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.