Friday, October 2, 2009

Elvis Perkins

I first discovered Elvis Perkins during an ill-fated move to North Carolina where I spent most of my free time watching TV. One of the few shows still allotted for music videos is Subterranean on MTV. It's had a few time changes in the last few years but for the most part it is 1 hour of new, "indie" music videos played laaaate at night. Apparently actual music must be relegated to the most undesirable time slot for fear the slobbering masses won't get enough reality TV during waking hours. Can someone please tell me WHAT has happened to music television?! Anyway, most of Subterranean ends up getting "bo-booped" through on my Tivo for not being totes my thang but I'll never forget the day I first saw the video for "All The Night Without Love". WOW. It was like being transported back in time. The scene looks like something filmed surreptitiously (by a ceramic Native American?) in the early 70's. The band plays in a room adorned with old furniture and folks heaped upon couches and stairwells, watching with serene pleasure as the band graces them with their percussive reverie. Color me hooked.

Elvis, the son of Anthony Perkins of Psycho fame, bears an uncanny resemblance to his famous father but without a doubt stands on his own with his anachronistic styling and immense musical talent.

His first album, Ash Wednesday brought the melancholia in a big way. It was an emotional album without being sappy or a whine-fest. It is a truly beautiful piece of work, sad and uplifting all at the same time. It has been said that the second half of the album, tracks 7-11, were written in direct response to the untimely death of his mother, Berry Berenson, who perished on 9/11. For more on Elvis' back story, check out the wiki page dedicated to him..

For his second album, entitled Elvis Perkins In Dearland, the backing band became more than featured players, the group honed their craft and boy do they ever deliver. The sound of this album is rich, pounding, ceremonial and haunting. The sadness is still underlying but this time around the mood is mostly joyous.

I was lucky enough to see Elvis TWICE this year, so far, once in NYC and a few months later in Philly and got some cool shots. You can check them out here and here.

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