The Nick Poulin-led indie rock outfit Tall Horse have rapidly grown to be one of the most promising and acclaimed Maine bands out there. In less than year, the band has played shows all over the state and put out one of 2014’s best Maine albums, “Glue.” With “Bleed,” a single released by the band last month for Record Store Day 2015, Tall Horse keeps the narrative and the same basic sound of “Glue” alive — atmospheric, alt-country-tinged indie rock, rooted in the emotive punk sound of the early 2000s. “Bleed” is comprised of two songs, released in physical form on a VHS — yes, a VHS tape — with accompanying music videos. The first track, “Gnaw,” could just as easily have been tacked onto “Glue,” but second track “Die” does something a little different, with a great singalong chorus, moving between dynamically different melodic sections that hint at a slightly different future for the band, stylistically. Plus, how fun is a single released on VHS? Don’t worry, though, you can watch it on YouTube, if you’re like most people and don’t have a VCR anymore. Though you could probably buy one at Goodwill for five bucks just so you can watch/listen to Tall Horse’s release.
Where did this come from? Why am I so excited about this EP? It’s sloppily recorded, it’s completely under the radar as far as I can tell, and it’s absurdly entertaining. Landing somewhere in between the manic melodic garage-punk energy of the dearly departed Jay Reatard and the hyper-literate workingman punk of the Minutemen, Street Sity Surf’s new EP, “Roadhouse Disco,” doesn’t sound like much that’s come out of the state in the past couple years, with the possible exception of the crazy Belfast band Jim Dandy, who appear to be their only Maine band friends. The Portland-based four piece, about which there is very little information online, combine singalong garage punk with a kind of goth-country-surf vibe, at once self-deprecating, funny and grandiose. The five songs on “Roadhouse Disco” run the gamut from the raucous punk opening track “Josh’s Song (Champ Night)” to the arty, cathartic “Shoestrings” to the rockabilly-meets-gypsy punk “I Saw A Sign.” It’s only five tracks — though there’s a longer and even sloppier album online from 2014 that’s just as fun — but it shows a truly exciting amount of potential. With the right producer to corral the wild dynamic elements at play in Street Sity Surf’s songs into something more clear and articulate, there could be something very, very special here. Keep your eye on these guys.