palace brothers – days in the wake

when you have no one, no one can hurt you

here we have another of the top albums in the collection. louisville seemed to produce an unusual number of musicians who weren’t so much ahead of their time, but simply unparalleled. see slint from the late 1980s and early 1990s, and here, palace brothers as will oldham alone with the occasional appearance of his brothers producing something so quiet and beautiful in the full flight of grunge, rock and noise in 1994.

one of the most stunning songs ever written and performed lies here, no more workhorse blues. while i have spoken of hearing life sounds in other music so far, even just last night with rf, this contains the subtlest of birds tweeting and thunder rolling. it truly makes the song what it is. and it was a long time before it seemed anyone else thought that was a good idea. here, it is in place perfectly.

and it is with great commitment and abandon (yes, seemingly contradictory) that i delight in singing (thou without) partner. that makes it sound loud, when in reality there are very few moments here that confront you. in retrospect, this was music that i don’t think anyone i’ve ever cared about actually understood, which is perhaps the bitter irony of this song. i want to know why, but can’t ask them.

this album would have come to me about four years after it was released, and it formed a core part of my identity in a re-imagined way. recorded in the same year was perhaps the greater of two albums by the same artists, viva last blues. i remember writing a piece that extracted a lyrical part of each song on days in the wake and seeing where that took an independent listener on a journey.

it was and will always remain intensely personal.

when was the first time you realised the next time would be the last time?


One response to “palace brothers – days in the wake

  1. A truly wonderful landmark album. Growing up in Louisville in this time was very excited. it seemed the rest of world was obsessed with grunge radio hits, we were not interested in the rest of the world or their music. Louisville and Chicago were doing their own thing, like Sea and Cake, The Cocktails, Evergreen; Will Oldham possibly being the harbinger of this alternate path, or at least it’s favorite champion.

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