Mount Eerie – Wind’s Poem (P.W. Elverum & Sun) 2LP

January 28, 2010 at 9:00 am 12 comments

Mount Eerie - Wind's Poem

Mount Eerie - Wind's Poem

This album could be seen as being part of indie rock’s minor creative renaissance, which has been noted on this here blog and elsewhere. Truth be told though, Phil Elverum – aka The Microphones aka Mount Eerie – has been making startlingly original modifications to the indie rock template for years now. He just hasn’t received anything like the level of recognition he deserves.

So, while the current upsurge of indie creativity may not be responsible for the brilliance of Elverum’s latest album, it must have contributed to the unprecedented level of critical attention the album has received.

Wind’s Poem has certainly garnered a fair amount of critical adulation. What’s been overlooked in the rush to recognize Elverum’s singular vision is that this album is, to an extent, a collaboration with Nick Krgovich of No Kids. This is a shame because Nick is another indie visionary who deserves more respect and attention than he gets.

It’s easy to understand though. Wind’s Poem is a million miles away from No Kids’ breezy, R&B-inflected chamber pop. Influenced by Elverum’s avowed love of black metal, many of the album’s songs are smothered by pitch-black sheets of heavy guitar drone. Topped off with Eleverum and Krgovich’s fey vocals, the results are actually rather more like a self-consciously literate take on Tremolo/Loveless-era My Bloody Valentine than anything genuinely metallic.

But even the album’s quieter moments, like “My Heart is Not at Peace”, have a deeply disquieting undertow of low-end boom. Eleverum and Krgovich are both artists based in the Pacific North-West and Wind’s Poem really does sound like the organic voice of that region’s wooded wilds. This sense is reinforced by the album’s multiple Twin Peaks references – most obviously on “Between Two Mysteries”.

The rich complexity of the album’s words, music and production is carried right through to its packaging – two clear vinyl LPs housed inside a lavish, bronze-embossed gatefold sleeve. This is an album you need to own and you can buy it at Insound.

Entry filed under: avant rock, MP3s, reviews. Tags: , , .

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. optimistic_tour  |  January 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Nice write up. Glad to see you mentioned Twin Peaks (notice he even says the name in the lyrics of that song? Or maybe it’s the following track) as that is the hook I’ve used to get a few different friends into the album lately. They weren’t very knowledgable about current music or Elverum especially, but mention of the Lynchian influences got them on the ball, and now they’re avowed fans. PS clear vinyl 2lp in a bronze-embossed sleeve?! Shit I need to buy that.

  • 2. Biggie Samuels  |  January 28, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I’d be interested to know if it was Nick Krgovich who got Phil into Twin Peaks. Certainly, Nick is a huge fan. Full disclosure: He’s a friend of mine and he actually leant me the TP DVD set a couple of years ago. I’ll have to ask him about this.

  • 3. Mark E. Rich  |  January 28, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Hrmm. Only thing I remember be uhhh, memorable from this record is the opening track, which is the only trace of metal I heard. Elverum has been boring me for about 5 years, and he’s hardly done anything worth sniffing about since “Drums”. I can hardly find much advancement in his many releases since. For hardcore fans only, me thinks…

    Linking to Insound? Whats next, a pitchfork link?

    Not to be snotty here but I don’t quite understand the continuing cult around this guy.

  • 4. Biggie Samuels  |  January 28, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I was wondering how long it would be before someone called me on linking to Insound. I’m going to have to stop doing that before I lose all my indie cred. For what it’s worth, I don’t think anyone has ever clicked a “buy it” link on this blog.

  • 5. Mark E. Rich  |  January 29, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Didn’t you know all the cool kids link to Aquarius or Fusetron?

  • 6. Biggie Samuels  |  January 29, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Insound is a bit “high street”. I’d never thought of it as the retail equivalent to Pitchfork but I definitely see what you mean.

    On the whole, I think Insound does a pretty good job, though – excellent selection, good service, reasonable shipping rates. But from a West Coast perspective, the shit just takes far too long to come (three weeks to a month in my experience).

    I doubt Fusetron would carry most of the stuff I’m interested in but Aquarius might be a good way to go, particularly as it’s on our side of the continent.

    Of course, I urge my readers to get this stuff at their local record stores, if at all possible. That should go without saying.

  • 7. Mark E. Rich  |  January 29, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    You can urge your readers all you want, it certainly doesn’t mean anyone carries most of this stuff. Zulu refuses to take chances on anything remotely weird or experimental (remember when that’s what they did well?), the guys at Red Cat are just clueless (though they will try and order it in) and Scratch dropped the ball a long time ago, Audiopile is decent, but the new selection is still not the best it could be. I buy most of my stuff online now because no one in town carries what I need. Very sad state. Perhaps someone will fill this niche soon….

    The pitchfork comment was mostly in regards to the fact that they are in tight with Insound. If you look at the buy links on that site they’re always linking to Insound. Some sort of deal, I suppose.

    AQ is great and I highly recommend you add your email to their bi-weekly new arrivals list. great shipping prices, top notch selections of all genres, plus those personalized write ups are always informative and, well, personal. Keep it west coast!

  • 8. Biggie Samuels  |  January 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    To be fair, I don’t think it’s the stores that are to blame – it’s the distributors. The Canadian distros seem to have a policy of listing stuff they have no intention of actually stocking unless a ton of stores pre-order multiple copies. Which must be why I’ve had the Black to Comm LP on special order at Red Cat for two months – during which time, it appears to have gone out of print.

    But I’m pretty sure that the Mount Eerie album is widely available in Vancouver record stores.

  • 9. Mark E. Rich  |  February 1, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Then there should be little issue ordering from American distros like Midheaven/Revolver or Forced Exposure, to name just a few of the many.

  • 10. Biggie Samuels  |  February 1, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Yes but there can be issues with ordering from the States. It might be a lot easier, cheaper and more reliable for a Canadian store to order a certain record from the US but things can get a little complex if a Canadian distro has an exclusive on that item. The trouble is that the smallness and uncertainty of the Canadian market basically forces distros into offering a bunch of stuff just to see what people order. If only a few people order an item, it’s unlikely that anyone will actually end up getting that item. Of course, all this is based on guesswork as I haven’t had any direct experience of ordering records wholesale in the last three years.

  • 11. Mark E. Rich  |  February 1, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Exclusivity is rarely just that these days. Woodsist, for example, is supposedly exclusive through Midheaven, but, after talking with the label head I found that it doesn’t seem to be the case. I’m sure it’s the same if, say, Scratch supposedly had an exclusive. I doubt there are many independent labels around that would refuse any business from a record store that came knocking on their door, especially if you let them know that the supplier hasn’t been able to supply you with certain items offered in the past.

  • 12. Biggie Samuels  |  February 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    The situation has probably changed recently, with the general chaos and all. My comments were mainly based on the fact that I once got the store into trouble by unwittingly ordering stuff from an American distributor, which we were supposed to get through the exclusive Canadian distro. Goodness knows how the Canadian distro found out.

    In any case, it certainly seems like distributors should be more flexible now – if they can’t guarantee shipping an item they list, they can hardly complain if customers go elsewhere.


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