Despite my usual distaste for cash-grab reunions and reissues, At the Drive-In hold a special place in my heart, so I’m enjoying their brief time back in the spotlight. It’s interesting to see them take a step outside of early aughts post-hardcore with this remix of “One Armed Scissor” by The Field, but aside from ostensibly sourcing the track’s bleeps and bloops from ATDI’s signature track, it retains nothing, sonically or emotionally, from the original (for a better example, check The Field’s take on Battles’ “Sweetie & Shag”). It’s certainly an interesting “what if…” thought experiment, and a sly nod to fans with broad tastes, but ultimately the track is a bit limp, which is not something I’d usually say about either of these two uniquely powerful artists.
Thinking of Jason Molina, his family, and loved ones this evening – and taking the opportunity to remember those I’ve lost, and be thankful for those that continue to be in my life. Alcohol is everywhere, and addiction is terrifyingly powerful. From the sounds of it, Molina did his damndest to fight the good fight, and that’s what counts. In his own words:
The real truth about it is
No one gets it right.
The real truth about it is
We’re all supposed to try.
Songs: Ohia - “Farewell Transmission” (Magnolia Electric Co.; 2003)
songs written and produced by alexander homan
dedicated to the fam
album art featuring line drawings by jill behrens and angela corradino
PLAKE 64 AND THE HEXAGRAMS is based on the travels of me and my friends to nashville tn + asheville nc. the imagery evoked in the soundscapes indicate the mindset of a certain giddiness / anxiousness for the approaching spring, as well as a form of re-aligning or re-awakening that offers a new lease and perspective on life, as well as an acceptance of certain death. i walked away from this journey truly changed and shaken awake by the optimism of future prospects and surrender to the eternal moment- right now you
Today I took some time to visit Rutherford Chang’s “We Buy White Albums” exhibit at Recess Gallery, where he’s displaying his hundreds of first editions of The Beatles’ White Album (and yes, he will buy yours). It’s an interesting re-framing of record collector culture, where the most highly valued items are the ones kept in nearly pristine condition. “VG++,” as they say. This makes sense if you’re going to listen to an LP: the better the condition it’s in, the clearer it will sound. However, it’s a hobby that quickly brings out the obsessive-compulsive in people, who end up not even listening to the records so they won’t wear them out. It’s not uncommon to see collectors going to extravagant and expensive lengths to preserve their objects as if they were right off the shelf in 1968. Things like a $600 record vacuum often make me wonder “to what end?”
“We Buy White Albums” takes the opposite approach, turning 695 all-white jackets into blank canvases, each with 45 years of process art on display. Through this lens, the copies that were kept in decent condition become boring and samey while the ones with paint, sweat, and wine (blood, maybe?) on them are the stars of a show. You’ll find everything from half-stoned doodles to water damage to fan art and more. One copy I saw was actually signed by all four Beatles - or somebody had taken a lot of time to meticulously reproduce each member’s signature on theirs.
To compliment the exhibit, Chang released a recording of Side A of 100 of these LPs played simultaneously. It begins as you might imagine, with “Back in the U.S.S.R.” crash-landing into your speakers as it always has, but things start to get out of line pretty quickly afterwords. “Dear Prudence” takes on a dubby, underwater texture, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” becomes more swirlingly psychedelic than the Beatles could have ever imagined, and by the time we get to “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” it sounds more like his guitar is having a panic attack - all thanks to those minor wobbles, scratches, and imperfections throwing a wrench into things.
This, too, is an excellent re-framing of the album as a definitive recording. At one time, these records were each manufactured to provide the exact same listening experience to 100 different listeners, and now they can’t even hold it together enough to be remotely close to the sound that we know as The White Album. I wonder which White Album I’ve been listening to all these years.
Today on the phone with my mother, I told her about the exhibit and how the weird stuff was what made it interesting. Her response was “You know, that applies to people, too!” At least I get it honestly.
You can see more excellent photos of the albums in this Dust and Grooves article.