A Half Decade Ago

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Yellow Missing Signs

I first heard Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin in the spring of 2005, due entirely to the proselytizing efforts of Ryan at Catbirdseat, who went on to release a split record from SSLYBY and Michael Holt on his Catbird Records label (three of the songs from that split appear on "Tape Club"). "Broom," the band's debut album, was what I heard, and I loved it immediately. That record, in case you haven't heard it, is sweet, quiet, and intimate, full of songs that feel immediate and accessible in a way that most things don't. Those songs are remarkable not only for being so good and so entertaining, but also for being companionable, if that makes any sense. They come across as songs made by a friend, for private listening. And one of the things that most impressed me about that album was the fact that there's an aspect of 'the everyday' in the lyrics--at that time I was mired in 'the everyday' part of my life--and so those songs made sense, and offered both a sort of escape from and a different perspective on the things that transpire day-to-day. Two years later, when my family's house burnt down, SSLYBY's "House Fire," which you'd think would be merely a painful reminder, gave me a great deal of much-needed consolation. At no point in listening to this band's music do you forget that it is made by actual people, and I think that's an important part of what makes their stuff so good. [If you haven't heard "Broom," definitely do yourself a favor and go out and get it.]

"Tape Club" is the band's new release, and it's sort of a musical analogue to a poet's Collected Poems: unreleased tracks, demos, singles, songs kept among friends and family, all put together here. 26 SSLYBY tracks, taken from music made at the beginning of their career up to recent recordings. "Yellow Missing Signs" is one of the latter, and is a slight departure, musically, for SSLYBY, since the keyboard is the primary component here. The band continues its generous treatment of (somewhat to extremely) unpleasant topics by singing about an unsolved crime in their hometown. "Yellow missing signs/faded from all this time/I need to know/where'd you go". Catchy songs with tragic lyrics exist elsewhere, but do not, to my mind, demonstrate the same level of urgency and compassion as "Yellow Missing Signs," just another example of how special this band is.

[Buy Tape Club]

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  1. I just ordered all four of their Polyvinyl CDs. 😐

    • Yes! They’re good. If you don’t like them, feel free to hold me responsible and I will reimburse you. I think you’ll like that first album a lot.

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