Dark music for a dark horse

Real musicians use red plastic tumblers

Real musicians use red plastic tumblers


Since the six-month mark passed, a lot of music blogs have spouted many words on the Best Music of 2009 So Far front. Grizzly Bear, the Dirty Projectors, and Animal Collective have grabbed a lot of the laurels, this blog being no exception. But, as with many populace referendums, it’s the dark horse candidates who really draw the most attention at this point in the game. I think we just like the thrill of the unknown. We like to think we’ve been tapping into all the regular sources, keeping up with the reading, and Staying Informed. In this climate, where technological resources all but club you on the end to be used, to not know about the new works of every band is akin to not having a Social Security Number. How do you manage in the real world at all?

All the same, I’m kind of glad I became exposed to Elvis Perkins’ sophomore effort as a buzz Luddite. Without warning, the songs on Elvis Perkins in Dearland strum their way into your consciousness and scrape across the floor of whatever you might consider to be your heart. It helps that the preoccupations of this album seem to be loss and a few interpretations of The End, which are hard concepts to ignore. But particularly in “Chains Chains Chains,” Perkins’ solemn tenor stretches out like a flashlight in a bleak and ceaselessly gloomy expanse. It’s uplifting and soothing, even as Perkins sings about reaching up to the sky with no particular aim and keeping ones’ eyes closed as flames engulf the woods around you. Plus, there is a horn section, and the video features deep-water diving winged creatures.

It’s no wonder to me that several blog users are calling this album the secret greatest of the year so far. In a year (so far) where the list of the best consists of liberal helpings of electronic orchestration and oblique lyrics, it’s sort of primal to enjoy the honest and uncluttered touch of Elvis Perkins in Dearland. But would you want to hear about earnestness like a bludgeon to the head? Indeed not. Take a deep breath, dim your lights, and listen.

Elvis Perkins will play at the Doug Fir (according to his MySpace) on Thursday, September 3.

  • Elvis Perkins ~ Elvis Perkins in Dearland ~ XL

“Chains Chains Chains”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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