Interview With Milk Maid
VISCERAL, SWIRLING, SUN-DRENCHED AND SLACK
Riding their own gnarly wave out of the foamy surf of the resurgent Manchester music scene, Milk Maid have created a significant buzz with their effortless creativity and swirling melodies – playing live with bands such as Wild Nothing, Titus Andronicus, Crocodiles and Male Bonding, and recently playing at Leeds and Reading Festivals.
Milk Maid were first picked up by Mazes member Jack Cooper’s label Suffering Jukebox, and released their debut 7” (Such Fun/Can’t You See) in 2010. The single is an example of their seamless blend of laid-back guitar and heavily distorted vocals. Suffering Jukebox summed it up in the press release when they compared Milk Maid to Guided By Voices for their “laissez faire approach to recording solid gold melodies; throwing songs away most bands would kill for with a swooning arrogance.” It is this element that has seen Cohen branded with the ‘slacker’ tag and compared to artists such as Kurt Vile and Woods. The band was signed to FatCat Records early this year, with their debut album (Yucca) dropping a few months ago. Yucca’s meshing of light and dark could sound forced in less capable hands, but the calm authority that Cohen wields over his songs is remarkable considering that the tracks contained on Yucca represent his first forays in to songwriting. Recorded in Cohen’s own flat, when the indefinite hiatus of Nine Black Alps meant the bassist found he had time on his hands, it is the sound of an artist moving out of the shadows of the rhythm section and delighting in the freedom of doing things his way. Timeless, sweet and sun-drenched pop hooks are pitched against viscerally dark lyrics that explore disintegrating relationships and emotional conflict to a backdrop of Cohen’s Manchester hometown. Indeed Cohen’s willingness to push the boundaries of what would usually be found in a three minute pop song with his lyrics, instrumentation and production is perhaps Yucca’s defining feature.
On new single Dead Wrong (which is out on Suffering Jukebox/FatCat on 19 September) Cohen sings ‘you’re killing yourself to cut your arms off, you’re stabbing yourself in the gut’ and manages to make it sound like a lost Buddy Holly tune (albeit with the production values of a Sic Alps track). You can listen to the single here, download a free MP3 (Back of Your Knees) here, and take a peek at their pure pop primitivism via these photos below.