Every summer, there’s that song — the song that defines those sunny days and balmy nights, the one you’ll forever associate with a specific time and place. This week, Talkhouse writers talk their song of the summer of 2014.
— the editors of the Talkhouse
One of my little pre-tour rituals is downloading some tunes to listen to on the plane. I hate flying. Xanax helps but, for me, the key is finding the right music. The best tunes tend to pack a one-two punch: muting my anxious obsession with the human-carrying missile I’m seated in while chilling me out enough to wait patiently for the drink cart to roll by. The first track off of Nothing’s debut album Guilty of Everything really does the trick.
I was in Japan, getting ready to fly to Australia, talking to my wife on the phone, and she told me she’d been listening to Nothing’s album a lot. I was looking for some new air travel music, since I had finally exhausted that Sun Kil Moon album Benji. I’ll tell you what, that thing is a masterpiece by land or air, but I fell asleep and listened to it over ten times in a row flying from London to Japan and now Mark Kozelek is the voice of my subconscious. But I digress.
So “Hymn to the Pillory,” the first song, is great. You’ve got your Slowdive and your Swervedriver influences in there but it doesn’t feel derivative — it feels fresh, like some Philadelphia hardcore folks got together and started a shoegaze band and someone at Relapse was like, “YES” and then… “wait a minute….”
Take, for example, my real life right now as I write this. I’m on an airplane, watching Pearl Jam Twenty, having a goddamn chuckle. Eddie is hammered, and I’m listening to Nothing. And there is something about this amazing ballet going on as “Hymn to the Pillory” literally scores the fairly chill Pearl Jam documentary. It’s the drums, honest to god. Every once in a while there is this tight double snap on the snare that just absolutely kills me. The second song on this record (“Dig”) kind of reminds me of Pretty Girls Make Graves, but we’re not talking about that one. Summer is almost over and this is a song of the summer thing. This track is really very good, and the whole record is great, too. If you’re getting on an airplane soon, I can’t recommend this one enough.