Everest Gets A Lift From Neil Young and My Morning Jacket
Aidin Vaziri | 08.14.2008

WHO? Los Angeles quintet made up of a constellation of indie-rock musicians that have previously put in time with outfits such as Sebadoh, the Folk Implosion, Earlimart, Alaska!, Stanford Prison Experiment, John Vanderslice and the Watson Twins. Whew! The group recorded its debut, Ghost Notes, at Elliott Smith's old hangout, New Monkey Studios, and released it in August on Neil Young's Vapor Records. Everest has already spent time on the road supporting My Morning Jacket and Young. "The band started over tacos at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles," Pollard says." As friends and collaborators, we talked about focusing our energies from our various projects into one band."

PLAYERS: Russell Pollard (vocals, guitar, drums), J. Soda (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Rob Douglas (bass, vocals), Joel Graves (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Derek Brown (drums)

WHAT TO BUY: Everest's first outing, Ghost Notes, was recorded in just two weeks in the San Fernando Valley using all analog equipment and old school tape machines. The outdated technology was necessary to capture the warmth of soft-lit Americana tracks like "Taking On The Future" and "Only In Your Mind." Meanwhile, "Into Your Soft Heart" is a fitting continuance of New Monkey Studio's former resident, the late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. "From a lyrical standpoint our album is like a series of letters written to loved ones," Pollard says. "Musically, it is an amalgamation of our individual tastes and desires placed into an old trunk with a tube reverb and a tape machine on the bottom to catch it all."

WAIT, THE GROUP DOESN'T USE ANY COMPUTERS IN THE STUDIO? NOT EVEN A TRS-80? Nope. "We work with what we have and what we have is old, analog equipment and tape machines," Pollard says. And what would happen if someone snuck in one of those plastic white laptops? "Well, it'd probably get a little dusty. But that isn't to say one way is better than the other, just that we prefer the analog sound. Put a Nuemann U47 in front of a vintage tube amp with a Gibson 330 or an SG Standard, and you're done."

WAIT, HOW DO THEY KNOW NEIL YOUNG? The band members started by seeking employment at Young's Vapor Records. Then a few demos were passed along end Young's manager Elliot Roberts came down to Everest's studio to hear some rough mixes of the album, which resulted in a deal. "Neil saw us perform shortly after and was pleased to know that Elliot had added us to the Vapor family," Pollard says. Since then, Young has tapped the band to open shows for him in Ireland, Holland and the U.K. They will also support Shakey on his forthcoming North American tour. "It's a really big deal for us, we're honored!"

GUITAR HEROES: Young naturally tops the list and not just because he signs their paychecks. Pollard is also big on Jimmy Page and Jimmy Reed. "Page is so inventive and his playing is instantly recognizable and lovable," Pollard says. "Jimmy Reed just has this hypnotic style with his patterns that draws you in."

FILE NEXT TO: Elliott Smith, Josh Rouse, My Morning Jacket

NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH: Chomolungma, Qomolangma or Zhumulangma

CRITICAL ENDORSEMENT: "As for Ghost Notes, it’s an album of hard facts and soft landings, tethered to darker edges of American roots rock, yet, not unlike its players, possessing an understated but perseverant optimism.” —Los Angeles Times

08/23 - "Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival" - San Francisco, CA
08/24 - Old Ironsides - Sacramento, CA
08/26 - Tractor Tavern - Seattle, WA
08/27 - The Space - Salem, OR
08/28 - The Artistry -Portland, OR