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Burlington, Vermont, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Burlington, Vermont, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Jazz




"Binger, Roots in the Rabbit Hole"

Like many a band before them, Burlington's Binger emerged from of the primordial ooze (think stale Natty Light and bong water) of the college basement scene — in this case the University of Vermont. Given the trio's improvisational groove tendencies, the "self-styled couch-surf prog band" initially comes off like just another jammy, groovy-UV act. But the band took the Voter's Choice award at the 2014 UVM Battle of the Bands and has honed its chops with regular club gigs around the Queen City.

On the heels of a demo EP and a single, Roots in the Rabbit Hole is Binger's first full-length recording. If the band is still at the level of survey-course genre mashing, Roots suggests that Binger have the aptitude and attitude to graduate.

The band claims a variety of influences, from the obvious jam, psych rock and ambient electronica to more surprising touchstones such as folk rock and hip-hop. This six-song release is an ambitious amalgam of those elements, and in its best moments offers an eclectic but cohesive sound.

Album opener "Sequoia 1," for example, begins as a breezy, harmony-laden indie-rock cut that nods at early My Morning Jacket and peaks with some lovely, atmospheric electric guitar. The following cut, "Crow King" is gritty funk-rock colored by spastic alto and tenor sax that recalls early Rustic Overtones. After a soothing, mellow bridge section, the song explodes with a psychedelic freakout and rap breakdown before coalescing again around the horns. "Calypskango," though it doesn't really evoke calypso, ska or tango, is an effectively moody number centered on a languid guitar line from Braden Winslow and Dalton Muzzy's skittering backbeat.

Following the bizarre, yet ultimately rather boring, vocoder-laced experimental interlude "Sequoia 2," the band further indulges its hip-hop leanings on "Buttonz." Built around a rubbery bass line from Shakir Stephen, the song features guest rapper and fellow UVM student Galactic Brown. It's a jumpy little party anthem that's pleasantly loose and rough around the edges.

Roots in the Rabbit Hole closes on "Sequoia 3," which corrals the band's myriad sonic interests, from ethereal hip-hop to anthemic jam to guitar-fueled prog rock. Hell, there's a even a trombone in the mix, because why not? Certain moments throughout the record — some rough transitions, half-baked or way-too-baked ideas, etc. — remind us that Binger are still a work in progress. Yet the band capitalizes on its wealth of ingenuity and potential to offer an intriguing and appetizing debut. - Seven Days

"Binger - Roots in the Rabbit Hole"

Bands from Burlington, VT dwell in the shadow of Phish, Vermont's most famous exports, outside of Ben And Jerry's. What is it about hippies that raise so much scorn? How can so many people love lengthy, extended grooves, while so many others will run you out of town with pitchfork and torches at the slightest defense? Binger doesn’t describe themselves as hippies, preferring "couch-surf prog band.” This reveals one of the common misconceptions of the last 30 years of jam band music with the clueless assuming that everyone just sounds like the reincarnation of the Grateful Dead. Binger has not the slightest similarities to the Dead, except for the occasional saxophone flourishes and extended song structures. Since the early '80s, jam bands have been incorporating college and guitar-centric indie rock, world music from all over, and the instrumental mastery of prog and jazz. It's the same way that Phish owes more to Frank Zappa or the Beastie Boys than the Dead.

Roots In The Rabbit Hole features all that is great and some that is not so great about the world of semi-improvised, technical rock n’ roll. First and foremost, this band can play! Braden Winslow is a shredder, that's for sure, with those high, cresting triumphant breaks that we all know and love, reflecting that moment in a concert where everyone comes together and loses their shit. The band plays comfortably in all manner of unique grooves, far removed from the world of white-bred disco backbeats. Binger occupies a rhythmical realm, somewhere between the Ivory Coast of Africa and the art schools of England. Funky, punky, deft and swinging, creating a solid seat from Shakir Stephen's rather exceptional bass playing.

Roots In The Rabbit Hole shows off some of the pitfalls of Vermont rock, as well but not too much, thankfully. There's a moment of ill-advised singsong rapping on "Crow King" and the often-questionable presence of a horn section. Thankfully, the world seems to have learned much in the 20 years since Phish's Hoist was released, as the horns on "Crow Song" sound more like a legit soul or afrobeat band than the bloated Clapton B-side pomposity of Hoist. Binger isn't merely appropriating music and stitching it to their own. They seem to legitimately understand and love music from all over and are truly multi-cultural, which is inspiring and awesome to see.

Binger seem like a band coming out of a real scene, like they have a solid following and a worked out live show and they are parting the curtains to give us a glimpse. Roots In The Rabbit Hole is a party and you're invited.

Roots In The RabbitHole shows many of the recent revisions to the jam band sound, since the turn of the century. There are moments of dark unsettling electronics ("Sequoia 2"), funkiness, funniness and soulfulness. Hopefully some will hear this and reevaluate the genre. It's more adventurous and technically proficient than your typical pop music, and raises the bar of inspiration.

For all the bedroom shredders, the jazz cognoscenti, the rappers, the burnouts; the people that can't fit in in any particular place, Binger is a port in the storm. A place where we can all come together, and learn about one another. And most importantly, dance. - The Equal Ground

"Binger Return with their Big Debut"

Big breaks and brand new bombshells are in store for Burlington-based, up-and-coming band Binger.
The self-proclaimed “couch-surf, prog-rock” trio, consisting of seniors Braden Winslow on guitar, Shakir Stephen on bass and Dalton Muzzy on drums, has just released their debut LP, “Roots in the Rabbit Hole.”

The band had an “exhilarating experience” spending the majority of the summer working on the new record, Winslow said.

“We had a busy spring,” Stephen said.

He noted the band’s shows at Red Square, The Precipice and SpringFest, as well as their residency at The Monkey House in Winooski.

The band, however, was still able to find time to head into Stu Stu Studio at Fort Ethan Allen with music producer and indie musician Ryan Power to record their first album.

The band members said they decided to work with Power after meeting multiple other producers and finding that they were too “single-minded” in their approach.

“[The producers] knew what they wanted to bring to the surface,” Stephen said. “[But] a little too much at first, as if they wanted us to be their project, when we wanted them to take our project.”

After finalizing the partnership with Power, the group said they were overwhelmed with the “sonic opportunities” the studio world offered.

“We came in, just the three of us, doing the rhythm sections,” Winslow said. “From then on, it was so easy to get lost in trying to do be like, ‘let’s do this, let’s do that, let’s throw a triangle on this, let’s do cello over here.”

The band said that the studio environment led to experimentation and exploration, and to what may be for some listeners, a “divisive” record.

“We’d rather be divisive in putting out music that some people might not like than [put] out music that everyone’s going to like,” Winslow said.

He said that the record’s concept is the “essence of transformation” and a stamp of where the members of Binger are at in their lives right now.

“The overall concept is change, it’s a document of change,” Winslow said.

At the end of the day, to Stephen, the band’s efforts all lead back to their main philosophy.

“We have a very strong idea about what we’re doing, but a lot of the time, we let what’s happening happen and we just roll with it,” he said.

Binger’s debut record, “Roots in the Rabbit Hole,” is out now on the band’s Bandcamp page.

They will be performing Sept. 5 at Manhattan’s Pizza and Oct. 20 at Radio Bean. - The Vermont Cynic

"Binger – Roots In The Rabbit Hole"

I first ran across Binger when I saw them open the local VT music festival The Precipice. I liked their sound, and had a good time listening to them, but did not catch too many lyrics. They seemed comfortable floating through a few different styles of music, had a nice relaxed vibe and rocked out plenty hard enough to keep me focused. They said they would have an album coming out soon, and I made a note to check it out.

A few weeks ago, I bought Roots In The Rabbit Hole and started to listen more deeply. The music has a wonderful flow to it. There is some solid rock and roll, plenty of hip hop, a bit of jazz, and some Caribbean grooves. Like seeing them live, it’s a great album to listen to in the background. It can fill the space while you are focusing on other parts of your life. While a lot of music can be described this way, there is something extra special about Binger. Once you start listening more deeply certain lyrics start to jump out and sound familiar quickly. How can you not sing along to lines like We all started from the same root?

When listening to the music, the first thing that comes through is the flow. It has some nice peaks and valleys but is always smooth and elegant. The next is, despite the smoothness of it, this really is a rock and roll album and the music gets very intense at times. Deeper listens show a prog rock influence here and there and a few guitar lines that sound like Steve Howe. Steel drums bring out a calypso influence in the hip-hop flow now and then, and as you dig into the song structures, it becomes quite intellectually stimulating.

When listening to the lyrics they are bright and positive and give a nice vibe. As you listen deeper there are lots of ideas about what it means to be a human being living on the planet. Deep questions are posed and ideas that will make you think profoundly about your existence are thematically strewn through the whole album. One of the many great examples is in the song Calypskango:

Look in the mirror, you might forget what side you live your life on
You’d never know – until your reflection moves and *poof* you’re gone
Who are we here for? Do we live life for ourselves or our ideal?
And when we die we will finally learn which one of us was real

This is the tip of the iceberg and it really takes a few listens to follow all of the words down the rabbit hole.

The true strength of this album is that it allows you to enjoy it on many levels. You can listen casually and really enjoy it. You can listen with a bit of effort and get even more out of it. You can take it apart line by line and phrase by phrase and let it spark your imagination. When that happens, it’s completely up to you to take it as far as you want. - Tim's Triangle Tribune

"The Precipice Day 1 Friday August 1, 2014 in the field behind Burlington College"

Binger were the first ones on. They are a guitar, bass, drums trio with guitarist and bassist singing. They started with a hip hop groove but built the song into an indie rock work out. As the show went on, they seemed comfortable playing jazz, indie, hip hop, at times sounded a bit like a prog rock band and had some notes of metal here and there, Lots of hammer on guitar and bass playing showed how good they are with their instruments. I was impressed that they could play around with so many genres but still sound cohesive. They have an album coming out in a couple of months, and I will have to check it out. - Tims Triangle Tribune

"Local, Local Local: Two Days at Precipice III"

After talking to some of the people working there, I made my way to concert tent just as the first band, Binger, began their set. The set-up was unusual, with two different stage areas for the bands located across from each other. This allowed for the acts to follow each other in rapid succession, thus guaranteeing almost uninterrupted music. As the first band up, Binger, a three piece who combine spacey dream rock with occasional outbursts of rapping, had only a small collection of listeners. These fans probably had no idea they were watching the most unique band of the night, for unlike the majority of the acts that followed, Binger lacked a saxophone or any other wind or brass instrument. Compared to the dissonance of El Beej and the softer intonations of Steady Betty, Binger sounded like a band dropped in from the outside world, totally lacking in Burlington’s all-encompassing weirdness. - Thread Magazine


September, 2013 - I Hardly Know Her: Live from Upstairs EP
September, 2014 - Roots in the Rabbit Hole

April, 2016 - Skeptics



Binger formed in early 2013 in the rich musical landscape of Burlington, Vermont. Occupying the classic power-trio formation (guitar, bass, drums), Binger has grown from an indulgent jam outfit to a compositional and improvisational tour de force who can weave in and out of any genre with ease and finesse. With the release and praise of their debut album Roots in the Rabbit Hole, Binger has nowhere to go but up and away as a band to keep an eye on in the near future.

Band Members