Sound Advice: Elf Power (July 17)

Elf Power brings psychedelic fuzz and thunder to MOTR Pub.

click to enlarge Elf Power - Photo: Sandra Rek
Photo: Sandra Rek
Elf Power
One of the most storied music scenes in Indie Rock history is the Elephant 6 Recording Co., born in Louisiana, baptized in Denver and sanctified in Athens, Ga. by the braintrust behind Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control and Apples in Stereo. Inspired by The Beach Boys — its recording facility was dubbed Pet Sounds Studio — the E6 Collective filtered its abiding love of ’60s Pop idealism through a contemporary yet hallucinogenic kaleidoscope to create a potent soundtrack that helped define Indie Rock in the ’90s and continues to influence artists today.

One of the first bands to be associated with E6 after its relocation to Athens was Andrew Rieger’s Elf Power. The project’s early album, Vainly Clutching at Phantom Limbs, became one of the hallmarks of the E6 expansion. Rieger and then-girlfriend Laura Carter relocated to New York, but by 1997, they had returned to Athens to record Elf Power’s conceptual follow-up album, When the Red King Comes, which featured a cover of “Needle in the Camel’s Eye” by Brian Eno, one of Rieger’s most beloved influences. Two years later, Elf Power released its relative breakthrough album, A Dream in Sound, featuring contributions from Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann, Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum and Scott Spillane and of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes.

Although Elf Power has rarely enjoyed the higher profile of some of the more illuminated members of E6, Rieger and a rotating cast of players have crafted an impressive discography over the past quarter century. Since a 2002 one-off for spinART, the bulk of the band’s work has been released on Carter’s Orange Twin label. The biggest gap between releases came when the band took four years to follow up 2013’s Sunlight on the Moon with the exquisite consistency of Twitching in Time, which dropped back in May. Rife with the screeching, fuzzy and thunderous Psychedelia, acid-etched Folk and Eno-tinged texturalism that has characterized Elf Power from the start, Twitching in Time stands as a brilliant testament to Rieger’s expansive yet focused musical vision.

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