It’s a sometimes efficient, sometimes slapdash way of judging an artist’s work: by association. I have always (in my only minimal listening to Mirah in the past) kept her, in my mind, in close proximity with Phil Elverum. She’s his right-hand lady, right? She is, like, the female Mount Eerie — the Playskool Microphones, if you will. Where Phil Elverum has become the consummate no-nonsense nature and spirit missionary, Mirah recalls his more twee, comedic, prior self.
I’d like to think this is a pretty valid assumption I’ve concocted in my skull. The Old Days Feeling arrives as I’d expect it to, even with its status as a “collection.” We have that signature Dub Narcotic Studio intimacy. We have the tender and twee moments of silly sex. We have bedroom recordings, recordings spanning the career, and collaborative recordings. It’s a nice compilation, resting on the fact that it doesn’t feel like a compilation.
Calvin Johnson, in the album liner notes, does a good job of creating a personal recollection of Mirah, his friend and colleague. The tenderness with which he tells of her journey affects the reader in the way Mirah’s music affects the listener. The music is personal — an interior look — softly sung with more than a smidgen of sass and blitheness. You know this already. I’m the late attendee.