Music Review: Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains — American Names EP

This is the first serious release by Sebastien Grainger, ex-drummer and vocalist of defunct duo Death From Above 1979. There are only four tracks on this EP–but they display all the thoughtfulness and craft that I’d hoped they would. Grainger’s lyrical themes of nostalgia and yearning persist here, but whereas DFA’s musical sparseness and brutality highlighted the gentleness of Grainger’s songwriting, the songs on American Names inhabit an indie rock place with the familiar guitars and keyboards (a bit like The Arcade Fire, but more intimate and, well, not boring) which makes the vocals blend into the mix, but also reduces their effectiveness somewhat. That’s a mild criticism, though. These are really good songs, and the one instrumental track, “Epilogue,” sounds like it could have been a b-side off of Kid A, which is nice. (Richard Rosenbaum)


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