If the Northwest has its own musical sound, it's exemplified on Leviethan Cecil's 2007 release, Monuments in Memory of Nothing So Far, on his label, Emeritus Records. A former Boise-based musician, a few years ago Cecil moved to Portland where he has continued to create music, most notably in the band Heroes & Villains. I asked Cecil, via e-mail, how long he'd been working on the album and why he put out a solo project at all.
"I've been in a lot of bands, but my songwriting style rarely fit into the group setting," he wrote. "I decided to make a full solo album in 2002. I recorded a couple of songs on my four-track and then started learning to record on my old Mac. The project kept getting put on the back burner when I would start or join other bands. Then I moved to Portland and started recording again. When I joined Heroes & Villains, it got put on the back burner again. Last winter I decided, no more. I'm gonna release the damn thing and be done with it. Five years is too long unless you're Axl Rose!"
Beautiful and deep, Monuments is what you download to your iPod before sitting on the bank of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. It's vintage indie-rock made modern. The lyrics have a dreamlike quality. Many of the tracks start with simple, plucky little guitar lines or a computer-generated drum sound and Cecil's breathy falsetto voice, and build, adding bells or hand claps or two and three additional voices in doo-doo-da-da harmonies (and Cecil knows how to work a minor chord).
Monuments gets a place in my Top 10 CDs of 2007 and if the music of the Northwest resonates with you, I recommend you give this one a listen.
Monuments in Memory of Nothing So Far is available at Record Exchange. For more info on Cecil and his music, visit www.myspace.com/deepnorthmusic.