The words "indie" and "lo-fi" may be the most bastardized in the rock 'n' roll lexicon, but you've got to hand it to Phil Elverum for keeping them truthful. The former brain trust of The Microphones and currently of Mount Eerie, Elverum records all of his many releases for his own label, P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd., out of Anacortes, Wash. As for lo-fi, well, the recordings sound like they were created on a decades-old 4-track in a deep, dark cave.
Elverum's music could be redubbed headphone-fi; it sounds so enclosed and insular that, to best experience it, you've got to isolate yourself. Having hung up his Microphones moniker in 2003, Wind's Poem is Elverum's fourth release as Mount Eerie, through which he travels further down the rabbit hole of dissonant, often anguished and deeply layered noise. Pop radio this is not -- "The Mouth of Sky" even manages a Boris-like metal sludge.
But there's a reward at the end of the tunnel -- call it delayed gratification. Elverum's songs reveal themselves gloriously through multiple listens. Under the echoing vocals, far-off-thunderstorm percussion and hazy guitar feedback is some of the most beautiful songwriting to come from the Pacific Northwest in a while.
So while "indie" and "lo-fi" continue to be tacked onto every band with fuzzy guitars and no discernible choruses -- even fronting major label-level bands -- go right to the source with Phil Elverum. Grab some headphones, sit back, press repeat and be washed away.
(Mount Eerie plays Garfield Artworks on Tue., Nov. 3, a show organized by CP contributor Manny Theiner.)
Mount Eerie with Tara Jane O'Neil and No Kids. 8 p.m. Tue., Nov. 3. Garfield Artworks, 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $8. 412-361-2262
- Forever in lo-fi: Phil Elverum