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• Attention bands on the cusp: the PORTLAND MUSIC FOUNDATION is assembling seven local groups to play a Portland Music Showcase at this year's CMJ FESTIVAL in New York. Of course, it's Portland's second dalliance with the event: last year HILLYTOWN and ETERNAL OTTER teamed to bring FOAM CASTLES, MARIE STELLA, DEAD MAN'S CLOTHES, THE LUCID, THE CLASS MACHINE, GOOD KIDS SPROUTING HORNS, and HOLY BOYS DANGER CLUB to play Brooklyn's Trash Bar. But where last year's bands were hand-selected; this year's will be chosen by a PMF committee, which leaves Portland bands considering that perpetual dilemma. We know that when future fans download a documentary of your band's career in 2033, you're going to want it to tell the story of how you stormed the dimlit clubs of New York City without anyone's help, just using the unblemished strength of your own rock swagger, and when after your first show at some L.E.S. dive Richard Hell approached to tell you he liked your stuff, you just stared back at him dispassionately like he was some Midwestern senator, etc., but this could be a good offer. It's up to you to decide whether this alliance with the PMF (you have to be a member to be in the running; see for more info) is practical and compelling enough to get you to bust through your own rock fantasy, or whether it's better and more noble to push forward on your own terms here, haggling every month or so with the sound guy at Geno's for just a bit more vocals in the monitors. Interested parties must submit entries before September 9.

ARBOREA continue their mission to become Maine's most internationally appreciated band while still remaining relatively under wraps locally. The avant-folk duo's latest LP, Red Planet, was reviewed in glowing terms to highlight MOJO magazine's Vinyl Countdown section.

• Off-kilter art space venues are where it's at. THE OAK AND THE AX in Biddeford, BUOY GALLERY in Kittery, and of course, SPACE and the APOHADION in Portland have each been cultivating the fringes of the music scene for a little while now, but we could always use more. We haven't yet seen the inner dimensions of the HIVE, a new arts-collective venue in Kennebunk (84 Main St), but we think that town has been ripe for some weirdness for a while now. The Hive's upcoming events include shows by the DARK FOLLIES vaudeville troupe, a DEAN FORD/ZACH JONES acoustic bro-down (this Saturday), and a lit reading by an agnostic novelist (SETH LEPORE's Losing My Religion). The buzz looks legit, and the Hive has immediately vaulted up our list of places to check out.

• Finally, 86 FOOD FIGHT, for now. The restaurant-band competition night has been bumped from its originally scheduled August 28 date 'til October or beyond. A bit sad, but we're pretty sure this will eventually get done, and it seems like more of a off-season activity anyway...

  Topics: New England Music News , Music, Dark Follies, Dark Follies,  More more >
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