January 5, 2012

when i write my master’s thesis

I board a plane early this morning to Portland, Oregon, for the first of four short-term graduate school residencies I’ll be completing in two-week chunks over the next couple of years, contributing to a shiny Master’s degree in Intercultural Relations. This new song from John K. Samson (The Weakerthans) is just about the most perfect soundtrack for the precipice I stand on that I can think of.

John K. Samson – When I Write My Master’s Thesis by antirecords

John’s work with The Weakerthans (especially on 2007′s Reunion Tour) pierces me through more effortlessly than most other records I can think of. There’s something in the timbre of his voice that is so completely honest, with literate lyrics that twist and roll over each other. I agree with Craig Finn (of the Hold Steady) in the video below, where he says that John’s songs are “beautiful, brutal, honest and comforting, all at the same time.” After releasing an acoustic EP this past November, Samson is bringing us his first full-length solo album Provincial (Epitaph/ANTI) on January 24.

Letter In Icelandic From The Ninette San” is another heart-stoppingly gorgeous track from the new album, and you should listen immediately. And no, I don’t know what that title means. If I’ve lived this long with “Elegy For Gump Worsley,” I can live with this one too, when the music is this good.

Preorder Provincial here.

(More US & Canadian dates TBA soon!)

3/10 – Boston, MA at Brighton Music Hall
3/11 – Philadelphia, PA at Union Transfer
3/13 – Washington DC at Black Cat
3/15 – New York, NY at Bowery Ballroom
3/16 – Pittsburgh, PA at Club Cafe
3/17 – Buffalo, NY at Mohawk
4/1 – Seattle,WA at Tractor Tavern
4/2 – Portland, OR at Doug Fir
4/5 – San Diego, CA at The Casbah
4/6 – Los Angeles, CA at The Troubadour
4/7 – San Francisco, CA at Bottom of the Hill


  • Heather – if you need some PDX suggestions of places to go and see let me know! Don’t know how you’re going to get a master’s degree when there will be so much music to check out.

    James — January 5, 2012 @ 5:30 am

  • I thought you said “When I Paint My Masterpiece”

    Elliot Smith – > Dylan – 1998

    Billsville House — January 5, 2012 @ 8:45 am

  • That. Was. Incredible. What a happy day for solo albums from frontmen of bands I love 24th January will be.

    Best of luck with your studies!

    last year's girl — January 5, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  • Such a big fan of John K. and The Weakerthans. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    Josh F — January 5, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

  • Gahhhh. I love the Weakerthans. Thanks for the heads up on this, and good Luck with the masters. :)

    Josh — January 10, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  • ‘Letter In Icelandic From The Ninette San’ is an imagined letter that was written by a patient in the sanitarium that used to be in Ninette, Manitoba. Additionally, that letter is a source for the ‘master’s thesis’ in question. Much of what Samson writes about, both for the Weakerthans, but particularly for Provincial is strongly based in Manitoba history and life.

    Catching him at an in-store this weekend, and obsessing over this album. (Actually spent time in the school where ‘The Last And’ is “set” today.)

    Jay — January 23, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

  • What an inspiring song! This fired me up to finish my thesis before summer ends! Yup.. you need motivation and inspiration to finish a thesis for your master’s degree, and this song is my motivation!

    Stephania Eckstrom — March 15, 2012 @ 9:00 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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