Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #90 The Microphones
The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 artist of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
#90 The Microphones
Phil Elverum, or Elvrum at the time, adopted the moniker The Microphones in 1998, releasing intimate bedroom recordings that were as introverted as they were transparent. But, in 2000, K Records released Elvrum's breakout, It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water, followed by 2001's The Glow, Pt.2. Now, get ready for this statement. This is, by far, the greatest set of back-to-back releases we've been blessed with this decade.
He release a concept record soon after titled Mount Eerie, then dropped The Microphones moniker and carried on as Mount Eerie and released several fantastic records, including 2005's No Flashlight. However, his first two records released this decade are what makes Phil Elvrum, what makes The Microphones, one of the greatest acts this decade has seen.
It Was Hot… was an exploration of the surrounding world - the ocean, the air, the wind - all packaged up into pop-oriented, lo-fi folk. Whereas, The Glow, Pt. 2, was an inward exploration of the body - its blood, its breath, its emotions - that took on the same sound, but was, in contrast, much darker and, despite the dilution of the pop sound, much more innocent.
On both It Was Hot... and The Glow, Pt. 2, Elvrum expertly crafts simple pop songs, but dusts them in lo-fi, stereo production that makes his songs as wet as a tropical storm or as dry as a the desert air. Each record carries you away on Elvrum's imaginative journey, offering glimpses into his innocent take on the inner and outer world. Although The Microphones are no longer, they will never die because these two records are timeless, still sounding as relevant now as they did at the beginning of the decade.