JASON MOLINA – ” Eight Gates “

Posted: May 21, 2020 in CLASSIC ALBUMS, MUSIC
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The final studio album from the late, great Jason Molina –  “Eight Gates” (Secretly Canadian) Limited Edition “Shortbread Splash” Red Vinyl LP, Black Vinyl LP, CD

The singer/songwriter, who released his most well-known albums under the alias Songs: Ohia (his indie folk outfit) and then later with his band Magnolia Electric Co. (who were more comfortably classified as country-rock), died way too young at 39 in March of 2013. He struggled with depression and alcoholism for years, the latter of which eventually led to organ failure. His story is a tragic but familiar one: Like Elliott Smith or Kurt Cobain or Amy Winehouse, Molina was a genius who left us too soon.

Thankfully though, like Smith, Cobain and Winehouse, Molina released near-perfect music in the short time he was here. Those aforementioned nine never-before-heard songs will arrive in the form of a new posthumous solo album, Eight Gates, on Friday, August. 7th via the storied indie/folk label Secretly Canadian. The label is releasing Eight Gates under Molina’s name (as opposed to one of the other monikers he used while he was alive), and its arrival was preceded by two singles: “The Mission’s End” and “Shadow Answers the Wall.” Recorded in the late 2000s when the Ohio-born Molina was living in London, Eight Gates is a lo-fi unfinished effort (probably because it was, in fact, never fully finished). It doesn’t feel like enough to constitute an album. But considering that our desire for new Molina music will never actually be satiated, it’s appropriate that Eight Gates leaves us wanting more.

This is a really special one  “Eight Gates” is the final collection of studio recordings made by Jason Molina (also known by Songs Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co.) in 2013, before he passed away from complications around alcoholism. Taking its name from the fabled seven gates in London’s walls, the eighth was Molina’s own way into the city. He was feeding bright green parrots in his yard, descended from ring-necked parakeets Hendrix released over London skies in the ’60s, and making some of the most fully-realised music of his career.

Secretly Canadian announce this new Jason Molina record, Eight Gates, will be released on 7th August and share the track ‘Shadow Answers the Wall’. The album is the last collection of solo recordings Molina made before he passed away from complications related to alcoholism in 2013.

Pre-Order Eight Gates

Sometime in 2006, or 2007, Jason Molina moved from the Midwest to London. Separated from his bandmates and friends, and never one for idleness, Molina explored his new home with fervor. He’d pick up on arcane trivia about London’s rich history, and if the historical factoids weren’t available, or weren’t quite to his liking Molina was quite comfortable conjuring his own history.

When he learned of the London Wall’s seven gates, Molina went ahead and called it eight, carving out a gate just for himself. The eighth gate was Molina’s way into London, a gate only passable in the mind.

Fast-forward to 2008, Molina set off on an experimental solo tour through Europe. While in Northern Italy, Molina claimed to have been bitten by a rare, poisonous spider. A debilitating bout of illness ensued. “I was in the hospital here in London,” Molina wrote in a letter. “Saw six doctors and a Dr. House-type guy. They are all mystified by it, but I am allowed to be at home, where I am taking a dozen scary Hantavirus type pills a day that are all to supposedly help but they make me feel like shit.” There is no record of a single doctor visit, not any prescription record for these medications. It is entirely plausible there was no spider and that whatever was keeping him indoors during this time was entirely self-induced. While at home, he of course wrote songs.

Molina also claimed that during this time, he fed several bright green parrots that would gather in his yard and made short, crude field recordings of them with his trusty four-track. Only once Molina was officially on the mend and re-exploring the streets of London would he learn that those parrots had their own fabled tale. Back in the 60s, Jimi Hendrix — in a moment of psychedelic clarity — released his pair of lime green ring-necked parakeets from their cage, setting them free into the London sky. Now, their descendants are spotted regularly around certain parts of the city. Or so we’re told.

Recorded in London around the time of the supposed spider bite and Jimi’s supposed parakeets, some of the songs on Eight Gates (“Whispered Away,” “Thistle Blue”) are fully-realized — dark, moody textures that call to mind his earlier work on The Lioness. Knowing what we know about those parakeets and their peppered presence on the recordings, one can’t help but think of that colorful tree of birds on Talk Talk’s classic Laughing Stock, certainly a spiritual guide for much of the set. Other songs (“She Says,” “The Crossroads and The Emptiness”) lay in a more unfinished states, acoustic takes that call to mind Molina’s Let Me Go Let Me Go Let Me Go, and still tethered to Molina’s humorous studio banter. You remember how young Molina was, and how weighty this art was for such a young man. On the closer, “The Crossroads and The Emptiness,” Molina snaps at the engineer before tearing into a song in which he sings of his birthday (30th December), a palm reading and the great emptiness with which he always wrestled. It is a perfect closer and, in many ways, the eighth gate incarnate: mythical, passable only in the mind, built for himself and partway imaginary but shared, thankfully, with us

“Shadow Answers the Wall” by Jason Molina, from the upcoming record ‘Eight Gates’ out August 7th, 2020 on Secretly Canadian.


  1. Whisper Away
  2. Shadow Answers the Wall
  3. The Mission’s End
  4. Old Worry
  5. She Says
  6. Fire on the Rail
  7. Be Told the Truth
  8. Thistle Blue
  9. The Crossroad + The Emptiness

One quality that differentiates Molina from those other lost names, though, is that he was never really famous. He played small shows and roughed it for most of his career. In death, however, his songs have taken on a mystical quality—In 2014, a host of artists like My Morning Jacket and Sarah Jaffe shared fresh takes on his songs for a covers album called Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina. Since then, even more artists have come forward as Molina disciples: Kevin Morby and Waxahatchee covered two Songs: Ohia classics for a split single in 2018, “Just Be Simple” is a staple in The Avett Brothers’ live show and Amanda Shires covered that same song in our studio a couple years back. Hopefully Eight Gates will lead even more Americana-minded musicians down the long trail of breadcrumbs Molina left behind.

The Broken Beauty of Jason Molina’s Final Album, <i>Eight Gates</i>

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