At the drugstore

Wax tablet
By PORTLAND PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  May 16, 2013

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Coke Weed
 

The first reaction we had listening to a debut five song cassette by mysterious noise pop artist ACID SMOKER is that it's faithful Panda Bear worship: clean, bright, Beach Boys-y vocal melodies peeking out over walls of electronic noise. But the release, titled VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV and dubbed onto the A-sides of old pop and country cassettes, really does diverge in crucial ways. Acid Smoker's tracks are less concerned with rhythm as an animating factor, and so their energy comes from the wealth of timbres battling each other for attention. Lots of found sounds wriggle into the mix, particularly on "Take a Look," when a sample of a child's voice is looped into a sort of hypnotic nursery rhyme. And "Phone Feed" is like a punk song mapped out with stabbing synth lines and a chintzy drum machine, over which the vocals soar higher than ever. A noisy effort for sure, but not at all punishing. VVV... trades in some recognizable lo-fi pop forms and manages to twist out a few new ideas as well. Check it out at acidsmoker.bandcamp.com.

The Bar Harbor psych-rock band COKE WEED dropped a new single this week, the first for their forthcoming record Back to Soft, expected this summer. It's called "Blue Flag," and foretells good times ahead for the group's third effort. Like many of their songs, "Blue Flag" rides a sleepy, stonerish riff, with Nina D.'s dreamy vocals hovering somewhere between serene and creepy. That formula can sometimes lead a song to nowhere, but not so with "Blue Flag," the vibe of which contains a strange urgency often absent from their early recordings. Nina's vocals have never been stronger, and the video perfectly captures the song's mesmerizing, slow-burn intensity. Looking forward to hearing the rest.

An incredible crop of metal, crust punk, doom, and otherwise heavy bands turn up on a nasty new comp out of Boston titled SealbeardS, named after a DIY venue that was shut down last fall. The digital-only collection contains an original track each from 50 different artists — among them Maine groups EASTERN SPELL, PAIGE TURNER, and HEAVY BREATHING — which makes it pretty hard to ignore. Is this the definitive state of the union for noxious New England thrash? Perhaps. Without a central venue, the SealbeardS collective still book shows at various locations around Boston, which has a long and proud history of scenes just like this. Visit sealbeards.bandcamp.com.

  Topics: New England Music News , Coke Weed, Paige Turner, Heavy Breathing
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