Leland Sundries, Chris Milam

Early Show - "Roller Derby Queen" Single Release + Nick’s Birthday Show

Leland Sundries

Chris Milam

Fri, June 16, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY

$10.00

This event is 21 and over

Leland Sundries
Leland Sundries
Leland Sundries is the project of Nick Loss-Eaton., which has performed at such venues at the 5 Spot (Nashville, TN), City Winery (New York, NY), Greenfield Lake Amphitheater (Wilmington, NC), Mercury Lounge (New York, NY), Green River Festival (Greenfield, MA), The Makeout Room (San Francisco, CA), Club Helsinki (Hudson, NY), Union Pool (Brooklyn, NY), and Cake Shop (New York, NY).
“Leland Sundries, a band from New York led by Nick Loss-Eaton, is dedicated to storytelling in a way that recalls Woody Guthrie and his Folkways brethren. [Their] scrappy Americana will get you longing for empty two-lane highways and kudzu-encased back porches.” – New York Times
“Not only does Brooklyn singer-songwriter Nick Loss-Eaton write richly detailed, sepia-toned tunes that layer America then and now atop one another like a ghostly palimpsest, he’s just as handy at knocking out Johnny Cash-worthy trifles like ‘Giving Up Redheads.’ His quartet has been spending a lot of quality road time lately, so expect them to be well-marinated for this homecoming gig.” – The Village Voice
“Excellent.”
– iTunes
“Reminiscent of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Elvis Perkins.”
– Baeble Music
“Oddball storytelling with a lo-fi country sensibility” – Time Out New York
“Leland Sundries singer/picker Nick Loss-Eaton’s the-Band-meets-Lou-Reed approach mates gnawing electric guitar and old-time acoustic six-string, banjo, and harmonica melodies with dry-witted, drawling, modern-day ennui.” – Boston Phoenix
“[The] narratives of bus rides, trains and bars, windmills, roast beef sandwiches and Russian overcoats are penned with a novelist’s eye for detail and delivered in a wry New York baritone.” – No Depression
“What Lou Reed would sound like if he was asked to front Tom Waits’ Mule Variations band… Highly recommended to fans of Leonard Cohen.” – My Old Kentucky Blog
“One of the more striking debuts this annum… Let’s hear a full-length, soon.” – Blurt, 8 stars (out of 10)
“The whole schmegie has that latter-day Waits/early morning Leonard Cohen vibe about it.” – Philadelphia City Pages Online
“A wholly original outfit that just released one of the most exciting musical debuts of the year.” – PopDose
Crackling garage rock meets literate indie rock in a sound marinated in the extremes of New York City on Music For Outcasts, the full-length debut and first UK/European release for Leland Sundries. It comes out February 5 2016 on L’Echiquier Records in conjunction with Décor Records, and places Leland Sundries in the context of bands that combine literacy with overdrive such as Silver Jews, Deer Tick, Jack Oblivian, Wooden Wand, The Hold Steady, Johnny Thunders, The Modern Lovers and Ezra Furman.
Leland Sundries is the portmanteau under which frontman Nick Loss-Eaton and an ever-evolving roster of Brooklyn, NYC musicians produce the kind of careering, scrappy garage rock which has -via nascent EP releases- already earned the band nods from The New York Times and Timeout. Music For Outcasts itself was shaped by the fall out from two particularly pivotal events in Loss-Eaton’s life, the last few years of which have seen him not only recover from alcohol dependency, but go on to survive emergency open heart surgery. Fairly white-knuckle, stare-down-your-mortality fare for anyone, never mind someone barely out their twenties, and a live-it-out experience which bears its blackly humorous mark across Music For Outcasts.
Ironically, the surgery itself presented Loss-Eaton with the opportunity for his first ‘holiday’ in over 4 years- a chance which took him (not entirely to his doctor’s ease) to the UK & Europe for several weeks, to begin work on what became Music For Outcasts. He says, “I hooked up with UK artist/producer Alexander Festival Hall to demo the songs in his tiny East London studio.” Studio recordings were then made in an unheated loft studio in Nick’s old neighbourhood of Greenpoint, in a former creamery building nestled next to a bridge between Brooklyn and Queens, much of it recorded on analogue tape.
Around half of the tracks which comprise the record were written prior to Loss-Eaton’s recovery from alcoholism, rendering them – as Nick wryly noted during subsequent recording sessions – ‘time capsules back to a time of desperation’. For evidence of this pressure-cooker effect in microcosm, look no further than the surf-rock wash of ‘Greyhound From Reno’, which zeros in on the pill-hazed, midnight exodus of a shady character skipping town. Whilst the track lampoons its sleazy, washed up protagonist, Loss-Eaton delivers its underlying inference direct to the mirror, written as it was at the tail end of his addiction; ‘It’s impressionistic, non-linear, but that sense you can’t outrun yourself is palpable’. The track came eventually came together in aptly chaotic fashion during late-night recording takes; ‘We turned out all the lights in the studio and it got weird. I sang and screamed until I went hoarse, and it felt like an exorcism of panic’.
Elsewhere on Music For Outcasts, Loss-Eaton turns the microscope on his own scars with a similarly unflinching candour. ‘Freckle Blues’ (written whilst New York was holed up during Hurricane Irene) equates the elapse of time since a relationship’s demise with his own date tally of sobriety, and ‘Maps of The West’ traces an ill-advised foray into dating whilst in the early stages of abstinence. ‘They recommend against this, and I soon saw why’ recalls Nick; ‘I fell hard for her. Should have known it wouldn’t work out when she took me to a bar. She drank whiskey. I drank seltzer.’ That said, the song nonetheless taps the fledging stability that his recovery brought to proceedings; ‘I found a measure of hope in being sober that wasn’t there in my life or my writing before’.
And yet beyond the more personal scorched earth the record rakes over, there is a wider resonance within the world of misfits and missed connections that Music For Outcasts inhabits. Fittingly for one who snatches fragments of lyric ideas from overheard conversations & glimpses into the lives of others, the characters and vignettes which Loss-Eaton summons here are so vivid as to become almost tangible. ‘Stripper From Bensonhurst’ mines far beyond the attendant stereotypes to chart the push/pull between a grim domestic semblance of normality far more intolerable to this woman than her nocturnal ‘other life’, whilst the taut, Spoon-esque snap and swivel of ‘Radiator Sabotage’ paints a world of burnt-out glamour as palpable as any of Lou Reed’s succinct dispatches. Even the track titles themselves – ‘Studebaker’, ‘Wallace ID’ – function almost like projector slides, brief flashes of narrative which demand conjecture.
Two studio EPs, a vinyl/digital 7” single, three music videos, and national US touring have already earned Leland Sundries praise from Pop Matters, New Yorker, Magnet, American Songwriter, Village Voice, Time Out NY, Baeble Music, No Depression, Blurt, and Boston Phoenix. The band has performed at Campout Fest (Joshua Tree, CA); taped a Daytrotter session; and shared stages with Spirit Family Reunion, Todd Snider, Marah, Eef Barzelay (leader of Clem Snide), Taylor Hollingsworth (of Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band) and Cracker.
Chris Milam
Chris Milam
Kids These Days (out April 7 on Namesake Records):
Chris Milam had a bad year.
Following a broken engagement, Milam lost everything but what he could fit in his car. Then, while on tour, that car—and everything in it—was stolen. Milam found himself with only a bag of clothes and a stack of questions: what happens when your plans fail? Where do you go when your future disappears?
Chris Milam went to the studio with a dozen new songs that tackle these questions and define his sound. He emerges after months of recording with an eagerly-anticipated new album: Kids These Days (out April 7 on Namesake Records).
For the project, Milam teamed up with Memphis producer Toby Vest [High/Low Recording, Memphis TN]. To fund the recording, Milam spent a year without a home–couch-surfing, pet-sitting, troubadouring—saving for studio time rather than rent. He called in Memphis musicians Greg Faison (drums), Pete Matthews (bass), Luke White (guitar), Jana Misener (cello) Krista Wroten (violin), and Vest (keys, effects) to illustrate the tension, loneliness, and loss in each song.
“We wanted the record to feel atmospheric, dynamic, and unpredictable,” Milam says. “It was important to me that these songs were built around live takes. Memphis musicians have a way of filling a song with life—beautiful, weird life.”
On March 3, Milam releases the album’s first single, title track “Kids These Days.” It introduces the darker sounds and carefully-layered arrangements found throughout the album. These sounds evolved in the studio, but started with an atmospheric vocal, shimmering guitar, haunting strings, and a driving drumbeat.
“Toby and I talked about combining elements of folk and classical with elements of rock and even hip hop. On one hand: there are ethereal strings and bright guitar tones. Then underneath: this cold, ominous backbeat.”
Milam’s gift for melody and lyricism revisits earlier comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel (Bookends). But this album also evokes richly-orchestrated works by R.E.M. (Automatic for the People) and Chris Bell (I Am the Cosmos). Reflecting the songs themselves, Milam’s voice has matured: plaintive vibratos shift in a flash to a shout, growl, or croon.
From its first moment, the single typifies an album full of inflection points, exploring the ways in which Kids These Days aren’t kids any more. The LP tells a story of heartache and recovery while each song examines a different answer to an underlying question: “what now”?
“Kids These Days,” “Autumn,” and “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” form a breakup trilogy: the moment before, the breaking point, and the chaos that follows. The buoyant pop of “Half Life” fades, enacting love’s diminishing returns. Other tracks seek answers in addiction (“New Drug,” “Coldweather Girls”), escape and celebrity (“Hey, Hollywood”), and nostalgia (“When I Was Young”). Spirituality takes the form of a supplicant’s cry for help (“Prayer #4). In “All Of Our Ghosts,” all roads lead back to a harsh reality and uncertain future. A final moment of hard-won optimism (“The Sun Isn’t Up”) precedes a fitting epilogue. Ultimately, the album ends where Milam’s journey began: with questions.
“I’ve read about my generation growing up for a long time. But we’re here—we’re in our twenties and thirties. And I know a lot of folks who, despite hard work and good intentions, aren’t where they thought they’d be. Maybe they’re even starting over. I hope that, by telling my story, other people see theirs in it.”
For Chris Milam, Kids These Days isn’t a break-up record; it’s a break from record. The loss of a defining relationship carried with it the loss of youth. And it’s a break from that path, and that youth, that this record truly mourns.
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002
http://mercuryloungenyc.com