2009 was my first foray into the musical world of the roadside graves. i had a brief affair with their if shacking up is all you want to do, but maybe i just wasnt ready for em? i maybe listened to it a half a dozen times, then just stopped. 2009 brought me their minor classic and my favorite record from that year, my sons home. a sprawling 18 track opus comprised of familiar themes, but set in situations/stories that probably arent for everyone, but they touch a nerve/heartstring nonetheless. that is if you let em, but you have to an open mind and put yourself in the shoes of the characters they created. 18 songs is a lot of songs and its quite an undertaking especially if you want keep the attention of the listener. suffice it to say, my sons home is as the saying goes “all killer, no filler.” wilco barely pulled it off, roadside graves did with flying colours.
this year they put out we can take care of ourselves, which is a concept record based on s.e. hinton’s 1965 novel “the outsiders.” yes, they also made it into a movie starring every 80’s actor you could imagine, or at least it seems that way. a record based off a novel originally published 40+ years ago which revolves around two sets of socioeconomically opposed white “gangs” and their dealings with each other and themselves? not an easy sell, but the beauty of we can take care of ourselves is that you dont have to know anything about the story to appreciate the tale – this is of course a concept record after all. shit, you dont even have to listen to it as a whole, although thats the way it should be listened to. the songs are so freakin strong that they can stand on their own and in a perfect world there would be 6 or 7 singles that should be blazing up some perfect world chart. much like my sons home, everything seems in its right place and the ebb and flow of the record is damn near perfect. i cant name another band out there, or at least that i have heard, that have mastered this art as well as roadside graves. if there are only two records you listen to based on my recommendations this year, let this be one and the mount moriah record. this is not to take away from any other records i have in my top 10 or other shit i have dug, but me thinks these two need the most help and need to be heard.