I’m Glad It’s You – “Big Sound” & “Myths” (Prod. J. Robbins)
Every Sun, Every Moon, the forthcoming album from Redlands, California emo band I’m Glad It’s You, has some enticing associations going for it. It was produced by punk and indie legend J. Robbins. The consistently rewarding 6131 Records is releasing it. It’s accompanied by an essay from poet, critic, and occasional Stereogum contributor Hanif Abdurraquib. If all that doesn’t whet your appetite, you and I are operating on extremely different wavelengths.
Keep in mind, though, that all this excitement was wrought from pain. Singer-guitarist Kelley Bader wrote Every Sun, Every Moon in the aftermath of a 2017 car accident on tour that took the life of his friend and mentor, the SoCal punk and indie scene videographer Chris Avis. It’s a collection of melodious guitar songs gripped by guilt, grief, and questioned faith. The band has shared two of those songs today, a pair of pensive anthems titled “Big Sound” and “Myths.”
Here’s Abdurraquib’s essay delving into the album’s themes:
If there is somewhere beyond here, let the angels greet us upon our arrival and let them tell us that people were about grief this whole time. Some people along the way were wrong about all of our sadness, and the incessant weight of it all. Whoever told us that loss was something that we could triumph over, or a mountaintop we reach the peak of and feel instantly lighter. If there is somewhere beyond here and if there are indeed angels in that great beyond, let them confirm what some of us have always known: grief is an immovable mirror. One that affixes itself to your waking and dreaming hours. In it, you see yourself, of course. But who you are in the cradle of absence, with memories that are touchable but populated with ghosts. Or versions of a summer you spent drowning in sunlight. Sorrow weaves its way into the body and becomes a part of the body, just like anything else. It makes itself useful.
And yes, if the grief is to make itself useful, than those of us who are lucky enough or able enough can make ourselves useful along with it. It isn’t something you can write your way out of or create your way out of or stand on a stage and shout your way out of, even if there is a chorus of voices shouting back at you. It is something you create and write and shout alongside of. It is the chorus that never relents. Nearly three years have passed since the members of I’m Glad It’s You lost Chris Avis. Since a loving community and family lost Chris Avis. Pain has its stages, and those stages move through each person at their own pace, and so three years is both a long time and not. It is a long time to be without someone, and a short time to come to terms with what being without someone means.
The people who maybe don’t understand grief or loss want to see the magic trick – the thing that signals someone is fine, or prepared to run back into the same world they retreated from. I am thankful for how this album resists neatness. It is loud, difficult, and relentless. It refuses ease but allows itself to be a comfort for anyone who might need it. This is an album for anyone who has felt swallowed by the reflection grief continually offers them. This is an album for anyone who has barricaded themselves in the darkness of a room and attempted waiting out whatever life they had left. It isn’t the antidote, but it is a beam of light breaking its way through in an attempt to offer a path. I have needed this album in the years before this one, and I will surely need it again. These songs are the hands reaching back towards someone drowning in desperation. And, of course, what a way to honor memory. It is a privilege to still be able to hold on to the memories of someone you love, even after they’re gone. Even when you have to fight your way through the memory of their passing on to that somewhere beyond here. Even if you have to carve through the memories of unanswered prayers and funerals. If you can still arrive at them, there are still the memories of everyday living, of having shared a portion of life with someone. This is an album swelling with gratitude. Gratitude, bursting from the edges of grief’s long shadow. Gratitude for having been able to be alive at the same time as someone singularly magnificent, and gratitude for still getting to be alive to shout about that singular and all-consuming love.
Joy can be flimsy if a person doesn’t have to fight for it. If you’re not arriving at the feet of joy exhausted and angry, shouting or weeping. Crawl towards it until you can stand up straight and make a monument of your joy. Fight to get there, fight to keep it. I hope this is an album that drags people a little bit closer to whatever their joy might look like. I hope this album sits inside your sad and hollow spaces until they are a little less sad and a little less hollow. I hope those pesky echoing reflections in your corner of grief go a little easier on you. We are unfinished beings on an uncertain timeline, and the world is going to try and wring all it can out of us while we tumble towards our endings. This album is a soundtrack for holding out two hands, and pushing back a little bit. For keeping enough space for you, and all the things your heart holds.
01 “Desert Days”
02 “Big Sound”
03 “Ordinary Pain”
04 “Lost My Voice”
05 “The Things I Never Said”
06 “Death Is Close”
07 “Silent Ceremony”
09 “The Silver Cord”
11 “Every Sun, Every Moon”
Every Sun, Every Moon is out 5/15 on 6131 Records. Pre-order it here.