I first saw Everest on stage in Silverlake, where the fivesome opened an ovewhelmingly righteous evening of all-star music at The Echo about a year-and-a-half ago. It was one of those spectacularly rare, history-making moments. Pollard poured out his heart and struck mine, etching a lasting impression as the best live music experience I’d felt in a long time.
Though Radar Bros were simultaneously releasing a CD and saying goodbye with friends and guests aplenty contributing and Silversun Pickups’ Brian Aubert kicked down some poignant acoustic covers, Everest was the band causing susurrant whirr. I heard it from the buzzing cicada-like whispers that spread across the room when Everest’s set came to a close. New but not. Innately ablaze. Neil Young. That’s how I caught it – a fungal fascination with the legend-making Los Angeles band that keeps it real. Really.
Poseurs they are not. Hot dogs piled with tasty adventures to relish they certainly are. A speedy rundown: Everest’s debut album was released on Vapor Records (Neil Young’s label) in May ’08. They fell right into tour with My Morning Jacket, Neil Young, Wilco, and Death Cab for Cutie. Not too shabby.
Everest is a team effort standing on 10 strong legs of expert indie-rock-alt-country-folk musicianship. Russell Pollard leads with vocals and acoustic guitar. Jason Soda and Joel Graves both play guitar and keys. Elijah Thomson solidly grooves the bass. And Davey Latter slathers drums and percussion just so.
The tracks they recorded live with us in the studio range from ‘old’ favorites to new favorites and from illuminated, harmony-laden honey to charcoal-lined brillo. All ply apart the ribs to dig, root and frolic in the blood and innerspace of lucky listeners.
Keeping the Score streams steady, driven by a wonderfully addictive drum beat, embellished by handclaps at the bonnet and the boot. The rhythm is strong and Pollard’s voice, in contrast, comes off hoarsely exhausted, fully appropriate to the context of the song – a tiresome relationship that continues through the undying, coursing pulse of life. Standing By is dark immersion painted with spaciously lush jam time. Juicy bass leads the warm familiar-feeling Fallen Feather, drenched in minor chords and adorned with sunsplashes plus a Pink Floyd dip that only Everest could accomplish while maintaining their singularity. Tall Buildings, simple with classic rock progressions, highlights Pollard’s authentic intensity and distinctively cool voice. Trees is genuinely uplifting, filled with bright harmonies. Finally, Rebels in the Roses will ever be one of their best.
Unabashedly, I am crazy about Everest. They are pure, classic rock-Americana goodness happening right now. Please listen over and over. Their songs are like tiny encapsulated sponge creatures that expand when watered by receptive connoisseurs of music honest and true.
Listen to the Exclusive Live Tracks (option/click to download):
Buy Ghost Notes (Vapor).
Editor’s note of Revision: The show at the Echo was January 28th, 2008. I know now because I looked it up when a kind gent informed me I must have been in some drug-induced stupor that night, fabricating fantastic memories of Russ Pollard and his guitar. Honestly, there was no peyote or other substance involved, just hella good vibes, good people and boastfully rich hometown superhero musicians. What I’m certain of is that Everest made a soul-hammering impression on me then and, in general, I feel proud and lucky to share standing room in LA’s hotbed of sonic delight. PS – Thank you to Kevin Bronson for his memory-jogging account of that famed evening HERE. I’ll try to lay off the Roy Rogers next time.