Bands sound different in Maine.
Portland, specifically, has been collecting New England's slightly off-centered musicians. A mini-metropolis surrounded by wilderness, the city incubates a music scene informed by the proximity of the (modest) urban to the (extreme) rural.
The Other Bones is a female-fronted electronic pop/R&B trio formed in 2011. Blending powerful vocals with cutting guitars and smooth electronic elements, they create a sound described by one reviewer as "their particular stamp of retro-futurist complexity."
The band began in a Somerville, Massachusetts apartment where vocalist Loretta Allen and producer/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Mead spent weekends recording demos. "It was all over the place," says Allen, who met Mead on a camping trip before their freshman year at Tufts University. "We recorded a full country version of a Killers song one night and spent the next night making tape loops... Unfocused, yeah, but formative." Following graduation, Mead moved to his home state of Maine and rented a practice space behind a local train station. Allen followed a year later.
As Mead notes, "We started from scratch. I had an MPC 1000 with two dead pads and a Moog Soft Synth on my iPad. Loretta had a microphone and a guitar loop pedal we 'inherited' from a friend. We were playing into a 50-watt PA my high school band had used. It was unpolished and invigorating."
After several weeks of writing and playing, the pair connected with Eric Bruce, who had grown up playing guitar and touring nationally with bands in New Jersey's rock 'n' roll scene. "We were playing the track that would become 'Feels Like Home' and Eric immediately started playing his chorus hook. It shouldn't have worked, but something clicked. We knew we'd have to start dealing with not knowing what to say when people asked what kind of music we play," says Allen.
In 2012, the band released their debut EP, "Hinges": a collection of electro-inspired pop tracks that told the story of the year Allen spent in Boston before joining Mead in Maine. The record peaked at #8 on the iTunes Top 10 Electronic Chart and led to a series of shows along the east coast.
"After 'Hinges,' we learned how to be a live band," says Bruce. "That record captured our creative momentum, and the next year was about slowing down and figuring out how to put on a seamless show and communicate effectively as musicians and as individuals."
Having won the Portland Phoenix Music Awards of "Best New Artist" and "Best Pop/Rock Act", and recently nominated "Best in Maine" for the New England Music Awards, the band is now deep into writing and recording their first full length record. As Mead comments, "The music is in some ways simplified and in others more fully-realized. It's our profession of love to R&B from the electronic world."
All shows with Ace Reporter
4/22/14 - The Monkey House - Winooski, VT
4/23/14 - TT The Bears - Cambridge, MA
4/24/14 - Thirsty Moose - Portsmouth, NH
4/25/14 - Baby's All Right (BAR) - Brooklyn, NY
4/26/14 - Empire - Portland, ME*
*with Clifflight + Contrapposto
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.