Format: Double 12” Black Vinyl
Released: 1999, February 23 (reissued 2009, 10 year anniversary reissue)
Like an old friend, one you spent a summer with, observing, learning, becoming who you are. White’s and Orazio’s, 3 am radio station ambushes, backyard bonfires and one-off recording sessions. Arguing the merits of Harry Potter, Vonnegut or the validity of reading print in general. These are the things that make albums autobiographical. The ultimate and end-all. I will always remember who told me to start Clarity with “Goodbye Sky Harbour”;once for me a joy ride, taken for the fun of reckless thrill, is, right now, the saddest song in the world. Thank you for everything, you were a good friend.
Format: 12” Black Vinyl
Label: Power Records
Spoken word recordings are about as popular as typewriters; they exist, but only a small group of people finds them useful. This Batman record was passed down to me through family, although when I look back at a timeline of when this record came out and who in my family might have been listening to it, the details seem fuzzy. In any case, it’s a nostalgia piece, a relic from a different era; one kids of today would not recognize or believe was so close in time to their own. Two short stories appear per side, narratives that unfold for our capped crusader to wrap up in around 10 minutes. The recordings are as crisp as anything you might find on NPR, but still sound of a completely different time. If there is a University looking for a new class to put in next years course catalog covering the evolution of post World War II American culture through are arts, Batman should appear on that syllabus.
TOURNAMENT OF HEARTS
Format: 12” White Vinyl
Released: 2005, October 11
Label: Sub Pop
As artists go, Constantines are as supremely underrated, like many generation’s greatest tend to be. This 2005 release, recorded to tape, captured something different than the anger and confusion of a post 9/11 America. A melancholy heartbreak told in the intimate low spoken language of lovers on humid early summer nights in a city that’s best times left it years ago. Not lost but battered, Constantines craft a record that plays more accurately today than it did on its release. Where fellow Canadians Arcade Fire would take Springsteen at his most decadent, Constantines took him at his most honest and desperate. Moving forward, but not exactly sure how or where, Tournament of Hearts feels like an honest mans prose in the commonplace of everyday life.