Portland's MusicfestNW has always had one of the more diverse festival lineups around. A large part of that is because -- rather than jamming thousands upon thousands of people asses to elbows in a huge field on some farm somewhere -- MusicfestNW puts the action into venues scattered around Portland, setting the population loose. It is less of a festival and more a set of well-curated shows that all just happen to take place on the same weekend. Accordingly, I skipped around town to see multiple acts, my favorite of which were Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Roseland Theatre, Mount Eerie at Aladdin Theatre, and Frank Fairfield at Bunk Bar.

Mount Eerie

Mount EerieThere are few constants in life, but one thing that can usually be relied upon is that every Mount Eerie performance is going to be different from the last. At this year's MusicfestNW that may or may not have been the case considering Mount Eerie opened for Bonnie Prince Billy two nights in a row at Aladdin Theater -- but if you caught one of those sets, it was probably quite a different affair from the last time you saw Phil Elverum perform. Elverum is an adaptable performer. Aladdin Theatre is a sit-down venue, and a Bonnie "Prince" Billy show necessitates a fairly muted and low-key scene. Sure, the sold-out crowd was buzzing, but they were buzzing about as much as you can for a headliner that plays Americana and folk. Mount Eerie's performance switched to match that feeling in the air. On stage, it was just Elverum with an acoustic guitar flanked by two female singers, singing backup vocals and doing verbal renditions of some of the instruments on his songs. It was a change from sometimes noisy and fairly abrasive solo shows. The chatter overheard afterwards ranged from people wondering who the hell Mount Eerie was to those wondering what the hell Mount Eerie was doing. It was an odd set from Elverum for sure, but a bold one, and one that he hit right on the button. Sometimes -- especially with Mount Eerie's recent sounds -- it's easy to forget how soft Elverum's music is at times (see: “Through The Trees", below). This particular performance was one that seemed a little bit out of left field, but it was one that worked as well if you appreciate the variety of Elverum's music. Editor's Note: We should probably also mention his upcoming November 2013 LP, the ironically-titled Pre-Human Ideas, which features auto-tuned versions of songs from his recent LPs. Yeah. Seriously.

Whim is a weekly collection of media focused on independent rock/pop/garage and everything surrounding it. This week we showcase the new single from MS MR, some Animal Collective news, Pure Bathing Culture's debut record and more.

 

MS MR

Mysterious Brooklyn indie pop group MS MR have been on the radar for quite some time now, with industry insiders whispering of their powerful pop music as if they were everybody's best kept secret. But with a debut album in the works and one of the year's best singles, MS MR have officially broken through in 2012. "Hurricane" is perfectly delicate yet sultry and sexy. The singer's voice is haunting and echoing, and combined with the pounding drum rhythm throughout the track, it is not only the best surprise of the year but also serves as the perfect soundtrack to humid summer nights.

 

Mount Eerie - To The Ground 7"

Our European friends Atelier Ciseaux are releasing a limited edition copy of To The Ground, a 7" featuring the tracks "To The Ground" and "The Mouth Of Sky" (MIDI Strings). As with all Atelier Ciseaux mixes, this one does not disappoint, and they're proving it to you by offering the whole thing for stream, below. The artwork is designed by Phil Elverum himself, and the release is limited to 300 copies.

 

Order To The Ground 7" On Atelier Ciseaux July 12th, 2012 Update After the records were distirbuted, Atelier Ciseaux asked fans to take photographs of where their copy of To The Ground ended up. Scroll over the image above to see some examples, or see the rest on Armour & Discipline.

 

Quite fittingly, EARTH's record release show for the quite fantastic Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light: I was at Seattle's Tractor Tavern -- a venue known for swilling whiskey and boot-stomping folk/bluegrass sounds that usually tear through town in a tornado of good will and...

Phil Elverum of ex-Microphone's fame is one of those artists who has garnered enough legitimate respect throughout his music-making career that when he says something rather off the wall -- such as how the decidedly not-black metal whatsoever project of Mount Eerie is going to...