Earth Person is Devon Cole, a Waldo County resident who has spent the better part of the past year writing, performing and recording the entirety of his first proper album, “The Forgotten Bridge,” a slightly-larger-than-an-EP collection of songs that displays great maturity and confidence for an otherwise completely unknown artist. Cole delves into a sound that’s quite melodic and accessible, even as it is clearly indebted to those experimental atmospheric guys in bands like Animal Collective, Olivia Tremor Control or Yeasayer. Cole plays every instrument on the album, allowing his unique, personal vision to comes through. Themes of nature and the environment permeate the eight tracks on “The Forgotten Bridge,” lending it a welcome tinge of psychedelic mysticism and purpose. Nevertheless, it’s very easy to listen to — even fun and funky, as on the pro-clean energy anthem “Why Must We Destroy?” — and for as ethereal as it can get, it doesn’t get boring, staying remarkably succinct and topping out at under 25 minutes long. A very strong debut from a promising young Maine artist.
I’ve heard Superorder, the Portland instrumental duo of guitarist-keyboardist Zak Taillon and bassist Kyle Scofield, referred to as a metal band. While the highly technical music they make is reminiscent of progressive metal bands like Dream Theater, and the 11-minute “Crystal Earth,” the closing epic of their second EP, “Ten Cities: Chapters V-IX,” definitely has some metal guitar in it, I wouldn’t call them a metal band. I’d say they’re a conceptual prog-rock band, filtered through a steady diet of video game music, 80s rock and, yes, a bit of metal. “Ten Cities: Chapters V-IX” is the second part of a two-part “space opera” conceived of by the pair — the first part of the album came out in April 2013, with this second part released last month. Listened to as a whole, “Ten Cities” could conceivably be the soundtrack to the most ridiculous sci-fi movie you’ve never seen, complete with space battles, bizarre alien creatures and cheesy special effects. Taillon and Scofield are in on the joke, with the amount of synth bloops and bleeps peppered throughout both EPs, and their drum programming, in place of an actual drummer. More likely, however, they are two highly creative artists, making music that’s as technically proficient as it is imaginative. Superorder will play June 7 at Mathew’s Pub in Portland.
After a year of releasing a series of well-received singles, North of Nashville, the Portland country duo of Jay Basiner and Andrew Martelle, has finally released a proper full-length album, a self-titled ten song LP. The polished, crisp-sounding collection showcases all the things that Basiner and Martelle are known for. There’s Basiner’s strong, engagingly twangy vocals, there’s excellent fiddle work from Martelle, and there’s an honest, sincere approach to writing country songs, which sets them apart from the legions of mainstream country artists. Make no mistake: North of Nashville are definitely a country act. But they are far away from the vapid pop dominating the country charts; Basiner is way too much of a realist and a true believer to let his music get watered down like that. If anything, NoN’s debut suffers from an excess of sincerity — think early Lyle Lovett or Dwight Yoakum, with a bit of George Jones tear-in-your-beer histrionics. If you like country, but need a little less gloss and little more grit, you’d do well to give this album a listen. North of Nashville will play May 15 at Brian Boru in Portland, May 16 at Mainely Brews in Waterville and May 17 at Paddy Murphy’s in Bangor.