Saturday, December 11, 2010

Great Shows Tonight!

I'm DJing down at the Picnic Holiday Sale for the Maine Radio Project. Theodore Treehouse will be playing live in just a few minutes before heading down to SPACE for their CD release show (with Phantom Buffalo and Brenda). So, come down to the Maine Irish Heritage Center (34 Gray St) to pick up some great gifts and hear some awesome music.

In addition to Theodore Treehouse's CD release, there is an orgy of great shows today - including the Jakob Battick curated Lysa Hora Night at Mayo Street. At Biddeford's The Oak & the Ax, [dog] and [pony] celebrate the release of their 2nd dvd with performances by Jesse Pilgrim & the Bonfire, Wesley Hartley & the Traveling Trees, Greg Jamie, and more. Plus you can see Meghan Yates at Local Sprouts or see the hot touring act Grace Potter & the Nocturnals down at the State (where you'll find me working).

So, lots of great shows to choose from! Go see one!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Free Shipping for the Month of December

Although the two vinyl singles that Eternal Otter Records released this year don't technically qualify for my Top 10 Albums of the year, I do think they represent some of the best music Maine has to offer. And you can order them with free shipping for the entire month of December. A great gift for your offbeat music-loving, vinyl-obsessive friends and relatives.

The first single series, Death, Rebirth & Transformation collected unreleased recordings from seminal Maine bands that have broken up. Cerberus Shoal offers "Tailor of Graves b/w Hymn", from their "lost album" The Ongoing Ding, now only available in Japan (and my choice for 4th best album of the year). Lady Lamb the Beekeeper's Aly Spaltro and her former bandmate TJ Metcalfe each turn in a solo track on their vinyl - "Sunday Shoes" and "Metal Mouth". The almost unknown, but terrifyingly awesome (or awesomely terrifying), Blaque Boose submitted the seasonally-appropriate "Winter" and "Past Live Owen"; the only two songs they ever officially released.

The second single series, Mystic Chords of Memory, collects music from Portland's neo-Americana scene. Jesse Pilgrim & the Bonfire tell the story of "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure" on the A-side to their single (also available on Treble Treble Vol. 2). On the flip, Jesse turns in the solo "What Comes Ashore", and duets with Aly Spaltro on "Lead Me Down". D. Gross and Samuel James commit their musical partnership to wax on the split single featuring Gross' "First Train" and James' "George, the One Man Carnival". Over A Cardboard Sea, who recently played a triumphant show at the State Theatre's 1930s Night, cover the classic vaudeville tune "Down in the Subway" and turn in the definitive version of "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?"

Get these great records now!

This has been an exciting year for Eternal Otter Records. Besides releasing these two vinyl singles, we hosted a vinyl release show at SPACE Gallery (featuring Aly + TJ's first Lady Lamb reunion), organized the first concert to take place on the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad (in celebration of the release of "Mystic Chords of Memory"), presented the 2nd Annual Building of Song Festival, assisted Hillytown with the CMJ Music Marathon's first ever Portland Showcase, helped launch the online Maine Radio Project, and brought Over A Cardboard Sea and The Wizard of Oz to State Theatre. Eternal Otter Records would also like to congratulate Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, the first artist we ever released, who just won "Best Folk Artist" at the Boston Music Awards.

Eternal Otter Records would like to thank Ian Paige, Bryan Bruchman, Jenny McGee, and everybody at SPACE; the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad; Lauren Wayne at the State Theatre; Pat May and everybody at the Portland Music Foundation; All the great DJs that supported Eternal Otter Records, including Mark Curdo, Charlie Gaylord, Robin Ivy, and Roy Ghim; Jess Lipton and everybody at the Maine Radio Project; Chriss Sutherland, Big Blood, Aly Spaltro, We Are X, Dead Man's Clothes, Sontiago, Samuel James, D. Gross, Dominic Lavoie, John Fountain, Dave Cimato, Dale Rand, Tristan Gallagher, Patric & Celeste, Greg Jamie, Jakob Battick, [dog] and [pony], l'animaux tryst, Travis Cyr, and many more. And, of course, Minnie Pistola and all the Panda Bandits!

We are looking forward to 2011 and another great year of Maine Music!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Best of 2010 (Local)

And now it's time for a list of my favorite Portland albums from 2010. As with last year, I believe many of these albums are as good, if not better, than the stuff that made yesterday's national list.

1. Dead Songs - Big Blood

Dead Songs is definitely the best album of the year bar-none. After 9 incredible self-released CD-R's over the last 4 years, not to mention their contributions to Fire on Fire, Big Blood's Caleb and Colleen put out their first official vinyl release. The album was released by Time-Lag and the packaging and artwork (by Colleen) is exquisite. They had originally planned to release a vinyl of the best songs from the past releases, but in their typically prolific style they decided to write a whole new album instead. Nonetheless, Dead Songs ends up sounding like a greatest hits record anyway. "Dead Song", the first track, alone makes this album a must-buy. What follows is just an orgy of amazing music from "A Spiral Down" (apparently the "Everybody is screaming! From across the water I can hear them" lyric was inspired by the shouts of triumph on the night of Obama's election victory) to "Lay Your Head on the Rails, Pt II", culminating in Caleb's joyous "Daughter" and Colleen's deep rumination on family in "the Architect & the Archeologist". If you haven't heard of Big Blood before, I'm not even going to bother to try to explain their sound, you just need to get this album and listen.

2. Narrow Gauge Quad Trains / Don't Peel Your Bloomers Off Just Yet - Wesley Hartley & The Traveling Trees

Wesley Hartley & the Traveling Trees put out Narrow Gauge Quad Trains in 2009, but it was reissued this year by the Portsmouth label burst & bloom. And I'll be goddamned if it's not Maine's best country music since the heyday of Al Hawkes. Wesley is one helluva a songwriter and the Traveling Trees always know when to step up the shuffle or pull on the heartstrings. This album is also perfectly paced between quick country rockers ("Ol Texas", "Slow Shards", "El Gusano Rojo", "Outside Get Out") and slow burning ballads ("Jet Fighter", "Acreless"). This year's follow-up, Don't Peel Your Bloomers Off Just Yet, is not quite as immediate, lacking Ron Harrity's always impeccable recording prowess, but still has plenty of great songs, including my personal favorite, "Dream House".

3. We Left the Roadside - D. Gross

Krister Rollins is at Blue just about every time D. Gross and Samuel James are there swapping songs, so I'd like to quote his review of Dana's album:

"I’m going to go ahead and say that I think Portland’s extremely fortunate to have one of the Country’s best singer/songwriters living and working here. Dana Gross’ sophomore album We Left The Roadside is some crazy masterpiece. He’s hit a wonderful balance, blending allegory, parable, virtuoso guitar work, deft lyrics and good old American song structures. We Left The Roadside shows remarkable growth since his first album, Pirates. The album as a whole is tighter and the songs show more restraint and artful use of structure."

I couldn't agree more. Also, after hearing D. Gross play these songs solo for the last year, it is great to hear the full band arrangements. The tablas on "Hummingbird" are a stroke of genius, and "Sunset Mountain" is just about the happiest sounding takedown of religion I've ever heard. The whole album was recorded at Acadia Studios and sounds fantastic throughout.

4. The Ongoing Ding - Cerberus Shoal

Well, one of the best Portland albums released in 2010 was recorded in 2004 and is only available through a Japanese label. The album in question is Cerberus Shoals' full-length sequel to their masterpiece "The Ding" from the Vim and Vigour of Alvarius B and Cerberus Shoal EP. It is also turns out to be Cerberus Shoals' best album of their overflowing discography. Most Cerberus Shoal albums are just brimming with so many ideas, energy, and experimentation that the genius and adventure is undeniable, but the core is often impenetrable. The Ongoing Ding boils down Cerberus Shoal to its essentials, without losing any of their magical weirdness. It kicks off with the champagne burst of "Tailor of Graves" (which Eternal Otter Records' had the honor of releasing as vinyl single this year - available here) and then gives way to the metaphysical debate of "Should we give the earth a word", and the journey takes many more strange and wonderful turns from there. Cerberus Shoal went on hiatus in 2006, but its many members are still making incredible music today (Big Blood, Chriss Sutherland, dilly dilly), but this album is a great opportunity to appreciate once again the vim and vigour of Cerberus Shoal.

5. La Perla - Olas

To drive home my point about the enduring legacy of Cerberus Shoal on Portland's music scene, here is Chriss Sutherland's latest project Olas at #5. Chriss Sutherland flirted with a few Spanish lyrics on his excellent debut solo album Me in a "field", and went one step further on his follow up Worried Love. Now he takes lead vocal duties on the debut album from Olas, a collaboration of very talented musicians and dancers reinterpreting flamenco music through a prism of rock, folk, and Arabic sounds. Chriss sounds great singing in any language, and the Spanish tongue seems to draw out his most passionate growl. You also won't find an album this year with better hand clapping and foot stomping, and the band build to an ecstatic climax on nearly every song. Olas revisits two songs from Worried Love, "El Tiempo" and the traditional "Volando Voy", with superior results. There are also a number of other standouts, including the title track and "La Luz En Mi Vida". Ron Harrity does typically awesome, crisp production work, and the album packaging is a stunner (and comes with translations of the songs). Olas are best experienced live as the dancing is as key a component to the band as anything else, but La Perla is just about as great a representation of Olas as could be captured on CD.

6. Lady Lamb the Bee-Sides - Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

A cassette only release made available at Aly Spaltro's October farewell show. This collection is a smorgasbord of rare and unreleased Lady Lamb songs, ranging from Aly's earliest recordings, made when she was 17, to recent demos. Highlights include the myspace-favoite "Almond Colored Sheets", the live on radio take of "Dear Erin" (written for dilly dilly), and "The Nothing (Part 2)" demo. As with almost all Lady Lamb songs, the immediacy and lyrical splendor of each tune is breathtaking, and they put most artist's "A-Sides" to shame. Along with the recent series of self-released CDs, this cassette tape suggests that Aly has enough great songs in her that she could potentially pull off a triple LP for her next album with no decline in quality. It goes without saying that Lady Lamb's next album is one of my most highly anticipated releases for 2011, and I hope that it will top next year's national list.

7. Herbcraft Discovers the Bitter Waters of Agartha - Herbcradt

Herbcraft is the latest psychedelic pseudonym for Matt Lajoie, owner of the l'animaux tryst label (an inspiration to Eternal Otter Records) and one of the friendly freaks from Planets Around the Sun. Although I believe Herbcraft discovers the Bitter Waters of Agartha was recorded completely sober, it definitely ranks as this year's 2nd best stoner album (the best being The Ongoing Ding). You can follow along to the plot of Admiral Richard E. Byrd's journey to the Domain of the Arianni with the printed lyrics on the back of the (awesomely retro) album sleeve, but the best part of the Herbcraft experience is just getting lost in the wash of guitar tones. This is a vinyl only release, and the crackle of the needle against the wax is just one more great found sound on this oddball gem.

8. Ice Is War - Dead Man's Clothes

Dead Man's Clothes won "Best New Act" in the Phoenix Music Awards this year despite the fact that Ice Is War is the band's third release. Nonetheless, the award was justified not only because original members Don Dumont and Elliot Heeschen have been joined by Ian Riley (formely of Anna's Ghost) and TJ Metcalfe (formerly of Lady Lamb the Beekeeper), but also because they have now arrived at a distinct signature sound. For lack of a better word, Ice Is War is the most "mature" release of their career (and not just because they are no longer singing about Zombie Love). Although the songs are clearly built around Dumont's excellent songwriting and expressively dead pan vocals, every member fills an essential component in crafting the overall sound. The slow burning "A Fire" and the super catchy single "Moving Mountain" show the breadth of their range while still sounding like nobody else. Some complaints have been voiced with the sound quality of this recording, but the songs shine through. That being said, I would happily plunk down some serious cash to hear Dead Man's Clothes in 5.1 Surround Sound. Also, in a year of great record packaging, Ice Is War is one of the most artfully designed albums.

9. Heavy the Mountains, Heavy Are the Seas - Jakob Battick

This EP could have easily been a complete failure, but it proves to be a startling and challenging release by an exciting emerging artists. Jakob Battick reaches for the grand ambition of Scott Walker and Nick Cave at their darkest - not an easy task for an art student without access to expensive studio equipment. I would love to know more about the recording process for this album, because it creates a serious monolith of sound. This album takes patience, and some parts are just overlong, but when Battick's unsettling growl, cryptic lyrics, and dark atmospherics all fall into place, the results are truly captivating (best observed on "Nine Brothers & the Wolf"). Jakob Battick is definitely an artist to watch in 2011.

10. Treble Treble Vol. 2 - Various Artists

There are far too many great albums from this year to fit on a Top 10 list, so this compilation does an excellent job of picking out some of the choice cuts of 2011. Picking up from Joshua Loring's first installment, Bryan Bruchman of hillytown curates the latest edition in the Treble Treble series, chronicling Portland's rock scene. In this case, all 10 tracks are taken from bands that participated in the 2011 CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. Standout tracks include a new song from from Foam Castles, Marie Stella's "1985" (from this year's Trust EP), and Phantom Buffalo's "Radio Signal (from Cement Postcards with Owl Colors). Of particular note is "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure", the A-Side from Jesse Pilgrim & the Bonfire's 7" vinyl single released by Eternal Otter Records.

Treble Treble Vol. 2 is available as a free download here, so why don't you give it a listen?

I know a lot more great Portland albums came out this year, and I am sure I missed a few, so let me know your favorites in the comments. Much respect to everyone making music in this little city of ours.

1930s Night + Dark Side of the Rainbow

This is a brief intermission from the "Best of 2010" lists to remind you to get your tickets for "1930s Night" at the State Theatre taking place this Friday, December 3rd. Doors open at 5 pm and Over A Cardboard kicks off their performance at 5:30 pm. They will be playing classic vaudeville tunes, complete with cardboard scenery, and puppets!

The screening of The Wizard of Oz starts at 7 pm. Put on your finest bowler hat, stick the family in the Model T, and head on down to the State. A photographer's booth will be setup to take your family portrait with tin-type film.

EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRA! There will be a second screening of the Wizard of Oz that night at 10 pm synced to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

Tickets to both screenings are $5, and available at Bull Moose Records. More information here.

Also, did you know that the Deli Magazine has nominated Over A Cardboard Sea as "The New England Band of the Month". Today is the last day to vote for them. Vote here.

You can also order their 7" vinyl singles "Down in the Subway b/w Brother, Can Your Spare A Dime?" from Eternal Otter Records here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Best of 2010

Well, so it's time for Eternal Otter Records' picks for the best albums of 2010. I know there is still a month left to go in the year, but perhaps you'll find some good gift ideas here. I'll be covering national albums today, and covering local releases tomorrow.

1. Brothers - Black Keys

Destined to become a Rock 'n' Roll Classic. The album that convinced me that Black Keys are more than just a pretty good garage rock band. The most startling revelation on this album is Dan Auerbach's voice, which shows previously unknown range, shifting from the Marc Bolan-esque falsetto of "Everlasting Light" to the clipped aggression of "Ten Cent Pistol". It goes without saying that the music rocks, and "Everlasting First", "Next Girl", and "Tighten Up" are an unstoppable opening trifecta. I used to think the album was a little too long, but I always end up going all the way to the end. It helps that the first track on Side 4 is "Unknown Brother", one of the most moving ballads ever put to wax.

2. The Suburbs - Arcade Fire

I think this album underwhelmed a lot of people, but I'll defend it as one of the best albums of the year. I recommend listening to it on vinyl, which allows you to digest the album in 4-song bites - I could imagine that the album could start to sound a little overlong and same-y without the occasional break to flip the record. That being said, The Suburbs is full of great songs, and if even if it doesn't have a "Wake Up" or "No Cars Go" on it, it does have "Rococco", "We Used to Wait", and "The Sprawl (Part II)". Also, every time I listen to the record it reminds me of the book "The Girl Who Owned A City", which was about an epidemic that kills everybody on Earth over the age of 13. I read it in 5th grade, and it's the first book I remember really liking.

3. Homeland - Laurie Anderson

This is one of the most interesting, diverse, and dark albums of the year. It starts with the beautiful "Transitory Life" assisted by Tuvan Throat Singers, then goes into the caustic "Only An Expert" (with Lou Reed on guitar), and ends with a violin solo. The centerpiece is the 11 minute "Another Day in America", Anderson's harrowing and hilarious state of the nation address, which she delivers in a ridiculous baritone through tape manipulation. A sample lyric:

"And another way to look at time is this: There was an old married couple and they had
always hated each other. Never been able to stand the sight of each other really.
And when they were in their nineties they finally got divorced and people said: Why did
you wait so long? Why didn't you do this a whole lot earlier?
And they said: Well, we wanted to wait until the children died."

Laurie Anderson's best album since Big Science.

4. I Learned the Hard Way - Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings have a formula down - they make funky music with a lot of soul, and they do it well, probably as good as anybody in the last 20 years. So, it's no surprise that they open their fourth album with two instant classics, "The Game Gets Old" and "I Learned the Hardway". However, the closing track "Mama Don't Like My Man" is one of their best tracks, and showcases a more stripped-down style that I really dig. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings also gave one of the best concert performances I saw in 2010, and I'm looking forward to seeing them again in 2011.

5. Bright Bright Bright (EP) / Wild Go - Dark Dark Dark

One of the best finds of 2010. Hearing the 5-song Bright Bright Bright EP is like being shocked out of an afternoon nap into a strange day of setting suns and rising tides. Although the full-length Wild Go is stylistically very similar, built around Nona Marie's brightly melancholy voice and the band's sparse but evocative instrumentation, it has the opposite effect of the EP - luring the listener into a sad but hopeful reverie. The best song from either album is the summer jam "Make Time", in which the bands other songwriter, Marshall LaCount steps up to steal the show. Dark Dark Dark also treated Portland to two memorable concerts this year

6. Have One On Me - Joanna Newsom

I'm curious what the reaction to this album would have been if it had been released as three separate albums over the last three years, instead of as one big magnum opus. But I guess grand ambition is kind of the point. In any event, each of the 3 LPs is great and I still can't bring myself to pick a favorite, although the song "Good Intentions Paving Co." is an obvious highlight, as are "In California", and "Esme". The album also proves that Joanna Newsom is nearly as interesting on the piano as she is on the harp. My one complaint is that in an album this sprawling, I wish she would have included a few more off-kilter pop songs in the vein of such Milk-Eyed Mender gems as "Sprout and the Bean" and "Bridges and Balloons".

7. Rough Travel for a Rare Thing - Bill Callahan

I didn't discover Bill Callahan's Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle until this year, but in retrospect it should have been near the top of my 2009 list. Rough Travel for a Rare Thing, a vinyl and digital only release, is a live album that captures Bill Callahan playing songs mostly from his late-period Smog era. As would be expected, Callahan is low-key throughout, but each song is so beautifully crafted and skillfully arranged ("Diamond Dancer", "Held", and "The Well" are just a few of the great songs played) that the album is fully engaging from start to end.

8. Made the Harbor - Mountain Man

A short little folk album by a trio of young women. I don't have much to say about it, except that it sounds timeless in the best way - it would sound great to human ears at any point in our history. Best of all, it never tries too hard, just nice harmonies, an easy going charm, and simple songs. The track "How'm I Doing?" sums it up well: "Now I'm not braggin' but it's understood, that everything I do I sure do good."

9. Contra - Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend writes terrible lyrics, but that makes them even more fun, as you can just make up your own words as you dance along to their catchy tunes. I can't help but smile and shimmy across the floor every time I flip the record over to "Cousins", and that is reason enough for this album to be considered for the list. Throw in an M.I.A. sample, a few more summer jams, and a great album cover (even if it got them sued), and I'm sold.

10. The Happy (EP) - Bearkat

A wonderful new EP from the Austin-based Katy Pearson, who performs as Bearkat. I first heard Bearkat when Katy was briefly living in Maine during the summer of '09, and ended up totally crushing on her debut LP Suitcase Swimmers (highly recommended!). This EP doesn't have many stylistic changes from that album, but why change a winning formula? Wonderful instrumentation, which includes banjo and ukulele among other delights, mixes with a voice brimming with personality to create perfect little love songs. "Girl with the Broken Heart" also has a nice section near the end that flirts with some Tom Waits-esque darkness. My main complaint with most EPs is that they are too damn short, but The Happy is beautifully sequenced with 3 charming interludes that give you time to digest the song you just heard - the physical copy of the album even ends with a little surprise. But as great as this EP is, I am still waiting in great anticipation for Bearkat's next full-length! The Happy is available to listen to on bandcamp, so go do that now.

Ten Songs Great Songs from Albums that didn't make the list:
1. "Real Live Flesh" - Tune-Yards (Tune-Yards performed one of the best concerts I've seen this year, and Bird Brains should have topped my 2009 Best of List. This song was released as a single, and is as good as anything from her debut album. Can't wait to hear what she comes up with next.)
2. "Dance Yrself Clean" - LCD Soundsystem (LCD Soundsystem albums usually bore me by the end, but the highlights always turnout to be among the best songs of the year. I love how this opening track from This Is Happening starts super catchy and then gets super big.)
3. "Ambling Alp" - Yeasayer (Odd Blood was a little hit-and-miss overall, but this song is dynamite. "O.N.E." was pretty excellent, too. Looking forward to these guys releasing a killer singles collection.)
4. "Bloodbuzz Ohio" - The National (Everything good about The National in one song.)
5. "Right On" - The Roots (Have One on Me is great, but the best Joanna Newsom song this year was actually by The Roots, who sampled "The Book of Right-On" for this track.)
6. "Some Kind of Nature" - The Gorillaz (In 2010, Lou Reed turned in a great guitar part on Laurie Anderson's "Only An Expert" and a great guest vocal on "Some Kind of Nature". I'll take these two stellar contributions over an album about Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven anyday.)
7. "Ain't No Grave" - Johnny Cash (The Man in Black singing from beyond the grave. Even in death, no one can compete with Johnny Cash.)
8. "Black Vessel" - Pearl & the Beard (One of Brooklyn's finest bands, and friends to Portland released a nice little EP this year. The title track is a little slower than my favorite Pearl & the Beard songs, but I'm always game for a song about pirates).
9. "Got Nuffin'" - Spoon (Spoon's Transference was probably the biggest disappointment of 2010 after MGMT's Congratulations, but this song almost rises to the heights of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.)
10. "American Troglodyte" - David Byrne (Unfortunately, David Bryne and Fatboy Slim's too long album about Imelda Marcos is mostly a waste of time, but Byrne manages to pull off at least one great spazzy social critique.)

Looking over my Best of 2009 list, I realized that I discovered enough albums from that year in 2010 that it is due for a revision.

Best of 2009 (Revised):

1. Bird Brains - Tune-Yards
2. Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle - Bill Callahan
3. Two Suns - Bat For Lashes
4. What Will We Be - Devendra Banhart
5. Down with Liberty ... Up with Chains - Chain & the Gang
6. Preliminaires - Iggy Pop
7. Sunset/Sunrise - The Dutchess & the Duke
8. Actor - St. Vincent
9. Merriweather Post Pavillion - Animal Collective
10. Embryonic - Flaming Lips

10 Great Songs from Albums that Didn't Make the List-
1. "Stillness Is the Move" - Dirty Projectors
2. "Crane Wife 3" - Marianne Faithfull (amazing Decemberist's cover)
3. "Another Reason to Go" - Vetiver
4. "Home" - Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes
5. "Further Complications" - Jarvis Cocker
6. "Out of the Blue" - Julian Casablancas
7. "The Fear" - Lily Allen
8. "Oh, Death!" - Pearl & the Beard
9. (tie) "Well-Alright" - Spoon / "Tightrope" - Yeasayer (both from the Dark Was the Night compilation)
10. "The Butcher" - Larkin Grimm

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't worry dear friend, you will find time for sleep.

I was running through a bad dream, now I'm waking up.

Tonight I had trouble sleeping, and so I listened to some songs by Lady Lamb the Beekeeper. The first track to come on was "Almond Colored Sheets", followed by her cover of "These Days".

The third track was "The Nothing". This song is familiar to most as the rap stuck in the middle of "Pennylicks" (We will crane our necks...). However, the version I was listening to was a particularly unique take recorded live at One Longfellow Square. On the recording, Aly introduces the song as follows:

"This next song is called "The Nothing". This is usually in rap form with some percussion. I slowed it down just a tiny bit."

Accompanying herself only on banjo, Aly then proceeds to translate her rhymes into a hopeful and honest plea to face the darkness and challenges of life without fear.

Now there is something
Like a needle in our ears
But we are not fearful
This is, you know, This is the way that it is
This is the only way
You must harness that pain
Just rip it out
Toss it away. Toss it away.
You'll amount to something
You won't wash away
If you just get out of bed
If use your legs
Whether you choose to leave
Whether you choose to stay

Listening to this song in bed, soft tears started to run from my eyes. And when that first tear rolled down my cheek, I remembered that I had been at this performance, and I had cried then, too.

It was the first show that Aly played following the departure of TJ from the band. It was like no Lady Lamb show I had seen before or since. It was clear that Aly still carried the weight and pain of the band's separation, but what I most remember from that performance was her incredible courage.

Her songs were not only intensely emotional, but also physically daunting - on many songs she looped multiple instruments on top of each, or literally stretched her body across the stage to play a keyboard part while stomping a floor tom. The final song found her bashing on cymbals while screaming of a plane crash over Guatemala.

In short, she went for it. Her lyrics are poetry, her music is magic, and her voice sounds touched by the divine, but what I admire most in Aly is her fearlessness. People stop to listen to Lady Lamb, because they can tell she is showing the world her heart. It's powerful enough to start making you feel braver yourself.

I will miss Aly while she is away from Maine, but I know she is guided by her courage. And I hope everywhere she goes, she will leave a legacy that inspires people to believe in their talents and pursue their own best ambitions. I know that she has left that legacy here. But like all beautiful women, she can't help but leave you a little brokenhearted when she goes.

Goodnight, my friends.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show screens tonight (8 pm) at the State Theatre. This is exciting for a number of reasons:

1) This is this the first show at the State that I helped program 2) The Dirty Dishes Burlesque Revue will be the guides to tonight's entertainment 3) I'm a Rocky Horror Virgin myself, so I'm looking forward to dancing the Time Warp for the first time!

Hope to see you there! Happy Halloween!

Click here for more details.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper's "Farewell For Now" Extravaganza

What can I say? Perhaps the most creative and talented musician I have ever had the pleasure of knowing is leaving town. Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (a.k.a. Aly Spaltro) is heading to New York, but she is throwing one last extravaganza at her "farewell for now" show taking place this evening at SPACE Gallery.

It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to be a part of Lady Lamb's journey, from her first performance at the Tower of Song, to the release of "Samples for Handsome Animals", and the Sunday Shoes/Metal Mouth vinyl single. I know that she will continue to cast a spell of reverential silence over crowds across the world.

I am also honored that Aly has invited the Panda Bandits to play at tonight's once-in-a-lifetime show. I am also pleased that Eternal Otter Records will be presenting "Lady Lamb the Bee-Sides", a limited-edition cassette only album of rare and unreleased recordings.

Please check out this wonderful interview with Aly, and this video and fitting tribute from [dog] and [pony].

Look Up! Look Up!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eternal Otter Records on "Greetings from Area Code 207" Tonight!

Tune into 102.9 WBLM's "Greetings from Area Code 207" tonight at 8 pm to hear about all the exciting news from Eternal Otter Records. I'll be sitting down with host Charlie Gaylord to talk about last weekend's CMJ Music Marathon, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, the vinyl single series, and upcoming shows at the State Theatre. Listen online here. The segment will rebroadcast on Sunday at 9 am.

Upcoming Events:

10/29 Lady Lamb the Beekeeper's "farewell, for now" show @ SPACE.

10/30 The Rocky Horror Picture Show @ The State Theatre
12/3 1930s Night @ The State Theatre

Friday, October 15, 2010

State Theatre Grand Opening!

It's here. Portland's dream has come true - the State Theatre reopens today with a performance by the mighty My Morning Jacket!

I've be pining for this day ever since I moved into the Tower across from the State nearly three years ago. I swore then that I would make it my mission to get inside it one day.

Well, I've now had the chance to go inside and it looks amazing, now I can't wait to hear how it sounds. Check out photos at hillytown. General Manager Lauren Wayne deserves much kudos for how quickly she has brought this legendary institution back to life. Listen to an interview with Lauren from Roy Ghim at Liberation by Sound.

I'm also very proud to announce that Eternal Otter Records has a hand in bringing to life two upcoming shows! The first takes place on Saturday Oct 30th, with a screening of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", with your guides the Dirty Dishes Burlesque Revue. On December 3rd, The State Theatre will revisit its roots with "1930s Night" featuring a screening of The Wizard of Oz and performances by Over A Cardboard Sea. More details to come soon, but right now I'm just looking forward to being a part of tonight's soldout crowd!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sausage Fest Today!

The Sausage Fest on Peaks Island takes place today from 4 pm to 11 pm at the Lions Club (take a right off the ferry). Grab the 3:15 ferry from Portland if you want to get there early. $20 gets you all the sausage and beer you can eat. Sausage has been made with the help of Local 188's Jay Villani, and Bunker Brewery is presenting a selection of their delicious home brews. There will be music all day from Tempera, Town Founder, Mr McConnell, and Tom Thumb. At 7 pm, the party moves inside for performances by Marie Stella, Honey Clouds, and Ahna the Lady Beast. Check it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

CMJ Announcement!

The CMJ Music Marathon is five days of non-stop music featuring rising national talent rocking out across New York City. This year also marks the first-ever "Portland, Maine Official CMJ Showcase". On Saturday, October 23rd, 7 bands from Maine will play at Trash Bar in Brooklyn, NY. The show starts at 8 pm, the cover is $7 or free with a CMJ badge, and features Foam Castles, Marie Stella, The Class Machine, Dead Man’s Clothes, The Lucid, Holy Boys Danger Club, and Good Kids Sprouting Horns!. Open bar for the first hour and cheap drinks plus karaoke after the show.

If that wasn't enough, Portland's preeminent music blog, Hillytown, will also be presenting an unofficial day party in conjunction with New York's The Battering Room. This "Portland vs New York" showcase takes place on Friday, October 22nd at Park Slope's Rock Shop with Phantom Buffalo, Jesse Pilgrim, and Brenda representing Maine. They will square off against New Numbers, Mussels, and Milagres. Recent Maine-transplant/New York ex-pat Greg Jamie (o'Death, Blood Warrior) will straddle the divide.

Eternal Otter Records is thrilled to announce that we will be joining the list of sponsors for this event, which also includes SPACE Gallery and Maine Magazine.

You can do your part to support these historic showcases by donating to the "Maine Take New York - Send Our Musicians to CMJ" Kickstarter page here. Take the chance to find out more about the event, and check out some of the great gifts available with your donation.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Show to See: D Gross at One Longfellow Square

Nothing to do this Saturday night? Grab your jacket now and head over to see one of Portland's finest acts, D Gross! He's playing tonight (8 pm) at One Longfellow Square to celebrate the release of his new album, We Left the Roadside. You might have had the opportunity to catch D Gross playing with his usual wit and style at Blue or the sadly closing North Star Cafe, but this show is a rare opportunity to see the local bluesman lead a full band (who also helped record the album). A must see show! Dan Blakeslee and In Flight Safety open. Also, check out the D Gross/Samuel James split 7" single "First Train/George, the One Man Carnival", available from Eternal Otter Records here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Show to See: The Dirty Dishes

The always beautiful and provocative Dirty Dishes perform tonight at SPACE. They present "Everything and the Kitchen Sink", a show sure to be good for both the mind and body. Shows at 7 PM and 10 PM. They will be joined by the musical styling of Over A Cardboard Sea, among other fine and feisty acts.

Check out Over A Cardboard Sea performing "Tiger Rag" at the Building of Song Festival:

cardBoardSeaTest from Matthew Fletcher on Vimeo.

Over A Cardboard Sea's 7" single ("Down in the Subway" b/w "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?") is available here from Eternal Otter Records.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TONIGHT: Dead Man's Clothes & Class Machine @ Port City Music Hall

One of my favorite bands in Portland, Dead Man's Clothes, will be playing Port City Music Hall's Two Series tonight, and you should go! Why, you ask?

A) Dead Man's Clothes is one of Portland's best live acts.
B) They will be joined by Belfast's the Class Machine, one of the best finds from Arootsakoostik.
C) The Two Series charges only a $2 cover and all beers are $2.

This show will rock your face off!

Check out Dead Man's Clothes performing at the Building of Song Festival (more footage from the Festival will be appearing soon):

testVideo DeadMansClothes from Matthew Fletcher on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Arootsakoostik Recap!

Sorry that it's been awhile since I rapped at you - Eternal Otter Records has been busy enjoying the summer. In fact, a few weeks ago we went up to "The County" for the Arootsakoostik Music Festival, and it was so great that I just have to tell you about it.

Arootsakoostik is the creation of musician and all around good guy Travis Cyr. It's been going on for a couple of years, but its August 7th 2010 date marked both its best weather and highest attendance (350 people). The event was held in New Sweden's Thomas Park and split between two stages. Many of of my favorite bands from Portland performed, including Jesse Pilgrim, Wesley Hartley & the Traveling Trees, Johnny Fountain, The Lucid, and Meghan Yates & the Reverie Machine.

Unfortunately, we showed up just a few minutes late for Meghan's set, but she received rave reviews from the rest of the festival-goers. We set up a little booth for Eternal Otter Records as Frank Hopkins and the Line Force started rocking on the main stage with some serious bass action. Next up was The Traveling Trees, one of Portland's best new live bands, and a festival highlight. The whole crowd was engaged by the bands easy shuffle and Wesley's great lyrics: "You can save this major tongue slip-up/Say that I'm sorry, grow the fuck up".

A few minutes later on the Acoustic Stage, Jesse Pilgrim started off on a solo set, but was soon joined by bandmate Andy Barbo on guitar and his girlfriend Margaret on vocals (Margaret was also selling delicious cookies throughout the festival). The set closed with Jesse's new song (written for an upcoming horror film by [dog] and [pony]) about the devil eating you from the inside out, called 666 (as in "6 shots of whiskey, 6 shots of gin, 6 shots of bourbon - let the devil on in"), with accompaniment from Jakob Battick.

In the woods behind the Acoustic Stage lurked earthcraft, comprised of Ian Paige and Matt Lajoie from Planets Around the Sun. The duo played psychedelic drone music for hours on end whether there was an audience or not - begging the question "if earthcraft plays in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" It was a great space to wander off to and let your mind take a journey into sound, with plenty of instruments on hand to join in on the communal soundscape.

Returning to the Main Stage, we had the good fortune of catching Belfast's The Class Machine, a band we were not previously familiar with. But HOLY SHIT did they rock. A lazy, but somewhat accurate comparison would be to call them Maine's The Black Keys (or perhaps Maine's Flat Duo Jets if looking to be obscure) in that they were a bluesy duo on guitar and drums. But they added an extra level of awesomeness by having their drummer also play guitar simultaneously. This extra versatility did not come off as a gimmick, just a way to make rocking songs rock harder.

Our Arootsakoostik experience ended with the always dependable Brown Bird turning in a fine set of beardy folk music. However, the show didn't officially conclude until headliners The Toughcats took the stage for an apparently incredible show, which included a performance of GnR's "Paradise City" for the encore. Musicians and audience members alike then started up the campfires and held impromptu jams into the night. But by that point we were racing the sun back to our cabin in the middle of the woods, listening to the Traveling Trees new album "Don't Peel Your Bloomers Off Just Yet", and looking forward to next year's Arootsakoostik!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Record Collector Magazine reviews Cerberus Shoal 7"

The prestigious UK magazine Record Collector has reviewed Eternal Otter Records' Cerberus Shoal 7" single in their most recent issue. It reads:

Part of Eternal Otter [Record]'s Death, Rebirth & Transformation series - dedicated to the resurrection of lost recordings - these acid-folk forays into harmony and plainsong are lifted from an unreleased suite of songs called The Ongoing Ding, committed to tape back in 2004. Capturing Cerberus Shoal's ragbag cabaret in scintillating form, these excerpts fuse plenty of abstract yip and twang. Lustful vocal incantations help forge an otherworldly flux betwixt the fired minds of agents Crosby (David) and Comus. Great find.

You can order the Cerberus Shoal single and the rest of the Death, Rebirth & Transformation series here.

Also, keep in mind that tomorrow marks the release of our 2nd vinyl series, Mystic Chords of Memory, with performances on a moving train. The show starts at 5 from the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum. Jesse Pilgrim, Samuel James, D Gross, and Over A Cardboard are all set to perform in celebration of their vinyl releases. Tickets available at Bull Moose in Portland and online here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Interview on WCSH Channel 6

Check out this interview I did the morning of July 4th for a wrap-up of the Building of Song Festival, and some information about the upcoming Eternal Otter Records Train Show.

Tickets for the Train Show are now available at Bull Moose Records or online here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tonight! Building of Song Festival Fundraiser

We are hosting a Building of Song Festival Fundraiser tonight (10 pm) at Slainte. Come down for performances by Meghan Yates, D Gross, Jakob Battick, Jesse Pilgrim, Don Dumont, Town Founder, and more! Many of the performers will also be covering songs by Leonard Cohen, the spiritual godfather of the Tower of Song/Building of Song Project. Admission is by donation and goes to supporting the performers at the Building of Song Festival.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

News Update: Building of Song

Check out this great article about Saturday's Building of Song Festival in the Portland Daily Sun.

Also take a listen to this podcast recorded on last week's Liberation by Sound. DJ Roy interviewed Alicia and me (Will) about the Festival, and our effort to raise money to pay the performers.

After you are done listening, please send us a donation through Kickstarter! We have 3 days left to raise $265.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meet the Vendors: We Are X

The Building of Song Festival is taking place Saturday, July 3rd from noon to 8 pm. Besides an absolutely incredible Line-up of musicians, the Festival will also feature an Arts Fair in Congress Square Park. We'll be profiling each of the Art Vendors every weekday between now and the Festival. We now present We Are X:

We are thrilled to welcome We Are X to the Building of Song Festival. The fashion and design collaborative recently opened a store front in the Eastland Hotel, and we hope the Festival helps bring attention to their incredible space. They offer tintypes, unique reconstructed clothing, and hand pounded copper jewelry. But you really need to see their creations to grasp how awesome they are - so come down to the Festival and discover some truly innovative art.

We Are X

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Meet the Vendors: Robyn Wiley

The Building of Song Festival is taking place Saturday, July 3rd from noon to 8 pm. Besides an absolutely incredible Line-up of musicians, the Festival will also feature an Arts Fair in Congress Square Park. We'll be profiling each of the Art Vendors every weekday between now and the Festival. We now present Robyn Wiley:

Robin is both an artist and a practitioner of Usui Reiki, a healing discipline. Her collage work, which will be on display at the Building of Song Festival, reflects a sense of unity and spirituality. Her pieces mix photography and text to present inspirational messages.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meet the Vendors: Janz Jewels

The Building of Song Festival is taking place Saturday, July 3rd from noon to 8 pm. Besides an absolutely incredible Line-up of musicians, the Festival will also feature an Arts Fair in Congress Square Park. We'll be profiling each of the Art Vendors every weekday between now and the Festival. We now present Janz Jewels:

Janet of Janz Jewels first started bending wire and soldering over 30 years ago, but other commitments forced her to put the hobby on hold. Luckily for us, she rediscovered her passion for making jewelry and has created an impressive collection of one-of-a-kind pieces. Janet primarily uses sterling silver in her designs, but also likes to use bronze and copper. Whatever the materials, her pieces are all elegant creations. As a Maine artist, she also sells only the pieces of seaglass she finds on the beautiful, sandy beaches of Maine. Come down to the Building of Song Festival and see what you find.

Janz Jewels

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meet the Vendors: CherryBelleDesigns

The Building of Song Festival is taking place Saturday, July 3rd from noon to 8 pm. Besides an absolutely incredible Line-up of musicians, the Festival will also feature an Arts Fair in Congress Square Park. We'll be profiling each of the Art Vendors every weekday between now and the Festival. We now present CherryBelleDesigns:

Twin sisters from Portland, Maine create fabulous retro-inspired cardigans. These upcycled second hand sweaters are lovingly decorated in designs from ranging from sweet and feminine to Goth! Be sure to pick one up for the Festival - perfect for breezy summer night spent listening to the Lucid!


Support Local Music

The Building of Song Festival is Saturday, July 3rd. On that day you'll be able to hear performances by some of Portland's finest musical talents, and all for Free! But we also want to help get these bands paid, so please consider donating to the Building of Song Kickstarter fund. We need to raise $700 by noon on July 3rd or we receive nothing! Even $5 helps, but $25 will get you a t-shirt! Donate now!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Meet the Vendors: DAM Fine Art

The Building of Song Festival is taking place Saturday, July 3rd from noon to 8 pm. Besides an absolutely incredible Line-up of musicians, the Festival will also feature an Arts Fair in Congress Square Park. We'll be profiling each of the Art Vendors every weekday between now and the Festival. We now present DAM Fine Art:

DAM stands for David A. Marshall, one of the most passionate champions of art in our community. Whether portraiture, still life, figure, or landscape, David's paintings are all strong in composition, color, form, and perspective. Portland is a frequent subject of his paintings, and he always brings a unique vibrancy to even the most familiar sights. Dave is also the first professional artist elected as a Portland City Councilor, and he works tirelessly to promote our City's creative energy. We are honored to host DAM Fine Art at the Building of Song Festival.

DAM Fine Art

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Meet the Vendors: Aura Ever

The Building of Song Festival is taking place Saturday, July 3rd from noon to 8 pm. Besides an absolutely incredible Line-up of musicians, the Festival will also feature an Arts Fair in Congress Square Park. We'll be profiling each of the Art Vendors every weekday between now and the Festival. We now present Aura Ever:

Aura Ever is an eclectic artist who creates and designs everything from to jewelry, to pillows, to purses, to paintings. All of these various wonderful expressions will be on sale at the Building of Song Festival. Aura Ever also demonstrates great diversity within mediums, creating paintings and illustrations that also incorporate textile design and collage work. To make her deco throw pillows and fantasy purses unique and one of a kind, Aura applies one of her illustrations onto each side and sews it into the pattern. Be sure to check out her fantastical work at this year's Building of Song Festival.

Aura Ever

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Meet the Vendors: The Last Domino

The Building of Song Festival is taking place Saturday, July 3rd from noon to 8 pm. Besides an absolutely incredible Line-up of musicians, the Festival will also feature an Arts Fair in Congress Square Park. We'll be profiling each of the Art Vendors every weekday between now and the Festival. We now present The Last Domino:

Jocelyn Kahn, a jewelry maker with a fresh perspective, is the creative force behind The Last Domino. Jocelyn makes handmade jewelry and pendants from recycled game pieces like dominoes, rummy-o’s, bingo markers, and scrabble tiles. At the Festival, Jocelyn will be joined by her friend and fellow jewelry maker, Monica, who makes handcrafted sterling silver and gold-filled findings. Check out her work below.

The Last Domino

Eternal Otter Records nominated for Entreverge Award

Eternal Otter Records is proud to be nominated for an entreverge award by Propel Portland. Propel is affiliated with the Portland Regional Chamber and is made up of young professional living and working in our City. Entreverge is a business recognition and support program that leverages the leadership of greater Portland’s economic community to build supportive relationships. Entreverge acknowledges local business which exhibit a scalable vision for the future and a long-term commitment to the people, place and prosperity of Maine.

We are honored to be among the nominees, which include such great businesses as Greener Postures, Local Sprouts, MADGirl, North Star Music Cafe, Ponoma, and the Acadia Sessions.

We'll be at tonight's Award Ceremony being held at Port City Music Hall. See you there!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Meet the Vendors: Art By Abbeth

The Building of Song Festival is taking place Saturday, July 3rd from noon to 8 pm. Besides an absolutely incredible Line-up of musicians, the Festival will also feature an Arts Fair in Congress Square Park. We'll be profiling each of the Art Vendors every weekday between now and the Festival. We now present Art by Abbeth:

Abbeth will be selling cards, posters, small framed originals, and coloring books of her work. The work is surreal, subconscious, and strange. It is edgy yet playful. Abbeth uses a variety of mediums to create these pieces. She believes that art should be for everyone, and that philosophy fits perfectly with the Building of Song's free celebration of music and creative expression. So, come down to Congress Square on July 3rd and check out Abbeth's collection of surreal (and affordable) creations.

Art by Abbeth

Monday, June 14, 2010

Meet the Vendors: Lofted Designs

The Building of Song Festival is taking place Saturday, July 3rd from noon to 8 pm. Besides an absolutely incredible Line-up of musicians, the Festival will also feature an Arts Fair in Congress Square Park. We'll be profiling each of the Art Vendors every weekday between now and the Festival. Up first, Lofted Designs:

Lori Dennis is the smiling face behind Lofted Designs, home to her inspired handcrafted jewelry and pet accessories. Lori Dennis was one of our vendors at last year's Tower of Song Festival, and we are thrilled to have her back. Most of her jewelry is crafted from natural materials, including seaglass and wood, but she also enjoys recycling vintage items (especially buttons). As the proud owner of two adorable dogs, Lori also makes an assortment of cute and humorous dog tags. Check out Lofted Designs here, and be sure to come meet Lori on Saturday, July 3rd at the Building of Song Festival - bring your dog.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Train Show Tickets Now On Sale!

Eternal Otter Records will be releasing their 2nd vinyl single series, Mystic Chords of Memory, on Saturday July 10th. We will be hosting a release show at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum to celebrate!

The event begins at 5 pm and will end around 6:30 pm. The show starts with Jesse Pilgrim & the Bonfire playing inside the museum. The audience will then board a fully operational train and roll down the tracks to the Eastern Promenade, while Sam James and D Gross perform on board. When the train rolls back into the station, the audience will be greeted by Portland's premiere nostalgia act, Over A Cardboard Sea.

Tickets are on sale now at Portland's Bull Moose Records and online right here (tickets ordered online will be held at will call). Space is extremely limited to this show - so order your tickets now! It's only $10 for the ride of a lifetime!

Also, be sure to save some extra cash for one (or all) of the 3 vinyl singles being released that day:

-Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure b/w What Comes Ashore / Lead Me Down by Jesse Pilgrim and the Bonfire
-First Train by D Gross b/w George, the One Man Carnival by Samuel James
-Down In the Subway b/w Brother, Can You Spare A Dime? by Over A Cardboard Sea

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Congratulations to Samuel James and Dead Man's Clothes

Last night at the Portland Phoenix Music Awards, Samuel James took home an award for Best R&B/Soul/Blues Act and Dead Man's Clothes won for Best New Act.

Both these artists will be playing at the Building of Song Festival on Saturday, July 3rd in Congress Square. You can donate to them (and the rest of the spectacular line-up) at Kickstarter - show your appreciation for Portland's awesome talent!

Samuel James will also be releasing a split 7" vinyl singles with D Gross (a runner-up for Best Roots Act) through Eternal Otter Records on July 10th. The single is part of the new "Mystic Chords of Memory" vinyl collection and also includes singles by Jesse Pilgrim & the Bonfire and Over A Cardboard Sea. More details about that release show very, very soon!

In the meantime, both Samuel James and Dead Man's Clothes have great shows coming up this Saturday. Samuel James will be playing at One Longfellow Square's summer solstice show, and will be accompanied by belly dancers. Dead Man's Clothes will be playing the inaugural show at Portland's new bowling alley, Bayside Bowls, as part of the Marie Stella CD release show.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Phoenix Music Awards Tonight

The Portland Phoenix is hosting their annual Music Awards tonight at Asylum. A number of acts associated with Eternal Otter Records are up for awards, including Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (Best Local Act, Best Indie Act, Best Vocalist, Best Live Act), Samuel James (Best Local Act, Best Blues Act), D Gross (Best Roots Act), Jesse Pilgrim (Best Folk Act), and Dead Man's Clothes (Best New Act). Wish them luck. Lady Lamb the Beekeeper will also be performing at the show, along with Brenda, and Holy Boys Danger Club.

If you are out on the town, you might also see our new posters for the Building of Song Festival (July 3rd). You might also see them at Baxter State Park's Chimney Pond and at the peak of Katahdin.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Donate to the Building of Song Festival Performers through Kickstarter!

Want to donate to the Building of Song Festival, but would rather see your money go to the musicians than pay for the park permit and promotion costs? Well, now you can donate directly to the performers through Kickstarter. And you still get a cool Building of Song T-Shirt for donations of $25 or more. All money raised through Kickstarter will go to the musicians (and to paying off the costs of the T-shirts and other donation rewards).

Kickstarter works a little differently than regular donation sites. If we raise our goal of $700 by July 3rd, everything is good and we keep the money we raised. But if we don't reach our goal by our deadline, than none of our donors are charged and our performers don't get paid. But let's not have that happen!

Donate at Kickstarter now! And if you really want to help, donate to us at Eternal Otter Records here, so we don't go broke paying for all our permits, posters, and publicity. The event is free, so we got to make money somehow!

The Building of Song Festival is Saturday, July 3rd in Portland's Congress Square and features this amazing line-up of musicians:

The Lucid
Town Founder
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
Over A Cardboard Sea
Samuel James
Jesse Pilgrim
Dead Man's Clothes
Uke of Spaces Corners
Meghan Yates & the Reverie Machine

There will also be an awesome Arts Fair in Congress Square during the Festival. Be there!

Building of Song T-Shirts Now Available!

The Building of Song T-Shirts are now available from Eternal Otter Records. The shirts were designed by Kris Johnsen of Emblem Studios and printed by the Tristan Gallagher at the Fun Box Monster Emporium. These guys are great, so check out their businesses and Buy Local!

You can get a T-shirt mailed to you now by donating $25 to the Building of Song Festival here.

Mens Tees are white with Red collars. Womens tees are Sun color.

The Building of Song Festival is Saturday, July 3rd from noon to 8 pm.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Building of Song Festival - Line-Up Announcement

The Building of Song of Song Festival will take place Saturday, July 3rd from noon to 8 pm. The event will pick up from where last year's Tower of Song Festival left off, with an Arts Fair in Congress Square and live music throughout the day. Performances will take place both in Congress Square and 5-stories above the street from the State Theatre Building. The Festival is free and open to the public. Check out the Festival's incredible line-up:

Noon - 12:30: Meghan Yates & the Reverie Machine
12:35 - 1:05: Uke of Spaces Corners
1:10 - 1:55: Dead Man's Clothes

1:55 - 2:40: Break

2:40 - 3:10: Jesse Pilgrim
3:15 - 3:45: Samuel James
3:50 - 4:35: Over A Cardboard Sea

4:35- 5:20: Break

5:20 - 6:05: Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
6:10 - 6:55: Town Founder
7:00 - 8:00: The Lucid

More information about the Festival can be found here, including donation links, and information on how to apply to be an arts vendor (we still have just a handful of spots left).

Check out this video of Samuel James and Chriss Sutherland playing live from last year's Tower of Song Festival. Video by [dog] and [pony], Portand's best filmmakers.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blaque Boose Review

The good people over at Ampeater recently wrote a review of the Blaque Boose 7" single from the Death, Rebirth & Transformation series. Here's a choice quote:

"[A-side "Winter] is like being caught in a hurricane in the middle of a haunted pine forest, half-nature and half-magic. The track engulfs you in a thicket of tortured harmonies, a sound collage rendered out of wind and breaking branches and shredded bark. It doesn’t get rawer."

Check out the full review here. The record can be purchased directly from Ampeater or here at the Eternal Otter Records website.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Show Review

Check out this great review of the two shows I recommended on Monday - Lady Lamb the Beekeeper @ Port City Music Hall & Dead Man's Clothes @ SPACE. Read it here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Two Great Shows Tonight!

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper opens up for the much loved Dr. Dog tonight at Port City Music. Door open at 8 pm and tickets are $18. More info here.

Or... head over to SPACE Gallery to see the excellent Dead Man's Clothes open for Drink Up Buttercup(like Dr. Dog, these cats are also from Philadelphia). Door open at 6:30 and tickets are $6. More info here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Interview with the Deli Magazine

The Deli Magazine recently ran an interview with me about Eternal Otter Records. Check it out here.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Updates, Updates, Updates

Lots of good news from Eternal Otter Records recently. First off, we were recently featured in a Free Press article about Portland record labels - check it out here.

There are also a lot of great Eternal Otter Records-approved shows coming up over the next few days. Tomorrow (Wednesday), SPACE Gallery is hosting a Johnny Cash tribute night to benefit prison literacy programs. Jesse Pilgrim (nominee for Best Folk Act in the Phoenix's Best Music Poll) will be playing a number of Cash Classics with his band The Bonfire. Also expect an appearance by Waisely "Scar" Lighthead, Panda Bandit. More info here.

Also on Wednesday, Johnny Fountain & Dominic Lavoie launch their West Coast Tour. Check the sidebar to see their upcoming dates. I'm sure they'll be looking for a place to sleep and a warm meal from time to time, too - so help these traveling musicians out! And take the chance to see these great Portland acts outside their natural habitat.

On Thursday, back in Portland, our good friends in Dead Man's Clothes (nominee for Best New Act in the BMP) will be participating in the Live and Local taping; They will perform at EMPIRE and the show will be taped for public broadcast. Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (nominee for Best Local Act) will play the Saturday May 1st show, also at EMPIRE. More info here.

On Sunday, we'll be taking a week off from the Red Telephone to participate in our first vinyl vendor sale. Novares Res, Portland's Best Bar, is hosting a "Vinyl Education" featuring various vinyl vendors (including Eternal Otter Records). The event is also a fundraiser for schools in Tanzania. So, come out and support a good cause, drink some beer, and pick up some cool records! More info here.

Don't forget to keep voting in the Phoenix's Best Music Poll. Vote now.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Eternal Otter Records Bootleg!

The Eternal Otter Records Bootleg is now available at Bull Moose Records in celebration of Record Store Day. Copies are limited to six handpackaged albums. The album is FREE with your purchase of "The Death, Rebirth & Transformation" vinyl single series.

Get it while you can! See post below for more information.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Record Store Day!!!

Tomorrow is Record Store Day across the nation, and if you live in Portland, Maine, you can take advantage of a great special offer.

Head down to the Bull Moose Records this Saturday (April 17th) and pick up a copy of Eternal Otter Records' "Death, Rebirth & Transformation" vinyl single series; when you do, you will receive a FREE copy of THE ETERNAL OTTER RECORDS "BOOTLEG": SPACE 1.29.10

THE "BOOTLEG" features performances from January's vinyl release party at SPACE Gallery. The songs were recorded by [dog] and [pony] and edited by Patrick Dennis. Here is the amazing track list:

1. Falling Down in Portland, Maine - Jesse Pilgrim & the Bonfire
2. Ghost Town - Jesse Pilgrim & the Bonfire
3. By the Beautiful Sea - Over A Cardboard Sea
4. Leaning on a Lamp Post - Over A Cardboard Sea
5. Hummingbird - D Gross
6. Path of Ashes (Samuel James cover) - Panda Bandits
7. Don't Cast Me Out - Moses Atwood
8. The Sun - Blaque Boose
9. Mary Jude - Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
10. Almond Colored Sheets - Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
11. Penny Licks - Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

Not only does this album rock from top to bottom, but it also captures Lady Lamb the Beekeeper's final performance as duo - with Aly Spaltro and TJ Metcalfe (now of Dead Man's Clothes) reuniting specifically for this show.

So, go down to Bull Moose this Saturday, pick up Eternal Otter Records first vinyl single series (which includes mesmerizing songs by Cerberus Shoal, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, and Blaque Boose), and walk away with this revelatory document of Portland's music scene.

What? You don't live in Portland? You can still get your hands on this special release! Order the complete "Death, Rebirth & Transformation" series online at by May 7th, and we'll include a copy of the EOR BOOTLEG with your order.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Best Music Poll

It's time to vote in The Phoenix's Best Music Poll. There are a number of great Eternal Otter Records related artists nominated across a variety of categories:

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
is up for "Best Local Act", "Best Female Vocalist", "Best India Act", and "Best Live Act". Buy her album "Samples for Handsome Animals" on Lady Lamb the Beekeeper - For Handsome Animals . Or mail order her vinyl single "Sunday Shoes" here.

Although Cerberus Shoal has long since disbanded, their individual members continue to have a major impact on Portland's music scene. Dilly Dilly is up for "Best Album", Chriss Sutherland for "Best Folk Act", and "Big Blood" for Best Category-Defying Act. Order the Cerberus Shoal vinyl single series here. You can also catch Big Blood live this Saturday at the Apohadion.

A number of the musicians featured in Eternal Otter Records' upcoming vinyl single series "Mystic Chords of Memory" are up for various awards:

Jesse Pilgrim for "Best Folk Act".
Samuel James is up for "Best Local Act", "Best Album", and "Best Blues Act".
Dana Gross is up for "Best Roots Act".

Building of Song mainstay performer Dominic Lavoie (of the Lucid) is up for "Best Male Vocalist"; the Lucid is also up for "Best Pop-Rock Act".

Frequent Panda Bandits-collaborators Dead Man's Clothes are up for "Best New Act". Expect to find more about their upcoming release on this blog in the near future.

Vote here! You can vote daily.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Check out this review of the Cerberus Shoal 7" single!

Ampeater Music, a great review site dedicated to off-the-radar music, has posted a lovely review of the Cerberus Shoal 7" (Tailor of Graves/Hymn) - one of the releases from Eternal Otter Record's recent "Death, Rebirth & Transformation" vinyl single series. Check it out here.

Here are some choice quotes:

"If most of the music that hits your ears was made somewhere along the L train, now’s the time to perk up and pay attention, because there’s something special happening up north."

"Tailor of Graves” sets course on such a comfortable trajectory that it’s a genuine surprise when the song twice builds to extraordinary tension, only to slip effortlessly back into familiar territory. This careful balance between experimental and folk influences make Cerberus Shoal both immediately likable and pervasively unsettling. Both lines run concurrently through “Tailor of Graves,” earning it a spot as a perennial favorite on my turntable these past couple weeks."

You can also purchase singles from the "Death, Rebirth & Transformation" series directly from the Ampeater site or from our own newly launched site.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Building of Song Tonight

It's the First Friday of a glorious April. It's also the return of Building of Song with performances by our favorites, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and Dominic Lavoie. Come down to Congress Square to soak in their songs, or head to the 5th Floor of the Congress Building (142 High St) to watch them play up close and personal. Donations welcome.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dark Dark Dark Rain Rain Rain

Well, after a little vacation, Eternal Otter Records just got back to Portland, but the sky is dark and the rain falls endlessly.

However, that doesn't mean that there aren't still great things to do in the city. The awesome indie-folk collective Dark Dark Dark is rolling through our town today. Their new EP- Bright Bright Bright- is absolutely excellent. First, they will be stopping to play DJ Roy's Liberation by Sound at 4 pm. Listen here.

Next, you can catch them in-person at SPACE Gallery tonight with one of our favorite local acts- Dark UrrrU (comprised of members of Big Blood and Brother Oak).

There's also lot more in store this week, with a performance by Chriss Sutherland's flamenco-inspired Olas on Thursday, also at SPACE Gallery. And the weather should break and the sun should shine just in time for the First Friday Art Walk and the return of the Building of Song.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Where have we been?

So, I know it's been awhile since I've last posted to the blog, but that doesn't mean that nothing is happening over at Eternal Otter Records- quite the contrary. What's in store for Spring?

First, if you need a reminder, we now have the Death, Rebirth & Transformation vinyl series in stores all across Portland- including:

Madgirl World. Madgirl World is a really awesome clothing and design store on Commercial Street (they currently have a fashion display at Port City Music), and they have also setup a great listening station for local music (so you can actually spin the records before you buy them.

Strange Maine & Time-Lag Records. Offbeat record stores (and more) that - one above, one below.

You can also buy the entire series as a hemp-bound set at Bull Moose Records. For our Portsmouth friends, you can find the records at Odessey & Oracle in Portsmouth (on Fleet St across from Friendly Toast)

We'll keep expanding the availability of the records, but if you can't make it to Portland or (Portsmouth), the series can be ordered by mail order here.

Also, coming up soon is the release of the second Eternal Otter Records Vinyl Single Series, "Mystic Chords of Memory". This collection includes new songs from Portland's Neo-Americana scene, featuring Jesse Pilgrim, Dana Gross, Samuel James, and Over A Cardboard Sea. You'll be hearing a lot more about this series as we get closer to the release date.

Earlier this month we also hosted what might have been our best Building of Song yet! It started with an experimental "Chakra Ledge" performance by Matthew Lajoie (founder of the extraordinary l'animaux tryst label), which used various sounds and instrumentation to chart a course through the human body - it started at the feet with improvisational drumming and ended at the head with the ringing of bells. Meghan Yates & the Reverie Machine followed next and held Portland spellbound with their otherworldly melodies. Finally, Dominic Lavoie (joined by Lajoie on electric guitar) gave a loose but riveting performance. Dominic's band, the Lucid, also just played a show at the EMPIRE last night after a long break and will be releasing their third album this springs- Garlands for the Conqueror.

Our radio show, The Red Telephone, also recently hosted a live performance by psych-rockers Planets Around the Sun. We'll be debuting a spiffy new website soon, and we'll post sample tracks from all 18 of our Red Telephone sessions! Stay tuned. In the meantime, you can check out our next show tomorrow from 10 am to Noon (ET), right here.

Finally, since I always like to pass on tips about good shows, welcome in the season with the Spring Equinox show at SPACE, featuring two of my favorite bands - Big Blood & Uke of Space Corners.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Portland's "Most Influential"

I'm very honored to be named by the Phoenix as one of Portland's "Most Influential Movers & Shakers" for the work I've done with Tower of Song and Eternal Otter Records. I started these projects because I love this city and wanted to properly showcase its many talents, so I'm glad that they have been recognized as a vital contribution to our local culture.

Also, these projects couldn't have succeeded without the help of many dedicated and creative supporters, some of whom were also recognized by the Phoenix, including Aly Spaltro (Lady Lamb the Beekeeper), Bryan Bruchman (who has given us lots of great publicity through his hillytown blog), and Kris Johnsen (who has designed a number of posters and album covers for us). Even more people were left off, but are equally deserving of attention, including John Fountain, Alicia Sampson, Roy Ghim (Liberation by Sound on WMPG), [dog] and [pony], Dominic Lavoie, and many others.

In any event, Eternal Otter Records plans on continuing its efforts to celebrate Portland's music. The Phoenix is also hosting a reception tonight at Bull Feeney's around 7 pm - hope to see you there.