Before the recent work-driven posting hiatus, I wrote about the Chicago band, Hummingbiird. A few days later, I received an e-mail from Matt Ammerman, another Chicago area musician, who is the principal writer and front man for another Chicago area band, Cracklin Moth, which is scheduled to open for Hummingbiird at Martyrs' in Chicago on February 19. [Details here, just in case I have any readers in the Chicago area.]
Cracklin Moth was formerly known as "Redbird." At some point, it came to their attention that another band also laid claim to that name, so for a time they became "Reddbird" before adopting their current moniker, which refers to an invisible childhood friend of Matt's brother. (Are you following this?) Matt and company have recently issued a self-released five-song EP entitled, naturally, "Redbird" and including a song of that same name. (PayPal operators are standing by.) They are reportedly at work on a full-length album and another EP.
Here for your delectation are a pair of MP3 tracks, one drawn from the EP and the other from a collection of live performances available for download from the band's site.
The EP track, "One Little Smile," is squarely in an Americana/alt country vein, a good old "life is beating me down but a fleeting moment's attention from you will allow me to soldier on" song, the sort of thing that the Rolling Stones brought to near-perfection in "Wild Horses" (and sent up mercilessly in "Girl with the Far Away Eyes"). For some reason, the guitar part reminds me of
"Shine On You Crazy Diamond" "Wish You Were Here," too, which is not a bad thing. Continuing the theme of songs referring to facial expressions, the live track is "A Frown That Disarms". It seems to be about a dangerous hunger for sensation, and kicks something fierce.
- Cracklin Moth - One Little Smile [MP3 link]
The press material supporting the Redbird EP indicates that the band's newer material is influenced by "Pet Sounds and chamber pop." You can get a sense of that influence at work in "Talking to the Dark," an EP track that is available to stream on the Cracklin Moth MySpace page. For extra credit, you can study how this piano-based arrangement -- echoing the first McCartney solo album or good mid-period Billy Joel (these are compliments, folks) -- began as the guitar-based demo that is available on Matt's personal MySpace page.
Also Noted: Alongside nearly every other musical aspirant in America, Hummingbiird unsurprisingly also has a MySpace presence. If you go there, you will perhaps note that the band has adopted this little drawing as its MySpacean avatar:
Where, I ask myself, have I seen that before?
Happy to have been of service, gentlemen.