Builder of the House is the Portland duo of Rob Cimitile (lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitar and assorted other instruments) and Elliot Heeschen (drums and hand percussion). They’ve just released the EP “Hourglass,” which houses four carefully crafted songs that scratch well beneath the surface of human emotions. A CD release show is happening at SPACE Gallery on Saturday night.
“There is No Hourglass, Only Sand” is a lively, snappy tune with Colleen Clark on backing vocals. What’s more, they’ve made a visually innovative and downright fun video to the song. Find it on the band’s Facebook page.
Or watch it now!
“Trespassers” slowly builds but never gets completely out of the starting gate, which is a perfectly mellow and comfortable place for this song to hang out. But then it surprisingly busts the door down, not with a whole lot of force but a few repeated puffs of energy made up of strings, horns, drums and Cimitile’s vocals. It ends up being two songs rolled into one, truly the sum of its parts.
“A Plot in Falmouth” is a favorite because Cimitile’s vocals are reminiscent of Tom Waits. Call it a husky whisper. Lyrically, the song is a poetic tale set in the late 1800s that starts on a ship sailing from Liverpool to Maine. The married characters Freddy and Bertha meet dark fates; she ends up in an asylum while Freddy dies lonely and estranged from his children. Add to this a saxophone lurking in the corner and you’ve got a damn good song.
“This is the End of Our Correspondence” is a gorgeous song with acoustic guitar that changes tempo midway through as Cimitile sings about death, life, dishonesty and a sobering scene in a hospital room. One can safely assume all four of these songs will be performed live on Saturday along with some older material.
Be sure to arrive on time so as not to miss an opening set from the Maine Marimba Ensemble. Fun fact: Both Cimitile and Heeschen are members. Psychedelic rocker Jeff Beam also will perform a set before Builder of the House tears the joint down with their songs.
Builder of the House CD release show with The Maine Marimba Ensemble and Jeff Beam. 8:30 p.m. Saturday. SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland, $7 in advance, $8 day of show, all ages, space538.org
FRONTED BY SINGER Jocie Adams, Providence, Rhode Island-based orchestral pop band Arc Iris is setting up shop at Portland’s One Longfellow Square for almost an entire month of May Sundays. Their self-titled album from last year contained my pick for song of the year, “Whiskey Man.” The cello and vocals – both lead and backing – are resplendent, and when the horns and percussion come in, the song is nothing less than transcendent.
The rest of the record is genre-defying, with each song beckoning listeners deeper into the rabbit hole where musical twists and turns are waiting. The Arc Iris Residency Series kicks off Sunday night and continues every Sunday in May except for the 17th. They’ve chosen their openers wisely from among the local scene in Portland. Friday it will be Old Soul; May 10 it’s Dave Gutter and Anna Lombard’s new collaboration, Armies; May 24 you’ll hear from Sara Hallie Richardson; and on May 31 Nat Baldwin will be opening the show.
Adams explained during a chat why she and the band are so fond of doing residencies. “They build fantastic, enthusiastic audiences and give people a chance to dive into new music in a much more in-depth and satisfying way.” Previous places the band has done these series are Boston and Northampton in Massachusetts and Kingston and New York City.
“If you come out to these shows you can expect to see an explosion of glitter, sound, light and emotion that will cradle you like a little baby and then throw you out on the street with a smile,” Adams said. Arc Iris has recorded a new record, so expect to hear plenty of songs from it and the aforementioned release. “The new material stretches the idea from the first record even further and is more groove-oriented.”
Arc Iris Residency Series. 8 p.m. Sunday (and May 10, 24 and 31). One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland, $8 in advance, $10 day of show. onelongfellowsquare.com