Okay, I was trying very hard not to listen to any songs off of next Tuesdays' FNM record Sol Invictus but I'll admit I've slipped. Now, as of a few days ago the album is streaming in its entirety on NPR - I've managed to resist that because I've really been looking forward to making this a "Day it's released" record store trip to Fingerprints in Long Beach. Day of acquisitions aren't the easiest events to plan and pull off these days, what with the internet being our dread overlord and master, however I've always been one to cherish the experience of first hearing a new album by a band I love as a whole entity and not fragmented songs, so I sometimes have to fight pretty hard against the net and myself in this age of media frenzy. Spoilers, early releases and bootlegs wait around every corner of our increasingly virtual world. And because of this that fight for a perfect first listen has increasingly required me to do things that are sometimes baffling to others, i.e. driving around with QOTSA's ... Like Clockwork for almost a day without ever listening to it in the spring of 2013, or running from a room at work when the lead single off of NIN's Hesitation Marks dropped that same year. That said, when the first song off Faith's first album in 18 years dropped last November I couldn't help myself - I jumped on it right away. I mean, 18 years.
18 YEARS. Shessh.
Since Motherfucker though, I've tried to avoid all the subsequent tracks as they've surfaced, officially (Superhero) or unofficially (any of the live performances captured by concertgoers that have been appearing in varying degrees of quality for about the last year). Then a few weeks ago my co-host on Drinking with Comics Mike Wellman and I saw Faith at LA's Wiltern Theatre and afterward, pumped from the show and hammered from an endless quaff of ale, Mike played me a leak of the entire album. I protested and he ignored - as I said we'd been drinking so I was crashing at his pad and thus, I really didn't have a choice. I mean, I guess I could have left the room but we still had a few bottles of Sierra Nevada we'd picked up as a night cap and the fridge was in listening distance of his stereo so you know, what could I do?
In the end I remember next to nothing of this first, premature experience with Sol Invictus except that I liked what I heard and likened it to the next logical step after 1997's Album of the Year; like Bauhaus in 2006 or The Pixies in 2014 FNM seems to have perfectly picked back up where they left off. And although I've had moments of weakness, due to a pretty memorable night - or not memorable I guess - I've kind of been granted a second chance for that uninterrupted, environment-controlled first listen I'll get to have next Tuesday when the first album in 18 years from one of my all-time favorite bands - a band I really didn't think we'd ever get another album from - drops.
Life is good. And to prove it, here's Faith on the Tonight Show a couple days ago. The Tonight Show? Did they ever score that gig back in the day?