Friday, April 20, 2007

Elvis is in the building (Perkins that is)

For the last two weeks I honestly haven't been able to get enough of Elvis Perkins' debut album Ash Wednesday. I know it's been out since the end of February (oddly enough, the album was released February 20th, the day before Ash Wednesday), but it only came to my attention recently. By now I'm sure everyone is aware of Perkins' tragic life. His father the actor died of complications associated with AIDs in 1992, and his mother was an unfortunate passenger on one of the flights involved with 9/11 almost to the same day, nine years later.

The album conveys a melancholy longing, a searching, an emptiness, an attempt to understand and accept mortality, a grasping at some way to deal with life's bitter blows. It evokes emotions that few musicians even try to summon up, never mind succeed. The first and last tracks of the album are my favorite, but to be truthful, there isn't a song that I skip past. Elvis wrote them in the order they appear on the album, some before the death of his mother, and some after. If you have yet to try his album, please try it; if you have but didn't instantly connect like I did, please give it another chance.

In almost every track I find lyrics that touch me...

While You Were Sleeping
I'll never catch up to you
who sleeps so sound
my arms are useless
my heart beats too loud to go to sleep
All the Night Without Love
Well I once caused your cells to shimmer
And you once caused my cells to shimmer
Now we go all the night without love
Without love
Moon Woman II
You got this power over me
my shadow hungers for you
but we must not ever meet
no we got to play it cool
It's Only Me
It worries me
that there's someone on my mind
who I don't see
I close my eyes to disappear
into the fields of stars between my ears
the dark
as they overlap
we follow one another
as we fade to black
Ash Wednesday
You take away yesterday
to give to me today
when nothing's free no now it's
Ash Wednesday
It's A Sad World
Stay if you want
there is enough
sadness for the
both of us
Sleep Sandwich
Once I learn these lines
I will madly sing lullabies
into the unborn fans
you write the bible and I'll
read it off my eyelids
The last track, Good Friday, is one that I can listen to over and over and over. It's a sparse arrangement, with a low thrumming buzz in the background that goes right through my spine and gives me goose bumps if I focus on it.
Come lay here beside me
and I'll fear nothing
now give you my body
and I'll breathe your breath
no one will harm you
inside this song
we will be safe here
Elvis Perkins - It's Only Me : Ash Wednesday

Elvis Perkins - Good Friday : Ash Wednesday

here's a track off a single eMusic is offering...

Elvis Perkins - The Dumps
: All The Night Without Love Single

Head over to Daytrotter to get his session from February.

Visit his website, his label Xl Recordings, and become his friend on MySpace.


Anonymous said...

merci sean!

Anonymous said...

this album fills me right up
it's as if elvis perkins can do no wrong!
nice site btw
i'm a fan

Sean said...

Thanks so much anonymous...hope you continue to enjoy!