When The Idaho Statesman launched MP3 Idaho, none of us knew quite what to expect.
I drove around town hanging posters, concerned that local musicians might not participate. A concert series was created in the parking lot outside Boise State University football games to promote it. (Midline performs at 11:30 a.m. Saturday).
But six months after going live, there's no questioning MP3 Idaho's success. More than 33,000 song downloads have been tallied. There are 134 Idaho artists with nearly 300 free songs posted.
The numbers grow each week. Which means that sifting through MP3 Idaho can be daunting. As is the case in any local music scene, songs range from wow-who-is-this-band-good ... to facial-tick-inducing-atrocious.
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So here — straight from the guy who maintains MP3 Idaho — are recommendations:
RANDOM MUST-HEARS: You'll be surprised by the hidden and not-so-hidden gems in this state— gifted producer-DJ Art Hodge, Darkwood Consort (viola and bass clarinet duo), Todd Dunnigan (unpredictable and creative, as usual), Sonic Warrior (behold the sitar), composer David Alan Earnest, The Soulution (excellent acid jazz) and Derek Fritcher (Mad Ro's DJ Flow), to name a few.
ADULT ALTERNATIVE: Check out Tim Rice. I can't get this late bloomer's song out of my head. Then move on to Jimmy Bivens, Rebecca Scott and Steve Fulton.
ROCK: Half the World (not unlike Evanescence), Catering To Venus and fretless guitarist Ned Evett are good options, as are live tracks from Marcus Eaton.
HIP-HOP: Mad Ro's songs have combined for more than 3,000 downloads. Insane. Also check out Arcturus' solo material, as well as Big Fub and JaeMez.
METAL/PUNK: Headbangers have all but taken over MP3 Idaho. The best listens are from Midline, Datura (check out the long but hilarious bio), Final Underground and The Temptation of St. Anthony (a young band with art-punk influences.)
JAZZ: We'd all be thrilled if Curtis Stigers would upload a track. Ahem. Until then, check out Jason Parra and the X Factor's funky smooth jazz.
COUNTRY: Outlaw-tinged music from Jeremiah James sits atop a mysteriously small country pile. Isn't this Idaho? What — country musicians don't own computers?
If you have an hour or two, it's entertaining to randomly sample songs at MP3 Idaho. There's lots more free music, both good and bad. Think of it as musical roulette.
To visit MP3 Idaho, go to IdahoStatesman.com and click on "Entertainment." Or just Google "MP3 Idaho."
METAL HEALTH: Last Sunday, things got rotten at The Core, 1124 Front St. There was a discrepancy about headliner Exodus getting paid. As a result, promoter HC Productions — which had been booking concerts at The Core — has been booted from the venue.
The Core will continue presenting local rock and metal on Saturdays beginning Nov. 12. But it won't host any previously announced concerts booked by HC Productions. (Those will be held at another venue or canceled.) In the future, Core management will book its own acts. Expect more national metal early in 2006.
MUSICIANS ONLY: Monday is the deadline to apply to perform at the annual South By Southwest Music Festival and Conference in Austin, Texas (www.sxsw.com). ... And demos are being solicited for the first "Boise Festival for Experimental Music," to be held next spring (http://boisemusicians. com/experimental).
Michael Deeds co-hosts "The Other Studio" at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM "The River." This week: Talkin' 'bout the talk box.