I sort of freaked out over The Lexie Mountain Boys when I lived in Olympia: Playing songs over the radio, showing the MySpace page to travelling bands coming through town, recommending friends to listen to them.
This was all based on the band as pure sound, despite them being, on a pretty large level, a performance-art project. Costumes play a part of it, but the main thing is presence. Since moving to Baltimore, I've seen them multiple times, and they're sort of inconsistent, which makes sense, considering it's all improvised. But on record they're always compelling. As pure sound, the harmonies interlocking: it seems really feminine, in a great way. It's redolent of pagan ceremonies and campfire jamborees, but when it's pure sound it becomes this thing very infinite: Every singer is going for it, going the distance, out into space, and existing in harmony with the other members, while still being free, and not held back at all. They go into space, and then become it. Some kind of cosmic vagina at the center of all things, free from any bullshit of modern cultural expectations, totally fascinating to behold.
I also know these people, now that I live here, and I really feel like they have the right spirit. (This also holds true for the dudes in Lexie's other project, Crazy Dreams Band) There's a friendliness (as in the harmonies) as well as a lack of uptightness (spacefaring) that, while it makes the music compelling (or mysterious, and occasionally frightening to the uninitiated), makes them great people to have around at a barbecue or house party or whatnot. Someone, elsewhere on the internet, described them as the people skinny-dipping at 3 in the morning, and that was just based on the music they make, but those are the sort of people that I want to have around me, whose friendship I value deeply.
Whartscape has begun in Baltimore, and I am not attending, because most of the acts play out all the time, and not all of them are as standout phenomenons as these projects, either musically or as people.