The Microphones – The Glow, Pt. 2

July 24, 2014

Alright, I guess I have to give Pitchfork their due. After all these years of laughing at their deplorable music journalism it’s time to man up and admit that way back in 2001 (when I was a wee college freshman) the online ‘zine actually turned me on to some good music. Without ’em, I probably would not have discovered Jim O’Rourke’s Insignificance, or jumped on the bandwagon that was the first Strokes album. I might have missed Fennesz’ Endless Summer, and it’s unlikely I would have heard The Glow, Pt. 2. Although I’m pretty sure Ilya sent it to me via AIM…it’s likely I wouldn’t have known to ask about it/for it without having read about it first. Unless he thrust it upon me and I accepted only because I had read about it already. Either way, I wound up sneaking it onto my “Top Ten Albums Of 2002” list for the Muhlenberg Weekly even though it was released in late 2001. I might have had to post a retraction in the next issue. My excuse: It was so good it was still just as good a year later!

What’s so good about it, you ask? Uh, I don’t know, everything? From the hard stereo-panned acoustic guitars on the title track to the creepiness of all the tape hiss and manipulated sounds. “You’ll Be In The Air,” and the little breakdown in “I Want To Be Cold,” there are so many memorable moments from this album. For what it’s worth I think Phil Elvrum only got better with the next release (Mt. Eerie) but this was the starting point for me (I was late to the It Was Hot, We Stayed In The Water party) so it will always remain an important record from my formative indie years.

Considering I first heard the album way back in the year 2001, it’s bizarre that I didn’t own the thing on vinyl until I found one at the WFMU Record Fair in 2011 ten years later. I think what happened was, it went out of print pretty fast upon its release and prices temporarily shot up before it got reissued in 2008. But the 2008 reissue was an expensive triple-LP set that I wasn’t interested in. Thankfully, that lowered the demand for an original, so when I found one it was only fifteen or twenty bucks. October 28th, 2011 was the date it was filed away. And it still sounds just as good as it did a decade ago.

Also there’s a song on it called “The Mansion,” in case you’re wondering what the fuck The Glow, Pt. 2 has to do with this week’s theme. And, you know, I might be out and about every day looking for a new place to live, but I can guarantee I won’t end up living in no mansion. Today I had the (mis)fortune of scheduling a walkthrough at a place with a big sign out front saying there were chemicals on the property known to cause cancer and birth defects. And another place was “destroyed” by the previous tenants, and had a smell to it I don’t think even the deepest of cleanings could remove. I’m so, so tired from walking right now. I want to go to bed.

The Microphones
The Glow, Pt. 2

(K. – KLP 133, 2001)

Sample MP3: “The Mansion

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