Reinventing the steel

 Wax Tablet
By  |  August 8, 2013

Everyone seen that new Samuel James video? Good. Because “How to Live Without You” is a serious masterstroke; we at the Wax Tabs office were juggling the facial contortions of melancholy and gobsmacked awe. The bluesman’s new thing is playing his tricone resonator guitar half as a percussive instrument, but that description doesn’t do it justice. He’s left the terra firma of the very good for completely uncharted waters. James is on a short West Coast tour before playing Frontier Café on August 17. In the meantime, YouTube that shit.

A lovely little slice of summer jangle-pop comes to us courtesy of the Luxembourgs, a punchy post-punk group who’ve bounced around Portland for awhile. We swear they had a lady singer the last we heard from them — online evidence is scarce — but today they’re a slim trim trio, fronted by the playful phrasings and trebly guitarwork of John Rolfe. The five-song offering Walk in the Sun is available at

These days, any band name containing words like “young,” “bones,” “wolf,” or “ghost” gets you totally lost in the shuffle. That’s the only reason we can think of why the project known as Midnight Ghost, a hook-driven and remarkably loud bedroom-pop project of mysterious origin, is going seriously underappreciated in Portland. They’ve been at it since 2009, but in particular the self-titled album released digitally this March totally smokes. Well-structured, smartly produced pop mayhem with much fuzzy bombast and many twists and turns. We think MG is the work of one fellow; on the Beatle-spectrum, we peg him to be a George Harrison guy. This would tickle the skins of fans of Built to Spill, Kurt Vile, and Broken Social Scene . . . or fellow local adventurers Herbcraft or Laminated Cat. Visit

We’ve Tabbed before about the work of Milo, the Wisconsin rapper who grew up (and still visits family, including Phoenix scribe Shay Stewart-Bouley) in Southern Maine, because his artful, effusive take on modern hip hop is pretty fantastic stuff. Dude has new material out by the name of Cavalcade, a seven-song mixtape/EP with densely textured production, intensely close-to-the-core lyrics, and a ton of samples from songs by the band America. It’s the third EP of 2013 already for the emotive, philosophical rapper — see him perform with producer Riley Lake at Oak and the Ax in Biddeford on August 23.

  Topics: New England Music News , Samuel James, Wax Tablet, Milo
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