• Now that SUNSET HEARTS are a dominant presence in Portland progressive pop, fans might want to make sure to catch the final release by MARIE STELLA, the power-pop quartet from which Sunset Hearts took three members. It's understandable if you missed from, the six-song EP of material that would have gone toward the band's first full-length but was instead released digitally last December, but it's the best stuff they ever did. Seek the pay-what-you-can download on the band's bandcamp, and go back to looking forward to the new Sunset Hearts with the rest of us.
• Local hip hop yeasayers will find something to nod about late March: the official release of a local rap collaborative project titled MANICMONDAYS. The product of once-a-week sessions since last summer, ManicMondays features MCs Ryan Augustus (GHOST from Educated Advocates), MISL (of DIRT COALITION), and DYNAMO-P, with beats from SHUPE, MICODIN, SLOP, THE LIN, and a Danish dude who goes by Guacamolester. Naturally, SPOSE gets in on a track as well. Look for an official release at the Big Easy around when the flowers start budding.
• March should bring the long-awaited premiere of GENO'S ROCK AND ROLL CIRCUS MOVIE, an archive documentary that merges the sounds of the dark Congress Street club's musical roster (HESSIAN, SUNRUNNER, DEMENTIA 5, JOHNNY CREMAINS, etc.) with its growing cabaret fare, led by the SMOKE AND MIRROR CIRCUS. An apt and exciting capstone for a valuable pocket of Portland arts, look for the film to contain the final live performance of BY BLOOD ALONE, the dramatic goth-metal five-piece who were one of the most revered local heavy bands of the last decade.
• If you agree that Jose Ayerve's A SEVERE JOY project was one of 2011's greatest revelations, you'd be pleased to hear that the man's preparing an even more ambitious 2012. The soaring, body-forward pop artist plans to release ten limited-edition singles at performances throughout the year (though some will be available at aseverejoy.com, and available digitally at Ayerve's bandcamp). The first features "I Am a Real Machine," which first appeared inside Eternal Otter Records' excellent "Sound + Vision" exhibit/takeover of Biddeford's North Dam Mill, and is B-sided with a cover of a Spanish dance track titled "Déjame Tocar" ("Let Me Touch"). If you still haven't heard the ex-Spouse's selt-titled debut, start there.
: New England Music News
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