Friday, February 24, 2006

Gimme indie rock

At least gimme' some music that's more original than the usual offerings circulating the commercial dial.

My winter doldrums have been chronicled and I'll not comment any more about them other than to say, I've been seriously lacking in the music department of late and I aim to remedy that immediately. It amazes me how quickly one's mood can improve by cutting of the the flow of cathode rays from the idiot box, and mixing in some music and some good reading material, or any reading material, for that matter.

It occurred to me, yesterday, how little music I've been listening to. One of my favorite times to spin some tunes has always been dinner time. Last night, up to my elbows in pasta and mixing salad greens, I dug out my copy of For A While, It Was Funny, from indie rock gods, the Karl Hendricks Trio. Hot Damn! I forgot how good wallowing in one's misery felt. This '96 release, on Merge, had been sitting, sadly forgotten, gathering dust on my CD shelves. I dug it out and cranked up the volume and my funk immediately dissipated!

Hell, I feel my productivity level just ramped up several notches with that one spin of a disc. Speaking of discs, check out Mark Schwaber's new CD, The Killing Card on the best little indie label there is, Pigeon Records. Schwaber has four songs up on MySpace for a preview. I've met Schwaber through my buddy, Jose Ayerve, of Spouse, as Mark plays bass for the band. An obviously talented songwriter in his own right, the new disc also showcases his guitar playing and skills at songcrafting.

Just like the book world, where many fine local, independent releases get ignored and bypassed by the latest formulaic offerings from the major publishing houses, indie rock, also, suffers from a similar climate. I recognize that Maine is part of a very fertile New England music scene, often obscured by the semi-talented poseurs pushed on us by major publications like Spin, Rolling Stone and others, bankrolled by the smoke and mirrors of unlimited marketing rolling down from deep-pocketed major labels.

In addition to Schwaber's new release, longtime Portland musician, Doug Cowan, has a new release out with the amazing Bullyclub. If you like well-written, intelligent songs, infused with a pop sensibility, with a bit of guitar crunch thrown in, then you can't go wrong with the Pigeon catalog and acts like Spouse, Bullyclub and Mark Schwaber.

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