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MIDWIFE "No Depression In Heaven" LP

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📅 Release Date: September 06, 2024

Please note that this is a pre-order item. All items ordered along with this item will be shipped around its release date.

GENRE - Alternative
RECORD LABEL - The Flenser

“If rock n roll’s a dream, please don’t wake me.” 

Midwife’s No Depression In Heaven, her fourth studio album, was written primarily in the back of vans while on tour, endlessly, over the course of the past few years. The record engages with the contemplative spirit of rock n roll from within a body in motion.

No Depression In Heaven explores themes of sentimentality, the interplay between dreams, memory, and fantasy, and a familiar subject seen throughout all of Midwife’s work: grief. Madeline Johnston takes a look at the tender and transcendent underneath a hard exterior of leather and studs, exposing a different side of the heavy music scene, where Johnston’s project has been living and evolving.

Recording at home in New Mexico between 2021 and 2023, Johnston aimed to create something that was rough around the edges, returning to a free recording process that was less focused on perfection and more attuned to expressing the spirit that lives inside of the songs. The album features collaborations with Chris Adolf and Michael Stein of American Culture, Ben Schurr and Tim Jordan of Nyxy Nyx, Angel Diaz of Vyva Melinkolya, and Allison Lorenzen.

Inspired by ephemeral moments that make up life on tour, the totemization of vehicles, outlaws, and the psyche of America’s underbelly,No Depression In Heaven affirms Johnston’s existential status as a woman of the highway.

“Vanessa” is a love song for Johnston’s dying van, while “Killdozer” is an ode to a city lost in the aftermath of gentrification. The latter centers on the story of Marvin Heemeyer, a muffler repair shop owner who went on a demolition spree in a modified bulldozer before killing himself in a small Colorado town in 2004. “Droving” is a memorial to departed souls, particularly those who in their lives were pillars of the music community which Johnston herself has helped to hold up for more than a decade. “It’s about the transient nature of what we do,” Johnston says. “Our bodies are vessels –– our bodies are, together, a vessel, a vehicle, and that togetherness allows us to become something larger than ourselves in the slipstream of the unconscious, droving.” 

The fleeting moments are beads which might otherwise sit separate or scatter, but something like collective participation in an underground scene, or a series of 25 performances in 25 cities over the course of a month, has the power to string together these otherwise disparate or spectral elements.

The album’s title was inspired by The Carter Family song, “No Depression In Heaven,” which speaks about the Great Depression and the mental state of depression interchangeably, drawing a direct line between the human condition on earth and emotional depression. Johnston may or may not believe that it’s literally possible to leave depression behind in the act of passing on, but she certainly believes that to thread the string, to weave and link the memories of lost friends, scenes, songs, and experiences: one has to trace the highway.

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