The State of Maine Music

The state of how music is reported and discussed in Maine has been morphing as of late.

Sam Pfeifle, who wrote about local music for The Portland Phoenix from 2001 to 2014, is no longer with the long-running weekly publication.  The Phoenix was purchased by the owners of The Portland Daily Sun, while team members from The Phoenix and the owners of Boston’s Dig started a new publication, Dig Portland. That publication was promptly shut down by the new owners of The Phoenix.  Sam’s thirteen-year backlog of reviews are no longer on The Phoenix’s site but, thankfully, Sam has launched Portland’s Best Albums to slowly re-release many of those reviews.

Newz by the Nunz has called several sites its home, but it’s most recently landed at Knack Factory.  The column, written by local musician Holly Nunan, typically features a list of music-related events happening around town.  Newz by the Nunz started out as a regular feature in Dispatch Magazine and moved to (archive) before finding its current home.  Holly is also a regular on WCSH6’s Morning Report covering much of the same territory and the current host of local music radio show Music from 207 (itself an offshoot of a show started by Charlie Gaylord, who now hosts Greetings From Area Code 207 on WBLM).

Speaking of Dispatch Magazine, the once music-focused publication has morphed into something of a lifestyle magazine, though they still feature album reviews.  For a about a year, Dispatch and their parent company, kNow Media, ran, a streaming radio station featuring all Maine music.  The station’s site was hacked in 2011 and seemed to never really make a comeback.  The magazine took a step away from the music scene shortly thereafter.  Dispatch and kNow were founded by “SuperFrank” Copsidas, former manager of James Brown.  A music publishing company, Intrigue Music, is yet another venture started by Copsidas, who has a background in the radio business.

The blog Hilly Town slowed publication when its creator, Bryan Bruchman, relocated back to Brooklyn.  There’s talk of the site coming back, but we’re not 100% sure in what form.  Will it contain show listings, concert photos, show reviews, and late-night grub recommendations like it did once before?  The site relaunched in 2015 with show listings and reviews, presumably with the help of new contributors.

A few others of note: 

  • Emily Burnham’s Culture Shock (Bangor Daily News) and Aimsel Ponti’s Face the Music (Maine Today) are two other music columns.  Both cover a mix of local and established artists, area events, and the occasional album review.
  • The Bollard has a long running series of album and live show reviews.
  • For coverage of the heavier side of music in Portland, there’s Post Mortem.
  • While not technically a news site, The Portland Music Foundation became part of Creative Portland late in 2014 and have yet to announce how that collaboration will manifest itself.

Did we forget any other sources for local music news?  Let us know in the comments.

Stephen Quirk
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2 thoughts on “The State of Maine Music

  1. Hi Stephen,
    My name is Trevor Geiger, and I’m the Director of Marketing and Events for Dispatch Magazine. First off, thanks for including us in your article on the current state of music coverage here in Maine.

    Almost four years ago, Dispatch published our first few issues as a magazine devoted solely to Music and Film in Maine. I think we learned pretty quickly that there was a whole lot more to the Maine Arts scene, so we started branching out to areas like Theater, Dance, Visual Arts, and heck yeah, Food.

    In its current form, Dispatch is an Arts and Events Magazine, seeking to offer the best things to do in Maine and NH. With that in mind, we are still incredibly devoted to the local music scene and always have been.

    We do local album reviews and band interviews in every issue, and often have additional music features such as this month’s take on the EDM scene in Maine/NH. We also take great care to have a TON of music events in our print calendars and on our website’s database.

    One last note, if you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, I think you will find that we promote music practically non-stop, because we love it. Music has always been core to our mission and if you pick up a recent issue or follow us online, I hope you’ll agree it still is.

    Thanks so much for all YOU do for the Maine Music community!


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