I think it would be a lot different. I played in a band and had my own creative projects before I met Bret as a teenager but it was meeting him that made me realize I could ACTUALLY do these things all the time and that it was legitimate and that I didn't need to worry about being invited or not. He introduced me
and my friends to the punk idea of "just do your thing, what-
ever it is, and ignore doubters." I am still living by those ideas.
-- Phil Elverum on Bret Lunsford's affect on his life
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
The advance CD of Black Wooden Ceiling Opening prom-
ises "six loud songs." Mount Eerie's Phil Elverum delivers on
that promise. A combination of new and reworked Eerie and
Microphones material, some selections start off quietly, like "Ap-
petite" and "In Moonlight," but all explode in volume, driven by
howling, churning guitars and pounding, thundering drums.
Despite a few string-generated squeals, Elverum isn't dishing up
hard rock, but rather a post-millenial spin on the soft-loud dy-
namic approach that Slint and other indie acts popularized in the
1990s (his trio includes K recording artist Jason Anderson on bass
and Norway's Kjetil Jenssen on drums). In the press notes, Elver-
um describes the extended EP as "hardcore style (kind of)," which
about sums it up, though his voice is pitched somewhere between
Pavement's Stephen Malkmus and Bonnie Prince Billy's Will Old-
ham. When Elverum hits the high notes, he sounds more like an
Appalachian folk singer than a heavy metal or hardcore man.
Nonetheless, the lyrics
suggest some heavy shit.
"Appetite," for instance,
features the phrase, "Con-
stantly waking up to ob-
literation." It's not hard to
imagine Metallica's James
Hetfield or Megadeth's Dave
Mustaine singing something
similar. Then, in "Don't Smoke," Elverum asks, "Is it because there's
a little part of you that wants to be dead?" That's grim, too, but it's
harder to imagine a speed metal singer railing against tobacco use.
This CD, which comes with a white-vinyl 10-inch live record-
ing and poster, arrives in the wake of K Record's 10th anniver-
sary reissue of the Microphones' The Glow, Part 2, making com-
parisons between the two inevitable. While Elverum's sound has-
n't changed radically over the years, Black Wooden Ceiling
Opening presents a louder, darker version of his vision.
Endnote: I recently interviewed Elverum and Lunsford by e-
mail for Sound. Both play in D+ with Karl Blau. When I asked
about touring, Elverum replied, "We tour occasionally. It's chal-
lenging, because the three of us are so busy as individuals. When
our schedules can match up, it's really wonderful to tour with
those guys. It feels like not even leaving home, we are so com-
fortable together, and so much OF this place, Anacortes." The D+
collection, On Purpose- 1997-2007: Hits, Rarities and Live Cuts,
hits the streets on 6/10. For more information about Phil Elver-
um, please click here, from whence the above images originate.