Portland musician John Moen is best known these days as the Decemberists’ drummer, but the’s been a behind-the-scenes force in the city’s music scene even longer. From seeing local heroes like Wipers during the 80s, to drumming for Steven Malkmus, Elliott Smith, and Robert Pollard, he’s led an indie rock life most can only imagine via episodes of “Portlandia.” Now, he’s venturing from behind the drum kit for a new solo album (under the moniker Perhapst) and Billboard has an early look at its standout track.
“Revise Your Maps,” the album’s title track, references Moen’s initial apprehension towards the spotlight. “It’s a little bit about stage fright,” he says. “Being willing to play music for people, but frightened to do so. That’s one of my own hangups with my music.”
It’s one of 13 tracks on Perhapst’s second album, “Revise Your Maps,” due June 25 on Jealous Butcher Records. It’s an album that reflects Moen’s long history in indie rock, incorporating a couple tracks he’d originally written for his late-90s Portland act the Maroons. He explained how he picked up a free spirit approach to songwriting from Steven Malkmus and an economical approach from the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy.
“He’s just really good at keeping things really simple — and the song never sounds that simple when it’s done,” Moen says. “I’m definitely influenced by the way he doesn’t need to put a lot of trimmings on his writing for the song to come out really interesting and unique.”