In the Beginning by Daughn Gibson (x.x) This is the end. Behind us is everything, every conceiveable kind of music you might envision WD one day putting fingers to keyboard and ruminating on, every bit of obtuse complaint rock, hyper-quirky pop nuggets, NPR-approved hip-hop, sparkling combinations of beats, and rythms, and melodies, every verse of blunt lyrics he lauds for their perfect simplicity, and every poetic chorus he reveres for its florid brilliance. All of that is behind us now, and we’re on the cliff, and below us, obscured in the fog, and the dark, and the unknown is Daughn Gibson, and whatever this album, All Hell, is.
Today, All Hell is the most remarkable (or maybe unique, or maybe even best) album that I’ve heard or purchased this year. I thought the 2012 uniqueness disctinction would go to Grimes, and maybe remarkableness to Fiona Apple (N.B. I broke down and purchased the Idler Wheel. It’s brilliant.) and certainly to best to ______ (N.B. still working on it). But this, sample laden gothic electro-country (yes, I just typed that) experience (and yes, I just described an album as an “experience.” Back up the fucking truck, please), has carved out an entire new territory.
Gibson is the handsome, truck-driving love child of Moby, Hank Williams, MCA, Tom Waits, and Peter Murphy born in a whole different universe. I’ve listened to All Hell (N.B. Gibson’s first album since quitting his stoner-metal trio, Pearls and Brass) for about four straight days now, and I’m still not sure what is (hell, I’m not ever close). Gibson has mined the genres of his “parents”, extracted their essence, like the purest vein of their most precious metal, and forged them all together into something you can’t expect, because I’m not sure it ever existed before.
Apple or Grimes or even the Flaming Lips (certainly considered by WD to be unique) are contorted variations of the music we (N.B. and by “we” I mean humans) already listen to. No Hell is something different, something that feels familiar, and almost embraceable, but ultimately disconcerting. Because Gibson has taken the most incompatible and basic aspects of the music he likes and combined them, like a PB&J out of peanut shells, grape leaves, and bread dough. It sounds like a horrible idea, and takes some stones to be able to pull it off, but Gibson does it. And he does it with a remarkable ear for melody, that once you dig to find, will reel you in. But I’m not sure to what end. That is, there are times when I think this may actually be the most original, organic, and best music I’ve heard this year, and at others, I’ve felt so ridiculous listening to it, that I’m tempted to hide it behind by my Wham LP (long story) and never see it again.
I’m convinced that at some point, Daughn Gibson’s music will appear in a Quentin Tarrantino movie. In fact, All Hell essentially is one already. I can feel that vibe in it. That an over-coked film auteur will hear it, and it’ll fit into place with his newest celluloid construction. It just has the weird, but familiar sense that every Tarrantino movie has had. So Tarrantino fans may actually get into it.
But I want someone else to listen to it, and tell me what they think it is. Not someone, you. And I’m putting on you, downloaders. Tell me what this is.
(N.B. Now I understand that the ostensible purpose behind this blog is for me to get you to listen to new and/or unique music, that I find interesting. However, my assumption is that most of you, loyal downloaders, never actually listen to the music I recommend (N.B. or you do so unintentionally, and find yourself begrudgingly admitting to me months and/or years later things like “you know, that Drive-by Trucker’s ain’t bad”). And I’m OK with that. Because this quit being about the music a while ago.)
I’m asking you, no, I’m imploring you. Listen to this (N.B. In fact, here’s a YouTube of the entire album), and tell me what you think. Because I’m at loss. Does it disturb you like it does me? Does it thrill you like it does me? Lemme know.
Enjoy (or whatever).
WD summer vacation next week. While I’m gone, I task you to: (1) Listen to some fucking Spoon; (2) be kind to someone for no other reason than the shear awkwardness of their response; and (3) eat one really good sandwich.
See you in a couple of weeks, friends.