All photos by David Greenwald
Phil Elverum, man of mystery. Not only would he not allow stage lights (“The fog’s okay”) at the ordinary well-lit Troubadour, but he played a strange set that was neatly split between Mount Eerie-style stuff (a droning sit-down drum circle punctuated by occasional electric guitar chords) and a Microphones-y solo acoustic performance that was short but sweet. The show was sparsely attended, unlike the Beirut gig across town, and served to showcase how much the indie canon of the pre-Garden State era has been forgetten about. In 2001, Elverum’s The Glow Pt. 2 was Pitchfork’s album of the year; now, a P4k “Best New Music” is enough for a band to pack houses across the country. [Continue reading…]
Elverum hasn’t exactly helped himself out, spending the last few years churning out unfocused releases with little fanfare and upsetting the careful balance of gorgeous folk songwriting and lo-fi studio trickery that characterizes his best work. Take “As Good As It Got,” which has been my favorite of his songs since hearing it (you can too) on his ’03 tour. He played it tonight, but he told me after the show he’ll probably never record it: “That song’s too old for me to get excited about.” At 29, Elverum’s still a young musician with a lot of great records left in him – get excited, man!
For what it’s worth, Elverum’s latest project is pretty exciting. It’s a $60 coffee table book of beautiful landscape photos he’s taken on his various journeys – of Olympia, WA’s Mount Eerie, Norway, and beyond – and if you can afford it, it’s well worth a purchase. It comes with a sequel to Elverum’s 2003 album Mount Eerie – Mt. Eerie, Pts. 6 & 7 – which is among the strongest material he’s recorded lately, so go check it out.
Mount Eerie/The Microphones – “As Good As It Got” (live in ’03): mp3
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