Los Angeles Times - Buzz Bands

Buzz Bands: New heights for Everest
09:28 AM PT, Jun 20 2008

On “Black Covers,” one of the sylvan gems on L.A. quintet Everest’s debut album, “Ghost Notes,” frontman Russell Pollard sings, “Sometimes you’ve gotta step out of line to be seen.” Ain’t it the truth.

Pollard who’d played with the likes of Alaska!, Sebadoh and the Folk Implosion, never really envisioned himself leading a band — he just had some songs he’d been working on, and some friends he’d been hanging out with, when serendipity arrived in the form of advice from producer Mike Terry.

“Mike told us, ‘You guys need to pay attention to the signs in your life,’.” guitarist Joel Graves says.

So when Pollard, Graves, guitarist Jason Soda and bassist Rob Douglas connected the dots, Everest is what took shape. Abetted by Great Northern drummer Davey Latter (and now including Derek Brown on drums), the quintet last summer fleshed out Pollard’s compositions in Elliott Smith’s old digs, New Monkey Studios. Karma? Maybe. “It feels like home,” producer Terry says. “It’s a place you have to see and feel.”

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. “I wrote the songs kind of during the best and worst of times,” Pollard says. “I was going through deaths in the family, the loss of a friend, quitting a band I had my heart into ..... but on the other hand I was getting married.”

The album not only earned Everest a contract with Neil Young’s Vapor Records and it positioned the fivesome as an act much of the L.A. indie scene has rallied around. The quintet leaves soon for European tour dates opening for My Morning Jacket, as well as a couple supporting Young.

“It’s like everything we’ve done has led up to now,” Pollard says. “I feel like this is a total gift.” - By Kevin Bronson