Mike Donovan Meets the Mighty Flashlight

DC 882LP DC 882LP

"Since 2011, Mike Donovan's been a Drag City stalwart, first with Sic Alps, then as a solo and with The Peacers -- but Mike "The Mighty Flashlight" Fellows has been a behind-the-scenes figure at Drag City since the early early days, playing live and on record with Royal Trux, Silver Jews, and Will Oldham. A multi-hyphenate, Fellows has contributed to releases from Endless Boogie, Pigeons, Weeping Bong Band and Prison in recent years. So when these two rambling musicians found themselves in adjacent communities in upstate New York, Mike D brought Mike F into the process of his new solo album. There The Mighty Flashlight turned on, bringing his recording, writing, performing and mixing talents to the tabletop with such a seasoned vibe that he bought himself real estate in the album title itself! The two-Mike combination makes the fourth Donovan solo album a one that hits all kinds of high water marks for the most and the best of what he's capable of/plus inclined to do. Mike D's music, in all phases, takes the form of a next-phase roots-pop: soaked in the traditional waters of rock and roll and passed through a variety of after-punk sonic sieves, highlighted with DIY and lo-fi values. He prefers a particular density of obtuse angles colliding sweet and hot noise, an arrangement he has perfected over all his Sic Alps/solo/The Peacers years; his innate understanding of the mechanics of a pop song wends purposefully through the junk-strewn landscape, sharing secrets with cipher in hand. Playing in this cracked kingdom of sound/garden of verse, Mighty Flashlight alternately accents and balances Mike's eccentricities with his playing and knob-spinning. Mighty's own kind of stereo imagining informs Donovan's smoky subterranea with additional depth of field, while still allowing all the wayward details within the arrangement to diverge as one. Mike and Mighty wind it all together: art punk utterance and top 40 radio junk of yore, the primitivity that formed recorded music in its youth, honkytonk romanticism, liminal chamber-folk and ever-present disassociated psychedelia, transformed via self-medication into a gleeful, extramusical ennui while giving the listener impetus to sing along with Mike's patented unlikely combos of melody and lyric. The sprawl of sounds and tunes, wayward, yet compact, is so easy to admire. Slip inside an eternal jukebox of the mind with Mike Donovan Meets the Mighty Flashlight."