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Photo Recap: Lower Dens Played Asylum [6.23.15]

Lower Dens @ Asylum / Photo by Dylan Verner

Lower Dens @ Asylum / Photo by Dylan Verner

It’s been almost two weeks since the show, but better late than never, right? On Tuesday, June 23 – the same night as the previously-covered Real Estate show – Lower Dens (we interviewed Jana Hunter from the band recently) played a show at Asylum, joined by Brooklyn’s TEEN and locals Snaex.

TEEN @ Asylum / Photo by Dylan Verner

TEEN @ Asylum / Photo by Dylan Verner

Snaex @ Asylum / Photo by Dylan Verner

Snaex @ Asylum / Photo by Dylan Verner

Check out Dylan Verner‘s full gallery of photos from the show here!

Lower Dens 2015 tour dates:
Jul 16 Motr Pub Cincinnati, OH
Jul 17 Grog Shop Cleveland Heights, OH
Jul 18 Forecastle Louisville, KY
Jul 19 Lincoln Hall Chicago, IL
Jul 21 7th St Entry Minneapolis, MN
Jul 24 Mississippi Studios Portland, OR
Jul 25 Electric Owl Vancouver, Canada
Jul 28 The Urban Lounge Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 29 Larimer Lounge Denver, CO
Jul 31 Granada Theater Dallas, TX
Aug 01 The Mohawk Austin, TX
Aug 03 One Eyed Jacks New Orleans, LA
Aug 04 The Earl Atlanta, GA
Aug 05 King’s Barcade Raleigh, NC
Aug 07 Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Houston, TX
Aug 13 MoMA New York, NY
Aug 22 FYF Fest Los Angeles, CA
Aug 23 FYF Fest Los Angeles, CA
Sep 27 BSP Kingston, NY
Sep 28 Bowery Ballroom New York, NY
Sep 30 The Horseshoe Tavern Toronto, Canada
Oct 01 Mohawk Place Buffalo, NY
Oct 02 Arden Gild Hall Arden, DE
Oct 17 Treasure Island San Francisco, CA
Oct 24 Simple Thing Festival Bristol, United Kingdom
Oct 25 Manchester The Deaf Institute Manchester, United Kingdom
Oct 26 The Sugar Club Dublin, Ireland
Oct 27 King Tuts Glasgow, United Kingdom
Oct 28 Brudenell Social Club Leeds, United Kingdom
Oct 29 Scala London, United Kingdom
Oct 31 London Calling Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nov 02 Hafenklang Hamburg, Germany
Nov 04 Loppen, Christiania Copenhagen, Denmark
Nov 05 Radar Århus, Denmark
Nov 06 Merjeriet Lund, Sweden
Nov 07 Parkteatret Scene Oslo, Norway
Nov 08 Lilla Hotellbaren Stockholm, Sweden
Nov 10 Bi Nuu Berlin, Germany
Nov 11 Meetfactory Prague, Czech Republic
Nov 12 Arena Wien Vienna, Austria
Nov 13 Feierwerk Munich, Germany
Nov 14 Palace St. Gallen, Switzerland
Nov 15 Exil Zurich, Switzerland
Nov 17 Le Romandie Lausanne, Switzerland
Nov 18 Sonic Lyon, France
Nov 19 La Apolo Barcelona, Spain
Nov 20 El Cielo Madrid, Spain
Nov 21 ZDB Lisboa, Portugal
Nov 22 GNRation Braga, Portugal
Nov 24 Badaboum Paris, France

All Roads Music Festival Recap + Interview

It’s been about a month since the inaugural All Roads Music Festival happened in Belfast, ME (May 16, 2015). HillyTown photographer Conall O’Brien was there to catch the action, and we checked in with festival director Meg Shorette for her thoughts on the experience, and to find out what lies ahead.

Interview by Bryan Bruchman.

Spencer Albee @ All Roads Festival / Photo by Conall O’Brien

 

HT: First, what led you to launch the festival?
MS: In a way, the opportunity to do this festival sort of found me. I started my nonprofit, Launchpad, last fall with the intention to run statewide, artist-led events and programs, but we were still in our early stages in January when the Belfast Creative Coalition approached us to bring a spring music presence back to Belfast, Maine. I wrote down everything I loved about indie music, festivals and “the scene,” and also everything that really bummed me or artist friends/colleagues out about them. Our intent was to make sure All Roads Music Festival had as many “Pro” column elements as possible.

What were your guiding principles in booking musical acts to perform?
I set out to book bands that I felt were making a difference in the Maine and regional music scene. I guess that could mean a lot of things, really. Artists who are working actively to not only promote themselves but consciously making choices to collaborate, innovate and re-invent make me excited about working in the arts in Maine right now. I think music supporters fans feel the same way. I don’t think we really had any “You Can’t Play Here If….” rules but bands that are creating their own music were definitely on our radar.

How was the turnout/audience response? Did it meet or exceed your expectations?
When you bring hundreds of people together like we did, it’s hard to know what the “vibe” will be but I could not have asked for a better community of musicians and music fans (of all ages). We exceeded our expectations for attendance and received so many kind emails and notes from attendees and musicians the days following the event. It was such a humbling experience.

There are obvious similarities to the discontinued Belfast Free Range Festival (some of the same venues, an afterparty at Three Tides, etc.), but what we’d like to know is how All Roads differs, and what it brought to Belfast in a music festival that perhaps Free Range wasn’t, if anything.
Free Range had a great model and part of that is how Belfast as a town is set up. There are so many venues that you transform into a pop-up music space for a day and that’s a great asset, so we really wanted to continue that with All Roads. I think both event organizers had our eyes on supporting indie and emerging talent but a goal of All Roads is to really focus on artist development. In 2016, musicians can expect many more panels, networking events and professional development opportunities being offered on festival weekend. One thing we consciously did was stagger sets so that musicians and attendees could move around the festival to see their friends perform or support bands they had just met rather than being forced to choose. That’s a model I hope to maintain.

Will this be an annual event? Or at least, is is happening in 2016? And/or will there be other All Roads events happening in Belfast or elsewhere?
All Roads will be back in Belfast in 2016. We are already working with Belfast Creative Coalition to add some really get components in our second year. Controlled growth that makes sense for the mission is the name of the game.

I think my entire team would love to do a few showcases throughout the year in different areas on the state but we don’t have anything currently lined up.

What was the most memorable performance of the festival for you personally?
For me, it’s a tie. The energy at the Spencer Albee show at the Colonial Theatre was incredible. At the closing part at Three Tides & Marshall Wharf, watching Spencer Albee, Jeff Beam and Spose all take turns jumping on stage for songs with Dominic and the Lucid pretty much summed up the day for me-I’m so lucky I get to work with these people.

Any dream bookings for next time?
Hmm…Murcielago & Maine Youth Rock Orchestra/Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestra collabo?

Is there anything else that you’d like to share with HillyTown readers about All Roads or any other projects coming up?
We are prepping to launch EMERGE, the nonprofits first funding support program (cash money for creatives). EMERGE is a program of Launchpad that will be dedicated to providing assistance toward the growth and development of the independent artists, musicians, filmmakers of all types working in New England. The program administers contributions from supporting individuals and organizations. The program is divided into 3 separate funding opportunities and windows: Music, Film, and Visual Arts. Check it out!

All Roads Music Festival photos by Conall O’Brien

Photo Recap: Action Bronson Played The State [4.29.15]

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.

Recap: Sufjan Stevens @ Merrill Auditorium [4.14.2015]

Sufjan Stevens @ Merrill Auditorium 4.14.15 photo by Hannah Hays

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.

Continue reading Recap: Sufjan Stevens @ Merrill Auditorium [4.14.2015]

Recap: Lady Lamb / Cuddle Magic / Henry Jamison @ PCMH [3.13.2015]

Words by Jeff Beam / Photos by Andrew Foster

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:

HENRY JAMISON

CUDDLE MAGIC

LADY LAMB

More photos:

Jacob Augustine Opened For Timber Timbre @ PCMH [2.27.15]

Jacob Augustine at Port City Music Hall - photo by Jeff Beam

On February 27th, Port City Music Hall hosted a mellow evening of northern sounds – Timber Timbre from Canada headlining, and Jacob Augustine from Lincoln, ME opening.

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:
Timber Timbre setlist

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.

The Lone Bellow and Odessa Played PCMH [2.23.15]

Last night at Port City Music Hall, Odessa and The Lone Bellow kicked off a winter tour with a sold out show. Check out some photos by Cait Kimball (full gallery here) and the rest of the tour dates (continuing tonight in Burlington, VT) further down. Continue reading The Lone Bellow and Odessa Played PCMH [2.23.15]

Jenny Lewis and Kurt Vile (and the Violators) Played The State

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!

2013 Northside Festival Showcase Recap

Lisa/Liza at Northside 2013

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!

Head over to the BTR flickr for the whole photo gallery!

Lady Lamb and Kaki King Played SPACE [12.4.12]

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.

Photos by Bryan Bruchman.

Pearl And The Beard and You Won’t Played SPACE [12.2.12]

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.

Photos by Bryan Bruchman.

Girl Talk Did It Again: Photo recap [8.16.12]

Can we just make this happen once a month or so? Girl Talk has come to Portland a couple times now, and it’s a reliably fun, sweaty, ridiculous affair of a party. Read on for photos from the latest visit, shot by Tom Couture. Continue reading Girl Talk Did It Again: Photo recap [8.16.12]

Free Range Festival Photo Recap [4.28.12]

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]

Photo Recap: HillyTown at Dirigimus [4.27.12]

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!

Bowerbirds Played SPACE Gallery [6.20.12]

As promised, Bowerbirds played SPACE Gallery on Wednesday with opening sets by Basia Bulat and local favorites The Milkman’s Union. Check out the full gallery of photos by David Zwickerhill below! Continue reading Bowerbirds Played SPACE Gallery [6.20.12]