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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at MaineToday.com and a music writer for MaineToday.com and the Portland Press Herald. She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at Mainetoday.com. You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the WCHS TV show “207” to talk about...music of course.

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Posted: March 26, 2018

Hear jazzy jams from Wild Child and Johanna Warren’s good vibrations

Written by: Aimsel Ponti

Image courtesy of Dualtone Music

“Expectations” is the fourth studio album from Austin, Texas, seven-piece indie band Wild Child, and I spent several hours with it during my recent Florida vacation. Although my tan is fading fast, my love for this jazzy, infectious and vibrant album continues to grow in leaps and bounds as their show Friday at Port Music Hall gets closer and closer.

“Expectations” is 12 songs strong, and there’s nary a dud among them. It opens with the sweet and breezy “Alex,” and the combination of vocals from Alexander Beggins and Kelsey Wilson are ear-pleasing rays of aural sunshine. The song is like floating down a river on an inner-tube with your toes splashing in the water as you wave to friends.

Wild Child photo by Sean Daigle

Next up is “Eggshells,” which is a sucker punch so early on in the album, as it’s a slow and steady plea to either repair or sever all ties of a relationship depending on your interpretation. “Slow down, slow down/Take it from the beginning/I’m here, why are you still around?” Wilson’s on lead vocals, and her voice is bright and has something of a retro feel to it, which makes me love it all the more.

“Back and Forth” is a zippy tune with horns that shoots frustrated arrows at a significant other. “Think It Over” is the album’s first single, and it’s an unexpected quasi-disco jam that I hope gets remixed into a nine-minute dance party, as it’s already a four-minute funky romp. I’m going to go out on a limb and predicting that those of us at this show on Friday night will shake our collective tushes to this one.

The piano-based “Follow Me” is like a tender plea to make amends and stay together. “And when the day is done, I’ll try and pack up and be gone/We’ll see if I make it past the yard.”

As for the rest of the album, “Sinking Ship” will break your heart; “The One” is a lovely yet sorrowful breakup song masquerading as a happy duet between Beggins and Wilson; and the album’s closer, “Goodbye Goodnight,” another duet, is a fierce, passionate song with bold cello.

I can’t wait to hear these tunes live. BTW, arrive on time because the opening act, The Wild Reeds, is a fantastic purveyor of indie-folk and the label-mate of Wild Child. “The World We Built” is its latest record, and I strongly advise you to dip at least a toe into The Wild Reeds pool before the show, so as to further nudge you not to miss the set.

Wild Child with The Wild Reeds

WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Port City Music Hall, Portland
HOW MUCH: $15 in advance, $18 day of show, all ages
TIX & INFO: portcitymusichall.com


Johanna Warren photo by Aubrey Gigandot

I HAVE YET to make it to the intimate Aphodian Theater in Portland, but it’s been on my places-to-hit list for a while now. And although a date with Lorde in Boston is preventing me from catching this Tuesday night show, I hope you’ll consider going.

I just got hip to Johanna Warren a few weeks ago and have been enjoying the delicate and thought-provoking voyage of discovery immensely. Warren is a singer-songwriter from the other Portland and has a new album out called “Gemini II.”

She’s on the road on what she’s calling the Plant Medicine Tour, and each stop includes an element of guided sound healing meditation and will also feature collaborations with local herbalists and biodynamic farmers who will talk about their work.

Warren’s press release says she is motivated to make music for a very specific reason: “Music is vibration; it’s a direct way to affect matter. A song is a way to journey into places of discord and then resolve back into harmony.”

That most certainly works for me, and if the hypnotic song “Here to Tell” is any indication, the Tuesday night journey Warren will take you on is well worth your time.

Johanna Warren and Maitland

WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 3
WHERE: Aphodian Theater, 107 Hanover St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $10
INFO: theapohadiontheater.com

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