I am completely and totally addicted to Josephine. Any doubt that Jason Molina is one of the finest songwriters we have should now be completely dispelled. That title was all but bestowed upon Will Oldham by the New Yorker back in January, but the Company’s latest record is, in every way, a much finer effort than Beware and a far more adventurous record to boot. I’ve read a lot of reviews about the new album, but what I find most interesting (and annoying) are the constant references to Neil Young, Crazy Horse, and country music. Nevermind the stylistic differences between nearly every Young album and the whole of Molina’s back catalog, but Magnolia Electric Co. sound almost nothing like Crazy Horse. They’re nowhere near as heavy, tend to be far less extravagant, and in general exhibit a restraint that makes their albums feel tighter and more controlled. In addition, Molina only flirts with country music. He employs slide guitars, Dobro, and some techniques employed by country and folk singers, but his lyrical style and tendency to play with looser arrangements separates him almost completely from the country canon. I don’t pretend to be the world’s best writer, but a little more effort from writers might help keep them honest. Listen to “Knoxville Girl” and then find me a country song that sounds even a little like it. And please don’t reference a Bonnie “Prince” Billy tune because he isn’t a country singer, either. If you want to read more about Josephine, you can check out the review I posted below or check out some of the interviews that have been published in the last few weeks. This eMusic article is particularly good, as is the Drowned in Sound interview. Do yourself a favor and ignore what Pitchfork had to say about the record. In fact, a negative review from that publication is often a good sign that the record’s excellent. Just look at their track record with Kranky and you’ll see what I mean.
So, you heard more than one Magnolia Electric Co. song this week. You’ll probably hear more next time, too. In addition, I played a couple of new songs from the forthcoming Six Organs of Admittance record. I still have no idea what to say about it, but Chasny’s vocal delivery on this album has yet to settle in. Something about it simply doesn’t gel with me; it’s like the vocals and the music are incongruent with one another. The contrast isn’t exactly pleasing, at least not upon the first few listens. I don’t know; I’ll be reviewing the record as soon as I can make my mind up about it.
The heaviest, most pounding-est song I’ve heard in awhile came from Oneida this week. Their song “Ghost in the Room,” which can be found on their new triple CD release, Rated O, had me air-drumming like a maniac in the studio. Between its electronic buzzing, hallucinatory edits, and the This Heat-like locked groove that ended it, “Ghosts in the Room” was easily the most ear-catching selection of the day. I’m still trying to tackle this record: three discs worth of new music is difficult to sort through, especially when it’s being made by one of the most schizophrenic bands in existence. Reviews of the album have already made it to the internet, but short of stealing the album months ago or having the privilege of receiving an advanced copy, I have no idea how anyone could’ve wrestled with its many avenues by now. Even then, knowing how many promos writers receive on a regular basis, I highly doubt it was given enough attention. Grab the album and decide for yourself, it’s at least audacious enough to warrant your own investigation.
I’ll be back in two weeks time. I’ll keep posting reviews and will finally have an interview or two posted in the coming month. To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie have a new record coming out, soon, and I’m lucky enough to be interviewing them. I played a cut from their new record towards the end of this show, so click on the link below if you want to hear it. I’m also working on getting an interview with Jason Molina. Both will be posted on Brainwashed and here as soon as they come together.
Thanks for listening.
01. Magnolia Electric Co. “The Handing Down” from Josephine (2009) on Secretly Canadian
02. Six Organs of Admittance “Anesthesia” from Luminous Night (2009) on Drag City
03. Talk Talk “The Rainbow” from Spirit of Eden (1988) on EMI
04. Steven R. Smith “Tableland” from Tableland (2001) on Emperor Jones
05. Wovenhand “Elktooth” from Mosaic (2006) on Sounds Familyre
06. Dead C “Alien to Be” from Eusa Kills (2008) on Jagjaguwar / Ba Da Bing — originally released in 1989 on Flying Nun Records
07. Oneida “Ghost in the Room” from Rated O (2009) on Jagjaguwar / Brah
08. Kid 606 “If I Had a Happy Place This Would Be It” from Kill Sound Before Sound Kills You (2003) on Ipecac
09. Subway “Simplex” from Subway II (2009) on Soul Jazz Records
10. Mountains “Map Table” from Choral (2009) on Thrill Jockey
11. To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie “You’ve Gone Too Far” from Marlone (2009) on Kranky
12. Low “Silver Rider” from Murderer (2003) on Vinyl Films
13. Jesu “Transfigure” from Conqueror (2007) on Hydra Head
14. Michael Chapman “Leaving the Apple” from Imaginational Anthem Vol. 2 (2006) on Tompkins Square
15. Master Musicians of Bukkake “Schism Prism / Adamantios” from Totem One (2009) on Conspiracy Records
16. Magnolia Electric Co. “Map of the Falling Sky” from Josephine (2009) on Secretly Canadian
17. Six Organs of Admittance “Bar-Nasha” from Luminous Night (2009) on Drag City
18. Glenn Jones “Freedom Raga” from Against Which the Sea Continually Beats (2006) on Strange Attractors Audio House
19. Jack Rose & The Black Twig Pickers “Little Sadie” from Jack Rose & The Black Twig Pickers (2009) on Vhf Records