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Early Day Miners have released Placer Found (20th Anniversary Edition) today, via Secretly Canadian
Early Day Miners’ surroundings have always been reflected in their sound. Their early compositions mirror the slowly unfurling, seemingly inescapable expanse of the Midwest. Any sense of movement therein is often a matter of patience, or perhaps just beautifully performed sleight of hand, an aural homeopathy. There are generous hints at intimacy, but it is obscured intimacy. A change of place and the time between, from the basements of Bloomington to the Bywater of New Orleans, has yielded a subtle but correlative shift in the band.
“A whisper awash in celestial din, Placer Found establishes the sonic and emotional palette that would come to define Dan Burton’s work as Early Day Miners. This is music that rewards patience, and reveals itself more with each listen. There’s a deep clarity within the soft focus – equal parts lost and found. Everything in its right place. We need this music now more than ever.” – Charlie Hall, The War on Drugs
“I knew anything Burton created would be worth my time and attention, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how Placer Found would affect me — or how it still does. As someone whose friends describe as “instantly nostalgic,” I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect soundtrack to the competing impulses of missing my life in Indiana and pretending to be a professional adult in the Big Apple in my early 20s. It makes me think of otherworldly Indiana and Kentucky nights that never seemed to end. Kissing my girlfriend under an impossibly starry sky. Wondering what I was doing on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. After all these years, I return to Placer Found often, not only when I need to nourish those memories, but when I’m ready to make new ones.
The opening title track sets the mood just right, its comforting guitar interplay and gentle vocals holding your hand toward an unseen destination that’s “still a ways to go.” “East Berlin at Night” is the definition of cinematic, almost like an Ativin song with the amplifiers turned down from 12 to 3, while the last two minutes of “Texas Cinema,” are the equivalent of a deep embrace from which you never want to let go. Why some sharp-eared music supervisor hasn’t utilized “In These Hills” in a movie montage of two people falling in love, I’ll never understand.
This new edition brings it all back to the proverbial start, as it is being released on the Bloomington label Secretly Canadian which championed Ativin from the beginning and quickly became a home for Early Day Miners after the initial Western Vinyl release of Placer Found. The two unreleased instrumental tracks on side D are fascinating glimpses into creative paths not taken. “Prospect Refuge” is a delicious slice of posi-vibes math-rock, while the taut, vaguely ominous “Blue Casino” makes an entirely different song out of a riff later utilized for the standout “Jefferson” from the band’s 2003 “Jefferson at Rest” LP.
For nearly 20 years, the music on Placer Found has fed my soul in a way few albums ever have. I hope it might do the same for you.” – Jonathan Cohen
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