A bit of Ellis and a bit of Power

Dirty Three are quite simply one of my favourite bands. I first came into contact with them last summer when I was lucky enough to see them live, I have to admit I hadn’t heard of them before but I’ve yet to see another band so captivating and mesmerizing. I instantly fell in love with Warren Ellis, knowing nothing about him at the time, he instinctively reminded me of Nick Cave. Little did I know he is one of the Bad Seeds (Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds) and they seem to have a lot in common… not just they’re dance moves and my uttermost respect.

Dirty Three are an instrumental trio with classically trained violinist Warren Ellis leading the pack, the violin is the focal point throughout. They’re style ranges from beautiful and languorous in songs such as At the Bar and to the wild intense and enchanting track Red, both of these are from their 1996 album Horse Stories.

I tend to prefer their earlier albums slightly more than they’re later ones, Ocean Songs is stunningly beautiful. The title of the album truly is a back drop for all of the songs as the tracks really seem to convey oceanic movements and expressions (however ridiculous this may sound).  I’m sure both Tommie and Jack will be interested to know that Steve Albini worked on this album which was released in 1998. This album is quite a bit different from they’re previous ones and seems to have set the tone for the future albums.

Ocean Songs is quite similar to their album Cinder, however Cinder is not all instrumental, it is the first Dirty Three album to include vocals.  It features another favourite of mine Chan Marshall aka Cat Power on the track Great Waves. The songs are much shorter and concise than in any of their previous albums; it has 9 more tracks than that of Ocean Songs. It also has a much greater instrumental breadth for example Ellis adds the viola piano and bouzouki.

However personally it doesn’t seem to stand up to their other albums anywhere near as much. Dirty Three by Dirty Three is far superior and has one of my favourite tracks: Indian Love Song (this version is cut off slightly towards the end.. couldn’t find a full version of the track)

Dirty Three have collaborated with many bands and toured with Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Cat Power and Sonic Youth, just to name a few. I think that Cat Power is often under-rated and unfairly classed as mediocre indie rock, her covers album shows off her bluesy distinctive voice beautifully. I particularly love the first and last tracks on the album, her style perfectly suits the Stones’ cover (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

The last track on the album is Phil Phillips song ‘Sea of Love’, which has been covered so many times, notably by Tom Waits, Iggy Pop and The Persuasions. However I particularly enjoy Power’s version, which also features on the Juno soundtrack:

I’m now suitably relaxed after listening to a good helping of Dirty Three, Cat Power and red wine so that is my post done before I fall asleep with my head on my laptop, dribble on the keyboard then get an electric shock (what a lovely thought)… Good night!


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