Iceland (and Other, More Tangible Midwestern Things)

Put the blog a little on hold for a bit while I was occupied elsewhere, but now I’m back. Probably gonna have to start queueing up posts again because I have so much to talk about. This one’s a rather curious Song of the Now because it partly concerns an album I was obsessed with for a good while back, partly concerns an album that’s coming out real soon, and partly concerns a nice package of stuff I got personally shipped to me by the man behind it all!

So out of nowhere last month, I was emailed by Patrick, the main guy behind Midwestern Dirt, offering me an early listen to their new single–“Iceland”. Now, Midwestern Dirt was a band I was very into back when their second record, Down the Stairs and to the Left, came out. You might remember my glowing review of it from my old Neocities site, which is what prompted that email. I don’t normally do new music, but this album didn’t sound new. It sits in this sonic ballpark that a lot of 80s and 90s alt records tend to–it’s not lo-fi, it’s not a hot home-recorded mess, but it’s hardly digital and pristine either. It’s textured, all echoey and lonely, it’s got a full band behind it, it was recorded on tape! It’s got a Ween cover on it.

Down the Stairs ended up accompanying me during so many night strolls around campus that winter. Trying to finish up Darkpenny at the time for a girl who was starting to go through everything with me, it felt like the soundtrack to The City to me. I used lines from it in phlog entries from that time and on my Neocities site too. I just about wore this thing out for myself listening to it so much. And out of nowhere, when I totally forgotten that review was out there, the guy from this little band I found from a Reddit post who wrote all those songs found it, loved it, and was offering to let me listen to his new stuff early. Nuts.

Naturally, I jumped on the opportunity, sat in the front yard, and listened to it for an hour straight. And slowly, like Midwestern Dirt songs always do–it grew on me a lot. It’s not like Down the Stairs where there’s a lot of texture and echo in the instruments, like a crumbling city block–this one’s much cleaner. There’s a chillier, stronger atmosphere to it. There’s more leads and proper melodies–the released version even has trumpet on it, which surprised me. It was lovely to hear; I have a bad track record of actually following the bands I like, but I’m on board for this one. Nice to have new, unworn Midwestern music again after so long. (I still have to try Amendments again, thinking about it.)

And though I can’t share it yet, nor did I download it when I had the chance–I have heard Sayonara already, the album “Iceland” comes from. It’s fucking excellent, trust me. I’m actually vaguely pissed I didn’t grab it because half the songs have gotten stuck in my head since he took down the Soundcloud playlist. October 2. You’re all hearing about it when it comes out.

Finally, as the cherry on top, after I mentioned I would absolutely jump on Midwestern CDs if he ever had them made, it turned out he did have ones for Down the Stairs made and offered to ship me one! Like…yeah! Absolutely! It finally arrived two days ago, and waiting for me wasn’t just the album, but three copies of it and a 7″ of “Orange” and “Volcano”–on clear vinyl, no less! Admittedly, my stereo doesn’t have phono hookups, so I can’t hook up my turntable and listen just yet, but I’ve been assured it’s very lo-fi. Even so, it’s just neat to have this stuff, especially with the 7″‘s handmade little record jacket. Reminds me of why I like indie bands.

The contents of the Midwestern Dirt package
I know some people who are absolutely getting the other CDs.

And thank you for all the music, man.

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