Liner Notes- 10.Nov.2022
Music for the moment, a radio station's massive archive release, and crate digging.
As someone that is terminally online, the days/hours leading up to election night can be…a lot. The night of? Even worse.
Music is always a good means of escape. So too, is the music community. Our common ground far outweighs the fractures. We can be a pedantic lot —I used to be the worst at this—but ultimately I think everyone agrees that the world would be much worse off without any sound.
Speaking of which, let’s get right into it:
Somewhere I have a screen grab of an avatar I used to use on the Soccercityusa website. The picture itself is of Dean Martin, and my username was…Kevin. Super original, I know.
I didn't keep it because of the pic, name, post count, or member number. I kept it because when I moved, I knew that would also be my de facto exit from the site. There's not much use in talking about local conditions from 2 time zones away. It serves as a small reminder of a significant period of my life.
Many people are doing the same thing on Twitter as I type this. The platform is a place of contradictions. A place people commonly refer to as a hell space, where the engine runs on grievances. It's equal parts spontaneous and performative. To bastardize an old saw, "what's been said while tweeting has been thought out beforehand." Now that it could be going away— or likely changing for the worse- - people are lamenting.
My TL is full of tweets about missing the education, the lulz, and mainly, I think, the connection. We want a space to talk with like-minded people about stuff we love. Community is an overused word, but in the proper context, it fits. Both feel good. We've been trying to recreate both since the days of Bulletin Boards when we all saw that geography was no longer a limitation. Heck, it's the reason I started this project.
Spending a good chunk of 2020 in isolation put an ever more significant premium on that. Teams were playing in empty arenas, but fans could still talk to each other-and talk sh*t with opposing fans.
With musicians no longer able to hit the road, several leveraged the internet and live-streamed performances to their similarly housebound fans. One of my good friends is a local musician, and digital busking carried him through the bleakest part of spring 2020.
I don't know if John Jagos (who performs as Brothertiger) had a tip jar out for any of his Livestream series. What I do know is that the sessions gave birth to his Fundamentals series. The records were built from a mix of live instrumentation and pre-made loops, with his fan community offering feedback as he went. Pre-fab & spontaneous both- like Twitter, except in a good way.
The best of these tracks made the records. Without going too far into them, each one is a beautiful escape created when we all needed it the most. The Fundamentals series is a document of the moment they were made in.
They're also instrumentals, so I was surprised to hear Jagos’ voice on the opening track of his self-titled 5th record. That's new (to me, anyway), but themes of escape and rebirth are right there from the first drop, with him telling us; Escaping on a trip/I'll run away with you.
Another surprise: collaborations. While the Fundamentals series was Brothertiger essentially performing alone, the new record features Covet's Yvette Young and Underothath's Spencer Chamberlain. The former provides the vocals on "Torn Open," arguably the album's best track.
An eponymous title is often reserved for a debut record, but we're long past that here. Besides the Fundamentals series, Jagos has already recorded a fistful of EPs, 4 LPs, and a Tears For Fears cover record.
This album showcases his progression into the clean, rarefied air of Sophisti-pop. The technical prowess is apparent immediately, as is his ambition. It would be easy for him to devolve into noodling or another tangent. Instead, the record is his most ambitious yet. "I'm really proud of the level of detail," Jagos says. "There's a lot of ear candy everywhere."
Its sound is maximalist and impeccable, the mood optimistic and overflowing with contagious feel-good energy. Just the thing for the restless masses riding out the five-alarm fire on social media. In a recent interview, he explained:
"I'm not trying to conform to the specific ideals the algorithm machine wants me to be a part of; I'm just trying to make music that sounds good."
In this moment, that’s exactly what we need.
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