Face the Music: Pair music lovers on your list with these new local releases – Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

I send tidings of comfort, joy and safety your way as we’re now knee-deep in the holiday season. I’m also going to send you out shopping.

From digital releases to CDs, vinyl, all sorts of apparel and a sleigh full of other goodies, every local musical act that you love has stuff for sale that would find a comfortable home in the stocking of someone you know. So, consider this a musical Whitman’s Sampler of gift suggestions for the music lovers on your list. Which should mean everyone, because who doesn’t love music?

And although 2021 was better than 2020 for sure (thanks, science), the local music community is still recovering and can use your support. So pour yourself a glass of eggnog and put on some holiday tunes (I’ve got The Fogcutters “Jingle These Bells” EP playing in my ears as I write this), and start clicking away.

Toby McAllister merchandise. Photo by Toby McAllister

Singer-songwriter Toby McAllister from the pop punk band Sparks the Rescue released a solo EP called “Daydreamin’ ” last week, and all five tracks are excellent. You can shop for it on CD at, where you’ll also find some nifty stickers, T-shirts and a poster.

Speaking of brand new music, on the day after Thanksgiving, roots and bluesman Samuel James dropped an instrumental holiday album, which can be digitally gifted on Bandcamp ( It’s an excellent gift for fans of phenomenal guitar work. It would also make a solid addition to your own repertoire of holiday music, which surely needs some refreshing.

Weakened Friends’ album “Quitter” on colored vinyl. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

Rock band Weakened Friends released its latest album, “Quitter,” on Nov. 19 and celebrated with a huge, sold-out show at Portland House of Music on Dec. 3. It was there that I bought the album on peach and white marbleized vinyl and then ran up to Sonia, Annie and Adam to have them sign it, because of course I did. Head to, where you can order a copy on vinyl or CD and can also snag a cap and T-shirt.

Indie-folk act GoldenOak put out the album “Room to Grow” at the end of June and, woah Nelly, it’s tremendous, especially the songs “These Old Shoes” and “Ash.” Pick it up on CD or vinyl and snag a cool T-shirt at, where you’ll also find tote bags, stickers and their previous releases.

Sara Trunzo music and stickers. Photo by Sara Trunzo

Singer-songwriter Sara Trunzo released the EP “Cabin Fever Dreams” on Sept. 24. It was produced by Rachael Moore, who has worked with the likes of T Bone Burnett, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Guest musicians include Dave Cohen (Reba McEntire, Wynonna Judd) on keys, Adam Ollendorff (Kacey Musgraves, Keb’ Mo’) on …….


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Google AI Tool Creates Music from Written Descriptions – VOA Learning English

This week, Google researchers published a paper describing results from an artificial intelligence (AI) tool built to create music.

The tool, called MusicLM, is not the first AI music tool to launch. But the examples Google provides demonstrate musical creative ability based on a limited set of descriptive words.

AI shows how complex computer systems have been trained to behave in human-like ways.

Tools like ChatGPT can quickly produce, or generate, written documents that compare well with the work by humans. ChatGPT and similar systems require powerful computers to operate complex machine-learning models. The San Francisco-based company OpenAI launched ChatGPT late…….


Bringing music to the masses… on a tram – BBC

French pianists, Hervé Billaut and Guillaume Coppola, brought a piano on to a tram in Nantes, as part of the opening of the annual La Folle Journée classical music festival.

They played to passengers all afternoon on Wednesday.

Mr Billaut said that they wanted to bring music to places you don’t expect it: “Perhaps someone, a child, a young person or a pensioner will have a musical shock.”