Tuesday, June 21, 2011
SEBADOH - HARMACY
Something of a departure from my usual blog-fodder this. I have been encouraged to revisit the past recently for a couple of reasons, not least after being described as an 'indie dad'. I sat on that name for a while, mulled it over and whilst it was wildly inaccurate given my usual listening habits it was actually a label I really liked and almost aspired to.
It also made me get a little bit retrospective with my listening habits, caused me to have the likes of Dinosaur Jr on repeat on my Ipod whilst I was out in Asia.
When I got home I realized that I had almost completely erased a huge chunk of my musical learning. There was little to no evidence of my years spent as champion of the US Indie scene (very specifically US. The thought of British indie music leaves me cold, there is something very sallow, pale and unsexy about it. A bit like having sex with a Politics major in a Sheffield bedsit). I counted maybe 20 CDs and half as many records. Given that this was such a focus of my life for such a prolonged time it was almost as if I had deliberately tried to eradicate it's existence.
I suppose part of me did. It's a dead scene I thought, like Beat Happening said the revolution has come and gone. There is nothing sexy about finding a Superchunk album amongst a girl you fancy's record collection anymore. If anything it would just seem a bit like she needed to get on with a spot of well needed Spring cleaning, you might even question her personal hygiene.
And it was while I was thinking about how 'Indie', the indie that I used to know and love was dead and less than relevant that I skipped to the opening track of Harmacy on my Ipod. 'On Fire' is one of the most simple yet perfect singles I can recall hearing. From there I left on the entire album to play through.
Harmacy passed me by when it came out. Fickle as I was in my late teens I walked away from Sebadoh after 'Bubble and Scrape' in search of something more exciting, more obscure guilty of falling in to that old 'if other people have heard of them they aren't cool anymore' trap. Fucked up there then didn't I?
The rest of 'Harmacy' follows the well known Sebadoh blue-print, fast songs, quiet songs, quiet songs with fast bits. That said this outing is much more polished, less lo-fi that what came before it. Well worth a revisit, if you are in the mood for a reminder of a time rich with de-tuned and distorted discovery, a journey into 'electric white boy blues' territory in a boat shaped like a Fender Tweed Deluxe amp with a Lumberjack shirt for a sail.
So what did I do about this glaring hole, this gap in my record collection? Well I had two,no three choices. First off I could have got my 'ebay' on and sought out the original pressings of everything I ever rid myself of - A lengthy and particularly costly exercise, one running well into the mid-thousands. Second, I could do exactly that but instead of being format precious I could go the way of the CD, which is what I did. 32 CD's filling a particularly large hole including 'Half Japanese', 'Unrest' and such are currently winging their way to me courtesy of Amazon.
So what of option three: Walk away from it, admit that there is absolutely no point in trying to fill the gaps or relive the glory years. Concede that you have moved on and that people would point at you if you wore a Mudhoney t-shirt. Well you know what, I would have done but I put Dinosaur Jr's 'Bug' on after 'Harmacy' and it blew the fucking doors off the van.
Maybe this is just temporary but right now I am so Indie it hurts.