How does stuff like this happen? It’s been months since the newest Magnolia Electric Company album came out, and somehow I wrote lukewarm things about at least a few other albums before even mentioning this one?
I think at this point, everyone’s got their favorite Magnolia Electric Company album (ok, every Magnolia Electric Company fan has their favorite), and before the release of Josephine, mine was the group’s second album, What Comes After The Blues. While their debut, the blistering live album Trials and Errors, was a more potent and forceful album, What Comes After The Blues felt ethereal. It was a worn down album, one which strove to answer the question of its title, but could only come up with dust and steel girders roasting in the sun and remnants. It’s a quiet album that captures the same kind of timeless skeletal beauty as Calexico. I didn’t dislike Fading Trails or the massive Soujourner box set, but they didn’t resonate the same way Blues did.
Just like Magnolia Electric Company was a radically different beast than Songs: Ohia, songwriter/singer Jason Molina’s prior group, each Magnolia Electric Company album has been a pretty radical shift from the one before it. And the group’s newest album, Josephine, is as immediate and pop focused as any Molina has put his name to. The songs hear emanate both warmth and immediacy; but even while these songs are straightforward and, dare I say, poppy, they still posses that ghostly nature that makes Molina such an intriguing songwriter and vocalist. I still love …Blues, and at 15 tracks, Josephine has a bit of fat that could’ve been trimmed, but I think got a new fav. Electric Co. album.
I just picture Molina, the whole group actually, as cowboys out of time and place, staring off towards silent soybean fields from the back window of a rusted econoline. It’s nice to get something so instantly gratifying that also has enough to it to warrant repeat listens. Here’s the scope of this album:
It’s video’s like this that make me go back and reevaluate albums I had dismissed: a teenage orchestra covering a song from Centro-Matic’s last album.
Tomorrow (well, post-sundown tomorrow) a bit of gushing about Yo La Tengo, post amazing Roseland concert.