Mount Eerie Black Wooden Ceiling Opening

When it comes to recordings, Phil Elverum likes to keep a clean house, meaning, for better or worse, few records are held back from his public. Now with the Pacific Northwesterner’s latest, Mount Eerie’s Black Wooden Ceiling Opening, his release-it-all tendency thankfully proves to be a good thing. While the six-track EP of "black metal using natural materials” may at first come across as a gimmicky genre exercise, it becomes apparent that no amount of double kick drum and red-lining guitar could stop Elverum from sounding like, well, Elverum. Featuring Mount Eerie’s 2006 "hardcore” line-up (Elverum, Jason Anderson and the Spectacle’s Kjetil Jenssen), Black Wooden keeps all the songwriter’s usual lo-fi intimacy and clever back-to-nature pop intact, and doesn’t diminish his quality of songs in the least. The record shows him having a bit of fun with his work and to the listener’s benefit, including three superb reinterpretations of older, more reserved Mount Eerie tracks (most notably a bombastic, feedback-filled redo of the song/lecture "Don’t Smoke”). Factor in some added live tracks and there’s no denying Black Wooden is an important and enjoyable part of the Elverum catalogue. (P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd.)