Blue Corpse cover

If , like me, you spend any amount of time exploring the byways of New Weird America it won’t be long before you encounter the name of Jandek. More often than not the tone is reverent and protective – an open secret that has to spoken of in a respectful manner.

The world of Corwood Industries from where all these curious releases derive is shrouded in mystery. No interviews. No publicity. The enigma of the unknown is certainly part of the lure for music obsessives – is Jandek the name of a man or a group?, what kind of life does he/do they lead to inspire such ominous sounding recordings?

What makes this music so singular is the way it expresses a non cathartic rage and deeply dark sense of alienation. It is not easy listening and if it was just a couple of albums Jandek would be dismissed as a joke. But there are to date around 50 albums and the joke isn’t funny anymore.

I am by no means a Jandek expert at just 8 albums (and counting) but I’ve already heard enough to be hooked. To help on the steep learning curve, Seth Tisue’s Guide to Jandek is invaluable but at some point it’s also a journey that also has to taken alone.

The music is loose and amateurish in a way which reminds me of early Fall and late Julian Cope but at the same time it sounds like nothing on earth. The singer may just be the loneliest man on the planet. I know I ought to listen to more affirmative music but somehow I keep going back to this desolate and utterly compelling music – it’s like a scab you know it would be best to leave alone but can’t help picking.

The 8 albums I have are (with their Corwood ID – beginning, for no obvious reason at 0739):

0739 Ready For The House (1978 – debut album originally credited to ‘The Units’)

0742 Chair Beside The Window (1982)

0747 Interstellar Discussion (1984)

0749 Foreign Keys (1985)

0752 Modern Dances (1987)

0753 Blue Corpse (1987)

0779 Glasgow Sunday (2005)

0784 What Else Does The Time Mean? (2006)