Zelienople are the best drone-tinged country band you've never heard of The crystalline Chicago band that’s released three of the best psychedelic albums of this decade.
Mike Weis (percussion), Matt Christensen (vocals, guitar) and Brian Harding (bass, saxophone) are three legends of the American DIY music scene, and have released over ten albums as Zelienople over the last eight years. Like many of their Type labelmates (which span the drone-soul of Portland’s Grouper to the cloud hip hop of New Jersey’s Clams Casino and Oakland’s Main Attrakionz, the exquisite composition of Richard Skelton to the psyche techno of Porter Ricks), they occupy a unique place in the hearts of their fans, and approach music from the most uncompromising of places, yet sacrifice none of its kinder aspects like melody and emotion for the sake of avant-garde pretensions. Basically, they make completely radical music that actually sounds nice. You can listen to their 2007 album ‘His/Hers’ below.
Given the hype around Daughn Gibson and the continuing popularity of slow psyche bands like Pure X and the revival of Codeine, Slint and Godspeed You Black Emperor, it could be argued that the time is ripe for a small explosion of slow, weird country music. But it’s the less obvious, more pop elements of the band that most appeal to me, personally. Squint and you can see Talk Talk, Martin Hamnett and Robert Wyatt buried away. Or open your eyes, forget comparisons, and enjoy music as wide as the great plains and as intimate as a whisper.