While many of us are living the Paul Simon song “Slip Slidin’ Away” as we make our way over and through the sidewalks and parking lots of Maine, several musicians have been squirreled away in studios where nothing is frozen, least of all their creativity.
Over the past several weeks new music on my radar has come from Zach Jones, Endless Interstate, The Band Apollo, Samuel James and Tall Horse, among others.
Maine’s own Lady Lamb the Beekeeper’s new record “After” drops in March and she recently posted the tune “Billions of Eyes,” which I’ve listened to at least 13 times in the past two weeks. The song is treadmill-worthy and highly contagious. “Music soothes the savage beast, the pilot says to me, and he asks me to sing but now is not the time … I just wanna fall into a pile of warm laundry. I just wanna keep very, very quiet, yeah.”
On the other hand, sometimes the opposite of keeping quiet is in order. Such is the case with Portland metal band Ruin. The band is Richard Carey, Craig Carey (yes, they’re brothers), Kevin Whitman and Todd Bidwell. They are celebrating the release of their third record, “Rite of Passage,” with a show at Empire. Ruin formed 10 years ago and has established firm footing in the local metal scene. Their brand of metal is influenced by thrash and groove, and on a snowy Friday morning I put on my headphones and braced myself. The song “Living in Fear” blasted in my ears but I leaned into it and let them sock it to me. Richard Carey’s searing vocals burned into me and likely took a year off this Joni Mitchell-loving listener’s life, but I’m not complaining. The guitars, bass and drums knocked me around but I went nine rounds with this song and left the ring standing. Even this Lilith Fair-loving nerd can rock out, damn it. I might not sit under a blanket by the fire sipping mint tea listening to Ruin, but if you ever see a flash of light whizzing around the track at the South Portland Rec Center, it’s probably me being rocket-propelled by some Ruin. So there.
9:30 p.m. Saturday | Empire, Portland |$6, 21-plus show | portlandempire.com
Lastly, I need to come out about something. It’s been on my mind for 25 years and it’s suddenly quite relevant. I want to announce to the world what my favorite ballad of all time is. It’s not by Air Supply or Chicago or even Lionel Richie. Nope. My favorite ballad is by a rock band from Massachusetts. It was released 25 years ago and the band is on tour to celebrate the anniversary of the album the song is on. Go ahead and make fun of me, but we both know that deep down inside there’s a better than average chance that you agree with me. My favorite ballad is “More Than Words” by Extreme from their album “Extreme II: Pornograffiti.” The song made it all the way to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. I am slightly devastated that I can’t make the show on Saturday night but if you go, please think of me when they do that song and hold a lighter up. My love for “More Than Words” is real La di da da di da da. More than words …
9 p.m. Saturday | The State Theatre, Portland | $22 in advance, $25 day of show | statetheatreportland.com