrunagbin at the Greek in L.A. The film Together, Together making such a splash. The return of Curb Your Enthusiasm. My A+ / five-star album “Wet & Unlucky” by Tiger Saw & the Reasons Why. All the Nick Cave. Keep ’em coming. Warren Ellis‘ book “Nina Simone’s Gum”. Have you heard Ranky Tanky? The continuing brilliance of David Pajo. Jonathan Richman in the VU movie. The Cocaine & Rhinestones podcast for the sheer weight of it all. Mike Birbiglia‘s pizza parties. The White Lotus. Seth Myers and the Sea Captain. Bath, Maine, city of ships. Did Superwolves play your town? Lulu and Sophie / my heart. And finally, my secret project with GSM, to be unveiled in 2022!

Eric Ott

  1. Wet Leg “Chaise Lounge” & “Wet Dream” singles. These ladies could be the next Nirvana. (Yes, I said that)
  2. Copper Cow Coffee – Woman-owned Vietnamese all-natural coffee. Smoothest coffee on the planet.
  3. The Killers “Pressure Machine” – One part Arcade Fire’s Suburbs, two parts Bruce Springsteen’s The River. An amazing LP
  4. Curb Your Enthusiasm TV show, Season 11 – HBO – The older I get the more I can relate.
  5. Snail Mail “Valentine” – Just great tunes and production.
  6. Yellowstone – TV show on The Peacock. We have been binging this for a few weeks now. Melisa calls it the Sopranos’ Cowboys, which is a good analogy.
  7. Old Fashioneds – Chapel & Maine, Sonny’s (Dover, NH) or Black Birch (Kittery, ME) can serve a great Old Fashioned. Remember to tip your bartender well.
  8. New Music. I got a free subscription to Sirius XM and I have been enjoying new music on WXMU. I feel like I have been buying more records lately.
  9. Big Thief – band – Just digging them a lot lately.

Guy Capecelatro III

Top Albums:

A lot of albums. Sure. Felt like a good year for music. For me. Home Video by Lucy Dacus was the one I listened to the most. There’s proof. Something of a singing of teen diaries but so artfully crafted and affecting. The Weather Station’s Ignorance was another big blast, which seemed like a real leap in artistry. Late to the show was Margo Cilker’s Pohorylle, produced by another favorite, Sera Cahoone; very original and traditional at the same time.

Andy Shauf – Wilds

Hovvdy – True Love

Ada Lea – One hand on the Steering Wheel…

Typhoon – Sympathetic Magic

Manchester Orchestra – The Million Masks of God

Josienne Clarke – A Small Unknowable Thing

Madi Diaz – History of a Feeling

Charlotte Cornfield – Highs in the Minuses

Keaton Henson – Fragments ep

Lou Barlow – Reason to Live

Julien Baker – Little Oblivions

Lucy Dacus – Home Video

Squirrel Flower – Planet X

Remember Sports – Like a Stone

Jade Bird – Different Kinds of Light

The Weather Station – Ignorance

Valley Maker – When the Day Leaves

Belaver – Lain Prone

Trace Mountains – House of Confusion

Margo Cilker – Pohorylle

Top TV Shows:

It feels as though TV continues to explode, in terms of writing, acting and production. Movies have definitely taken a backseat as television can set up a real well realized story arc over the course of 6-12 episodes. Condor, based on the 1975 movie Six Days of the Condor with Robert Redford, was the one I kept wishing I could binge as it was so compelling and nuanced. Mike White’s The White Lotus felt like a greatest hits of what he’s always shooting for with mildly despicable but utterly engrossing characters. And Feel Good was a weird mix of slapstick humor and thick emotional depth that had me thinking about the human experience in a different way.

Condor

Sex Education

Back to Life

The White Lotus

Insecure

UFO

Mr. Inbetween

Killing Eve

Painting With John

Lupin

Feel Good

Top Movies:

Didn’t see a single movie in the theater which means I’ve yet to see The French Dispatch and Licorice Pizza which would surely have been on this list. I can’t imagine a time in which a Jane Campion film wouldn’t be in my top picks and Power of the Dog certainly didn’t disappoint. Together Together felt very modern and small in a way that, in the hands of a good director, can really work. Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time made me cry more than I’d anticipated. Amazing to get a thorough look into such an amazing human’s life.

Power of the Dog

Nomadland

Limbo

Together Together

The Velvet Underground

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The Card Counter

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time

Audrey Ryan

Top 10 podcasts:

1. S-Town

2. Goodbye to All This

3. Suspect

4. Chameleon

5. Where Should We Begin?

6. The Daily

7. Disgraceland

8. Borderlands

9. Beartown

10. Dear Sugars

“Three Plays” out now

Three dark comedies by award-winning playwright Gregory S Moss.

sixsixsix is a “wickedly cunning take on Faust” (Flavorpill), a metaphysical revenge tragedy about the daughter of a renowned scientist seeking to punish her famous father for her mother’s death.

House of Gold is a surreal investigation of the notorious murder of an American beauty queen. “Over the top and yet heartbreakingly real… a creepy and surprisingly profound play” (L.A. Times).
Billy Witch is a dark comedy about the 1980s, summer camp, haunted cabins and animal instincts. “Half Wet Hot American Summer and half Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (Wilmington Star), Billy Witch “takes the familiar ingredients of high school horror – summer camp, a lake, ghost stories – and hurls them into a whirlwind of comic sexual awakening” (The New York Times).
This edition includes original papercut illustrations by Dylan Metrano.

Order HERE.

2020 Top Tens

Each year, we collect “top ten”lists from Burst & Bloom artists, friends, and family. This year, we asked them to write a little bit about one or more things that they loved this year. The idea is simply to inspire you to discover something that you might like. Art isn’t a competition, but here are some things you might dig.

Guy Capecelatro III

Top Ten Albums (ordered randomly):

Jason Molina Eight Gates

Jason Molina Eight Gates It feels surreal and dream-like to get another album from one of my favorite songwriters who died seven years ago. A quieter, mostly stripped-down affair but amazingly strong and heart-felt songs and well recorded in a studio as opposed to a few of the other more demo-like offerings that have popped up. So glad to get to bask in these unearthed gems. 

Phoebe Bridgers Punisher Bridgers’ songs are fully realized and emotionally wrought. She’s an amazing collaborator, producer and now has her own record imprint. The mix of literate, nuanced writing and her amazingly compelling voice really bring the songs home. There truly is hope hope for the future. 

Hello Emerson How to Cook Everything This band was a new discovery for me and a fun ride with their lovely and varied instrumentation and arrangements. It feels like they really enjoyed the making this album. Looking forward to more such.

Andy Shauf The Neon Skyline Shauf seems to make my list every time he releases an album and, after the fantastic Foxwarren album last year, this is a great return to form. Amazing concept album where all the songs cumulatively create a whole story and the fun, 70’s-style production is really nice. And Shauf performs all the instrumentation himself.

Pinegrove Marigold In January, Pinegrove came out of a strange hiatus to release this terrific collection of songs. To my ears, Evan Stephens Hall is one of the most interesting writers in music and the band seems to work together so easily and collaboratively. 

Courtney Marie Andrews Old Flowers This album explores the dissolution and aftermath of a long-term relationship. Lovely, understated production and a crack team of Matthew Davidson of Twain fame and Big Thief drummer James Krivchenia. It’s a plaintive, dreamy journey and a great late-night listen. 

Will Johnson El Capitan For this newest album by Will Johnson he kept things pretty low-key with spare arrangements from Thor Harris, Lindsey Verrill and Britton Beisenherz. The songs are fairly lo-fi, recorded to tape with hiss and clicks but the intimacy of the sessions and the power of the songs are really effecting. 

Tricky Fall to Pieces The last few Tricky releases have been strong returns to form and this might be the most cohesive and solid of the bunch. He’s got some amazing singers on board, paired with his own gravelly, in your head deliveries. 

Fenne Lily Breach It took a couple years for the follow up to Fenne Lily’s debut but it’s well worth it. Some of the songs here have a more “pop” approach but she brings her voice along in such a commanding way and there’s a nice range throughout the album.

Avians Alight Old/ New/ All For You Jenna Conrad came to my attention playing on three of Damien Jurado’s albums and, along with Eric Fischer, was a part of his amazing live band. She put out an album of her own material ten years ago without much fanfare but her voice and the songs really worked for me. Mysteriously, this album popped up this year and is tremendous. 

Other Notable Releases (ordered randomly):

Alice Boman Dream On, Jill Andrews Thirties, JFDR New Dreams Trace Mountains Lost in the Country, Christian Lee Hutson Beginners, Information Zittle Muy, Merce Lemon Ride Every Day, Nadia Reid Out of My Province, Information Zittle Muy, Owen Avalanche, Field Report Break Light Red Tide, Lomelda Hannah, Caitlin Pasko Greenhouse, Told Slant Point the Flashlight and Walk

Top 10 Movies (ordered randomly):

I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Lazy Susan, Crip Camp, First Cow, Rewind, Why Don’t You Just Die, Kajillionaire, The Painter and the Thief, Babyteeth, Relic

Top 10 TV Shows (ordered randomly):

Kidding, Killing Eve, Briarpatch, I Know This Much is True, Euphoria, His Dark Materials, The Alienist, We Hunt Together, The Vow, Queen’s Gambit

Chris Cote (Almanac Mountain)

The best song I heard all year was “Fortune” by Laura Marling. The song itself, with its fingerstyle folk guitar accompaniment, has a simple, timeless beauty, but whoever did the string arrangement wrings every possible drop of gorgeousness out of the music. It takes my breath away every time I hear it. Marling’s voice dials back the emotion, leaving room for all those lush violin harmonics to take on the bulk of that responsibility. It feels like the sweetest pain. 

Jocelyn Mackenzie

The Art of Heather Friedli

Heather’s paintings have gotten me through 2020. Her gorgeous landscapes look like stained glass paintings to me. She also hosts livestreams of JAZZADANCEAPAINTATHONs from her studio, acts of pure bliss in which she dances while she paints and connects with her audience online during her creative process. Heather is a dear friend and I’ve been following her career since 2001, and to see how she’s grown and blossomed in this time as an artist is truly inspiring to me. She’s a mother and also an adventurer, taking regular treks out into the wild to reconnect with nature… she once even hiked the Appalachian Trail using only tools and supplies she had handmade herself. Her work is stunning, her energy is so positive, and she is truly unstoppable, a genuine combination of raw talent, guts, and determination. I root for Heather every day. 

http://friedliarts.com/

https://www.instagram.com/friedliarts/

PS: She sells her paintings online, and also has 2021 calendars of her work available now! 

Dylan Metrano (Tiger Saw)

In the year 2020, a year that we’ll remember as a time when it all came to a halt; when it all seemed to be falling apart at the seams, I derived a lot of comfort from Nick Cave. I’ve been digging into his vast catalog, and found that there is much to uncover. But also his Red Hand Files arrives in my email inbox once or twice a week. People from all over the world write to Cave, and ask him all kinds of questions, from the mundane to the poignant. His answers are always well-thought, sincere, and often funny. It’s sort of an advice column from another dimension. Cave takes every question seriously, and really respects his listeners / readers. I find this discourse inspiring and truly touching. it’s always a tiny dose of what I need to hear.

Looking for more Nick Cave? He has a 24-hour-a-day YouTube channel, Bad Seed TeeVee, with lots of videos and live footage. And this year, he released two double CD’s, Ghosteen and the live Idiot Prayer.

My top ten albums of 2020:

  1. Fiona Apple “Fetch the Bolt Cutters”
  2. Perfume Genius “Set My Heart on Fire Immediately”
  3. Waxahatchee “Saint Cloud”
  4. Prince “Sign ‘O’ the Times” Super Deluxe
  5. Mary Lattimore “Silver Ladders”
  6. Khruangbin and Leon Bridges “Texas Sun” EP
  7. Frances Quinlan “Likewise”
  8. Kevin Morby “Sundowner”
  9. Willie Nelson “First Rose of Spring”
  10. Elvis Costello “Hey Clockface”

Eric Ott (Eastern Sleds)

TV:

The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography (Netflix)

I had no idea about this amazing woman’s photography. She was a Polaroid photographer in Cambridge, MA. This documentary documents her beginnings up until 2015 or so.  Interesting friends like Allen Ginsberg, etc. Elsa had such a positive vibe.  Really well done doc.

Music:

Waxahatchee Saint Cloud (Merge Records)

I guess the running theme here is trying to feel better in this complex overcast world. This LP just takes me to a warm place. Fantastic songs, tones and production.

Art:

Richard Hamilton (He designed the Beatles White album)

I have been researching and playing around with photomontage, still and animated. There are no rules really.

Audrey Ryan 

Show: Mrs. America (Hulu). In a one season series you can educate yourself on the women’s movement of the 1970’s and finally learn what it means to be an original feminist. For those of us aware of Gloria Steinem but not much else this is the education we missed in the history books. The ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) you say? Sure, sounds like something that should have happened along with the Civil Rights movement, but did it? You may never have heard of Phyllis Schlafly (played by Cate Blanchett) but once you watch this show you will never forget her, not to mention be haunted by the ghosts of the religious homemaker Republican women she indoctrinated (and whom likely elected Trump…). While we still struggle with a woman’s place in American politics today this series brings to light how much women before us have fought for our basic rights and how far we’ve come since the 70’s even if it never feels like nearly far enough. 

Tutti Frutti

by Dylan Metrano

Little Richard is sitting in the hotel room he’s called home for several years. It’s an ordinary room. Could be anywhere. His piano is at his brother’s. His dog is at his sister’s. Most of his possessions, his history, his glory- it’s all scattered throughout storage units between here and Georgia. 

He’s been up since six, watching evangelists on a muted TV. Little Richard hasn’t left this room in a week. He’s nearing seventy, but still feels like a young man. His assistant Mark makes his meals, helps with his business affairs, keeps him company. Mark once played in the band, but now he’s Little Richard’s right-hand man. He makes everything a little easier.

With one eye on Billy Graham or Oral Roberts or some other whatshisname, and one eye on a palm tree outside stretching toward the sun, Little Richard calls to Mark:

“Mark, today is a glorious day.”

“Indeed it is, Sir.”

“We should take a little trip.”

And thus begins the process that occurs every time Little Richard leaves this room. Mark takes a deep breath, and gets a case from the closet. Little Richard is a king among men. It’s important that he look impeccable. People expect him to look impeccable. He always gives everything he has- because he can. His talent comes straight from God. It’s his responsibility to share his gift with the world.

So first, the hair. Sides cut short. Brushed back above the ears. Longer in the back. A pile of pomade-waves atop the crown. The hair adds six inches to his 5’10”. Cuban-heeled shoes add another six . 

In the mirror, he applies his pencil-thin mustache with a pencil-thin pencil.

He sings to himself as he applies foundation, highlights, eyeliner. A little rouge. An hour passes. The face in the mirror looks familiar again. He looks like Little Richard.

Mark lays out the suit, bright white covered with rhinestone pins – saxophones, martini glasses, cameras, a G-Clef, and a pistol for good measure. Little Richard gets dressed as Mark pulls the limousine around. Little Richard grabs a pair of sunglasses from atop the television, and waits for Mark to escort him to the waiting car.

It’s after noon, and Little Richard was feeling hungry. 

“Little Richard is feeling hungry.”

Mark knows that there are only a few drive-throughs in L.A. that a stretch limousine can fit through, and Little Richard is, of course, a man of very particular tastes, so he makes a quick calculation and they head to In and Out Burger. Mark orders two burgers (animal-style), two vanilla shakes, and French fries. Little Richard pecks at the food in the back while Mark steers towards their destination. 

As they turn onto Wilcox, Little Richard wipes his mouth with a wet-nap, gives his lips a last minute touch-up, and they double-park, blocking in three identical grey cars.

Mark, also dressed in white, albeit without the flair of his boss, exits the limousine, and walks around to the passenger side. He scans the street, and opens the door. For a moment, everything is still. Then Little Richard leaps out of the car, like a man half his age. Matching his boss’s stride, they ascend the stairs of the Hollywood Post Office. 

Inside, a small herd of tired-looking people is queued around a velvet rope. Mark opens the front door, and they step into the lobby. No one looks in their direction. Little Richard takes a breath, and then with his one-of-a-kind firecracker of a voice, he hollers “Hello, everybody! Little Richard’s here to get his mail!”.

He sashays to the front of the line where Dottie, his favorite clerk, blushes a little and gives him a gigantic smile.

“Why, hello! It’s been far too long since you’ve last stopped in. And don’t you look terrific? Let’s see what we’ve got for you.”

Little Richard looks over his shoulder at all the people in line behind him, He can see their eyes widen and smiles wash over them. He feels blessed that he’s able to bring a tiny unexpected moment of joy to all these beautiful people, people who would take this story back to their offices and dinner tables.

Mark puts a small pile of envelopes and magazines into his satchel, and they turn toward the door. Little Richard pauses for a moment and then says to the seventeen people in the room, “I’d like to wish for each and every one of you a splendid day. God bless you all.” Then, winking at a young mother with a stroller, he pirouettes, lets out a little “WOOOO!!!” and disappears out the front door.

Little Richard can hear tiny gasps of delight and a smattering of applause as the door closes behind him. A warm feeling of contentment washes over him, as he climbs back into the old limousine. Mark slips a disc into the car’s CD player. “Tutti Frutti” spills out from inside, as they drive back to their hotel.

Top Tens 2019

In 2019, we released lots of great albums: Sam Carp Select Few (2013-2018), Pumpkin Mouth‘s Tooth Salad, Sidney Lindner & the Silver Wilderness Collective Summer Ghosts / Nightfalls, Tiger Saw The Featherweight,Mehetable s/t, The Orchards Sing Birds, In Your Shrinking Woods, Guy Capecelatro III Feeling of Falling, Boring Songs About Dumb Things by Charlotte Moroz and Guy Capecelatro III.

We hope that you’ll check them out. We asked some of our friends and family for their favorites from 2019 to share with you. Enjoy!

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Now Available

Sidney Lindner & The Silver Wilderness Collective

“Summer Ghosts / Nightfalls LP”

“Expansive, languid and ethereal, Summer Ghosts / Nightfalls is as warm and resonant as the old New Hampshire church in which it was recorded.” – Broadway World

NOW AVAILABLE HERE

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR FIRST SINGLE, “SWEET BROTHER”


Expansive, languid and ethereal, Summer Ghosts / Nightfalls, the forthcoming full-length from Sidney Lindner & The Silver Wilderness Collective is as warm and resonant as the old New Hampshire church in which it was recorded. Lindner’s slow-motion pop songwriting is elevated by the deft hand with which ornament is applied. Searching strings swell, brass buzzes like a summer meadow, and organ wraps Lindner’s dusty vocals in sonic smoky velvet. No note out of place, the record’s soft-focus synthesis of indie Americana and folk will slow the world around you, offering a welcome respite from the onslaught of contemporary reality. 

The Silver Wilderness Collective is the most recent project assembled by veteran songwriter Linder. Following the dissolution of the band Torrez (which he co-founded), Lindner released three albums between 2004 and 2013 under the name The Hotel Alexis. Holy Brother of the Mountain Sun came out in 2011 under his given name. Now, with Summer Ghosts / Nightfalls, Lindner finds inspiration in the unreleased 2002 album he recorded with his late brother Cayce.

Initially conceived as a full collaboration, as the duo began to demo material, the focus shifted to documenting Lindner’s songs, with Yorgensen producing. Soon enough the pews were cleared, a full studio’s worth of gear was hauled up from Connecticut, a piano was located, and word was put to the wire that this project was about to go wheels up. “I am lucky enough to know some incredibly talented people” says Lindner. In the end, in addition to Lindner on guitar and vocals and Yorgensen on guitar, piano, organ, and synth, Chris Decato (guitar, bass, piano, organs, percussion, harmonica, synthesizer), Gregg Porter (drums, percussion), Guy Capecelatro III (bass, guitar), Clara Kebabian (viola and violin), Jim Rioux (drums), and Karen Elizabeth (vocals) convened to bring Lindner’s vision to fruition. 


Sidney Lindner & The Silver Wilderness Collective will be playing at the Press Room in Portsmouth, NH w/ Eastern Sleds.
SAT, OCT 5 @ 9:00 PM
Doors at 8pm | Show at 9pm | 21+

$7 Advanced | $10 Day of Show
More Info. Here
Tickets Here

Mehetable

We’re excited to be releasing the self-titled debut album from Mehetable. Fronted by singer / cellist Jerusha Neely, who has been a part of some of our favorite bands: Brown Bird, South China, Plains, Tiny Fires, Guy Capecelatro III, the Orchards, Hersey State, and Woodpainting.
The first single “Lioness” is available to stream now, and the CD / LP are available to pre-order. Catch Jerusha and drummer Peter McLaughlin on tour in Europe in May.