Morning Music: Sadcore and American Music Club

American Music Club CaliforniaOh, I know these bands usually hate the label, but let’s do a week of sadcore music. As AllMusic put it, “Primarily an extension of alternative/independent rock, Sadcore is slow, fragile and gut-wrenching music made by and for the depressed.” And let’s start with what I think of as the ultimate sadcore band, American Music Club.

I spent years listening to almost nothing but American Music Club. This was the last couple of years they were together. (They got back together later.) Now they say that depression is repressed anger. That very much fits American Music Club. Some of their music is unhinged like “Bad Liquor” and other of it is hilarious, even if depressing, like “The Hula Maiden.” But most of it is sad at a very deep level.

To give you an idea, we’ll listen to “Blue and Grey Shirt” off their album, California. (Generally a fan favorite.) As far as I know, it is about a friend of Mark Eitzel who had just died of AIDS. Eitzel is, after all, a gay man. And American Music Club was a San Francisco band. And it was 1988. It includes the line, “Now I just sing my songs for people that are gone.” Of course, the song is broader than that. It has the line, “I’m tired of being a spokesman for every tired thing.”

As usual, it isn’t just Eitzel’s writing. His work away from American Music Club (specifically Mark Pankler, known simply as Vudi) is never as good. Even if you couldn’t hear the lyrics of song, you would still get it. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful. And just heartbreaking.

9 thoughts on “Morning Music: Sadcore and American Music Club

  1. Cover looks like a cast photo of a show like Criminal Minds or Numbers….also gloomy, downcast groups of men.
    Not bad. You know my preference runs to depressed and tacky, like Loudon Wainwright.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Yeah, that are pretty gloomy. I think two of the guys there are now dead from cancer. Vudi is a bus driver in LA by day, and does the band with Eitzel by nights. But I don’t know what they are doing, given that the last album was in 2008. I don’t listen to them like I used to, but I never get tired of their work. Another thing about Eitzel that you ought to like is that he does this lounge lizard thing on songs like “The Hula Maiden” and “Johnny Mathis’ Feet.” You should check them out!

    • Ha! That did occur to me, “I already have a lot depressed readers…” But you see, as AllMusic said, it is music by the depressed, for the depressed, of the depressed. We should start a kingdom: Depresslandia.

  2. Well, that’s settled. I think we should ask for the territory of Rhode Island for our settlement….there should be no lack of like-mindeds there.

    Re: Wainwright….. “Rufus is tit man, sucking on his mommas gland. Sucking on that nipple itsa sweeter than the ripple wine…” But Loudon provided primarily fame and frustrated-motivation. The music side of the family is the ex-wifes side of the family, The McGarrigles. Loudon openly declares he was mostly an absent father. is one of his declarations.
    I do prefer the music of his off-spring though.

    • Wait. Are you saying that you prefer Rufus to Loudon? That comes as something of a shock to me, given that I’ve always considered you a huge fan. I know you think he’s kind of a dick because of that concert, but still. Rufus? I have no problem with that. They are both exceptional talents. But it’s a surprise.

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