Musical Fridays: Maine Artists

by Richard Southard, The River editor

Last week, as I was writing the post “Music from WUMF”, I began to think about the great local artists that we have received music from over the years. Rather than decide which ones I would include, I decided to hold off and make a devoted post about them (since I have more than enough to include).

When I was once talking to a friend about local music in our station, he asked if all we received was country and folk. While we do receive a lot of those genres (especially folk), the actual variety we’ve received has been quite surprising. Maine’s music community is about as complex and diverse as just about any other. I had to restrain myself from simply making a post with just some great electronic producers. As always, I’ll be giving a variety.

I’m only including artists who’s careers began in Maine. If their projects began elsewhere, but transitioned to Maine, I won’t be counting it for this time (although, I am happy they decided to move to this wonderful state).

The Restless Atlantic – Post-Hardcore

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The Restless Atlantic, like most of the artists on this list, hail from Portland. Unlike the others, they are only band of these five that I have seen live. Hearing their sound develop over the years has been interesting, but they have  stuck close to the post-hardcore style. They blend elements of alternative, punk, and a variety of fast tempos and hard riffs. Their debut album, Chasm, has been out for a few years now, but the group is still well active, and has been releasing various singles and EPs ever since.

Endless Jags – Indie Rock, Psych Rock

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Endless Jags is a large rock group from Portland, sticking to an echoey indie rock style. However, some of their tracks do provide more of a psych rock style, with some of the instrumental effects and various grooves. The vocals are often echoey, moving along with the instruments in extended layers. Some of the vocals have reminded me of The Black Angels, but don’t be too mislead by that. The music here is certainly unique, and continues to be as the sextet releases single after single. Their debut album, Sell the Banquet, would be a good place to start with them, if you’re interested.

Of the Trees – Electronic, EDM

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Of the Trees has been an artist I’ve admired since my high-school EDM phase, where everything I listened to was drum and bass, dubstep, and house music. Even after losing interest in many of my past favorites, Of the Trees has remained because of his great variety and quality. His Vacationland EP is a great place to start, as one can see this variety come out in only four tracks. His other releases, such as Dream Atlas and Duat, are still awesome.

Crunk Witch – Electronic, Electro-Pop

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I tried to refrain from keeping two of the same genre in this post, but Crunk Witch is worth mentioning regardless of the circumstances. While the duo is electronic, they are a completely different style from an artist like From the Trees. For one, there are vocals, and they are excellent. The harmonies the duo creates, with the different beats and synths, bring together tracks that are catchy, groovy, or otherwise great to go along to. If you’re interested, look no further than Heartbeats In Hyperspace (although their other projects are still great). This duo has been a long time favorite for many DJs at WUMF, and it’s easy to see why.

GoldenOak – Folk, Indie

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Earlier, I voiced that there is much more to Maine music than folk. However, there is still plenty of folk that is good, and GoldenOak is a prime example. Everything you would want from a folk band is here; defined acoustic sounds, great vocal harmonies, and an all-around warm, easy going sound. Their style takes a lot of inspiration from Maine’s coasts, where most of the band originates from. Foxgloves is their newest release, and what I consider to be some of their best tracks so far.

 

There are also several pop-punk bands that I have omitted, mostly for the sake of variety. Acadia (from Portland), Vidals (Randolph), and Better Than (actually from my hometown, Gray), are all worth checking out as well. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them all live, as they were part of WUMF’s Battle of the Bands over the past few years. Each of them have been acts to remember.

While we’re on the subject of Battle of the Bands, I’d like to also make a shout for No Sudden Movements, a band that performed last year. While they’re not from Maine (Athol, Massachusetts, actually), they gave an excellent performance that has kept me following their music. They’re still around New England, so I’ll give the “Maine only” rule a pass for them.

As always, thanks for the read. Next week, I might do a bit of a change and go with a more conversational post (such as a post on a particular topic or idea in music). Still working on the idea for that, though. Until next time, enjoy the music.