a simpler sound.

bands to keep your eye on: milo greene [a concert and EP review].

I saw Milo Greene back in November when they opened for The Civil Wars at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. From top to bottom, that was one of the absolute best [yes, it deserves the double superlative!] concerts I've ever been to.  Although much of that status had to do with The Civil Wars putting on an impeccably moving performance, I left that show discovering a new band that would soon become another favorite of mine.  

I honestly don't know much about Milo Greene, other than that they're based out of Los Angeles, since I recall them mentioning that at the concert. Apart from really enjoying their soothing sound, I was so impressed by the vocal abilities of every member of the band, as well as their individual instrumental prowess.  With every song, the entire band would perform a sort of 'ring-around-the-rosie' dance, almost seeming as if they could grab any instrument on the stage and perform in perfect pitch together. This created such an organic performance, with each song taking on a varied style and tone. They played quite a few songs, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Unfortunately, at this point I don't believe they were officially signed to a label, and were still producing an EP themselves specifically for The Civil Wars tour.  I was able to snag a copy and chat with who I believe was the bassist [but with the tossing around of instruments, it was hard to tell!].

The EP has only three songs, two of which have been very recently released as singles on iTunes.

1. 1957: This song was just released as a single the other week. This is their most upbeat song on the EP and has a great melodic quality to it. I love the tapping of the drumsticks [at least I think that's what the sound is, I could be wrong...] throughout the song. Love these lyrics:

'the scent you wear moves in lines 
from your apartment into mine 
you act like you don't know me 
my god you tempt my anxious mind'

2. Silent Way: This song is my favorite on the EP for so many reasons.  For one thing, for a girl who doesn't love country music, I'm a sucker for the plucking of a banjo. It melds so perfectly with the piano. The slow, melodic pace has a repetition that I really like.  It's mimicked in the lyrics,

'when, when, when we're older
can I still come over?'

The song, whether it actually carries this meaning or not, reminds me of being a kid and how easy it was. I'd just go to a friend's house and we'd make up random, ridiculous games that almost always involved an obstacle course [Legends of the Hidden Temple was my FAVORITE show during this phase].  That might be a slight tangent, but essentially, I just loved how easy it was to have friends and have fun with life.  The lyrics make me think of little Jo, asking her best friend that when they're older can it still be the same, simple friendship they always had.  When you get older, things change and get so complicated. I wish it were as simple as this song, but it's not.

3. Don't You Give Up On Me: I posted a great quality live performance of this song at the top.  The song was actually featured on Grey's Anatomy recently. It has the most commercial quality of the three, and I can see it being used again in anther show or movie. I don't mean that as a negative in any way.  I've found so many great artists on TV shows [my secret dream job has been to be the person who chooses music for movies and TV- I'd LOVE that entirely too much]. It's just such a sweet song:

'I'll go, I'll go, I'll go wherever you go
I would never leave without letting you know'

This EP is my go-to driving CD, because I can listen to it over and over without ever getting tired of it. I sing to it all the time and since I rarely allow people to hear me legitimately try and sing, the car is a perfect venue for my performances. It's also got that great quality that makes driving seem leisurely and enjoyable, and calms my ever percolating road rage [I'm really a very calm, relaxed person- but my inner New York resurfaces every so often...!].

The Milo Greene full-length album has a release date set for July 17th, and they'll be heading to Atlanta shortly after on the 21st.  They're playing at the Drunken Unicorn, which is stumbling distance from my house, and I CAN'T wait to see them.  I'd love to invite them over to my house after the show to hang out and drink on my porch. They just seem like the kind of people I'd be friends with anyhow.

a MUST listen: The Civil Wars.

I honestly don't think I could sum up my love and awe of this band in one post.  I could easily write an entire blog dedicated to The Civil Wars, reviewing each and every song and video and live performance [though I've only been to one] because they are that talented.  Every time they sing, the nuances in their voices and the combination of these two impeccable singers is so refreshing to the ears, I don't think I could ever get tired of them. 

The chemistry between Joy Williams and John Paul White* is palpable.  I'm absolutely baffled these two aren't in a relationship [both are married].  Watching the back and forth between them, how effortless they're able to make music together, and not to mention the banter the two have on stage- if I ever meet someone who I have that with, I'd keep them by my side for the long haul, without question. 

I try to check Youtube often for new videos of their performances, since each one is so different, but perfectly executed time and again. I especially love the covers they perform, since so many of them are even better than the originals. [albeit, I'm a bit biased...] I stumbled upon this one that was just posted the other day, and it's of a song I hold close to my heart, so I had to post it. 

"I've Got This Friend" tells the classic story of two star-crossed lovers, who have for whatever reason, shied away from telling the other of their feelings. The lyrics are written in a way that they're referring to their supposed 'friends' who would be perfect for each other, with the implications that they're in fact talking about themselves and the struggles they both have with finding love and sharing how they feel. 

The chord progression is simple and light, and you can't help but be in a good mood listening to it, all the while holding a bit of longing and hope for the two characters in the story. "If only..."

The lyrics really resonate with me:

"I've got this friend
holding onto her heart
like it's a little secret
like it's all she's got to give"

The long and short of it: The Civil Wars are by far the most talented music act I've seen in years.  Watching them live was such a moving experience- and so rarely for me is a live performance even better than the record, but without a doubt this was the case. I'm not someone who gets weepy or overly sentimental, but their performance moved me to tears. 

I can't wait to hear more from this phenomenal band, and look forward to seeing them live again soon. 

*Is it just me, or is John Paul a hybrid of Jack White and Johnny Depp? Regardless, his voice makes me melt...