It Is Rain In My Face. – ‘S/T’ LP
Having listened to It Is Rain In My Face. obbsessively for well over a year, and having worked with him through Absent Fever, when I heard that Matthew Jones had an upcoming LP I knew I better prepare to be swept off my feet. And yet again, I was. DZ Tapes recently released what may very well be my favorite album of the year, It Is Rain In My Face.‘s self-titled LP. Stream the album below, read through the many reasons I adore it so, and afterwards, head over to DZ Tapes to purchase the limited cassette release.
There is something hesitant about the landscape of this album—a stuttering sense of indecision between two hugely unlike ways of living. It sounds like a postcard of mountainous countryside, held between the trembling thumb, first finger, and undying commotion of an imposing city. Matthew Jones’ voice itself seems to waver; from thundering, sympathetically guttural tones that mimic the rustic temper of artists like Bill Callahan, to the compassionate falsetto breeze as heard on songs like “United”. Both attitudes of Jones’ vocals feel safe, whole, and vast. What’s behind his vocals though, don’t always sound so familiar.
Jones’ voice is weaved and manipulated between the approaching, somewhat threatening footsteps of hurried beats, and confronted by what feels like wise, witty, sensible stringing of guitars. Each of these three characters (vocals, beats, guitars) speak different tongues. At times they converse in turns, at times they argue—and you can always tell which won—and oftentimes they speak to advocate for the words the vocals themselves speak.
Many of the 12 songs on the album sound somewhat alike, but never do they come off repetitive. Each track has definition of character; from the jazzy train hopper that is “Rotate”, to the entrancing routine of “Seven Eight Eight”. “A Break” plays through with the bright pitter patter of continuos guitars like sun hitting the darker rims of ocean ripples. Though notably blithe, it is hard to visualize a color to the song—a difficulty that I find on nearly all songs of the album. With “A Break” in particular, these bright notes seem to be coming from colorblind eyes, as if the eyes can’t conclude whether the golden waves are oceanic waves or sand dunes of the desert. Such difficulty points back to the opposites found on the album, computerized beats, country guitars, wide-ranging vocals. Each time I listen for these points of contrast I’m brought back to the entirely self-constructed idea that the album signifies the dispute between Jones’ current home in New York City and his former home in North Carolina.
This discord, though apparent, never imposes the position of the middle-man on the listener; on the contrary, it feels warmheartedly familiar. Such feeling of familiarity lends to the albums’ intimacy. Listening hasn’t only made me feel kindred to the storyteller, but as if I’m listening more closely to my own internal dissension. Having received this album months prior to it’s release, by this point I’ve listened to the album in full a modestly estimated one-hundred times. Each of those estimated one-hundred listens was while driving, a number of times driving to the same place, about half of the time to unfamiliar places, and a few times without direction. Listening now, my first time listening while not driving, I feel less of a contrariety between the two temperaments of the album. A truce has been made, and having two homes within the album is ok.