Mammoths, Porpoises, and more

 Wax Tablet

The city’s rap scene has finally found a home . . . or maybe two or three. After a month’s unrest and underrepresentation since the shuttering of the Big Easy displaced “Rap Night,” the producer-MCs Shupe and Ill by Instinct are taking their talents to the Asylum Wednesday nights, bolstering that club’s already-existing karaoke schedule to make up arguably the best midweek party spot in the land. (Not that it’s a competition; this city contains multitudes.) We’ve already mentioned how Flask’s bi-weekly Trap Nite has picked up in Rap Night’s absence. Now there’s even more: the soulful hip hop septet Immense Porpoise have secured showcases at both Geno’s (every third Thursday starting November 21) and Empire (every first Friday), the former show filled out with special guests, stand-up comedy, and dance party outros.

Whoaah, have you heard Bully Mammoth? It’s the one-man recording vehicle of Sam Brewster Rich, who moved (back?) to Portland after formerly playing in the Brooklyn band Miniboone. He’s quickly issued three EPs since the summer, and each of them is pretty fantastic: moody, muscular psychedelic rock with desperate riffs swelling into strangely melodic passages. Lotta sonic and stylistic diversity and the production value’s high, but the whole thing’s steeped in a serious remote/outsider vibe that connects all the threads. Antisocial one minute; yearning the next. Vocals less likely to be sung than hoarsely barked (“Trash Monster Headache”), uttered in a vocal fry (“Wizard Cribbage/Beatle Beards”), or screamed from the next room over (“Mayday”). Satisfying. Haven’t heard word of this being a live band yet, but if it becomes one, we’d surely attend. |

A slew of fantastic, weird-ass albums by an artist called Sister Gaylord just turned up on Bandcamp, and they’ll probably take us the rest of the year to get through. Totally worth the effort, but it’s a lot to absorb, both in sheer volume (seven albums, all recorded between 1997 and 2004) and style (doomy industrial beats, warbly tape manipulations, guitars like Ottmar Liebert on one track and Keiji Haino the next, haunting MIDI melodies stiffened into IDM ditties, etc.). There’s a lot of noisy experimentation on these records, but there are some excellent songs and ideas, too, particularly on the more cohesive and inspired Living All the Same and Ecker’s Tears, much of which sounds as exciting as anything coming out of dark industrial rock circuits today. As it turns out, this is the long-ago recording alias of Justin Dyer, current bassist for the long-form prog-metal band Apocryphonic, whose May 2013 record Rivers and Great Darkness is a majestic, slow-burning meditation of post-metal fantasy. Surely anyone who’s experienced a Maine winter can identify with that record’s 26-minute track one. | |

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