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Rock - Released January 1, 1996 | Universal Music Mexico

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Eccentric and quirky are the best ways to describe the Eels' debut effort, Beautiful Freak. Concise pop tunes form the backbone of the album, yet tinges of despair and downright meanness surface just when you've been lulled into thinking this is another pop group, as titles like "My Beloved Monster," "Your Lucky Day in Hell" and "Novocaine for the Soul" indicate. All in all, Beautiful Freak is a satisfying first record. ~ James Chrispell
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 6, 2018 | E Works Records

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“D” like deconstruction. “E” like Everett. One might have thought Mark Oliver was blackening the last pages of his twenty-year-old alphabet book with the introspective The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett, released in 2014. Four years have gone by. And unsurprisingly for this twelfth chapter, the hypersensitive artist with a coral voice has composed an absolute gem. A fine and beautiful showpiece. With folk embroideries, arranged pop, hemstitched silences (Premonition) and sensual strings (The Epiphany), The Deconstruction oscillates back and forth between emotional auroras (Be Hurt) and scruffy rock trepidations (Today Is The Day, You're The Shining Light). To top it off, the multi-instrumentalist surrounded himself with great talent and met up with long-time collaborators in the Compound Studios, in California: bassist and keyboarder Koool G Murder (Kelly Logsdon) and P-Boo (Mike Sawitzke), as well as the Deconstruction Orchestra & Choir, and Mickey Petralia, who also worked on Electro-Schock Blues (1998). Seemingly disjointed, the fifteen tracks that make up the album roll out between lavish orchestrations filled with flutes, organs and keyboards, and bare segments for lyrical declamations (Archie Goodnight), arranging the musical space, accommodating instrumental pauses (The Quandary, The Unanswerable). All for a gracious and optimistic result! © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 1, 2009 | V2 Cooperative Music

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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | DreamWorks

The Eels were always a vehicle for a songwriter called (E), but by the point of their third album, 2000's Daisies of the Galaxy, they were his and his alone. When it came time to deliver a follow-up to the intimate, tortured Electro-Shock Blues, (E) couldn't help but deliver a lighter album, but he'd already turned so far into himself that his music was entirely insular. Of course, his music had always been fairly insular, but if Daisies of the Galaxy is any indication, he's gone so far in, he can't really come out. He's certainly not as extreme as Brian Wilson or Syd Barrett, but he's at the level of XTC or Roy Wood, making pop music for an already-established audience. Nothing on Daisies of the Galaxy will draw in casual listeners the way "Novocaine for the Soul" did, since everything is in miniature, from the yardsale production to the poetic scrawlings. Unlike its predecessor, the album doesn't play like (E)'s private diary; instead, it feels as if one is rummaging through his sketchbook. And, like many sketchbooks, some moments have blossomed, and others remain just intriguing, unformed ideas. For the dedicated, it's worth sifting through the album to find the keepers, since there are enough moments of quirky genius. But not all longtime fans will find this rewarding, since (E) has spent more time in creating mood than crafting songs. There are very few melodies that resonate like his best work, and the stripped-down, yet eccentric production -- sounding much like a cross between Jon Brion and Beck -- never feels realized. That's the problem with an offbeat, gifted musician becoming too insular; there are still clear clues of why he has his reputation, but there's not enough to justify exactly why he does. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 1988 | DreamWorks

The Eels' second release, Electro-Shock Blues, is a much darker album than their underrated debut, 1996's Beautiful Freak, but just as rewarding. Singer/guitarist/songwriter E experienced many upheavals in his personal life between albums (the passing of several family members and close friends), and decided to work his way through life's tribulations via his music. The result is a spectacular epic work, easily on par with such classic albums cut from the same cloth -- Neil Young's Tonight's the Night, Lou Reed's Magic and Loss. For some of the most introspective and haunting tunes of recent times, look no further than the title track, "Last Stop: This Town," and "Elizabeth on the Bathroom Floor." And although the lyrics deal almost entirely with mortality, the music for "Hospital Food," "Cancer for the Cure," and "Going to Your Funeral, Pt. 1" is comparable to Beck's funky noise, while "Efils' God," "The Medication Is Wearing Off," and "My Descent Into Madness" are all ethereal, soothing compositions. One of the finest and fully realized records of 1998, a must-hear. ~ Greg Prato
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Rock - Released January 1, 2008 | Geffen

For Eels fans, and especially those obsessed with Mark Oliver Everett, the man who created and fronts the ever-changing lineup as well as writing its songs, 2008 kicked off anything but quietly. Despite a mere six studio and one live record in the band's catalog, E and Universal/Geffen have issued what amounts to a truckload of backlog material on two separate -- some would say excessive -- releases: Meet the Eels: Essential Eels 1996-2006, Vol. 1, a CD/DVD package, and Useless Trinkets: B-Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities, and Unreleased 1996-2006. The latter includes two discs of music and a live DVD documenting the band's 2006 Lollapalooza performance. Meet the Eels is, arguably, the way a "hits" compilation should be presented, to fans as well as the merely curious. It's loaded to the gills with 24 cuts that include the unreleased "Get Ur Freak On." The rest of this monster is culled with cuts from Beautiful Freak (four) Electro-Shock Blues (two), plus an unissued remix of "Climbing to the Moon," by Jon Brion.This decade gets the lion's share of the material naturally, with four tunes from 2000s Daisies of the Galaxy, and a trio off 2001's Souljacker; a pair of tunes were tacked on from Shootenanny! (still the most confounding toss of the band's history), and a whopping five from Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. The latter was the band's best-selling record and yet it's still debated hotly among fans. One thing is for sure: for the first time since Beautiful Freak it drew new listeners in droves. Also included here for some unfathomable reason is "Dirty Girl," from the Live at Town Hall offering, and luckily, "I Need Some Sleep," from the soundtrack album for Shrek 2. Right, you guessed it, nothing here comes from A Man Called E, making it an incomplete Everett document, but it's close enough. Simply put, there is no reason to go into the track choices, they are listed below and can be debated endlessly anyway. This tri-fold digipack is loaded with photos, E's own elliptical annotations for the tracks, and a wonderfully long and now legendary piece by Mark Edwards from the Sunday Times in London. Some of E's notes are clever, and some seem just plain tossed off, as if they are memories he really doesn't have any longer but needed to get down on paper for this. That's OK -- his very natural ambivalence is part of the appeal in his idiosyncratic, adventurous, and original songs. The DVD contains virtually every video the band shot and released for commercial play; they are compiled and available as a retail item for the first time. As great an introduction or mix the CD makes, it's the video collection that makes it all worth the cash. Given the kitchen sink approach of it, it offers an even more diverse and undebatable document; showcasing everything from original conceptions by directors to the escalator to the oblivion lineup changes. There is simply no better way to get acquainted with an enigma. ~ Thom Jurek
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 13, 2015 | E Works Records

In 2014, Mark Oliver Everett received "the freedom of the City of London" (in essence, a key to the city) the same week as his band Eels performed and recorded this set at the Royal Albert Hall. There's a bit of irony here: four years earlier, he was arrested as a suspected terrorist while strolling through Hyde Park. The raucous Eels of Wonderful, Glorious is not the band that showed up for this concert (which is also captured so handsomely on video for inclusion in the package). This version of the band is in suits, not track wear. Everett is mostly at the piano. The Eels introduce the show with brief, lilting versions of "Where I'm At," Disney's "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio, "The Morning," and "Parallels" before Everett greets the audience with a wry, humorous monologue. It references the esteemed venue as a "dump" and promises the crowd an evening of "sweet, soft, bummer rock." What follows is a musical tour through the band's catalog with each studio album but Shootenanny! represented. The second half of the gig draws more heavily from then-current The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett. Sure, these are the "hits," but this guided tour through the dark, often heartbreakingly honest complexities of this songwriter is played with mostly sparse elegance by the Eels, including a stripped-back (though hardly all-acoustic) arrangement of "Grace Kelly Blues." Sometimes the monologues are longer than the songs, but none are excessive, and hearing them more than once doesn't detract from the enjoyment. The show's second half picks up the intensity a bit with the roots rocker "I Like Bird," but it's followed by the poignant, reflexive pop romanticism (complete with a doo wop backing chorus) of "My Beloved Monster." Its "official" closer is a loping "Where I'm Going," which looks at turning 50 unflinchingly. There are three encores, however, including "I Like the Way This Is Going" and "Blinking Lights (For Me)" that leave their studio counterparts wanting. In a "Phantom Encore" Everett plays the Hall's mighty pipe organ that he was previously forbidden to -- by the institution -- not once, but twice. This three-disc package is an essential document for fans; it reveals almost all of Everett's dimensions as a songwriter, and how tight and fluid the Eels are. Everett's humor balances the sometimes harrowing narratives in his tunes. All told, most of these interpretations are essential. ~ Thom Jurek
£9.49

Alternative & Indie - Released April 21, 2014 | E Works Records

It's not like Mark Oliver Everett (hereafter known as E) hasn't dealt with these themes before. His whole recording career, most of it done under the Eels moniker, has been full of brilliantly crafted pop songs that tour death, terminal illness, regrets, lost dear ones, a veiled belief in better days and times overlaid by thick angst, and now and then, actual bursts of bouncing joy and humor. So there's nothing really new thematically on the 11th Eels album, The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, and even its sparse, stripped-down, and lightly orchestrated acoustic folk feel is something E has often visited. He turned 50 while writing these songs, so maybe that has something to do with the heavy and regretful tone that washes through these rather muted, weary, and almost whispered musings, few of which even rise to the tempo of a slow shuffle. There's hardly a snare drum or a trap kit in sight. E is obviously trying to present a story here, for the album opens with a brief instrumental called "Where I'm At," touches down on a song called "Where I'm From" midway through, and then closes things out with E doing his best Tom Waits impression on the closing track, "Where I'm Going," which ultimately decides, perhaps not quite completely convinced, that the future looks promising. But in truth, most of the songs have to do with regrets over a lost love, one E wishes he hadn't walked away from, and if that's what this cautionary tale of an album is cautioning, then it's hopeless, we've all done that. Everyone knows how that feels. What saves this album from being just another version of some guy at the bar going on and on about some lady he lost is E's subtle and easy way with a melody, and even though some of these songs are so slow as to barely have a pulse, they flow well and easily into and out of each other. A couple stand out on first listen, most notably the thoughtful "Parallels" and the first single "Agatha Chang," which captures this album's theme of facing up to and resolving one's regrets in a perfect narrative, and it gives off a Randy Newman singing Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" kind of feel. Obviously E felt he had to make this album. Now he has, and the message seems to be don't mess up a good relationship or you'll regret it, but only time will reveal what the future brings, and that future maybe, just maybe, might be better if we actually learn something. Thanks E. Who could argue? ~ Steve Leggett

Rock - Released January 1, 2005 | Vagrant Records

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On 2003's Shootenanny!, Eels frontman and songwriter Mark Oliver Everett seemed to approach his work with fresh ears. He cut through his own trademark lyric and production excesses (very evident on the wonderfully messy and rocked-up Souljacker) and came up with an offering of quirky, sparking tunes that were shot through with American roots music and his trademark power pop hooks, while never compromising his stubbornly iconoclastic way of looking at the world. The same cannot be said for Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. Over 90 minutes and 33 songs, E opens his own, personal Pandora's Box and lets everything out musically, lyrically, and emotionally. This is the most searingly personal album E and his ad hoc stable of cohorts have recorded since Electro-Shock Blues -- though it's not as unremittingly dark. The handsomely designed double digipack is adorned with familial photographs -- including a cover shot of his mother as a child. Strings, brass, tinkling bells, and gauzy layers of sonic textures stream through these haphazard songs. In fact, despite the appearance of family, childhood, changing times, and other concerns of personal narrative, Blinking Lights is not a unified album; its tunes are gathered seemingly willy-nilly conceptually. No matter; it is E's world-weary voice that holds the disparate parts of the album together in a loose, soft web that envelopes him and the listener. It sits dead center, allowing the tensions, textures, and moods to grip and release him at will. He expresses it all honestly, without immersion or unnecessary put-on detachment. It is his voice that gives the record a type of spiritual quality, one that seems to gauge lessons learned -- either with acceptance or rejection -- from the various truths revealed. Family and history are woven together over the entirety to create not only introspection but a sense of time's slippage, emotional and physical displacement, and grief that is offset in places by poignant humor. Disc one's standouts include the glorious "Railroad Man," a country-ish lament for that quickly disappearing way of life, while "Son of a Bitch," with its elegant saxophones, weepy pedal steel, and stately pace, offsets the painful revelation of the protagonist, "Going Fetal," a new dance tune (à la the Twist) features a vocal sample by Tom Waits and a faux, live rave-up setting fueled completely by a loopy Wurlitzer and a lyric that expresses with true irony the perceived joy of escape. "Mother Mary" is a stomping organ and rhythm-driven track that references reggae and carnival music. Its subject matter is offset by the musical attack and the eerie sound of an empty playground swing weaving its way through the mix. The second disc begins with the elegiac yet shimmering "Dust of Ages," which feels like a demo from Peter Gabriel's second album. "I'm Going to Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart" is gem-like pop/rock balladry, while "Dusk: A Peach in the Orchard" -- co-written with the Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian -- is a modern folk song that comes from the broken heart of memory, and could have been written during the Civil War era. R.E.M.'s Peter Buck co-wrote and performs on the ironic "To Lick Your Boots." The set closes with the bittersweet personal testament "Things the Grandchildren Should Know." It's unfocused and leaky lyrically, but it gets to emotional places most songwriters only dream of. Blinking Lights and Other Revelations is blessed because of -- not in spite of -- its excesses. It's not like anything else out there right now. It makes no apologies, it's shaky in places, and there are cuts that don't seemingly belong on either disc but fit within the context of the album as a whole. It feels like E and his collaborators have made an honest to goodness indie rock record, one that is immediate yet whose depths cannot be fathomed immediately. It's unwieldy, too long, irritating in some places, graceful in others, and sometimes clumsy. But it is utterly original and startlingly beautiful. At this juncture, records like this are almost museum pieces, mistakenly and cynically written off to the delusions of pop grandeur of earlier eras. Thank goodness rock music as we once knew it still exists in the minds and hearts of some of our more perceptive artists. E is one of them; he put everything into making Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, and the payoff is that it shows. ~ Thom Jurek
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 18, 2018 | E Works Records

£11.49

Alternative & Indie - Released February 4, 2013 | V2 Cooperative Music

£9.49

Alternative & Indie - Released August 23, 2010 | E Works Records

Just when you thought it couldn't get any darker for Mark Oliver Everett (aka E)...it doesn't. On the third Eels album in 14 months, Everett completes a trilogy that began with the rockist Hombre Lobo in June of 2009, which addressed the ravenous hunger and cost of desire. In January 2010, End Times detailed in a low-key and acoustic manner, often in sometimes embarrassingly intimate terms, the shattering toll of a broken relationship. Tomorrow Morning emerges on the other side of both. This 14-song collection meditates on E's own eccentric brand of optimism. The tunes carry his requisite catchy melodies, hooks, and compelling arrangements, but the textures are different from anything he's released before because most of it is electronic and programmed (though his guitar, Koool G Murder's bass and keys, and Knuckles' drums are present, too). One need go no further than "I'm A Hummingbird" for evidence. A synth with programmed strings and winds play counterpoint melodies and harmonics. The song, full of extended metaphors from the natural world as they relate to the protagonist's emotional state and letting go of the past, is, quite simply, beautiful. By contrast, "Baby Loves Me" is a punky electro number. Slamming beats, criss-crossing synths, and programmed ambiences collide with electric guitars, drum machines, a live kit, distorted vocals, and hilarious lyrics: "Record company hates me/The doctor says I'm sick/The bad girls think I'm too nice/The nice girls call me 'dick'/But baby loves me/And she's smarter than you/Baby loves me/Unlikely but true." "This Is Where It Gets Good" borrows its big, bad beats from Peter Gabriel's programming fakebook, though the lyrics and orchestral arrangements are pure Everett in terms of quirk and humor. There are quiet and gentle moments, too, such as the lilting "This Is What I Have to Offer" and "That's Not Her Way" (which could stand in for Bob Dylan's "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" in the 21st century). The downright jaunty electric and bass-guitar hook in "I LIke the Way This Is Going" is one of the simplest and most attractive of all E's melodies. While some of this album feels a bit rushed at times, as a whole Tomorrow Morning is a welcome contrast to the darkness of its predecessors, and a deft summertime pop record. Lord knows, a little optimism in these strange times is welcome -- even if it comes from an unlikely source. ~ Thom Jurek
£6.99

Rock - Released January 1, 2002 | DreamWorks

As with the band's previous albums, Souljacker bristles with pop euphoria and cracking production, and proves Eels' frontman, E, to be a superb songwriter, but just like those previous albums, Souljacker ultimately falls a bit flat over the course of its extended running time. Album opener "Dog Faced Boy" exemplifies the weaker half of the album's 12 tracks. Though it's a decent punk glam take on T-Rex dynamics, it doesn't exactly beg for repeat listens like the album's better half. "That's Not Really Funny," "Woman Driving, Man Sleeping," "Fresh Feeling," "Friendly Ghost," and "What Is This Note?" are as strong as any songs in the band's back catalog. On these songs, lush strings, found sounds, children's toys, spy themes, surf music, elaborate piano segments, and fuzzy harmonicas mingle in the band's trademark, innovative way. Easily besting almost anything in Beck's quirky bag of songs, these songs display the charm, polish, and sincerity of E's original vision. Sadly, there's too much skronking punk-pop noise in the remaining songs that serves to drag the album down. This limited-edition release adds a bonus disc of four songs, one of them superb, two of them downright horrible, and one of them a useless remix. Only "I Write the B-Sides" warrants seeking out the limited edition. Its opening lines show E at his most poignant and wise, as he sings "I write the B-sides that make a small portion of the world cry/I like the seaside and singing songs that make you not want to die." Punchy, exuberant, and smart, the song would have made perfect sense on Souljacker in place of the somewhat mindless filler that permeates its cracks. Souljacker is certainly a welcome addition to any fans Eels collection, but due to its weaker batch of tracks, it's hard to recommend it to newcomers. ~ Tim DiGravina
£10.99

Alternative & Indie - Released April 1, 2017 | Vagrant Records

£13.49

Alternative & Indie - Released April 21, 2014 | E Works Records

It's not like Mark Oliver Everett (hereafter known as E) hasn't dealt with these themes before. His whole recording career, most of it done under the Eels moniker, has been full of brilliantly crafted pop songs that tour death, terminal illness, regrets, lost dear ones, a veiled belief in better days and times overlaid by thick angst, and now and then, actual bursts of bouncing joy and humor. So there's nothing really new thematically on the 11th Eels album, The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, and even its sparse, stripped-down, and lightly orchestrated acoustic folk feel is something E has often visited. He turned 50 while writing these songs, so maybe that has something to do with the heavy and regretful tone that washes through these rather muted, weary, and almost whispered musings, few of which even rise to the tempo of a slow shuffle. There's hardly a snare drum or a trap kit in sight. E is obviously trying to present a story here, for the album opens with a brief instrumental called "Where I'm At," touches down on a song called "Where I'm From" midway through, and then closes things out with E doing his best Tom Waits impression on the closing track, "Where I'm Going," which ultimately decides, perhaps not quite completely convinced, that the future looks promising. But in truth, most of the songs have to do with regrets over a lost love, one E wishes he hadn't walked away from, and if that's what this cautionary tale of an album is cautioning, then it's hopeless, we've all done that. Everyone knows how that feels. What saves this album from being just another version of some guy at the bar going on and on about some lady he lost is E's subtle and easy way with a melody, and even though some of these songs are so slow as to barely have a pulse, they flow well and easily into and out of each other. A couple stand out on first listen, most notably the thoughtful "Parallels" and the first single "Agatha Chang," which captures this album's theme of facing up to and resolving one's regrets in a perfect narrative, and it gives off a Randy Newman singing Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" kind of feel. Obviously E felt he had to make this album. Now he has, and the message seems to be don't mess up a good relationship or you'll regret it, but only time will reveal what the future brings, and that future maybe, just maybe, might be better if we actually learn something. Thanks E. Who could argue? ~ Steve Leggett
£9.49

Alternative & Indie - Released January 18, 2010 | V2 Cooperative Music

£1.49
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 29, 2018 | E Works Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 9, 2018 | E Works Records

£16.49

Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Geffen

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