Music Reviews

June Panic

Horror Vacui

Secretly Canadian

Past experiences with this freak have been mixed. Of the two recordings (out of a possible ten) with which I’ve had the time to spend some time, half the time has been enjoyable while the other has been unfortunately irritating. I use “unfortunately” here because I think I understand where June wants to go with his music most of the time, but many times the execution was fucked either by his weak voice, his penchant for trying things that don’t even sound appealing when talking about them (like taking several songs and speeding them up until they sound like elves singing the old “glory, glory to Gandalf for saving all of Middle Earth from the fucking trolls and Balrogs”), or his stubborn, DIY, fuck-everyone-for-not-paying-attention-to-my-music decision to record and play everything himself on a cheap-ass 4-track. I can give June a hard time in retrospect about all this, because he has finally recorded the album that he’s been trying to record for however many years he’s been doing this. By giving up recording duties to someone who has a little more experience, he has captured the subtlety of his songwriting creativity and allowed someone to say, “no, including a song called ‘Sex God’ is not a very good idea this time around.” By allowing other musicians to play on the album, he has given his songs the comfortable pace and space that they deserve within which to develop. And by taking some voice lessons or recording over bad vocal takes, he’s steered attention away from cracks in his weird voice and toward the bold lyrics. I would guess that over the years, June received a lot of criticism for his voice. The fact that he continued recording over the course of ten albums should be a sign that this is something that he can’t really live without. That, for me, is more important than a nice voice any day.

Secretly Canadian Records, 1703 N. Maple St., Bloomington, IN 47404; http://www.secretlycanadian.com


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