Even I, as someone who religiously follows music trends and styles, have a hard time keeping the hundreds of genre names that are out there in order. For instance, I feel like I’m safe in calling a band such as Orono five-piece These October Skies post-hardcore — hardcore punk, but evolved from hardcore’s strict rhythms and two-minute song lengths, with longer songs and more experimental musical structure.
But then I realize that not everyone knows what the term post-hardcore means — and not everyone knows what hardcore itself really means. So I do what These October Skies guitarist Kory Boulier does when folks come into the hardware store he works at in Hampden and inquire about his band.
“I just tell them we’re a hard rock band,” said Boulier. “I mean, that doesn’t really explain it all, but it’s a good start.”
Boulier and his bandmates — singer Andy Cook, fellow guitarist Connor Graham, bassist Stephen Cormier and drummer Dan Colageo — have been playing together since 2008. You can catch them live at 6:30 p.m. this Tuesday, along with The Sophomore Beat, J.3K, Beach the Whale, Beyond Goodbye and Harbour Blue, at Dino’s Pizza on North Main Street in Brewer. The show is for all ages, and admission at the door is $8.
All five members of These October Skies are veterans of the Bangor-area music scene, and Boulier himself has played in a number of local bands. He’d taken a little break from music in 2008, though that changed when his life was upturned after several deaths in the family in a very short period of time.
“I lost both my grandfathers within 48 hours of each other, and it was a really rough time for me,” said Boulier. “Pretty soon after that, I decided that I had to get it off my chest and write music again. After I wrote three or four songs, I thought, ‘I’d like to make this a full band project, and get all these people I’ve always wanted to work with together.’”
Those people became These October Skies, and in the three years since they got together, the band has played shows throughout Maine and New Hampshire, building up a fan base among hardcore and punk fans in northern New England. Appearances at OxxFest in Wiscasset and Smackfest in Bangor brought them loads of new fans, who appreciate their blend of hardcore and hooks.
These October Skies has a sound that’s firmly rooted in hardcore — Cook’s screaming vocals, Boulier and Graham’s heavy riffs and Colageo and Cormier’s rhythmic breakdowns — but with a distinctly melodic sensibility. That catchiness manifests itself in choruses that are totally irresistible and arrive unexpectedly in heavy, pounding songs, like a hunk of candy in the middle of a rock slide.
“One way that we’ve evolved over the years is that our music has gotten a lot more technical and experimental, and yet our choruses have gotten even more accessible,” said Boulier. “Both sides of it have progressed. We like to have that really heavy, technical thing going on, and then have this awesome, catchy chorus.”
The band has been uploading songs to its MySpace, Facebook and ReverbNation pages, putting out new ones as they record them. Online, you can hear songs such as “The Windy City” and “Release the Kracken (48 Hours),” both of which were recorded over the winter, and their brand-new song, “From Brewer With Love,” which they just released last week.
These October Skies is in a bit of holding pattern this summer, since drummer Dan Colageo is in Russia until early August, working with a film production company. Ryan Hannan, formerly of Bangor-area rock favorite the Killing Moon, is filling in on drums for Tuesday’s show and the rest of the band’s June and July shows. Once Colageo is back, though, they’re set to finish up the rest of their recording with producer TJ Swan, and finally put out a proper release. “The Natural Destruction” is on track for a late-August release date, which will feature two EPs, one of older songs the band recorded several years ago, and one of new stuff from the past year.
If there’s one thing that These October Skies (and plenty of other bands in the Bangor area) really need, it’s a viable music venue that can host all-ages shows. The burgeoning northern Maine music scene, regardless of whether you’re talking hardcore bands, indie rock bands or acoustic bands, desperately needs a year-round forum that is devoted to showcasing original local music.
“That would change everything,” said Boulier. “That would make a huge, huge difference. We’re so glad to be able to have shows at Grange halls and businesses like Dino’s that support local music, but still — a real venue would be key.”
Contact Emily Burnham at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter at @rockblogsterbdn.