Friday, June 22, 2012

Jandek - Ready For The House (corwood #0739)

Ready For The House is the first album from Jandek, notorious texan recluse detuned poet savant. Originally released in 1978, originally released under the name The Units, he sold all of 2 copies in the first two years, until a DJ from WFMU picked up his cause. He is the definition of an outsider artist - he has only given one interview, to Spin Magazine, during his 34 years performing. He releases music on his own label - Corwood Industries - the album titles bearing crisp Midwestern serial numbers and dreary homemade covers (like the one pictured left). Yr not really sure who he is, or why he does what he does, other than the insidious need to creep out his sneaky tortured blues into the world. On Ready For The House Jandek mostly strums one eerie dissonant maltuned guitar chord, "tuned to black keys" he claims. Its dissonant and jangly and antagonistic. Jandek is not coming to you. You must go to him, sit for a moment in his vacant armchair and appreciate where he's coming. He whisper yodels apocryphal doom blues, vague and unsettling, like the line, "I got a vision, a teenage daughter/Who’s growing up naked in the afternoon" from "Naked In The Afternoon" - the first two lines of the record. He seems like someone who might be muttering to himself at a party, if he ever ACTUALLY ended up at a party, who kind of worries you, and then you realize that he's actually spouting profound poetry. It seems mad, haunted, but it is beguiling. Cryptic. It lures you in.

When i first heard Jandek it scourged my mind. It was a track called "When The Telephone Melts" off of You Walk Alone. Downloaded it back in the KaZaa days, one track at a time like. I had probably heard about him via Thurston Moore or Kurt Cobain, or some other esoteric rock champion. It was not what i was expecting. It really doesn't have much of a rhythm, and the songs tend to go on for a LONG time. Here's the thing, that i have come to suspect, is that Jandek is essentially a poet, perhaps a sound poet. But he sets his poetry in mood and time, sending it out into the world to infect various isolated bedrooms. I hated it, to be honest, or didn't have time for it at least. But i could not forget it. Those drab unexceptional covers would not leave me be. The mystery enticed me, it seems like the man is conjuring and battling demons around a reel-to-reel tape recorder. Or channeled from the dearly departed. He doesn't show his hand, Jandek's music stands like a work of musical magick, and there's a lot of it. He's released over 50 records, with a wide array of styles and sounds.

He's the kind of person that i WANT to pay attention to. I want to listen to what he has to say. The first dozen times you hear this record, it may sound like indecipherable noise, a never-ending blur of nonsense poetry and amateur guitarring. And then you start to like it. And then you start to find excuses to be by yrself to listen to Jandek. To stare at those covers. To time travel.

This is my favorite Jandek record, the one i've listened to the most. I still really can't say that i know it. Was pretty pleased to find a lot of the lyrics available online, realizing that the words are more poetic and bone-chilling than i had realized. Helps me dial down and zone into the songs. Reading as the song goes along, like the old school LP days. After recent immersion in psychedelic folk outings like I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE (which i spoke of here)i'm in a pretty good place to delve into this one. Prying around at pre-existing literature that has already spoke on behalf of this record, the wiki and All Music take on things. Pleased to find a page of press links all over the internet, including a suggested listening list. Like i said, he's got over 50 records, it can be hard to know where to start with The Representative. It made sense to start at the very beginning. I would actually like to listen to every one of his records. While listening to Ready For The House, i discovered that i actually ENJOY this music. It sounds soothing in my ears. I am glad for the opportunity to learn the words to his songs, and can even envision singing along some day! At one point, i despised Jandek's music, thought it was atonal abrasive noise. Now, there are times when Jandek is my #1 listened to artist on I have changed as a person, while contemplating this artist's work. He has built a haunted room in my mind, where all sorts of interesting and also dull things take place. Like he said on "European Son," the Velvet Underground-esque closer, "It’s a long time spell".


  1. Replies
    1. it gets in yr soul. At this point, i'd rather sit and home by myself and listen to a jandek LP than go to a party. There's lots more where this comes from... stay tuned.

  2. Hi, is there any chance we could get a re-up? I'm dying to hear this record, and am having trouble finding it on the net. Thanks.