The HearYa Nation is in for a big treat this week – the venerable Cracklin Moth. Before you read any further, do yourself a favor. Scroll to the bottom of this article, click on “Eulogy for Bashu”, and prepare to listen to one of the best tracks I’ve heard all year. I simply can’t let you read any further without a little mood music. Feel free to take your pants off – the song is that good.
My non-sexual crush on Cracklin Moth began when Oz gave me a copy of their Redbird EP right before he moved to the Bay Area. I texted Oz a few months later and the exchange went something like this:
DB: Wow – Cracklin Moth is awesome
Oz: Who is this?
DB: Bo Diaz
I’m sure, until now, Oz has been wondering “Who is this Bo Diaz and how did he get my cell phone number?”
Anyway, flash forward to last Monday night. I walked into the hallway of Shirk’s studio to find lead singer Matt Ammerman smoking a duster and knocking back a Fat Tire. I liked this guy already. We exchanged pleasantries as the rest of the band filed in with their gear. As they warmed up in the studio, I knew we were in for something special.
Cracklin Moth are five musicians that unite to form a magical sound all their own – Matt Ammerman’s one-in-a-million voice and melodic guitar, Shawn Rios’ varied arsenal of percussive beats, Griff Baron’s trotting basslines, Drew Lindsey’s whimsical keys, and the pedal steel guitar of Rocco Labriola that gives the band its signature sound.
After several savory heaters out on the fire escape, Cracklin Moth settled in and started playing the type of music that makes you thirsty. It was a Monday night, but the beers were flowing for all. They started things off with “My Suicide”, the first of five previously unreleased tracks that the band played. As mentioned earlier, the crown jewel of the night for me was “Eulogy for Bashu”. The rest of the tracks are exceptional, as well. Take note of the bass-percussion interplay that starts off “Walking the Cow” (another favorite), the fuzzy guitars on “Extragalactic”, and the landscape that the pedal steel guitar creates on “My Suicide”. Almost the antithesis of the Steve Miller Band, each song Cracklin Moth played was uniquely different and uniquely good.
Cracklin Moth is a band that’s sure to be reckoned with in the Chicago music scene and beyond. Be sure to check out their upcoming My Heart is Leaking EP release party at Subterranean in Chicago on July 26th. They’re also rumored to be teaming up with another HearYa favorite (and the other best unsigned Chicago band), The Record Low, at the Metro in August. Look for me at both shows – I’ll buy you a Stone Cold Steveweiser.
Exclusive downloads were all recorded live in downtown Chicago at Shirk’s Studio: