American Football – Never Meant
American Football and I have a past, and I might get into that someday but for now let’s just remember how fucking great they were. And how good this video is. Did anybody else’s heart swell upon seeing the house they’ve looked at a thousand times before, both literally on the album cover and figuratively as you remembered your own college digs? The dirty walls with seventeen layers of paint, the crowded dance parties where you knew everyone around you was one of your people, the porches and basements where you lingered that extra minute to cross paths with a particular someone at the keg so you could start a conversation without risking rejection? It’s all there. We never mean to live in the past but it’s always cropping up somewhere in an old photo or a song on the radio. We wear it like a shadow and every now and again it casts itself long as the sun sets on our day.
Owen (aka Mike Kinsella) returned to Madison on May 3, 2008 to play to a cozy crowd at Club 770. Kinsella was in good spirits, happily conversing with the crowd and cracking jokes.
“Sometimes I write a song and it sounds like Sheryl Crow, and I think, ‘This is awful.’ Then I write a song and it sounds like ‘Chocolate Rain’…”
After finishing up a set of his own material, Kinsella decided to throw down a few Fugazi songs, a preview of his upcoming benefit show for CAASE on June 19 at Beat Kitchen in Chicago.
At this show we decided to use the video option on our super-cheap camera and captured Owen performing “The Ghost of What Should Have Been” for your viewing and listening pleasure. Of course, we’re idiots and filmed it portrait style, not realizing we couldn’t rotate it in editing. Oops. Just crane your neck to the left and you won’t even notice.
It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to the intimate, meditative indie/emo of the late 90s/early 2000s (think Mike Kinsella), and Jason Choi makes me wonder why I stopped. Along with backing band The Sea, Choi has created an album that picks up where too many left off with Leave the Night Behind.
Throughout, Choi’s accessible, everyman vocals ring out over excellent guitar melodies to form the core sound for the album. Opener “Up Jumps the Devil” turns into a country rocker, as does the title track with its galloping guitars and the introduction of female backing vocals. “Morning” is bright with sunny riffs, bells, and a tinge of early-90s alt-rock. Short ascents propel “Good Luck to You Sailor” along, while “Down Pours Grace” proffers a classic melodic guitar style.
The two most moving tracks on the album are “…And Boy Are My Arms Tired” and “Reminder”. “Tired” features an anxious piano that yields to a fuller guitar and drum rumination. “Reminder” is grand and ambient (somewhat reminiscent of The Appleseed Cast), yet still hints at an underlying void and matches perfectly with the song’s lyrical content.
Leave the Night Behind drops 2.11.08.
You can find out more about Jason Choi here.
Right-click the links to download “Leave the Night Behind” and “More Than Many Sparrows”.