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Friday, February 08, 2008 

You know you're in trouble when

I listened to this at the end of my shift tonight and was so struck by it that I had to put it on again when I got home. Not that Red House Painters (aka 'Rollercoaster') is new to me; but for whatever reason, it resonated extra clearly tonight, on both listens. It's weird to identify with this particular album so much; the references to physical abuse have no reference to my life (on either side, thankfully), songs like "Grace Cathedral Park" and "Strawberry Hill" (hell, the whole thing) are oddly specific bouts of soured nostalgia, and I certainly don't directly recognize the turmoil in "Funhouse" and "Mother." But something about Kozelek's voice, or his manor, frozen lava flows of his songs, convinces some part of my mind that he's not just singing about things I know about, that's he's in some sense me. It's an unsettling and powerful effect for an album to have (especially an album with "Down Through" on it).

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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