Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Sam Patlove, Mastered by Sam Patlove
To this day, when I think about heroin, I find that I'm always reminding myself about how incredibly passé it is. It's so very passé and I've thought this since I was in high school, when I didn't know anything about what I was believing, nor what heroin really did. It's thanks to the Dandy Warhols that, as an impressionable teenager in the Midwest, I was handed this kind of knowledge, to do with what I pleased. I've always distanced myself from heroin, I believe, for this exact reason, of not wanting to ever do something passé or easy. Whatever the point is here, thank you Dandy Warhols, expecially Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Zia McCabe, whose soft and melodic coos about the addictive drug struck a cord, lo those many years ago. You've kept me clean. The band, which played the straight man to The Brian Jonestown Massacre's disaster zone in the epic documentary "Dig!" a number of years ago, is still active and playing its drug-tinged, light-show-in-the-head, retroactive rock and roll and a few months ago, stopped into Big Orange - our studio in Austin, Texas - to record this session of countrified songs. It's the first we've ever heard the group from Portland, Oregon, ever sound this way, unplugged for the most part and channeling the lands just beyond the horizons, where the harmonicas and pedal steels roam, sounds that we'd be more likely to expect out of the Nashville-ians we know, than this bunch of psych rockers, known for blowing ear drums up. The version of "We Used To Be Friends," from the 2003 album, "Welcome To The Monkey House," that was played here is a drawn out affair featuring an emotive Taylor-Taylor, sounding like Matt Sharp of late, striking into the heart of that sadness of losing, that sadness of having something that used to be such a sure thing, replaced by a newness of your own chosen creation. The choice of Dylan cover, with a line such as, "Get your mind off wintertime," from "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," is interesting, as the line tends to apply to the way that the band chose to be represented here: as a band that's seem a lot of shit, a band that's mellowed some, but might still have to put on that hot light show, with the fuzz and the gloomy mood to pay the bills. It's great to see this side, the people that they've become through it all.