MV & EE w/The Bummer Road - Green Blues
The MV and EE behind MV and EE are Matt Valentine and Erika Elder. For the past few years they've been releasing a string of ultra-limited CDr's and Vinyl only albums that have by turns charmed and hypnotized listeners seeking out the acid-folk sound. Apparently they live on an "off the grid" backwoods patch of land in rural Vermont and given the inspired weirdness of most of their music there must be something in that back to the land living that twists the brain a bit, in a good way! Green Blues is their first big time, wide spread release and it's on Thurston Moore's label, Ecstatic Peace! While not losing too much of their signature direction, this CD is perhaps a bit more to the straight side of things than anything they've put out so far. It starts off in a very "Bright Black" vein with "East Mountain Joint". There's a good-times, easy going porch vibe to this music that is charming and enjoyable. Sometimes the sound bumps up awfully close to Neil Young or The Grateful Dead but really, is that a bad thing? They really honor their legacy of rural freakiness on the last track, Solar Hill. Its buzzing drone is held together by wandering guitar figures that stitch in and out your ears like a lazy summer day. Other highlights include J Mascis on the Mellotron for a few cuts and some nice whirling electric dulcimer. As an avowed and enthusiastic outsider myself, I'm always on the lookout for proud and artistic freak-ripples that serve as antidotes to these very grey times we live in. Hippies they may be but MV and EE have provided just that.
(Ecstatic Peace!) Keith Boyd 3.8.07
For several years now I've noticed an underlying current in hipster culture to denigrate anything and everything to do with the Hippie movement. It probably started with Punk in the 70's. In that context it makes sense. The timing of that backlash was appropriate and served to redistribute the reins on music and art held by a handful of isolated and self-indulgent few. Now in 2007 however it just seems trite, shortsighted and lame. Our times aren't exactly like the times that produced the Hippie movement in America but we're perhaps in need of a touch of what they were offering anyway. Let's take a look. There's the abomination of a war that's going on; killing scores of people daily in the name of.what? It's changed so many times I'm no longer sure. Then we've got the Bush Regime with its lies, duplicity and ever crumbling façade of impenetrability. The colonization of every country on Earth by a few corporate slave masters willing to do ANYTHING to continue the growth of the bottom line. Don't get me started on the environment. Suffice to say that the warnings given out by books like, "The Silent Spring" and movements like Greenpeace have been surpassed a hundred fold. So we're not actually doing that well after all. Perhaps a little good old Hippie wisdom might actually come in handy. But, oh no! We'd rather wear tight black jeans, grow our hair over one eye and sit in the comfort of our parent's house slashing our arms with razor blades and downloading music. It's so passive it makes me sick. Have the youth been cowed into a corner by "cool-hunters", video games and advertisers that dictate every choice? Is it really the best we can muster to blindly let the bullshit continue while the youth wastes it's time in a cocoon of hip aloof self-destructive bitterness? There's this knee jerk reaction that essentially comes with the attitude of, "Oh that's just some Hippie crystal rubbing nonsense". It's a shame really. Despite the fact that Rock-n-Roll was born in the 50's, it was the 60's and the Hippies that grew it up into the beast we all know and love today. Not just music but really so much of the art, film, literature and even computer culture we take for granted was, if not outright invented by Hippies, at least refined and given credibility and substance. Luckily there is a movement afoot that while not ignoring the ensuing 35-40 years is mining the very fertile veins of those times and shining them up with new inspirations. Bands like Bright Black Morning Light, Feathers, and Lamp of the Universe are bringing the Hippie weirdness to bear on their sound. Magazines like Arthur (R.I.P.) and Strange Attractor are doing their best to warp the minds of all comers. Into this mix comes the great new release from MV and EE; Green Blues.