Local music (89)

The Year of the Snaex: Teret and Sutherland's Holy Times

More than ever, even last year's lovely album In the Heart of the City, Christopher Teret and Chriss Sutherland have stretched their individual personas into true foils. As musicians whose prior vessels had more to do with escape and exploration — Sutherland with the amorphous, freak-folk carnival act Cerberus Shoal from 1995 to 2007, and Teret, who hails from Baltimore, with his post-punk group Company — the barebones earnestness of Snaex is one of the group's…

The Kaleidoscopic Life of Elliott Schwartz: A Maine music fixture passes away at 81

“If all the cards have been dealt,” wrote Elliott Schwartz in one of his many essays on post-modernism in music, “the job of the creative artist is to keep shuffling the deck.” Last week, Maine and the music world lost a pivotal figure in Schwartz, a pianist and composer of classical, experimental, and orchestral works and a fixture in Maine music pedagogy for half a century. Born in 1936 in New York, Elliott Schwartz was…

Another chance to rap: Kane beats the odds, comes back from homelessness to fund second album

Portland rapper Thommy Kane’s life story thus far is close to a rags-to-riches tale, with grit and hard work and a little Kickstarter support thrown in for good measure. “When I was a homeless kid, I told everyone I was going to get signed,” Kane said. “How many people do you think believed me?” As Kane said himself, he doesn’t accept failure or take “no” for an answer. It’s this tenacity and determination that have…

Dreamy and brutal: Five of the Eyes release underscores extreme shifts, complex identity

Based on their promotional choices, bizarrely themed shows, and desire to tour almost as soon as they formed (unfortunately thwarted due to vehicular issues), I already assumed Five of the Eyes were an ambitious group of dudes. I had the pleasure of playing a pair of shows with the band a few weeks back which only confirmed that these guys mean business. Fortunately for them, this is actually quite the anomaly. Based on my own…

Big band flourishes: The Fogcutters’ Flotsam excels but could take more chances

Over the last five years, The Fogcutters have established themselves as a must-see live act thanks, in no small part, to the Big Band Syndrome: a showcase for the band as well as a handful of regional acts who are given the chance to have their work rearranged to fit The Fogcutters sound. The artists selected for these nights have been all over the genre map – from the grooves of Jaw Gems to the…

Channeling forgotten voices: The Ghosts of Johnson City continue to archive our past with haunting Americana

When the country-folk band The Ghosts of Johnson City step up on stages around town, they’re not just getting ready to perform, but also to archive history. It’s impossible to label them as just a country band, because of their varied influences and unique musical mission: to give voices to the disadvantaged folk of the 19th century. The Ghosts of Johnson City — Amos Libby (lead vocals, banjo), Douglas Porter (guitar), Erik Neilson (baritone ukulele),…
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