Mark Mulcahy – Fathering
Mezzotint, 1997 (2014 Reissue)
Acquired: Discogs, New, 2015
Price: $5 + $3.50 shipping = $8.50
Mark Mulcahy’s latest album—2013’s Dear Mark J Mulcahy, I Love You—was one of my absolute favorite albums of that year. It clocked in at #6 on my year-end list that year, but I’d like to retroactively bump it up to #2. I listen to that album a lot. It rarely leaves my iPhone, and it’s sort of a go to when I need to get some shit done and feel like a grown ass man. It’s a grown ass man sort of record.
After that transcendent discovery, I sought out his first solo LP Fathering. I could only find it on Spotify, so I listened to it out of order. Listening to it now is the first time I’ve listened to it in its properly sequenced form. It’s a goddamn great record. So spare and different and full of the sort of passion that curls up inside your chest. Unlike the rollicking swagger of Dear Mark J Mulcahy’s most ebullient moments, Fathering is mostly clean, reverbed guitar and voice. It’s a twist on your dude-with-a-guitar singer-songwriter album that tweaks the formula just enough to be both compelling and fresh. It doesn’t hurt that the songwriting is incredibly good. But that’s a given. I wouldn’t be here if the dude’s tunes didn’t destroy me (sometimes “The Rabbit” from DMJM,ILY will come on shuffle and I’ll be wrecked for the rest of the day that’s how good he is).
Selling off the unnecessary bits of my record collection has really helped me change my way of thinking about music. I was always a hoarder. My iTunes library has 82,000 songs and no one needs that much music. Every record in my collection has to tell me a story. There has to be something there that makes me put the record back on the shelf or I immediately list it on Discogs. Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavillion? That was Jenny and I’s album when we were falling in love. The Pogues Rum Sodomy and the Lash? I tried to sell it but I put on “A Pair of Brown Eyes,” sat and listened, and put the album back on the shelf. I haven’t bought a new record in many months, and it’s a novel thing having an album I own on vinyl but can’t pop onto my iPhone. Fathering is very much an album I associate with, well, fathering. I play it when I’m hanging out with Rosie in the toy room, or when we’re driving to the post office, or when I’m cooking dinner before Jenny gets home. It’s been everywhere lately, and it is only appropriate that it take up residence on my turntable.
"Hey, Self Defeater"