Friday Random Ten, June 16

  1. The Stills, “In the Beginning”. I accidentally downloaded this from Salon this morning. I know absolutely nothing about the band.
  2. Planet X, “Digital Vertigo”. PlanetX is quite a strange group. All instrumental, something like a cross between bebop and heavy metal. Great group, highly recommended.
  3. Darol Anger and the Republic of Strings, “Ouditarus Rez”. Darol is one of my favorite musicians. He’s a violinist who at different times has played everything from classical to jazz to bluegrass to rock; he’s performed with everyone from Emmylou Harris to Bela Fleck to Joshua Bell. The Republic of Strings is one of his recent ventures; and they do a range of styles from old-time fiddle tunes, to full-of-fire country fiddling, to jazz vocal tunes.
  4. Flook, “Larry Get Out of the Bin / Elzic’s Farewell”. Flook is the greatest instrumental Irish band in the known universe. 4 people, all accousting: probably the worlds best tinwhistle player, an great alto flute(!)/accordion player, one of the greatest bodhran player’s I’ve ever heard, and a really amazing rythym guitarist. Do not miss an opportunity to hear these guys live; even if you think you don’t like Irish music, go hear them, they’ll change your mind.
  5. Oregon, “Prelude”. Oregon is trio playing interesting bop jazz. Sometimes atonal, sometimes downright ugly, sometimes amazing. Led by an Oboe/English horn player who used to do a lot of touring with Bela Fleck before Bela hooked up with Jeff Coughin. (Who is a truly horrible player in my opinion; I don’t know what Bela sees in Jeff; the guy’s loud, repetitive, loud, dull, loud, non-creative, loud, gimmicky, and loud.)
  6. Suzanne Vega, “Straight Lines”. Great tune off of my favorite Suzanne Vega album. I really like her very sparse old stuff.
  7. Solas, “The Wiggly Jigs”. More trad Irish.
  8. Porcupine Tree, “Prodigal”. PT is one of my favorite neo-progressive bands. They’ve got a really great sound, blending almost bizzarely smooth vocals with dense distorted guitar.
  9. Dream Theater, “Stream of Consciousness”. Dream Theater is neo-progressive heavy metal. Great if you like that kind of thing, which I definitely do.
  10. Lunasa, “The Cullyback Hop”. And one more trad Irish band. Lunasa is a very traditional instrumental Irish band. Very up-tempo, a bit too much so at times, but full of amazing energy, traditional instrumentation, and a very trad style. Melody lead is generally flute and Uillean bagpipes, with guitar and bass backing. It’s damned hard to sit through a Lunasa album without wanting to get up and dance. The ultimate Irish concert experience would be a double billing of Flook and Lunasa.

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