November 18, 2007

Today's Hotness: Zeke Fiddler, Home, Johnny Foreigner

Chunk Records>> Folks of a certain vintage whose stomping grounds included the Western Massachusetts music scene may have heard the name Mal Thursday bandied about, if they don't already know the guy. Our spidey sense tells us we met Mr. Thursday once, but memories of our time spent in the clubs in Northampton during college grow more and more faint. Imagine our surprise to see email from Thursday a week or so ago pointing to his new blog and posts therein in which he details his stewardship over Chunk Records. For us Chunk is best known for releasing in 1994 the scene compilation Hotel Massachusetts, a spotty collection that included a handful of excellent tracks from scenemakers including New Radiant Storm King, Sebadoh and Zeke Fiddler. But there is far more to the Chunk experience, and we encourage you to read the first two installments (1, 2) of "The Chunk Records Story."

Here are two of the best tracks from Hotel Massachusetts. First up is Zeke Fiddler's "Half Baked," an excellent song also released as Chunk's seventh single (as described in "The Chunk Records Story Part Two."). Zeke was a big, friendly guy who played a small black Les Paul. Unfortunately, nothing from Zeke's full-length debut on Spin-Art, Watery, grabbed us nearly completely as "Half Baked." But the tune is among the finest written by a musician working in Western Mass at the time. The second track we're offering is "Sunday" by a band called Home. Information about Home is hard to come by on the Interweb. We know because we've tried looking, spurred on by memories of a very impressive live set at the Bay State Hotel during the Loud Music Festival in 1995. At the time Home struck us as kindred spirits of Pittsburgh's Karl Hendricks Trio. "Sunday," a melodic folk-rocker with some nice cascading chord changes, doesn't necessarily bear out that comparison, but that made the performance all the more affecting.

Zeke Fiddler -- "Half Baked" -- Hotel Massachusetts compilation
Home -- "Sunday" -- Hotel Massachusetts compilation
[right click and save as]
[buy Hotel Massachusetts from Amazon here used but real cheap]

>> The critical praise for Johnny Foreigner's Arcs Across The City is starting to roll in. We won't be getting the record until the band's show Nov. 30 in Manhattan, but you can be sure we'll have something to say after that. Especially since we've already written a couple hundred words about the record based on the fact that we've already heard all the songs on it (although not the exact versions). Drowned In Sound here rates the EP a 10 out of 10 and dubs the set "the [U.K.] debut album release of the year, hands down." Another Form Of Relief here says "Johnny Foreigner are the best band in the [U.K.] right now." The only correction we have to that is that technically Johnny Foreigner is in the U.S. right now, recording their full-length debut. Assuming you are not as rabid a fan as we, you probably do not know that the Birmingham-based trio just posted a new track at its MySpace berth. It is called "Eyes Wide Terrified" and it was recorded for a recent Radio One session. Go listen to it now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
Thanks so much for the flattering words about my old band "home." You can drop me a line, or just check out some of these links for new things, and old home. things.

Hope all is well,