Local boy leaps fence

Wax Tablet
By PORTLAND PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  December 5, 2012

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Butcher Boy
• Just when we were thinking how difficult it is for bands to outgrow Americana, a new recording from BUTCHER BOY shows it's not only possible but a clear sign of maturity. The band's mesmerizing five-song EP, titled Shoreless Sea, doesn't just map the roads out of the raw, punked-up 'billy-folk sounds on last year's Get Butchered, but puts forth a new sound entirely, some sort of atmospheric marriage of decayed folk and clattering post-rock. The record sets a radically different tone from the very start: the nine-minute opener "Hand in the Window" unfurls as a collage of distant cannons, thrumming steel guitar, and mournful horns. "Cousin" makes like a deconstructed Theodore Treehouse track, as singer Pete Swegart's adenoidal howl leads a slinking Americana riff through a fray of sonic embellishments. On the sublime six minutes of "In the Wash," the twang cedes to the clean, jazz-inflected notes of Jonathan Downs's guitar, and its ambient, instrumental interlude is one of the finest post-rock passages any Maine artist has put to tape in ages. While the whole thing takes us back to the late great DC slowcore band Canyon, maybe even the finer moments of the manically cerebral post-rock group Joan of Arc, this progression is undoubtedly a genuine one for Butcher Boy, who seem to have found a unique way to push Americana music forward. They might be one of the most interesting and progressive folk groups in the state. The band hit the road through January, but for now, visit butcherband.bandcamp.com and check them out at Poland Street (see our Concert listings) December 7 at 6 pm.

• Attention philanthropic punks: a fundraising effort is under way for Portland staple and longtime Big Meat Hammer singer JORDAN KRATZ, who has been battling ailments and faces potential eviction. After a benefit show last weekend at Geno's, in which Kratz's band the Lynn Rebels played with Hessian, Thee Icepicks, and the Donner Party, a campaign dedicated to the effort still collects funds at fundrazr.com.

• While next week these pages will offer a review of the debut EP by the illustrious new rock group ENDLESS JAGS, whet the palate with an interview with Jags' frontman Oscar Romero, who spoke candidly with the excellent scene blog FACTORY PORTLAND (factoryportland.com) from Russia, where he's currently touring as the guitarist for alt hip hop artist Astronautalis.

  Topics: New England Music News , Butcher Boy, Butcher Boy, Endless Jags,  More more >
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