Hitting the wrong note right

The Wax Tablet
By PORTLAND PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  July 24, 2014

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ON THE WALL EP by Bully Mammoth

>>Hooboy, it’s the stretch run for Sunset Hearts, who are closing in on their two-month long, $500,000 Kickstarter campaign to help fund a new album, plus their continued existence as a band. As an accompanying video explains, the pop group absolutely need your help to get Butch Vig or Jon Brion or Rick Rubin or somebody to master the thing, and secure, in their own words, “real music industry connections.” (At the time of this writing, they’re at $4.89, and climbing!) Really, though, Sunset Hearts’ “campaign” is a pretty effective satire of the “industry” itself, as well as the weird, small business-lite ethos that’s by this point thoroughly permeated music culture and convinced otherwise smart, talented people that they too could “make it” in rock music if only they networked harder and courted the right investors. Our read is this: Playing music will always—obviously—be a valuable thing to do with your time and creative energies, but there’s plenty worth critiquing when the language and philosophy surrounding it seems Skyped-in from a Silicon Valley boardroom. Maine musicians work very hard, it’s true, and their successes are deserved. But that’s besides the point here. Crowdsourcing campaigns have their virtues, but let’s not forget the larger systemic problems they’re trying to patch. Sunset Hearts plan to release a new album over the next few months regardless of whether or not they raise the remaining $499,995.11—and ironically, this satire is pretty effective campaigning for that.

>>These EPs getting pumped out by Bully Mammoth are something to behold. Really some of the most engaging, intellectually heavy rock stuff getting recorded in Portland these days. Their 4-song On the Wall came out in late May, a squealing punkish blast of uncomfortable rhythms and tangled melodies. Not much different from the Jesus Lizard or mid-era Melvins, we suppose, but none of it directly cribbed from those sounds either. Hearing these dudes might play out sometime soon—we’ll bring the whole office. Visit bullymammoth.bandcamp.com.

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