Pat Jordache's lo-fi masterpiece Future Songs gets reissued by Constellation Records
In the spring of 2010, months before he played Pop Montreal and SXSW, before he signed to Constellation Records and readied the reissue that erupts at Discothèque Tropicale this week, Pat Gregoire lost his album. He lost the whole thing. He had the album on his laptop and then he left that laptop at Smoke Meat Pete’s, in the West Island, on the same day he failed his driving test.
The thief plucked both the Macbook Pro as well as the sessions for Future Songs. And Gregoire’s passport. "It was," Gregoire admits, "a bummer."
Twelve months later, the theft of Future Songs‘ master tapes seems like it was meant to be. Gregoire had spent almost two years preparing his solo debut, the follow-up to his work in Islands and the late, great Sister Suvi. He took on the name Pat Jordache, recorded mostly at home, and messed with filigree guitar, swampy bass, a thirsty croon and bass clarinet. When that loser made off with his hard work, Gregoire was left with only a shitty MP3 version he had accidentally set aside – 160 kbps, half the fidelity of what you get at iTunes. "It was one of those things that’s catastrophic for a split second," Gregoire says. ""But then you realize, all the work and all that fussing is over. You’ve got to just put whatever you got out into the world."
So Pat Jordache released his low-res masterpiece online, via the website Bandcamp, and on cassette tape ("It’s cheap, it’s three-dimensional"). This version of Future Songs was "a photocopy of a fucking sketch… hence the pay-what-you-can policy." Pat Jordache became a band, borrowing members from Shapes and Sizes, Ghettonuns and Silly Kissers. And they went on tour. And then, wouldn’t you know it, they became a hit.
Because there’s a singular thrill to the music of Pat Jordache. The band has two drummers, intricate guitar lines, Gregoire’s sloopy baritone. It’s screwed pop, muddy doo-wop, "damaged 80s soft rock" evoking Ariel Pink, Arthur Russell and Gregoire’s former Sister Suvi bandmate Tune-Yards. "It was totally just [bloggers] and this groundswell around our live shows, and that was it," Gregoire recalls. The stats would come up in Bandcamp and he says he’d wonder, "Who the hell is this person in Iowa who’s ordering my shit?"
Around this time, Constellation came calling. The label of Godspeed and Silver Mt. Zion "were into the tape," Gregoire remembers with a certain marvel. Thanks to their turn-of-the-century success, those punk rockers "set up this town for the next 15 years. They set up all these things that are still thriving."
This month, Constellation is re-releasing Future Songs on CD and 180g vinyl. After some Internet archaeology, Gregoire even dug up ancient audio files, allowing Grey Market’s Harris Newman to remaster "that turd of an MP3 compressed self-master job" into a "sweet, polished-down" treasure. Pat Jordache launches the record on April 21, with dates at Sled Island, SappyFest and Hillside, plus a tour with Tune-Yards, to follow.
And as for new recordings? Gregoire leans back and shrugs. "I’ve been backing-up pretty religiously."
w/ Play Guitar, Mozart’s Sister
At Discothèque Tropicale (6512 Avenue du Parc),