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The Eels

Although Eels are often marketed as a full-fledged band, singer/songwriter E (real name: Mark Oliver Everett) is responsible for the group's sound and direction. Born in Virginia on April 9, 1963, Everett became interested in rock music at an early age via his sister's record collection, and began playing drums at the age of six, as well as tinkering on his family's piano. As the years progressed, Everett found himself leading a troubled teenage life, which was further complicated by his father's death. However, the turmoil led to an even stronger interest in music, as he taught himself how to play his sister's guitar and began writing his own original compositions. (Tragedy would later form the catalyst for Eels' magnum opus, Electro-Shock Blues.)

Due to the fact that several of his friends were also named Mark, it was around this time that Everett began going by his initials -- and eventually, solely by the letter E. By his early twenties, E was recording demo material on a used four-track cassette recorder, and eventually decided to pursue his rock & roll dreams by relocating to Los Angeles. Due to his prolific songwriting, the quality of his tunes naturally began to improve, which led to a recording contract as a solo artist for Polydor Records. This was followed by a pair of underappreciated releases, 1992's A Man Called (E) (which was supported with a tour opening for Tori Amos) and 1993's Broken Toy Shop, before E left the label and formed Eels along with bassist Tommy Walter and drummer Butch Norton. The trio inked a deal with the then-newly formed Dreamworks label, which issued Eels' debut, 1996's Beautiful Freak. The album spawned a sizable MTV/alternative radio hit with "Novocaine for the Soul"; its promo clip received three MTV Video Music Award nominations the following year, and the group's popularity rose in England (resulting in a Brit Award, which was presented to the group by goof metallists Spinal Tap).

What should have been a time of great promise for E turned out to be one of tragedy, as both the singer's sister and mother passed away in quick succession. This was compounded by Walter's departure from the group. The dark mood resonated in Eels' sophomore effort, Electro-Shock Blues, which proved to be stronger than its predecessor, yet failed to fuel much commercial success. With new bassist Adam Siegal in tow, the group toured behind the album's release before returning to the studio immediately afterward to work on a third album. Issued in 2000, Daisies of the Galaxy offered a slightly brighter outlook and featured a guest appearance from R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, who also helped co-pen a track. Despite the album's commercial failure, E put together the Eels Orchestra and launched an international tour in support of its release. The six-piece band featured saxophone, trombone, trumpet, banjo, guitar, violin, upright bass, piano, melodica, clarinet, and timpani; to make it work on-stage, each bandmember was required to play three to four different instruments each night.

After a live recording of the 2000 Eels Orchestra tour, Oh What a Beautiful Morning, was issued via the group's official website, E began preparing for Eels' fourth studio release. Instead of penning the entire album by himself (as he'd done with the group's previous work), E turned to John Parish for help. The two created Souljacker, which was issued throughout most of the world in September 2001 and hit American shores early the following year (in the U.S., the first edition of the CD also contained a bonus four-track disc). The resulting tour saw E and Norton joined by multi-instrumentalist Parish, as well as new bassist/synthesizer player Koool G Murder. A live disc, Electro-Shock Blues Show, followed soon after to promote the tour.

Spring 2003 began a flurry of Eels/E-related releases, beginning with MC Honky and his SpinART release I Am the Messiah. While the man behind Messiah's splattering mix of hip-hop beats, dance grooves, and kitschy samples was little more than E in DJ drag, the album was nevertheless an enjoyable slice of summertime fun. E's score for the indie film Levity arrived in April, and June saw the release of Eels' fifth studio album, Shootenanny! Its follow-up, 2005's Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, was an ambitious double album including 33 songs. Eels' With Strings: Live at Town Hall album, recorded June 30, 2005, documented their New York Town Hall performance during their 2005 tour of the same name, and another With Strings: Live at Town Hall edition was simultaneously issued in February 2006 with a concert DVD.

In 2008, Eels released two CD/DVD sets, the first a best-of package and the second a collection of odds & sods. The band's music also comprised the bulk of the soundtrack for Yes Man, a comedy featuring Jim Carrey. E then returned to the drawing board and emerged with Hombre Lobo, a concept album about desire that arrived in mid-2009, followed closely by the MySpace Transmissions Session 2009 live EP.

The lo-fi End Times, which revolved around the central theme of broken love, arrived in 2010, but was followed in August by Tomorrow Morning, a much more polished album of upbeat optimism that relied heavily on analog electronics to drive its songs. Eels' tenth album -- the eccentric, hard rock-focused Wonderful, Glorious -- arrived early in 2013. The stripped-down, acoustic, and lightly orchestrated The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett followed it roughly a year later in 2014. On June 30 the band performed at London's Royal Albert Hall. The show was filmed and recorded, then released as an audio and video disc package in the spring of 2015. ~ Greg Prato
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: New Alphabet (Single)

Comments

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To me, Eels sounds like Beck if he had continued with his commercial 90s sound. And yet they/he don't really pander to a wide audience in an attempt to be commercial. Fascinating.
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A truly awesome indie-type band... They capture the essence if indie music
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Soul Jacker 1: Best song I heard all day. Not even the one I was fishing for. Awesome!
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colorblindcl o u d
Hey you (the eels) if your reading this that's really cool. Your voice and instruments play in my ears nearly everyday ,isn't that neat!? Like who are you?who am I? We have never met and we'll probably go to our graves keeping it that way. Yet through the power of technology and music you've impacted my life and brought me happiness. Much love to you.
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I think the Shrek soundtrack should be mentioned in this article, since those might be some of their most recognizable tunes because Shrek was such a big hit.
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what can be said?! absolutely brilliant comes to mind! e is a musical genius, a rare talent for a generation. life is a moe foe!
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Is there new stuff just as good as the old? I haven't heard much of it
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My favorite is My Timing is Off, this song relates to me in many ways.
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i want some hospital food!
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Electro shock Blues is the most personal and moving thing I've ever heard committed to recording. Not sure many other artists out there would be willing to lay their true hearts, minds, and bodies open like this.
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b.tiger1
i love this
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Probably my favorite artist discovered on the Pandoradotco m so far!
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:D
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Mark is the most underrated lyricist ever...E will always have a place in my heart (and pants if he wants to ;-))
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Really diggin' some EEL music these days...
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Oh, Mr E, You are so wonderful...
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Oh no, I broke the chain! but the little dead girl kissed me and asked me out. So wasn't such a bad day after all!
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This freaked me out This isn't fake. Apparently, if you copy and paste this on ten comments in the next ten minutes, you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either get kissed or asked out, if you break this chain you will see a little dead girl in your room tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will say I love you or I'm sorry This freaked me out This isn't fake.
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joshie363
Nothing makes me more depressed than counting numbered days. Pure Melancholy.
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The eels are this ish im reallyin liking this
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Eels are different and fun
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Like M. Everett's self-awarene s s . It's not easy looking at your own faults.
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p.s. but i love both
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they don't sound like beck at all, beck uses more sampling and poppier electronic rock experiementa l , mr E uses more earthy textures and stays more with the roots of music as beck is more of a digital artist
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The name of the band ks Eels, not The Eels. @Seth Beloved Balla: I've got a feeder for you to perch on.
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I like birds.
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bhawthorne81
Hit and Miss band. Some good some bad
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Electro-Shoc k Blues is one of the best albums. Very dark lyrics with bright music. It's what got me into the Eels to begin with. Plus his father wrote the first many worlds theory of Quantum Physics.
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E seems to have turned his troubled youth into some very emotive muxic.
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Souljacker is about the only record I regularly return to. It feels and sounds much more fleshed out, a little more listenable, not quite so morose...lik e somebody actually put some thought and effort into the the composition and progressions . The rest...I can only wish I liked it.
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mcrim2
I have long been a listener of both Beck and Eels and I do not believe they sound alike in the slightest, Eels have been around probably longer than Beck anyway. If you get a chance go see Eels live, I've seen then several times and never been disapointed!
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The voice sounds exactly like Beck, the music sounds like the Eels.
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You silly young fools, The Eels have been around for many years. Probably as many as Beck. And if you think they sound like Beck you haven't heard enough of either.
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beck?
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trace.holt
liked this sound better when it was original. I guess beck's not going anywhere though..
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I'm sorry, but they sound exactly like Beck. I mean, I love Beck, so it's not a bad thing, but maybe I just haven't heard enough of their music.
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thomas.newel l
donkey balls
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blunt and simple
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sliscomb1
Down to earth, crisp, and clean
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really cool
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hi there! im going to your show on october 9th at the moore theatre! im BEYOND excited. i cried when i got the tickets. i have a piece of artwork that i made of you &i hope you would like to see it..
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Hey, did anyone see them at the Roxy, back when Mary Lynn Rajskub was a comedian and she and another chick opened for them with a bunch of really funny songs?? Starting to think it was a dream.
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inmyskin
I saw that PBS show as well. The song he wrote as an ode to his father and his legacy was fantastic, and he played part of it at the end of the show. That was one of the best shows I have seen on PBS, and that is sayng something as thier programming is so above most of what is on the "dumb down box." Just got done listening to SoulJacker . . great stuff!!
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ryanwiehl
Saw a thing on PBS about this dude. His Dad was a famous physicist whose theories are widely accepted today. The program was about him finding out more about his father and talking to his old friends and collegues. It was very interesting.
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Meh, I dunno about sounding like the boss. There is a similar air though.
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i was listenin' to 'the good ole days' by this guy (first time i've heard him), and he sounds almost just like the boss. anyone else think so? a 'lil uncanny if ya ask me
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drbump
bus stop boxer rocks
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I must say I love the E. The fact that he started using a 4-track recorder is even more awesome!! Electro-shoc k Blues baby! That's winter listening!!
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Life is short.
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Born in 1963? These guys are as old as my dad - and I thought I was old! I thought these guys were in their 30s!!!!!!

I guess time is irrelevant, after all we're all just dust in the wind anyways, right?
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