OVER A CARDBOARD SEA
• One of our favorite new groups, THE COALSACK IN CRUX, just slapped some primal tuneage up on the web. Taking us way back to the raw, bellyhowling sounds of Laughing Hyenas and Gun Club, the band's Soundcloud page contains rough-and-ready versions of two of their most recognizable songs, "Fathers of Ancient Love" and "Blackeyed Beauty," the latter of which rides on one of the surliest riffs written in all of 2011. Ex-member factor is high (Conifer, the Chickadees, Down to Kill, Batshelter, and AoK Suicide Forest), but CIC's noisy, bluesy, screwed-up rock and roll dwells in a terrain we can't say anything else in Portland does. Howl with them at Geno's next Friday the 13th with WHIP HANDS, a savage and shrill garage-punk band, and we'll hope to dig up a first release before long.
• The squawky, shapeshifting throwback unit OVER A CARDBOARD SEA played a stripped-down set at the Victoria Mansion the other night, scoring the opening reception to the steampunk-y "Victoria's Wonderama" exhibit (read a full review here) as a barebones trio. We're starting to think of them less as a "band" than performance art characters out of a Sinclair Lewis novel who just pop up around town now and again. And we're happy with that.
• Pleased to see that MAI, MAI, the new ensemble of Sean Morin, et al., are playing a live gig. It's way up in Augusta, but it should spell good fortune for Portlanders itching to see them pull their thang off live. Mai, Mai have been a strictly studio project thus far — their EP last fall was a super slick cocktail of chamber pop, experimental textures, and minimalist phase patterns. Delicious stuff, especially those tracks garnished with the vocals of Sara Hallie Richardson. We're probably gonna miss the April 12 UMA show (but if you can swing it, check out the details in our Pop listings; it's with JAW GEMS, after all), but hope to get a taste of this project in Portland soon.
• In macro news, that new entertainment megaplex slated to be built behind the train station at Thompson's Point is taking PRIME ARTIST REHEARSAL STUDIOS as its primary casualty. The building could be demolished before the end of the year, which means dozens of local bands will be looking for new homes . . .