Milk Music plays a unique brand of music in 2017 with guitar-based rock ‘n’ roll music in a world where the genre is more or less dead in the eyes of the mainstream. However, Milk Music, with their “Mystic 100’s” LP, lay down some serious grooves and guitar work that is hard to ignore.
Milk Music’s history is a bit mysterious. Starting with a more a punk/grunge sound in 2008, the band released two LPs before disappearing in 2013. four years pass, and they release “Mystic 100s” on a label, Dom America, who is predominantly known for their industrial, experimental and electronic music, with a bit of a different sound, while still tapping into their roots.
“Mystic 100’s” is hard to categorize, and from the sound of these songs, that’s the way they probably like it. Nods to the likes of Dinosaur Jr. and Husker Du are present, but there is also something twisted about the sound. Also in the mix are the influences of the Rolling Stones and the vocal delivery is reminiscent of Tom Petty.
Over great styling and songwriting, the recordings of these songs are glazed with some crust, with distorted and fuzzy guitar tones sounding like they’re coming out of a broken speaker/ But when it is a little more clean, it is droney and every note is heard. Drums put down the groove tightly and with confidence. This punk-tinged format really puts the attention on the vocals and guitar work, but Milk Music has no problem with that.
The guitar work goes from screaming, undeniably bluesy solos and backs down to a quiet hum. There are huge chords thrown down while Alex Coxen, vocalist and guitarist, howls. A big element of this album is waiting for the sweet spots. It is sometimes a journey to get some musical relief on this LP, but it’s a journey that is made easy to take by the trance of Milk Music’s tunes.
The album starts very abrasively on possibly its most punk sounding cut on the album, but then starts to twist, and the sound of someone honking a saxophone comes out of the shadows. By the first chord ring of the second song, Milk Music’s vision is more easily understood: catchy, simple, chord songs with upbeat drums and plenty of room for solos.
Lyric wise, topics such as environmentalism and money, are talked about. The band even dedicated the album on their Bandcamp to “our mother the Earth.” On “Who’s Been In My Dream,” the singer wails, “No trust for changing times, in my mind / They’d sell the skin off your face / if the money was right.” And on “Pay Me”, Coxen sings his disdain about money being given to people ruining the Earth.
Songs to Listen to: “Crying Wand,” “Pay Me” and “Twists & Turns & Headtrips”