As lovers we did not fail…

769106It’s the time of the season when I’m anxiously scanning through the end-of-year lists that are starting to appear in magazines, for all those indispensable releases I’ve contrived to miss. It’s a bit of a job, I can tell you, and not one that I ever manage to complete satisfactorily, the pile of “should’ve bought / should’ve listened to better” records seems to grow more and more substantial every year. The situation is not helped by my own attention-span-of-goldfish tendencies, nor by well-meaning friends who send me dazzling records from years gone by …

Axxess and Ace

This time, the record in question is Jason Molina’s wonderful, spare, incredibly weary Axxess and Ace, which came out six years ago, but which I, of course, missed even though it was no doubt part of 2009’s pile.

It’s a helluva a record, full of understated recriminations and bitter bewilderment, all conveyed in the simplest, harshest terms with the minimum of fuss, played out by Molina’s workmanlike guitar style, some sympathetic drumming and the occasional contribution from bass, or backing vocals. He’s a man singing from literal and metaphorical depths.

I was going back and looking at some of the reviews written at the time and in a rare moment of lucidity, Pitchfork’s review seems prescient (if a little hammy):

“This is that rare kind of album that won’t grab you until you’ve reached a certain mood, at which point it will unexpectedly brandish the switchblade it was hiding in its back pocket and carve its initials into your heart.”

Not sure, I’ve “reached a certain mood” but I’m encouraged by this nonetheless.

There’s not a lot of really good video of A & A Molina or Songs: Ohia available, it seems, but there is one remarkable collection of material by a feller called Matthew Siegfried who has posted such a lot of Molina videos and recordings that I can’t help think there’s a connection. A lot of the videos are soundboard recordings of gigs and they’re really good quality.

Here’s one of “Captain Badass” from Axxess and Ace, in Cork:


For laughs, if you go back to here, you’ll see the records I actually nominated as my best of 2009; they’re OK, but no mention of Jason Molina anywhere…


I need to get onto that Ryley Walker record…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: