Max Garcia Conover is from Portland, Maine, and he releases weekly songs through Patreon that are beautiful. Beautiful in the way that poetry makes truth immediate and gives it shape. Beautiful in the way that it reminds us how music is a living, daily ritual. Beautiful in the way it reinforces constancy and the importance of repition to creating something worth having–a body of work by which he will be remembered fondly.
I hope he finds himself in California soon, so I can find my way to this concept performed live.
Some songs are as delicate and fragile as they are strong and lovely. Perhaps it’s the secret depressive in me that so authentically connects to music that warbles with vulnerability. Or maybe that’s just the undercurrent that makes good music, and it’s natural to like good music. Regardless, this track isn’t new…just new to me. I like it very much.
What I like most about Mike Viola’s music is that it feels unique, a la Elvis Costello. So many songs and albums sound the same these days, and, while it’s clearly influenced by vintage songwriting structures, his approach feels fresh at a time when 80s synth pop is dominating a market that wasn’t alive to remember the 1980s. It certainly feels honest. These are things I appreciate.
If you’re wondering if you should keep listening, maybe his pedigree will intrigue you. Viola co-wrote the theme song for That Thing You Do, and also composed much of the music you heard in Judd Apatow’s Rock Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. He’s worked with Ryan Adams, The Monkees, Jenny Lewis, and Rachael Yamagata. These are also things I appreciate.
There are many ways to break a heart. The newest method I’ve learned is when a man you’ve loved for eight years leaves you for the final time (for another woman) one month after your Mom is diagnosed with cancer. You really do learn something new every day.
Life isn’t kind enough to stop and let you heal; you have to do that on the run. Friends, family, work that inspires and distracts you is key, and…slowly…through the pain…you take away the things that made you better, even if, in the pain, you see time and youth wasted. Blame feels good for a moment, but the truth is no one leaves an eight year relationship without blood on their hands. I am certainly no saint. Human beings are tragic mishaps, which is why you can love someone deeply but can’t find a way to make it stick. That’s the crux of the human condition.
But if something is taken from you, replace it. If you can’t fill the void with something new, then stitch yourself together, mend the tear from what you have left. And if there’s power in numbers, then music is the way to reclaim mine–as the notes in each song add up to a rhythm that reminds the heart to beat, the lungs to breathe, and keeps the nervous system in check. The last time I had my heart broken, I remade myself as a music journalist and found my footing.
So in that spirit I’m launching a new feature on Nostos Algos with this post. These are a few of my… will be a regular(ish) series that shares a few of my favorite things by theme, and, if musical, will be tied to Spotify playlists. The playlist that corresponds here is titled “…favorite breakup songs,“ and is composed of songs previously featured on Nostos Algos because I’m stitching myself together with what’s sustained me for years. One exception to this is an entire album by Daughter, since this indie British outfit is my spirit animal. Content runs the gamut in tone, from angry to sad, nostalgic to uplifting, and the order is mixed because that’s the reality of emotions: they are not linear.
There are many ways to break a heart, but there are just as many ways to mend it. Here’s to starting that process by sharing it with you, since there’s power in numbers, and healing…one song at a time.