By Mike Faloon
This past winter was really hard on our house. The pipes froze and our basement flooded when the snow melted and the ice thawed. Our back patio was ruined by the water and salt. The first two estimates we received were too expensive but we had to do something. As the cement dissolved—it was basically turning to sand with each successive rainstorm—the edges of the slate became exposed. Our friends recommended Lou for the job.
The first time I met Lou half of his face was black and blue from a four-wheeler accident. He came over to check out the patio and give us an estimate. He talked about the accident but he never took out a tape measure. He walked around, sized up the patio and said he'd think it over for a couple of days. There seemed to be more intuition than math involved. I'd have been really skeptical but our friends swore by Lou. He called back a few days later. His estimate was a third less than the others. He was going to use sand for the drainage and planned to reuse a lot of the slate.
I was going to be working at home and felt a little uneasy about having someone out back even if I was working inside. I never really know what to do in those situations. How often should I offer something to drink? Am I interrupting their work if I talk? Am I rude if I don't'? When I went outside Lou stopped working and started talking. That's to be expected with Lou and it's nice knowing. I feel more at ease that way.
I never know what's going to come up with Lou. We might talk about what to do with the oak tree that fell in our backyard a couple weeks ago. Or we might talk about his friend who's working on a treatment for Lyme disease or his son who has this undiagnosed sleeping disorder where he simply can't be woken up sometimes.
Summer of Indifference isn't as unpredictable as conversations with Lou but it's close. The album is increasingly easy to enjoy and equally difficult to peg. How did I miss the jangly guitar that runs on and off throughout in "Through the Foam" or the twangy guitar on "The Ocean's Skin"? Maybe there's a pattern here. Rather than write a grunge song or a pop song they wrote songs that merge both, and more. (If I'd heard Summer of Indifference back in high school I'd have pegged Black Wine as a metal band, especially the guitar riff on "End of Days" or the lurching "castles will crumble!" tom-toms on "Hand.")
I started to pick up on the lyrics, too. "I'll be home to the planet with no season" ("No Season"). Maybe I'll take out the lyric sheet tomorrow.
In the meantime, I traded emails with Jeff from Black Wine. "No pitch or beat correction on this record (though we did record to computer instead of tape this time), but I felt that we only needed to be obnoxious and confrontational the first time. I don't know if I told you about the original note, but it was gonna be 'If you use Auto-Tune, you're an asshole,' but we decided to soften it a bit. My 'If I Become President' list is first banning all guns, then criminalizing Autotune."
From Learning to Surf, a one-shot music zine by Mike Faloon.