Souled American – Fe
Rough Trade, 1988
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
This was purchased after reading a rant about how good it was by John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats on his blog, Last Plane to Jakarta. Apparently he wrote an article about it for Harp magazine, but I can't find it because Harp magazine doesn't have a website as I assume they were victims of the great print purge of 2008. Anyway, his rave was powerful enough to get me to jump at the sight of the record when I saw it in the store. I got to have a real record store experience, too, since I couldn't find it online. I said to myself “no more downloading! I'll search like they did in the olden days!” and then I realized that would be stupid. If the technology is there, why should I avoid it? I can see how the arguments work though, and for certain people I might agree with them but for me, I don't know. For instance, I don't know how I feel about the MP3 killing the album as Sufjan Stevens so boldly stated in some interview I read last week. I've heard some pretty fucking fantastic albums this year, and the only people who are buying individual tracks are buying the new Fall Out Boy or Taylor Swift or Owl fucking City or whatever awful thing is at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. Otherwise, in the indie music scene artists still make really good albums because people who like their music prefer albums. Yes, Indie is the new trend but fortunately there are enough awful bands who are ripping off other bands that are satisfying society's needs. Like Owl City, who blatantly ripped off the Postal Service and have sold more songs than the Postal Service ever intended on. Anyway, where was I. Oh yeah, technology. LP experience, I liked that I got to experience this record on vinyl. To find it randomly, to take it home and put it on the turntable, and to be...well, maybe it's a grower. I'm sure when this came out in 1988 it sounded insane. You know what, that's the big thing. This was at the forefront of the alt-country movement and alt-country has become so big and has established it's own set of standards that when I hear this I just hear another alt-country band. This is two years before Uncle Tupelo and after listening to this it's become painfully clear where a lot of their sound came from. There's still something offbeat about this record. Something that I haven't really heard a lot of other artists approach. I think it's mostly in the bubbly bass lines (played on a six-string, no less!), it has to be. It's it's own beast, and I don't know what the fuck to call it so I'll call it lead bass. No one does that. Actually, by the second half I'd warmed up to the record. Tunes like “Magic Bullets” and “Goin' Away” made sense and seemed elemental, although mostly this record makes me feel out of place. It also feels like a record I'm going to return to some time down the line.