Sontiago's "Muscle Car"
• The US got three very different pictures of Maine last week. The first was SNL's well-intentioned but unconvincing parody/tribute to same-sex marriage; the second was GOP Chairman Charlie Webster's insipid gaffe about "mysterious black voters" on election day; and the third — and by far the best — was SONTIAGO's scorching new video for her dance track "Muscle Car." The Portland rapper's new single premiered on Vice's website this week and has already generated well over 1000 "likes," presenting a slice of Maine culture we can truly be proud of. Directed by David Meiklejohn (My Heart is an Idiot) and featuring a fierce crop of local creative types in glitzy costumes and crucial dance numbers, "Muscle Car" is a Portland fantasy fully realized. Its sinewy rhythms, punchy electronic melody, and soaring chorus (sung by Therese Workman) have been finding their way to better Portland dance floors since the summer. It's a smooth ride, local DJs; hop in. We love to see collaborative efforts get the sort of attention that "Muscle Car" is getting, and it's nice to see the country figuring out what we've known for years: Sontiago's an effing star.
• Just how did we miss this newish HERBCRAFT bundle? The Munjoy Hill drifter unit offered the world something to behold all the way back in July, a free-floater called Flowering, and we're happy to run it down now. The follow-up to last year's Ashram to the Stars, the record sprouts from the budding UK label Julia Dream Recordings (it's actually their first release), and contains ten tracks of harmonious, reverb-drenched blues and roasted improvisation. True to the sonic aspirations of their music, these fellows continue to reach well beyond their environs, as though some portal of wisdom stemmed from the Hill and we've never even heard about it. The venerable UK distro Volcanic Tongue calls the record "mind-blowing" and "beautifully lucid," comparing it to psych underlord Ben Chasny's Six Organs of Admittance and folk luminary Skip Spence and nominating it as their "cassette issue of the year." Word is Herbcraft are putting out yet another LP on Woodsist sister label Hello Sunshine this winter, but those still feasting on the current fruits should head to herbcraft.bandcamp.com.
• Keeping tabs on an old friend, LADY LAMB THE BEEKEEPER, the Maine-grown indie-folk artist from New York, has announced a new album called Ripely Pine will be arrive in February on Ba Da Bing Records. Preview the excellent new track "Rooftop" online. Boy, she's grown.
: New England Music News
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