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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 News Center Maine TV show “207” to talk about...music of course.

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Blog with Aimsel Ponti
Posted: June 3, 2014

A good case of Sea Level rising and charming songs by Jill Sobule

Dylan Verner photo

Dylan Verner photo

A local fella named Dan Capaldi reached out to me the other day with the news of a CD release from his Sea Level project. It’s his first solo album, but that doesn’t mean Capaldi’s been twiddling his thumbs. He has been quite busy playing with ShaShaSha, Joe Gallant, Spencer Albee, Cambiata, Kenya Hall, Holy Boys Danger Club and the British band Soft Bullets.

I took a listen to the “Sea Level” album, beginning with the dreamy “Embryonic Feel.” Next up was “Close Enough,” with just enough desperation in Capaldi’s voice to make you worry about him, but then some funky beats and a cacophony of sounds jump, easing the pain and making the song stirring and memorable. “Cover It Up” is fuzzy and hypnotic. I can almost hear it being played in a club.

If I may pile on more praise, “Tell me Lies,” with Kristina Kentigian singing on the second verse is my current favorite jam on the record. With a slow groove, the song makes me wanna slowly strut around the newsroom wearing sunglasses and snapping my way from desk to desk. Celebrate Sea Level’s release with Capaldi and his pals Lady Zen, Black Castro, Eyenine, Derek Ramos, Kevin Oates, Micromasse and the aforementioned Kentigian.

Sea Level CD release show. 8:30 p.m. Friday. Empire. 575 Congress St., Portland. $10, 21-plus; portlandempire.com

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

I’VE BEEN A FAN of singer-songwriter Jill Sobule since I heard her first record, “Things Here are Different” back in 1990. Since then, the Denver native has released a half-dozen others along with a bevy of collaborations, compilations and such. With a nod to “Schoolhouse Rock,” I’d like to unpack my adjectives. The ones I’ve collected through the years to describe Sobule’s music include quirky, witty, snappy, poignant, thought-provoking, satirical, clever and entirely fantastic.

Sobule’s latest record, “Dottie’s Charms,” was released in April. The inspiration for it was a vintage charm bracelet with 22 charms on it that Sobule received as a gift. The name Dorothy was etched inside and Sobule’s imagination was off and running. Songs include “Flight (Jet Plane Charm),” “O Canada (Canadian Penny Charm),” “Old Kentucky (Kentucky Map Charm)” and “I Hate Horses (Stirrup Charm).”

It’s been entirely too long since I’ve seen Sobule perform live, so I can’t wait for this show. Trust me, she’s one in a million. Let’s pack the place.

Jill Sobule. 8 p.m. Wednesday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland. $15 in advance; $20 door; onelongfellowsquare.com

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