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Olympia, Washington has been responsible for some really amazing music. Bands such as Beat Happening and The Microphones have helped to establish Olympia as a highly respected city with a rich musical history. With such a rich musical history, it should come as no surprise that Milk Music are making such great music. Milk Music consists of Alex Coxon (guitar/vocals), Charles Warring (guitar), Dave Harris (bass) and Joe Rutter (drums), and together these four guys are making some of the most interesting music out there right now. Their new record Cruise Your Illusion has proven to be one of the best listens of 2013 so far.
On Milk Music’s previous release, the fantastic Beyond Living EP there were thrashing drums, driving bass and fuzzed-out guitars, which led many people to compare Milk Music to bands such as Dinosaur Jr. or Soundgarden, but those comparisons seem a bit lazy. Milk Music has taken components of that kind of guitar driven music, but has melded them into their own unique sound. With their new record Cruise Your Illusion, Milk Music has expanded their sound and added some diversity that really fits them well. The second song “Illegal and Free” is a great example of this new sound. It has the characteristic fuzzed out guitar, but instead of being a fast punk song it instead keeps a pretty steady pace that feels more like a rock and roll jam then a punk song. Alex Coxen has a great ear for vocal melodies, and these new songs give him much more room to explore his vocal capabilities, which has been absolutely great. Like on the song “Dogchild,” which has a bit of a country feel to it, features Coxen singing some really great melodies as well as some fantastic instrumentation. The slide guitar that goes over the fingerpicked guitar is a totally different sound for Milk Music, but they nailed it. The best example of this mellow side of Milk Music is definitely the closer “The Final Scene.” There are beautiful backing vocals as well as one of Coxen’s best vocal performances to date. Not to mention that the song is an eight-minute masterpiece that perfectly ends a really solid record. The new territory that Milk Music is exploring has been great, but they have not forgotten their punk roots. Like the song “New Lease On Love,” which features some really energetic instrumentation. Especially during the bridge where the band locks into this awesome groove that almost forces your body to start moving. Right after this track they segue right into a definite highlight not only of the album, but of 2013. It is not surprising that Milk Music decided to use “Cruising With God” as their single, because it is undoubtedly one of their finest movements. The guitars sound absolutely amazing and the way Coxen yells his lyrics perfectly fits this song. The way Coxen screams and yelps right before they go into a guitar jam really helps bring character to this song, and helps it feel more visceral. The best song of the album though, has to be “I’ve Got A Wild Feeling.” It has some of the best guitar work of the last decade. Every note seems to be perfectly pieced together. Not to mention that Coxen absolutely nailed his vocal delivery on this track. The drums and the bass are locked in together to provide the perfect backdrop for the guitars to absolutely shred. I really have not been this excited about guitar driven music in along time, so it is refreshing to see Milk Music bring revive this kind of music in such an exciting manner.
With Cruise Your Illusion Milk Music have expanded and refined their sound, and they have never sounded better. Coxen has considerably expanded his vocal range and it has brought a whole new life to the band. The production on this record is also fantastic. Everything is clear and mixed well, but the production also has captured Milk Music’s raw and visceral sound, which is incredibly important for a band like Milk Music. Definitely one of the best records that 2013 has offered so far, make sure to check this out if you have a chance.