magnolia electric co.

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magnolia electric co.

Post by gloom button » Sun May 04, 2008 21:32

I thought I was way past having musical heroes and falling headlong in love with bands until I saw Jason Molina play a show last year. I had a couple of his records and thought they were pretty good and then after that show I just couldn't stop listening to them. He played for I guess an hour and a half and said nothing but "thank you kindly" in between songs and no one spoke for the whole thing. And it's not like he's doing anything amazingly complicated musically even all the time, but I can hardly think of anyone who takes writng so seriously and is so unassuming about it and so honest in just always trying to better say what he wants to say. It's like he's from a different age somehow.

Anyway! I started this thread because I just discovered yesterday that he covers one of my very favourite classic country songs and I've not been able to stop listening to it, because he does it as perfectly as you could dream, and the words are some of my favourite simple heartbreak country-song writing-



And here's the (equally magnificent) Conway Twitty singing it-



I love his backing band there so very much. And I love how you can maybe trace lots of things in the progression between the two versions.

*edit- in slight crosspollination with another thread, i think molina used to use a baritone guitar around the time they recorded that song, but i'm not sure if he's using one there. the guitar does sound a little unusual to me though, so maybe...?
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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by cuppie » Mon May 05, 2008 06:11

gloom button wrote: He played for I guess an hour and a half and said nothing but "thank you kindly" in between songs
That's wonderful. Banter can really suck sometimes.

I've often wondered (but been to lazy to try and find out) who are those extra people who sing songs on Magnolia Electric Co. (the album). The Old Black Hen is so beautiful. I'd like to know more about that man, and the lady too.

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by morning chorus » Mon May 12, 2008 16:15

cuppie wrote:
I've often wondered (but been to lazy to try and find out) who are those extra people who sing songs on Magnolia Electric Co. (the album). The Old Black Hen is so beautiful. I'd like to know more about that man, and the lady too.
scout niblett is the woman... you can find out plenty about her quite quickly... i like her shtuff...

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by cuppie » Mon May 12, 2008 18:08

Oh! Thanks. And what about the man?

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by gloom button » Tue May 13, 2008 10:29

Lawrence Peters, apparently, though I don't know who he is. I've never been particularly taken with that one, actually, though I do love the one that Scout Niblett sings.

In looking that up, I realised that the Jim and Jenny on this record are from that Jim Jenny And The Pinetops band who I saw once and seemed sort of great in a slightly unhinged sort of way. It's kind of weird thinking that it's them singing those unearthly harmonies at the end of 'Farewell Transmission'. I'd love to talk properly about that song, because it's one of my very favourite pieces of writing, let alone the rest of it. There's always a danger of going on too much about a song though (or about anything, I suppose), isn't there, and missing the point of it by writing too much.
the trouble with personalities, they're too wrapped up in style
it's too personal; they're in love with their own guile

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by morning chorus » Thu Jun 12, 2008 14:31

farewell transmission has to be one of the best songs written by anyone ever...

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by gloom button » Thu Sep 18, 2008 14:21

Absobloodylutely.

I think this thread should double as a "they have released exactly enough" thread - i'm sure eventually i will not be so excited at each new as-winter-follows-fall magnolia release, but this is fantastic exciting news to me
after hitting the road this fall, magnolia electric co. will bunker down with steve albini in electrical audio to record their next album, tentatively titled ‘a map of the falling stars’. if all goes according to plan, it should see release sometime in 2009.
not to mention this
earlier this year jason molina (magnolia electric co.) and will johnson (centro-matic) got together to record an album. a few more details have rolled in and the word is that its due for release in early 2009 on secretly canadian after which the two hope to hit the road together.
i do not know who will johnson is though. is he very good? i quite like the idea of jason molina singing with someone else in a sort of 'on the road again' camaraderie kinda way.
the trouble with personalities, they're too wrapped up in style
it's too personal; they're in love with their own guile

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by sinus supremus » Thu Sep 18, 2008 15:36

gloom button wrote:Absobloodylutely.

I think this thread should double as a "they have released exactly enough" thread - i'm sure eventually i will not be so excited at each new as-winter-follows-fall magnolia release, but this is fantastic exciting news to me
after hitting the road this fall, magnolia electric co. will bunker down with steve albini in electrical audio to record their next album, tentatively titled ‘a map of the falling stars’. if all goes according to plan, it should see release sometime in 2009.
not to mention this
earlier this year jason molina (magnolia electric co.) and will johnson (centro-matic) got together to record an album. a few more details have rolled in and the word is that its due for release in early 2009 on secretly canadian after which the two hope to hit the road together.
i do not know who will johnson is though. is he very good? i quite like the idea of jason molina singing with someone else in a sort of 'on the road again' camaraderie kinda way.

Will Johnson is in the best band to come out of Texas, since the Butthole Surfers of course, Centro-matic.

http://www.myspace.com/centromatic" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I've seen them live so many times now and each time gets more and more intense.

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by gloom button » Thu Jan 08, 2009 00:30

And I've never even heard of him! I will look that guy up.

Did anyone ever get that Magnolia boxset? The documentary part of it, The Road Becomes What You Leave, is, I was thinking, one of the most beautiful pieces of film making that I know. It's quite short, maybe 20 minutes, and just these tiny impression pieces, a snatch of song and a truck stop, a road from across a field, packing up gear. There's no interview and no story and not even full songs, and it's just absolutely perfect and fits everything that I'd love to be able to say about the band but wouldn't be able to put into words. The video for A Little At A Time has some footage from it. It's one of my favourites from that boxset too; I like that sentiment 'you can't lose it all at once can you, really?'. He's a great man for adding just a word to turn something simple into something new. The slow-motion guitar solo at the end is one of my favourites too; I love the idea of using a guitar solo to slow things down to a lamenting kind of finish.

the trouble with personalities, they're too wrapped up in style
it's too personal; they're in love with their own guile

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by Richard » Tue Jul 28, 2009 22:28

I quite like the new album. Nobody else seems to. What's the verdict?

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by squirrelboutique » Tue Jul 28, 2009 23:39

Ooh! I like it, and we saw them last week at the 40 Watt and it all sounded amazing live. His voice is much bigger than last time I saw him, even though he was with the band, too.

I'm going to beat David to the Whip-Poor-Will is a fantastic song post. But he'll likely be more eloquent than I ever am anyhow!

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by gloom button » Tue Aug 04, 2009 20:51

I think there's very few people who could write a song as subtle and ambitious and perfectly realised as Whip-poor-will. I'd put it as a high point of Molina's songwriting along with Farewell Transmission. The way he sings it so simple and unadorned is like open-heart surgery. The ambition of the record's song cycle is something I don't think reviews are doing justice to; I'd struggle to think of anyone I know who can write so elegantly and unassumingly. There's a documentary about them recording the lp at Electrical Audio apparently that was screened before the Chicago date. I'd love to see it, but I don't know if it'll ever surface again anywhere.

And yeah that gig of theirs in Athens we went to see was amazing. I'd never heard them do John Henry Split My Heart before, and I don't think I ever really appreciated it on record before. It's an incredible thing to end a set with, weirdly apocalyptic or something.
the trouble with personalities, they're too wrapped up in style
it's too personal; they're in love with their own guile

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by gloom button » Sun Sep 20, 2009 04:40

That Recording Josephine film is here on Pitchfork, for just a few days, I think, and it's great, a really understated little document of the quietly romantic at work. There's some interesting stuff in there from M Albini on recording, too.
the trouble with personalities, they're too wrapped up in style
it's too personal; they're in love with their own guile

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by morning chorus » Wed Sep 23, 2009 16:05

i think this new album is pretty much fantastic...

initially, i thought it lacked a little emotion but that's bollox really... just 14 perfectly realised songs adding up to one perfect whole... i have no idea why it is getting bad reviews.... they should maybe have given it a bit more time...

david, i am fully aware that i haven't been in touch... any visits back planned?

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by carney » Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:19

I've only listened to the new LP a couple of times. I'm a massive Molina fan, but on this record it seems like he's lyrically coasting. Almost every song has something about ghosts, add in a compass direction, blue(s)...

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by gloom button » Sun Sep 27, 2009 21:02

morning chorus wrote:i think this new album is pretty much fantastic...

initially, i thought it lacked a little emotion but that's bollox really... just 14 perfectly realised songs adding up to one perfect whole... i have no idea why it is getting bad reviews.... they should maybe have given it a bit more time...

david, i am fully aware that i haven't been in touch... any visits back planned?
hey, i missed this, sorry.. there's hopefully christmastime in dublin, depending on how much flights cost. i'll let you know though. (i thought i owed you an email actually.) totally agree with you on josephine.. the more i listen to it, the more's there; i love how he's recast and reimagined the older imagery.
the trouble with personalities, they're too wrapped up in style
it's too personal; they're in love with their own guile

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by morning chorus » Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:41

looks like the collaboration album is next month:

http://pitchfork.com/news/36684-magnoli ... for-album/

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by gloom button » Thu Aug 05, 2010 02:35

This is lovely-

the trouble with personalities, they're too wrapped up in style
it's too personal; they're in love with their own guile

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by carney » Thu Aug 05, 2010 15:33

That's a nice little find.

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Re: magnolia electric co.

Post by gloom button » Wed Sep 21, 2011 00:09

It seems Jason Molina has not been doing too well--there's details on how to help him out here: http://www.magnoliaelectricco.com/archives/294
the trouble with personalities, they're too wrapped up in style
it's too personal; they're in love with their own guile

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