The Grand Forks, ND songwriter June Panic began recording brooding, dense bedroom folk songs on his four tracks in the early nineties. Secretly Canadian is releasing a compilation titled Songs From Purgatory of this earliest work.
It's a profound gesture, with the label celebrating its tenth (or 11th) anniversary with the SC100 compilation, coupled with the fact that June Panic was the label's first CD (hand-assembled by founders Chris Swanson and Jonathon Cargill in the latter's living room). Amazingly, that release was June's seventh “proper” full-length work (clocking in at 90-minutes long), brewed during a “post-Nirvana craze” that had stirred North Dakota into a vibrant music scene.
The master tapes that make up the upcoming box set were left in his parent's basement for many years, during which a flood all but destroyed them. It took a significant restoration effort to render them into their current state.
June has been noted for his thoughtful lyricism and his proclivity to combine his passion for philosophy with his song craft. In 2003, June Panic had this to say to agricouture:
I'm reading these books I brought with me…stuff about psychotherapy. I'm reading a guy called Zizek. I guess you'd call him a philosopher; he's sort of a Marxist, Lacanian philosopher, I don't know. The main guy I constantly go back to is Wittgenstein. I read a lot of Heidegger. I actually wrote a song for him that will be on my new album. I'm reading some essays by T.S. Eliot, Emerson, a lot of Thoreau and stuff like that; a guy named Godeau.
Listen to a recent Prairie Public Radio interview with Secretly Canadian's Chris Swanson and June here.