Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
The last week has been rainy autumn here and the tired red and yellow leaves have had a helluva time holding on. The falling droplets have had target practice with them, ramming into the dying leaves, delivering some punishing body shots that have resulted in the ground getting covered in logically swept manners, like circles blurred into cone-like shapes on the grass. I took a look up at the tree in the backyard this afternoon and there were just a few leave left up there, the rest were bagged and shuffled to the curb for a swift removal, off to decompose elsewhere. They couldn't resist any longer and they sealed their fates with their tumbling. This morning, we awoke to a pitch-black outside and rattling rumbles of thunder, followed by an hour of heavy rain. Tonight there's been a dense fog stalking over-top of the colorful leaf covering, with Indian summer temperatures working their magic, making the power cables sizzle with damp excitement.
It's all perfect for listening to Philadelphia's Bad Braids. Lead singer Megan Biscieglia writes scenes that are everything just observed above, with an understated happiness in the change, in the victim-less death happening, with the moving on and with the seasonal crispness that's just days away from returning. It's as if knowing that in just three days, the knowledge that we'll be seeing our chilled breaths throughout the entire day makes us giddy and it would bring about the same reaction in Biscieglia. She would favor the rapid progression of the drying of the leaves, from a waxiness still associated with the living to a crumbly parchment, just so that the crunch could be audible blocks away. She would like the same feeling in the winter, with the rubber bottoms of boots depress and break into some wind-hardened snowfall.
This is her time of year, plain and simple, and the gorgeous songs she writes about bad endings and uncomfortable changes align with the mood and the timbre. She sings, "Look now the sky's still blue," but it's a very cold blue. It's a different blue and she seems to know that. Later on in this session, she sings, "Why's your tongue not feel so good against mine?" and it's here where you take in the beginnings of her wishing again for the sweet song of the devil to come back to her. She might be ready to strike that match and stand calculating and emotionless as she flips it onto the trail of gasoline she poured out the front door of an old home that holds too many bad memories. There were some good ones within those walls too, but not enough.