Mount Eerie at the Wunderbar w/ Seth Frightening

Mount Eerie
Mount Eerie

In 2001 the then Olympia, Washington based group The Microphones would release what would become their most critically acclaimed release – the phenomenal double-album ‘The Glow Pt. 2’. Receiving rave revues and even topping influential independent taste-making magazine Pitchfork’s end-of-year album list, the album was at the time the best indication of Phil Elverum’s considerable talent as a singer, songwriter and producer.

Elverum was essentially the only core member of the group, and with 2003’s thematically appropriate album ‘Mount Eerie’ (the narrative of the album involves Elverum death, before discovering the face of the Universe) he decided to conclude the group, with subsequent material released under the name Mount Eerie. This new moniker implies a more solitary approach from Elverum, and also emphasises Elverum’s connection to outdoors, evoking scenes of foggy mountain-tops, rustling wind and dark nights.

Touring New Zealand under the Mount Eerie name before concluding at the excellent annual festival Camp A Low Hum – Elverum played a terrific show at Lyttelton’s Wunderbar, ably supported by Wellington-based singer-songwriter Seth Frightening. With audience members attentively crowding around the stage, Elvrum ran through 12 songs of sheer beauty and feeling. Most songs came from the thematically-separated recent albums ‘Clear Moon’ and ‘Ocean Roar’, but a few earlier numbers were thrown in for good measure.

Mount Eerie at Camp A Low Hum
Mount Eerie at Camp A Low Hum

Elverum played shimmery 12-string guitar, occasionally tempered with bursts of loud reverb, whilst his soft, boyish vocals weaved stories on top. From the softer, welcoming sounds of Clear Moon to the dark and tumultuous scenes of Ocean’s Roar – Elverum is a master of evoking imagery and feeling. I had the great pleasure of catching Mount Eerie a further two times on the tour, with Elverum consistently delighting crowds.

Cabin Porn: Phil Elverum

Nothing to do with New Zealand music (though I reckon Phil would fit right in in New Zealand) – but a friend of mine alerted me to this link on the Cabin Porn website (don’t worry, its not porn, but rather amazing photos of awesome secluded cabins in the wilderness).

Phil Elverum from the (US) bands The Microphones and Mount Eerie lived here for a year in Anacortes, Washington. Phil’s description:

There were squirrels inside in the mornings yelling for us to get out because the cabin had been so deeply reclaimed by the forest. Still, there were some excellent times here. Watching Law & Order on a laptop, mid-winter, and the computer shutting down because the battery was too cold. Knife throwing into a tree trunk for hours. Firewood rambles. Did the artwork for “Live In Japan” in there. Fried a weird fish on the outdoor campstove kitchen. Played Monopoly by kerosene lantern. Weird semi-pioneer time.

I’m a HUGE fan of Phil’s music, plus also his artwork and photography – all of which seem to ruminate around the outdoors, seclusion and the nature in general.