30 June 2009


To those who know of Hamell On Trial, he's a bit of a legend. All the political fury and fiery rock noise of a punk band, rolled up in one guy and his acoustic guitar. In his own words, "just a little bit of wood, and a little bit of wire. Call up Smokey the Bear, 'cause there's gonna be a fire."

Ed Hamell started out playing in punk bands around New York in the eighties. Eventually, he left the bands behind and ventured into the singer-songwriter arena. Though, his sound is not what is normally associated with that genre. Loud, rapid-fire, with equal parts anger and humor is more his style.

I don't have much in the way of rarities, which is why I'm putting this on a Tuesday, instead of the usual rarities-heavy Friday post, but I wanted to give the guy a bit more hype, since he's another one that I almost never see any press for. And, hey, if you like his music, he's willing to come to your house and play in your living room. (details at his official site)

(files expired)

Hamell On Trial - "The Meeting" From The Chord is Mightier Than the Sword. (out-of-print)
Hamell On Trial - "Big As Life" Title track to his out-of-print major label debut.
Hamell On Trial - "White Riot / Hitsville UK" (Clash covers) From a Clash tribute given away with an issue of Uncut Magazine.
Hamell On Trial - "I Hate Your Kid" (live at the Sarah Street Grill) Thanks to the completely legal Live Music Archive, which has more than 60 of his shows up for grabs. The officially released version (which is also live) is on Ed's Not Dead.
Hamell On Trial - "Coulter's Snatch" (live at Cafe Lena) I edited part of the intro on this one. There was a lengthy portion where he stepped away from the microphone, and all you had was a minute and a half of silence. If you want the silence back, it's another one from the Archive. The studio version is on Songs for Parents Who Enjoy Drugs.

Last minute addition (just sent to me this morning):
Hamell On Trial - "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" (Bob Dylan cover) From another Uncut Magazine exclusive tribute disc.

Try to find these:

Big As Life, 1996
The Chord is Mightier Than the Sword, 1997
Choochtown, 2000 (buy)
Ed's Not Dead, 2001 (buy) (live)
Yap, 2003 (buy)
Tough Love, 2003 (buy)
Songs for Parents Who Enjoy Drugs, 2006 (buy)
The Terrorism of Everyday Life, 2008 (buy) (live)
Rant and Roll, 2008 (buy cd) (buy deluxe dvd) (live)

Hamell On Tour:

July 17,18,19,25,26 - Capital Fringe Festival, Washington DC
August 28 - Porcupine Mountains Music Fest, Ontonagon, MI
More tour info here.

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