Something Like An Anomoanon
They make the kind of music that’s playing at the bonfire you show up at in Jersey.
Photo by James Finch.
The last decade brought a lot of embarrassing Bonnie Prince Pretenders out of the woodwork, but the only warbler who matches Will Oldham note for note is, of course, his older brother Ned. And Ned’s got a band called the Anomoanon, who look and sound like smart, woodsy stoners that dabble in Nixon-era presidential speechwriting and carpentry when they’re not on tour. They make the kind of music that’s playing at the bonfire you show up at in Jersey. Only it doesn’t look like Jersey. It looks like upstate New York. And you don’t need beer, cuz you’re older now and you prefer wine.
VICE: There’s a line on your record Asleep Many Years in the Woods: “The future depends on you kicking back.” Is that your motto?
Ned: Well, there’s a threefold meaning to “kicking back,” and all three were running through my mind when I wrote it. 1) During the dawn of the internet, our drummer told me that he had just checked out some internet porn for the first time. And he said, “Yeah, it’s just some beautiful ladies kickin’ back.” 2) Of course, it is also just kickin’ back on the couch. 3) Kickin’ back if someone kicks you.
Was it easy to stay out of trouble in Louisville, where you grew up?
It was easy not to get into trouble. Although we did get into some trouble. We got caught spray painting. Not by the law, just by people who knew who we were. We were spray painting our band’s name on their property. That was a band called Languid and Flaccid, with (Slint dudes) Britt Walford and Brian McMahon and…no one else famous.
What about getting high? You’re not going to tell me there wasn’t doobage in Kentucky high schools.
High school and college, for me, were times to do a lot of drugs. There are useful drugs and you sort of take stock of your experiences with them over a period of years. And years. Then you say to yourself, there are some valuable ones left, but this one has worn out its welcome with me—at least if I have to buy it.
The Anomoanon’s Asleep Many Years in the Woods is out now on Temporary Residence, and their Envoi Villon is available on Galaxia. Both are sublime.
What do you think of Erik Lavoie?
Ned: He’s got a Telly Savalas-in-high- school thing going on. If you unloosen your eyes on the image and let it go 2-D, he looks like a cartoon caricature of Bruce Springsteen circa ’78.