I have to be honest with you: the records you send in don’t get reviewed in the order in which they are received. That shit would be crazy at this point. I was stuck in Chicago for the better part of the past two weeks, as Christmas with some real good people turned into a snow-covered delay. Had that not happened, I probably would have blown through the entire review box by now. It’s pretty big. And today, I went to my PO box for the first time in two weeks, and was greeted with five slips, which translated into a veritable mountain of vinyl, CDs, DVDs, books, magazines, even a cassette. Milk Music’s 12” was part of that pile, and you’re hearing about it the day I got it, in front of records by bands that waited patiently for the proverbial kiss-or-diss response from these quarters. Some of those records might be as good as Milk Music’s, too, but tonight I’m in no mood to find out. My real hope is that a young kid in some backwater listens to this record, then is inspired to burn some symbolic shit down, steal a car, split town, and live off the land for the rest of his or her days, free to do whatever the fuck they feel like. It’s like that kid Colton-Harris Moore, “the Barefoot Bandit,” who was busted in Jamaica for stealing a plane, had never got caught. This would be his soundtrack.
Fresh out of Olympia, WA, these guys sent in a tape a while back, which got passed on to our on-again/off-again tape guy Ryan. He slammed it. I don’t know why; if it was anything like this EP, I’d have stolen a police horse, strapped this record to its bare ass, and slapped them flanks for a full Lady Godiva run across Manhattan. First listen displays a young band anchored into the soil with roots of GRUNGE. The immense, pillowy tone of the guitar and bass (credited to “N/A”) and highly-attenuated tone of both recalls a wonderful mix of Karp, J Mascis and Thin Lizzy/NWOBHM dynamics, oozing charisma and busting through walls of shitstorm melodic rock ‘n’ roll, Kool-Aid Man style. They have the woods sound, the flannel feel, and the singer hollers over top, barely in control, kinda like Lou Barlow on the first Dinosaur record, or Greg Sage on Over the Edge. Combined with some solid, Murph-style drumming, this is a very simple but infinitely fulfilling exercise in riff worship and less-is-more songwriting that improves with each spin it’s gotten over here tonight. The title track, in particular, features a triumphant and telling moment; when vocalist Alex Coxen blows out his voice yelling “I went down! To! My! Room!,” about eight years of tormented adolescence comes rushing back, the compacted experience of middle school, high school and freshman year of college conspiring to throw a big fuckin’ ceramic middle finger through a giant plate glass window in defiance of all that was taught to me. I’m also feelin’ the “Flame On” riff lifted in “Out of My World,” and the way that the acid/harmonic melody creeps out of opener “Fertile Ground” a good 45 seconds to a minute into that jam, that precise moment when this record made a spark in my head which signified that these guys were out to write leads instead of just hurling chords around in petulant teen drug post-acid comedown style. Big as gods, every song on here is a legit anthem, and a rager. You probably have records like this, but you haven’t heard one for a while, and certainly not this good. Yet another Capt. Trips Ballsington recording perfectly nails the vibe of the proceedings. Self-released, so it’s extra hard to find as well. Get on the case, team. P.S.: Bonus points added for someone allegedly from Milk Music leaving this comment on a Vice post about that shitty Woven Bones band: “Im in MILK MUSIC and we didnt play with that band in olympia because they sound like boring garage bullshit. In fact I threw that dumb singer asshole across the venue floor and told him he couldnt stay at our house. total tool.” I like these guys even more now, whether that statement’s true or otherwise. (contact firstname.lastname@example.org)