Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

cover art

Mount Eerie

Distorted Cymbals

(K; US: 7 Feb 2012; UK: 7 Feb 2012)

Phil Elverum has been plenty busy in music career with a number of projects, but things have been quiet since Mount Eerie’s 2009 album, Wind’s Poem, so Distorted Cymbals acts as a few things at once. It’s the latest in the Dub Narcotic Disco Plate series of singles, it’s a small but welcome return, and it’s an appetizer for the Mount Eerie record due out later this year. The song itself is a solid success, twisting the Mount Eerie sound (yet again) into something rumbling yet spacious, distorted yet fragile at the center. The song starts and stops, building to these cliff’s-edge cymbal crashes, while the bass buzzes off an in-the-gut rumble the guitar glides over. Among all this crashing and buzzing, Elverum’s unassuming voice sounds both gut-shot and beautiful, cooing out lines of amazement—he tries to catch his breath, looks in wonder at the sky—while these sounds rattle around him. Calvin Johnson’s remix on the b-side, titled “Anglepoise Cymbals”, turns the song into something even more jagged and herky-jerky with chunks of melodica and even more negative space around Elverum. It’s an interesting twist, even if it doesn’t quite hold up as much as the original. Distorted Cymbals is just one new song by Elverum (done two ways), but it’s a promising, if humble, return.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.

Related Articles
2 Feb 2015
From beginning to end, Sauna reads its map upside down, but finds the destination all the same.
By Matthew Fiander and Arnold Pan
29 Jan 2015
Get a sneak peek of some of February's most intriguing releases, including albums by Father John Misty, José Gonzaléz, and Dan Deacon.
By Matthew Fiander and Arnold Pan
11 Jan 2015
Get an early glimpse of the best and most eagerly anticipated albums of the new year, including new efforts from Sleater-Kinney, Father John Misty, Belle and Sebastian, and Viet Cong.
16 Oct 2014
Phil Elverum brought minimalist arrangements of songs from upcoming Mount Eerie release Sauna to NYC's Le Poisson Rouge, along with plenty of mystery and endearing stage banter.
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks

© 1999-2015 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.