Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Magnolia Electric Co...

I've made no secret of my love for Jason Molina's songwriting. I think he's got the stuff of an american classic. Despite his critics insistence that he's regurgitating Neil Young or writing overly simple songs that rely on simple chord changes and one note solos, I think there's genius in what he does simply because he's so aware of the songwriting legacy from which he comes, pays it it's due and still comes out sounding originally American. I've posted about Molina's dissolving of Songs:Ohia and his subsequent project as Magnolia Electric Co. I did a review of their live album Trials And Errors for Stylus Magazine. I've been anticipating their first studio album What Comes After The Blues eagerly and the April 5th release date is looming before us.

I think Molina is making a strong mark on American music, whether you define that from the perspective of indie rock, classic rock, or whatever. I'll be so bold as to rank him high up on my list of best currently working American songwriters, which goes something like this (no particular order btw):

John Darnielle (Mountain Goats)
Colin Meloy (Decemberists)
Jason Molina
Will Johnson (Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel)
William Sheff (Okkervil River, Shearwater)
Archer Prewitt
Jim James (My Morning Jacket)
Jeff Tweedy (Wilco. Did I need to write that?)

Who competes on this list? Chris Martin? Thom York? Both English and not as good anyway. Springsteen, Mellencamp, Jackson Brown? This list competes with those three during their best years which are all behind them anyway. Then we get into the untouchables: Bacharach, Dylan, Newman, Costello (English). I think there's potential for any one of my list to reach the heights of these classics.

I think I've strayed far from the subject matter of my original post. But anyway...

The good folks at Secretly Canadian give us a couple songs from What Comes After The Blues:

The Dark Don't Hide It

Leave The City

8 Comments:

Anonymous ondioline said...

M. Ward...
Bill Callahan (Smog)...
Ray LaMontagne will get there too...

9:39 PM  
Anonymous ondioline said...

I totally left out Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse)...

9:41 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

I also forgot to add the amazing Joe Pernice.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous John said...

What about Richard Buckner?

11:08 PM  
Blogger hackmuth said...

will oldham?

11:05 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Oldhand and Buckner. Excellent points. I've been a bit let down by most of Buckner's recent work. While Bloomed, Devotion & doubt, and Since were great I didn't really care for Impasse or Dents And Shells so much. I feel like his current work perhaps pushes him off the list, maybe just for now though. I kinda feel the same way about Oldham, but give him more credit for being such a genre definer.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Sybil said...

Jackson Browne, Dylan, Randy Newman? And a Golden Smog fan? I knew I loved you for some reason. Add Joni Mitchell to the list of "untouchables" and I'll give you my first born child!

1:54 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Well Sybil, I admittedly arrived late to joni's work but I listened to "Court And Spark" obsessively in 2004. Of course "Blue", well that goes without saying...

I've always like the name Phineas for a boy.

2:23 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home