Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co. passes away at 39
Steve GullickSad news out of Indianapolis yesterday morning, as word got out that Jason Molina, had died. Unbelievably prolific from the late ’90s through the mid ’00s first as the skeletal Songs: Ohia and then the lushly-arranged Magnolia Electric Co., as well under his own name, he helped craft the template of raw yet elegant, emotionally bare and beautifully sad songwriting within the folk, blues, and roots-rock idioms.
Following the release of Molina and Johnson, his 2009 collaboration with Will Johnson of Centro-Matic, Molina seemed to disappear from sight – most unusual for someone whose release and touring schedule rarely let up. An update finally came in September 2011, revealing that Molina’s battle with substance abuse had kept him creatively sidelined but positive steps were occurring; another update in May of last year from Molina himself was even more encouraging and some new music in the form of Autumn Bird Songs, a 10″ accompanying a book of artwork from William Shaff. And then, yesterday, the sad announcement that despite these positive signs, Molina had passed.
I was fortunate to have caught Molina live twice, in Fall 2004 and again in August 2005, right around the switchover in identity from Songs: Ohia to Magnolia Electric Co. Re-reading my writeups, it was clear that while I liked some of what he did, it didn’t connect with me fully. Now, reading over the many, many tributes from fans and other musicians for whom Molina’s work resonated at a deep, fundamental frequency, I feel like I need to revisit his work and be thankful for those shows, even if I didn’t wholly appreciate it at the time.
Secretly Canadian, the label for whom Molina recorded his entire career and who put out his “One Pronunciation Of Glory” 7″ as their second-ever release, has a fond remembrance of the man; Chunklet and NPR also have tributes. As their memorial, Drowned In Sound has offered up a beginner’s guide to Molina’s expansive catalog, though if you want to, you could just hit play down below.
MP3: Molina & Johnson – “Almost Let You In”
MP3: Molina & Johnson – “Twenty Cycles To The Ground”
MP3: Jason Molina – “Get Out Get Out Get Out”
MP3: Magnolia Electric Co. – “Josephine”
MP3: Magnolia Electric Co. – “Little Sad Eyes”
MP3: Magnolia Electric Co. – “Lonesome Valley”
MP3: Magnolia Electric Co. – “The Dark Don’t Hide It”
MP3: Magnolia Electric Co. – “Farewell Transmission”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Two Blue Lights”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Steve Albini’s Blues”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Untitled 2”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Untitled 1”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Body Burned Away”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Lightning Risked It All”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Lioness”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Tigress”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “How To Be Perfect Men”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Captain Badass”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “East Heart Divided”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “East’s Last Heart”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Cabwaylingo”
Clash and DIY mark today’s release of The Invisible Way with feature pieces on Low while The Line Of Best Fit and The AV Club do their part with video sessions; note that the rest of the videos for the AV Club session are linked the bottom of the post.
The Flaming Lips used one of their SXSW appearances to perform their new album The Terror in its entirety, which must have been great for those in attendance since it’s not even out until April 16 – yeah, it has been pushed back a fortnight – and everyone knows there’s nothing better than a complete album recital of a record you’ve never heard. Regardless, the whole performance is available to hear/watch over at Stereogum.
Yo La Tengo have a feature in Clash and turn in a World Cafe session for NPR and kick off the new season of The AV Club’s Undercover series, covering The Supremes’ “Come See About Me” – the “core emotion” they get out of it is decidedly different from the one The Afghan Whigs squeezed out of their version. Yo La Tengo play the Toronto Urban Roots Fest on July 7 at Garrison Commons.