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Extended family planning

The Wax Tablet
By PORTLAND PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  September 19, 2014


>> If we’re going to start a label that documents the defiantly original music wafting up outta the city’s folk fringe, who’s a better candidate to do it than Peter McLaughlin? As an erstwhile drummer for experimental art-rock duo the Milkman’s Union, present percussionist in realpolitik jazz group Pastel Sound Explosion and post-post-post-rock project FAMILY PLANNING, and sound engineer for rock venue and all-forms creativity hub SPACE Gallery, the man has kept his hands in the city’s musical mud for years now. This week we learned that PRETTY PURGATORY, the blanket name he’s been using booking shows in and around town, is also a record label. And lucky Portland, it’s prepared to release thus: a new three-song, 26-minute joint titled Rhubarb from BUTCHER BOY, the wondrously adventurous, punk-born outré-folk unit grown right outta the scene’s weeds; a seven-song cassette/CD/digital album titled The First Museum from LISA/LIZA, who quite possibly the most underheralded and intimately enjoyable songwriter in the county; and a new full length called John Wayne Frankenstein from Family Planning themselves, who wear the hats of jokesters and exceptional musicians equally well. All releases promised to be crafted and packaged by local artists and makers. There’s chatter about more down the pike, too, like releases from Jacob Augustine, the Milkman’s Union, and Bad Braids. On the topic of local music, we simply don’t know how to be more psyched. Ask the crows if they’ve heard about a record-release show this week…or visit yourself for details.
>>  Boston resident and Maine songwriter favorite AUDREY RYAN has been sitting on more than just a few tunes lately—she’s about to have her first child any day now! To prepare, Ryan’s released a small batch of five titled Let’s Go to the Vamp, which might understandably be the last we hear from her for a little bit. And the thing is fab: From the banjo-plucks of the mesmerizing opener “Oh, the Ego,” it’s clear that Ryan still knows how to channel her inspirations, her soaring minor-key vocals shimmering over a backdrop of accordion and vibraphone, sounding a little like Big Blood stepping out of the swamps for a stiff drink and a ride through the countryside. Ryan’s fans should recognize these as recent on-stage fixations—live-looped song-building is her trademark—and these songs showcase that method brilliantly. Visit for more info, and hear the last tracks of a gifted, hardworking songwriter before her life sees an inevitable transformation. ^

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