Smog: Knock Knock
1999, Drag City
Long before he was releasing albums under his actual name, I loved Bill Callahan as Smog. And of all the albums he released under that pseudonym, I love Knock Knock best. Knock Knock is the seventh record from Callahan, and a well-groomed version of his consistently lo-fi ventures. With his signature baritone voice, songs about love (“Held”), youth and ultimately, escape (“Let’s Move to the Country” and “I Could Drive Forever”), swirl over bass lines and explode. While it’s an extreme departure from his earlier lo-fi and experimental sound like 1992’s Forgotten Foundation, it’s still rough enough to lure in anyone who loved his earlier work.
My favorite song on the album, however, is “Teenage Spaceship” – something about the lyrics and imagery of “Landing at night/I was beautiful with all my lights/Loomed so large on the horizon/So large, people thought my windows were stars,” will always haunt me. It’s also in this song, that is, in itself an ode to youth, that he references his 1990 debut, Sewn to the Sky, in the very last line. It’s an endearing moment to say the least.
By: Amanda Chatel
“Teenage Spaceship,” from Knock Knock: