Few New Year’s resolutions are easier to uphold than listening to more good music, especially in the Seacoast. The Sound asked local musicians to share their plans for 2015. Here’s a brief guide to albums to spin and shows to see in the year ahead.
This year sees the rebooting of Avant Coast, a collective of musicians started by Webb and friend Thom Keith that previously put on a series of shows in Rollinsford, according to Webb. “We define ‘creative music’ as basically improvised music,’” the bassist says. “It might be jazz, but it might not be, and it might be outside of the mainstream, but we still try to keep it accessible, and we endeavor to connect with audiences.” Avant Coast is slated to return in March, this time at The Dance Hall in Kittery, Maine. The series will follow it’s original format: two bands will perform one set each, followed by a third set in which both bands collaborate. You can follow Avant Coast’s return at avantcoast.com.
The Dover-based guitarist is producing his 11th album, “The Many Paths of Baba Ghanosh,” in 2015. The album features Carter’s original compositions, all inspired, in a round-about way, by the Middle-Eastern dip. “I noticed that the name … had an interesting rhythm: four sixteenth notes with an accent on the last,” Carter says. The word and its rhythm made Carter think of a soul band — and that “baba” is a term of endearment for an Indian holy man. He created a musical character, “a cross between Otis Redding and the Maharishi,” who became the subject of about a dozen instrumental pieces over the years that follow Baba’s adventures. Carter says the album is slated for release sometime in late spring.
The film composer and co-host of the “Let’s B Reel” film series at the Seacoast Rep has an eclectic year ahead. Fife says he’s providing the score for at least three feature films. He’s also working with Chris Livengood of Video Nasties and Simon Hanes of Tredici Bacci on a record that’s an homage to Italian giallo film scores. Also in 2015, Fife is collaborating with choreographer Junichi Fukada and musician Michael Palace on a show scheduled for March in Portsmouth.
Chase the Ghost, the distortion pop band comprised of Tory Miller, Quinn, and Chris Sumner, renamed itself Post Atlantic in mid-December. With a new name and new songs, Quinn says the band is on track to record and release an EP this year, tentatively titled “Atomic EP.” “It will have a vague thematic core of disasters — man-made and otherwise,” Quinn says.
Meanwhile, Quinn says winterstar, the collaboration he began with Miller in 2006 as part of the RPM Challenge, is likely to record a fifth release. You can follow both bands through Young Hours Records at younghours.com.
The singer-songwriter follows up the release of her new album, “Dig,” with the return of “Writers in the Round,” her show on Portsmouth Community Radio. The show has a new timeslot, Mondays from 6 to 7 p.m., and Randall shares hosting duties with Jim Rioux and Guy Capecelatro III. “I plan to set up some live WITR shows this year, as we did when the series first started, back when AD’s Barbecue was on State Street,” she says.
One of the busiest musicians in the Seacoast, Dias has three albums slated for release in 2015, including debut albums from Dias’ soul band Mother Superior and The Sliding Royales, and Cirque Desolate, which he calls the “dark side” of the Soggy Po’ Boys. Meanwhile, the Po’ Boys are working on their third album. “On the next record, we will be experimenting with a few more things: dirges, longer, more composed material, and even some electric NOLA-style funk. We’ve really been pushing ourselves to break the mold that we created with the last album,” he says.
This year sees the release of Ott’s latest solo album, “In Lieu of Flowers.” It’s “somewhat of a concept album about death,” he says. “It is probably the hardest, most personal thing I have written and recorded.” The album features an array of guests and soundscapes that Ott says come off at times like Pink Floyd, ELO, and Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” He hopes to release it in late spring or early summer. Ott is also finishing recording an album for Brook, Bear and the Elephant, his collaboration with Nate Laban, which he says should be finished in late February or early March.
The trumpet player has a number of projects on tap for 2015. This spring, he’ll be putting the finishing touches on his second record, which features musicians from Miami, New York City, Michigan, and the Seacoast. Klaxton is also a member of Jazzputin and Tan Vampires, and both bands are working on new records this year. On Feb. 20 at the Dance Hall in Kittery, Klaxton will be part of what he calls a “new collaboration, generationally, esthetically, and geographically” with bassist Scott Kiefner, guitarist Tony Gaboury, and drummer Steve Grover. “They are the cream of the crop and bring clear, incisive, and well-executed sounds to the table,” he says. “I have a lot to learn from these guys and I hope we continue to pursue this quartet.” Also in 2015, Kalxton plans on developing and booking more gigs for OURBIGBAND!, his new big band project.
Peiffer kicks off the new year with a big Shango show at The Dance Hall on Jan. 16. This time, the Afro-beat orchestra, which Peiffer founded and leads, will be joined by Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate, a dancer and singer in the internationally touring musical, “Fela!” about the life of Nigerian pop star Fela Kuta, whose music Shango performs. The group has also begun writing original material for an EP they plan to record this year. Peiffer also plans to record a full-length album with Sojoy, a jazz septet that he composes and arranges music for, in late spring or early summer. His project, Desert Island Live, which performs full-length “desert island” albums with a focus on individual artists, returns to The Dance Hall in April with a performance of Tom Waits’ “Rain Dogs” and “Alice.”
Gretchen & The Pickpockets
Bassist Mike Klempa says the band is hard at work on a new four-song EP with Chris Chase at 1130ft Studios in Rollinsford. The album, slated for release in March or April is “a more refined rock and jazz sound, with all four tunes each having a little something special and different to them,” Klempa says.