Richmond's The Milkstains put up a preview stream of their new album Broken Bones (officially due September 4th). I knew I liked this band already, but this album surpasses expectations, seemingly running down a checklist of my favorite sounds and styles. Every track makes me love them more.
"La Adelita" is an expertly crafted surf instrumental, psyching the listener up for what's to come. "Sidewalk" is Replacementsy pop-rock, as engaging as that description can suggest. "Let Us Down" is an 80's proto-indie rocker, ferocious and meek, strong and sweet. "Caroline O'Keeffe" is some wacky low-fi garage version of Leiber/Stoller pop (with a blistering guitar solo). "Carrion Crow" is the desert and death, heat and haze, all gritty and sexy, like the loners and rebels your mom warned you about. "Heart of Mine" is a straightforward garage stomper, pounding drums and kinetic guitar-work. "Invisible Friends" is more dynamic garage with clever psychedelia conjured by the all analog studio. "Heavy Water" is the appropriate name for the next song; another instrumental surf track, but truly heavy, deep, crushing guitars. "Sonic Kick" fools you at the start with another heavy growling tone out of the bass, but turns immediately into a sweet and smooth indie-rocker, with shimmering guitars playing anthemic hooks. All too soon the album ends on title-track "Broken Bones," an even more anthemic indie-rocker with room to jam on some noise, like a combo of early 90's Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., riding waves of electricity, blazing through hooks, into Siamese Dream-like walls of sound.
Broken Bones is a triumph of non-stop excitement, head-shaking goodness, taste and ambition. It's like a shrine to analog sound and psychedelia, collecting iconography from 60's surf to 90's alt-rock, and everything in between. The Milkstains aren't copycats however. They channel an energy all their own through each song, a growling tiger ready to pounce from beneath each track, and harness their musicianship and the skills of their producers to create a seemless passionate journey.
You can catch them next at Richmond's Fall Line Fest, where they'll have the first solid copies of the album for sale. Get this album, however you can. --Natan Press