Last night, Mr. Wonderful himself, Action Bronson, the pride of Flushing, NY, brought the party to the State Theatre in Portland (he’s on what appears to be an endless tour). Sure, he showed up late, but Meyhem Lauren got the show started, and apparently when he finally hit the stage, Action and producer The Alchemist made it well-worth the wait (if you were there and near the stage, you know what we mean). Check out the full photo gallery below from our ace photog, Andrew Foster.
Sufjan Stevens @ Merrill Auditorium 4.14.15 photo by Hannah Hays
Death is the elephant in the room of our lives. It’s one of the few universal inevitabilities we all face in our world, and yet we pretend it doesn’t exist and choose to ignore its impact until we’re directly faced with it. The thought of death, of losing our loved ones, or even ourselves, can paralyze us if we let it overcome us.
Sufjan Stevens confronts death directly on his new album, Carrie & Lowell, named for his mother and stepfather. Stevens’ mother passed away recently, and this new 11-song album is an auditory documentation of processing his loss and grief, as well. The result is a devastating, meditative, but ultimately hopeful understanding of death. It is Stevens’ most personal & introspective album to date; it is also among his very best work.
Carrie & Lowell is a more sparse effort than most anything prior in Stevens’ recent discography, trading in bombastic arrangements for more minimalist acoustic production. The “return-to-indie/folk” sound occasionally recalls the fingerpicked guitar and double-tracked vocals of the late Elliott Smith. Subtle orchestration and warm synthesizers round out the sound, resulting in the most intimate and serious sounding work for Sufjan Stevens’ career.
Lady Lamb @ Port City Music Hall – 3.13.15 – photo by Andrew Foster
On Friday the 13th, Port City Music Hall hosted Portland ex-pat Lady Lamb (RIP “the Beekeeper”) for her highly-anticipated record release show (we went record shopping with her the night before the show). After is Aly Spaltro’s 2nd full-length studio release upon moving to Brooklyn a few years ago. The 15-song monster has received rave reviews from the most prestigious music publications (Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, NPR), but Lady Lamb is perhaps most celebrated in her home state. This was most apparent with the lead up to her sold-out release show, with Lady Lamb gracing the cover of both the Portland Phoenix and the MaineToday Entertainment Magazine.
Henry Jamison @ Port City Music Hall – 3.13.15 – photo by Andrew Foster
Lady Lamb wasn’t the only artist on the bill with a homecoming. The first act of the evening was Henry Jamison, my former bandmate in The Milkman’s Union. While Henry is originally from and currently lives in Burlington, VT, he went to college at Bowdoin and experienced crucial formative years in the Portland music scene. Performing both solo and accompanied by Ben Davis from Cuddle Magic, absent from his set were any songs from his Milkman’s Union days, with the exception of “Lover’s Tree” from the Telos EP. Instead, the crowd (already at maximum capacity) was treated to an array of newer compositions, all featuring Henry’s ethereal charm. Few artists have his lyrical command and execution, especially not when coupled with his sharp sense of melody and his musical aptitude. The city of Portland was blessed to host this musician for as long as it did.
Cuddle Magic @ Port City Music Hall – 3.13.15 – photo by Andrew Foster
Cuddle Magic took the stage next, and I’ll start by saying that they are perhaps the most impressive band I’ve ever seen. No exaggeration. The Brooklyn-based, New England Conservatory-bred sextet has a level of command and control that is matchless in the indie scene. Highly disciplined and intelligent people singing & playing a wide array of instruments (vibraphone, horns, circuit-bent keyboards, upright bass), with an emphasis on dynamics, percussion, and interlocking patterns, with the ability to be both minimalistic and grandiose at the same time. Why Cuddle Magic isn’t a national household name is a mystery to me.
Lady Lamb @ Port City Music Hall – 3.13.15 – photo by Andrew Foster
And then, Lady Lamb. Flanked by TJ Metcalfe on bass and Derek Gierhan on drums, Lady Lamb ripped through a muscular set that featured many of the new compositions on After, while also throwing in some classic Beekeeper jams. I’ve had the pleasure of playing with/seeing Aly play many times, but this was without question the tightest I’ve ever heard her with a band. A 30-show tour looms in the near future, but the trio already sounded like true road warriors, seasoned from playing night after night. The crowd at Port City was raucous, delighted at the chance to welcome back their local hero, returning from conquering the world. It was a celebratory atmosphere, and overall, the evening was a massive victory for Lady Lamb, as well as for the Maine music scene. Due to the ceaseless ascent, her next big headlining show in Portland will almost certainly take place at the State Theatre. Lady Lamb will keep rising to new heights, but she’s always be a Maine musician at heart.
Check out a few videos and the full photo gallery from the night:
Augustine & his fellow bearded bandmates outright stole the show. Familiar was the singer’s deep soothing voice, seemingly full of wisdom from multiple lives past. New was his experimental twangy chamber folk ensemble, anchored by (my former Milkman’s Union bandmate) Peter McLaughlin on drum flourishes and Asher Platts (Theodore Treehouse) on upright bass, with secret weapon McKay Belk (ex-Forget, Forget) on delicious pedal steel guitar. The quartet mostly played songs from their upcoming album, along with a smattering of reimagined Augustine standbys. The set ended with a rousing extended version of “Animal Orchard,” a highlight from 2011’s Goldyhymns. It’s hard not to leave a Jacob Augustine show and feel anything but complete awe and inspiration.
Timber Timbre took the stage to a slightly smaller crowd than the opening set (a testament to Augustine’s reputation and impact as a performer), and delivered a low-key but impressive set. The Canadian quartet’s live sound crept only slightly louder than the quiet dirge of their studio albums, and Timber Timbre only have a few sounds, but they execute them to perfection. A combination of late 1950s piano balladry with slightly Beatle-esque chord changes, heavy usage of the 6/8 time signature, and low brooding slapback delay-soaked vocals punctuated by the occasional high-pitched yelp. A few quasi-psychedelic organ jams steered the vibe towards early 1970s Pink Floyd. I wasn’t completely blown away, but I was well entertained, and I left with a desire to give Timber Timbre’s discography a closer listen.
Here’s Timber Timbre’s setlist from the show:
Note: despite having a photo pass for the show, security would not allow Jeff to take photos of the headliner’s set. It’s unclear if this was due to the band’s own policy or some other reason, but unfortunately it means that we do not have any images of Timber Timbre performing to share with you.
Hi folks, it’s been a while, huh? We’ve missed you. Maybe you’ve missed us. Or maybe you’ve been out enjoying your life and going to all sorts of amazing concerts. We sure hope so. Anyway, last week, our photographer Andrew Foster hit The State for the great Jenny Lewis + Kurt Vile & The Violators show. All accounts indicate that it was an excellent night. Check out our exclusive photos below!
For the second year in a row, we put together an official showcase as part of the Brooklyn-based Northside Festival. This time, we teamed up with our friends at StereoActiveNYC (full disclosure: HillyTown was sort of an offshoot/Maine-companion of SANYC in the beginning) and had some help from BreakThruRadio to put together a free, all-day show featuring 12 bands. Maine acts included Sunset Hearts, The Coalsack In Crux, and Lisa/Liza, sharing the stage with some familiar Brooklyn bands such as Miniboone, Clouder, and Weird Children (all of whom have done various HillyTown/Maine things over the past couple years) – among others.
Thanks so much to all the bands, the venue, Northside Festival, and everybody who came out to spend their Sunday/Father’s Day with us in Brooklyn!
Predictably, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper had an excellent, crowded show at SPACE Gallery, which she always talks about as being her home venue (we’ll never forget that time she hushed a sold out, talkative crowd there before she was even very well-known locally). It’s always great to see her back on that stage, and last night was no exception. Solo and playing a borrowed guitar (from Jeff Beam), she tore through a set of favorites and newer songs to a hyper-attentive audience, and even announced that she’ll be back to play the venue in March to celebrate the release of her first studio album.
Headliner Kaki King may not have had the hometown advantage, but that didn’t get in the way of playing a strong set with numerous guitar changes, and even sharing a performance using a new Moog-crafted acoustic guitar. Check out some photos from the show below.
We’re starting to really get used to – and enjoy – these shows where bands take it to the crowd, be that on the floor, or on chairs, benches, bars, etc. Last night at SPACE Gallery was certainly one of those. Though Brooklyn band Lucius had to cancel, the two acts still on the bill truly made the most of the night. You Won’t opened and won the crowd over, going off-mic and singing from the middle of the room for a portion of their set. Later, headliners Pearl And The Beard did the same, even inviting their friend Lady Lamb The Beekeeper (who opens for Kaki King at the same venue tomorrow night) to close out the night with a song she’d helped the band to write. It was definitely a fun night with a room full of friendly, appreciative (and attractive, according to PATB) people. More of these, please.
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been three months since this year’s excellent Belfast Free Range Music Festival. The growing fest has quickly become one of our favorite musical moments to look forward to each year in Maine, and we’re proud to be a part of it (through our annual afterparty at Three Tides and compilation album). This year, we had three photographers (Bryan, Conall O’Brien, and Steven J. Gray) on hand running around to document all the fun. Read on for a massive photo gallery featuring almost every band that performed (photos from the afterparty will come later) and start making plans to attend next year, when the 4th Annual Belfast Free Range Festival happens on Saturday, April 27, 2013. We can’t wait to see you there. Continue reading Free Range Festival Photo Recap [4.28.12]
Sure, this was almost three months ago, but that sounds like a good time to reminisce a bit. On Friday, April 27, we took over the great Dirigimus warehouse space in Portland for a massive party featuring What Cheer? Brigade, Callers, the Milkman’s Union, and the Nogar Family Band. It was a fun, surreal evening, and we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did. Tonight at that same space there are two shows, one of which should be getting underway any minute now. Gregg Gin (of Black Flag) & the Royal We are joined by NYC’s Cinema Cinema (who played one of the first ever HillyTown Presents shows at Geno’s back in 2008!) for the show which was set to kick off at 5pm. Hurry up over there! Immediately following this loud rockin’ show is a bit of a more downtempo affair, as if and it celebrate the release of their excellent new record, Bleeding Moon with the help of Wesley Allen Hartley & the Traveling Trees and Aleric Nez at 8pm. Read on for our photos from the show back in April!
First things first: tonight, we’re presenting a free show at Slainte Wine Bar. Kicking off with Rural Ghosts, then Max Carcia Conover, Even Parker (if and it), and Greg Jamie (o’death/Blood Warrior, with Jeremy Robinson). See you there at 7pm?
Bonus: it’s already been a few very busy days, but at the end of this ride we’ll have tons of photos for you to see. For now, here’s a shot of one of our current favorite Maine acts, Coke Weed, joined by Micah Blue Smaldone, taken during our Free Range Fest Afterparty on Saturday night.
Coke Weed and Micah are on tour, with a stop in NH tonight before continuing on to NYC. Here are their upcoming dates:
Monday, April 30 – Portsmouth, NH @ The Red Door w/ Micah
Tuesday, May 1 – Providence, RI @ AS220 w/ Micah, Tig & Bean
Wednesday, May 2 – New York City, NY @ The Cake Shop w/ Micah, Steve Gunn
Thursday, May 3 – Williamsburg, Brooklyn @ Cameo Arts w/ Micah, A>G>E, Sun Watchers
Friday, May 4 – Northampton/Amherst, MA @ The Montague Bookmill w/ Micah
Saturday, May 5 – Hudson, NY @ The Spotty Dog w/ Micah, A>G>E
Sunday, May 6 – Boston, MA @ Gay Gardens (Allston) w/ Micah
Last night we kicked off a week of Maine shows with What Cheer? Brigade (photo above), Callers, The Milkman’s Union, and Nogar Family Band at the Dirigimus space in Portland. Now we’re heading up to Belfast, Maine for a full day of great music, thanks to the Free Range Fest (including the two headliners from last night). Don’t miss our festival afterparty at Three Tides, kicking off at 10pm. Get there early to make sure you can get in the show to see Great Western Plain, A Severe Joy, and Vistas at this free party! Full schedule for the day is here.
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