There are those band break-ups that you can spot coming from a mile away, and those that blindside you. Somewhere in between lies the news of the disbanding of Canadian folk/punk mainstays The Weakerthans. The band hasn't been the most active in the past 8 years or so, but have still done some festival circuit touring (as well as singer John K. Samson's excellent 2012 solo record Provincial) and never really hinted at any sort of band conflict.
Dan Ozzi at Vice did an excellent job eulogizing the band, but I still feel the need to put my two cents in about the band. When explained on paper, The Weakerthans seem as if they're directed right into that sappy, primordial sludge that is the world of 2000's emo punk. Melodic pop-leaning songs sung by humble guys who buy their sweaters a couple sizes too big so they can wear their heart on their sleeves just a little bit more prominently. (Even writing that grosses me out.) Something about The Weakerthans was different, though. While the music may not have thrown a ton of challenges into the fray, John Samson's lyrics are flat out masterpieces. Maybe it was the phase of my life I was in (leaving college, joining the work force, finally becoming a grown adult and dealing with the gravity of family getting older, growing away from friends, the blessing/curse of unaccounted-for time, and that pining for home that we all fight for the rest of our lives after leaving the nest), but Samson's lyrics summarized so much of what I was feeling at that moment in so much more beautiful and poetic ways than I was ever capable of. He never wrote songs from some overly dramatic, damaged place like so many bands did. He never sounded desperate. He always sounded dignified.Read More