Late to forever

Late to forever

I'm going to admit something to you, a personal failing or at the very least an admission to having arrived late: I'm listening to Wednesday, and I'm doing it for the first time.

Rat Saw God, the North Carolina bands fifth record, is last year’s conversation that I am only just now joining. It’s as if I arrived at a house party in the late hours of the day or the early hours of the morning and tried to insinuate myself into a conversation out on a patio lit only by distant stars and fading cigarettes.

I'm late, but I made it and we just need to be happy to still be here.

Maybe this is how this life is supposed to work. Maybe we can let things become timeless, waiting to be discovered. I know about Wednesday and Rat Saw God because everyone has been talking about them in my circles and spheres and sometimes when the conversation gets too loud or insistent I have to just write ideas down to return to. Like writing down the names of ghosts you hope will come back to open cupboard doors and move the drapes with a flourish.

I listen to music that is new to me as my addictive nature dictates. A little at first, carefully, taking a single taste to see if it’s strong enough to become a lasting obsession. I sequence "Chosen to Deserve" on a playlist on a whim, walk to a café down the street, linger outside and hit repeat and let the sun strike my face just how I needed it to. Let the heat of its gaze peak under my sunglasses, strike the corners of my eyes to form tears that aren't from the emotional weight of all things, just the beautiful disaster of the present.

Someone smokes a cigarette off in the distance and for a second I imagine myself having one too, joining a conversation that has been carrying on without me for a good long time. I hit repeat and play the song again.

My phone should have a plastic gear to thread an old pencil through, to rewind the tape as it gets worn out from repeated listens and overuse.

I think a lap steel at the right moment might save your life. I think Wednesday is proving my theory. Songs on Rat Saw God feel type-set onto weathered pages yellowed by the sun, bound by torn fabric covers. A book borrowed from your father, a paperback with a crease in the middle from being carried in a lovers pocket. I think a song that tells a story, builds a world, is a perfect kind of alchemy that is hard to do just right, how to fold a lie into the truth and make it impossibly real.

Wednesday — Jake Lenderman, Xandy Chelmis, Ethan Baechtold, Alan Miller and Karly Hartzman — tell stories like a long haul trucker that can look you in the eyes as she takes a turn she has taken so many times before. The subtle grace of knowing. There is a hushed and weary tone that floats to the surface of Hartzman's voice, a voice not tired, not worn threadbare, but lived in. Peppered with memories of hard memories and great loves. A voice yellowed by the sun. Here to share, here to tell you a story that is only ever going to be 65% real. Everyone knows it, it never matters.

The energy on Rat Saw God flows like a perfect river not looking for an ocean to claim it. A country song feeding into the eddies of punk rock songs. Shoegaze or indie rock or whatever you want to call any of it. Genre feels less important than the work. I'm late to the conversation, I’m tying to catch up, I’m getting lost in new favourites. And maybe it's okay to show up late to a perfect party. Maybe we should relish being late to discover new things that are now old that we know we're going to love. Make lists of all the names of ghosts you might want to haunt you, show up to the party whenever you’re feeling ready.