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***PAPA M? Are you serious? The last time we said “Papa M,” it was 2004 and we were talking about a retrospective compilation album! There were no expectations, and none given! Sure, Papa M was attached to some of the 80s–90s greatest no-core records, especially if you consider his imaginary alter ego, one DAVID PAJO. But that was a long time ago! So why then does Highway Songs spill into our ears with a newness, a vitality that only fresh blood can bring? Could it be because of all the blood? David Pajo’s been writing lines on the guitar since he was a bitty little kid. It sustained him through a lot of groups, like MAURICE, SLINT, AERIAL M, TORTOISE, THE FOR CARNATION, and DEAD CHILD. He’s played live too, and on records. And now that he’s grown up to be a bitty little man, what’s he gonna do, change? If you think so, you don’t know Pajo—or as he’s been known to sometimes go, Papa M. The instrumental sounds he’s made in the name of these names implied danger, violence and total alienation, alongside a peaceful, easy, good-willin’ and wide streak of broke-toothed black humor. So, after those classic albums followed by a long silent phase, broken only by a steady stream of sweet (and terrifying) pictures on Instagram, we’ve now got Highway Songs. Sounds pastoral. Bucolic, even. What’s become of the implication of mayhem in this title? Don’t worry. This album could be called “Wreck on the Highway Songs.” Or “Live From an Oxygen Tent.” You get it right away, when “Flatliners” bursts into full metal jackin’, igniting the Pajolian doom-rock inner magma into firey evidence. This is something new again, extra savage—like the kind of record you might record in between a suicide attempt and a severe motorcycle accident. Add in a little time for a few sessions to finish the album AFTER the bike accident, and you are literally talking about Highway Songs! (STREET DATE - 11/11/2016)