September 25, 2013
20: Seam | The Problem With Me
We had hoped to publish this on Saturday, the proper 20th anniversary of the release of the record whose album art you see above, but, alas, other things got in the way. But recently we had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of Soo Young Park, a man who once led the stellar '90s slowcore act Seam. Often when we meet persons such as Mr. Park -- that is, a person whose work we have held in high esteem for large stretches of time -- we try to be cool and, well, be cool. Upon meeting Mr. Park, however, we couldn't help but blurt out by way of awkward introduction the name of our favorite Seam number, the closing track to 1993's excellent The Problem With Me, "Autopilot." The tune caps the record, which conveys a singular blend of fiery loudness and frozen introspection. It's Mr. Park's lyrics and singing that, despite the big dynamic moments of cymbals crashing, guitars distorting, rock rocking, has likely led to our impression, a false memory, really, that The Problem With Me is a much quieter record than it actually is. And in fact the opposite is true, with the notable exception of the remarkably still, aforementioned album closer. Listening back to the record now, it certainly feels like a rocker, filled with pretty melodies from precisely layered guitars and bass (check out the final moments of "Road To Madrid," for example) coordinated in precise rhythms that count down to explosions of angst and beauty. It's quite a record, and one whose major anniversary should have been celebrated with something better than this blog post. But we do what we can. As do the fine, relatively anonymous people of the Internet, one of whom put all of The Problem With Me on the YouTubes to stream. Access the stream below. The record, released on Touch And Go under the catalog number TG118 lo those many years ago, is still in print and we recommend you purchase a copy for your off-line music listening right here. Park now plays bass for the very fine international slowcore concern Bored Spies, which played in Boston last month and whose debut single can be streamed at and purchased via Bandcamp right here. We have some vague recollection that Bored Spies are working on a full-length, so we've got that to look forward to. But in the meantime, there's always The Problem With Me, a record that sounds like drifting snow on fire and feels like your face does a minute after it's been slapped.