The Ax to fall

The Wax Tablet
By PORTLAND PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  August 7, 2014
>> Some somber, sobering news to emerge out of Biddeford: the Oak and the Ax is closing its doors at the end of September, ending its run as one of the most interesting music venues/cultural resistance parlors in southern Maine. Founded by Greg and Kristin Jamie, the Ax has hosted a fearless number of shows over the last four years, generally three or four a week, offering a crucial just-outside-of-Portland location for touring national acts (Amen Dunes, Daniel Higgs, MV & EE, HUMANWINE, Brown Bird, Michael Hurley, Cass McCombs, Chris Pureka, etc.), remote Mainers (Taboo, Ancestral Diet, When Particles Collide, Jacob Augustine, Coke Weed), and countless Portland artists (Herbcraft, Dave Gutter, Lisa/Liza, the Ghost of Paul Revere, Samuel James—you name it). For artists and audiences alike, it’s been a luxury having this intimate theater 20 minutes away from the city. Yet before we sink too deeply into lamentations, Jamie hopes to open another incarnation of the club in Portland next year. And there’s still a full schedule through the summer—including shows by Audrey Ryan (Aug 7), Mount Eerie (Sep 19), and a screening of local artist/filmmaker John Fireman’s scintillating feature Sigrid on her 14th Birthday (Aug 15)—before a big finish the last weekend of September, where an outdoor festival hosts performances by favorites Big Blood, Diane Cluck, Plains, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, and more. Visit theoakandtheax.com for details.
>> Listen, death is only the beginning. That explains Post Mortem Portland, a new Portland-centric metal blog started by photographer and writer Ben McCanna. Post Mortem bills itself as a “photographic account of heavy music in Portland, Maine”—one of those things you didn’t realize was lacking until it’s there. But photos notwithstanding, he’s undertaken the ambitious project of compiling a “master list” of every heavy band in greater Portland, active or otherwise, and is soliciting community help. McCanna has set some stipulation for what makes it on the list, some of it logical (bands must have played at least two shows); some subjective (no punk, hip hop, or indie-rock crossovers); some rigorous (bands must have at least 100 Facebook followers). We can think of about twenty people off the top of our heads who would spend weeks geeking out about something like this. Visit postmortemportland.wordpress.com or follow the witty and astute Twitter feed @postmortemPWM for more info.
>> We never really weighed in on this self-titled Greef album from last fall; thankfully its dour and mostly gorgeous folk experimentalism hasn’t gotten old. Seven tracks of dizzy, gut-punching song snippets, found sound, and hazy instrumental tinkering from the fine tastes of Butcher Boy’s Pete Swegart. Definitely a personal, lo-fi affair, and one that really pulls together several conflicting moods. Map it out at greef.bandcamp.com.
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