Earlier this year, I stumbled across CokeWeed’s website, and noticed that they had made their first record, CokeWeed Volume 1, available for download:
Now, I once found a fortune cookie that offered the following words of wisdom:
“Remember: Cheap things not valuable; valuable things not cheap”
While It would appear that Zhu Rongji had since that particular fortune banned as part of the “Great Rehabilitation” of PRC and subsequent emergence as manufacturer of cheap goods for planet Earth, I have generally found that fortune’s advice to be pertinent. Which might explain the lowered expectations I brought to my first listen of this record. I downloaded it here, arranged the dishes for washing, and set it to play, expecting not much.
I am pleased to report that CokeWeed are the firm exception to my fortune-cookie edict. In fact, I can say it more simply. THIS BAND RULES!!!!
From the soft, meandering. lost-in-fields romance of the first track, LittleBird, through the high-water mood swings of the middle track, Not My Old Man, to the high-note, train-chugging, honkytonk cabaret of The Frizz, CokeWeed: Volume I is well worth it’s penniless price. Blending the jangly guitars of Creedence Clearwater Revival with the subdued moodiness of Velvet Underground, all wrapped up in the dual-ribbons of singer Milan McAlevey’s crooning baritone and Nina D’s soft, breezy, dream-inducing contralto, Volume I, is about as fine a debut as a band could hope for.
Which brings us to Nice Dreams, their second album.
On the graph of musical expectations, what is the axial opposite of a sophomore slump? I suspect, given time, it will have something to do with this record, which stands firmly atop CokeWeed: Volume I and reaches up into the stratosphere. In fact, I can say it more simply: THIS RECORD TOTALLY RULES!
Rather than tell you how, I’ll just encourage you to see for yourself:
…But wait: the story keeps going.
Among the finer acts we’ve had here at the DAC is one Micah Blue Smaldone.
His appearance belies him: A slight man with a 12-string guitar about describes it. He played the DAC in August, 2010, in an acoustic solo show. I recall it was not a huge house.
But I also recall, it was transporting. Micah’s songs—about wrecked ships, guests who come for dinner, and clearings in the woods—are delicate, small, and totally of a place. That place is these north woods of Maine, where his music seems to issue forth in mossy glades, and crash upon granite shores. Like all great Maine art, Micah’s music is subservient to the landscape that is its home. Listen to this, and you’ll see.
MICAH BLUE SMALDONE – “THE CLEARING”
MICAH BLUE SMALDONE – “THE CANOPY”
Okay. So far, so good.
But Wait!! It gets even better!!
You see, it turns out that Micah Blue Smaldone and CokeWeed were on Tour together this spring. They swung through Brooklyn, and I caught the show. CokeWeed were great. They played a tight, short-ish set, anchored by a STELLAR version of their standout single from NiceDreams, “Golden Apples.”
Then, Micah Blue took the stage. Only, he didn’t have his signature acoustic guitar strapped on. In fact, he had something that looked an awful lot like one of them there ‘Lectric gee-tars! What was this? Shame! Shame! Had the boy not heard of Dylan at Newport? And what was this? CokeWeed returning to the stage to accompany him? Quelle Scandale!
Friends, I was floored. It counts as one of the dozen or so indelible shows of my life. And when this “Avengers” team of Maine Indie-Folk-Rock agreed to play our own DamJam, I must admit: I kinda lost it. This video gives a bit of flavor, but it’s sorta like seeing a lion in the zoo as opposed to out on the savannah.
And now, folks, I”ve said as much as I’m gonna.
except one last thing:
DON’T MISS IT!!