Hearin' out the crows — D.Gross & Los Federales travel far with new album 'Crooks'

In 2017, it’s downright radical to commit to an itinerant lifestyle. Virtually no one can pull it off. Worse, the ones who can afford to do so waste it by staying in lavish dwellings in isolated perches or sequestered in mile-high hotels, away from society. Few are those interested in both the road and the people who built it. It’s tough to know how much D. Gross, the Portland poet and songwriter who fronts the group…

Ready for a Purple Reign? — Maine rapper Sarah Violette's scorching, lyrical 'UltraViolette'

Artists can come at the creative process from different angles. One artist might focus on the form and performance itself, while another has something to say and has to choose a form for the message. It’s what distinguishes, say, a Run the Jewels from a 2Chainz. Run the Jewels stands for something and conveys it through performance, while one could counter that the magic of a performer like 2Chainz is in his affect and ability…

To the moon and back — Jeff Beam turns the page with 'Something Came From Nothing'

In his new release, issued days before embarking on one of the most ambitious tours of his career, Jeff Beam has found a new band. His EP drops four songs, including the near-perfect '70s rambler "Something Came From Nothing," a single that sounds like a modernized lunar lounge-rock version of Todd Rundgren, along with intimate, simpler versions of earlier tracks. It's a modest release, but its impact is significant. The Portland songwriter has brought aboard…

Setting the bar low (and leaping) — TheWorst drops trashy, exhilarating 'Jane Doe Embryo'

It’s no slight to the three musicians of Portland rock band TheWorst, each totally capable and believably spirited with decades-long CVs making independent music, but we live in an era where stripped-down, mid-tempo fuzzed-out grungepunk holds very little purchase. (The name they’ve chosen suggests they understand this.) In 2017, it's a musical style as poached-in-history as Sinatra standards were when these musicians were young. Honestly, this makes their debut even more interesting. Whatever kind of…

Falls of Rauros reach peak bleakness with 'Vigilance Perennial' — Make rare appearance at weekend's Into the Aether Festival of Sound

Vigilance Perennial, the new album by maine band Falls of Rauros, first saw daylight this spring. but as dusk creeps into our days and the wind recovers its fangs, it's hard not to remember them as an autumn band. The folk/black metal act’s fourth full-length may be more brilliant, melodic and accessible than anything they've done in their 12-year history, but music like this finds significance in darkening, decaying days, especially when its done this…

The power of 'Won' — An interview with Lina Tullgren

One of the highlights of this year's festival is an appearance by Lina Tullgren, the up-and-coming Boston-based songwriter who grew up in South Berwick, Maine, and who just released her first full-length album, Won, on the label Captured Tracks. Building off her haunting and brilliant 2016 EP WISHLIST, Tullgren's beguiling indie-folk finds new peaks with Won, a 10-song traversal of personal nostalgias and muted joys. As one of the quiet highlights of a festival of…

Contemporary Band — An Interview with Colin Newman of Wire

If you don't have a ticket to see Wire, the legendary English art-rock band formed in 1976 by Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, Bruce Gilbert, and Robert Gotobed, we don't know what to tell you. The show's been out since late spring. Still, we jumped at the chance to discuss the band's adventurous career in a surprisingly long and thoughtful conversation with singer and guitarist Colin Newman, who spoke to the Phoenix via Skype from his…

Five of the Eyes drop sprawling first album 'The Venus Transit'

If I had a criticism prepared for The Venus Transit, the first full-length by Five of the Eyes, it would have been that the band registered too studiously as disciples of The Mars Volta, that cultish, amazing, inscrutable El Paso band. Based on a couple years-old live shows and scattered tracks online, I expected a total sonic fealty to the aughties post-punk prog group, maybe with a little At the Drive-In sprinkled in. But that…

Never gone — The unremitting spirit of Forget, Forget

One of my favorite lines on You’re Not Gone, the second album from Portland-based duo Forget, Forget, arrives midway through “Seashells,” track five. It’s when Patia Maule sings "let’s get takeout and go see a show.” Kind of a throwaway line, and an odd one to find refreshing or unique. But it’s unlike almost every other lyric on the album in that it’s absent some intention to move, to inspire, or to connect. The etymology of the…

My Record Store Pet Peeves

I don’t want to come off like a snarky music person. I know with some of my music rants, readers might think I’m a bit touchy with music. That’s the point, I guess. These articles come from someone who has something to say about music and all that goes on with it. When I rant, I rant because I care, my friends.  At the end of the day, do what works for you. I can…
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