The book of pictures. Each page contained 100 images. Each page was a sentence that you understood through the pictures. The book contained 200,000 pages. It told the story of a young woman, born in 2025 and abandoned by her parents in an ocean-adjacent town in Florida, who becomes a member of a group of guides that helps people retreat from their lives along the old coast and move inwards, into the middle of the country, where the land is still dry. The young woman has a special understanding, it seems, of what it means to leave and be left, and so she helps the flood refugees to resettle, to reform their new identities in their new communities. She helps the surf-shop owner become a baker; the resort owner becomes an electrician (she’d always loved the mystery of wires and outlets). She keeps making these trips, out to the coast and back, helping people find their new homes, never resting, always traveling, retreating from the encroaching ocean, the sight of which she cherishes, the mesmerizing motion of those hot waves coming in and in and in.
Can you not get into this groove? Corollary question: why would you not desire to get into this groove? It is a downcast groove, sliding, sure, but it’s there, it’s supportive in its way, it’s accommodating. Guitar and horns say, Welcome, friend, sit yourself right there, you look tired, take the best spot on the couch. Do you want a beer? Help yourself to the snacks there on the table. Casual and charming. Low-key as hell. Like a bizarro Steely Dan, but way less fussy. The Spirit of Hang-outs presides over this album.
Jay Som’s Everybody Works is one of the best albums I’ve heard in 2017. 100% enjoyable from beginning to end. There are the songs that rush, like Take It and 1 Billion Dogs, full of energy and the spirit of Yo La Tengo at their most sprightly; carefully observed songs like The Bus Song, Baybee, and One More Time, Please (which has what sounds like a beautiful little piano move that reminds me of early Microphones tracks); and songs like (BedHead) and For Light that are slow and striking and elegiac. This is an album packed with ideas and awesome melodies and it all flies by so fast. So many good lines too–one that just popped into my head, from Remain, “Our pinkie promises/were never meant for this.”
Everybody Works is that rare type of album that’s both immediately rewarding and stands up to repeated and intense listening. I’ve been listening to the album once a day or more for the past month and a half and I’m still finding new things about it that I love. This album definitely deserves a ton of attention.
Walking in Austin, through frightening heat. To a grocery store for a $6 bottle of water to share between 5 people. The streets were full. Partiers, revelers, motorcycles. Everything radiated. We walked and wandered. Barbecue at a place down the street. One of us didn’t love the okra. Someone broke the glass on the front door of the place we were staying—not us. Outside, smoking cigarettes, talking for the sake of talking, listening to the conversations of passersby. Cold beers inside. We watched the Euros when we could, through the doors of bars and on the TVs in the airport.