Last Tuesday night I was in Portland with my Mainer friend, Zack, waiting for the band Titus Andronicus to take the stage. Making chitchat with each other, since we were the only two in our age demographic (of being over 18-years old), I asked Zack how he heard of the band. He discovered them while living in New Jersey, and made the drive back to Maine while listening to their song, “A More Perfect Union” where they ask for a cruel New England winter. A following conversation about great bands associated with specific states made us ask, “What do we have from or about Maine?”
I couldn’t think of a shout out to Maine since the 1964 hit, “King of the Road” when Roger Miller made a destination out of Bangor. I don’t love Howie Day or the Rustic Overtones, and it was a real challenge for me to recall a home state song that I’d actually want to listen to. Much like the Appalachian Trail, you either begin or end in Maine, rarely just passing through to get inspired. I love music, and I love Maine, so here is some indie music that puts a regional glimmer in my eye.
Cerberus Shoal and Fire on Fire
If you are into 90s experimental avant-garde music (how it appears in my iTunes), then take the drugs and listen to Cerberus Shoal from Portland. Members of that band went on to form Fire on Fire, a really noisy, harmonizing, folk rock band comprised of banjos, harmonicas, and guitars. Their album from 2008, The Orchard, is great, but if you have a short attention span and only .99 cents, just get the song from their EP, “Hangman.”
“Pink Chimneys” by The Promise Ring
The band is from Wisconsin, but I dare you to not want to put on this song whenever you cross the bridge from New Hampshire to Maine during the winter. Even if I grew up and was told this band isn’t cool anymore, those pink chimneys in Maine couldn’t keep me away either.
This Grammy winner singer-songwriter hails from Old Town (and also appeared in the movie Cremaster 2, for extra trivia points). Sure, she does most of her work out of Nashville, but we can still claim her.
“Let’s Go to Maine” by The Mountain Goats
Formed in California, this band celebrated the state by writing a song about lovers who have to get out of town, so they head to Maine. When you are in trouble, and don’t like the climate in Mexico, why not?
“O New England” by the Decemberists
Less state specific and more depressing, at least you can sing along to the “O New England” parts. I’m going to allow it, since it doesn’t just come right out and say “Boston.”