There's no denying it – it's definitely weird realizing that an album released in the year 2000 is now 20 years old. In the year 2000, Bill Clinton was well into his second presidential term. The internet, while not nearly as ubiquitous as it is today, was off and running. It may have been pre-9/11, but it was post-Cold War. Hearing the debut album by the Indiana-based Early Day Miners, while already two decades in the rear-view mirror, one gets the impression of something that may contain the sonic markers of its time, but not at all in a "guilty pleasure" way. This is warm, intimate, bracing music with no expiration date.
Early Day Miners released Placer Found on 2 April 2000 on the Western Vinyl label, but it was only available in the CD format as the resurgence of vinyl was at least a decade away. For this anniversary release, Secretly Canadian (who released several subsequent Early Day Miners' albums) has taken on the task of bringing this unique, often overlooked treasure of an album back into the world, in a lavish two-record set, which includes two bonus tracks from the original sessions.
The music on Placer Found is largely informed by the environment where it was created. The vast expanses of the American Midwest are evident in the slowly unfurling sonic landscapes that make up the nine songs in this reissue, which were recorded in the band's home of Bloomington, Indiana, throughout 1999. The gentle, deliberate pacing of the title track that opens the album features bright, almost jazzy drumming from Rory Leitch, which works beautifully alongside the guitar work of Dan Burton and Joe Brumley, as Kenny Childers' bass playing provides a subtle anchor. "East Berlin at Night" follows at an almost glacial pace – the deliberate tempo is a leisurely treasure to get lost in.