Blindsided as if by a punch to the head, Sundowning at the Station, the debut album from Doc Feldman & The LD50, hit me square in the jaw and has not let up. Those head shots are apropos as the songs of Sundowning at the Station belong to the mind. Troubled minds. Trapped minds.
Opening an album with the inner thoughts of a murderer sets a clear tone.
Give me a lethal dose
I just don’t want to know
Where it’s coming from
Or when it’s getting done
Synapses fire, sparking memories of a lost love in “A Texas Moan” before the droning guitar of the standout track, “Alive for Now,” wash over the anguish of life.
I’m alive no thanks to you
You run on ragged
And dodge the truth
Never mind the pain
Never mind the cost
Blues pervade Sundowning at the Station throughout, but none more so than on “Can’t Quit You,” a dirge of Jandek-esque guitar notes punctured by harmonica wails.
Incomprehensible samples are strewn throughout the album. Their use culminating in “Pinecone Drone (An Interlude)” which plays out like a mashup of Depression-era Southern AM radio feeds and serves to segment the two sides of the album.
Thinking back now I still hear you say
How does anybody get so far gone that way?
So what’s the LD50 on that we just took?
Tell me when it’s over I can hardly look
“Cold Tile Floor” opens the second side with a warning shot of empathy, referencing LD50, toxicology speak for a median lethal dose from which Feldman’s partners, James Jackson Toth (Wooden Wand), David Chapman and Jeremiah Floyd, take their name.
If the first half of the album is populated by meandering thoughts verging on finality, the second half is a reconsideration of life. Fuzzed out guitars similar to those of Centro-matic move along the country waltz of “Battle Hymn,” the lone upbeat moment of the album. It’s no surprise it’s a cover, penned by Brothers Lazaroff.
The wishful refrain of “Only Light” and apologetic “Bless this Mess” are moments of clarity that limp towards the tin can vocals of “Weighted” which close out the album before a salvo of feedback blasts Sundowning at the Station into the morning light.
Sundowning at the Station is a soliloquy birthed by solitude, haunted by demons one is powerless to control. Harnessing such thoughts, Doc Feldman & The LD50 meticulously constructed a spiritual kin to Wooden Wand’s Blood Oaths of the New Blues. It’s no surprise both albums are top contenders for album of the year.
Available today through This is American Music, you can stream Sundowning at the Station below.