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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at and a music writer for 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 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 News Center Maine TV show “207” to talk of course.

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Posted: July 16, 2014

Two bands you may never have heard of but should: Miner and Kino Proby in Portland

Los Angeles folk-rock and Russian rock at Portland shows may expand your horizons.

Written by: Aimsel Ponti

From the California coast to Gorky Park, I’ve got a couple of shows that will entice lovers of folk and Russian rock.

There’s a better-than-average chance that both of these bands may be unfamiliar to you, but consider these words from David Byrne: “With music, you often don’t have to translate it. It just affects you, and you don’t know why.” This rings true when it comes to one of the bands. As for the other one, it’s like this: Every band we’ve never heard of is a band we’ve never heard of … until we’ve heard them. That’s it. Now get out there and discover.

Please allow me to introduce you to my current favorite song, “Hey Love” by the Los Angeles-based folk-rock band Miner. “Falling off of the ledge/did you leave me for dead?/fell right off of the ledge/Will I find you again love?” While these lyrics may sound a little dark, the song is anything but.

It’s actually quite uplifting, with huge vocals from John Miner and a stomp-clap groove to it (listen here: The song sounds like California sunshine strung out on folk. Also check out the tune “Carousel.” The song explodes with multiple layers of instruments, sweeping vocals, thunderous drums and a banjo to boot.

Miner formed in 2012 after John traveled through the jungles of Central and South America and the California redwoods.

John Miner handles vocals and guitar, with help from his wife, Kate, who also plays mandolin, ukulele and harmonica. His brother Jeremy plays banjo and lead guitar, with Nicholas Spiller on bass and Tobias Urbanczyk on drums and percussion.

The band’s debut record, “Into the Morning” tour brings Miner through Portland. File Miner under “cool new bands to watch.”

Miner, with Delta Generators, 8 p.m. Saturday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland. $10;

Kino Proby reunite to pay tribute to the 1980s Russian band Kino at Portland’s Space Gallery on Thursday.

Kino Proby reunite to pay tribute to the 1980s Russian band Kino at Portland’s Space Gallery on Thursday.

MAYBE THE ONLY Russian you know is from watching the TV show “The Americans” (which I love), but that’s OK. Kino Proby’s language is universal.

This (mostly) local band is dedicated to paying tribute to the legendary Russian rock band Kino and its late singer Viktor Tsoy. I know, it doesn’t get much more obscure than this. But let’s just go with it. Jarlath McGuckin, Adam Kurtz and Jess Greer refer to themselves as Viktors I, II and III. They played several shows around New England until McGuckin moved to … Russia.

This Portland performance is actually a rare opportunity to see Kino Proby live, before Viktor I jets back to his adopted Mother Russia.

By now you’re surely asking yourself why you should go to this show. These guys love to rock out. They love being on stage, and when else can you see a tribute band to a long defunct Russian band you’ve never heard of play songs about the plight of angry Russian youth of the 1980s? Vodka consumption optional.

Kino Proby Reunion Show, 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland. $8 in advance; $10 at the door;

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