This album could’ve been huge. Frontman Jordan Zadorozny was pals with Courtney Love and co-wrote some tracks on Celebrity Skin; August Everywhere was released on Dreamworks Records in 1999, a time when the label was hot thanks to signing Elliott Smith and notable others. But the album tanked, commercially and presumably (as I haven’t heard it mentioned in 8 years since) critically.
And no wonder: Blinker the Star stood far apart from many of the sounds of the era. It’s not an album of worn-out alternative rock cliches, or burgeoning nu-metal, or Third Eye Blind-esque pop/rock. Instead, it’s a huge, surreal, melancholic rock album — the Smashing Pumpkins with less of a sneer or the Flaming Lips on downers.
“Below The Sliding Doors” is both hypnotic and triumphant as it shifts from its arpeggiated verses to a stirring, string-laden chorus. “Your Big Night, Sandy” is taut, sharp — Zadorozny sings in clipped sentences until the slacker chorus. The rockers are all winners, especially the strained, groping “I Am A Fraction.” The ballads are a bit stranger, but even slow suicide anthem “There’s Nowhere You Can Hide” holds up pretty well, all things considered. I’ve grown out of the majority of the records I was listening to back in 1999, but a few of them (Fiona Apple’s When the Pawn…, Ben Folds Five’s The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner) have stuck with me. This is one of them.
Blinker The Star – “Below The Sliding Doors”: mp3
Blinker The Star – “I Am A Fraction”: mp3
(Hear more tracks from August Everywhere on the band’s site)
The Canon, Examined is a continuing series spotlighting the finest records to ever slip through the cracks. For previous installments, click below.