Monday, July 25, 2011

Blake Mills on Analog Edition Records

Spending Monday with another release from Analog Edition Records, this one from Blake Mills who's been a touring/session guitarist for Band of Horses and Jenny Lewis among others and is younger than anyone is comfortable with, probably because of his already impressive career and the quality of these tracks. Both off his debut, Break Mirrors are available on vinyl for the first time.

The A-Side, "Hey Lover" is impeccably crafted and produced, with an impressive amount of clear layers of instrumentation, acoustic and bending notes on the electric with a lean towards a big country sound, plenty of brush rolls on the snare. It's a deep riff and unique melody that's in the vein of Ted Leo or Spoon, a contemporary take on songwriting with surprising combinations. As pop and catchy as the entire track gets, Blake counters the sunshine with plenty of lyric self depreciation:
sometime I hate myself / for trying to be so bold / but nothing else / seems to get the story told
The tongue in cheek sentiment with a little vocal gravel gives this essentially a love song teeth for the sincerity to sink in.

The B-Side, "Winter Song" starts out with a hushed acoustic tone, muted drums along with layers of vocal almost hushed with a little '70s Neil Young feel. The chorus features a distorted piled under effects miniature guitar riff that screeches in, and this combination of classic multi-tracking sound with the taking of great chances on the accidental experimental sound keeps it looking forward, firmly placing it in 2011. The crack of a piece of metal, an organ, some woodwind underscoring this rolling orchestral sound which after all is pure folk.
The tracks slows down to nothing but an acoustic for a second, and I have to check if this next section is even a separate track, a twangy loud guitar starts to rise out of the barreling train rhythm, and Blake is joined by an unnamed (?) female vocalist and all of a sudden the whole thing takes on a Rumours era Fleetwood Mac sound, to the point where I want to reconsider that album immediately. It doesn't feel like a conscious homage, it's just that what worked then, works now and Blake can't help but end up with that same conclusion. I lean to saying this is the standout track because of this unexpected change, but then I'll play "Hey lover" again and change my mind.
The two of them questioning back and forth in a slow building epic layered harmonizing vocal finish.
even when the love's gone / don't I show it?
even when your loves comes / baby don't I know it?

Black vinyl with a Marlboro man collage. Masculine yet sensitive, which says, I appreciate a low tar cigarette while swimming.

Get this one from Analog Edition Records who says:
Limited to 500 copies, the double A-side 7" features "Hey Lover" and "Winter Song" by Los Angeles musician Blake Mills.

The songs, now pressed to vinyl for the first time, come off Mills' 2010 debut album, Break Mirrors. While Break Mirrors may be Mills' debut as a solo artist, the musician already has years of experience under his belt touring with and working as a session musician for acclaimed artists like Jenny Lewis, Cass McCombs, Lucinda Williams, Band of Horses, Andrew Bird and Weezer. He also founded Simon Dawes (now Dawes) with Taylor Goldsmith. The only thing more impressive than the 24-year olds’ sizable resume is his knack for songwriting—an ability far beyond his years. With “Hey Lover” and “Winter Song” come the album’s uptempo one-two-punch: a nuanced lo-fi meets hi-fi production of timeless and highly original folk rock.


  1. Anonymous12:26 PM

    Almost positive the female vocalist is Jesca Hoop on Winter Song.

  2. Anonymous10:46 AM

    Great artwork. You know the rest...