JASON MOLINA

ALBUM ANNOUNCE // Songs: Ohia ‘Didn’t It Rain’ Deluxe Reissue On Dec. 2, Hear Alternate Unheard Version Of “Ring the Bell”


Today we are pleased to announce the reissue of Songs: Ohia‘s Didn’t It Rain, with an expanded 2XLP/CD deluxe edition featuring unreleased demos including an alternate unheard version of “Ring the Bell” above or here on Youtube / Soundcloud. The expanded edition will be out on Secretly Canadian on December 2nd.

You can pre-order the special deluxe bundle including 2xLP, 2xCD, download codes, and a giant 27″ x 39″ Didn’t It Rain cinema style poster via SC Distribution. You can also pre-order the re-issue via iTunes, Amazon, and your local record store.

Didn’t It Rain is Jason Molina‘s first perfect record. Recorded live in a single room, with no overdubs and musicians creating their parts on the fly, the overall approach to the recording was nothing new for Molina. But something in the air and execution of Didn’t It Rain clearly sets it apart from his existing body of work. His albums had always been full of space, but never had Molina sculpted the space as masterfully as he does on Didn’t It Rain. The creaks and scraping of strings are all part of the Didn’t It Rain choir. So when Molina hoots for another chorus during the album’s eponymous opening gambit, it feels less an off-the-cuff call, and more an essential piece of the tone and structure. Midway through the same song, we hear the long, low woosh of a passing bus. Distant traffic has forever been a trope of lo-fi, but here, it is a pristine woosh. The highest of fidelity and sure of purpose. The same can be said for Molina’s always remarkable voice, here settling into a matured, assured, and subtly lowered tenor. It all adds up to something near in mood to Neil Young‘s song “On The Beach,” and maybe even Boz Scagg‘s 1969 self-titled album laid to tape at the legendary Muscle Shoals studio.

Didn’t It Rain is an ode to the Midwest Rust Belt under which Molina was born and Molina’s newfound Chicago home. When we move to a new place, we must truly confront all our own weaknesses and strengths, and Molina puts that all on the table with this one. The album’s triple-threat center pieces come by way of “Ring The Bell,” “Cross The Road, Molina,” and “Blue Factory Flame.” Strung together, they present clearly Molina’s specific set of mythological symbols that had been forming on previous recordings. But the journey across these three songs – with their circling serpents, their neon-flame wreathed moons, their swinging blades, their debilitating emptiness – also feels like a cleansing, a catharsis, a sort of primal therapy.

This expanded reissue presents Molina’s home demos of the record, eight previously unreleased tracks, complete with a distant playground full of children chiming in the background for a few songs. The glorious juxtaposition of Molina’s songs’ desolation and the blissful playing of children is about as haunting as it gets. The expanded edition of Didn’t It Rain will see release via Secretly Canadian on December 2nd.

DIGITAL RELEASE // Songs: Ohia ‘Journey On: Collected Singles’ Digital Version Out Now


Today we are pleased to announce Songs: Ohia Journey On: Collected Singles, a deluxe box set of rare recordings from Jason Molina‘s Songs: Ohia, is now available in digital format online worldwide. Previously offered only in an exclusive box set in limited quantity to record stores for Record Store Day 2014, you can now purchase all the singles on iTunes or SC Distribution or stream it on Spotify / Rdio. Starting last week our Drip.FM subscribers get the singles delivered every Tuesday and Thursday for the next few weeks.

If you missed it in April, read what SC label co-founder Ben Swanson wrote about the original limited physical release and the collection as a whole. For more info on the box set and official track-listing, head here.

SAVE A LANDMARK // Shorebird Launches ‘Project Carousel’ Fundraiser, Includes Unreleased Music From Jason Molina

Secretly Canadian is honored to take part in a historic fundraising effort by the kind folks at Shorebird to save the Looff Carousel at Crescent Park in East Providence, Rhode Island. Project Carousel is a multimedia initiative to raise money for the historic carousel and honor Charles I.D. Looff. The project includes unreleased music from Jason Molina featuring a 7″ record of 2 previously unreleased tracks of Jason covering Towns Van Zandt, limited edition and exclusive music from Volcano Choir on our sister label Jagjaguwar, and music from Mark Kozelek [Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon]. The music collections, limited to 3500 copies, are exclusively available through this project only and all the details can be found at their Indiegogo campaign page here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/project-carousel

SONGS: OHIA // Label Co-Founder Ben Swanson On Jason Molina And SC200: Record Store Day Exclusive Box Set ‘Journey On: Collected Singles’

Tomorrow, April 19th, is Record Store Day across the world and we are marking this years’ RSD with the Songs: Ohia Exclusive Record Store Day Box Set Journey On: Collected Singles [more info here]. This release has already been featured in RSD must-have lists on KEXP, Pitchfork, and now Secretly Canadian label co-founder Ben Swanson has a few words on Jason Molina and this special box set.

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Words by Ben Swanson, Secretly Canadian Label Co-Founder

We’ve been talking about this release for years with Jason. At first he was reluctant, as he always kept his eyes on the road ahead, never in the rearview. For those of us that have been long time fans, this had always been one of the most exciting and exhausting aspects of Jason’s live shows. Limited set time was ever given to the current release’s songs, and rarely were you treated to the “hits”; instead Jason used the stage as his workshop where he would hone the nuances of his early morning sketches. As a fan, it was a treat to watch the new songs evolve over a tour until finally – usually somewhere in the middle of the run – they were laid to tape, often live in the studio, and then quickly jettisoned from the set list. The work was done, time to move on.

For Jason, each recording had its own life, and, regardless of its scope, there was something sacred to which the tunes were ultimately presented. Besides, there were new Ghosts to discover, or Wolves to ride, or Moons to bleed (go ahead and choose your favorite Molina metaphor).

Early on Jason imbued the label with the preciousness of the release and we largely agreed…in spirit. However it could be maddening that some of these gems never got their due. Only to be enjoyed by the 1,000 people that bought the 7″, and the super fans that traded high quality FLACs of shitty vinyl rips.

As fans, we loved the new stuff, but we were in love with the old stuff.

Eventually, Jason relented and began to entertain the notion of revisiting these semi-lost recordings. Maybe he was far enough away from the material where he could see the merit in taking a peek back. Or maybe he was just sick of us asking.

Either way, this collection follows Jason’s career throughout his Songs: Ohia period, from 1994 to 2000; from Oberlin, OH, to Bloomington, IN, to Chicago and back again.

I was first introduced to Jason’s music through the Freedom 7″ on Palace Records. My brother, Chris, had sent me a dub of it during my last year in high school during the period we began talking about starting a record label. The 7″ was otherworldly and Jason seemed untouchable. I don’t remember exactly how, but eventually my brother Chris tracked down an email address and we huddled around the computer. We had nothing to offer but our enthusiasm. It feels naive to think about now – we found his email! he wrote back! – but in the mid-90s, this was new terrain.

Through a handful of emails that were – much like Jason himself – short and cryptic, Jason mentioned he was playing an in-store at Adult Crash in New York, and if we came, he’d give us the master for our first 7″. To anyone that’s familiar with Jason, they know he appreciates hard work, and whereas a normal person would’ve sent the DAT through the mail, there was an implicit challenge in inviting us to New York. If we put in the work and showed up, we’d get the tape. And what did we know? Fourteen hours later we arrived in NYC to collect the tape of what would eventually be the One Pronunciation of Glory 7″.

There’s a similar history to each of the songs on this collection and lets be clear, not all of these songs are gems. However, each song is a snapshot of Jason at various points in the first half of his career. They’re Jason at his most loose, his most feisty; always inviting new friends to play. He was quick and generous when it came to recording. To Jason, it was situational – with the right ingredients, the right temperature, and, if the humidity is just right, you can catch that spark. He was after instinct, not training. He’d create structures for the musicians of the day, and line them with booby traps. It was a maddening but effective trick.

Anyway, I’m glad he finally relented. It was a rare treat to go through these old tapes and an incredible experience to watch a master grow into his craft.

AUDIO

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