Home / Music / Radio Free MP3: Brother Dege, Medication, & Tony Sly

Radio Free MP3: Brother Dege, Medication, & Tony Sly

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"The Battle of New Orleans" – Brother Dege
From the album Folk Songs Of The American Longhair
Click here to listen to the MP3

Folk music has a long history of writing songs about tragedy. Dig through Alan Lomax's archives and you will no doubt find great piles of music about fires, floods, earthquakes and every other horror one can imagine. Call it oral history set to music. It is only natural, then, that someone should write a folk song about Katrina and its ever continuing aftermath.

Brother Dege (also known as Dege Legg, member of both Santeria & Black Bayou Construkt) has done just that. "The Battle of New Orleans" is a classic sounding folk blues number so full of anger and frustration that in its last minute you hear nothing but guitar squelks and distortion like the coming of Katrina herself. To get there Brother Dege laces the song with old timey blues licks, and menacing beats. His voice sounds like time itself. All of this melds into a song that sounds both ancient and modern, like an indie rock cover of something Lomax may have recorded a hundred years ago.

Folk Songs Of The American Longhair is out now. You can hear more on Brother Dege's website, and Myspace page.

"Don't Die" – Medication
From the album This Town
Click here to listen to the MP3

If Neil Young and John Lennon somehow had a bastard child and you recorded him on old, broken equipment from two rooms away you might get an approximation of the sounds Medication make. "Don't Die" is harrowing low-fi indie rock that conjures images of Lennon's "Cold Turkey" and Young's howling guitar. It is creepy, wild, and brilliant.

Written, played and recorded on four-track by Milford Connecticut's Mikey Hyde This Town is a one man band's wet dream. Or considering the melancholic, lonely themes of the album perhaps it is more of a nightmare. Either way its definitely worth a listen. On the road Hyde has taken his singular effort and added a band. You can hear more of This Town on the Myspace page.

"Via Munich" – Tony Sly
From the album 12 Song Program
Click here to listen to the MP3

Choosing songs for this article is often an odd thing. I try to write about people I've previously not heard of. I intentionally don't seek out reviews from the bands before I give them a listen. I want a clean slate so to speak. My goal here is to find music that I find interesting and enjoyable and to write from my own perspective. I get hundreds of MP3s every week and the sorting process is often long and tedious.

What makes me like one song and not another? What makes me choose to write about some and not others? I don't know the answers to these questions. Each day something just jumps out at me, catches my attention and I write. Had I listened to it on another day it may have made it to the delete pile.

Take this song. I queued up the MP3 to play, but paused it in a moment of distraction and then forgot about it. Later, while sorting through the e-mails I saw it again, and thought "Tony Sly, that's not the name of someone who makes interesting music" and deleted it straight way. Then I found the song still queued up and gave it a go.

Boy was I wrong about Mr. Sly. This is a wonderful, interesting song. Its a lively, jaunty, acoustic pop ditty that shines like the sun on the snow. The guitars sing spryly as the organ dances with the strings in a sunflower bed of goodness. Like the candy, "Via Munich" melts in your mind, not in your ears. You'd never know the lyrics are all about filling the loneliness of the road with barrels of alcohol.

Amazing for such a lively, friendly number, Tony Sly used to front a loud, brackish punk band. The new album, 12 Song Program is out now. You can check him out on tour here, or here some more on his Myspace page.

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About Mat Brewster