High School: Clear Red Vinyl LPSB059LPC1
Label: Spacebomb Recordings
Release Date: 22nd July
In this shopkeeper's opinion there are fewer better songwriter's at the moment than Tim Heidecker, who is also one of the funniest men on the planet as one half of Tim & Eric. Not only has he got a turn of phrase that Dylan would nod in approval, it's usually also pretty funny and not only is it funny but it has a sense of being a human, a warmth, an understanding and all the while, the music is absolutely lovely. This is a record about Tim chatting to his teenage self and reflecting on high school.
For those who dig: the great American songwriter, which Tim is also in, Alex Cameron, Silver Jews and Purple Mountains, Hayden Pedigo and Mac Demarco who both have a hand in this record.
Since 2016, Tim Heidecker has chronicled the annals of adulthood on a series of supreme singer-songwriter albums. The crushing devastation of divorce and the existential malaise of middle-age, the minutiae of home ownership and the ritual of family vacation, child rearing and global warming: Heidecker has handled it all with humor and heart. But, there’s one pivotal lodestar of human development he has yet to mine that’s right, High School.
First single “Buddy” is a composite of a few woebegone friends, which finds Heidecker reminiscing on the familiar tragedy of the adolescent stoner, manifesting the destiny of undiagnosed depression and parents who didn’t care much. The song itself is a jangly delight, but it’s hard not to mourn for “Buddy,” then re-count whatever blessings you may have.
After initial and fruitful sessions with Jonathan Rado, Heidecker started recording tunes with DeMarco and Erickson, who had also worked on 2020’s collaboration with Weyes Blood, Fear of Death. At DeMarco’s studio, they added drum machines and synths and sidewinding solos to Heidecker’s big strummed chords. Johnson (Bonny Light Horseman, Fruit Bats) helped Heidecker finesse the tunes even more, making the music as rich as the feelings. Kurt Vile contributed to one song, as well. Through all those sessions, it slowly became clear: Heidecker was writing not only about the adventures and misadventures of life as a Pennsylvania teen in the early ’90s, but also how it felt to lose a juvenile sense of mystery and possibility as an adult. He was writing about high school and, really, the way it helped shape everything else.
Back at Pennsylvania’s Allentown Central Catholic High School, Heidecker dreamed of making it with one of his many rock bands — Time and Other Things, Shaggy’s Beltbuckle, and (incredibly) The Pulsating Libidos. Two years shy of his graduating class’ 30th anniversary, Heidecker admits he had little of substance to say when he was 17, like all but the rarest of precocious minds. In college, though, he found the friends with whom he built his comedy career, largely apart from music and without much thought for his time back at Central Catholic. He was focused on his future. It is fitting, then, that as Heidecker has become such a delightful singer-songwriter and collaborator, he returns to the first scene of his time as a musician. Maybe he’s right — he didn’t have anything to say or sing about life back then. But across the earnest and amusing High School, he finds plenty to say about those weird and wonderful and ordinary times.