23 May 2007

It's just "down the road"

Songs: Ohia - Didn't It Rain

What's (almost) better than a new album discovery? An album Re-discovery! You know... you grab something off the shelf mindlessly that you loved 2, 5, 10 or 15 years ago, pop it in the CD player, and you're instantly whisked back to that all-too-familiar place of "I LOVE this album! Why did I ever stop listening to it?!"

OR You buy a critically acclaimed work, give a good listen or two, like it, but then shelve it for reasons unknown, to only "hear" it for the first time months or years later. Then you kick yourself for missing out on it all this time.

This happens to me all too often. It's almost embarrassing, like getting sucker punched. You just don't see it coming, but you totally should have.

My most recent assailant happens to be Songs: Ohia, Jason Molina's haunting 2002 release. A sonically vast departure from Ghost Tropic, Didn't It Rain has a sparse emptiness. Minimal instrumentation with female-backed vocals, this gospel-esque piece is slow, sleepy, melancholy. A collection of seven songs filling out a full-length album.

It's hard to describe accurately without making it sound bad, because many thoughts that come to mind have a negative connotation: hollow, empty, depressing. These things are all true, but the album itself is none of these things. Blue Factory Flame, an 8 1/2-minute track, gives the impression of rainy nights, trashy dwellings, hard times, fighting lovers, insomnia, cockroackes, broken TVs, broken hearts and cigarettes. But the exquisite sadness painted leaves the feeling of beauty rather than suffering.

This album, in the best way possible, completes my list of "Top 5 Albums to Commit Suicide To" (along with Sparklehorse's It's A Wonderful Life, Cat Power's Moon Pix, Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism, and Vic Chesnutt's Drunk.)

Songs: Ohia - Blue Factory Flame.mp3
Buy Didn't It Rain

1 comment:

thecommunist said...

good call. i got into the jason molina game at the songs: ohia "magnolia electric company" juncture. i've been with them since then but only recently stumbled onto 'didn't it rain.' kind of makes you want to sit alone in your apartment with a cigar and a drink and a lit candle.

yep, i know how to party.