I almost missed this entirely. Mae is a three-cuts-above modern rock outfit - they made two very good albums for Tooth and Nail, and one superb one for Capitol. Now they've struck out on their own, releasing this, the first of a series of three EPs, on their own label. (The EPs will be called (m)orning, (a)fternoon, and (e)vening. M.A.E. Get it?)
Mae has always been good, but this EP is excellent. The eight-minute "The Fisherman Song" shows the musical growth, leaping from section to section with aplomb. Ditto the seven-minute "The House that Fire Built," a huge-hook pop song with a multi-layered midsection. The rest of the tunes are classic Mae pop numbers, chock full of delirious melodies and produced beautifully. The whole thing is held together by three instrumentals, including the complex, orchestrated "Two Birds."
This whole thing is terrific, but it gets better. All the proceeds from this EP have gone to charity - in this case, Habitat for Humanity. The (m)orning songs (premiered one month at a time online, for a buck each, then sold together in this package) paid for a home for a Virginia family who couldn't afford one. Future song proceeds will go towards an organization that matches donors with schools that need funding. They've raised more than $44,000 so far. This is just cool.
So it's great music, for great causes. There is no bad here. The website is www.whatismae.com. Check it out.