The Microphones

Lanterns / Antlers 7"
/k; 2002/

rating : 7.5

 

 




more info:
krecs.com/microphones

I like 7"s. When I feel like buying stuff I usually check the 7" corner of my favourite records shop first. They look cool. So, the other day I went to a faraway city to witness the fury that is Guitar Wolf. And before the interview, as usual, we went to the local indie records store. I was attracted by a few things before I saw this 7". There was Ekkehard Ehlers' John Cassavetes 12", a couple of cheap American Analog Set cds and The Microphones' The Glow pt. 2 double lp. I decided to buy the 7", I didn't feel like spending a lot of money that day. 

I like the Microphones. I first heard of the name last year but I first listened to The Glow pt.2 last summer. I then bought copies of It Was Hot We Stayed in the Water and Don't Wake Me Up. Lo-fi is often an excuse for laziness. But the Microphones' Phil Elvrum has been experimenting within the narrow lo-fi spaces and turned his songs into very singular pieces. 

So, there's a concept: Lanterns and Antlers are made of the same letters (minus an additional "n") and the cover art confirms that there is a link between the two songs. The art for Lanterns is a hut/igloo/tent caught in a storm, with light coming out of the "door" and smoke coming out of some kind of chimney. Cold but warm inside. The art for Antlers is the same hut, in the same place but on a storm-less day. The little guy living in the hut is standing on the threshold and the trees behind the hut are more visible. 

Musically speaking, Lanterns is dark and oppressive with its wooden drum loop and Elvrum's tight delivery. He is joined by a soft female voice from time to time. Antlers is looser and more comfortable than its evil twin. It features two intertwined plucked guitars and Elvrum's soft voice singing "Come with me" relentlessly, pasting vocal track on vocal track, slowly building a wall of ethereal voices and ending the song with just a piano playing Gurdjieff's Prayer n2. The songs are gorgeous and the art for the 7" is stunning. If you ever feel like buying a 7", get this instead of the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs single. 

-Barbara H

/dec 1st 2002/