07 November 2007
The more truly I am awake, the more truly I am afraid
My dad came to visit over the weekend, and he was kind enough to let me snap some photos of him while we walked around the rock quarry near my house. The dry grass in the bottom shot reminds me of a field we used to walk through when I was a kid. We lived in town at that time, but there was a patch of woods behind the apartments where we lived, and beyond the patch of woods there was a large, abandoned field covered in broom-sage. On cold, windy days we would sometimes walk over to the field and lie down in the tall grass. The grass blocked the wind, making it warm and cozy.
The title for today’s post is from “Cocaine Nights,” by Phosphorescent, a band I discovered last week. After listening to the song a few times, I realized the line is actually “Lord, truly I am awake. Lord, truly I am afraid,” but I like the way I misheard it. Without occasionally closing our eyes to the many wounds of the world, it’s hard to avoid a paralyzing fear. Part of what I like about Phosphorescent is the vulnerability in lead singer Matthew Houk’s voice, a strained warble that works so well because it's often so close to breaking.
The video I’m including is from Phosphorescent’s second album Aw Come Aw Wry, a jauntier album than their recent release Pride (I bought Pride the day after checking out the songs on Houk’s myspace page). The horns in this song—reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel—are gone on Pride, replaced by softly plucked acoustic guitars, an occasional jagged electric guitar line, and various wails and whoops from Houk’s brute choir. If you like the song on the video (or even if you don't) you should check out Phosphorescent's Daytrotter Session--Daytrotter is an online site offering free music from some of the best "indie" musicians. Bands coming through on tours stop by the Daytrotter studios and record 3 or 4 songs, and those songs are offered on the site. There's a lot of great music in their archives.