Beneath the headlines

Wax Tablet

Conjjjecture. Gabriella Sturchio

In a week dominated by anxiety about the NSA tapping into our Internet activity and concern for the protestors hurt by rioting police in Istanbul's Taksim Square, we lost our ear for cheery summer jams. It's a turbulent and difficult world, and amid the sentimental indie rock showcases and outdoor funk festivals, it has seemed more appropriate to attend to local music acknowledging that fact. Recent weeks have seen confrontational new releases from the philosophizing synth-punk group MR. NEET, the darkly post-metal trio APOCRYPHONIC, the experimental post-punk band CONJJJECTURE, a sampling of the art-punk group HI TIGER doing a noisy sound installation titled "In Our Sick Society," and a ferocious EP by MOUTH WASHINGTON that hearkens to '90s indie-heavies Mudhoney or early Unwound. All worthy of closer attention.

 We might consider ourselves lucky that while Turkish citizens are ducking tear gas in their own city streets, we can gather to make noisy music in ours. On June 21, local musicians will set up and play in various public locations for MAKE MUSIC PORTLAND, which is part of an international movement of urban music celebrations taking place on the summer solstice. A bit more information is available at, but this might be an event where particulars are better left a surprise.

 And then there's FOOD FIGHT, the battle of the bands comprised of the fleet of vastly talented workers in Portland's food service industry. This idea was hatched last year yet never quite got off the ground; it's a go now, as bands square off against each other over the next three Sundays at the Big Easy (beginning June 16). We like Food Fight not only because it sounds fun and ridiculous, but it strikes a balance between the comforting mimicry of cover nights (in which you play with friends but originality is shunned) and the completely free-form arbitrariness of the 48 Hour Music Festival (in which originality is key but you play with total strangers over a sleepless, high-stress period). Food Fight bands are formed by people whose lives overlap in ways that have nothing to do with musical taste or aesthetics, and doesn't that seem a little more true-to-life than tinkering with another arcane subgenre? Restaurant workers are easy; let's see this happen with law offices.

 And here's another solidarity effort: for the fourth consecutive year WMPG DJ and former BULL MOOSE music buyer JIM PINFOLD will sell thousands of CDs from his home, from which all proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross. The sale goes all morning on July 7 at 52 Froswick Ave, South Portland — we're told there's a lot of alt-Americana.

  Topics: New England Music News , Apocryphonic, Hi Tiger, Mouth Washington,  More more >
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