Mount Eerie - No Flashlight

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Doesanyone have any info on Phil's new album "No Flashlight"?
I heard it's supposed to come out in August.

Judging by the live versions of a few new songs it may well be the the best Microphones / Mount Eerie album yet.

Marc-, Tuesday, 31 May 2005 17:41 (eleven years ago) Permalink

being the best Mount Eerie album yet won't be too difficult of a task to pull off.

jonviachicago, Tuesday, 31 May 2005 17:48 (eleven years ago) Permalink

no mention of it in the last update i got from K, but the last update didn't say much about anything if i recall.

b b, Tuesday, 31 May 2005 17:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

The No Flashlight songs sounded great live, very concise, lyrics that jumped out at me after hearing them only twice. Can't wait.

Went to his art show in Seattle last Thursday. The subject was 'Utopia' (actually some long phrase with that in it but I can't remember) and his work was fascinating: letters and photographs and hand-drawn covers and handwritten lyrics and sheet music, hundreds of pieces of musical ephemera. He spoke for a while about the stuff and told some stories. Quite a interesting and likeable character. Should have asked him when the record was coming out.

jergins (jergins), Tuesday, 31 May 2005 20:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Do you have the tracklist for it?

Marc-, Tuesday, 31 May 2005 21:42 (eleven years ago) Permalink

just hearing about this has made my day. i'm trying to imagine how excited i'll be when it actually comes out.

jonathan - stl (jonathan - stl), Wednesday, 1 June 2005 00:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
i heard something about it being released as a CD/Vinyl so you get both formats even if you just want one or something like that.

That One Guy (That One Guy), Monday, 11 July 2005 14:45 (eleven years ago) Permalink

that should say "CD/Vinyl Package"

That One Guy (That One Guy), Monday, 11 July 2005 15:03 (eleven years ago) Permalink

So it's leaked. The first track's mesmerizing, minimal and without strong melody. The rest is the same, but (on first listen) not as good. Much more Talk Talk/Mark Hollis than Sebadoh, and it sounds more like early Microphones than Mt Eerie.

sean gramophone (Sean M), Monday, 11 July 2005 15:57 (eleven years ago) Permalink

not neccesarily a bad thing, i still love The Glow Pt.2. when i saw him live earlier this year he was great, kinda clumsy in a charming way and a great guitarplayer

Rizz (Rizz), Monday, 11 July 2005 16:09 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
When does this come out?

Christopher Costello (CGC), Monday, 15 August 2005 21:35 (eleven years ago) Permalink


cutty (mcutt), Monday, 15 August 2005 21:53 (eleven years ago) Permalink

is it going to be available in stores?

Christopher Costello (CGC), Monday, 15 August 2005 21:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

god the pitchfork review is so predictable and retarded.

Kevin Erickson, Wednesday, 17 August 2005 00:18 (eleven years ago) Permalink

god the pitchfork review is so predictable and retarded.

Well, dude makes a point, Elverum's not so progressive. I don't agree with the 5, though. seems like a moody 5.
You put this shit in surround sound, it's definitely serene, paints an awesome backdrop.

mox twelve (Mox twleve), Wednesday, 17 August 2005 03:45 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'd give this record a 6. It's not superb, it's not terrible, it's just there, and that isn't enough.

Raymond Cummings (Raymond Cummings), Wednesday, 17 August 2005 10:57 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I thought it was a pretty excellent review, actually. Makes up for the make-me-puke Wooden Wand piece from Monday.

sean gramophone (Sean M), Wednesday, 17 August 2005 10:58 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yeah, the No Flashlight review really hit the nail on the head.

Haven’t read the Wooden Wand review yet, but I thought the 8.0 was about right.

Raymond Cummings (Raymond Cummings), Wednesday, 17 August 2005 12:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Haven’t read the Wooden Wand review yet, but I thought the 8.0 was about right.

I think a 1.0 would be about right. Talk about an album of shit with nimrods running around it coo'ing "wowzers! psych folk!"

sean gramophone (Sean M), Wednesday, 17 August 2005 13:06 (eleven years ago) Permalink

eleven years pass...

anybody know how the show in Anacortes went last week? I know Phil implored everyone not to come after it got picked up and publicized, just curious if anyone was there to do a write up or record it...

flappy bird, Friday, 13 January 2017 18:33 (four months ago) Permalink

this is probably going to be a depressing listen

Dinsdale, Wednesday, 25 January 2017 15:04 (three months ago) Permalink

That is devastating

Evan R, Wednesday, 25 January 2017 15:37 (three months ago) Permalink

Oh god this backstory

Mount Eerie, the longstanding musical outlet of Phil Elverum, has announced the release of A Crow Looked At Me. It will be released on Elverum’s label P.W. Elverum & Sun on March 24th 2017. The album is a deeply personal and unflinchingly honest reaction to the death of Elverum’s wife, the artist Geneviève Castrée, last year. He has shared “Real Death,” a candid expression of stark domestic grief that is unlike anything else in the Mount Eerie discography.

Elverum has shared the following statement about why he made A Crow Looked At Me, and why he is sharing it with the world:

“Why share this much? Why open up like this? Why tell you, stranger, about these personal moments, the devastation and the hanging love? Our little family bubble was so sacred for so long. We carefully held it behind a curtain of privacy when we’d go out and do our art and music selves, too special to share, especially in our hyper-shared imbalanced times. Then we had a baby and this barrier felt even more important. (I still don’t want to tell you our daughter’s name.) In May 2015 they told us Geneviève had a surprise bad cancer, advanced pancreatic, and the ground opened up. ‘What matters now?’ we thought. Then on July 9th 2016 she died at home and I belonged to nobody anymore. My internal moments felt like public property. The idea that I could have a self or personal preferences or songs eroded down into an absurd old idea leftover from a more self-indulgent time before I was a hospital-driver, a caregiver, a child-raiser, a griever. I am open now, and these songs poured out quickly in the fall, watching the days grey over and watching the neighbors across the alley tear down and rebuild their house. I make these songs and put them out into the world just to multiply my voice saying that I love her. I want it known.

“DEATH IS REAL could be the name of this album. These cold mechanics of sickness and loss are real and inescapable, and can bring an alienating, detached sharpness. But it is not the thing I want to remember. A crow did look at me. There is an echo of Geneviève that still rings, a reminder of the love and infinity beneath all of this obliteration. That’s why.”

Elverum has stated that he will be playing these songs in front of audiences later in the year.


In 2015 Elverum’s wife, the French Canadian cartoonist and musician Geneviève Castrée, was diagnosed with a bad cancer just after giving birth to their first child. She died a year later. Elverum wrote and recored the album throughout the fall of 2016 in the same room where Geneviève died, using mostly her instruments; her guitar, her bass, her pick, her amp, her old family accordion, writing the words on her paper.

The songs are about the brutal details of that experience, from the hospitalizations to the grieving, the specific domestic banalities that become existential in the context of such huge and abrupt loss. These songs are not fun. They are pretty and they are deep, and they find a love that prevails beneath the overwhelming and real sorrow. It is unlike anything else in the Mount Eerie catalog in its unvarnished expressions of personal grief, metaphor-free.

Evan R, Wednesday, 25 January 2017 15:46 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah, this is just heartbreaking.

"Nothing wise or learned, just the described experience of living through unimaginable domestic obliteration, with names and dates"

devvvine, Wednesday, 25 January 2017 15:51 (three months ago) Permalink

That verse about the backpack she ordered for her daughter :(

"collapsed there on the front steps I wailed." I am sobbing.

Evan R, Wednesday, 25 January 2017 16:02 (three months ago) Permalink

Has always been amazing at conveying moments of being hit with a wave of emotion or sadness, but that verse is brutal.

another song from the album

devvvine, Wednesday, 25 January 2017 16:08 (three months ago) Permalink

christ this is gonna be brutal

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Wednesday, 25 January 2017 19:17 (three months ago) Permalink

cant bring myself to listen to this yet

flappy bird, Wednesday, 25 January 2017 19:19 (three months ago) Permalink

I don't really know what to say about this but it is so strong and raw

ogmor, Wednesday, 25 January 2017 23:53 (three months ago) Permalink

man this song

just sayin, Thursday, 26 January 2017 10:46 (three months ago) Permalink

This is brutal. So powerful.

Eine Kleine Nakh Musik (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 26 January 2017 11:58 (three months ago) Permalink

I love Phil and will always support him...raw stuff

Everything Moves Towards The Sun (Ross), Sunday, 29 January 2017 01:37 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah, likewise.

Phil was already incredibly direct but here he just immediately lets it know that "poetry is dumb" in light of what he's feeling the effect is unlike anything I've listened to before. I can't even really place the emotions listening to these songs and describing them as sad feels equally silly.

yesca, Sunday, 29 January 2017 05:22 (three months ago) Permalink

wrote a review of the show here. hard to do justice to how heavy it was.

fits, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 17:29 (three months ago) Permalink

Thanks for sharing that, very nice and thoughtful review.

I can't recall anticipating an album this much yet feeling almost 'scared' to listen to it...

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 17:38 (three months ago) Permalink

Hi Fits,

Thank you! Really appreciate you posting that piece.

Everything Moves Towards The Sun (Ross), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:21 (three months ago) Permalink

yeah, great piece!

sean gramophone, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 21:26 (three months ago) Permalink

v nice piece on the show.

in twelve parts (lamonti), Wednesday, 1 February 2017 23:17 (three months ago) Permalink

wrote a review of the show here. hard to do justice to how heavy it was.

― fits

but you pretty much did! great writing, and i can tell you're v v well-versed in his musical output.

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 23:36 (three months ago) Permalink

great piece, fits.

love that he walked out as soon as he was done

flappy bird, Wednesday, 1 February 2017 23:38 (three months ago) Permalink


Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 15 February 2017 17:14 (three months ago) Permalink


Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 15 February 2017 17:14 (three months ago) Permalink

oof. hold on to the ones you love.

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 15 February 2017 17:22 (three months ago) Permalink

True words. I am actually nervous for this album... Ravens alone reduced me to a sobbing mess.. :-/

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 15 February 2017 18:18 (three months ago) Permalink

maybe i haven't seen any other recent pictures of him, but man Elverum looks like he's aged years and years in the new press pic on p4k. i gotta hold off on listening to this until it comes out... the first single was so brutal

flappy bird, Wednesday, 15 February 2017 18:26 (three months ago) Permalink

absolutely terrific piece on the show up there, fits. i read it on a lunch break and sat there and cried into my burrito

these songs are just devastating to listen to. the backpack bit ...

he announced some tour dates today, in case anyone missed it:

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

alpine static, Friday, 17 February 2017 01:21 (three months ago) Permalink

Seems like he has no intention of coming back to Vancouver after that shambolic show years back. I'm with flappy bird - want to listen to this and will support him $, but there's so much grief and death in our culture, that I'm not sure I can handle this atm.

Everything Moves Towards The Sun (Ross), Friday, 17 February 2017 01:24 (three months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

One hell of a read.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 13 March 2017 16:53 (two months ago) Permalink

It is.

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 13 March 2017 17:07 (two months ago) Permalink

And without trying to beat a point into the ground, that it's Jayson Greene doing this story is vitally important. If you don't know why:

Ned Raggett, Monday, 13 March 2017 17:10 (two months ago) Permalink

^ jesus, i had no idea. the p4k feature is great, dreading the day i listen to A Crow Looked at Me for the first time

flappy bird, Monday, 13 March 2017 17:24 (two months ago) Permalink

knowing that makes a harrowing interview even more powerful.

Karl Malone, Monday, 13 March 2017 17:58 (two months ago) Permalink

To me this was the key moment:

“I sometimes think about the life that my daughter will have with no mom,” he wonders. “What does it mean to have a ghost mom? Not that I can do anything differently about it. But it’s an inferior version of what we had planned, you know? This was not our top choice.” We both crack up; grief is funny sometimes.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 13 March 2017 18:01 (two months ago) Permalink

Jayson is one of the best writers in the game right now; I am in awe of everything he writes

Evan R, Monday, 13 March 2017 18:04 (two months ago) Permalink

Jayson was the perfect choice for such an intimate interview. Could not have been penned better by any other writer.

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 13 March 2017 18:07 (two months ago) Permalink

Excellent article, it's rare to see Phil this candid

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Monday, 13 March 2017 22:25 (two months ago) Permalink

That Elverum piece was fabulous - so understated and clear-eyed. And I had no idea about Jayson Greene's daughter. Dear god. One would hope for an ounce of such humility and humanity in the face of such tragedy.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Wednesday, 15 March 2017 22:05 (two months ago) Permalink

streaming on npr

Isi, Thursday, 16 March 2017 05:28 (two months ago) Permalink

Fuck, this is beautiful

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Thursday, 16 March 2017 06:00 (two months ago) Permalink

yeah, hard to find words for this as a whole but Soria Moria is just breathtaking

devvvine, Thursday, 16 March 2017 09:42 (two months ago) Permalink

So this has a 96 on metacritic. Looks like we've got a year-end list juggernaut on our hands.

josh az (2011nostalgia), Friday, 24 March 2017 19:45 (two months ago) Permalink

This album has such potent observational details and emotional heft. Don't think I'll ever listen to it again, but I'm glad Phil can express this way.

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Friday, 24 March 2017 19:47 (two months ago) Permalink

this is all i've listened to this week; something hypnotic about it, different guitar lines and lyrics follow me after each listen. is an astonishing work, wouldn't envy anyone who has to review it though.

devvvine, Friday, 24 March 2017 21:38 (two months ago) Permalink

joanne kyger, whose poem is on the cover, died like two days before the album came out :-/

Isi, Saturday, 25 March 2017 06:01 (one month ago) Permalink

I too have been listening to this all week. I've been a fan of his work forever but yeah, this is different. It reminds me a bit of my experience with Bowie's 'Blackstar' in that the music is inseparable from what it's about and I wonder if I would feel the same if the narrative was more open to interpretation.

yesca, Saturday, 25 March 2017 12:51 (one month ago) Permalink

as different as it is though, no one else could make something so understated yet devastating. think this is a really good, thoughtful review about it's relation to his previous work:

am curious about the experience of people new to elverum, hard for me to untangle this from having followed him for years.

devvvine, Saturday, 25 March 2017 14:24 (one month ago) Permalink

this is amazing - the way it plays, rather than wallows, in grief is key to it, plus the brilliant songwriting and arrangements. imo far more devastating than other 'tragedy response' albums of recent years

an uptempo Pop/Hip Hop mentality (imago), Monday, 27 March 2017 08:42 (one month ago) Permalink

This album has such potent observational details and emotional heft. Don't think I'll ever listen to it again, but I'm glad Phil can express this way.

― Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Friday, 24 March 2017 19:47 (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I listened to the album once over the weekend and this is exactly how I feel about it.

Gavin, Leeds, Monday, 27 March 2017 12:19 (one month ago) Permalink

Will certainly listen again. Just as the album seems to be flagging those last three tracks come in and they're amazing

an uptempo Pop/Hip Hop mentality (imago), Monday, 27 March 2017 12:51 (one month ago) Permalink

all fails
my knees fail
my brain fails
words fail

just another (diamonddave85), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 03:47 (one month ago) Permalink

got through the first 4 songs on this and felt completely drained. i can't get through it. waves of blank depression and meaningless sadness. the NYT review of this is spot on - this isn't "art" really, because art is concerned with aesthetics. it just is. the scariest thing about it is i understand what he said after his wife death - everything lost meaning, it all became absurd. this makes Blackstar look like a party. that's a man staring death in the face, one last rattle and rage. this is soul-sucking.

flappy bird, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 17:40 (one month ago) Permalink

"It just is."

Yes, it just is. It is also beyond admirable, amazing, soul crushingly honest and extremely uncomfortable to witness. It shakes me up completely and indeed sucks my soul bone dry. Only to fill it up till it overflows with love for life, love for love.

If that is not art, I honestly do not know what is, and I probably do not even care about discussing it. Because life is literally too short.

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 18:00 (one month ago) Permalink

i'm interviewing Phil soon and i have no idea how to do it. any insights welcome.

alpine static, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 18:26 (one month ago) Permalink

Oof. That sounds like once a dream gig turned into a nightmare. Not literally a nightmare, I think Elverum is awesome. But the grief is so all encompassing it's not even an elephant in the room, it is simply unavoidable. A dinosaur of grief crushing you.

But I think you can still have a very meaningful conversation with him. You could ask him about how he feels, now that he put this album out there, it being reviewed as a piece of art, or work, and how that affects him, how that 'response' makes him reflect on the album. The dynamic of putting such a personal thing out in the world is something that would interest me, to read about.

What medium are you writing this for?

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 18:34 (one month ago) Permalink

a print paper...will be online, too, of course

thanks for the thoughts, LBI. we'll certainly cover that kind of stuff, i'm sure. i'm interested, too.

what i find most fascinating by the whole thing is his response to this loss in his life - that he feels "ripped open" and exposed, so why not just record these songs and play them and talk about them, etc. "My internal moments felt like public property," he has said. TO BE VERY VERY CLEAR: he should grieve exactly how he feels is right. period. and i think "talking about it" is generally thought of as healthy, but it's not necessarily a *typical* reaction, particularly for someone who is somewhat of a public figure.

anyway, i am a human being with loved ones, i figure we'll just have a conversation and i'll go where it leads.

alpine static, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:05 (one month ago) Permalink

I agree with pretty much all of that and I think it's fine to have doubts. Christ, I'm sure he had them, too (about going in at all, let alone making all this 'public').

I think, essentially, I find it too uncomfortable to listen to. It's not intrusive, as such, as Elverum has chosen to make his grief work public, but the simple fact of being party to watching someone trying to give voice to, to give language to, something which evades that impulse induces a kind of shame. Or it's like that thing that during one of the first American expeditions to the moon, an astronaut accidentally pointed his camera at the sun, which immediately burned out the camera's cells. It was as if the camera couldn't tolerate the source or purity of what its own raison d’etre is to capture and relay.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:21 (one month ago) Permalink

I took No Flashlight as a reference to being in the dark but maybe it's more about having stared at the very centre of things and having one's cells burnt out. Or both of those things.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:23 (one month ago) Permalink

this is amazing - the way it plays, rather than wallows, in grief is key to it

I agree with this. I find it sad and intense but not as bleak as others seem to, just relentlessly real. Some of it is even kinda wry? "Do the people around me want to keep hearing about my dead wife?"

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 21:14 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah, agree with this ^

alpine static, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 21:35 (one month ago) Permalink

it's so sad, but i don't struggle to listen to it ... except maybe the part about the backpack. that's tough.

alpine static, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 21:40 (one month ago) Permalink

I think Phil does manage to have a good sense of humour and levity despite the heartbreak, which does make the album easier to listen to.

Personally still I don't feel compelled to listen to it regularly, I just majorly hope it has helped him.

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 21:44 (one month ago) Permalink

I am not sure whether I agree that "unlike many works about grief, though, there is no glance towards redemptive larger meaning, which makes it all the more bracing". I think that actually in recent years there were a lot of critically acclaimed albums (particularly Carrie & Lowell and Skeleton Tree) that seemed to acknowledge meaninglessness of death and they were also a lot less poetical, artistic and a lot more minimalistic than previous records of those artists. But in my opinion this album in a way none of those albums have before poses the question that seemed to be beside the point - after all is it art or is it not art? Some people here find it unlistenable. Some people find it strangely alluring, I actually have listened to this quite a bit. We can probably all agree it's not meant to be art and it doesn't even try, musically or lyrically, to be art, it doesn't offer any explanation, solace, there's really nothing to be learned from it and most people listening probably won't even be able to emphatise with what Phil has gone trough but in the end isn't communicating reality what art is all about? In My Chasms Phil asks "do the people around me want to keep hearing about my dead wife?" and for some reason, yeah, they do. :|

piramjida, Friday, 7 April 2017 14:10 (one month ago) Permalink

I guess what I am trying to say is it's really hard and maybe even shameful to pinpoint what exactly I am getting out of this album

piramjida, Friday, 7 April 2017 14:13 (one month ago) Permalink

Nice post piramjida

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Friday, 7 April 2017 18:27 (one month ago) Permalink

This is also Phil's most functional album yet, I think. Musically and arrangement-wise it's as spare as some of his live recordings and unadorned - which serves the content of the songs and emotion well. It probably wouldn't make much sense to be as layered or particular as his other work.

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Friday, 7 April 2017 22:27 (one month ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

I still have put off listening to it, but i found even listening to two of my absolutely favourite Phil songs ("Don't Smoke" and "Get Off The Internet") all of a sudden way more heavy, given their life-is-short sentiments.

in twelve parts (lamonti), Thursday, 4 May 2017 08:03 (two weeks ago) Permalink

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