September 22, 2009


Varnaline is one of those bands that nobody likes when I introduce them. Really. Seems like nobody likes them. Although the fact that Pitchfork didn't like them when this came out in 2002 kind of makes me really happy--that said, the part about the "brief banjo solo played by a retard" is fucking hilarious and kinda dead-on. I know they have a rabid fan base out there somewhere, I just haven't ever met a single member of that fan base. Still, I really enjoy them (him?) and think somebody else might too. Maybe? Whatever. Do me a favor, if you like this, can you please let me know?

Seems like Varnaline is mostly Anders Parker, an NYC singer/songwriter type. Although Varnaline seems to be over, turns out Anders is still active and even playing a show at The Living Room on Sept. 27. Damn, I'm on tour.

I like Varnaline because the songs are gritty and down to earth, while also being eloquent. There's something tough and cold northern country and sad about them, but they also embrace modern soundscapes and distortion. Of course, Parker's songwriting is totally solid and heart-wrenching.

I was trying to think of what was distorted and raw enough to put up after yesterday's tune, and Songs in a Northern Key came to mind. I happened upon this album somehow in college and still enjoy it today.


Don't you know it never comes when you want?


Todd R. Brown said...

No comments! Crazy. I love Varnaline, their songs pop into my head all these years (post-'90s) later. I'm listening to "why are you unkind" right now. They beautifully combine math-rock alternative tropes with classic Neil Young guitar, Ramones rhythm and other touchstones of heartrending rock n roll. I always associated them with the Pacific Northwest and grunge, so I'd agree with your "northern sorrow" estimation. Maybe it was just their label that was based in Seattle, I think; I never looked into it. But their bittersweet drug rock resonated with San Francisco living back in the day. Just thought I'd say yah, I like them! And you should too, whoever's reading.

g said...

Hell yeah, Todd! I'm so glad people like Varnaline besides me...and this one friend of mine who told me she liked them after I posted this.