"But there was nothing about the little, low-rambling, more or less identical homes of Northumberland Estates to interest or to haunt, no chance of loot that would be any more than the ordinary, waking-world kind the cops hauled you in for taking; no
small immunities, no possibilities for hidden life or otherworldly presence; no trees, secret routes, shortcuts, culverts, thickets that could be made hollow in the middle – everything in the place was right out in the open, everything could be seen at a glance; and behind it, under it, around the corners of its houses and down the safe, gentle curves of its streets, you came back, you kept coming back, to nothing; nothing but the cheerless earth."
Thomas Pynchon, "The Secret Integration"
This is Ian Mathers' Tumblr. I live in Canada. I've written about music and other things for Stylus, Dusted, PopMatters, Resident Advisor, the Village Voice, and a few other places. Hi.
I’m not sure what happened with PopMatters’ best albums of the 00s feature; I know I’m not the only writer to write a requested blurb that doesn’t appear to have shown up in the end product. In my case, the above one for Joe Henry’s Civilians didn’t make it, but the following one for the Mountain Goats’ We Shall All Be Healed did, here:
If the Mountain Goats’ second studio album (after many non-studio albums) was “merely” the best album ever written about the damage and pleasure of drug addiction, it would still warrant a place on this list. But We Shall All Be Healed also sees John Darnielle’s first sustained bout of autobiography (which brings an extra layer of insight and despair into these songs about tweakers trying to make it through the day and the world, even when you don’t know the context) even as he hits a high water mark in his songwriting. Plenty of his work since has been excellent, but he’s rarely been as bitterly anthemic as he is on “Slow West Vultures” and “The Young Thousands”, as wisely tender as he is on “Your Belgian Things” and “Cotton”. Few people have ever nailed the dichotomies of human nature (chemically assisted or not) as squarely as Darnielle does on the combination of “All Up the Seething Coast” and “Quito”, let alone on “Against Pollution”, a song that can tell you something new about yourself and the world every single time you play it. As always, Darnielle’s work contains all the wonder and folly of life.