• Lotsa chatter about a new disc from electro-hop producer GOD.DAMN.CHAN. He drops Diamonds this week, and the two tracks we've heard are explorations in crackling rhythms, analog synths, and bizarrely thin and thumpy bass signals. Sort of a slicker, slightly less psychotropic cousin to ALTERED GEE's Rise From Yr Grave, and an impressive addition to the catalogue of local hip hop records.
• Those who thought the last single from Portland-via-Toronto rock band the BOX TIGER was solid will have to pay attention to this new one: "Knives" is a driving, noisy power-pop track just as urgent as "Set Fire to Your Friends," and probably an even better song. Judging from the pace and energy of these two burners, we can only imagine the dynamic, emotional vocals of Sonia Sturino carrying this entire record. The band release their debut record May 3 at the Big Easy.
• A note of acclaim from the production end: ADAM AYAN of GATEWAY MASTERING had two CDs on the Billboard Classical charts last week, the violinist Lindsey Stirling's debut album and the Moonrise Kingdom soundtrack. (Stirling's there this week, too, and Moonrise was a chart-topper for a while in 2012.) To see these guys piling up awards is nothing new, but we're accustomed to associating Ayan's name with big-deal pop and country records, so this classical grab is something of a novelty.
• Continuing our obsession with the pursuit of Metal Mondays, we've located a new strain emerging at MATHEW'S, the self-styled "oldest bar in Portland." Too soon to say who's playing when, or if that's something they'll even announce, but we hope the torch stays lit.
• The punk band the OUTFITS, which started almost two years ago as a fierce trio of ladies, welcome two new members into the fold: Rattlesnakes drummer Mike Cunnane and Ryan Owens of R.S.O., who both happen to be the husbands of originals Kate Sullivan-Jones and Sierra Roberts. Might read to outsiders like an interesting social experiment — or punchline material — but we're excited to hear how they fill out the old-school punk band's sound. Songwriting duties will continue to fall to Sierra and Kate, and we look forward to seeing this band evolve.
• JACOB AUGUSTINE, the chamber folk balladeer with the massive set of pipes, set his entire discography for download at a pay-what-you-can rate this week (jacobaugustine.bandcamp.com). He sets out on a flurry of gigs in Maine and beyond through April, including a stop with a full band at SPACE Gallery on the 19th.