Portland's local music news for the week of Feb. 3-9

Matt Shardlow (8 Track and Zeno’s Arrow; once and current soundguy for Inside Straight) checked in to say guys from his other old band, Zion Train, including Mike Taylor, Nate Soule, and Pete Dugas of the Awesome and Seekonk’s Dave Noyes, are teaming with Gary Gimetti (I-Rates) and Lucas Desmond (Esperanza) to kick out the jams doing “real reggae” at the Big Easy every other Thursday, starting February 2. Combine this notice with the “Beat Report” and try to empathize with the “Sibilance” staff if we screw things up every once in a while. We mean, jeez, how the frig are we supposed to keep track of all these people and their bands? Are we supposed to, like, have a database or something? We can barely check our e-mail in a timely fashion. Also, Shardlow tells us that he’s got a bunch of recordings of the old Clash of the Titans nights the Big Easy featured last winter, with local artists putting on musical costumes to battle it out between, say, AC/DC and ZZ Top (the Top didn’t have a chance; how do you fuck with “Hell’s Bells”?). There’s talk of these recordings becoming commercially available. Should you happen to chance upon one of these gems, do the smart thing and buy it. There’s a bunch of fun classic rock to be had played well by lots of locals despite huge amounts of booze and little practice time.

Holy crap, are you hip to this RPM Challenge that’s going down on the Seacoast? Basically, if you’ve heard of National Novel Writing Month (and you have, because the Phoenix did a This Just In piece on it in November), you know what we’re talking about here. Artists are pledging to write and record and entire album of material all in the space of one month — and the shortest month, at that. February is Record Production Month, hence the RPM in the challenge title, and it’s being organized by the crew of the Wire, a Portsmouth alt-weekly newspaper, where discs have to be delivered by noon on March 1. They held an orientation meeting January 26, at the Muddy River Smokehouse, and reports are that the place was packed with songwriters. It must have been. According to, 132 artists had already signed up on January 28, and they include all of Portsmouth’s heavy hitters: Jon Nolan, Dreadnaught, Dan Blakeslee, Liz Parmalee, Aaron Katz, Melvern Taylor, Laurel Brauns, Pondering Judd, the Whatnot — freakin’ everybody. Anyway, they’re recording as you read this, and the big-time release party (that would be 132 albums) will be March 9 at the Stone Church in Newmarket, New Hampshire. No bets on what the material will be like.

Clarification from last week’s “Beat Report:” The drummer Ryan Cyr who plays with Heather Caston is not the same Ryan Cyr who had his Old Port apartment invaded by a goat. We were just really hoping they were the same guy so we could talk about the goat story, which we like a lot. This particular Ryan Cyr used to play drums with Strange Pleasure.

The Portland Phoenix Band Guide issue is coming up, and we're compiling the comprehensive list of local bands. We've contacted a lot of you, but if you didn't get back to us, or if we didn't manage to find you out there, drop a line to Amy Martin at, and give us the particulars - band or group name, type(s) of music you play or perform, e-mail, Web site, phone. Then check out the Band Guide issue the last week of this month!

Related: Portland Music News: June 5, 2009, Multi-faceted, Portland scene report: April 25, 2008, More more >
  Topics: New England Music News , ZZ Top, Mike Taylor, Dave Noyes,  More more >
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