A Severe Joy/Factory Portland Collaboration


Starting in January 2012, A Severe Joy released his first in a series of ten mono singles.  The sleeves were designed by our very own Stephen Quirk.  The format for the singles is a bit unique… each 10″ disc is made from plexi-glass and lathe cut by Various Artists Records in Kittery, Maine.  The project presented a challenge since the singles would be released once every one to two months and then compiled into two 10-track CDs with stereo versions of the songs.  As of this entry, five singles have been released,  as has the first of the two albums (Cinematesque Part I).  The process started by coming up with an initial design and then altering it slightly over time using images inspired by the images from the songs.  The result is akin to wallpaper or wrapping paper with machines, helicopters, hand grenades, summertime imagery, and UFOs.  Keep an eye out for the next five singles, which will be released over throughout 2013.

2011 Recap + Looking ahead


2011 was a year filled with projects and collaborations with several Maine artists…

Earlier this year, we added the Maine music video page to the website.  There are currently 114 videos spotlighting the amazing talent of Maine’s music scene.

We created a “Music from the State of Maine” group on Soundcloud, which is open for any Maine artist to submit their work.

We designed the packaging layout for The Cool, a cover band comprised of adults with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges from Momentum.  The cover artwork was designed by one of the band members, recorded, mixed and mastered by Shaun Curran at Napoleon Complex of  Somerville, MA and organized by Oscar Romero (Gully, Foam Castles, Endless Jags).  You can learn more on their Bandcamp page.

We have worked extensively with José Ayerve (Spouse, Bullyclub) on his latest project, A Severe Joy.  This new material moves away from his normal guitar-driven, 80s influenced rock and focuses on something closer to indie electronic pop.  Along with this new sound, he wanted a new look, which includes masks and lights in his live shows. To accentuate this idea, we tried to be a bit experimental with the packaging for the debut album.  We used vellum letter envelopes, a single folded sheet of paper and writing done in his own hand. We also collaborated with [dog]+[pony] on a video for his song ‘Catapult.’

As for 2012…

A Severe Joy plexi-disc No. 1
A Severe Joy plexi-disc No. 1

We have begun work on a series of 10 limited edition A Severe Joy plexi-disc releases.  The project presented some unique challenges, including a short turnaround time to complete the concept and design, a unique 8.5 inch size and setting the look and tone for the other nine releases.  The first one is available for pre-order from Bandcamp.

A full aseverejoy.com website is nearly complets, and will be going live soon.

Etheria Sparrow’s debut “Journey to Etheria” will be released later this year and features another Factory Portland designed album cover.

Stephen served on the nomination committee for the New England Music Awards, listening to the music of 150+ area musicians over a couple of weeks and submitting ranked choices.  The awards will be presented March 9, 2012 at Hard Rock Café Boston and feature performances from Ron Noyes Band, Jen Kearney, Frank Viele and The Manhatten Project, Mission Hill, and Twin Berlin.

Lastly, our merch shop launched at the beginning of  2012 and features items from A Severe Joy, Spouse, Bullyclub, and Factory Portland.  We’ll announce any deals or new items on Facebook and Twitter.  Send us your thoughts on additional items you’d like to see added to the store.

Thanks for following our progress as we continue to assist artists with their contributions to the Maine music scene. We’re looking forward to an exciting 2012!

‘The Filmspotting Connection’, or ‘Two degrees of Ira Glass’


Recently it was posed to me: “okay, but i don’t understand… why would a film review podcast be talking about music in Maine?”

So this is how it happened… when podcasts were introduced to iTunes in 2005, I discovered Filmspotting (then called Cinecast).  What started out as a hobby by two guys in Chicago, has turned in to a show that’s landed guests like Ed Burns, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rian Johnson, Diablo Cody, Ellen Page, and Shia Labeouf (the bonus content reveals one of the strangest interview outtakes to ever be recorded).  They eventually landed the show on WBEZ/Chicago Public Radio, home of This American Life and Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!.

I had a chance to meet one of the hosts, Adam Kempenaar, at a Boston Filmspotting Meet-up.  In addition to interviews, the show also features short musical interludes to move from segment to segment.  A short time after the creation of Factory Portland, it occurred to me… “Filmspotting has music every week, Portland has great music”.  I hope to continue sending great music to the show, but for now, here’s a list of Portland bands that have made it on air…

Spouse: Episode #316: The American / Top 5 Hitman Movies

Gully: Episode #323: Hereafter / Top 5 Double Features

Brenda: Episode #328: I Love You Phillip Morris / Top 5 DVDs of 2010

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper: Episode #337: Army of Shadows / Top 5 Revolution Movies

Bonus: “Superman” by Spouse as the closing song on This American Life, Episode #178, 2/23/2001: Superpowers

Spouse on Film(spotting)

Spouse // Confidence

1864925We recently got a copy of  ‘Confidence’ by Portland’s Spouse in the hands of the hosts of Filmspotting, along with a couple of other releases by local artists.  They were kind enough to feature two tracks from the album on a recent show.  For the uninitiated, Filmpotting is a Chicago-based, film review podcast that also airs on WBEZ radio (home of  This American Life and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!).  In the past, the show has featured music by artists like Animal Collective, Neko Case, The Sea and Cake, Arcade Fire, Iron and Wine, Wilco, and many more.

Listen to Filmspotting Episode (#316) to hear ‘Vampire Love Song’ and ‘What You’re Feeling’.  You can download those tracks, and more, at Spouse’s Bandcamp Site.

Spouse on Bandcamp

Spouse at Port City Music Hall, photo by Stephen Quirk/Factory Portland
Spouse // Confidence
Spouse // Confidence

Head over to Spouse’s new Bandcamp profile to download some of their previous releases as well as some newly released demos, covers and rarities.

Their new album, Confidence, is also available for purchase at their site (newly redesigned by Factory Portland).  The album has received some glowing reviews, including one from The Bollard, where you can download a track from Confidence.

Don’t forget to catch José Ayerve of Spouse at the Factory Portland Launch Event at Space Gallery on July 23rd!

‘Gregory’ by Gully

// ‘Gregory’ by Gully

‘Gregory’, an EP by Portland’s Gully, was released in May of this year.  I worked alongside Oscar Romero, leader of the band, to interpret his designs.  I stayed true to his vision, while also adding some elements to clean it up a bit.  The album has (so far) only been released at a couple of their shows, but will be available online and at local stores in the near future.  Stay tuned here for more information as it develops.

Gully is on a bit of a hiatus, but you can catch Oscar in his other band, Lapsed Axis or guitarist Stu Gurley in The No. 9.

Read a review and hear a sample over at The Bollard.