2nd Agenda
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2nd Agenda

Burlington, Vermont, United States

Burlington, Vermont, United States
Alternative Reggae

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"Deep in the Heart of Texas"

Hip-hop fans, Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA is playing the Rusty Nail Bar & Grille in Stowe this Friday, March 23, and he’s bringing a ton of local heat as support. Slated to open are VT hip-hop favorites the Lynguistic Civilians, 2nd Agenda, the Aztext and Boomslang. Word. - Seven Days (excerpt from Soundbites)


"Three Cheers"

Meanwhile, in Burlington, a collision of cosmic forces threatens to forever alter the landscape of Queen City debauchery when Mildred Moody’s Full Moon Masquerade meets Cinco de Mayo. Saturday, May 5, the Masquerade invades Nectar’s with an all-star lineup including local hip-hop heavyweights the Lynguistic Civilians and rebel-folk stalwarts 2nd Agenda, alongside monthly regulars Mildred Moody, and live body painting by the Human Canvas. May God have mercy on our souls. - Seven Days (excerpt from BiteTorrent)


"To Whom It Concerns"

For the better part of the last decade, rebel-folk outfit Second Agenda have been a pillar of socially conscious music in Vermont. Fusing folk idealism and rock aggression with hip-hop attitude — not to mention beats — the band is as high-octane as it is high-minded. This Saturday, December 22, Second Agenda play Red Square in Burlington.
- Seven Days


"Burlington’s Second Agenda fuses hip-hop and rock"

Second Agenda performs at the Radio Bean in downtown Burlington on Sept. 24. Second Agenda's CD titled "Hope is a Must" was released in July.
Things were running behind schedule, yet smoothly, on Sept. 24 at the Radio Bean as Michael Plante, DJ for Burlington hip-hop/rock band Second Agenda, put out a mailing list sign-up sheet that read "Extended Family" at the top.
In a world saturated with mediocre DJs, Plante is an exception. Spinning everything from "Star Wars" quotes to dynamic sound effects, he does nothing but add to Second Agenda's sound, which otherwise consists of two vocalists, an electric guitar, an electric bass and a drum kit.
With any one of the members missing, the band would sound thin and incomplete, but together they create an undeniable wall of sound and energy.
Second Agenda's "Hope is a Must" was released in July and is an interesting album in the best ways possible.
From the kickoff title track that features many local greats, such as Tim Swanson on violin, the album presents excitement to the listener.
"You can't stop evolution, let your heart beat the solution … I can't wait ‘til the day when there's not hate," Andy Lugo, the primary writer in the band, sings.
Politically and socially aware and angry, Second Agenda is all about hope, compassion and standing up for what they believe in.
Now, the band's lyrics are amazing. The turntables are exceptional. Plante does a phenomenal job treating them as an instrument.
Lugo's guitar playing is a weird cross between simple folk chords and Jimi Hendrix that no one else on the planet could likely have dreamed up and made sound good — seriously though, Hendrix lovers: check out "Liez in Diskyz" on "Hope is a Must." You will dig it.
Joshua Cleaver's bass lines are perfect and his harmonies on Lugo's leads are to die for.
In seeing Second Agenda live, however, what stood out most was the drumming. Drummer Trevor Jewett is an artist. While he is not the songwriter or the front man, he holds the band together like Gorilla Glue.
Practically dancing from his drum stool, Jewett smiled, laughed and pumped out some amazing beats.
Jewett leads the band in a way that many drummers cannot do from the back of the stage, but he drives the energy that lives in all the members like turning a spark into a flame. He doesn't over-do or under-do anything, which is rare in a drummer.
Second Agenda is the perfect combination of people in everything from instrumental to intellectual compatibility. No member is, in any way, replaceable. - Article by Sarah Stickle, Staff Writer for The Vermont Cynic


"Second Agenda | Hope Is A Must (album review by John Powell)"

Producing a sound that is equal parts badass and positive messages isn’t always easy. It takes serious consideration to word lyrics and put them into melodies that don’t come off cheesy or contrived. Hope is a Must, a delicious EP that proves they are more than capable of doing whatever the hell they please.

The overall sound fits in with G. Love, Slightly Stoopid, and even Michael Franti, blending elements of hip hop, rock, reggae, funk, and blues. Singer/guitarist Andy Lugo has said he doesn’t follow typical song structure, not worried if he hits the chorus enough times, or if he has a well-timed bridge. The effect is that the songs move, flow, and keep the ear interested throughout these five songs.

“Hope is a Must” has Michael Plante’s sparse turntabling, which is really fun and adds a sense of edge. The song also has guest horns by Ben Reed and Matt Davide, as well as mandolin by Eric Segalstad. It builds on the line, “I feel great/just knowing it’s not too late.”

A key track is “Share the Sun”, a song Andy wrote about his old home, Colorado. “Under giant skies/there was no moon/but the wolves were howling/that night the stars changed eyes.” What’s coming from above? Could it be extraterrestrials in this cliffhanger story of one man’s surprise? “What I saw/was absolutely stunning.” Joshua Cleaver’s bass gives the song a funky vibe, and then Andy sings, “Now I know we’re not the only ones on the map,” and the band cuts loose. There’s cowbell too. What’s not to love about a song about extraterrestrials?

There’s a fair amount of rocking on this EP, driven by Trevor Jewett’s groove-centered drumming and Joshua’s six-string bass gallivanting. For only four guys, they make a heck of a ruckus. They’re a bit of a 90s power trio with turntables. That’s awesome, I think.

Their best song, however, is “Outta My Head”, fueled by a fierce guitar lick flooded in overdrive. Andy is a humble guitarist and would never admit his skill. He’s incredible. He has the ability to harness the key elements of any genre of music and splice them together. The instruments all fit together like puzzle pieces- which is sort of how the album was recorded, in chunks, tracks passed around the musicians over months. “Outta My Head” is the shortest song, but is like a summer anthem, a 90s radio number one.

Second Agenda’s agenda is sometimes political. “Optimistic”, (complete with guest Tim B. Swanson on violin), is sung in near-rap and is lyrically astute in its observations. “Popo mace/compassion/Death’s embrace/military tazers/optimistic identity erasers.” Andy touches on global warming, the CIA, Wall Street, and the cost of college. That’s a lot to tackle in three and a half minutes, but like I said, Second Agenda does what they want, and it works every time on this excellent EP.

Mastered locally in Burlington, VT with KTR, Hope is a Must sounds organic, good on headphones and in the car. I highly recommend getting into Second Agenda as we wait for further shows, recordings, and experiments with sound.

Bottom line: The only problem with this EP is that it leaves you wanting to hear more. - www.Angelica-Music.com


"CD Review- Second Agenda- Hope Is A Must"

A funky, hip-hop beat built on guitar/bass/drums/turntables, topped with beefy vocals fleshed out with occasional violin, mandolin and horns? Why not? The music of Second Agenda is like a localvore version of an urban hip-hop/rock sound, made with ingredients commonly found in the foursome’s home base of Burlington.

The opening title track and the concluding tune “Optimistic” (the standouts on this five-song EP) somehow make this hodgepodge of the earthy righteousness of Michael Franti, the cool rap-flavored pop of Morcheeba and bluesy rock ‘n’ roll work in intriguing ways. This group has been around in various forms for more than a decade but just might be finding its sound courtesy of a little bit of everything. - Burlington FreePress


"Next on the agenda: Second Agenda The Angelica Interview"

Hope is a Must, the new EP from Burlington’s Second Agenda, is an energetic short set with positive intentions. The lyrics are original and the music is a rocking blend of funk, reggae, and hip hop, and a dash of blues.

...It is a unique sound and its clear from this conversation that it’s a natural inclination for the four. - www.Angelica-Music.com


"2nd Agenda, Hope Is A Must Album Review By Dan Bolles [6.29.11]"

Based on production value alone, the CD blows away anything else in the band’s canon. Front man Andy Lugo’s guitars blister with fire and precision. Turntablist Michael Plante’s samples and cuts carve indelible marks into the sonic façade. Drummer Trevor Jewett and bassist Joshua Cleaver make a formidable rhythm section.

This is the strongest lineup the ever-fluctuating band has ever fielded. Its members tear through a dazzling assortment of ambitious arrangements with veteran guile, from chill, hip-hop-laced roots-funk to anthemic pop-punk and heady groove rock. In short, the record sounds great. - Seven Days


"Featured: Second Agenda (June 30, 2011)"

Hope Is A Must is at its heart is what rock music is all about: getting people drawn into the music while conveying a real message. Second Agenda combine their strong lyricism and musicianship to achieve an EP that not only has a powerful underlying message that is carefully woven throughout the song’s tracks, but is purely danceable hip-hop/rock and roll music at the same time.

While hope and optimism aren’t exactly something that would come to mind when thinking about the current state of the world today, you might take this album as a sign that real musicianship isn’t dead and that music can be fun, soulful and still have meaning.

The title track, Hope Is A Must transports you to an upbeat and inspiring place where you can dance with your friends while allowing a positive message enter your consciousness at a deep level. The EP continues the common threads of the title track throughout with songs like Share The Sun, Outta My Head and Liez In Diskyz. Share The Sun takes you on a playful narrative of discovery to realize that in fact we all share the sun. Or at least that’s what this humble reviewer interprets it as, feel free to draw your own conclusions. The final track on the EP, Optimistic, really takes on the full concept of the entire EP and provides optimism that is fully rooted in reality.

My recommendation: buy the EP, listen to it reflectively on your own and experience it on a personal level. Then hit the town and groove with your friends to some of the most chill soulful rock you can find in the Burlington area with Second Agenda. These guys made an exceptional EP and their efforts are cause to celebrate and acknowledge that hope is a must. - www.BurlingtonMusicMagazine.com


"Second Agenda, "Take Cover" Album Review"

"Thanks largely to the yeoman-like efforts of songwriter and bandleader Andy Lugo, their long-awaited follow-up, Take Cover, is a reminder that the Queen City has more to offer than skinny jeans and jangly guitars.

...2nd Agenda’s sophomore effort should be a welcome addition to Burlington’s increasingly vibrant higher-conscious music scene."

~Dan Bolles, Seven Days Music Editor
- Seven Days- Burlington, VT


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