Monday, October 18, 2010

It's All New For Monday

Ohhhh, it's Monday. . . again.  How was your weekend, boys and girls?  Did you have fun?  Did you commit various unmentionable felonies that involved grand larceny of some poor girl/guy's unmentionables?  Of course you didn't.  You're respectable people.  I, on the other hand, did horrible things, including, but not limited to, robbing a liquor store with the ghost of Bob Ross.  Ok, so there wasn't actually a robbery committed, but we did drink a ridiculous amount.  Oh, and it wasn't really Bob Ross, cause he's dead.  It was a guy dressed up as the famous PBS painter of "happy little trees."

Anyway, let's get to this week's music.  But first, a pointless (not really) story with a clever segue into information about this week's geniuses.

Mississippi.  Yep, you read that correctly.  It's a state for which I have a great deal of affection.  You might be asking yourself, "what is this guy on about now?"  Mississippi is a state where I spent quite a bit of time.  I went to college there.  I made some amazing friends there, friends with whom I still get together and, on occasion, see great bands like The Black Keys (saw them about a month ago with two of my best friends.  they both live in mississippi still.) or Kings of Leon.  I had the great fortune to fall ridiculously in love there, with a woman from there.  Conversely, I had the great MISfortune of the inevitable heartache that follows.

But, when it comes to the relevance to The Steam Engine and the musical content, Mississippi is also where I truly started to love music, more importantly, the history of music.  You may or may not know a lot about the Delta/Hill Country blues, but they were born in Mississippi.  You probably know the legend of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil for the ability to play the blues, but you may not know that it happened at "The Crossroads."  According to the legend, Johnson went to the crossroads near Dockery Plantation, between Ruleville and Cleveland, Mississippi where the devil tuned his guitar and, in the spirt of Faust, Johnson was given the ability to play the blues.  As I traveled Mississippi, I learned about all the great musicians that came from this southern state.  People mostly know about Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters and, to some extent, B.B. King, but they are only a few.  Bluesmen like Charlie Patton, Elmore James, Son House (The White Stripes do an amazing cover of the Son House classic Death Letter and, to me, this is Jack White at his finest.  he kills it around the four minute mark), R. L. Burnside and one of my all time favorites, Junior Kimbrough were all born in Mississippi (Black Keys fans, whether knowingly or not, are fans of Kimbrough.  The "Chulahoma" album is comprised solely of Junior Kimbrough covers.).

In many ways, the blues has been the birth of music.  Somehow, it all comes back to these old blues players.  Have any doubts?  Who do you think influenced Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton and countless other guitar greats (tell me you don't see the influence in Rocco DeLuca)? So saying that Mississippi has a rich musical history would) be stating the obvious, but it doesn't stop there.  There are still great musicians who call Mississippi home and I'm going to tell you about a few.

In the spirit of stripped down, raw, blues infused music richly reminiscent of bands like The Black Keys, The White Stripes, The Kills and even John Spencer Blues Explosion, Bass Drum of Death hits you square in the jaw with the same kind of in your face energy that you see with Iggy Pop and the Stooges.  Oxford, Mississippi natives John Barrett and Colin Sneed follow in the footsteps of great duos like The Black Keys, The White Stipes, Death From Above 1979 and others, and like these bands, pack so much sound and so much musicianship into a two piece that when you hear them, you'd think there was a full band involved in what you're hearing, but that's not the case.  It's just two guys from a college town (University of Mississippi) that play great music.  I'm guessing that most people that never even heard of these guys, but that's why I'm here.  I'm letting you know so you can listen, buy the music and tell other people about this little band from Mississippi that bypasses souther charm to slap you in the face.  You can hear them HERE before you buy it using the link to the left or you can buy it HERE.

R. Cole Furlow.  That name will mean absolutely nothing to about 99% of people who read this.  That's ok.  He is the mad scientist behind a great band called Dead Gaze.  Dead Gaze, from Jackson, Mississippi, is a band that makes fuzzy psychedelic music that just sticks with you.  The vocals are full of distortion and the music is think and bogged down think, like summer fog.  I wish I could tell you more about Dead Gaze, but the truth is that I really can't. This is how they're described by their distributor:   "Pour a bucket of swamp water on some intricately crafted garage-psyche jams and listen through a tin can telephone. This is Dead Gaze the handle of Mississippi's favorite son Cole Furlow. These two jams will melt your mind and your heart and leave you begging for a mercy fuck" Aside from their MySpace page, I really can't find any other biographical information at all.  I do know this: you can preorder their newest release HERE or stream some madness HERE.

So, that's it for this week.  As always, let us know what you think by leaving comments or feel free to send me hate mail.  I will even go as far as giving you a number to call and leave me uncensored voice mail or text messages. 662.854.0157

In the meantime, you can always keep up with what I'm listening to over at One Word Titles.  

I hope you have a good week, and if not, at least you've got a good reason to drink a lot this weekend.



DR said...

Rocco DeLuca is the man. I like the new direction he took in this tour with just the drummer and himself. Talented guy.

Chris said...


i agree. "i trust you to kill me had some great moments (swing low especially), but i think the entire band can dilute his talent a little. the first time i saw him was at bonnaroo a few years ago. it was just him and i guy banging on some wooden box thing. i literally could not leave until he finished his set.

as always, we love that you stopped by and hope you continue to do so.


Tyler said...

Hey Chris, been following your blog for a while. Haven't commented or anything much, but after reading this article, I wanted to give a shout out. Didn't realize that you spent some time in Mississippi. I grew up in Tupelo, but am living in Nashville now. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for repping some Mississip' bands! It's good to see that state get some credit in today's music world. As soon as I graduated high school, I wanted to get out of there, but I've gained much appreciation for it since I've left and there really are some good things brewing down there. It's good to hear someone else's perspective. Anyways, enjoy your blog already, but this Mississippi shout out made me smile. Keep up the good writing and rocking!

Chris said...

i spent most my time in columbus and starkville (college), but i also did lots of stuff throughout the state. west point hosts a great blues festival in honor of howlin' wolf and i've spent days upon days crawling around the delta trying to learn as much as i can about the old delta/hill country blues. there's a great musical history there that lots of people seem to either forget or ignore and that's a travesty. so much of what i listen to now owes a great deal to those old blues players. i just think they deserve to be recognized. that legacy continues today with some really great and innovative bands.

there's also some great stuff happening in nashville. any local acts you can recommend would be awesome. you can email me at

as always, thanks for stopping by and don't be a stranger.

DR said...

Yeah, I've been into those 2-man bands lately. You know, The Black Keys and Rocco and I might even go into some of the stuff of The White Stripes (never got into them). Any other recommendations?

Chris said...

recommendations? man, i could go on for days . . .definitely give the white stripes a listen (jack white's side project, dead weather, is really good, too). i'm a fan of their older stuff more than the recent stuff. if you like that bluesy sound, i would highly recommend black rebel motorcycle club. on the outside is a now defunct band called death from above 1979. they're very low fi (drummer and bass player), but they are amazing. i'd also look into jon spencer blues explosion. i saw today that they're reissuing some of the older stuff, but they're great. i could go on and on.

if you just want to see what i've been listening to, you can always check out the info here:

Tyler said...

Oh cool, I actually went to Mississippi State for a semester before going back to Middle Tennessee State. You're right though, growing up in Mississippi I think I kind of took the music from there for granted and tried to explore music from other places. I'm just discovering more recently how influential the music from there has been and still is. I think there definately is a growing music culture there,even though blues is long established, there are bands trying to do something different. I guess it's just a matter of people paying attention to it and being receptive to it. Which I think there are people there that would be receptive to something different. Not to mention all the people that are recording at Sweet Tea Records in Oxford (Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello, Animal Collective to name a few). You should also check out Fat Possum Record's stuff if you haven't already. They're based right outside of Oxford I think and they distribute lots of Mississippi blues and modern indie/garage rock stuff. They also just put out Band of Horses' new record and Wavvves too. I think there's good stuff happening there and hopefully people will recognize it, or maybe it will just be a well kept secret:) There definately are some good things happening in Nashville. I'll send you an email of some recommendations here shortly. Happy Thursday!