a review of Sun Kil Moon’s latest record, I Also Want to Die in New Orleans (Caldo Verde Records, 2019)
My mother and I drive from Los Angeles to a suburb outside San Francisco because her father is dying. At least he thinks he’s dying. His bladder has stage three cancer and his blood pressure is bad and he’s losing weight. But the doctors say that with radiation he could last a few more years. The cancer moves slow.
We’re on the 101, just beyond King City, and I’m listening to the new Sun Kil Moon album, I Also Want to Die in New Orleans. She isn’t. I’m wearing headphones, even though she wants to talk, because I told her I’m writing a review of the album. My mother is very small. She grips the wheel tightly. She hunches forward when I tell her, “My friend Joey at The Nervous Breakdown asked me to review the new Sun Kil Moon album so I’m listening to it now, on headphones.” She’s only okay with me putting on headphones if I frame it as “a career thing.” She likes to talk to me (not about her dying father) and it’s not like I’m home very often or the best at sharing things about my life on the phone, or in person. Sometimes I don’t know if my mother trusts me. Like her, I don’t particularly like her dying father. But I think, maybe because she says I have his eyes, that she worries some nasty part of him will continue living on inside of me. And that scares her. The car is a BMW SUV.