April 30, 2012

The 78th Morning Tide

On March 29 Woodsist tweeted, "B.R. Garm - The 78th Morning Tide LP. find it. buy it." So I did. I found it on Etsy. This morning it arrived in a package from Portland, Maine. I thought it would be the Germs or X, because I ordered both of those earlier. I wondered if it was from a record store where Herbcraft shops. But I opened it and saw that it was this. It came with a handwritten note from Caleb on stationary with a picture of a worm coming out of a hairy ear, and on the back were brown frogs with human heads. Side one ends with a couple of zombies in an Irish pub, mugs raised, singing "Wreck of the Ella Fitzgerald" till they fall into a locked groove.

My wife shut the bedroom door when I put this record on, and I shut the door to the living room. I put on side two and turned it up and leaned back in my chair and looked at the cover and tried to think of a sentence that didn't contain the words "weird" or "strange," but I couldn't. The song that's playing right now is like the stuff I sing at the top of my lungs when I'm driving around town and I don't have a good tape to listen to, when I make up the words and bellow along to some melody that's forming in my head. But this has instruments and layers of voices like sirens and / or a hundred electrified tones from a dozen dirty electric boxes. Near the end there's some table saw mixed in. I won't spoil things by telling you if side two has a locked groove, too.

Two days later I listen again and write, "holy shit this is a weird ass fucking record. Just when I think I recognize something it mutates into something else. It's a bunch of songs built on acoustic and electric guitars, bass, no drums, singing, some shouting or shrieking or whatever, but it's busy with noise, strange sounds all over the place, echoes and feedback and bent twisted tones." Which helps explain things, but not much. So I just listen. Those zombies are singing into their drinks again, but the pub isn't in Ireland, it's in a small American town, and they're so drunk they're in the spins and it's only by holding on to the melody of that depressing old Gordon Lightfoot song that they're able to keep from throwing up. But they can't survive the locked groove. And here are those sirens I heard before. They're wailing while a man sings, "There's a thing I'm thinking of. I'm stoned on drugs, going out of my mind. There's a thing that I'm thinking of. Well, I'm stoned on drugs." And I realize that this is what I was listening to the other day when when I wrote that it's like the songs I make up and scream when I'm in the car by myself, and I wonder what this says about me. I also realize that those Germs and X records still haven't arrived.

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