DREAMING IN REVERSE // #006
"A Day in the Graveyard II" by Sunset Rubdown (2006 // Global Symphonic)
I’ve been neglecting this little series that I began a couple of months back. It’s nothing more really than an excuse to post and perhaps shine a little light on some favorites of the past, but that’s a noble enough cause for me - so, please allow me to step back into the Dreaming in Reverse series, with a look at an early favorite from Spencer Krug.
By January of 2006, I was deeply enamored with all things Wolf Parade. Especially the work of Spencer Krug. I had already played the living hell out of his first release as Sunset Rubdown (Snakes Got a Leg), and was in the midst of a several month long obsession with his contribution to the 2005 Believer Music issues, which was a stripped bare, haunting cover of a Frog Eyes track called “Claxxon’s Lament”. Thankfully, I was living with like minded friends at the time, so there was very little chance I would be choked to death for overplaying the same 20 or 30 songs whenever I got drunk enough to turn our kitchen/living room space into a bad karaoke party for those particular tracks. So, that January saw the release of a new Sunset Rubdown EP, which I was excited to get my hands on. The order had been placed, it was just a waiting game at that point, and a waiting I was. In fact, I was frustrated beyond belief that the EP was a couple of weeks late. The general excitement of life in New York that winter had managed to help me forget about my obsession - or rather, it helped develop multiple other obsessions with various other acts at that time. Sometime in February, I was coming home from work late, and upon checking my postal box, found those ordered copies, opened and seemingly listened to by someone in my building. I managed to push off the anger and annoyance for long enough to get inside and pop a copy into the stereo while I cleaned up and made a bite to eat.
Something strange happened. The first song played and failed to grab me. Then the next. And then a third. Still nothing magical. I killed the music and sat down for the night, already over the whole release. My year and a half long obsession must have subsided in the interim of receiving that EP.
It wasn’t until early that spring, when I was walking through the East Village on my way to a birthday party for one of my roommates, that I remembered that I had added the Sunset Rubdown EP to my iPod, and decided to give it another shot. It must have been the general upbeat vibe of a breezy night on the town just after the cold breaks, because I was hearing those first three songs with new ears. I had tempered my expectations for sure, but I found myself getting caught up in the sound, which was an evolution of sorts for Krug’s sound. Less chaotic and more melodic and warm. Then I heard the buoyant intro to the fourth track, “A Day in the Graveyard II”. I was completely caught off guard. It was short, just over two minutes, but basically containing a thirty second intro of noise - but that melody, and the sweetly romantic composition just floored me. It felt like the Spring season opened up in the span of this one song, and everything felt curious and alive. I set the track to repeat as I made my way to the party. My mind dissecting the lyrics and imagining some film scene played out to the track - a lost lover pining for his absent other but accepting the end with an optimistic hope, rather than wallowing in pain. By the time I had arrived at the bar, I had already listened to the song a handful of times, and I even waited outside for the track to play through one last time before I stowed away the ipod in my bag. I remember that night so well, because I couldn’t stop humming, singing, and generally emoting that song - breaking it out and playing it for anyone who would listen. It was the kind of excitement for a song that doesn’t come along very often, but when it does it makes you fall in love with all music, not just the gem in question.
By that point, Sunset Rubdown and Wolf Parade were just a part of my regular rotation, and Krug’s inability to stop and breath between projects kept me in new material of his for most of the next several years, but still to this day there’s something about re-discovering “A Day in the Graveyard II” that just sticks with me. It became a bit of a theme song for me that year, which found me in the midst of a slew of life changes, lost friends, and eye opening realizations - and even still, it’s nearly impossible for me to just listen to the song once and to move on. It always grabs my complete attention, and here eight years later - that’s a pretty impressive feat, and one that is not lost on me. Spencer Krug has continued to evolve and grow as an artist (I can no longer say this or one of his early achievements stand as my favorite), but in doing so, it’s impossible to forget the places that grabbed me first.
LISTEN to “A DAY IN THE GRAVEYARD II” by SUNSET RUBDOWN: (Soundcloud) // (YouTube) // (iTunes)