February 18, 2010

10 bands to watch

Our annual survey of the thriving and diverse Portland music scene suggests these bands and/or solo artists are well worth a stop, look and listen.

(Continued from page 1)

— S.B.


The words “Wells” and “rapper” do not flow easily together. But long ago, we got over the awkward idea that credible rap music can emanate from anywhere in York County. Spose has made a believer of us all.

“I’m Awesome” has helped. The song was a monster regional radio hit this winter, and for good reason. It’s fun, infectious and entirely self-effacing. On the song, Spose takes liberties with himself, putting all his faults out there for the world to see. Call him the humble rapper.

Spose and Sidecar Radio play an all-ages show at 6 p.m. and a 21-and-older show at 9 p.m. Feb. 27 at Empire Dine and Dance in Portland. For information, visit www.myspace.com/spizzyspose.

— B.K.


Sounds like a group, but it’s actually one person, Erin Olivia Davidson. She’s got a wide variety of experience playing in Portland bands, including in Cerberus Shoal and with Sontiago. She also plays a huge variety of instruments on stage, from eight-string ukulele, banjo and guitar to bass, violin, drums and musical saw.

Davidson has been playing solo around Portland since 2005, and is venturing outside of Maine as well. She was scheduled to play a club in New York’s East Village this week, and in March, she’ll be heading to Los Angeles. For more information and audio clips, go to dillydillymusic.com.

— R.R.


Neo-soul artist Kenya Hall moved to Maine from Ohio nine years ago. The 30-year-old singer sang a lot of covers while she lived in Hallowell, but has been pursuing original music hard since moving to Portland.

Hall and her band – bassist Josh Robbins, drummer Chas Lester, keyboardist Frank Hopkins and guitarist Calvin McIlwain – are working on their debut album, which features all-original music. Look for the album to be released in late this spring or early summer. Go to www.reverbnation.com/kenyahallband to learn more.

Hall and her band are opening for Miss Fairchild at the Big Easy in Portland on Saturday. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $6. This is a 21-and-older show. Go to www.bigeasyportland.com for information.

— S.B.


This indie rock band, with members all in their mid-20s, spent the last year or so “playing every club in Portland.” But they took time out last fall to record an EP with producer Jonathan Wyman, “The Boo Box.” The EP-release party will be March 13 at Empire Dine and Dance in Portland.

The EP showcases the band’s influences, from Queens of the Stone Age and the Replacements to My Morning Jacket. Band members include Nathan Cyr (bass), Michael “Miek” Rodrigue (vocals, guitar), Zach Jones (guitar, not the same Zach Jones featured elsewhere in this story), and Dan Capaldi (drums). For more information, go to holyboysdangerclub.com.

— R.R.


Gunther Brown’s music is earthy, eloquent and entirely honest. The four-piece band from Portland reminds one of early Jayhawks, with maybe a touch of Wilco. It’s Americana music, with roots that spread to folk, rock and old-time country.

Members includes Pete Dubuc on vocals and guitar, Ethan Gamage on bass, Derek Mills on drums and Chris Devlin on keyboards.
You’ve got two chances to catch Gunther Brown soon. The band plays an all-ages show at 8 p.m. Sunday at the North Star Music Cafe in Portland and at 8 p.m. March 17 at Run of the Mill in Saco. For details and other information, visit www.guntherbrown.com.

— B.K.


Baltic Sea has been playing and writing in one form or another since 2001, although the band’s focus became sharper in 2005. The group plays edgy, experimental rock. The sound is atmospheric, progressive and sometimes psychedelic.

Band members include Todd Hutchisen on vocals, guitar and keyboards; Jeremy Smith on bass; Ray Suhy on guitar; and Nate Johnson on guitar and keyboard.

The band’s debut record, “Through Scenic Heights and Days Regrets,” is available now. For details, visit thebalticsea.net.

— B.K.

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