Tuesday, July 10, 2012

REVIEW: Milk Maid - Mostly No

Milk Maid was founded in 2009 by Nine Black Alps bassist Martin Cohen.  Initially the venture was a side project to provide an outlet for his own songwriting ambitions.  The result was 2011's Yucca, an excellent mix of classic powerpop swathed in shoegaze and Jesus and Mary Chain distortion.  Mostly No, which is released this week on FatCat Records, represents a step forward in several respects, and not only in that Cohen has resigned for the Alps to concentrate on Milk Maid.  Cohen's songwriting on this album seems sharper and more assured.  And while both albums were home-recorded, Martin used the live shows following Yucca's release to test and refine the songs on Mostly No with the touring band.  It seems to me that the result is songs with more sonic range and more emotional swagger.  For all its good points, and there were many, Yucca had a bit of a bedroom recording feel to it.  A feel that I think Mostly No shrugs off despite its origins.  This may be a sophomore album chronologically, but the development it represents indicates that this band can compete with the Ty Segall, White Fence and others who are reshaping the influences that keep us coming back to rock music.

Here is the third track, "Do Right".  It is a terrific jolt of greasy, distorted rock and roll, and it is available for a free download --

Apparently, creating Mostly No wasn't without its difficulties, among them line-up changes and financial difficulties.  Perhaps some of the darkness in the album reflects its creation, but I don't want to give the impression that it is a downbeat listen.  It is lively, scuzzy and a bit psychedelic.  And it isn't devoid of positive messages.  Try "Summertime", a wonderful jolt of distortion with a suggestion that the desperate  hold on until summertime before considering suicide --

This is lo-fi indie, without synths or production gimmicks.  Mostly No just delivers pop songs with hooks, noise and feedback.  Is that what we wanted?  Well yes, yes it is.  And an additional bit of good news is that Cohen has begun writing Milk Maid's third album.

If you are collecting rock and roll this year, Mostly No has earned a spot on your list.

"Bad Luck" --

FatCat Records

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