• Feelin' a little behind the curve on this one, but we caught a set by ROYAL HAMMER last week and have to make note. Whoa. Deep, entrancing reggae with thudding bass, syrupy rich horns, and powerful party vibes that don't wake the frat house. We now see why they seem to have a show every week of the summer. Their act seems to be a crucial ingredient to a memorable night, even for fair-weather reggae fans.
• There's a very fresh new band in town called HIGH SPIRITS, and we can't explain why, but they look like the sort of group that people can get behind. Slow, dirgy, kinda dubby and witchy punk songs with spacey guitar riffs and a lot of personality. Visit highspirits.bandcamp.com for a skeletal instrumental record sans vocals, but we'd recommend sniffing around for a live appearance.
• Here it is July and still no real word on when the Empire's gonna re-open. Looks like it'll have to be sometime before September though, as the trippy California post-rock band El Ten Eleven are slated to return for a show there on 9/12. Meanwhile, the PORT CITY MUSIC HALL— now officially a subsidiary venue of the State Theatre — celebrates a "grand re-opening" with a show August 2nd, converging a small army of non-mainstream (and mostly local) acts like house DJ IAN HAMMOND, post-metal actionists AWAAS, and the band Soule Monde, who have some vague connection to Phish. It'll be good to have the arts district night life firing on all cylinders again.
• Though he lives here no longer, we don't mind giving the progress of ZACH JONES's new album campaign a nudge. The songwriter moved to Los Angeles after the release of last year's impressive soul revival record Things Were Better, and is trying to polish off a follow-up at pledgemusic.com/zachjones. Meanwhile, he's back in town for a bit, playing an outdoor park in Biddeford July 10 and a set with Joe Gallant at Brunswick's Frontier Café July 12. Truly one of the nicest dudes in the music scene while he was here, we wish him sustained success.
: New England Music News
, Zach Jones, Port City Music Hall, ROYAL HAMMER, More