by Dan Gibson
The second part of our weekly tribute to jams selected by our music writers, this time including tracks by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Mr. Gnome and Toad the Wet Sprocket.
Screamin' Jay Hawkins, "Whistling Past the Graveyard"
Screamin Jay Hawkins OWNS this version of Tom Waits "Whistling Past The Graveyard," even cutting the original. Check out the boss trumpet solo.
Canadian singer-songwriter Joel Plaskett and his band play one hell of a brand of catchy alternative rock. This one is about a guy whose girl left him for - of all unacceptable and nasty things - an American dude. It's full of hurt, anger and clever references to both national anthems, but it sounds so bright and peppy that it'll hang with you all day.
Mr. Gnome, "House Of Circles"
Mr. Gnome hails from Cleveland, and their third album, Madness In Miniature, was released earlier this week. It hasn't left my car's CD player since I acquired it a couple of months ago. Listening to this incredible duo is like taking a ride on a pleasantly sadistic merry-go-round. It starts off slow, steady, and tranquil. Just when you're comfortable with your surroundings, the ride takes a sharp unexpected turn, and a wall of percussion, guitar, and in-your-face vocals confronts you. As soon as you absorb what's happening, the tempo changes yet again. You can't help but become addicted to the rush of unanticipated twists and turns. This track perfects this formula for which they are known. Mr. Gnome is playing at Plush on Thursday, November 3rd. Be prepared: They will knock your socks right off.
So I finally got a new stereo in my car. It'd been broken for two years—- my "car stereo" since 2009 had been an mp3 player hooked up to headphones. This past week, I've been having fun listening to CDs in my car again, which seems like such a deliciously dated thing. Hence, I've been listening to deliciously dated music, like Toad the Wet Sprocket, who I love despite whatever you say. Shut up, hipster kids. Glen Phillips rules.