Sunday, April 1, 2012
Artist Of The Day: E
He's the driving force behind Eels and one of the most inspiring figures in the entire musical world, and yet many fans of Mark Oliver Everett (AKA, E) have no idea that he once had a similarly productive solo career. It was a far less extensive venture, with only a pair of albums to show, but both hold huge appeal for fans of his later, more well-known projects. The artist himself doesn't look back at this stage of his life with much fondness, and has spent much of the past two decades ignoring the existence of these releases, but those who have heard them are virtually unanimous in their positivity.
Having grown up with his mother and sister in Virginia (his father died in his presence when he was 19), Everett made the decision to move to LA in his mid-20's with the a view towards making a living as a singer-songwriter. After months of handing out demo tapes to shrugs of indifference, he eventually struck gold when Polydor offered a two-album deal. Both subsequent records were well received by critics, but while debut A Man Called E achieved moderate commercial success, follow-up Broken Toy Shop bombed, and as a result his contract with the label wasn't renewed.
This would of course prove to be a blessing in disguise, with the formation of Eels culminating in classics such as Beautiful Freak, Electro-Shock Blues and Blinking Lights & Other Revelations, but while those albums have overshadowed their maker's brief solo stint the material that he made during that period provides an intriguing and rewarding insight into his development, and as such should not be overlooked.
Head below to see our recommended album for E.
It's shameless pop sensibilities and somewhat naïve approach have caused E to look upon this first official release with a sense of embarrassment, but it nevertheless represents a key milestone for such an outrageously talented songwriter. His life hadn't yet sunk to the depths that it would under the Eels moniker, but this is still a record tinged with that trademark sadness which rubs off on some of the most charming material that he's ever written. The likes of 'Nowheresville' and 'I've Been Kicked Around,' for instance, boast some of the strongest melodies in E's entire discography, whilst a handful of songs including 'Hello Cruel World' and 'E's Tune' survived long enough to be considered for some of Eels' earlier live shows. Greater things lay ahead, but this is nevertheless a forgotten gem that every Mark Oliver Everett fan should hear.