I Need to Start a Garden

I knew bet­ter than to skip out on Haley Heynderickx’s recent live show in Port­land while I was still around, but friends from home were able to see her here, where she appar­ent­ly slipped up on a line once or twice in the most charm­ing way — you know the kind of wor­ry that’s spurned by brute force earnest­ness in the present day: it’s a pan­ic that screams pro­tect the fuck­ing sweet­heart! The mad world is com­ing! Though even if one should wish to belit­tle her so, the chal­lenge would be a steep one. Any human being respon­si­ble for blend­ing such sin­cer­i­ty with metic­u­lous the­o­ry and 100%-fresh song­writ­ing is of a qual­i­ty your lazy ass would be bonkers to deride.

I’m not here to review I Need to Start a Gar­den, because that’d be futile and redun­dant. The estab­lish­ment music media man­aged to see the mag­ic — even NPR pub­lished an album review along with Pitch­fork, Pop­Mat­ters, The Young Folks, and Haley’s home­town Mer­cury. I am here only to make sure those of you like me who are made very uncom­fort­able by most indie folk — espe­cial­ly from the North­west — set aside your assump­tions for at least a few min­utes to give this LP a chance, because it is absolute­ly brim­ming with the sub­stance I spent a whole year whin­ing about nev­er being able to find in Pot­land. Ms. Heyn­d­er­ickx proves through her song­writ­ing, alone, that she has a place among the cir­cle of folk sto­ry­tellers and riv­er sages remain­ing con­tent­ly in the bilges of rur­al Amer­i­ca, but this thing is so much more. She has clear­ly suf­fered, but the insight she’s able to effec­tive­ly con­vey so ethe­re­al­ly is not some­thing young human beings should ignore or take for grant­ed.

I just spent a good por­tion of the night prepar­ing a con­densed mix of the album for a friend’s school album analy­sis pre­sen­ta­tion. As we scrolled through 7 of its 8 tracks, the true tech­ni­cal mas­tery involved in the pro­duc­tion of the work became much more appar­ent than it had been at first lis­ten, just after its release all those months ago. Not that I’m try­ing to sug­gest that the indie scene needs “tech­ni­cal pol­ish” — the mon­ey is in those words and arrange­ments, babies — just that I hadn’t rec­og­nized the scent of obses­sion until I sat down in front of the wave­forms to rearrange the lot. It seems to me that most indie folk in the Unit­ed States right now is com­ing from trust fund hip­pies and asso­ci­at­ed cousins of their par­tic­u­lar hypocrisy. From my per­spec­tive, there’s no way to be a worse musi­cian, and far too much young white breath is blown on a com­plete waste of time, but Haley Heyn­d­er­ickx has some­thing to say which I can stand behind with zero cyn­i­cism or reluc­tance. Instead, it’s impor­tant that we uplift art­work like I Need to Start a Gar­den so that the people’s music can resume aspir­ing for bet­ter health.

Worth It” is our favorite track.