I Can Hear Music


Gatefold triple LP version with full-color innersleeves. Reissue of the legendary second album by the solo project of James McNew (Yo La Tengo) from 1994. Re-mastered by Bob Weston (Shellac, Mission Of Burma). This album has not been available for ages and is now released on vinyl for the first time. Contains bonus material. "Some people complain that friends today are made with mouse clicks -- as if it was more personal in the '90s. James McNew, for example, became a good friend of mine in 1994. Never mind I hadn't even talked to the guy -- hell, he covered Jandek AND the Silver Apples. We had so much in common. James McNew is a fan boy. If the name-drop-list ranging from Albert Ayler to Young Marble Giants included with his first 45 didn't tell you that, the blazing in his eyes when a name like The Shaggs was uttered, certainly did. Yet McNew is not obsessed with obscurity but with music. When his debut album Superpowerless (MORR 115CD/LP) appeared in 1993, the choice of covers ranged from Sun Ra to that tune Audrey Hepburn serenaded to millions of movie-watchers, 'Moon River.' While McNew's high, sexy voice might be 'superpowerless,' his ears certainly are not. It's been the intimate sound of a four-track recorder that tied these different angles of his eclectic taste together. Yes, Dump was part of the lo-fi-generation. Nothing makes that clearer than the bonus tracks to his follow-up album I Can Hear Music. Recorded during the infamous Dutch Fast Forward Festival in 1994 in -- naturally -- a living room, it contains all that was great about the few short moons of tape-hiss: collaborations triggered not even remotely by virtuosity (had Chris Knox ever played trumpet before that afternoon?); cardboard boxes as bass-drums; the victory of enthusiasm over perfection (have Half Japanese been covered with more empathy?); Barbara Manning. The only thing that wasn't quite right about these first two Dump albums was the format. But as justice doesn't know age, it's good to see these CDs finally being pressed on vinyl. They deserve it. --Gregor Kessler, Hamburg, December 2012