Thursday, August 18, 2011

Scud Mountain Boys -- Massachusetts

Such lovely misery. I've been revisiting early Joe Pernice, specifically his incarnation as the leader of the Scud Mountain Boys, and I've been reveling in the stark melancholia of Massachusetts:

They pulled her from a ditch last night
Somewhere down on 95
On the wrong side of the road
Found a needle and a pipe

Those are the opening lines of the opening song, and it more or less goes downhill from there. Too much of this and I can end up in a very bad place, but there's much to be said for stripping away all the busyness and pretense, and staring bleary-eyed at the abyss of 3:00 a.m. and too many memories, and Massachusetts is that kind of album. This one was released at the height of the Ryan Adams/early Wilco alt-country hype, and it disappeared with hardly a ripple. It's too bad, because it's a better album than Ryan Adams or Wilco have ever released; full of aching melodies, hard-won wisdom and regret, and gorgeous guitar/pedal steel interplay. Sometimes it boggles my mind that Joe Pernice is not a superstar.


Jeff K. said...

Yes, yes! I love when folks discover these albums. I'd argue that 'Pine Box' is even better than 'Massachusetts' but I'm not complaining either way. I had a friend who introduced me to them by saying, "Now here's a guy whose voice immediately lowers you blood pressure by 20 points."

Philip DuPertuis said...

I can't say I agree that that it's better than anything Ryan Adams and Wilco have ever released, but it was a great suggestion. I've never come across these guys and always appreciate your secret telling.

Anonymous said...

Also "Pine Box" Scud Mountain Boys is worth listening to

Russ F. said...

Amen, brother. And I love Ryan Adams and Wilco.