The Mallett Brothers Band is an alt-country/rock band from Portland, Maine.
No Depression says they "make you want to scream at people to make them aware of the awesomeness that they are more than likely missing."
Dispatch Magazine calls them a "six-piece living inferno."
They have been “gobbling up accolades like sunflower seeds” since their 2009 inception, according to the Portland Press Herald.
They were voted their hometown of Portland, Maine's Best Local Act, Best Live Act, and had their debut album named Best Local Album in the 2010 Phoenix Best Music Poll, after their first full year of playing together. They were nominated for "Best Emerging Artist" of 2011 by Deli Magazine, Boston, and "Best Band/Act in Maine" in the 2011 New England Music Awards.
They won the 2011 Oxford Rockin’ Country Showdown Competition, garnering them a $25K grand prize; their debut record was the top-selling local CD in Bull Moose Music in 2010; and their sophomore release, “Low Down,” was featured on several year-end best-of lists this past December, nationally as well as locally.
Drawing from an array of influences including rock and roll, folk, blues, bluegrass, neo-traditional and classic country and even punk, MBB are known for high-intensity live performances. They've played national festivals as well as sold-out venues ranging from grange halls to rock clubs throughout the Northeast U.S.
They’ve been featured on WCYY, WBLM, WTHT, MPBN, WCLZ, and Nashville.com Country Radio, stations whose specialties run the gamut from mainstream country to hard rock to adult contemporary, and podcasts including the Americana Rock Mix, Freezing Process, Nine Bullets Radio, Freight Train Boogie, and RootHog Radio, among others.
The Portland Phoenix says “This band projects a self-assuredness that’s infectious in a world where it’s becoming harder and harder to find things that are real and genuine.” The Wire says “Put simply, this is a damn good band.” Hidden Track says “a most welcome discovery.” The Orris says “a band to watch.” The Portland Press Herald says “Scour the songs [on “Low Down”] for layered hipster nuance, and you’ll later be smoking cloves wondering what just blew past you.” Deli Magazine says of their live performances, “I guarantee you a kick-ass time, a hangover, and a crush that won’t quit.” They’ve also been called “amazing” (Piscataquis Observer), “luminaries” (NonAlignmentPact), “mighty,” and “as real as the dirt on the bottoms of your shoes” (Press Herald). At their March 2011 performance at Portland’s Port City Music Hall, more alcohol was allegedly consumed than at any other local show in the venue’s history.
Luke Mallett - Vocals, Guitar
Will Mallett - Vocals, Guitar
Nate Soule - Vocals, mandolin, Acoustic Guitar, Electric
Nick Leen - Bass, Work boots
Wally Wenzel - Electric Guitar, Dobro
Brian Higgins - Drums
"Low Down" full-length album released October, 2011.
"Good With the Better" single released December, 2010.
"The Mallett Brothers Band" full-length album released July, 2010.
Multiple tracks from both albums have received airplay on WTHT, WCYY, WBLM, WCLZ, MPBN as well as the AmericanaRoots.com, Nashville.com, FreightTrainBoogie.com, RoogHogRadio.com, and NineBullets.net.
Americana Rock Mix Top 24 of 2011
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Yeah, yeah. It’s that time of year again. Everyone is doing it, and so am I. My top albums of 2011. ...Yeah, yeah. It’s that time of year again. Everyone is doing it, and so am I. My top albums of 2011.
This was a really tough list to gather. 2011 was crammed with amazing music, so that just made the decision making that much harder.
34 people e-mailed and messaged me with suggestions of what my final top number should be this year. Suggestions ranged from “Top 10? to “Top 53?! That wasn’t going to happen anyway. But the most common number suggested was “Top 24?.
I didn’t implement any rules into this years list. As that was too much of a pain last year. So, it all comes down to what I was personally listening to the most this year.
Hopefully you’ll find an album or two on here that aren’t on anyone else’s lists.
This list is in no particular order.
- Yes And Also Yes by Mike Doughty
- Dark And Bloody Ground – Fifth On The Floor
- I’m Dead – Micah Schnabel (NOTE: Even though the physical album doesn’t get released until 2012, the pre-order instant download makes it a 2011 contender)
- Mergers & Acquistions – Have Gun, Will Travel
- Grand Theatre Vol. 2 – Old 97's
- Long Live All Of Us – Glossary
- Low Down – The Mallett Brothers Band
- Go-Go Boots – Drive-By Truckers
- The King Is Dead – The Decemberists
- Moving On – Lauderdale
- Here We Rest – Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
- Gravel & Wine – Gin Wigmore
- Indestructible Machine – Lydia Loveless
- Manifesto – Matt Woods
- England Keep My Bones – Frank Turner
- Death Of A Decade – Ha Ha Tonka
- Knife Man – Andrew Jackson Jihad
- American Stranger – The Only Sons
- Kiss Each Other Clean – Iron & Wine
- 37 – Roger Bryan & The Orphans
- The Bluebird Sessions – Memphis Train Union
- Number Seven – Will Hoge
- A New Home In The Old World – Austin Lucas
- Yours Truly – 16 Horsepower
I don’t have any explanations for my choices to type out to you. I will give my opinions when the show returns on January 5th with episode 126.
"Low Down" Review
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I am not a reviewer. I have noted this on several occasions, as I have a hard time putting my though...I am not a reviewer. I have noted this on several occasions, as I have a hard time putting my thoughts into a format that makes sense to people, outside of my own head.
But sometimes there is a spurt of albums released at one time that just makes you want to scream at people to make them aware of the awesomeness that they are more than likely missing.
This is one of those albums.
My first introduction for this album, was the music video for the album’s title track “Low Down”, which surpassed anything on their self titled previous effort. Now, that’s arguably a pretty strong intro to an album. This also left some lofty goals for the rest of album, which I hadn’t heard yet.
Honestly, I enjoyed their first album, quite a bit more than most of my peers. So when I finally received the album, I expected the track “Low Down” to be the stand out, and everything else would be on the same level as their last album. And honestly I only thought this because I heard the two Mallett Bros. albums only within a couple months of each other.
What I found was an eclectic set of ear candy that surpassed my expectations. It turns out this album maintained the road set it’s example track, “Low Down” (the song). The album ranges from acoustic riff rock openers like “Benny” to solid banjo fronted tracks like “Born Cryin’” that draw you into the album to see where their music will go next. But overall it’s the soulfulness in the voices of the Mallett Bros (Will & Luke) that makes the songs unique to the band.
This album will undoubtedly be in my Top Albums of 2011 list.
I will play a couple of tracks by them in this weeks upcoming episode. So stay tuned. If you would like to hear some tracks from their previous album, check out episode 115 of The Americana Rock Mix right HERE.
Top Shows of 2011
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We thought we’d rank the top 10 local concerts of 2011, but as many of you have been pointing out, t...We thought we’d rank the top 10 local concerts of 2011, but as many of you have been pointing out, there were just a ton of damn good shows this year. So, with help from local music fans, we upped the count to 25. That still only scratches the surface of the region’s great live music scene, but it’s been fun to remember what a good time we had seeing some of our favorite bands and getting surprised by newcomers. So, simply in chronological order, here’s a musical trip down memory lane.
The Mallett Brothers Band & Brothers McCann, The Stone Church, Jan. 13
It was a family affair when Mallett Brothers (Portland) and Brothers McCann (Boston) joined forces in Newmarket for a memorable show featuring two of the region’s hottest new bands.
Scene@Five, Music Hall Founders Lobby, Jan. 20
Game Boys, a Furbee and an arsenal of electronic gadgetry made noise in The Music Hall’s lobby in Portsmouth during a winter installment of Scene@Five, featuring AJ Dudick, The Attic Bits and Towers of Silence.
Justin Townes Earle, Music Hall, Feb. 4
A stint in rehab forced Justin Townes Earle to postpone his original date in Portsmouth, but he made up for it with a fantastic show in support of “Harlem River Blues.”
Marco Benevento, The Red Door, Feb. 18
Brooklyn-based pianist Marco Benevento had such a good time performing in this cozy Portsmouth venue that he returned for a three-week residency in the fall. The crowd enjoyed it as much as Benevento.
RPM Listening Party, The Music Hall, March 26
We may be biased on this one, but how often do you see dozens of local musicians parade onto the biggest stage in Portsmouth, pick up an instrument, and join a live, impromptu jam? It was an inspiring night reminding us of how very lucky we are to live among so many talented and generous musicians every day.
Ted Leo, Dover Brick House, April 28
Following sets from local artists Geoff Useless and Tim McCoy, punk legend Ted Leo offered one of the year’s most earnest and riveting performances with a solo set of his outstanding folk-punk songs.
Sleepy Wonder, Red Hook Brewery, May 21
The crowd let loose and stormed the dance floor during a hip-hop party in Portsmouth featuring Jamaican dub reggae rapper Sleepy Wonder, along with Boston’s SuperSka and local legends The Press Project.
Tan Vampires, The Press Room, June 10 (and The Barley Pub, Sept. 21)
With their long-awaited debut album in hand, local favorites Tan Vampires played their irresistible pop-rock songs in Portsmouth in June, then offered an official CD release show in Dover in September.
Boozefox, Buoy Gallery, June 10
Playing from within the hideous jaws of a large-scale installation they created in Kittery, members of the artist collective Boozefox served up a fantastical, Gwar-ish performance on the year’s best temporary stage.
Sully Erna, Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, June 18
Local keyboardist Chris DeCato and guitarist Tim Theriault toured with the Godsmack front man in support of his solo album, “Avalon,” and fulfilled their teenage dreams of playing on the Ballroom stage.
Tom Rush, Prescott Park, June 23
Granite State treasure Tom Rush never fails to entertain with his warm folk songs and humorous anecdotes, especially when he’s playing on an outdoor stage in Portsmouth, the city where he was born.
Deer Tick, The Page, July 2
Front man John McCauley suffered a bloody laceration after striking a cymbal with his bare hand, but this Providence-based band still rocked the “Sneakers and Speakers Charity Concert” in Portsmouth.
Taj Mahal, Prescott Park, July 27
The crowd at Taj Mahal’s concert in Portsmouth was estimated at 10,000 people, setting a new attendance record for the Prescott Park Arts Festival. Guests along the lawns and waterfront were rewarded with an evening of top-notch blues.
Stone Temple Pilots, Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Aug. 2&3
STP’s first date in Hampton sold out so quickly that they added a second night. Both shows swept the audience back to the glorious grunge of the early ’90s, stoking the rock nostalgia.
David Wax Museum, Prescott Park, Aug. 10
With their popularity swelling in 2011, David Wax Museum delivered their most memorable local show to date, dancing with children and marching through the crowd with their jarana jarocho and donkey jawbone.
OysterFest After-Party, The Stone Church, Aug. 13
Following Newmarket’s OysterFest, The Stone Church hosted an exultant after-party with music from regional acts Outlet, The Cyborg Trio and Blue Boy Productions, resulting in one of the year’s most energetic shows.
Buddy Guy, The Music Hall, Aug. 23
Even at 75, Buddy Guy can rip an electric guitar solo like few other bluesmen alive. He proved it in Portsmouth, while also introducing the crowd to gifted young guitarist Quinn Sullivan, age 12.
Arlo Guthrie, Prescott Park, Aug. 26
Some 44 years after releasing “Alice’s Restaurant,” Arlo Guthrie is still playing heartfelt folk songs on his acoustic guitar. He concluded the Prescott Park Arts Festival’s 2011 folk concert series with an exclamation point.
3S Fest, The Press Room, Aug. 27
Although pushed indoors by uncooperative weather, guests at 3S Fest will not soon forget witnessing Fountains of Wayne, Mike Doughty and Jake Mehrmann rock out under the rafters upstairs at The Press Room. They were great sports to stick around and play for a delighted crowd, and everyone had a great time.
Todd Rundgren, Blue Ocean Music Hall, Sept. 14
Few living icons epitomize rock ’n’ roll as thoroughly as Todd Rundgren, and he still lives up to that billing. Rundgren’s show on Salisbury Beach harkened back to the glory days of the early ’70s.
30th Anniversary of Sunday Jazz, The Press Room, Sept. 25
The all-star cast at the 30th anniversary bash for Sunday Jazz included the trio of Ryan Parker, Marty Ballou and Les Harris Jr., along with other noted veterans of the Seacoast’s rich jazz scene.
Halloween Rock Show, The Coat of Arms, Oct. 3
This annual fundraiser for the Portsmouth Halloween Parade was another horrifying success, with riotously energetic pure-rock sets from Cal Powers, The Connection, The Donkey Show and Kurt Baker Music.
Pixies, Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Oct. 30
Some attendees of this Devil’s Night concert have solemnly attested that it was the best show not only of 2011, but of all time. After 25 years, the Pixies awesomeness has ripened to a fine vintage.
Gillian Welch, The Music Hall, Nov. 26
Joined by her long-time partner Dave Rawlings on guitar, Gillian Welch had the audience applauding through two sets and two encores with her bittersweet country-bluegrass songs of beauty and despondence.
Nat Baldwin, Buoy Gallery, Dec. 11
Local composer Nat Baldwin has built a national reputation as a keenly inventive upright bass virtuoso, and he demonstrated why during a recent show with Sam Buck Rosen, a poignant reminder of the Seacoast’s homegrown talent.
Top 10 Local Albums of 2011
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This is the first year reviewing local music made me feel truly panicked. Like there was no possible...This is the first year reviewing local music made me feel truly panicked. Like there was no possible way I could get to hearing everything that was being released. The amount of local albums and EPs released this year exploded (I published reviews of 70 releases, in total), buoyed in large part by digital-only releases on Bandcamp and the continuing cult of the EP, which has seen bands release less music more frequently.
A conservative assessment puts the total number of "local" releases — those by bands who call the greater Portland area home base — at 125. Sure, that's only about 2.5 a week, but that's just enough to make you feel like there's another one you're missing out on.
The quality kept up with the quantity, too. For instance, I think Grand Hotel's In Color is better, actually, than their self-titled debut, which I had ranked at number three last year, but the competition is better. I'm a Spouse sycophant, but I couldn't find a way to get frontman Jose Ayerve's A Severe Joy into the top 10. Spencer Albee's Space Vs. Speed album? Despite that Saiyid rap that I still listen to at least once a week, it fell just short. Jacob Augustine's three-album output was impressive, but no single release ultimately made my list. Both Metal Feathers and Huak deserve attention, and commendation, for strong releases that challenged me as a listener. Same with Hi Tiger and Good Kids Sprouting Horns.
No single song, actually, struck me more emotionally than Hi Tiger's "Nukes," which just about broke my heart.
Eric Bettencourt, Pinsky, Sparks the Rescue, Tree by Leaf (RIP), the McCarthys, Putnam Smith, This Way, Worried Well, Sidecar Radio — shit, even Doctor Astronaut — released strong pieces of work. It's my practice to rank every single album I reviewed, and I can honestly say that I still regularly dial up full-length-album #33 for a listen. I know I commit the sin of loving too much, but these are all records that deserve your ears.
But this ain't Lake Wobegon and not every album can be above average, and not every album can be in the top 10 best albums of the year (plus the five best EPs). So I made my picks. I hope you've listened to enough local music to be able to argue with me.
Criteria? Same as always: Albums are ranked by originality, musicianship, how long something from the disc lasts in my head, the number of plays they got on the iPod, whether they contain a truly outstanding song, and some consideration for production value and the quality of the listening experience. Here we go:
1) There Is No Sin, We Are Revealed
2) Sunset Hearts, Inside the Haunted Cloud
3) Steve Grover Quintet, Plus One, Statement
4) Baltic Sea, Period Piece
5) Arborea, Red Planet
6) Paranoid Social Club, Axis IV
7) Joe Walsh, Sweet Loam
8) Spose, Happy Medium
9) Mallett Brothers Band, Low Down
10) Whitcomb, Crown Park
Read more: http://thephoenix.com/boston/music/131560-2011s-top-10-albums-and-5-eps-too/#ixzz1iPP8T7MT
Mallett Brothers' Sophomore Effort Brings Rollicking Riffs, Honest Voice
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HOW IT RATES MALLETT BROTHERS BAND: "LOW DOWN" PRODUCED BY Mallett Brothers Band **** 1/2 Afte...HOW IT RATES
MALLETT BROTHERS BAND: "LOW DOWN"
PRODUCED BY Mallett Brothers Band
After gobbling up accolades like sunflower seeds, the mighty Mallett Brothers Band is ready to drop the follow-up to its dynamite debut. It's maybe the most anticipated local record of the year, so if you're bracing for a sophomore slump, don't. "Low Down" burns hot when the six country players turn it up, but just as easily delivers a heart-heavy lament.
The best part of this dust-covered country, though, is its unmistakable honesty. Scour the songs for layered hipster nuance, and you'll later be smoking cloves wondering what just blew past you. Instead, everything's big on "Low Down" -- banjos, drums and sadness all in one hearty blast.
Crank the windows down for Will Mallett and Nate Soule's lightning banjo and mandolin duel in "Born Cryin,'" a tune that was designed to accompany a drive along a rushing New England river. In "Don't Need You," a sleepy bass lifts the tortured longing in the chorus, and Soule's sharp electric jabs give the ballad its terse punctuation. Cowboy boot heels will be stomping wherever this tour rolls when the band breaks out "Benny," with Luke Mallett offering his more gnarled vocals over beautifully building tension.
"Low Down" closes with "Think I'd Feel Fine," a slow sing-a-long for the sweat to dry that espouses simple appreciation as the path to aging gracefully. It's a nice reminder that the band isn't pilfering tricks or gimmicks, just offering up its strong, distinctly American voice.
Mike Olcott is a freelance writer.
"The Mallett Brothers Band Sing it Straight and True"
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Not only was Doc Watson the best guitarist of his era, but he also expanded the horizons of so many ...Not only was Doc Watson the best guitarist of his era, but he also expanded the horizons of so many players, in a way that belied his ultra-traditional Deep Gap, North Carolina, upbringing. He liked to refer to his repertoire as "traditional plus," as in: traditional music of the Blue Ridge Mountains, plus influences from just about every player he ever came across.
If you're looking for something to label the Mallett Brothers Band, I'd personally go with "traditional plus." Especially on their second album, Low Down, the Malletts have found a way to build a foundation with traditional instruments and songwriting, and have erected a relatively contemporary home by bringing in roots-rock, country, jam, and loads of other influences that make for an album that is both absolutely of this time and place, as well as all kinds of old time.
It's hard to pin down, but there's a feeling here that wasn't present on their debut record, like they've fully inhabited the music now, where before they weren't completely comfortable in their "country" duds (more than one of them had previous gigs in hip-hop bands, after all).
You hear it right off the bat, with the opening, and excellent, "Low Down," a roots-rock anthem that's easy to embrace (so good, actually, that I would have put it later in the album; the other songs have a hard time living up to it). Despite some wash in the beginning, where the mix of instruments doesn't have quite enough clarity, the song cuts to the quick almost immediately. Luke Mallett's lead vocal is the voice of the everyman, full of real passion and a mix of discontent and wonder. "You're never gonna be happy, in this simple kind of life/Can't live on the low down," he sings to the girl who, inevitably, has gone away. "Wanna live in the city/Want to taste the dreams/Wanna live in a big house/Wanna live with means."
What's great is that it's not entirely clear who wants these things, in the end, or which parts. It's the push and pull of the excitement of the big city and the comfort of the country home. Sometimes you've got to leave the nest to get what you want, but it's hard to clear your head of the open fields, the fresh food, the warmth of a woodstove.
These are hard times, and the Malletts both know it and aren't going to be held down by it.
"Born Cryin'" is an ultra-quick bluegrass nod with Nate Soule playing the role of fiddle-player with his electric guitar, warning that "the love you've been looking for won't be found 'round here." "Broke 'n' Driftin'" is more bluesy, with a repeating acoustic guitar run and a phased-out electric guitar from Wally Wenzel charging through the low end. Its message? "There ain't nobody gonna wanna help me now."
That sounds a lot like Doc Watson's famous line: "Ain't nobody in the whole world gonna help you carry that load."
But defiance reigns in the end. "Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down," they implore, with lots of Wenzel dobro and a whispery, closely mic'd vocal from Will Mallett, who's joined by Luke in the chorus for what's probably their best vocal pairing.
And, anyway, they "Don't Need You," as they declare in a song where Will puts some grit in his delivery (in general, his vocals are superior here to the last album) and lets the backing instruments rise into the gaps between lines of the verse, before delivering a chorus you can really believe and get behind. Some might find Soule's electric guitar break a little "slick," but, as on other tunes here, it's a nod to a jam aesthetic in line with the likes of Widespread Panic or, yes, the Allmans, and you can really rock out to it.
From the rockabilly swagger of "Good with the Better," where Nick Leen owns a 1-2-3 bass walk and drummer Brian Higgins backs him to the finish, to the silliness they allow to creep back into the finishing "Think I'd Feel Fine" ("I know I'm the potatoes in your hot beef stew"), this band projects a self-assuredness that's infectious in a world where it's becoming harder and harder to find things that are real and genuine.
The Mallett Brothers Band are as real as the dirt on the bottoms of your shoes and they have no problem living like "it's your last day on earth." Can you say the same?
The Mallett Brothers Band Show Review
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Girls, Girls—no need to fight! There are plenty of The Mallett Brothers Band to go around. What do y...Girls, Girls—no need to fight! There are plenty of The Mallett Brothers Band to go around. What do you get when you mix bourbon, country music, and six talented musicians together? The Mallett Brother's Band. After spending the night dancing my heart out at Portland's Port City Music Hall to the sweet jams of these fellas, I found it necessary to share the electrifying vibe I felt, and a little bit about these gents, with you all.
Will and Luke Mallett, sons of renowned Maine folk singer/songwriter David Mallett, team up with Nick Leen, Wally Wenzel, Brian Higgins, and Boston's Nate Soule to bring the country funk to northern New England. The intense chemistry between these dudes is unmistakable and the crowd they draw can most definitely feel it.
Inspired by their Maine roots, these brothers write songs that everyone can relate to. Vocalist Luke Mallett's transition from hip hop to funk and then to rock is an eclectic mash-up of sounds that will make your ears have an orgasm. Listeners can hear this style reflected in his lyrics, and it is pretty awesome.
Bassist Nate Soule is a force to be reckoned with on the guitar/mandolin, and I am unable to stop staring in disbelief as he plays. His love for music is undeniable and who doesn't swoon over an amazing guitarist?
Next up on my list of people I give the goofy grin to would have to be Wally Wenzel. As he tares up the dobro, I can't help but wonder where this guy came from. Rumor has it that he picked up the dobro one day, missed work, and then became an instant complement to the rest of the group. I'll take it.
You see that guy in the trucker hat? That would be Nick Leen. His funk background shines hard when he's kickin that nasty bass. He will blow your mind and drink your whiskey.
Where does Brian Higgins fit into this group? I've seen Brian play in many punk/metal/rock bands in Portland over the years and have always been impressed. His rock 'n'roll attitude fits this alt-country band perfectly.
Tying this group together is Will Mallett. I've had the pleasure of sharing shots, and thoughts, with him on many occasions and when I finally heard him sing, I was blown away. Will sings with his heart on his sleeve and has the unique ability to make you feel what he is feeling. His country twang, plus that shot of Evan Williams I had with this brother before the show, gives me a perma smile.
MBB exploded onto Portland's music scene in early 2010, and by early summer had earned themselves a slot at Nateva Music Festival, sharing the stage with The Flaming Lips, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band, and countless other musical greats. You may have caught them at the House of Blues last summer in the front room while you were there checking out Willie Nelson on the main stage. With a growing fanbase and a self-titled album named “Top New Local Album of 2010” by Portland's WCYY, the boys are blowing up.
Hits like I Don't Need You and Watch You Walk Away are dominating the local radio stations. These guys pack show after show with their loyal fans not far behind. After being together for just over a year, The Mallett Brothers Band, with their melting pot of musical backgrounds, rock a party that cannot be missed. Nate Soule once told me he wouldn't be alive if it weren't for music, and I believe that to be true for all of them. Their diverse backgrounds, coupled with their amazing talent and brotherhood, make these guys a must-see.
Not only do THEY rock...they make YOU rock. Be sure to check them out on May 20th at Port City Music Hall in Portland, ME or June 16th at The Delancey in NYC. A little birdie told me they might be hitting Beantown soon as well. Head to their website for a complete list of shows and GO! I guarantee you a kick-ass time, a hangover, and a crush that won't quit.
Best Local Act, Best Live Act, Best Local Album (Portland Phoenix)
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Last night, the Portland Phoenix held their annual Best Music Poll ceremony at the Asylum and announ...Last night, the Portland Phoenix held their annual Best Music Poll ceremony at the Asylum and announced 2011's big winners.
Without further ado, here they are:
Best Local Act + Best Live Act + Best Local Album
The Mallett Brothers Band
Best Category-Defying Act
Jakob Battick & Friends
Best DJ/Dance Act
Best Electronica Act
Best Female Vocalist + Best New Act
Best Folk Act
Best Heavy Music/Metal Act
Best Hip-Hop Act
Best Indie Act
Best Jazz Act
Best Male Vocalist
Dominic Lavoie, The Lucid
Best Pop-Rock Act
Best Punk Act
Best R&B/Soul/Blues Act
Grant Street Orchestra
Best Rock Act
In The Audience
Best Roots Act
Best World Music Act
Top NEW local bands of 2010
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Here are the top new local artists who released their first CD, record, or DVD in 2010. We didn't in...Here are the top new local artists who released their first CD, record, or DVD in 2010. We didn't include people like Spose, Uncle Jack, or Grand Hotel who released CDs before 2010. We included people who went solo (Martin England, Amanda Gervasi, and Zach Jones) as well as new bands with veteran players (Space Versus Speed, Educated Advocates). Congrats to all the great new talent!
10. Andi Fawcett
9. Educated Advocates
7. Amanda Gervasi
6. Martin England
4. Marion Grace
3. Zach Jones
2. Space Versus Speed
1. Mallett Brothers Band
2. Damnationland 2010
1. The Wrong House?
"Local musicians who deserve a listen"
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As you tend more and more toward dreaming of long August days, add the windows-down, summer-cruising...As you tend more and more toward dreaming of long August days, add the windows-down, summer-cruising country of The Mallett Brothers to the soundtrack. Drawn from all over the performing spectrum -- hip-hop, funk, reggae -- the band has coalesced under a common gritty vision. Rustic tunes such as "Blackmoon" are for fist pumpin' and stompin', preferably with a boot heel. The self-titled debut had a formidable run in the No. 1 slot at Bull Moose, and the band is chomping at the bit to complete the follow-up. Go to mallettbrothersband.com for a taste." (Mike Olcott)
Making Noise: Alt-country Mallett Brothers riding a hot debut CD
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Making Noise: Alt-country Mallett Brothers riding a hot debut CD MIKE OLCOTT Something in th...Making Noise: Alt-country Mallett Brothers riding a hot debut CD
Something in the air, perhaps, but the forces that be on the Maine music scene have come together to forge an authentic, rip-roarin' alt-country band. The Mallett Brothers Band has a strong-as-an-ox debut record on its hands, tearing through a Bull Moose near you. It's no accident, and its barely serendipity. These guys like hanging out, and were born to pick up and play. As they roam around this good land, it's worthwhile to catch a show, or at least pick up the record to see what everybody's kicking up dust about.
click image to enlargeThe Mallett Brothers Band has a lot of musical variety, experience, and – for five weeks running – the top-selling CD on the local charts.
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What's on the MALLETTS' iPOD
Willie and Waylon -- "I Can Get Off on You"
Mumford and Sons -- "Roll Away Your Stone"
Ryan Bingham -- "Sunrise"
Steve Earle -- "Guitar Town"
Van Morrison -- "My Bucket's Got a Hole In It"
The Allman Brothers Band -- "Pony Boy"
Merle Haggard -- "Strangers"
The Felice Brothers -- " Love Me Tenderly"
Fleet Foxes -- "Ragged Wood"
Willie Nelson -- "Hello Walls"
The band's made up of Luke Mallett (vocals, guitar), Will Mallett (vocals, guitar banjo, harmonica), Nate Soule (vocals, guitars mandolin), Wally Wenzel (dobro, guitar, vocals), Nick Leen (bass) and Brian Higgins (drums).
Will and Luke teamed up to talk to Go.
What is Mallett Brothers Band? Did you guys all come from the same playing background?
The Mallett Brothers Band comes from just about every end of the musical spectrum. The name, by the way, goes back to when it was just Luke, me and Nick playing acoustic stuff in Luke and Nick's living room, but in the last year it's really expanded beyond that and become a real team effort, with everyone contributing in a big way. Wally, Brian and Nate have all been playing professionally in Portland and beyond for the past couple decades, in everything from metal to funk to reggae bands. Luke, Nick and Nate played together in Boombazi as recently as last year, which was a funk-rock group. And Luke's a member of the hip hop group Lab7. So we're really coming at this thing from all over the place.
What does "alt-country" mean to you? How is it different than mainstream country?
Any label is, as you know, really pretty silly. But it seems like alt-country has just been the inheritor of the 'outlaw country' movement of the '70s, which really just signifies anything that comes from outside of Nashville; Nashville the idea, not the place, you know. It's grittier, it's a little more honest, and you can tell people up here in New England that it's what you play without them getting all uptight and pedagogical. That's really the only difference.
How has the self-titled debut been received so far? Are you excited by the response?
It's been huge, and we couldn't be more excited. We set out to make a record that we could listen to in our trucks, pretty much, and as the pieces started coming together we put a lot more effort into it, but we still never thought we would get the response we've had. Sales at Bull Moose have been great. We're five weeks at No. 1 on the local chart so far, and that's really, absolutely blowing our minds. Huge thank you to everyone going out and picking up the album.
How does Portland nurture a young musician? How is the scene limiting?
It's a great town for music, a really great town, but that does make it really easy to become complacent; it could be easy to get a few gigs and sell some CDs and think you're the king of the castle. So it's important to look outside town to see how relevant you really are -- whether they're listening to your music in Buxton or somewhere.
As songwriters, who are your heroes from the last 100 years?
David Mallett, Gordon Lightfoot, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and then all the folkies and blues guys and hillbillies writing and playing for fun.
What are you looking forward to most in 2011?
Album No. 2, every show we can play, spring fishing season and Thanksgiving.
Mike Olcott is a Portland freelance writer
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The Mallett Brothers Band #1 Best Selling Local CD
The Mallett Brothers Band #1 Best Selling local cd
2nd Generation Mallett Brothers topping Maine music charts
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2nd-generation Mallett Brothers topping Maine music charts 8/12/10 12:50 pm Updated: 8/13/10 10:...2nd-generation Mallett Brothers topping Maine music charts
8/12/10 12:50 pm Updated: 8/13/10 10:14 pm
By Emily Burnham
BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY MICHAEL YORKLuke Mallett at the Rockland Lobster Festival Saturday, August 7, 2010. Buy Photo
Forty-three years ago, the Mallett Brothers took the stage for the first time in Fort Fairfield. David Mallett, now a beloved Maine songwriter famed for timeless songs such as “The Garden Song,” performed with his brother Neil at a festival in 1967, as can be seen in a scratchy YouTube video online. The two can’t be more than 16 years old in the video.
In 2010, the Mallett Brothers again took the stage at a variety of summer festivals. But this time, it was David Mallett’s two sons, Luke and Will, who play in the Mallett Brothers Band, a Portland-based alternative country group poised to become one of the most popular bands in Maine. The band’s self-titled debut album is the No. 1 local album at Bull Moose Music, and it’s No. 11 overall on the Bull Moose national charts.
If it were possible to figure out what gene passes down songwriting and musicianship, it seems pretty certain that you’d find that gene in both father and sons. The Mallett family has music in its bloodstream.
“Sure, I think there’s something genetic to it,” said Will Mallett, 25. “But I think we always were kind of conscious of what songwriting meant, since our Dad is so heavily involved in that process. We understood from a very young age the mechanics of it.”
Will and Luke spent the early part of their childhood in Nashville, Tenn., while their father made inroads into the country music scene there. By the time they were both in their early teens, though, the family had moved back to Sebec, to the 19th century farmhouse the Malletts had made their home for generations. Music, naturally, was a part of their lives from the beginning.
“There were always guitars and drums and a piano in the house,” said David Mallett. “I’d teach them a few chords here and there. MTV was always on. They heard as much Michael Jackson as they did folk music. I wouldn’t say I actively encouraged them to be musicians, but it was just there for them. They picked it up naturally.”
Will and Luke absorbed everything. There was the punk period, the metal period. They always loved Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Gordon Lightfoot. Luke Mallett, now 27, was a member of Boombazi, the now defunct Portland hip hop and rock fusion group. Though he now plays in a band more influenced by Waylon Jenning than Wu-Tang Clan, that diversity of musical interests has been present in all of the music they’ve made over the years.
“It doesn’t seem weird to me at all, to play hip-hop and folk and country and all that,” said Luke Mallett. “Wally Wenzel, our dobro player, was one of the guys behind [Portland horror punk band] The Horror, and [guitarist] Nate Soule was in Boombazi with me. Our drummer Brian [Higgins] is in Colepitz, who is like a heavy rock band. I think it’s good to be familiar with a lot of different kinds of music.” Nick Leen, a fellow songwriter and guitarist, rounds out the band.
Despite growing up in the same household with a musical father, Luke and Will had never performed together. It wasn’t until a few summers ago, when the brothers began messing around playing guitar together that the spark for the Mallett Brothers Band was kindled.
“It happened pretty organically. We didn’t start playing together, intending to start a band. We just liked what we were doing,” said Will Mallett. “It wasn’t even until later in 2009 that we really said, ‘OK, let’s try to do something with this.’”
In a few short months, the brothers recruited Wenzel, Soule, Higgins and Leen to play with them, fleshing out the songs they already had written, like the bluegrass thumper “F-150” and the jangly, melodic “Carolanne.” They spent the better half of 2010 writing the other 10 songs that make up their self-titled debut, which they recorded over the winter and spring. It came out last month, with “Carolanne” as the lead single immediately going into heavy rotation on WCYY 94.3 FM in Portland.
The Mallett Brothers Band shares the same musical spectrum as similarly family-oriented indie bluegrass band the Avett Brothers, or the earlier period of alt-country heroes Wilco. There’s more of a grit to what the Malletts write, though; there are shades of early country like Hank Williams, and more contemporary songwriters like Townes Van Zandt.
Though all six of the band members live in the Portland area, the brothers maintain their longtime ties to Sebec and the Dover-Foxcroft community. A recent show at Paddy Murphy’s in Bangor brought friends and fans from the region down Route 15 to see them play. They played at the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival in Dover last June.
Tours may end up taking them across the country, but they’re always going to be Maine boys. And why shouldn’t they? For a state of its size, Maine has a wealth of really good bands from a variety of genres.
“Maine has a really vital music scene going on now. There are a lot of good bands out there now,” said David Mallett. “It feels like the ‘70s. There’s lots of festivals. It’s exciting.”
David Mallett couldn’t be more proud of his sons. After all, they’re taking after Dad, in their own unique way.
“It’s hard to describe how I feel, because I know what they’re going through so well,” said the elder Mallett. “They are all so good for each other. They complement each other so well. I think if you’re going to do something, you’re obligated to go for it with everything you have. You need to be big and be bold in everything you do, music or otherwise.”
The Mallett Brothers Band will play Friday night at the House of Blues in Boston, and on Friday, Aug. 20, at the Bayside Bowl in Portland. For information, visit mallettbrothersband.com.
Alt-country artistry with the Mallett Brothers Band
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A provincial purist might suggest that being the finest alt-country band in a New England seacoast t...A provincial purist might suggest that being the finest alt-country band in a New England seacoast town like Portland, Maine, is a modest achievement. "Try Austin or Nashville and get back to me," might be the attitude.
A quick listen to Portland's Mallett Brothers Band, though, would melt said purist's ears. A sextet featuring world-class chops, vocals and songwriting, the Mallett Brothers could quickly establish themselves in any musical community they deign to visit. Indeed, the band's chemistry is so fluidly intuitive that it seems almost predetermined.
Wally Wenzel, Nate Soule, Luke and Will Mallett, Nick Leen and Brian Higgins make up the band - and all of them seem to play 200 instruments and harmonize like beer-happy angels. It's odd, then, that before the Mallett Brothers Band formed, none of the musicians had displayed any particular affinity for country music.
Nonetheless, after playing together for just over a year, and producing two superb albums, the self-titled debut and "Low Down," they steamrollered the top categories at the 2011 Portland Phoenix's Best Music Awards, winning Best Local Act, Best Live Act, and Best Local Album.
Prior to an appearance Friday at Groton's Side Pocket Cafe for the weekly Blue Collar Happy Hour, Luke Mallett talked a bit about the band.
On how six guys from Maine, who had separately and together been in punk, metal, funk and hip-hop groups - even a "death lounge act" - managed to coalesce into an alt-country/rock freight train:
"It was something we all grew into. I personally spent 12 years in a hip-hop group before this project got up and going. We've got a pretty diverse group of musicians all thrown together, all coming from different projects and genres, but somehow, once we were all in a room together, the music came naturally. By the time we had played a bunch of shows and finished the first record, we had embraced it completely."
On the band's reaction to sweeping the big trophies in the 2011 Portland Phoenix Music Awards:
"It was huge motivation for us. We had put a lot into the band at that point in time, sacrificing day jobs and weekends and hours and hours in the studio. It is nice to have a sense of validity, but it's almost even better sometimes to see the faces in the crowd while we're playing. People really seem to enjoy themselves, which helps us do the same."
On how to harness the quantifiable New England momentum and spread the word:
"The plan for us has always stayed the same. Keep moving further, keep playing more and more shows, keep selling more records, keep traveling further and further. It's been fantastic to find that we've been included in playlists and radio in places like Texas and Oregon on the complete other side of the country from our home base. It's got us hungry, we plan on striking while the iron is hot. Coming soon to a town near you."
In a 2011 guide to the hottest bachelors in each of the 50 states, Cosmopolitan magazine selected the band's Will Mallett as their choice for Maine. Very cool - for Will. Which publications, then, would brother Luke suggest might feature the other band dudes as centerfolds?
"Nick Leen would be on the cover of Bass Master magazine, Nate Soule would fit nicely on the cover of Mustache Monthly, Brian Higgins is a shoe-in for the Civil War Reenactment Digest, Wally Wenzel is the top model in The Flannel Gentleman, and I myself would love to get a page in Cowboy Hat Quarterly."
The Mallett Brothers Band, Blue Collar Happy Hour, 7 p.m. Friday, Side Pocket Cafe, 1066 Poquonnock Road, Groton; free; (860) 445-1556.
The Mallett Brothers Band plays all original music, with an occasional cover thrown in the mix for fun. Original songs frequently played include:
Last Man Standing
Walk Down the River
Watch You Walk Away
Take it Back
On That Hill
Wrong Kind of Woman
All I Know
Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down
Broke and Driftin'
Good with the Better
Don't Need You
Hard Light (David Mallett)
Waymore Blues (Waylon Jennings)
Big River (Johnny Cash)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.