Elf Power discuss the influences behind new album ‘ Artificial Countrysides’ (stream it)
Indie rock vets and Elephant 6 collective mainstays Elf Power just released Artificial Countrysides, their 14th album and first in over five years. The Athens, GA band's fuzzy, twangy, harmony-laden psychedelic pop sound remains resilient and appealing, and you can listen to the whole album below.
We asked Elf Power frontman Andrew Rieger to tell us about some of the inspirations behind Artificial Countrysides, and his list might surprise some, with albums by Chrome, Run the Jewels, Sparks, Sleaford Mods, and more, plus films, keyboards and other stuff. Check it out, complete with Andrew's commentary, below.
Elf Power are on tour now and stop in NYC at Le Poisson Rouge on July 23 with Teenage Halloween and E.R. Jurken. All dates are listed below.
ELF POWER - 10 INFLUENCES BEHIND ARTIFICIAL COUNTRYSIDES
Baldwin Fun Machine
We used the incredible analog drum machine that’s built into this 1970s organ to generate some really beats that we then doubled with real drums on several songs on the new album. Our friends in the band Macha (featuring Josh McKay now of Deerhunter) used a Fun Machine to great effect on their albums and in their live shows in the 1990s, so I was always on the lookout for one, and I finally got one during the making of our album.
A favorite movie of mine for many years. During the writing of this album I would sometimes have it on with the sound off as a visual stimulus. It’s a 1970s French/Czech animated sci-fi film about a telepathic and spiritually advanced alien race who regard humans as animals and pets. The humans then revolt to overcome their subjugation by the aliens. The animation is really psychedelic and unique, and the soundtrack is great too. I also have a giant framed movie poster that my mom gave me hanging in my room, so its visual influence was always present during the writing and recording of this record.
Myriam Gendron – Ma delire (songs of love, lost and found)
A lovely album that I listened to a lot during the making of the album. Great fingerpicking guitar playing and distinctive and unique vocals.
Sleaford Mods - Spare Ribs
Cool arrangements and production and smart, funny lyrics. Everyone in the band loves them.
Run the Jewels - RTJ4
I love the crispy, distorted production on the album. Great electronic bass sounds too.
Richard Dawson and Circle - Henki
A wonderfully bizarre heavy prog rock collaboration that I probably listened to more than any other album in 2021.
Scott Walker and Sunn 0))) - Soused
A favorite album of the last decade that I come back to a lot. It’s surprisingly melodic and lyrically playful, while simultaneously being incredibly heavy and dark.
Blue “Gene” Tyranny – Out of the Blue
I listened to this a lot on long walks at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown. Its’ strange mix of jazz, pop and experimental music, punctuated by lengthy cosmic, philosophical spoken word interludes, was soothing and satisfying during a weird time.
Chrome - Red Exposure
Chrome guitarist Helios Creed is a master of fuzzed out psychedelic guitar, and this album some great examples of it. Always inspirational to listen to as a guitar player.
Sparks – Live / Annette / The Sparks Brothers documentary film
I’ve been a fan for many years, but in the years that we were making this album I finally saw them live, saw the great The Sparks Brothers documentary (which inspired me to listen to all of their albums in chronological order, as the film uses this approach. It took me about a month to make it through all 25 albums), and saw their wonderful musical Annette, so I was definitely immersed in Sparks’ music more than usual for a few years. The ending jail scene in Annette, where Henry and Annette have a final meeting is an intense favorite that I rewatched many times.
ELF POWER - 2022 TOUR DATES
7/15: Louisville, KY - Portland Creative Compound
7/16: Detroit, MI - El Club
7/17: Cincinnati, OH - MOTR Pub
7/18: Columbus, OH - Natalie’s Grandview
7/19: Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe
7/20: Millersville, PA - Phantom Power
7/21: Somerville, MA - Crystal Ballroom
7/22: Providence, RI - Columbus Theatre
7/23: New York, NY - LPR
7/24: Hamden, CT - Space Ballroom
7/25: Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s
7/26: Washington, D.C. - Black Cat
7/27: Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle (Back Room)
7/28: Columbia, SC - New Brookland Tavern
7/29: Atlanta, GA - 529
7/30: Athens, GA - 40 Watt