Trials & Errors

She left him right where she found him: bags of beer bottles building up in the kitchen and out into the living room; bad dreams; blood shot eyes and beer breathe mornings; big black records turning around into late hours.
Some of those records were just too closely connected to her to be tolerated. Then there were those that resonated rightly within him.
Jason Molina’s work still swelled with a deep dark timbre in tone with his soul. What haunted Molina hung heavy within him as well and it helped him feel at least a little less alone.
She had never liked Molina much and sometimes toward the last tip of another near-empty bottle he smirked at that. He remembered how she had introduced him to Molina’s work when she offered him her copy of The Magnolia Electric Company. “I don’t like this,” she said. “It’s too dark and too country.” She never understood Molina like she never understood him. And now she had given up on them both.
Occasionally that idea gave way to the thought that may be he was meant to meet her just so he could find Molina. And Molina in turn could help heal his heart once she left. It was a cold comfort at best and came about quite rarely and only after much drinking.
Still, it seemed quite fitting that her departure would be so quickly followed by a new Molina record. Adopting the title of his first record heard from them as their new moniker, Molina and his new band issued a live document from their first tour together. On Trials & Errors, the newly-christened Magnolia Electric Company stomp through three tracks from Molina’s past and seven new songs of somber introspection.
Molina’s group efforts had always come off loose and heavy, but here the songs burned with unprecedented intensity. A bass player at heart, Molina’s down-tuned guitar rumbled with malevolent foreboding off-setting his quaking tenor of a voice. The band lurched along, heaving the songs through impassioned instrumental passages before giving way to another grave refrain.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse were the most obvious comparison but there were shades of Creedence and Seeger as well. Young himself was even cited directly with the incorporation of phrases and passages from “Out on the Weekend” and “Tonight’s the Night.” Still this likeness moved beyond mere tonality and onto dexterity and overall toughness. The playing was rough but determined. Solidly professional yet unrehearsed, the delivery was strong and swaggered with beer-swilling, bar-band bravado.
This wasn’t for fey Bright Eyes fans in designer denim. Scene kids who dreamed up dark days as cheap way just to get laid would find the classic rock touchstones indecipherable and off-putting. This was the sound of a twelve-stepper tripping and tumbling back down to the rock-bottom they were born into.
This damned and doomed solemnity was tempered by a defiant resistance to inexorable defeat. Even at their most harrowing, Molina could deliver lines with an inspirationally plaintive urgency. The band backed him up with soaring solos and sweeping segments suggesting that all was not yet lost or abandoned.
After a few weeks of incessantly spinning all four sides of the double album, he began to realize that may be it wasn’t the darkness that drew him to Molina as much as it was this refusal to let the light die. With that he smiled slightly and took the last long pull off a cold pint of pilsner. Bottle back down, he got up to flip the record over one more time.

Download "Dark Don't Hide It"

Download "Cross The Road"

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