November 13, 2003

Test Spin: June Panic

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Over the past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Johnson Museum of Art’s Winter Exhibit reception. I arrived at the function alone, as I had no particular reason for going, save for wasting time and procrastinating. All I knew was that I would get some free food and the opportunity to enjoy some art. And indeed, the installation by Stephen Hendee was a sight to behold, in its entire psychedelic ’80s sci-fi movie glory.

Within minutes of entering the art museum, any fears of showing up alone vanished. I enjoyed the rest of the evening splendidly, taking in the art, enjoying the food, and finding personal delight in watching the jazz musicians. I even ran into some casual friends and acquaintances who provided some refreshing, albeit mostly unneeded, conversation. In short, I enjoyed myself.

This is the music of June Panic on Hope You Fail Better. His songs are of the variety that should be played on a Friday night when you want to do some reading or on a Sunday night when you would rather bake a pumpkin pie than work. His dreamlike melodies mostly invoke feelings of an unending procession of self-realization, with every verse precipitously hanging onto another epiphany, allowing each listener to partake in a highly personal journey with this Dylan-esque North Dakota bred singer/songwriter. A pondering stroll characterized by such notably surreal lyrics as “Though we only wanted to catalogue stars / it’s only natural to be part. / It’s automatic!” from “Expensive Attic.” And in all of these musical and lyrical abstractions, we somehow find solace.

Archived article by Matthew Nagowski