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"seven days EP review"

SEVEN DAYS REVIEW (we used to be called House Horse) St. Albans-based trio House Horse are an organic, post-folk delight. Featuring the multi-instrumental and vocal talents of Joshua Givens, Jedd Kettler and Ben Maddox, this debut EP boasts a gorgeous, indie-goes-rustic sensibility. It's a rare release that hooks me on the first track. This one did. Gently strummed acoustic guitar and muted electric piano announce the opening of "Glass of Wine." In an odd production choice, the tune features lightly distorted vocals. The effect only enhances the track's sinister beauty, however. With a buoyant bass line and cavernous percussion, the song provides a lush, if unsettling, ride through folk rock's darker avenues. "Work Boots" floats from the speakers in delicate tonal tendrils. Pedal steel guitar intersects with workmanlike drumming and spare electric guitar. Warm, clear vocals sing of skeletons and the summer sun in an intoxicating mix of the everyday and the idyllic. "Drunks need bars like mechanics need cars and romantics need stars," states the alt-country shuffle "Jesus Song No. 1." Nifty line, but what makes the song really interesting is an atonal organ lurking in the periphery like a madman. This juxtaposition of traditional song structure and avant-garde elements separate House Horse from other neo-Americana acts. "Yonder Comes a Sucker" boasts an evocative electric guitar figure and hypnotic backing vocals. The tune is a testament to restraint; the empty spaces seem as important as the notes themselves. Although most of the song is subdued, the coda features a cyclical bass and guitar motif loaded with intricate trills. The part is all the more powerful because you don't expect it. Closer "Paul Klee" sounds like something David Lowery might have written in his Camper van Beethoven days. The tune tells the tale of an aspiring bohemian who falls short of his artistic goals. I'm not sure what it has to do with the legendary expressionist painter, but with music this enticing, who cares? House Horse win big with their patient interplay and smart arrangements. I'd love to hear them on a double bill with Burlington's ethereal rockers Swale. Who wants to set it up? CASEY REA - casey rea

"sevendays review of gray birds"

FARM, GRAY BIRDS E-Mail | (Self-released, CD) St. Albans will probably never be known as a fount of quality indie-rock, but local boys Farm are making music as though that were indeed the case. I gave their debut CD (released under the short-lived moniker House Horse) a pretty positive review a year or two ago, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating its follow-up, Gray Birds. I’m pleased to say it doesn’t disappoint. To call Farm indie-rock is a bit like saying Led Zeppelin is just a -rock band. While the two acts don’t exactly sound alike, both showcase a wide range of influences. In Zep’s case, it’s American blues, British Isles folk and the Devil. Actually, the same could be said of Farm, if you substitute acoustic Tolkien-isms for Appalachian anguish. But guitarist Ben Maddox does rip like Jimmy Page from time to time. Gray Birds boasts a whopping 18 tracks, which makes it tough to sum up in this wee space. Let’s start with the basics: Each member of the band is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. This kind of situation can engender creativity, but sometimes affects a band’s cohesiveness. That’s not the case here. Members Maddox, Jedd Kettler and Joshua Givens share a similar musical outlook, which results in some spooky-ass Americana that’s unpretentiously rural yet musically sophisticated. Read on for the highlights. Kettler’s sooty ditty “Boomtown Basement” plays like a Stones number from that band’s country-blues period. Maddox’s Mellotron strings create a lovely sonic pillow for Kettler’s gruffly melodic vocals. Note to geeks: These keys are likely a synth emulation of the cumbersome, tape-operated instrument popularized by The Beatles and King Crimson. Real Mellotrons cost more than some houses, and they weigh nearly as much. I also quite like Givens’ “Spineless,” which opens with dark, odd-metered chords and eerie slide guitar. The drums are slightly trashy, which gives the tune a ragged majesty. Maddox’s guitar solo is patient and modally adventurous, with weird ghost bends and trills. “Something I Drew” is a twisted little blues tune with gurgling synth tones and laconic vocals, while “Devil” (see, I told you he’d make an appearance) is a black-as-pitch ode to a soul in the grips of evil that literally gave me goosebumps. As did quite a few of the other tunes, including the molasses-thick “Old City” and the spacey, Eastern-flavored jam “St. Albans Blues.” The latter track alone is well worth the price of the disc. Farm are a unique band with one foot in roughshod rock ’n’ roll and the other in experimental folk-blues. The third foot, if they had one, would surely be in the grave. CASEY REA SEVEN DAYS REVIEW ( - casey rea

"The Noise review of gray birds"

Gray Birds
18-song CD
Hailing from Enosburg Falls, Vermont, Farm clearly seems to be a product of their environment. The echoed guitars and sparse yet intricate arrangements on the bands stellar record, Gray Birds, clearly come from an atmospheric backdrop that Vermont would seemingly award the three-piece perfectly. Call it what you want, be it freak-folk, indie rock or just folk music with an experimental slant, it all applies. The record skillfully meshes folk, country, classic rock and jam music into their own twisted musical animal. There's a real unified sound on the record, no easy feat when the band, multi-instrumentalists Ben Maddox, Jed Kettler and Joshua Givens, all share songwriting duties. Oh, and did I mention they switch instruments with one another from track to track?
Calling Gray Birds arguably one of the best records you've likely never heard isn't a stretch. As far as highlights go, check out "Mance," "Devil," or just take it all in. At close to an hour and fifteen minutes, it's a lot to absorb, but oh so worth it if you give it a chance. (Ryan Bray) - the noise

"northeast performer review of gray birds"

ortheast performer review of gray birds

Farm - Gray Birds
Recorded at the Dojo, in St. Albans, VT
Produced by Farm
Engineered by Ben Maddox.

One thing this experimental folk rock trio possesses beyond their obvious talent, is patience — a rare attribute in our 2:45 second, cluster-ed MTV generation. Farm has a clear vision of how their songs want to sound, and exhibit an impressive level of restraint in their songwriting and arrangements. Gray Birds' compositions ebb and flow with mellow sincerity as they gently sail through simple song forms. Supporting the tunes are inventive arrangements that augment each song's acoustic core. In "Boomtown Basement" the band meanders through the song's sparse instrumentation, steadily building the sonic foundation for the lush vocal harmonies that eventually enter. When the song comes together, the results are wondrous and unexpected.
An interesting aspect to this band is that each band member plays every instrument and each takes on lead vocal duties. If their individual vocal qualities weren't so endearing, this could lead to problems. But Jedd Kettler ("Old City") sounds like a young Bruce Springsteen, Ben Maddox ("Bad Oasis") has a timbre akin to Lou Reed and a little bit of Bono, and Joshua Givens ("You Can't Be The Dog") has a soulful cry like Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum fame (remember them?). When harmonizing with each other, though, the end result is a lush, unified voice.
But does this multiplicity of lead singers and polygamous instrumental interaction reduce the effect of Gray Birds? Are we missing an identifiable soulful creature to latch onto? No, all voices are endearing and quickly embraceable. The only downside to the album is its length. With so many songs, it's a tough album to devour. Luckily, Farm's best strength is consistency, and thanks to their musical restraint and complex arrangements, Gray Birds is the kind of album that exponentially rewards listeners patient enough to give it the time of day. (Self-released)

- northeast performer

"live review (paste this link)" - seven days

"top ten vermont recordings"

Top 10 Vermont Recordings of 2007
By Casey Rae-Hunter and Dan Bolles [12.26.07] - 981 reads
TAGS: albums, music

* What's this?

Also by Casey Rae-Hunter

* Pretty & Nice, Blue & Blue
* Rachel Ries & The Brawny Angels, Without a Bird

Articles in music

* Everything Be Irie
* Space Tiger, Lapping Up The Milky Way
* Burnt MD And Tha Professor, Burnt MD And Tha Professor
* Pump Up the Volume
* Get Well, Daryl


* music
* albums

For better or worse, Burlington has long been known as a “rock town.” Specifically, a jam-rock town. But 2007 saw a remarkable phenomenon blossom in the Queen City and beyond, as a flood of local releases running the genre gamut were unleashed on our eager ears.

Anaïs Mitchell, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and Page McConnell released critically acclaimed albums, offering listeners a small sampling of Vermont’s meaty musical menu. The success of our country-crossing pals just might entice more folks to check out the vibrant array of music emanating from our tiny corner of the map.

If they do, they’ll find a revitalized hip-hop community, courtesy of excellent efforts by GTD, VT Union and Matty C.

They’ll find an exceptional experimental music scene, bolstered by mind-bending releases from Oak, Mark Knuffke and Solah.

Jazz aficionados would “discover” soulful records from the likes of trombonist Dan Silverman and hepcat Lewis Franco, as well as a bluesy turn from Dave Keller and acoustic virtuosity from MaMaVig.

Burlington’s always active, if often underappreciated, heavy music scene served up solid CDs from Rise to Fight and Waiting for a Miracle, and a downright vicious EP from Burlington’s godfathers, 5 Seconds Expired.

As for the rockin’, 2007 was as strong a year as any in recent memory. Harmonicore hooligans Cccome? c-c-came on strong with a great debut. The Capstan Shafts emerged as one of the area’s most mysterious and prolific indie-rock acts with not one but two new records. Burlington ex-pats even got in on the action as Neil Cleary and Audrey Ryan submitted superlative releases for our listening pleasure.

Curiously, 2007 was a little light in the jam department. Whether that signals a shift in our collective musical conscience is anybody’s guess. But releases from sun-kissed popsters Lucy Vincent, seafaring swashbucklers The Jugtown Pirates of Lake Champlain and jam-grass pseudo-locals The Powder Kegs kept Vermonters groovin’ all year long.

With such a sprawling array of excellent options to choose from, selecting the 10 “best” albums of 2007 is a tall and, frankly, subjective order. Ask 10 different folks for their 10 favorite albums and you’ll no doubt get 10 different lists. But choose we must, and this is ours.

The following list represents some of the finest recorded material released this year, according to the dynamic duo of Dan Bolles and Casey Rae-Hunter — incoming and outgoing music editors at Seven Days this year, respectively. The albums are presented in no particular order. They’re just 10 great discs from another wonderful year in Vermont music. Congratulations and thanks!

* NOSE BLEED ISLAND — More Tales From Blood Island
* RYAN POWER — Is It Happening?
* THE AZTEXT — The Sacred Document
* FARM — GrayBirds
* DEEP SODA — Pose Dead: Collected & Destroyed Vol. 2
* ROMANS — All Those Wrists
* COLIN CLARY — Apocalypse Yow!
* CHUCH — Juarez
- seven days

"burlington free press on g.birds"

burlington free press on "gray birds"

farm — Gray Birds: These three guys from Franklin County lead one of this year's most-talked-about local bands. Here's why: "Gray Birds" filters in and out of Neil Young-ish Americana, low-fi indie-pop and flat-out rock with a style (demonstrated over a sprawling 18-song, 75-minute disc) that's always cohesive, never cobbled-together. - burlington free press

"wnyu chart madness #17"

ompiled by Music Directors: Robby Morris & Kayla Cohen (music @

<<prev chart | next chart>>

1. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam (Domino)

2. Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends (French Kiss)

3. Wooden Shjips - S/T ( Holy Mountain )

4. Circle - Katapult (No Quarter)

5. Tiny Masters of Today - Bang Bang Boom Cake (Great Society)

6. V/A - Kurt Cobain: About A Son (Barsuk)

7. Hrsta - Ghosts Will Come and Kiss Our Eyes (Constellation)

8. Clockcleaner - Babylon Rules (Load)

9. Drug Rug - S/T (Black and Greene)

10. V/A - Boston Underground 1979 - 1982 (Moulty)

11. Eric Copeland - Hermaphrodite (Paw Tracks)

12. Nord Express - Loveland 1995-2005 (Peapod)

13. Baron Zen - At the Mall (Stones Throw)

14. Caribou - Andorra (Merge)

15. M.I.A. - Kala (Interscope)

16. Japancakes - Giving Machines (Darla)

17. Farm - Gray Birds (self-released)

18. His Name Is Alive - XMMER ( Silver Mountain )

19. Komputer - Synthetik (Mute)

20. Odd Nosdam - Level Live Wires (Anticon)

21. Wzt Hearts - Threads Rope Spell Making Your Bones (Carpark)

22. Christy and Emily - Gueen's Head (Social Registry)

23. Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth (Domino)

24. Kemialliset Ystavat - S/T (Fonal)

25. DJ Kentaro - Enter (Ninja Tune)

26. Meneguar - Strangers In Our House (Troubleman Unlimited)

27. Gravenhurst - The Western Lands (Warp)

28. Liars - S/T (Mute)

29. Luke Vibert - Chicago , Detroit , Redruth (Planet Mu)

30. Rock & Roll Monkey and the Robots - Detroit Trauma (Drastic Plastic) - wnyu

"times argus review of gray birds"

Farm' band takes wing with "Gray Birds"

June 1, 2007

By Art Edelstein Correspondent

St. Albans progressive rock music group "Farm".
Photo: Submitted photo

St. Albans is not known as a hotbed of progressive rock music but the group "Farm" may change all that. This talented trio, which visits Montpelier on June 7 for a CD release show at the Langdon Street Cafe, has just released "Gray Birds" an eclectic, quirky and ultimately very interesting first album.

Gray Birds is a CD without much of a direction, including as it does a variety of styles from electronica, folk, country, blues, and yes, rock music in its generous 18 tracks. The listener never knows what to expect next. Track One "Here it is" would put off most listeners who might find this instrumental a bit weird, with its eerie blues-based keyboard sounds. However, if you can get past this short track, or are open-minded enough to give the CD a full listen, there's something for everyone.

With three writers, Ben Maddox, Jedd Kettler and Joshua Givens, there's bound to be a variety of styles and musical ideas. Since each member plays more than one instrument – there's electric and acoustic piano, drums, percussion, harmonica, banjo, trumpet, organ, bass and something called "morin hurr" – there's a lot of different sounds to digest. The CD moves through various sound elements and each member alternates on vocals and instruments.

With it all, none of the tracks on Gray Birds (an odd title this writer is trying to understand since there is no song by that name) seems cluttered. The band chooses its instrumentation carefully and as tastefully as this odd collection of songs will allow.

I liked the sense of humor here especially on the track "Mance" an ode, sort of, to blues performer Mance Lipscomb. This isn't an elegiac song; instead it comes across more as a chant, or mantra never explaining why Lipscomb was being sung about.

The writers have given the tracks interesting titles. There's "Stuck in my Head," "Bad Oasis," "Mongolian Attic," "31," and "You can't be the dog" to entice the listener.

There's something of the Beat Poets here, perhaps Messieurs Kettler, Maddox and Givens have been reading a lot of Allen Ginsburg and Jack Kerouac.

It took Farm two years to release its first CD having formed in 2005. Jedd Kettler, from St. Albans was joined by Maddox, who had played in a Mississippi-based instrumental band called Cookout and had also played keyboards for Afroman. Givens, who had independently released several solo albums joined soon afterward. Their first recording was a five-song demo recorded in the back of the record store where they practice.

In performance, the trio constantly switch instruments so there is no permanent player of anything. As they write on their Web site, "if you don't like the way something sounds don't worry, it will all change by the next song." - montpelier times argus

"hardwick gazette review of gray birds"

Hardwick Gazette/County Courier review

Farm makes impressive debut with double album

By Nathan Meunier
It's certainly fitting, and perhaps slightly ironic, that a band formed in the rural hills of Vermont's Franklin County would choose to name itself something like Farm.
For some, St. Albans may be the closest thing to "civilization" in the county, but it's hardly a mecca for interesting experimental rock groups. Listening to Farm's new double album, "Gray Birds," one would guess otherwise.
Tending the fields are multi-instrumentalists Ben Maddox, Jedd Kettler, and Joshua Givens, who share in the songwriting duties on "Gray Birds" as much as they frequently trade off the many instruments used to create the album. Locals might now the trio from their day jobs – Maddox runs The Flying Disc coffee shop in Enosburg Falls with wife Kelee, Kettler is head reporter at the County Courier, and Givens is a Winooski-based artist.
Farm is a tough band to pin down when it comes to their music. Though elements of indie-rock may seep into some of the group's more boisterous songs, the unmistakable mellow, soft-picked vibe of folk music is present throughout the record.
The audio quality of "Gray Birds" is excellent, yet many of the songs themselves have a certain feeling to them as if they were composed in a basement, perhaps in a barn, or even in the open air under a warm summer night sky. There's no doubt that Farm has drawn some of its influence and musical energy, through conscious or subconscious means, directly from the land and personality of the region.
Following a strange-but-brief instrumental intro which features piano, tambourine and a morin huur – a two-stringed fiddle-like instrument that originates in Mongolia – things get underway with the melodic country twang of "Boomtown Basement. "This sound is mixed with a touch of blues, echoed elsewhere in the album, but contrasting starkly against some of the other tunes on "Gray Bird."
While some form of guitar, bass, and drums can be found on most of the tracks on the album, part of what makes Farm's sound so interesting is the wide pool of different instruments the band pulls from to create their music. Rock trappings aside, Farm utilizes chimes, mellotron, harmonica, piano, synth, organ, trumpet, drum machine, and banjo, among other devices.
"Stuck In My Head" is one catchy pop tune that does just what its title suggests, while
minutes later, "Go Ahead" and "Spineless" offer something completely different. One thing is for certain, Farm makes double sure to include a little bit of something for all tastes. From song to song, it's hard to tell what new twist is coming up next, but with each subsequent effort brings new pleasing sounds and interesting song craft.
Later on, Farm shows its rocking side with the sonically impressive "Something I Drew," "Story's Over" and "31," all tracks that would appeal to the younger indie crowds that gather in the state's more urban areas for beer and socialization. Elsewhere, the group also exhibits a flair for experimenting with the ebb and flow of "Bad Oasis," and the album's most ominous track, "St. Albans Blues."
Farm is a band that wields its influences well and should appeal to a broad audience of music enthusiasts. With a total of 18 songs, "Gray Birds" is an epic effort from an up-and-coming local Vermont group well-versed in the charm of back roads and green mountains.
Farm held a CD release part at the Monkey House in Winooski with local
openers The New Siberians last week. Farm performs locally at The Flying Disc in Enosburg Falls on Sunday, July 8 at 8 p.m.; The Monkey House in Winooski on Thursday, July 26 at 9 p.m., and The Snowshoe Lodge in Montgomery Center on Saturday, Aug. 4 at 8 p.m.
"Gray Birds" can be purchased at The Flying Disc, Rail City Market in St. Albans, Pure Pop in Burlington, and Buch Spieler in Montpelier.
For more information about Farm, visit
- tim meunier


We have a 5 song EP called "house horse"
and an 18 track album called "gray birds"
Otter Creek Brewing Vermont Sampler 2007
we are currently finishing our third album "the cave"
which will be released in August.



Farm was formed in St. Albans, Vermont in January of 2005. Jedd Kettler from the Burlington band of old, Eef, joined Ben Maddox, who had recently left Mississippi after playing with an instrumental band called Cookout as well as playing keyboards for Afroman. The two thought they could use some extra hands and a mind and invited Joshua Givens, who had independently released several solo albums. The three began writing songs and playing them. They recorded a five song demo in the back of the record store where they practice and began playing shows of all original material in the New England area. The members of Farm constantly switch instruments so there is no permanent player of anything. If you don't like the way something sounds don't worry it will all change by the next song. They play a wide variety of instruments including, synthesizer, organ, wurlitzer electric piano, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, trumpet, harmonica, horsehead fiddle, and a somewhat strange looking drum kit. Farm is currently working on their third release.