If you’re lucky — if you have a good local scene — if you support that scene — if you get to be friends with people who are not just talented, but pretty close to genius — if all those things happen in a perfect confluence, sometimes you get to watch your friends get famous. Be raved about by NPR. (Even if those details aren’t quite right.) Get national press for an album that’s beyond deserving of it.
It’s weird and amazing. Mostly amazing.
They played the Locally Grown series last year, as well — I quoted from “A Room Where Your Paintings Hang” then, and Ari was kind enough to oblige my desire for that song and it’s on the re-issue of All Alone In An Empty House that’s out now on Anti-.
I like the re-release a lot, but I snobbishly prefer the 2008 Trekky original release, because that’s the version I learned these songs from. That’s my history with this band. But the re-release? It deserves every single piece of praise that it’s gotten, from all corners, because it’s wild and startling and heartbreaking, just like the 2008 version.
Last night they played to a rapt and adoring crowd, packed onto the top of a parking garage on an almost perfect late summer evening. Ari made jokes about how parking is easier when the students are gone and then apologized, but he was honest and right. Parking sucks when the students come back. The longer LITT play on the road, these pared-down seven (from the original 13 or 14 I saw them at), they sound tighter, more lush, and fiercely in tune with each other. The crowd was strangely polite and docile for the majority of the set — t. and I were forced to have a two person dance party during “Fireplace” — but they were also fixedly attentive, hanging on every word.
I’m unbelievably proud of Ari and his merry band of cohorts; I mean, there aren’t words for how proud I am. But I’m also satisfied, knowing that after knocking people dead all over the country, they come home to us, to a crowd that still sometimes leans in for the 2008 arrangements instead of the new ones. Like Superchunk, Ari has made something that’s going to be bigger than local; but like Superchunk, they’ll still always be ours, first.