Bad History Month – “Staring At My Hands” (Stereogum Premiere)
I think at this point we can all accept that we’ll never be able to keep track of exactly which month is being celebrated by Boston singer/songwriter Jeff Meff’s project. We wrote about him last year when he was Fat History Month and was releasing songs including “Sad History Month” and “Bald History Month,” and now the project has been renamed Bad History Month (also the name of his album last year). It doesn’t really matter what it’s called though when the man behind it remains arguably the best lyricist in the Boston DIY scene. BHM’s music has always been more stripped down than many of the other artists in that predominantly punk scene, putting the full weight on the words, which often comprise vivid observations on death, depression, and existential pain that feel uplifting simply because they’re so beautifully written. On his upcoming release, Famous Cigarettes, a split with Dust From 1000 Yrs, that sentiment has become truer than ever.
“Staring At My Hands” is the first song to come from the release and shows Bad History Month returning as a solo project with a significant shift in sound. That becomes clear when you hear the noisy opening electronic pulse that gives way to brittle drum machine beats among other shifting textures. Wrapping piano, drums, guitar, and electronics around his voice like a warm, fuzzy blanket, it’s the sort of manipulated “headphone folk” that earns a comparison to the Microphones’ The Glow Pt. 2. It lays out a foundation for Meff’s voice delivering line after heartrending line. Near the end of the song, the music builds, only to swoon out as Meff raises his voice and delivers the climatic line, “Staring at my hands and picturing them decomposing/ feeling my existence as a ripple in an endless ocean/ not even a drop, I will take no substance with me when I’m gone/ Because my body’s the same as the sea.” It’s a completely overwhelming moment, just one of the many pieces that make up the best song I’ve heard from him. Listen to it below and check out their tour dates.
Famous Cigarettes is out 6/10 via Exploding in Sound. Pre-order here.
A note on these tour dates: You may notice this massive country spanning tour for BHM and Dust this Summer has many odd looking dates. With some slight formatting changes, we’ve posted them as they were sent to us which came with a note and the BHM email address encouraging anyone interested in hosting a show, be it house or venue, to reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
06/04 Worcester, MA @ Distant Castle
06/05 Peterborough, NH @ Thing In The Spring @ Toadstool Bookshop w/ Magik Markers, Suicide Magnets
06/06 Lowell, MA @ Wilder Zangcraft
06/07 Albany, NY @ The Low Beat
06/08 New England WANNA HELP??
06/09 Boston, MA @ Charlie’s Kitchen
06/10 Biddeford, ME @ The Oak And The Ax
06/11 New Haven, CT @ West Haven
06/12 Meriden, CT @ Topless Floridian Funtopolis
06/13 Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn w/ Pile, Porches., (New England) Patriots
06/14 Philadelphia, PA @ The Great Indoors
06/15 New Brunswick, NJ (TBA)
06/16 Kutztown, PA @ Ratail Records
06/17 Atlantic City, NJ (TBA)
06/18 Charlottesville, VA @ Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar
06/19 West Virginia WANNA HELP??
06/20 Athens, OH @ Guxxi Shane’s
06/21 Cincinnati, OH @ The Comet
06/22 Bloomington/Louisville WANNA HELP??
06/23 Bloomington/Naptown WANNA HELP??
06/24 IL WANNA HELP??
06/25 Milwaukee, WI @ Quarters
06/26 Madison / IL (TBA)
06/27 Chicago, IL @ The Observatory
06/28 St Louis (TBA)
06/29 KC? WANNA HELP??
06/30 Omaha WANNA HELP??
07/01 Denver WANNA HELP??
07/03 Missoula (TBA)
07/04 Moscow, ID @ Ouija Hole
07/05 Seattle (TBA)
07/06 Bellingham (TBA)
07/07 NW WANNA HELP??
07/08 Portland (TBA)
07/09 Eugene WANNA HELP??
07/10 Arcata (TBA)
07/11 Eureka (TBA)
07/12 Bay WANNA HELP??
07/13 San Francisco @ hemlock tavern
07/14 Isla Vista CA @ biko garage
07/15 LA (TBA)
07/16 San Diego (TBA)
07/17 Flagstaff (TBA)
07/18 Albuquerque (TBA)
07/19 Albuquerque (TBA)
07/20 Oklahoma City (TBA)
07/21 Tulsa (TBA)
07/22 Little Rock (TBA)
07/23 Nashville (TBA)
07/24 Murfreesboro TN (TBA)
07/25 Carbondale IL (TBA)
07/26 Champaign IL? WANNA HELP??
07/27 Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
07/28 Columbus WANNA HELP??
07/29 Cleveland WANNA HELP??
07/30 Toronto (TBA)
07/31 Montreal WANNA HELP??
08/01 New England
08/02 New England
08/03 New England
08/04 New England
08/05 New England