"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.

imathers@gmail.com

 

It’s both correct and misleading to note that a lot of Joe Henry’s work feels anachronistic. The music itself is neither creaky nor old-timey, and the wry intelligence and big, bruised heart behind these songs feels as eternal and rumpled as humanity itself. The 00s were a good decade for Henry, as a performer and a producer, but Civilians is the most lived-in of his records from those years. As good as the dense, studio-crafted sound of albums like Tiny Voices is, deciding to make an album more about a bunch of people playing a room worked perfectly for his stately, generous, endlessly quotable songs. Henry’s parables of love, diner wisdom, yardbird law, and everyday faith and regret are gorgeously wrought here, ranging from bitter jokes about mortality (“Time Is a Lion”) to a painfully clear eyed lovesong to America at its best and worst (“Our Song”). And always Henry sings songs for lamenting and rejoicing the fact that, as he sings on the title track, “life is short but, by the grace of God, the night is long.”

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.

jesspiration:

aniastypulkowski:

The Bear Psychiatrist writes a prescription.
Text by Sam Fox Hartin, Image by Ania Stypulkowski 

imathers !!!

Relevant to my Interests
(somebody write a song titled “The Bear Psychiatrist” to the tune of “Frontier Psychiatrist,” please)

jesspiration:

aniastypulkowski:

The Bear Psychiatrist writes a prescription.

Text by Sam Fox Hartin, Image by Ania Stypulkowski 

imathers !!!

Relevant to my Interests

(somebody write a song titled “The Bear Psychiatrist” to the tune of “Frontier Psychiatrist,” please)

The Mountain Goats — “Maybe Sprout Wings”

Yeah, sometimes your brain just feels like this, despite there being no conceivable reason for it.

barrybailbondsman:

swoonstep:

EPISODE 13 - Anaïs Mathers

Here is episode thirteen of Swoonstep, a podcast where smart cool chicks talk about their interests in music and the musicians who can get it. This week your Swoonstep hosts are joined by the #cangetit queen Anaïs Mathers, who takes her popular awards show game (basically she tweets about who can get it and who cannot get it) and gives us the rundown on which musicians can and cannot get it. Before we do that, we discuss growing up with the overwhelming white male post punk and indie rock scenes and the Kardashians (hey, Kim married Kanye; it counts as music). An American cutie who moved to Canada for love weighs in on how she feels about Drake pre- and post-move, and we get the official #cangetit/#cannotgetit verdict on the rapper.

Anaïs is an American writer who now lives in Toronto. You can find her work at This Recording, and she wrote about Swoonstep and #cangetit star Jenny Lewis’s band Rilo Kiley for an excellent One Week One Band. You can also find her writing on Tumblr, where she also takes pictures of her food, shows you all her cute hairstyles, gets deep about her Cuban roots, and cracks dad jokes. Of course, catch the aforementioned #cangetit on Twitter at @anaees. She is such a cool chick.

Let us know if you’re a cool chick who has opinions about music and can tell us who can definitely get it, and thanks for listening!

Anaïs’s Rilo Kiley Week pre-dates my readership of One Week One Band, and I’m reading it now and it’s so great. I’ve been thinking a lot about what her thoughts on bands that dudes ruined because I didn’t have very well formed thoughts at the time (hangover :/) but there’s so much really dude beloved stuff that has never sunk in for me. One story I wish I’d shared was when I started listening to rap via T.I. and Cam’ron mixtapes sent to me by a friend, another friend lamented my taste as “pop rap” and sniffed he only listened to M.F. Doom. I have never listened to M.F. Doom, I never will. Fuuuuuuck M.F. Doom! Anaïs was a great guest and I want to hear ALL her stories. 

I got a chance to listen to this episode before it was posted; Anaïs was worried she said “like” too much, which, like, who cares? I am fully and unrepentantly biased, but this was so much fun to listen to (although the brief part where they talk about me is wayyyyyyyyy too complimentary, for real).

But, you know, bias aside, I’ve loved every episode of Swoonstep and it’s always worth listening to. But especially this one.