It started with someone whose taste in music I respected. She was the music director at Iowa’s largest public radio station, responsible for maintaining their vast record library. She also hosted the early evening music slot, a collage of folk, blues, and world beat programming that occasionally tiptoed around the perennial favorites of college rock. I hosted the show immediately following hers and she would spend a few passing moments before she left for the night to talk about music and drop some hints on records she thought were worthy of airplay.
“Have you heard the new Jandek album?” She asked me.
“No,” I informed her, not letting her know that I had no idea who the fuck Jandek was. “Why…is it good?” hoping to gauge her level of enthusiasm.
“It’s fucking great,” she stated without hesitation, adding a bit of profanity for emphasis. “I love Jandek,” she added, for no other reason than to coyly suggest that I should really play a track from this “fucking great” album on my show that evening.
I’m not one to take an enthusiastic recommendation lightly, and from the moment she left, I went straight for the station’s large current record file and sought out the artist and record she assuredly praised.
Continue reading The End Of It All: Acknowledging The Awfulness Of Jandek
North Carolina’s Independent Weekly interviews John Darnielle about the enigmatic Jandek:
Now that he plays live, there’s nothing wrong with it. He’s still doing the same thing. But that one aspect of it that was such an incredible mystery—and real mysteries are so rare in this world. There aren’t any, especially in music, where everything anybody ever does… I used to like to be coy about this band that I was in in high school because there was almost no information about us. We had an archive of tapes that was like four hours of material or more, but we wouldn’t answer any questions and there was this mystery. But the Internet ruined all of that. You can’t have any secrecy unless you’re Jandek. He had nothing but secrets. Now he still has some, but fewer.
Jandek will perform at in Chapel Hill on February 22.
Jandek: wiki, myspace, documentary, label.
Continue reading John Darnielle vs. Jandek
Jandek – Glasgow Sunday (Corwood Industries)
Until recently, Jandek embodied obscurity: forty albums, no confirmed name or face, no shows or interviews. Naturally, Jandek’s scattered (but devoted) fans rejoiced when he made his first live appearance in October 2004. Glasgow Sunday documents that performance.
Despite the hype (that you may or may not have heard) surrounding Mr. Mystery, only open-minded listeners should introduce themselves with Glasgow Sunday. In fact, one might wonder if this release is somehow a disingenuous plan to feel the spotlight and yet restrain public excitement. Not one track is remotely accessible, and Glasgow Sunday will not draw casual listeners to the music.
One could describe the sound as performance art by a creature who moans tolerable poetry above a band (Richard Youngs on bass and Alexander Neilson on drums) that sounds like it’s beating corrugated sheet metal with mallets. Glasgow Sunday might be a perfect addition to an already-existing, expansive Jandek collection—a milestone release. Other than that, avoid it.