michael gallucci

Posts Tagged ‘feature/interview’

FEATURE/INTERVIEW — ERIC CHURCH

In feature/interview on 02/23/2012 at 12:00 am

The best track on Eric Church’s third album, Chief, is all about the redemptive power of Bruce Springsteen’s songs. It’s even called “Springsteen.” And it brings the Boss cycle full circle, since, of course, Springsteen has been singing about the redemptive power of music for 40 years now. “Even though you’re a million miles away/When you hear ‘Born in the U.S.A.’/You relive those glory days/So long ago,” Church sings to the girl he dated when they were 17 over a muscular heartland-rock rhythm.

It’s a pivotal moment on the album, one that links the 34-year-old North Carolina native to a past that seems like a million years ago.

It’s also a pivotal moment on the album because Church is typically labeled a country singer. But unlike so many of the genre’s players who feel they need to namedrop Hank and Johnny (or, if you’re Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw) for a little backroads cred, Church straight-up nods to the music he grew up with, which was no-frills rock & roll that wasn’t afraid to rub against convention from time to time.

“When I started writing this record, I knew it needed to sound like the reason we’re here,” he says. “We’re very old-school, very rock & roll. I didn’t care what the label thought, I didn’t care what radio thought, I didn’t care what the fans thought. I let creativity lead me. And there were times it could have led us off a cliff.”

Church has steadily built buzz since his 2006 debut Sinners Like Me. People started paying more attention after 2009’s Carolina, which reached the Top 5 on the country chart. But Chief, which came out last summer, was an unexpected hit. It debuted at No. 1 on both the country and pop charts and didn’t take long to go gold. Recently, Church scored his first massive hit single, “Drink in My Hand.”

Boozing is a common theme on Chief. For all the reflection he does on “Springsteen” and the scolding he gives a backwoods white kid with a hip-hop obsession on “Homeboy,” the heart of the album sits squarely in Liquorville. In one song he’s “Hungover and Hard Up.” In another he pays tribute to “Jack Daniels.” His current tour is even called the Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour. “A lot of what happened on the road and a lot of that character ended up in the songs,” he admits.

The success of the past seven months has afforded Church some wriggle room. Not that he was ever one to play Nashville’s games – or at least not by its rules. He’s a hard-ass, but he’s also a working singer-songwriter who’s just now beginning to hit his stride. And he’s glad that others in the country-music community are along for the ride. “It’s a world of distance from my first album,” he says. “We used a distortion pedal on a banjo on my first single. People thought I was playing acid rock on country radio. That sounds so tame now.”

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FEATURE/INTERVIEW — REAL ESTATE

In feature/interview on 01/19/2012 at 8:30 am

Finding that one little sliver of something that distinguishes one blog-blessed indie-rock band from the next is getting tougher and tougher these days. Good luck explaining the differences between Dirty Projectors and Deerhoof to someone who doesn’t spend at least 15 hours a week reading Pitchfork. Or the fine line in musical minutiae that separates Wavves from No Age from Best Coast.

Real Estate is one of those bands. If you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to confuse them with any number of pop-leaning indie groups, like, say, Surfer Blood or the Drums. Listen to their albums – 2009’s self-titled debut or last year’s Days – and you may tap your feet or nod your head. But seconds after you press “play” in another artist’s library, you’ll probably forget everything that passed through your ears during the past 45 minutes.

It’s an easy thing to do – to get wrapped up in a song when it’s filling the silence. The hard thing is to recall a single note, lyric, phrase, or musical hook once it’s over. That’s where most indie rock resides in 2012: someplace between casual inspiration and barely distinguishable.

Real Estate is a good band. Days is a good album. But with so much faceless indie rock vying for attention, you may not recognize them. And if you do, you may not remember them. Don’t worry about it, though; the group’s singer and songwriter Martin Courtney used to feel that way too. “I didn’t know what our identity was,” he says. “Most bands have a distinct style. I couldn’t see that in us.”

It certainly doesn’t help that Real Estate are originally from the moneyed town of Ridgewood, New Jersey, where the core trio grew up together as friends, but relocated to the hipster hotspot of Brooklyn, where they all now live in the same neighborhood, presumably with dozens of other blog-blessed indie-rock bands.

It also doesn’t help much that Courtney’s songs – as tuneful and as pleasant as “Green Aisles” and “It’s Real” are – don’t really rattle your brain much. This probably has something to do with the way he works: The music always comes first and easier than the words. “When I’m writing, the meaning of the song comes together about halfway through,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll finish writing an entire song and I won’t have an idea what it’s about.”

Still, there has to be one thing about Real Estate that will lead you straight to them instead of Neon Indian or whoever when you’re in the mood for some new indie music. Maybe that they don’t lean on their guitars like so many of their peers do? Or how about the nostalgic and affectionate way they sing about growing up, like high school didn’t totally suck? Or how they never really seem to force themselves or their music on you? “We’re more mellow than a lot of other bands,” Courtney offers. “But it’s not like we go out of our way to not rock too hard. That’s just us.”

FEATURE/INTERVIEW — MATES OF STATE

In feature/interview on 11/17/2011 at 8:30 am

The indie-rock world has no shortage of couples making music together. Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan. Matt & Kim. Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice. Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon (OK, maybe scrap that one …). But they don’t come much cuter than Mates of State’s Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel. From the bouncy low-fi pop found on their six albums since 2000 to the way they pack up their two little kids when it’s time to tour, it’s cuteness overload for one of music’s most well-adjusted couples.

Longtime fans know you don’t start prying into Mates of State songs for signs of marital strife or tales of infidelity. This is happy music made by happy people who bring their voices together in joyous, seamless harmonies that often blur the line where the one ends and the other begins. Sometimes, if you’re not paying really close attention, you can’t tell if it’s Gardner singing or Hammel.

Their latest album, Mountaintops, is all about making music with the one you love. The Connecticut couple occasionally feels disconnected from the people and places around them, but never from each other or their family. It’s Gardner and Hammel’s most grown-up album, and their most revealing work, a peek at the matrimonial harmony behind the musical one.

“We really tried not to take into account what people expect from us,” says Gardner. “We wanted it to come out in a very real way this time.”

After rearranging their sound a bit on 2008’s Re-Arrange Us, Gardner and Hammel get back to the things that made them indie darlings in the first place: the sugar-rush pace of their songs, the DIY spark that ignites so much of their music, and the fuss-free organ-and-drums setup that powers their super-hooky pop. Despite what Gardner says, Mountaintops might be the most Mates of State-sounding album in their decade-long catalog.

From the shimmering “Palomino” to the jittery “Maracas” to the reflective “At Least I Have You,” the record comes pretty close to whatever the opposite of a breakup album is. It’s a celebration of a deeper kind of love. “We sing about our musical life together, not our love life,” says Gardner. “That’s a huge misconception about this band. We’re personal songwriters, but not that personal.”

Gardner says she and Hammel are no different than any other couple (aside from the whole playing-in-a-band-together thing). They have arguments. They need their space once in a while. And they can get on each others’ nerves. But extra-springy indie-pop songs are no place to air those grievances. “We definitely have our moments,” she says. “But we’re really good at working together. I know what he’ll never budge on, he knows what I’ll never budge on, and we know when we have to meet in the middle. I can tell him completely, abruptly, and honestly what I think.”

FEATURE/INTERVIEW — RAY DAVIES

In feature/interview on 11/10/2011 at 8:30 am

There’s resignation, defiance, and practicality in the way Ray Davies assesses his career these days. Of course the onetime leader of the Kinks would rather be writing, recording, and playing new music than revisiting songs he wrote 40 years ago. Of course he’d rather focus his time on albums like Other People’s Lives and Working Man’s Café, the two barely heard records of new material he’s released since 2006. But fans want “You Really Got Me.” And “Lola.” And many of the other songs Davies stamped in the rock & roll history books.

That’s why, after launching his solo career in earnest five years ago with two albums of new songs, he’s revisited old Kinks favorites on his latest two albums, 2009’s The Kinks Choral Collection and this year’s See My Friends. “These things didn’t happen by design,” he says. “It seems like they did, but they happened quite casually. They weren’t deliberate.”

Still, Davies refused to just go in and rerecord his old songs. He says he was hesitant to undertake either project at first, but eventually settled into concepts – working with an orchestra on the former and duet partners on the latter – he could live with. Davies then arranged blistering garage rockers and paisley-textured nostalgia to suit their new settings.

The Choral Collection mixes classics “Waterloo Sunset” and “All Day and All of the Night” with deep-album cuts like “Big Sky” and “Do You Remember Walter?” See My Friends taps big stars Bruce Springsteen and Metallica, along with newcomers like Mumford & Sons anda couple of artists you never heard of. “The secret to this kind of album is to let it be a collaboration album, let the artists have their way,” says Davies. “It’s important to keep that.”

Davies’ current tour skips the projects’ revisionist approach, instead stripping old and new songs to their original foundations. The Los Angeles quartet the 88 (which plays on See My Friends) backs Davies onstage. In a way, the show takes another glance at Davies’ storied history, this time through a relatively clear filter. “It’s more of a journey,” says Davies.

Even though the past couple of years have been dedicated to the two projects, Davies has been writing “bloody simple songs” for a new album. He’s even working with original Kinks drummer Mick Avory on some of them. But Davies adds, still flashing that ornery spark that’s a big part of the band’s turbulent history, “he’s not the greatest drummer in the world, but when he’s right, he’s perfect for my kind of narrative.”

No surprise then that you probably shouldn’t hold out for a Kinks reunion anytime soon. Davies blames his guitarist brother Dave for holding out. “I don’t know what he’s holding out for,” he says. “Life’s too short. I’d love to work with them again, but really, there’s not a chance.”

FEATURE/INTERVIEW — COLD WAR KIDS

In feature/interview on 11/03/2011 at 8:00 am

Being a buzz band sucks. Sure, the first four or five months can be the most awesome time of your life, as every Pitchfork-aspiring blogger on the planet strains to find new ways to say your band totally rocks. But then the backlash starts. And then people start hating you. Then they forget about you. And then you release your third album and nobody buys it. And suddenly, maybe being a buzz band for four or five months wasn’t the best thing for your career after all.

Welcome to the world of Cold War Kids.

Six years ago, right around the time the internet started ejaculating loads of praise over bands you never heard of, four guys from California released a series of EPs that stirred a little interest in the indie-rock community. In 2006 they released their debut album, Robbers & Cowards, and suddenly Cold War Kids were, if you believed the hyperventilating basement bloggers who deemed themselves music critics, the best band ever. Better than Nirvana. Better than U2. Better than the fucking Beatles.

But quicker than you can say Cold War Kids are more popular than Jesus, the backlash started. Word got out that they were a Christian band, which no one bothered to verify but must be true since three members attended the super-evangelical Biola University. And if there’s anything indier-than-thou types hate more than artists who sell records, it’s artists who like Jesus. In no time, Cold War Kids weren’t the best band ever. They were a bunch of God-praising phonies. Besides, did you hear about Grizzly Bear? Now there’s a great band.

Kids frontman Nathan Willett still feels the sting that killed his band’s buzz. “We were too careful about how we dealt with that situation,” he admits. “We didn’t want to be the loudmouths. But that kind of below-the-belt criticism … I just wished they just would have said, ‘We don’t like these guys. We just don’t like their band.’”

So Cold War Kids decided to go bigger and wider on their third album, Mine Is Yours, which was released in January. They replaced the shattered, piano-driven stories about alcoholics and other desperate folks on their debut with vibrating guitars, epic soundscapes, and a grander sense of purpose – sort of like Kings of Leon without the douchey side effects.

But the record didn’t sell. College radio barely touched it. And the increasingly fickle blog community completely ignored it. “I don’t think it was understood in the way we would have liked it to been,” says Willett. “I was disappointed that it wasn’t noticed more. But we’re going to put out another one after this and keep on going.”

This leaves Cold War Kids at an impasse regarding their future and with a question that may not have an answer: How does a former buzz band get people to pay attention again? Or at least how does it live down its cursed past? “We didn’t have a model or somebody we could learn from,” says Willett. “People are still figuring that out. So many of those bands aren’t around anymore. It’s not sad that you’re waiting tables. It’s sad that you had the opportunity and you let it pass.”

FEATURE/INTERVIEW — BLITZEN TRAPPER

In feature/interview on 10/27/2011 at 8:30 am

There are way too many bearded folkies either holing up in cabins deep in the woods to make records these days. Either that or they’re decking out the studio to sound like they were holed up in a cabin deep in the woods. But only Blitzen Trapper could truly pass themselves off as a band from the 1970s. There’s a strong scent of Laurel Canyon smoothness to the Oregon quintet’s laid-back hippie grooves that can never be mistaken for fleet or foxy.

For the past few years, Blitzen Trapper frontman Eric Earley has been hitting a dustier trail for his band’s albums, starting with 2008′s Furr, continuing with last year’s Destroyer of the Void, and ending up with American Goldwing, which came out last month. They all lead to the same tuneful Americana, told with banjos, harmonicas, pianos, and, occasionally, fuzzy guitar. Despite the feedback freakout that starts their sixth album, they really don’t tramp any new ground here. But once you’ve finally settled in a good groove, there’s no rush to get out of it.

“I like classic guitars,” says Earley somewhat sheepishly. “I really wasn’t thinking about doing a new record. It started as a solo thing, since they’re more personal songs. But when I got in the studio, they started sounding good. So I brought the other guys in. Each record is like a snapshot of where I am in my life.”

On the earlier albums, the first three before Furr got the buzz rolling, Blitzen Trapper sounded like a band stumbling for some direction. There were signs of what was coming, especially on 2007’s Wild Mountain Nation, but it wasn’t until Furr that Earley hit on something. He got about as close as he could to making a Dylan/Dead/Band record without actually inventing a time machine to transport himself and his band back to 1970.

Destroyer of the Void was more ambitious, and maybe just a little predictable. It stepped away from the group’s holy trinity of influences to find some identity with a mix of double-tracked guitar runs, tiny synth burps, and spacey time shifts. It was all rather epic-sounding, even if the album lacked actual songs, coming off more like a series of elaborate multi-part suites with no direction home.

American Goldwing, the third part of this don’t-call-it-a-trilogy, scales back a bit. “There’s a simplicity to the new record,” admits Earley. “It’s pretty stripped down. There’s not a lot of extra fat on these songs.”

Like the artists he famously borrows from, Earley has no idea where he’s going next. Of course it will probably sound like something from the late ’60s or early ’70s. And of course it will probably come with faded nostalgia and a slight twang. “I listen to a lot of hard rock and country music,” he says. “But I don’t like a lot of folk music, to be honest.”

FEATURE/INTERVIEW — THE WAY (MARTIN SHEEN AND EMILIO ESTEVEZ)

In feature/interview on 10/13/2011 at 8:30 am

Family figures into The Way from so many directions, there’s no getting around it. The movie, which opens Friday, is directed by Emilio Estevez. It stars his dad Martin Sheen. It was partly inspired by Estevez’s daughter-in-law, and partly inspired by Sheen’s father, who the film is dedicated to. And the whole movie hinges on an overseas death that sends an American to claim his son’s body.

The Way is about the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage that starts in France and ends in Spain. Thousands of people – including the wife of Estevez’s son – walk the path every year, in hopes of finding some sort of spiritual or personal enlightenment along the way. It’s not an easy trek; in fact, it can be downright brutal, as grumpy optometrist Tom (Sheen) finds out after he gets a call informing him that his son Daniel (played by Estevez in flashbacks) was caught in a freak storm and died on the path.

Tom goes to France to bring home his only son. But once he gets there, and after some reflection, he decides to stay and complete the pilgrimage, with Daniel’s cremated remains – which he sprinkles along the way — in tow. “I had this image of it growing up,” says the 71-year-old Sheen, who, along with Estevez and the rest of the movie’s cast and crew, traveled more than 200 miles on the Camino de Santiago during filming. His dad often talked about the path but never got a chance to walk it.

As one character tells Tom in the movie, “Religion has nothing to do with this.” Both Sheen and Estevez stress this point at a joint interview during a recent stop in Cleveland. “It’s appealing to agnostics, Catholics, believers, nonbelievers,” says Estevez. “It’s about [common] struggles and the disconnect between community and faith.”

That sense of community is evident throughout the movie. Reluctant to talk about his son, or anything for that matter, Tom sets out on the path alone. But midway through he’s picked up three traveling companions, all with their own stories to tell. “You do this for yourself,” says Sheen, echoing his character’s arc. “But you’ll create your own community on the path.”

The Way is a quiet movie. Not much happens – which is probably an accurate summation of the Camino itself. It’s all about what you learn along the way. And there’s plenty of time for reflection, as folks move from one small town to the next, stopping only to sleep and eat at the various inns catering to pilgrims. It can be a tough journey, as Sheen was well aware of when his son asked him to star in the movie. “I had some anxiety about doing this – an old guy walking and carrying a bag,” he admits. “A certain amount of discipline is necessary. ”

Despite all this, the movie is inspiring people to walk the path. Or at least they’re talking about walking the path. “Just be sure to bring some Vaseline for the blisters,” Sheen says with a laugh. “And good shoes.”

FEATURE/INTERVIEW — WILD FLAG

In feature/interview on 10/06/2011 at 8:00 am

There’s no getting around the whole supergroup thing with Wild Flag. You don’t want to bring it up, but you can’t really talk about the band without getting into the four members’ pasts and how awesome it is that they’re all getting together for this new project.

This summit of some indie-rock’s most kick-ass women – Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, the Minders’ Rebecca Cole, and Helium’s Mary Timony – could easily have turned into Sleater-Kinney minus singer Corin Tucker, since Brownstein’s distinctive vocals and guitar slashings, as well as Weiss’ solid drum fills, anchored one of the Pacific Northwest’s best indie bands.

But singer and guitarist Timony adds another level of guitar fury to Wild Flag that twists many of the songs on their excellent self-titled debut album into glistering, propulsive bundles of energy that often go beyond Sleater-Kinney’s femme-punk workouts. Whether or not it was their intention, Wild Flag flip the concept of both girl groups and supergroups.

“It’s different than any other band I’ve been in, where the songwriter brings the song,” says Cole, who plays keyboards and, like all the ladies, sings. “We all work together here. You want your bandmates to be honest with you — ‘Rebecca, that song kinda sounds like Rick Springfield’ – but it can be sad. ‘Oh, I just wrote a Rick Springfield riff.’ But I’m glad they’re hearing things I’m not.”

Buzz has been building for Wild Flag since early this year, when the band hit the road – including a stop at South by Southwest – to test out their songs. By the time they stepped into the studio, things had been hammered out and nailed down to the point where the album could pretty much be recorded with minimal overdubs. “I enjoy the process of giving a song life by playing it live over and over before we commit it to record,” says Cole. “It’s hard to see what sticks when you’re in a little eight-by-eight practice space.”

It helps that all four women played major parts in their former bands (in addition to their main groups, they individually have ties to Quasi, Bright Eyes, and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks too). Wild Flag pulls from all of their experiences — from songwriting to recording to compiling set lists. They’ve all been through this before.

So, you see, there’s really no way around the Wild Flag-are-a-supergroup issue. But Cole insists that Wild Flag differ from other supergroups, from Blind Faith to the Traveling Wilburys, because they plan to stick around a while. It’s everyone’s new full-time gig. “We all put a lot of effort into this,” she says. “The idea is not a one-off record. This isn’t a side project for any of us.”

FEATURE/INTERVIEW — AN HORSE

In feature/interview on 09/14/2011 at 8:00 am

We’ll spare you the details about how Australian duo An Horse got its name. It involves a grammar argument that singer and guitarist Kate Cooper had with her sister, and it’s really not that exciting. Cooper herself would rather talk about something else, like her band’s new album Walls or how she spends her downtime on tour. “It’s so brutal talking about that,” she laughs. “Thank you for not being that guy.”

It’s a typical indie-rocker response. And exactly what you would expect from someone who met her future bandmate in an indie record store. Like an Australian version of all those American-bred boy-girl indie-pop duos, Cooper and drummer Damon Cox, who were playing in different groups at the time, immediately formed a bond and started a band, with her out front writing, singing, and playing guitar.

An Horse’s first album, Rearrange Beds, came out in 2009 and echoed the ragged, spare, but hooky music played by Mates of State and Matt & Kim. It’s sparkling, literate indie pop that never really goes so deep that you can’t appreciate it on its own terms. Lyrically, it can be confusing at times, but don’t sweat the details. Even Cooper admits that when she’s stringing words together on songs like “Swallow the Sea” and “Trains and Tracks,” Cox is often left scratching his head. “He actually has no idea what I’m singing about,” she says.

There are many catchy and likable moments on Walls, especially the ones where Cooper doesn’t get too caught up in the words she’s singing. She stretches her syllables, guiding songs through the occasional volume boosts. She also has this little thing where she repeats key lines before pulling back right at the second you’re getting tired of them. That’s when An Horse truly find a groove.

“The first [album] wasn’t really meant to be a record,” she says. “They were demos, not a cohesive project. But the second time around, we had more time and people to bounce ideas off. It was actually a band making a record, not two friends recording songs and accidentally getting a record deal.”

Walls is a bigger and fuller-sounding album than Rearrange Beds. But Cooper and Cox have no intention of expanding An Horse, not even onstage, where an extra pair of hands or two could come in, um, handy once in awhile. Plus, additional bandmates could probably ease some of the offstage tension that’s inherently part of the duo setup. “We’ve gotten better,” says Cooper. “We actually have a pretty good relationship, where I can say, ‘You’re a fuckwit,’ and he can say, ‘No, you’re a fuckwit.’”

Still, even after acknowledging the limitations of a two-person band, Cooper wouldn’t have it any other way. She points to her solo demos as an example. She says they sound like country songs until Cox comes in and adds some rock & roll muscle. Anyone else in the mix would just muck it up. “It’s a good process we have,” she says. “But we do need to be more creative. I hope I’m a better songwriter now. I mean, I couldn’t have gotten worse, right?” 

FEATURE/INTERVIEW — EELS

In feature/interview on 08/03/2011 at 8:30 am

Mark Oliver Everett is finally finding some peace.

Twenty years into his career, the frontman for Eels, who goes by the stage name E, is putting to rest the demons that ran through two solo records and six band albums. And it took a trilogy of concept albums that explore the burden-carrying themes of desire, loss, and redemption for Everett to get to that place.

In a way, these three albums – Hombre Lobo, End Times, and Tomorrow Morning – exorcised parts of Everett’s past that he had wrestled with ever since the first E record came out in 1992. Electro-Shock Blues, the second Eels album (from 1998), is the obvious starting point here. Written and recorded following his sister’s suicide and his mother’s diagnosis of cancer, the record is a tough listen, a deep and often brutal look into Everett’s fractured psyche. It remains his best work.

The next few Eels albums, especially 2000’s Daisies of the Galaxy, which included the hopeful “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues,” slowly brushed away the fading smell of death around Everett (among other things, his cousin was a flight attendant on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11).

By the time he began work on End Times, the first album recorded for the trilogy but the second released, Everett was a relatively happy dude, picking away at the records’ themes with an open-minded and objective perspective, rather than a pained and personal one. “They were all ignited about something going on in my life,” he says. Surprisingly, each song ended up on the albums it was originally intended for. Or as Everett says, “Nobody hopped ship.”

Everett started the trilogy in 2008. Although recorded separately, all three were completed by the time Hombre Loco, the seventh Eels album and first in four years, was released in 2009. A little more than a year later, both End Times and Tomorrow Morning were out. The rapid release schedule isn’t all that unusual for the prolific Everett. Still, he says, “I wanted to make up for lost time.” But, he adds, “nothing ever goes as planned. Part of the fun of it is all the happy accidents along the way. It’s a good feeling having three aces up your sleeve.”

From the start, Everett has been a one-man alt-rock show. “Hello Cruel World,” a minor modern-rock hit in 1992, was pretty much a truly solo Everett. The earliest Eels records – including the breakthrough single “Novocaine for the Soul” in 1996 – featured little input from other people. (To this day, Eels are a revolving-door band, with other musicians coming in and out as they’re needed. On their current Tremendous Dynamite tour, Eels are a seven-piece.)

Then again, Everett didn’t need anyone along for the ride to hold his personal baggage. Despite their ubiquitous appearance in 75 percent of the Shrek movies, Eels’ songs are like scars, the result of scraping at years-old wounds. Everett’s 2007 autobiography Things the Grandchildren Should Know scratched even deeper. You don’t need to drag anyone else through this kind of hell.

But sometime around the end of the ’00s Everett exhaled. He cleaned out his closet with a pair of compilations gathering his best-known songs and rarities. He grew his hobo beard to awe-inspiring lengths. And he toured, effectively putting an end to his band’s first decade.

This is where the trilogy comes in. It was originally conceived as a two-part project. Hombre Lobo was added later, written and recorded as “a prequel that’s about the thing that gets you into this trouble in the first place,” says Everett. “But I always knew they all went together.”

Fittingly, Hombre Lobo, End Times, and Tomorrow Morning can be seen as the end, or the start, of a period in Everett’s life that’s now, like the psych-ward blues of a decade or so ago, in his past. He doesn’t mind looking back. But “I’m kinda superstitious about talking about my future,” he says. “I don’t want to paint myself into a corner. I often change my mind at the last minute and end up doing something else. And then it becomes this lost thing everyone asks you about for the rest of your life.”