Saturday, December 31, 2005

More clearance

Still digging though my mp3 post folder. Today, some traditional folk sounds--authentic and revival:

Big Bed Bug (Bed Bug Blues) - Tommy Settlers and His Blues Moaner
This wonderfully weird artifact is from Revenant Records' recent American Primitive, Vol 2 collection of folk and blues recordings from the 1920s and 30s. A good song asks more questions than it answers. For example, Settlers' one-man band creates sounds I can't quite work out (the field recording production doesn't help any). He's almost certainly banging on a pot, but is that a kazoo? And how does Settlers produce that inhumanly high wail? And is this song literally about bed bugs (vermin which are, incidentally, making a big comeback in the U.S.) or is it a not-too-subtle double entendre?

Coal Black Crepe - Micah Blue Smaldone
Black crepe was mourning garp in the 19th Century and while "Coal Black Crepe" doesn't sound that old, this ballad belongs more to the era of Tommy Settlers than 2005. Micah Blue Smaldone uses the old-timey aesthetic to good effect, though (go to his Web site, for swell design too). He's a former punk musician, but you'd never know it from his patient, deliberate, finger-picking playing and yearning voice. And have you ever heard a room sound so empty?

Harbor - The Big Huge
I came to The Big Huge via Micah Blue Smaldone. They've played on the same stage, and as strict interpreters of genres not much heard today, they're oddly complementary. Though this Baltimore band is influenced (I can imagine some thinking, too strongly influenced) by traditional English folk music--its name from an Incredible String Band album. "Harbor" is a sweet wisp of a song, all posies and verdant hollows. I may haul it out again when I'm ready to make summer mix CDs. The band offers another free download on its site.

I was also going to mention Samara Lubelski's fluid "Fleeting Skies," but it looks like Motel de Moka recently posted it here (other good stuff, too!).

Also, Indie For Dummies just posted the results of their 2005 album survey of mp3 blogs. We were very happy to participate!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tommy Settlers And His Blues Moaner

Tommy is singing into a coffee can and tappin' on it.
He was a real virtuoso and could rag like no other.

5:42 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home