Listen: Mike Etten – “Saints” [2021]

This Friday (Oct. 1), Mike Etten (PC Worship, Dougie Poole band) is releasing his debut solo album, Love Wash, via Dull Tools. I wasn’t familiar with Etten prior to getting the LP, but checking out a few of the tracks on here I’m definitely digging the whispery, psychedelic blues folk that sounds at home in an old forest cemetery or desert ruin.

“Saints”, the most recent single + video from the project, was an immediate standout for me for one obvious reason – it’s got the violin jams on there! Not just any violin either, but via a guest performance from Adam Markiewicz of blog fav LEYA. The 3/4 waltz of “Saints” eventually breaks into a lovely, swirling bridge that enhances the otherworldly, psyched-out sound that had been building throughout the track, offering a new cloud-like layer for the song to launch from at the end. And that’s really all I need in a song these days: some nice timbre variety, a melting violin echoing from the heavens or across a distant plain, and some dynamics. I’m getting this in spades here. That middle part is obviously extra credit.

I know Beck isn’t the most glamorous touchstone comparison artist these days, and also not to interpolate the “getting Boss Baby vibes from this” tweet formula, but as a big Beck fan I was getting some slight touches of his Modern Guilt and Mutations LPs throughout Love Wash – a totally great thing for me, anyways. It’s an album that kicks up dust and boils with a dry heat when it needs to, with flares of harsh guitar distortion juxtaposed with wayward, humidity-warped pedal steel, twinkling synthesizer and the occasional howling saxophone. It’s an album to put on in desolate times, in introspective times, for walking around the city at sunset, or camping out in the desert to.

Love Wash is out October 1st via Dull Tools – pre-order it HERE.

About Very Warm

Usually cool dude stuff.
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