PhileElverum_PhotoKyleJohnson (1)

Will Schube let Ringo Starr hold his red slicker

No, I don’t only listen to Mount Eerie out of some misplaced hope that at some point something will click and Phil Elverum’s new project will conjure up the feelings I once felt while listening to The Microphones. Well, maybe I do. And maybe I only like Mount Eerie because of how seminal The Glow Pt. 2 feels, but that’s fine. Mount Eerie is something different—and that’s a good thing because there’s nothing more aggravating than an artist who plays bad incarnations of a former time under a new moniker. Mount Eerie isn’t as good as The Glow Pt. 2 (the best Microphones record, with It Was Hot, We Stayed Inside a close second) and that too is fine.

Mount Eerie’s catalogue is the sort of dirge-esque cold weather stuff that always seems to come along at the right time; for instance, “”This”, the first single from Elverum’s forthcoming Sauna, arrived after a few inches of unrelenting snow followed by more dreariness blanketed in 20 degree weather that signifies nothing more than the color gray. “This” is both unrelenting and glacial—quite a feat for a track that doesn’t reach the four minute mark. Female voices swirl around a pulsing organ line before Elverum’s shy voice subtly inserts itself without a moment’s notice. Pulsating woodwinds are eerily similar to Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians and a sudden appearance by cascading guitars gives the track a jump solidified by the late appearance of percussion. The release of any Elverum track sans-context is relatively jarring—his music is perhaps perfectly antithetical to the single— but “This”, despite its vague title, is illustrative of Elverum’s mission to compose a soundtrack to winter’s unrelenting grayness (and emotional darkness). Accessible because of its place within this landscape, “This” resembles the long rest so characteristic of those long months.


We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!