Published on October 10th, 2017


Elvis Depressedly

If you subscribe to the theory that the King didn’t meet his maker on the throne, you’d probably have an idea of what he and his music would’ve become over time. Elvis Presley always carried a sadness in his eyes and one would think that the artist struggling to break free from the inner demons of rock and roll would’ve eventually pulled a Johnny Cash at the end turn and create deeply personal and reflective work. Or at the very least, a bare-toothed version of his former self.

While that might not be the case here, there’s something about Elvis Depressedly that recalls the tragic figure of Elvis Presley beyond the play on nomenclature. Mat Cothran (guitar, vocals) and Delaney Mills (keyboards, drums, vocals) are the lo-fi indie rockers out of Asheville, NC who encompass the trappings of a Southern Gothic but with the modern distillation of the baroque. While that might sound like a thick hodgepodge to get through, listeners would be wise to dispense with preconceptions and let the music tell its tale.

There’s a linear quality that runs through their eight releases that harkens to that intellectual spirit of fiction writing—the flaws are worn on the sleeve, there’s room for the grotesque, and the sinister specter of poverty, crime, and alienation flows beneath what initially seems like eccentric behavior. The music draws you in in a comforting and almost warming manner. Their opening salvo, 2011’s Save the Planet, Kill Yourself was grandiose in scale and approach and it is in the maturity of subsequent releases that they’ve managed to break it down scientifically.

Last year’s California Dreamin’ is a peak in the long road they’ve covered in a little over six years. Bringing it back to the King; Elvis Depressedly understands the urgency of rock and roll and strips it to its lowest common denominator without sacrificing its narrative and splendor. Is it more ambient in execution? It seems that way and it surely doesn’t rail against the comparison; but exploring their catalogue, from beginning to present, gives the same level of satisfaction Johnny Cash’s career or Flannery O’Connor’s body of work gives when taken as a whole.

Elvis Depressedly with Turnover and Emma Ruth Rundle at 7pm on Sunday, October 15 at the Kelsey Theater. http://www.summertimeinhell.org.
~ Abel Folgar

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