EELS-The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
“In the dark of night, I might be able to make myself think that I’m still a younger man.” Eels, much akin to The Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam, have always been a part of my musical foundation. I remember being in 8th grade and getting a copy of “Beautiful Freak,” which is still one of my favorite albums. Up to that point, I had never heard anything like it, and I still love nearly every song. In my humble opinion, Eels have never reached the level of notoriety they deserve.
Mark Oliver Everett is the son of a famous physicist and has been the creative force behind Eels across the span of 11 albums and nearly 20 years. Even on his more upbeat records, Everett crosses themes of loss, death, family and love. The latest addition, “The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett,” is really no exception. However, this album is different from many of the past recordings from Eels, not necessarily in composition, nor does it really stand apart lyrically, but there has been a shift in outlook. As the title would suggest, “Cautionary Tales” is full of songs about the past and mistakes, but calling it simply a sad eyed folk album would be erroneous. This is Everett’s letter to posterity, documenting where he has been, mistakes he has made and regrets he has. This album is extremely personal and was difficult to record. So difficult in fact, that many of the songs were written prior to last year’s
“Wonderful, Glorious,” but were set aside to focus on a more rock-centered album. The first two singles, the very somber ‘Agatha Chang’ and the Eels archetypal ‘Mistakes of My Youth,’ are open in the way they express regret and how differently Everett could have handled things. However, unlike previous efforts, these two songs also present a sense of hope wrapped up in the bleakness, as well as a sense of moving on. He sings, “I can’t keep defeating myself. I can’t keep repeating the mistakes of my youth. The choice is mine for making a better road ahead.” Just this snippet alone is much more optimistic than much of Eels’ catalog, which is a good feeling for long term Everett fans. It’s nice to see him looking forward instead of simply seeing the past, even if it took him 51 years to get here. “The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett” is out now via Vagrant Records.
On The Horizon: Twin Shadow
Two years ago, George Lewis Jr, or as you may know him, Twin Shadow, was having the biggest moment of his artistic career. He released his sophomore album “Confess,” complete with the heavy singles ‘Five Seconds’ and ‘Patient,’ which were also collectively made into an impressive two-part music video saga. Lewis became a force to be reckoned with in the indie rock world, and he did it on his own terms.
However, that was 2012, and as is common for the general public, we are ready for something else. Lewis is also ready. Or at least he is getting ready. Last week, he released his first proper single since “Confess.” While the song isn’t necessarily connected to a new album, we do know that he is steadily working on one. ‘To The Top’ is his latest offering, and it definitely does its part to whet the appetite of his fans, as it’s a catchy power ballad that miraculously doesn’t sound cheesy. No real details on the new album yet, but rest assured it’s on its way, so keep your eyes open.