It's a little uncomfortable, isn't it? The familiar intimacy of K Records stable--the core of kids usually relegated to house shows and alternative venues--stepping up to the dwarfing stage of the Crystal Ballroom. It's like a grubby kid donning an ill-fitting three-piece. Say hello to the K Records Summertime Dance Party--with performances by roster-mates and long-time collaborators Mount Eerie, Mirah, Little Wings, and The Blow, (along with the newly signed Kimya Dawson, of Moldy Peaches fame)--creating an alternate universe in which the just finally get what they deserve.
In 2001, Phil Elverum seemed poised to take over the world. This was the year, you'll remember, that the Microphones--Elverum's studio project--had reached an inconceivable level of critical acclaim with the release of The Glow, pt. II. The same year, long-time collaborator and K artist Mirah released her similarly acclaimed breakthrough Advisory Committee--aided in no small part by Elverum's genius production. Evoking the elements both sonically and lyrically, Elverum's forest-thick, earthly mythology would seem the perfect cannon to take K's deeply familial folk stable beyond its cult status. It seemed only natural that the Microphones (and along with them, Mirah) would graduate from cult status to indie royalty--with fancy booking agents, magazine covers, PR firms and headlining tours. I mean, that's what bands do, right?
Instead, the last three years have been business as relatively usual for Elverum, who has bridged the gap between then and now, crafting another masterpiece (the beautifully impenetrable Mount Eerie, whose vision is so all-encompassing that Elverum ditched the Microphones name--now calling the band Mount Eerie), modestly touring several continents with self-booked shows, and living in a remote cabin in Norway for several months. What once seemed like the inevitable epicenter of the Invisible Shield's international coup has become, more than anything, the definitive fulfillment of K Records' DIY prophecy--simplicity over celebrity.
On Thursday, the K kids finally get what they never really wanted in the first place: The expanse of the Crystal Ballroom, and the recognition they deserve.