Climbing the Creaking Tree

Cameron, my friend from the Great White North, recommended today’s selection: Toronto’s Creaking Tree String Quartet. This is some interesting stuff. They explain on their web site:

This ensemble, made up of violinist John Showman, guitarist Brad Keller, mandolinist Andrew Collins and bassist Brian Kobayakawa, has a distinct sound that lives in the cracks between idioms. It’s acoustic roots music that combines intricate phrasing with imaginative rhythms. Too outside for bluegrass, but too driving for jazz; too free to be chamber music, but too structured for the avant-garde.

Their web site has a good number of downloads which I’ve been checking out for the last couple of weeks. My selection for you leans more toward bluegrass. I guess I’m lamenting the fact that I’m missing this year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival. But I will be back in 2006. Oh yes, I will.

Creaking Tree String Quartet: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (mp3)

Hitting you in The Shins

My musical discovery and evolution continues as I recently discovered this gem from the Shins, which was released in 2003. The fact is I never paid much attention to the Indie scene until last year (when I stumbled into the world of MP3 Blogs…. coincidence? Nnno). And I’ve been unearthing some great songs ever since. Like this one. “Gone for Good” [Buy the CD]. A perfectly crafted pop song with brilliant lyrics; a breakup song. Just check out the first line:

Untie me, I’ve said no vows
The train is getting way too loud
I gotta leave here my girl
Get on with my lonely life

Just leave the ring on the rail
For the wheels to nullify

Awesome! Wise! Biting! I love it. This is a 3-4 time in a row type song. Unique. Fresh. OK, I’ll stop. Take a listen.

The Shins: Gone for Good (mp3)

Boss Bloggin’: Are you Loose??

Bruce performs Monday night in Detroit to kick off his tour (Yahoo/AP)

I’m just a little bit geeked about the upcoming week. Tomorrow I’ll go buy the new Bruce Springsteen CD/DVD, Devils & Dust. Then Saturday, my wife and I will see him at the Glendale Arena – live, solo, and acoustic – from the 10th row, front and center (my wife’s first Bruce experience). Yep, just a tad excited.

So, to complement my upcoming Adventures with the Boss, here’s a classic moment from a famous Bruce bootleg, “Milwaukee Bomb Scare”. The story goes: a bomb threat was called in to the venue where Bruce and the E St. Band were to perform. The theater was cleared. Bruce and band went to the Pfister Hotel bar and proceeded to get quite liquored up. A few hours later, they returned to the arena, and kicked off the show with this:

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
: Little Queenie (mp3) – live, October 2nd, 1975 – The Uptown Theater, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mo’ Madhouse

when a Google image search on “Madhouse” brings back a cartoon toilet bowl with an alien eye sticking out of it, you must post it. oh yes, you must.

This tune starts with a young lady’s moans of erotic pleasure. Did I get your attention? Good. From here, the drums kick in and we’re off on a Princely funky jazz adventure. The song showcases Eric Leeds on sax, and Prince on pretty much everything else. I posted from this album before, and if you want to purchase the CD, it’ll cost you a few tanks of gas (for a used one), but here goes anyway…

Madhouse: Seven (wma)

Matt’s Chrome Heart

I absolutely have to throw a little more Matthew Ryan out there for those fans of the gravelly voiced genre. This song’ll rip you apart, brother (or sister). Matt’s gotta heart made of chrome, and he ain’t about to rest until you damn sure know it:

Well in case you didn’t know I’ve got a heart made of chrome
It’s been bent ’til it was twisted
And in case you didn’t know I’ve got a heart made of chrome
It’s been burned, but it’s still willing to try
And shine – – full lyrics here

Matthew Ryan: Chrome (mp3)

Buy May Day

That Detroit Hillbilly

All that fancy actin’ in Cold Mountain must’ve done something to Jack White, ’cause next thing you know, he’s holed up in a studio with country queen Loretta Lynn, producing her entire album, ‘Van Lear Rose’ [buy it here]. Yeah it’s been a while since this one’s been out. I’m sort of the anti-mp3-blogger. I’m really late to the party on a lot of stuff. I just heard the album for the first time last week, and let me tell ya, 70 year old Ms. Lynn is as vibrant and fresh as ever, and that has a lot to do with Jack White, in my opinion. The production is great; it’s 21st century Detroit meets Nashville hillbilly rock n’ roll. Great album. This is the one duet on the CD.

Loretta Lynn & Jack White: Portland Oregon (mp3)

Ickmusic Interactive, Part 1: First Concert

Given the wide variety of people checking out the MP3 blog world, I thought it would be interesting to pose a question to you.

What was the first concert you ever saw? Where and when was it?

I’ll go first.

July 1st, 1983. Kool & the Gang and the Dazz Band. Summerfest. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The date comes courtesy of Google, which took me to a Summerfest site pinpointing the exact date. It was my mom’s birthday and I was almost 13 years old. Crazy. Nuts.

Leave a comment below. This should be interesting.

I Miss Joe Strummer II

I had to offer up a Clash classic to complement Joe’s later work with the Mescaleros which I posted yesterday. The song is “Safe European Home”, which is about a trip to Jamaica taken by Joe and Mick Jones. Apparently, their experience that inspired this song was less than pleasant and hospitable. Check out the lyrics link below.

For you younger folks out there who may not be familiar with the Clash’s work, and you enjoy the Green Days of today’s music world, please do yourself a favor and explore the Clash. Find out where it all came from. Mick Jones – Guitar. Joe Strummer – Guitar. Paul Simonon – Bass. Topper Headon – drums.

The Clash: Safe European Home (mp3)

I Miss Joe Strummer

Right. So over 3 years after his untimely passing at the age of 50, I still get bummed out that the world is without Joe Strummer. Luckily for all of us, he left behind a wealth of music from his time with the Clash, and with the Mescaleros in later years. The last Mescaleros album came out the year after his death (2003), and, as the reviewer on all music puts it,

Like Muddy Waters, whose final albums were among the best in his catalog, Streetcore by Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros (Martin Slattery, Tymon Dogg, Simon Stanford, and Scott Shields) sends Strummer into rock & roll heaven a roaring, laughing, snarling lion.

Listen to this opener of the album. I remember inserting this into my CD player in the parking lot of Zia Records, and I sat there there transfixed for the entire song. From Joe’s powerful pipes, to the reggae, rock, and punk stylings going on in this tune, I was (and am) blown away.

Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros: Coma Girl (mp3)

Do yourself a favor, buy Streetcore (and the entire Clash and Mescaleros catalog while you’re at it!).

Here’s a cool video interview of Joe when he was promoting the 2nd Mescaleros album, Global a Go-Go.