Oh, 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.