Mount Eerie and Julie Doiron became the most recent guests to appear at NPR’s Tiny Desk. Mount Eerie, aka Phil Elverum, and Doiron played three songs from their recent album Lost Wisdom pt. 2: “Belief,” “Enduring the Waves,” and “Love Without Possession.” Watch it below.
Phil Elverum has announced a live album for Mount Eerie titled (after). It will come out September 21st via P.W. Elverum & Sun. The album was recorded at the 2017 Le Guess Who? Festival at a church in the Netherlands. It has songs from A Crow Looked at Me and Now Only. Listen to his performance of Crow’s “Soria Moria” below.
In a statement that came with the album announcement, Elverum thinks back on when he wrote A Crow Looked at Me after the death of his wife Geneviève Castrée. “While making the songs that would be released as A Crow Looked at Me, I wasn’t thinking at all about sharing them with other people, family or strangers. Nobody,” he says. Elverum also recounts what it was like to perform the songs live. “It wasn’t easy,” he says. “The shows were emotionally difficult and the atmosphere was so delicate and strange, like reenacting a violent act on stage in front of a paying audience every night.”
Elverum then went on to talk about how important the Le Guess Who? performance recording was. “Does it bring anything new to the songs to hear them in this way? My hope is: yes,” he says. “You can hear the breath in the room. You can feel the simultaneous intimacy and immensity…. This is a recording of these ultra-intimate songs living in the real world among people, and of peoples’ wide eyed accepting silence, and clapping.” Find Phil Elverum’s full statement, the (after) tracklist below and cover art above.
01 Real Death
04 When I Take Out the Garbage at Night
05 Emptiness pt. 2
06 Soria Moria
09 Now Only
10 Crow pt. 2
12 Tintin in Tibet
Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum:
While making the songs that would be released as A Crow Looked at Me, I wasn’t thinking at all about sharing them with other people, family or strangers. Nobody. I was only thinking of squeezing the constant flow of words that was crashing around in my head into a familiar form, a song, since that was my habitual method of processing that had accidentally developed since adolescence. I made my inner monologue into songs for no other reason than to release it from my skull. At some point during the writing I recognized a feeling in the vicinity of “pride” about the work. It was a strange realization. These songs, and the facts of my life that the songs were made from, seemed like nothing to be proud of. They seemed like something purely brutal and new and apart from my usual conception of creative work, and the notion of having excitement stemming from these new songs was accompanied by so many apprehensions and uncertainties. What does it mean to write things like this down? What would it mean to record it? What would it mean to share it with strangers? Where is the line of propriety? What is anyone supposed to do?
At every step I was uncertain if it was OK to be doing what I was doing. My hunch was almost always that it was wrong. Don’t write it, don’t record it, don’t sing it in front of people, don’t repeat it. But also I was surprised to discover that my internal response to this hesitation was almost always to double down and go deeper in; to write more nakedly, to go on another tour, etc. In the year that came after releasing A Crow Looked at Me I toured a lot. The United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan. It wasn’t easy. The shows were emotionally difficult and the atmosphere was so delicate and strange, like reenacting a violent act on stage in front of a paying audience every night. On top of that, I had to tour with my daughter (and a nanny) so my mind was stretched between 2 big difficulties. But fortunately, with the help of so many understanding and helpful agents, bookers, organizers, I was lucky to get to perform these songs in very well suited and beautiful rooms, nice theaters and churches, to kind and supportive listeners. The concerts ended up being something beyond strange, macabre, gawk-shows. I don’t know what they were exactly. Just strangers gathered in beautiful rooms to pay close attention to one person’s difficult details, and to open up together, quietly. They have been the most powerful shows of my life, no question.
Even so, every time it was clear that the audiences shared the same apprehensions that I had. After the first song, every time, there was a palpable hanging question in the air: “Should we clap?” It’s a good question. What is this? Is it entertainment? What is applause for? What kind of ritual is this? Many close friends have still not listened to the records or come to a concert. What, beyond pain, is embodied here? I don’t know exactly what my job is, traveling around and delivering these feelings. The concerts in 2017 and 2018 have been unusual, unexplainable, and great.
The best one was at Le Guess Who? festival in Utrecht, Netherlands on November 10th, 2017. Nobody was supposed to be recording these shows but fortunately someone didn’t get that message and this beautiful recording of that show has surfaced.
So now I’m plunged back into the apprehensions, now pushed into new territory. What would it mean to release a live album of these songs that maybe shouldn’t have been written in the first place, let alone recorded or performed? Is it OK? Does it bring anything new to the songs to hear them in this way? My hope is: yes. You can hear the breath in the room. You can feel the simultaneous intimacy and immensity. Foregrounded by the hyper-bare instrumentation (minimal acoustic guitar), the words burn brighter even than on the albums, more legible. This is a recording of these ultra-intimate songs living in the real world among people, and of peoples’ wide eyed accepting silence, and clapping.
1. Window – Coma Cinema
2. Veil – The Washboard Abs
3. Cassette Jam One – Ada Babar
4. Capacity – Big Thief
5. Bread – Ben Varian
6. Time On Her Side – Future Islands
7. Heart Basel – The Drums
8. Glowing Brightly – Florist
9. Losing All Sense – Grizzly Bear
10. Road Head – Japanese Breakfast
11. Never Been Wrong – Waxahatchee
12. Baybee – Jay Som
13. 123 – Girlpool
14. Star Roving – Slowdive
15. Hard to Say Goodbye – Washed Out
16. Appointments – Julien Baker
17. The Embers – Vagabon
18. Apocalypse – Cigarettes After Sex
19. Real Death – Mount Eerie
20. Kept Women – Fleet Foxes
Phil Elverum, aka Mount Eerie’s new album, A Crow Looked at Me, is streaming now via NPR. Listen to it here. The album, set to be out next week, was written and recorded in the weeks after the death of his wife, the artist Geneviève Castrée. Elverum recently announced a short North American tour, find the dates below as well.
04-04 Eugene, OR – WOW Hall
04-06 Big Sur, CA – Henry Miller Library
04-09 Santa Ana, CA – When We Were Young Fest @ Observatory
04-10 San Diego, CA – Irenic
04-11 Los Angeles, CA – The Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever
04-14 Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club
04-17 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
04-18 Olympia, WA – Obsidian
04-12-14 Arcosanti, AZ – FORM Arcosanti
1. The Child – Yung
2. Faded Eyes – Horsebeach
3. You Can – Tearjerker
4. You’re In It Now – Pure X
5. The Place Lives – Mount Eerie
6. Lonely Days – Goth Babe
7. Can’t You See – Women
8. Salt – Institute
9. Secret Friend – Grounders
10. Young Gold – Quilt
11. Old Guy – Wimps
12. Impulse – His Clancyness
13. Days Upon Days – Dyan
14. A Postcard to Nina – Jens Lekman
15. So Still – Major Major Major
16. No Trace – The Bats
17. The Day the Rain Came Down – Felt
18. High Fantasy – Lace Curtains
19. Don’t Look Today – chris cohen
20. Chemical Dizzy – The Casket Girls