I’ve been laying down my idiotic thoughts on music for the past five years or so, and the micro scenes and niche genres that spring up continues to amaze. When it comes to the extensive American Primitive scene, I will not feign expertise and lecture on how this album we’re premiering connects the dots between Fahey’s early Takoma output and Bachman’s post-millenium drones or whatever. All I can say with certainty is that Elkhorn, the New York City/Philadelphia duo of Jesse Sheppard (12 String Acoustic) and Drew Gardner (Electric Guitar), cooked up an incredible, hypnotic slow burn LP, and I’m excited to share it with the TMT world. The Black River (out today via Debacle) is the duo’s debut LP, with a sold out tape on Beyond Beyond is Beyond that came out in 2016. The whole of The Black River is centered on the textured interplay between acoustic and electric guitar, and while I love the gorgeous melodies of the former, when the latter breaks down into some scorched shredding (see “Sugar Hill Raaga”), I can’t help but be won over by every minute.
Physical vinyl copies are available to purchase starting today, with a digital release on the 28th. If you happen to be in Seattle in the next couple of weeks, catch Elkhorn and twenty plus other bands at the 10th iteration of Debacle Fest. For a stacked roster of noise/drone/freakout acts, Elkhorn stand out as a must see based on what I hear on The Black River, and hopefully you’re feeling the same way.