Available on: Kranky
This album reminds me of a lot of things. It reminds me of Galaxie 500, of Colleen, of Julee Cruise, of Juana Molina, of Low, of Adem… but most of all it reminds me of how much I crave a good, small pub with a half decent soundsystem where I can play, or just hear, this sort of thing. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how strange, slow, sad songs can function as social music – especially since I’ve been obsessively compiling this playlist – and really feeling the frustration that at the moment I can only really appreciate this as headphone music.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s brilliant headphone music. Over a couple of weeks of having it in my phone, it’s become a staple for bus and train journeys around London, and it works splendidly as a warm safety blanket against bleakness, cold, hostility and tube strikes. It mops away dragging time – in fact it’s a long time since I’ve found an album that is so easy to drift away into then suddenly blink and fifteen minutes have gone. It is, basically, lovely.
It’s not faultless at all. The most important thing that raises it above a lot of carefully-layered, drifty, smacky slowcore out there is that it has absolutely killer songwriting. In a song like ‘Wordless in Woods’, everything is a hook – the exquisite slowness and bareness means each three note run of vocals, each single lazy guitar strum, lodges in your brain and leaves you longing for the next one. But not every song has that; there are runs of tunes that are almost entirely textural, which might be part of the reason it’s so easy to drift into, but are not really ones you’d chuck on a playlist. Now, anyone know a pub in Southeast London where I can play or hear Galaxie 500, Julee Cruise, Juana Molina, Low, Adem and Tara Jane O’Neal? Open fire, few pints, some interesting people – you know it makes sense.