The thing about burying the people you’re closest to is that cemeteries assume new dimensions. Every patch of grass is personal and every gravestone a headboard, because you envision the ones you’ve loved sleeping peacefully below ground. Or rotting, depending on your mood. Grief is a gray area: you pray for inconsistency and secretly revel in its constant companionship because as long as you hurt, you’re still connected to those you miss.
In this headspace, two songs have been on constant rotation for me. And I do mean constant. The first is “Churchyard” by AURORA from her album Infections of a Different Kind (Step 1). The album is solid, front to back, but this particular song is blasting from my weak iPhone speakers in the morning during makeup application, through my car’s surround sound on the ride to work, and running through my head as I fall asleep. “He told me I belong in a churchyaARD. He told me I could walk away, but I wouldn’t get FaAR.” It’s the perfect pop song with sneaky substance that functions as the tie that binds. If I were Mary Tyler Moore, this would be my opening credit.
If I’m in a mellower mood, I lean on Soko’s “We Might Be Dead Tomorrow” from I Thought I Was an Alien. I encountered this amazing tune on the dark British comedy series The End of the F**cking World, which has one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a long time. Lots of midcentry soulful throwbacks and heartbreaking acoustic currents.
These two songs have been bookends for me this week. Some weeks are more challenging than others, but music is always there to provide context and solace; like when you heat metal–forcing the impurities to surface so they can be cleaned away, music makes the molecules move and friction makes the heat that purifies. As long as the sounds waves vibrate, everything is fine.
If I ever get married (an act that is looking increasingly unlikely), this is the song that will walk me down the aisle.
Go ahead and steal the idea, future Mrs. and Mrs. Just be sure to message me with recorded evidence so I can have the thrill of seeing the concept enacted. ; )
Cat Power is one of my true first loves. My early 20s would not have existed if it wasn’t for Cat Power. I’ll be seeing her for the umpteenth time with The National next month, and I almost can’t contain my excitement.
Here’s to lifelong loves. I promise you, they do exist.
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.
I love Valley Maker so much I just pre-ordered Rhododendron (set to release 10.12.18) while writing this post. Seattle-based, gritty folk artist Austin Crane wrote his first eponymous album as part of his PhD work in Human Geography. His music is smart and addictive, with its soothing rhythmic inspections into the human core. Now signed onto a new label, Frenchkiss, and in the production hands of Chaz Bear (Toro Y Moi) and Trevor Spencer (Father John Misty), I’m excited to see how he expands on this next album.
If you want to see him live, he comes through California in December: at Cafe du Nord in San Francisco on December 10th; Resident in Los Angeles on December 11th; and Soda Bar in San Diego on December 12th. I highly recommend seeing him in any of these appropriately intimate venues.
This one might be from the closing credits of that 1980s film you can’t remember the name of but remember watching all the time on cable. And it’s gloriously self-aware.
If you know me, then you already know why.