Why? - Alopecia
Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2009
This was sort of a gamechanger record for me. I had never heard Why? When I decided to go see them on a whim when they were touring in support of this record. My friend Nick Dormer had convinced me that it was a good idea and totally worth $8. I was having a bad night, and figured it would be good to get out of the house. I sat at the bar with Nick drinking Shiner Bocks and watching the show on the monitor in a state of perpetual amazement. Oh the days before concert reviewing where I wasn't nervous about not getting a picture and nervous about looking like a dope taking a picture or taking stupid notes. My jaw rested comfortably on the bar, song after song. That night, Yoni Wolf became one of my prophets, joining the pantheon of my all time favorite songwriters. His raw honesty blended with humor is a winning combination, and his absolutely hilarious stage banter makes the serious songs easier to deal with in a live setting. On record, songs like “Good Friday” are absolutely fucking brutal. Where Elephant Eyelash is about a break-up in gory detail, Alopecia is about the aftermath, and I was in the middle of some aftermath myself when this record came to me and I think that's why it clicked. Certain lines killed me. “Even though I haven't seen you in years/ Your's is a funeral I'd fly to from anywhere.” “It gets exciting/ touching your handwriting.” “I'd rather be dead than call this song 'How I Lost Your Respect.'” “Tell me are you single yet my heart's as big as Texas.” “Only those evil live to see their own likeness in stone.” There's more, the whole record is amazing. While the hip-hop thing has become a vague influence since Elephant Eyelash, the flow and wordplay on tunes like “Good Friday,” “By Torpedo or Crohns,” and “A Sky For Shoeing Horses Under”/ “Twenty Eight.” Mostly though, he's working within some weird mash-up of indie rock, pop, and god knows what else. It's hard to describe. There's the upbeat lilt of of “Fatalist Palmistry,” the pop jam of the record, and tunes like “The Vowels Pt. 2” and “The Hollows” are catchy as hell despite being incredibly dark, almost sinister sounding. Same goes for “Simeon's Dilemma,” a song about a stalker. And “These Few Presidents” which just drips with a little indie-pop influence. It's just a meaty record, with a lot to sink your teeth into, and a perfect place to start if you're looking to get into Why? I spent a good couple of weeks this year listening to nothing but Yoni's discography and it was a preatty great two weeks, albeit a little depressing. Check out the live albums, particularly the older one “Almost Live From Anna's Cabin.” Hilarious.