Mike O’Hehir of Coyote Island Photo by Emily Sawchuck. 

Over the past three-plus months of the pandemic, there’s been quite a bit of productivity that’s happened despite and as a result of the haze of gloom over the world right now. Decks have been built, gardens have been planted, fancy meals have been cooked and closets have been reorganized. And a whole bunch of new music has come out of Maine musicians who have been tapping into their creativity to produce some tracks that are worthy of your ears. I’ve got four acts that I’m excited to tell you about.

Coyote Island is the latest project from Mike O’Hehir. You may recognize his name from his former band, Old Soul. The first Coyote Island single, “Here Before,” is an indie folk tune that’s got a reggae chillness to it but also a pop vibe and O’Hehir’s sleepy yet captivating vocals.

O’Hehir was born in Reading, England, but came to the U.S. as a child and grew up mostly in Kennebunk. His current home is an old farmhouse in Biddeford. O’Hehir said “Here Before” is the first of several new songs he’ll be putting out this summer that diverge from what he described as his usual “melancholic folk songs.”

“I feel like what the world needs is to be lifted up, not brought down. That was the catalyst for me to start approaching songs with a higher vibration, a tempo with more life, and lyrics guided by a stream of consciousness rather than what rhymes or sounds cool,” he said.

To hear “Here Before,” head to coyoteislandmusic.com.

The Asthmatic, AKA Sigrid Harmon Photo courtesy of the artist

The Asthmatic is the moniker used by Sigrid Harmon who released her first studio album in April called “Strange Tongues.” I first heard The Asthmatic at Maine Academy of Music’s MAMM Slam student band competitions and their Girls’ Rock Showcases about four or so years ago. Harmon, now 21, turned in jaw-dropping performances at both events, and when she reached out about “Strange Tongues,” I had to smile when she asked if I remembered her. Of course I did.

As for the name, it’s literal; Harmon is indeed asthmatic. Her lungs, however, sure can release plenty of sound in her unique brand of music that’s nearly impossible to describe. One attempt: experimental weirdness constructed on a foundation of wild electronic sounds, along with bass, guitar and drums. Or maybe Bjork meets Yoko Ono. You have to hear it to understand, and you can do that at theasthmatic1.bandcamp.com.

“Strange Tongues” has 18 tracks, some less than a minute long and one at over 6 minutes. “India” stands out with its mesmerizing pulse and dense keys. The Asthmatic’s music might not be for everyone, but no one else sounds quite like her and I’ll be curious to see where that takes her. Harmon was born in Boston, lived in Rhode Island for a bit and has been in Maine since fourth grade. She currently lives in Gorham.

An Overnight Low Photo by Jessica Warner

An Overnight Low is the clever Portland-based indie rock trio of Chad Walls (bass, percussion), Sam Anderson (vocals, guitar) and Ted Warner (vocals, guitar, keys, percussion). They’re releasing the single “New Fascinations” on Thursday, and since that just so happens to be my birthday, I’m accepting it as a nifty gift. The song was recorded while the bandmates stayed socially distant, standing outside the studio window to record their parts. Cars were used as vocal booths. The end result is another sonic feather in the band’s cap as “New Fascinations” is a pop-rock sparkler that’s polished to just the right sheen and is nothing less than a pleasure to listen to.

The Jacob James Bill Trevaskis, left, and Jacob Greenlaw, right. Photo by Claire Donnelly

The Jacob James is the rock and power pop act from the island of North Haven. Jacob Greenlaw is on lead vocals, drums and bass, and Bill Trevaski plays guitar, sings and produced the bands self-titled debut album, released on June 16.

Greenlaw wrote most of the album during a winter spent in Savannah, Georgia, and its songs represent a period of growth for him. Tracks like the full throttle “Is It Enough,” the introspective (and darn catchy) “Lonely Too” and the 70s-sounding “I Want You to Feel Bad” highlight the albums themes of confusion, fear of change, sobriety and acceptance of life.

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