We’re one-quarter of the way through 2009, and there has already been a bumper crop of great new albums from Maine artists. Here’s a short list of some of the good stuff that has been released over the past four months. All of these albums, unless otherwise noted, are available at Bull Moose Music stores.
Wood Burning Cat, “Borono”:
This Orono-based duo finally released its full-length debut, a collection of songs about a peculiar kind of ironic ennui — think Blue Album-era Weezer meets later-period Pavement, mixed with the melodic sense of Death Cab for Cutie. Jason Unterreiner and Tony Bitetti spent the better part of a full year making sure everything on the album was perfect, from the songs themselves to the mastering job. It’s probably one of the best Maine-made albums that almost no one has heard. Visit www.myspace.com/woodburningcat to give it a listen.
Emilia Dahlin, “Rattle Them Bones”:
Dahlin continues to grow and mature as a songwriter. An ever-deepening understanding of jazz and folk has taken her music to another level — one that finds her smarter, better and more fun than she has ever been. “Rattle Them Bones” is at once a short story collection, an agitated folk rock tour de force, and a showcase for Dahlin’s unique jazz-influenced vocals. Too many songwriters can disappoint after a handful of really great songs, but Dahlin manages to keep each track on “Rattle” engaging and exciting. Check her out at www.emiliadahlin.com.
Sam & Yuri, “Drip and Bleed”:
The Bangor-based Sam & Yuri (who were the subject of a recent Rockin’ Out column) are Sam Chese and Yuri Trust, the two smart, sweet, up-and-coming songwriters who released “Drip and Bleed” last February. It’s indie pop by way of Simon & Garfunkel: two guys who can harmonize like no one’s business, and also construct a pretty solid hook.
Jakob Battick, “Hiding In the Orchard”:
Anyone remember 1800s Sea Monster, the group of Bangor High School students that made an unholy racket in 2006 and 2007, before mastermind Jakob Battick went off to college in Portland? Well, Battick has kept himself very busy in the nearly two years since, recording three full-length albums from his Mt. Moon and Tea & Oranges projects. His solo album, “Hiding in the Orchard,” is available on his MySpace page, myspace.com/jakobbattick. It’s dreamy, hazy rock — the aural equivalent of taking a nap in a field of flowers. Battick is 20 years old and he already has four albums under his belt. The mind reels at what he’ll accomplish by the age of 30.
Sara Hallie Richardson, “A Curious Paradox”:
Sara Hallie Richardson, why did you move away? Well, we know why: You want to give the big time a shot, so you went to New York City. We don’t blame you. But, oh, your album “A Curious Paradox” is so pretty! The crystalline beauty of her voice, the icy sheen of the production and the strength of her songwriting make it a shame we can’t call her our own anymore. But you can still get her album. You can take the girl out of Maine, but you can’t take Maine out of the girl.
Tony Smokes and the Ladykillers, “S/T”:
New band alert! These guys are all under the age of 20, are all ridiculously talented, and make some seriously addictive power pop. None of them is named Tony Smokes. The drummer is amazing. I have a band crush on them. Go to www.myspace.com/tonysmokesmusic and listen to them. Or better yet: Buy their album.