Erik Emanuelson spearheads the self-described “collective” called Grand Lake Islands. He dove headfirst into the project after leaving his job as an English teacher, which led to him moving from New York to the green and quirky confines of Portland, Oregon, to pursue music full-time. Existing somewhere between indie folk and indie rock, Grand Lake Islands’ debut LP, Song From Afar fits comfortably both within the music coming out of Portland and Emanuelson’s former New York. The group’s Bandcamp describes its sound as “infused with that pungent New England feel—dried leaves and water tones swirling around the more mechanical beat of the city”. Yet so too does it fit within the chilled-out, folksy vibes that regularly emanate from the Pacific Northwest.
Below you can watch the video for the Song From Afar cut “Diamond Eyes”, a track that finds Emanuelson’s vocals treading close to that most prized of singer/songwriter adjectives: “Dylanesque”.
Emanuelson tells PopMatters about the video: “Justin and I both wanted it to be more about a feeling of tension as opposed to a specific plot line. The premise was that we wanted to touch upon the idea that nothing really is black and white, there is a lot of gray area in determining if a person is a ‘good guy’ or a ‘bad guy’. We talked a lot about the show The Wire in planning this video. In that show, the gangsters are not all bad and the cops are not all good. It’s more of a blurred line. We are all people, and people are very complicated.”
“Diamond Eyes” is directed by Justin Koleszar (Damien Jurado’s “Silver Timothy”).