Two bands, two towns, one show. This Saturday at Paddy Murphy’s in Bangor, Portland indie rockers Boxes will share the stage with Bangor’s own pop sensation Temperature of the Sun, which caps off five consecutive weekends of Portland-Bangor musical cross-pollination. It’s a good time for music in Maine.
Boxes (pictured at left, photo by Stephen David Phillips) formed over the fall of 2011, when lead singer and guitarist Charles Stanhope and keyboard player Thomas Portlock moved into an apartment together in Portland, and began casually playing together. They liked what they heard and decided to expand it a bit, first by inviting bass player Dominic Grosso to play with them, then by jamming with drummer Tim Webber, and then, finally, by meeting co-vocalist Monica Cooper. One of the things that makes Boxes unique is that they employ two lead singers – and most of the rest of the band does backing vocals.
“Something sounded missing before [we met] Monica,” said Stanhope, 23. “Things just kind of fell into place really nicely. Our sound is fuller.”
Like bands ranging from the Dirty Projectors to the xx, the enmeshed, passionate vocals give an urgency and complexity to Boxes’ sound. But that may have something to do with Stanhope’s use of non-standard guitar tunings — and by the band’s use of the Line 6 DL4 Delay pedal, a musician’s best friend, which offers up a wealth of alterations to basic guitar and keyboard sounds.
“I’ve found myself very fond of playing in non-standard tunings. I found it through listening to Kaki King’s guitar playing,” said Stanhope, referring to the virtuoso guitarist. “We draw a lot of influence from the classics, of course, as well as modern bands like Porcupine Tree, Maps and Atlases, Radiohead, Local Natives, Modest Mouse… and instrumental or shoegazer bands like Explosions in the Sky.”
Boxes is putting finishing touches on a debut EP, due out in April. In the meantime, they’re playing shows all over Portland, as well as this weekend’s show with Temperature of the Sun at Paddy Murphy’s in Bangor. Boxes met Temperature of the Sun (a.k.a. TOTS, pictured at left) after a December show at Geno’s Rock Club in Portland, and the two bands became fast friends — but where Boxes is a little darker, TOTS is unabashedly pop-happy. There’s a little bit of the sunny indie pop of Rilo Kiley, the jagged but inherently catchy vibe of early Rolling Stones, and the irresistible jangle of Big Star or the Smiths. The band formed in early 2011, after lead singer Allison Melton left the band Queen City to focus on writing her own songs. She began playing with Joshua Strange – who later became her fiance – and soon after, bassist Ben Moors and drummer Dan Colageo came on board. Shows at the KahBang Festival and with the WPC Presents showcases in the Bangor area brought them some limelight locally. A full-length album, which TOTS is finishing recording at New England School of Communications in Bangor, is tentatively set to be released in June.
Boxes and Temperature of the Sun will play starting at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Paddy Murphy’s in Bangor. The show is 21 plus.
Watch Boxes perform “Running Out”: