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The Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2 (Cover Artwork)

The Microphones

The Microphones: The Glow Pt. 2The Glow Pt. 2 (2001)
KLP

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: benzbenz
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Scott reviewed an earlier album by the Microphones (found here), saying basically that the shit in question that the Microphones make is fucked up. The Microphones -- joining the Oberst Association of Solo Artists That Use a Band Name -- is the brainchild of Phil Elvrum, formally of Old Time Relijun.
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Scott reviewed an earlier album by the Microphones (found here), saying basically that the shit in question that the Microphones make is fucked up. The Microphones -- joining the Oberst Association of Solo Artists That Use a Band Name -- is the brainchild of Phil Elvrum, formally of Old Time Relijun. Phillip has specialized in making trippy, lo-fi, sublime folk music for some time now, but most of it ended up getting lost in just how fucked up it was.

To be fair, his music is not really "fucked up," it's just different. The Locust and Mr. Bungle make "fucked up" music; the Microphones make simple, lo-fi pop, and above all else, highly original music. I don't know what Phil actually looks like, but I'm assuming (more hoping actually) that he sports a Sam Beam style ultra-beard. Not that this sounds like Iron & Wine, but I feel that if you like Sam Beam's tunes you might like the Microphones. If you like Animal Collective, definitely check this out. This is the sound of outdoor living, capturing the beauty of nature through utter minimalism. And as far as Elvrum's transcendental nature rock goes, this is his magnum opus.

The Glow Pt. 2 is massive in vision. Over an hour divided into 20 different tracks seems overbearing at first. Usually when I see an album with more than 14 tracks, I start thinking that the band just threw everything they wrote onto their disc. This is why I avoided listening to it for about six months. When I eventually did get around to it, I decided I should always listen to highly recommended music as soon as possible.

The listener is greeted by the gentle, nylon-stringed acoustic strumming of "I Want Wind To Blow." The guitars, the barely-there percussion in the background, and the slight fuzz of Phil's voice combine to create a setting for the listener; "The thunder clouds broke up, and the rain dried up, the lightning let up, the clacking shutters just shut up," Elvrum sings, the music perfectly representing the calm after a thunderstorm. He sings of negative feelings about the city; he wants the wind to blow him away from urban society and lift him away from everything. The song breaks way into an instrumental jam, giving the feeling of gradual lifting away from the earth up into the sky. It builds and builds and finally crescendos into the title track, a fuzzy, super distorted, and ethereal song.

This album is the sound of the post-apocalypse. It sounds as if Elvrum is wishing for an escape in the first track, and with the second track's blaring drums and distorted guitar attack, the world is being violently destroyed. It sounds like meteors, tidal waves, and volcanos blowing the world apart. On the title track, Elvrum sings that "the glow is gone;" he feels something is missing. In perhaps the most jarringly lyrical moment on the album, Elvrum coos "I could not get through September without a battle; I faced death, I went in with my arms swinging, but I heard my own breath, and had to face that I'm still living, I'm still flesh; I hold onto awful feelings." When you hear his Jeff Magnum-inspired vocals breathing these words out, you just have to sit there and say "damn."

From here on out, the album is a journey into the wilderness. The best albums travel somewhere, and this one is a clear path. The sequencing is perfect; we feel Elvrum slip farther away from who he was at the beginning of the CD, to find out who he becomes at the end. The album slides from drop-dead beauty -- instrumentally and lyrically, in songs like "Headless Horseman" and "I Felt My Size" -- to intense, ghostly sounds -- especially in the track "Something," whose strange muted sounds reappear throughout the album. The second-to-last song, "Samurai Sword," is intense to the point where the melody cannot even be heard, segueing into album-closer "My Warm Blood." It is the perfect ending to an amazing album, as Elvrum sings "I'm all alone, except for the sound of insects flying around, they know my red blood is warm still." Immediately the instruments float away and we are left with an 8-minute loop of a slowly pulsating, muffled bass sound. Slowly, up out of the mix, a drum hits, in a heartbeat pattern slowly, and suddenly it stops, and the album is over. Where the opening creates visions of the sun rising over a silent city, the end leaves us with a lone moon hovering quietly above the rubble of that same place.

However hyperbolic my review turned out, I still mean every word. The Microphones are brilliant at setting up landscapes for the listener. This album is beautiful in its hope and pain, and, ultimately, its triumph. Elvrum sings on album standout "My Roots Are Strong And Deep:" "I feel tall, my feet are on the ground, but compared to you, I'm small." He has created an album that is small; he knows that he's a solitary man, but the scope of his music is massive.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Explosions In the Sky - The Earth is Not a Cold Dead PlaceDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeThe Weakerthans - Reconstruction SiteThe Suicide Machines - Destruction By DefinitionThe Clash - London CallingThe Microphones - Mount EerieLess Than Jake - Hello RockviewLook Mexico - This Is Animal MusicConverge - Jane DoeThe Suicide Machines - Battle Hymns

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (September 17, 2005)

they don't suck.

SilentStorms (September 13, 2005)

Never heard or heard of these guys - but the damn link doesn't work! Great review by the way ... unless they suck.

Steveman (September 12, 2005)

Wow, this was a very nice review. The interpretation and imagery made it much more interesting that 90% of the reviews on here. Also The Microphones are very talented. The whole stripped down, naturey description is right on for him.

Anonymous (September 12, 2005)

im glad this was reviewed on here. its always good to branch out. anyways, this album, is really incredible. simply fucking amazing.

benz (September 11, 2005)

Oh wow, I forgot that I wrote this it was so long ago [not a jab at punknews, i know you have a mega payload of reviews].

Seriously, still a fucking awesome album.

-benz

Anonymous (September 11, 2005)

I think Scott took that comment too personally. He's just saying that it's an older album, but he's reviewing it anyway.

Older, great album.

Rob.

stevejonestherealbones (September 11, 2005)

HAHAHAHA NOOB..huh scott, fucking NEWB...that NNOOOOBBB

GO newb yourself ya NOOOBER

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- hes gonna love this site now

maverick (September 11, 2005)

"Even though this has been out for a long time (long enough to be way overdue for a review on a 'news' site)"

This record came out in 2001, long before we were being regularly serviced by any sort of record labels for reviews. And even now, I doubt KLP sends records to us, or anyone. Is it really our job to go out and buy every single CD that comes out every single Tuesday and have a review for them on here?

And anyway, this is what Classic Reviews Day is for -- to spotlight records that have slipped through the cracks.

-Scott

LevitateMe (September 11, 2005)

That's very true Will, you should see one of his shows.

Anonymous (September 11, 2005)

Phil Elvrum doesn't care about black people!

A lot of fans of this music can be found arms folded, in an annoying cap, tapping along to the music. Not saying that's any of you. Just my personal experience.

-Will

-baseheadsuicide.com

- www.expage.com/selectyourorder

Perpetual (September 11, 2005)

I just listened to this for the first time in a while. Great album. Even though this has been out for a long time (long enough to be way overdue for a review on a 'news' site), its still awesome that some of you folks here are covering some original and interesting artists. Now get "No Flashlight" and review that while its still a new release!

Anonymous (September 11, 2005)

People on this site are going to give you shit for giving a 10 to a band that they don't already own 3 T-shirts with their logo. Don't you dare ever suggest that a band might be incredible if people have never heard it. You'll be accused of wrtiting a livejournal entry, or even worse, being friends with the band.

-Ken

LevitateMe (September 11, 2005)

Also, Phil Elvrum doesn't have a beard, he has longish dark brown hair and looks very young.

LevitateMe (September 11, 2005)

FUCKING AWESOME!

I can't believe that this was reviewed on here, I know Scott did Mount Eerie a while ago though.

This is one of the greatest albums of all time, everyone should own it.

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