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END TIMES


Apocalyptic Heartache: The State of the Broken Union

EELS Trology EP

end times

END TIMES

Release Date: January 19, 2010

TRACK LISTING

01   THE BEGINNING
02   GONE MAN
03   IN MY YOUNGER DAYS
04   MANSIONS OF LOS FELIZ
05   A LINE IN THE DIRT
06   END TIMES
07   APPLE TREES
08   PARADISE BLUES
09   NOWADAYS
10   UNHINGED
11   HIGH AND LONESOME
12   I NEED A MOTHER
13   LITTLE BIRD
14   ON MY FEET





DELUXE END TIMES EDITION BONUS EP

01 SOME FRIEND
02 WALKING CLOUD
03 $200 TATTOO
04 THE MAN WHO DIDN'T KNOW HE'D LOST HIS MIND
The eighth EELS studio album, END TIMES, is the sound of an artist growing older in uncertain times. An artist who has lost his great love while struggling with his faith in an increasingly hostile world teetering on self-destruction. Largely self-recorded on an old four track tape machine by EELS leader Mark Oliver Everett aka E in his Los Angeles basement, it's a "divorce album" with a modern twist: the artist equates his personal loss with the world he lives in losing its integrity. When Everett finds comfort "in a dying world," the END TIMES he speaks of isn't about "Mayan calendar conspiracy theory bullshit," he says, but, "the state of the desperate times we live in. The bottom line-ness of it all. The end of common decency. The loss of caring about doing a good job. These are tough times. Who can you trust? Walter Cronkite is just a ghost."

Nowadays you go for a walk
Better not stop and wave or say hello
Just as soon people will spit
Give you shit just for looking at them
And walking too slow

- "Nowadays"

While the last EELS album, HOMBRE LOBO tackled the subject of desire, "the before, the spark that ignites everything," Everett says, END TIMES is about the other side: the after. And while HOMBRE LOBO was written from the point of view of a fictional character, END TIMES is pure real life.

Alone in his basement bunker, clinging to his antiquated tape recorder for comfort, Everett occasionally steps out into the world to take stock. After encountering a mentally disturbed homeless man ranting about the oncoming end of the world, he continues a walk through the Los Angeles night in the album's title track:

I walk around a puddle in the street
And head on home
Outside my window there's a cat in heat
Shut up, cat
And leave me alone
There ain't no heat on 'round here
I don't feel nothing now
Not even fear


Brutally unblinking, END TIMES may be the ELECRO-SHOCK BLUES of break-up albums. While the 1998 EELS album ELECTRO-SHOCK BLUES dealt with the untimely deaths of Everett's mother, father and sister, END TIMES takes a hard look at losing love. Rarely has the phrase "in the beginning" sounded more ominous and full of implication as it does in the album's opening track, "The Beginning":

Pulled her close up to me
To keep her warm
And everything was beautiful and free
In the beginning


This isn't Everett's first break-up album. The 1993 E BROKEN TOY SHOP album chronicled the broken heart of a young man in his twenties. END TIMES is the loss of a middle-aged man, growing as an artist, and as a man. The loss has more weight:

In my younger days
I would've just chalked it up
As part of my ongoing education
But I've had enough
Been through some stuff
And I don't need any more misery
To teach me what I should be
I just need you back

- "In My Younger Days"

Most people Everett's age might not feel time knocking on their door quite so loudly, but Everett's family tree keeps time always in check. "There's a sense of a race against time around here," he says, "middle age is often old age in my family." When it comes to the topic of what relationship these songs are specifically about, Everett won't say. The subject matter is so personal that he won't be interviewed on the subject. He'll only offer that it's all based on a true story. This is a raw and real state of the broken union address. Eschewing the universal haziness often applied in popular music, he is direct -- very direct:

And nakedly honest: You need help, baby
You've come unhinged
It's clear to everybody
You're on the fringe
Thought I'd stay until I die
But the twinkle in your eye is gone
And now all that's left is a mean old girl
Behind her crazy eyes

- "Unhinged"



I need a mother
I'm sorry but it's true
I need a lover
Not someone like you
I've been your daddy
For too long of a time
Need a little mothering
Just once in a while

- "I Need a Mother"

The album's penultimate track, "Little Bird," is its lynch-pin. Tapping into the rarely addressed issue of missing someone -- no matter how angry you are at them and no matter how much you know it's all for the best to be done with them -- it takes the simplest of images (a man looking at a bird) and suddenly makes all the songs that came before it that much more complex and poignant. This isn't finger-pointing at a cardboard villain.

In the album's closing song, "On My Feet," Everett doesn't attempt to neatly tie-up the story. But he does find a kind of solemn resolve: to keep going. Maybe things aren't as bad as they seem. It's not a resolution, but a decision to try to get to one:

I am a man in great pain over great beauty
It's not easy standing on my feet these days
But you know I'm pretty sure
That I've been through worse
And I'm sure I can take the hit



Everett manages to look at the failed relationship and the world around him in an all-encompassing way. He looks at the hopes and needs, as well as the disappointments and failings. As often as he is accusatory, he is also contrite. Ultimately he finds that there is only one thing he can do: make an effort to improve the world by improving himself:

Your contempt and your sarcasm
It's all so transparent
Why don't you give up the act now, kid
And let some love in?

- "Paradise Blues"

"I felt guilty about the long gap between the last two albums so I'm making up for lost time," Everett says. Indeed, the longest gap between EELS albums (four years between 2005's BLINKING LIGHTS AND OTHER REVELATIONS and 2009's HOMBRE LOBO) is being followed by the shortest gap ever (six months between 2009's HOMBRE LOBO and 2010's END TIMES). After spending the four year gap writing a book (the best-selling THINGS THE GRANDCHILDREN SHOULD KNOW), making a documentary about his father (the award-winning BBC and PBS NOVA'S PARALLEL WORLDS, PARALLEL LIVES), and touring the world three times, Everett says he's "back to my real job: making music full time."

All seven of the previous EELS albums have differed greatly in sound and content. "This will be some people's favorite EELS album and some people's least favorite EELS album," Everett says of END TIMES. "I'm prepared for that."





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