I was in LA last week and I was quite excited to hear when I woke up that the Eels were gonna be on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic to hype their new album... The new BLINKING LIGHTS AND OTHER REVELATIONS double disc set...
I sat by the hotel pool in Hollywood with my coffee, scone & radio tuned in and waited... and waited... and although I got to hear some of their new tunes...E, aka Mark Everett, the main morose singer dude was too busy to show up for the show before I had to check out of the hotel.
You know how these lazy musician types can be... What else would you expect from the guy who sang I Need Some Sleep ( uh, you now the drill...right click...save)
Anyhow, the stuff I heard off their new album is right along with the "traditional" Eels sound, which is manically mellow, demented dry humored horror show fuzzy logic kinda musique for loners & stoners. Like o'l Bill Shakespeare & even Bill Burroghs, they mix their comedy with tragedy and have a good time oozing out the creepy & crafty melodrama. But they may not be as well known in the literary world, but The Eels sorta seem more rhythmic & post modern or whatver than those other dudes...
I guess we'll cut to the chase here and offer ya some tracks from the new 2 disc set, instead of babbling on about 'em... and then I'll give a long winded spiel and overview with more MP3 evidence to go on than my wondrous prose eh??
Here's the first couple "emphasis" tracks. the melodic "Old Shit/New Shit" , that hit the racks on April 26. Also, I'm throwing in the swell, "Hey Man (Now You're Really Living)." which I hear is already rockin' VH1 with it's way low budget video and more unit shifting lyrical subject matter.
The Eels sem to have a love / hate relationship with show biz and despite the requisite late night TV show appearances & interviews they know how hard it is too sell their brand of music in today's sappy hit radio climate. Everett, who first major label album was released in 1992, has come to terms with this shuck & jive, and has long been labeled a cynical recluse & depressing curmudgeon by the industry at large. He's played pointless stints at Lollapalooza to kids waiting for Korn, he's been asked not to sing his own lyrics on TV at the Ed Sullivan Theater in NY.
Yet, despite the annoying setbacks, and industry b.s, he keeps churning out the tunes... even if the songs are about car accidents, paranoia & pariahs, death, disease & despair...
While this new indie release is not as likely a high profile appearance for 10 year olds as the tune he had on The Shrek soundtrack ( My Beloved Monster ) guests here include mature rock figures like Peter Buck, John Sebastian & Tom Waits, and if ya don't know or care who those guys are, the Mudvayne, Lindsay Lohan & Toby Keith fan websites are only a few clicks away on Google. Please just go there now...
Anyhow, here's the first song I heard from the Eels on Dreamworks, Rags to Rags circa 1996 a track that won me over with it's dark flavor to savor ( not too mention the clever Keane-esque cover painting from the album Beautiful Freak).
If you are digging that track, then dig P.S You Rock My World , & the sublime Last Stop: This Town from 1998's Electro Shock Blues.
They followed up the Electro-Shock Blues album with Daisies of The Galaxy, some of the better known tracks were "Your Godamn Right It's A Beautiful Day" and I Like Birds
Prior to finishing up the Blinking Lights project , The Eels assembled Shotenanny, a 2003 release with a less orchestrated feel. The single that got the band it's most acclaim off that final Dreamworks project was the sparse Lone Wolf. With it's melancholy feel and claim, "I am the lone wolf, I always was, and will be/ I feel fine, I am resigned to this."
All in all, Mr. Everett has produced 5 or so full length albums, 4 for Dreamworks, before this year's double disc effort arrived via Vagrant Records. Vagrant is an indie label that started out doing So Cal pop punk compilations ala Epitaph, but has recently put out material from Paul Westerberg. Maybe the Vagrant folks heard the Eels take on Missy Elliott's Get UR FREAK ON & decided there was hope reaching an under 40 demographic afterall.
Now free of the major label hassles ( & money ), Mark"E" Everett is making "Lone Wolf" music on his own terms without pressure from marketing executives breathing down his neck. This iconoclastic talent has got no one to be upset or pissed off about this album's total look & feel except his own bad self.
In his current website there's a post in which Everett, the son of a late preminent physicist, sums up his storytelling & approach:
"There are two kinds of Christmas people," Everett says, "those who like their Christmas lights to stay on solid and those who like them to blink. As a kid, I always had a thing for sitting in the dark and watching the lights blink on and off at random." Now he says this fascination goes much further. "In the end, what we have are these little, great moments. They come and they go. That's as good as it gets. But, still, isn't that great?"
For more interview material with The Eels , listen to Mark from an Australian radio interview in 2003
The band is touring with a string section this year, and the first US date is at SF's Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA, June 15th, and hits about 12 other major markets within two weeks. They are currently playing about twice as many shows in Europe where presumably people might actually appreciate them and even pay them for their trouble. The last show is at Patty Smith's Meltdown Festival at Queen Elizabeth Hall on June 12th.
head to their site for more info onThe Eelswith strings U.S. Tour.
Here's Two Recent Video Clips From A Man Called E and his latest album Blinking Lights & Other Revelations
HEY MAN (NOW YOU'RE REALLY LIVING)
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Jay Leno 2005
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