Everyone hold up

Wax Tablet
By PORTLAND PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  March 20, 2014

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ORDINAIRE by June Politano

>> You really can’t go long in this town without getting lured into some tangled argument about the ethics of Portland cover nights and the relative dire state of original music. Such debates are valid, yeah, but they’re also rabbit holes, spiraling easily into any number of bottomless conversations about the free market, personal taste, intellectual property, music production technology, and the so-called creative economy. And friends, such talk can seriously kill your buzz! But we wonder, though, if there isn’t a simple bridge between the two camps. We almost hate to put it into words, but what if Maine bands just covered each other? This thought occurred to us while spending time with A Severe Joy’s dreamily anticipatory cover of “I Hold Her Up,” the disarming, melancholic lovers’ ballad off Metal FeathersHandful of Fog album from last year. One song; two different contexts. Totally sexy! Look, no one doubts there’s enough diversity in this town to make it interesting, and it might even get local fans to spend time with Maine music that isn’t contemporary, which let’s face it, can be pretty rare in an era so obsessed with the new. There’s no substitute for making original stuff, but genius is a fallacy, and artists needn’t feel bound to having a proprietary relationship with the music they make. Besides, wouldn’t collaboration be more interesting to fans than just endlessly shouting your band’s upcoming projects into a fathomless social media void? But hey, what do we know! Hear the revamped “I Hold Her Up” at soundcloud.com/aseverejoy.

>> Speaking of covers, the Portland alt-folk songwriter June Politano let a couple of real thoughtful ones fly last week via her bandcamp page. On a record aptly titled Covers, she thoughtfully re-arranges songs by Scottish indie-pop group Camera Obscura and Southern folk artist A.A. Bundy, helping to contextualize the dreamy, lovely, kinda-sad, and eerily catchy beach-pop of her brand new full-length album Ordinaire. Worth visiting junepolitano.bandcamp.com to hear it.

>> Like the long-lusted-after dream of America’s Deep South, the basement of Binga’s Stadium has finally seceded from the union. The room’s now called Basslines, a fitting title for the spectacle of their oonce-oonce DJ nights, and one which cleaves a bit of distance from their wing-toting, sports-watching, sedentary neighbors above. It also brings some distinction to their seasonal “Chaos” parties, a kind of rave-lite for the 18+ crowd at which everybody gets wild with paint and foam and silly string and glow sticks while listening to hi-energy, unsubtle club music. We’re in full support of all ages dance nights (provided everyone’s made to feel safe), and so are optimistic about this move by default — even if music like this can feel a little one-dimensional after awhile. But if you’re young, can get down to anything, and wanna explore some new terrain, see what Basslines has to offer.

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