What Are You Spinning This Weekend?
Plus, twenty years of Magnolia Electric Co., a new podcast episode, and a so-so review of the latest from U.S. Girls
What are you spinning this weekend?
Welcome new subscribers, and thanks for dipping your toes in a pool of fresh tunes! It’s been a while since I asked, and I really want to know: what are you listening to this weekend? Let me know in the comments or reply to this email!
I spent the earlier, overcast part of the week leaning into the grey and celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Magnolia Electric Company by Songs: Ohia. Or is it by Magnolia Electric Company? This has always been a supremely dumb barroom debate for indieheads.
For those unfamiliar with Jason Molina's projects, he started out playing as Songs: Ohia with a rotating cast of support members. 2003’s Magnolia Electric Company (THE ALBUM) marked a shift in sound in which Molina kept a steady cast from tour into the studio. After the record’s release, he changed the project’s name to Magnolia Electric Company (THE BAND) and recorded under that moniker for the rest of his career until he passed suddenly ten years ago at the young age of 39 from alcohol abuse. The name “Songs: Ohia” is nowhere to be found on the record’s packaging, but the label Secretly Canadian still lists it under Songs: Ohia. But many consider it the first Magnolia Electric Company album anyway… like I said, a dumb barroom debate.
Magnolia Electric Company was one of those early records that shaped my interest in alt-country, and twenty years later, it sounds fresh every time I play it. Fans of Neil Young and, specifically, his work with Crazy Horse will absolutely love this set of songs. From Mike Brenner’s lap steel that opens “Farewell Transmission” through the slow lurch of a closer in “Hold On Magnolia,” this is one of those exceptional records that somehow manages to rock and be tender simultaneously. There are even a few guest lead vocal spots that mark the midpoint of the record. Featuring the bluegrass members from Molina’s previous album, Lawrence Peters and Scout Niblett change the tone with “The Old Black Hen” and “Peoria Lunch Box Blues.” This song gives way to my favorite moment on the record when the crunchy guitars come roaring in from the silence on “John Henry Split My Heart.” It’s one of the best things ever laid to tape.
Let me know what is currently moving your groove and enjoy the weekend!
Hey there, my podcast kinda people! The second episode of Album of the Month from 5-9 is out now. February was a loaded month, and Andrew Belt, Karl Blakesley, and I discuss our five records, including awesome albums I’ve written about here, like Heavy Heavy by Young Fathers and Desire, I Want to Turn Into You from Caroline Polecheck. We also cover other albums like the latest from Shame (absolutely must-hear), Nile Marr (if you take the first four songs, you have an EP of the year. The rest? Zzz), and Paramore (never been my thing, and yup, still not).
I want to thank everyone who listened to the first episode, as the numbers surprised us well! This taping went even better, and the three of us are getting the hang of it. Next month we’re listening to The Nude Party, LIES, Yves Tumor, boygenius, and the winner of the listener’s poll, M83 - anyone that has perused part one of Fantasy knows we’re in for a real treat.
My goal with Check This Out! is to keep things positive and share the records that I love. Sometimes there’s a record for a freelance assignment I end up not really digging, and I have to be honest in my review. I wrote the latest review for Headstuff regarding Bless This Mess, the latest album from U.S. Girls. Though I’m generally mixed on Meg Remy’s experimental pop project, I’ve enjoyed her past few records and hoped the streak would continue with this assignment. Due to odd production, mixing choices, and some downright grating moments, I’m not too fond of this thing, save for the singles that preceded it.
Anyway, you can read it here if you’re curious:
I'm all over the map, but so far I've been playing:
*The B52s- Wild Planet
*Tanukichan- Gizmo (thank you again for that!)
*Blues Lawyer- All In Good Time
*Red Pants- Gentle Centuries (EP)
*Trementina SPD (EP)
*Graham Parker & the Rumour- Stick It To Me
And "Jet Airliner" by Paul Pena. I had no idea this wasn't written by Steve Miller. This one has an insane groove to it.