• The rascally boys of THEODORE TREEHOUSE have been recording an EP follow-up to their lauded 2010 debut, Mercury: Closest to the Sun, this month in New Hampshire's Rocking Horse Studios. No word yet on title or theme, but for those who agree with us that Mercury was one of the nimblest, most unorthodox, and best rock records of the Portland tween years, any next step will do.
• Lotta Mainers chipping in for COVER YOUR FRIENDS, a call-and-response archive of folk singers doing one another's songs. A pretty awesome (and awesomely simple) idea either started or massively propelled by CONNOR GARVEY, Cover Your Friends (online-only at coveryourfriends.com) began December 5 with a chain of eight videos of independent singer-songwriters performing intimate renditions of each other's tunes, with links provided for more info. Garvey's big on the romantic idea of the folk troubadour, one who uses music as a vehicle for ceaseless traveling to parts unknown, so a nifty model like this certainly seems like it's got his stamp. At any rate, he's contributed to three of the four rounds. Garvey covers RJ Cowdery (Columbus, Ohio), Raina Rose (Austin, Texas), and good ol' PUTNAM SMITH (of Portland, who in turn takes on Nate Spencer of Asheville, North Carolina). Other local contributors include JOHN MALLOY, BEN FOSTER, CRAIG WERTH, and RANDALL WILLIAMS. Though we're not sure it's by design, the project has been folk-only so far, and artists are encouraged to submit.
• Our Tab last week on the PETE KILPATRICK BAND must have been floated to someone important: we've been told the blue-eyed soul group's "By Your Side" made it onto an episode of The Office last week (the US version, of course). They're off to play the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and we're crossing our fingers a collab with Ricky Gervais is in the cards by summer.
• PHANTOM BUFFALO, who might be described as Theodore Treehouse's older sonic cousins, are planning to release their forthcoming album this spring through Microcultures, a French label operating by progressive crowdsourcing principles. Tadaloora, which bandleader Jon Balzano-Brookes pledges will be "warm," was recorded last August by Jonathan Wyman, and is slated to be the band's fourth full-length. Microcultures is soliciting interest (and funding!) now at microcultures.fr/tadaloora/, where the label explains its philosophy of "participative production." C'est fantastique!