Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Pain becomes a bit of a glow for us, if we let it. It becomes our hue, our tan, something that fades and builds back us. It lights us from the inside, the greatest concentration of which sits in our guts like smoldering cords of wood in the bowels of a potbellied stove. Pain doesn't have to be just pain. It can be loneliness and emptiness, those kissing cousins. It can be nothingness. Some of the worst glow comes from that. Isn't it the case that, that pain can keep the lights on? It's a sick way of thinking about it, but the pain of longing, for instance, can most certainly make it possible for someone to continue existing with the belief that the longing can become some desirable. Oakland band Mister Loveless is a group of four men who are operating on both this premise and one in which the focus is placed on forever aging and forever remembering their more youthful days - those days when a tan was just a tan, when it meant meeting the outdoors for an affair that was predestined to be reminisced about with unquestionable fondness. Within the confines of some of lead singer Rob Miller's words, we get a sense that he's just not listless yet, but it might be coming.
It's not just the shoegazer-y way that he, drummer Nick Clark, guitarist Sean Gaffney and bassist Charlie Koliha go about setting the mood, it's in the actual words that he's singing. They deal mostly with thinking about summers that happened ages and ages ago, hereby being recalled for their poignancy and superiority. What they held within their three calendared months could not ever be replaced. In fact, it's actually getting harder and harder just to access, let alone being clear enough that it could ever be copied. It seems that a lot of the reasons why the past is so tempestuous and wiggly is because there's a tug-o-war going on between what happened then and what is wanted now, though there's quite a lot of confusion there as nothing can be straight, we fear.
Miller sings about "keeping warm from burning bridges," and it doesn't sound like it's coming from a man who wants much from the time he's already lived. He'd rather just let the wind catch it and take it as far away as it can manage. His thoughts are crowded ones, damaged by their indecisiveness, but the again, whose aren't? It's always a matter of wanting at the wrong time that brings on the worst pain. All that "if I'd known then what I know now," hindsight bullshit, things would have turned out so much better. It seems like there's not really all that much logic in that pudding. We're known to fuck things up. It's what most of us are best at. One of Miller's best lines comes when he sings, "Is this what people?/I don't know/I was about to ask you." He could go on forever. The questions would just mount into an overwhelming heap, until it toppled, crushing us out of our miseries.