After such an extensive summer of Phish music, I haven’t been keeping up with Trey tour as usual. I haven’t listened to a full show or many jams, but reports have been solid all around. The most interesting aspect of Trey tour for me, however, has always been its proving ground for new songs and the potential they may hold for Phish. Trey’s larger band slayed 33 shows over the summer while debuting exactly one new original, thus I would imagine that on the first tour of 2012—whenever that may be—we’ll hear a batch of new songs. With work on an album forthcoming as well, one has to wonder what new Trey debuts might crossover to the Phish stage. With more than half his tour left, we may see Trey unveil more pieces yet, but for now, lets look at his first four debuts.
“Land of Nod” – 10.7.11, Myrtle Beach, SC
Trey’s most recent debut, “The Land of Nod”—first played in the encore of the Myrtle Beach show—is my favorite and the most original of his new pieces. Written by Trey, alone, the song begins with a heavy, bass-driven groove and when the horns come in over this rhythm, the piece resembles genuine Israeli gyspy-dub (a la Balkan Beat Box.) With ridiculously danceable rhythms, Phish could slaughter this piece if they could adapt the horn lines to the quartet. The middle of the song moves into an uplifting and melodic passage with the refrain, “I was asleep for so long…”— a total juxtaposition of styles within the piece. When the song moves back into gypsy-dub stylings, TAB winds it down, though this is where Phish could just get going. Then again, this is one tune that could be tailor made for his solo project.
“Glacier” – 10.1.11, Burlington, VT
The first Anastasio/Marshall composition of tour was debuted late in the second set of Higher Ground’s opening show, and that is exactly where I can see it fitting in a Phish show as well. Though the piece has already been pegged as Trey cheese by many fans, but I actually enjoy it quite a bit. While the lyrics are bit over the top about the Winter Queen and the Prince of Music, the guitar melodies and sparse supporting textures are both ethereal and cerebral. Trey and Tom usually write songs for one band and one band only, so I wouldn’t be surprised “Glacier” in the bigger pond at some point.
“Snake Head Thumb” – 10.1.11, Burlington, VT
Inspired by a dream had by the Dude of Life in which Trey’s thumb was a snake’s head, this debut came in the first set of the first show at Higher Ground. A slow and filthy groove, “Snake Head Thumb” illustrates how 2010’s Halloween cover of Little Feat has influenced Trey’s songwriting. Crafted in collaboration with the Dude of Life, the chorus makes way for a slow and infectious groove that methodically moves to dirtier and dirtier places. The only debut that had included a jam, Trey unleashed his compressed growl over heavy organ swells in this percussive piece. A jam that Phish could take to sinister realms, this could be the second new-school Anastasio/Pollack contribution to the rotation (with “Show of Life”).
“Frost” – 10.6.11, Asheville, NC
Beginning with beautiful vocal harmonies, this song’s opening gives way to a minimalist and chilled out groove, allowing its focus to remain on Tom Marshall’s lyrics. “Frost,” the second Anastasio/Marshall debut of tour could easily translate to a powerful Phish ballad. Containing the refrain of “Maybe you could sail away,” this section seems tailor-made for big-time Phish catharsis. Though more straightforward than many of Trey and Tom’s playful numbers, the more I hear this one, the more I like it.
MINER’S PICKS: Summer 2011 – Denver/VT
Here are the final download links for the Summer 2011 Miner’s Picks series—all with the best sources available. Thanks again to Chris Keiner of Phish Listening Room for all the hard work!
DIRECT DOWNLOAD LINKS: