Photo by Mark Holthusen
Mark Eitzel’s music has long been defined by patience. In the ’80s, his San Francisco band American Music Club helped spearhead slowcore, turning rock’s ingredients on their head by deliberately turning down. His songs often have an after-midnight feel, whispered confessionals wrung from a lonely bedroom.
“The Last Ten Years,” which opens Eitzel’s new solo album Hey Mr Ferryman, rings like an alarm clock next to his starker work. The patience is still key: Eitzel takes the hand of the grim reaper, smirking his way across death’s door and wondering if there will be a party on the other side. It helps that he’s dressed the song up in borderline-ridiculous orchestral clothes; the syrup makes the bitter pill easier to swallow. “I’ve spent the last ten years, yeah / trying to waste half an hour,” is his choral revelation, and it reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld’s theory that most of human life is spent killing time. “The Last Ten Years” is just this: part meditation, part punchline, and happily out of step.
“The Last Ten Years” appears on Hey Mr Ferryman, out now.
–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX