March 29, 2013

let’s dream of illinois


I’ve been extraordinarily interested in Small Houses lately; both the musician from Flint, Michigan who plays under that moniker, and also, coincidentally, in literal tiny houses that you can live in contentedly with very few possessions (examples: 1, 2, 3). I think I am in a petite lull lately, an inward-turning phase of simplification — maybe spurred by a recent funeral celebration in California and the subsequent reflection on what lasts, or maybe spurred just by reaching a level of total saturation of capacity.

As punny as the small houses thing might sound, it is a theme I cannot escape in these last few months. I have listened to Jeremy Quentin’s Small Houses record dozens and dozens of times on repeat — it is almost all I want lately (alongside that Widower record, and the one from Mike Clark).

Exactly Where You Wanted To Be is an elegiac, piercing record. It costs less than seven dollars. Oh, please, go buy it.

I’m heading on a roadtrip to Chicago next week, and I love the disarming duplicity (and odd optimism) of the line: “And although I said I meant it when I didn’t — let’s dream of Illinois

Oh, Hiding Out – Small Houses

That’s the first track on the record, and I had a hard time picking which song to post. I will say that there is a piano break at 2:09 on “I Saw Santa Fe” that made me reflexively dissolve into tears the first time I heard it, without even thinking, for absolutely no reason other than that it is this stunningly evocative stab of melancholy and memories, for a moment I never lived through. “The Last Night Of Summer,” “Sarah’s Song,” the dusty windchime distance in the closing song “Homes and Photographs,” man — I could have easily posted any song on this album and written you a novel about it.

I’ve been unable to write about this record, because I have too many thoughts on it. Just get the whole thing, and carve out some months of your life to dedicate to the cause of listening. Full album stream:

And THIS. Reminds me a lot of Tallest Man on Earth with that piano — and completely decimates me.

There At The Top Of The Stairs (Daytrotter) – Small Houses
[His Daytrotter session #2 here]


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  • Hey Heather. That spherical tree house at top right is one of the Free Spirit Spheres on Vancouver Island. My wife and I have spent a night in the one illustrated, and it’s pretty incredible. Hoping you get the opportunity to do the same someday.


    Dave & Susan (Nanaimo, BC, Canada – You may not recall but we met at the Stornoway gig at the Media Club in Vancouver a while back!) Happy Easter!

    David — March 29, 2013 @ 10:35 am

  • The 2 week lull between your previous post and this post was Well Worth The Wait.
    Wow, I just bought the entire album.
    On my 2nd listen now.
    Great find!

    Kevin — March 29, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

  • Amazing album by Mr. Small Houses. I love every song as well, so much depth in such sparse aural landscape. Thanks for posting. Jeremy is an amazing musician and a great friend to have on this journey through life!

    The Longest Day of the Year — March 29, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

  • Thanks for posting this. It was exactly what I needed today.
    Happy Easter everyone.

    thevandalstookmyhandle — March 30, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

  • This is really, really good. :)

    Jayd McFerson — March 30, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

  • I haven´t been able to listen to the whole album yet – just “I Saw Santa Fe” on repeat. Best piano break ever!

    Christoph — April 2, 2013 @ 8:03 am

  • His voice is so molasses and melancholy.This is stunning and blindsidingly beautiful.It aches.The videos have a kind of Drive/Badlands feel,too;hypnotic and lost;great music.

    Russell — April 2, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

  • I had to find the lyrics which are the distillation of a lost narrative,a haunted metaphysical sorrow.

    Well I’m staying with a friend down on 20,
    where the yelling ain’t that hard,
    and the yelling ain’t that hard.

    And the boys they’re gonna shout with the living,
    and stay just where they are,
    stay just where they are.

    I got a year to miss with every town I’m in,
    and a girl just to break my heart.

    And on the weekends we can drive into the city,
    where the leavings left and far,
    the leavings left and far.

    Well St. Louis isn’t gone, no it’s hidden,
    and waiting in my voice,
    waiting in my voice.

    And the boys, they hear my block when they listen,
    and sing with every noise,
    sing with every noise.

    I got a year to miss with every town I’m in,
    and a girl just to break my heart.

    And although I said I meant it when I didn’t,
    let’s dream of Illinois,
    dream of illinois.

    I got a year to miss with every town I’m in,
    and a girl just to break my heart.
    Well Sarah I can’t lift just too much more than this,
    there’s my head, this town, and arms.

    So, I’m staying with a friend down on twenty,
    where the yelling ain’t that hard,
    and the yelling ain’t that hard.

    ‘Yelling’ arguably crying which is also shouting and maybe also the desire to sing.

    Russell — April 2, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

  • What shows will you be seeing in Chicago? I would love to come out and say Hi at one. If you get the chance, please check out Space in Evanston (short train ride up to the Dempster stop on the el). They are doing a really nice job of getting up and comers. About 200-250 people will fit comfortably. Last year I saw Lumineers, Kopecky Family Band, Rhett Miller, Chicago Farmer, Milk Carton Kids, Shovels & Rope and many more there. Great venue and I would be happy to make introductions with the talent buyers there, if interested. Shoot me an email. PS – I also graduated from CC in ’93

    Jeremy — April 3, 2013 @ 8:13 am

  • Hi Heather,

    On the montage of various small dwellings above, the bottom left, the two buildings coming out the water. Where, what is that? Is there a link to the page detailing those anywhere?

    And as always, fantastic content and kick ass site. Love it, every day!

    Mark — April 8, 2013 @ 6:04 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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