Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lonnie Eugene Methe 'Hey Jack' on Unread Records

Chris, from the long running Unread Records sent his latest single from Lonnie Eugene Methe to the 7inches NY office and I'm grateful as always. Turns out he's got a bunch of limited edition lathe's coming out soon and a flexi disc/book series! I'm going to hopefully get him on the phone to talk about these upcoming releases and what he's been up to the past 5 years or so releasing whatever strikes him in Baltimore.

This recording just aches sadness from the needle drop. It's reflecting this hard hard winter most of the east coast is increasingly finding itself in these days. A premonition of what I'm sitting in, and just made it out of a few days ago.
Maybe it's the huge room piano sound, or just the mic catching a breath a little too close, not many people can get away with this kind of outpouring of emotion, but Lonnie pulls it off easily without any vocal or musical gimmicks. Stripped down songwriting...just good writing period. Thankfully the lyrics are reproduced on the reverse sleeve because he's got a knack for this heartbreaking narrative. It's laid out, not too cleverly, just simply in a way you wish you could.
In 'Calendar Work', lines about never ending time and physical such a beautiful way. I think that's what can ultimately get you through the overwhelming sadness, is the simple arrangement, and sincerity. It has to be'll make it through. Like Bill Callahan, but in a higher vulnerable register, they are classic reminiscences of the mundane. It's not a grandiose statement of the state of's a note on a napkin, a scratch on the wall of the bathroom. The everyday...and those are the things that can be the most illuminating.

Turns out a couple of years ago now Chris sent Outer Space Gamelan (a damn good site that I still miss) a cassette release from Methe and he had this light to shed on the mysterious performer:
The legend here is that Christopher Fischer moved into Lonnie Eugene Methe (of a band called Naturaliste - know em? I don't)'s old house and found a tape in the rafters of the house and persuaded Methe to let him release it.
'Wounds of Winter' has an extra layer of tape hiss, and pop, from a boombox or 4-Track in Omaha but when you capture something like this, none of that matters. It can't be duplicated, it's an imperfect snapshot and you fill in the rest of the blanks. The room he's in, the at a weather outside, if it's the middle of the night, or early morning...but it's far away from anything.

That's what kills me about Neon Indian or Dan Deacon etc, the weird forced feeling of fun. It could exist at party , in the background and it wouldn't bother me, in fact it would sound right at home...and live it creates a feel of having a good time...but I think that's what's suspect, the forced soundtrack to a party. I guess I don't feel like a one man party, so this doesn't ever get played at home when I want to study something, really let it sink in. It's a distraction and I think, I don't want to watch Die Hard again...where's the documentaries?

There's no better way to experience the intimacy of an acoustic personal project like this...just don't expect to feel better about anything when it's over.

Myth or not, I'm super glad this made it to 7 inch vinyl, the most intimate human scale format for just 5$ PPD from Chris at unreadrecords (at)

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