• As the landscape of listenable music gets bigger and bigger, the simple question — what to listen to? — becomes harder every day. It's like we're standing in an enormous supermarket, hungry for dinner, as workers tirelessly add shelves of products to the ends of every aisle. Indeed, such a bottomless well of choices can be paralyzing to the listener, and stultifying to an attempt at an enjoying an experience of music. If aggressive freedom of choice is bumming you out, you might make for yourself a trap to help keep focused. How convenient, then, that the forward-thinking FLASK LOUNGE debuts the new monthly series Trap Night, a more beat-driven offshoot of the BIG EASY's long-running Wednesday series Rap Night. Managed by MCs PENSIVV and EL SHUPACABRA, the evening is a much-needed next step for area hip hop, collecting beatmakers and producers for official sets rather than the open mic'd free-for-all of the Big Easy. Cleverly, the Trap folks whittle your options down even more by staging their event Sunday nights, while most other cultural producers are asleep or plotting their next moves. Let them apprehend you February 10, look for other Sunday entrapments throughout the winter, and research the Maine hip hop scene at APPLETON RADIO (appletonradio.com).
• Then again, freedom rules too. Four local celebrants, wriggled out from the shackles of their primary groups, have revived the experimental, original jazz group PASTEL SOUND EXPLOSION. The act has been on again/off again since 2008 while its members have built the legacies of such local rock institutions as Theodore Treehouse, the Milkman's Union, Butcher Boy, and the Waldos, but they've managed recently to slip away in the name of this invigorating project. At one time purported to be a 33-member collective, the PSE perform as a four-piece at Local Sprouts Cooperative, Saturday at 7 pm.
• It has been irrefutably proven that ladies love Cool James, but recently released footage suggests that as far back as 1985, Maine loved LL COOL J, too. A recently uploaded video made it all the way to Slate's Culture Blog this week, showing the rapper, just 17 years old and anticipating the release of his first record, showcasing the art of scratching and beatboxing to a Waterville audience at Colby College, who, all things considered, might have had their hands full understanding the art of rapping alone. It's a beautiful, 24-minute piece of Maine cultural history, and we suggest you look it up.
: New England Music News
, Freedom, Flask Lounge, Wax Tablet