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Milo Greene Set to Play Amoeba With Live Webcast As Debut Record Lands

Posted by Billy Gil, July 15, 2012 04:00pm | Post a Comment
Milo GreeneMilo Greene is British. He’s well-dressed — three-piece suit and the like. He’s incredibly confident and charming, he’s well-spoken, he’s an intellectual, but also a man’s man. He’s exactly six feet tall to the millimeter, and if he were a dad, he’d be the No. 1 dad.
 
Milo Greene the man also isn’t real — they are a band, not a dude. He’s a fictional character band member Robbie Arnett invented when forming the band with Andrew Heringer. When contacting venues, Milo Greene would send the requests, and Arnett and Heringer saw their fortunes rise accordingly, getting better shows.
 
Now a five-piece who’ve taken the moniker Milo Greene as their own, in a bit of Belle & Sebastian-style alluring bewilderment, is set to release its debut, self-titled record July 17. The band plays Amoeba Hollywood the same day, at 7 p.m. with a live webcast.
 
milo greene milo greeneThe L.A.-based band’s debut record, Milo Greene, offers the same sort of intimate harmonies and natural harmonies of a Fleet Foxes or, further back, Fleetwood Mac just as Stevie and Lindsay joined the band. Written in part in a cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and recorded with co-producer Ryan Hadlock (Ra Ra Riot, Blonde Redhead, The Gossip, The Lumineers) at Bear Creek Studio, a converted early 1900s barn in the country outside of Seattle, it’s a beautifully crafted set of songs that makes the most the band’s five-person set-up. They offer lush harmonies on songs like “Don’t You Give Up On Me,” which sounds like a gorgeous gospel intervention. Lone girl Greener Marlana Sheetz in particular stands out on songs like “Perfectly Aligned,” in which Sheetz’s testimonial vocals are wrapped in just the right amount of gauzy reverb while the boys (who include Graham Fink and Curtis Marrero, in addition to Arnett and Heringer) back her up with swaying folk-rock, along with electric swells of sound and strident harmonies when necessary. The whole thing’s, you know, perfectly aligned.
 
I sat down to talk with Fink about what it’s like to be in a folk band in L.A. in 2012, and what records and songs are doing it for him these days (Hint: Lots of ’90s R&B).
 
Me: Truthfully it was a bit hard to find out more about you guys, and along with the whole “Milo Greene” concept, it seems to me sort of an early Belle & Sebastian situation where you want the music to stand for itself and not for any member of the collective to stand out. Is that fair to say?
 
Fink: Absolutely. This is a very collective group, and the music has always stood at the forefront. We liked the idea of just releasing some live videos early, so people could see the five of us in a room, making music. No lead singer, no gloss, music first and foremost. That being said, I'm really trying to get famous so I can be gifted courtside Clippers tickets.


 
Me: I love the idea of the band retreating to a cabin to write free from modern distractions. The notion reminds me a bit of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes. You don’t hear a lot of that kind of thing in L.A. anymore it seems! Although Hotel Café and things like that do exist. Do you see L.A. as having a viable folk scene? Was it hard to get noticed around here, and do you see more response outside of L.A.?
 
Fink: We never really thought of ourselves as a folk band, definitely qualities of folk in our music, but I think there are a lot of bands right now that share that common thread. They should call it Folk+ a la Google+. Two of the bands that we get compared to, and are fans of, are Local Natives and Ed Sharpe, and if they're indicators, L.A.’s a pretty good place to grow and get noticed for a band with folk qualities. After all, it is the city of hybrids. We do see an amazing response to banjo throughout the country though, damn people love banjo.
 
Me: Do you write songs collectively? How does the songwriting process happen for this band?
 
Fink: Four of us are former lead singers and songwriters, so every song is different. One person may write the bulk of it, four people may write the bulk of it, it’s a hodgepodge, but there's group quality control for everything that we release.


 
Me: I could see Milo Greene as being a band that is best experienced live, in that you get the full effect of the harmonies and interplay. Was it hard to get the sound you wanted on record?
 
Fink: The record and our live show are a little bit different, but I think they complement each other. The record lulls you into this dreamy world, it's serene at times, and a bit softer than the live show, which we try to inject a bit more energy into. At our concerts, Marlana head bangs, Robbie does back flips, Curtis takes his shirt off — and you'll have to come see us to find out if that's true!
 
Me: Can you make us a list of records you’re into right now?
 
Fink: I’m pumped for the to-be-released albums from our friends Superhumanoids and PAPA, they sound gooooooood.
 
Here's a list of tunes as well [Note: I’ve linked to the relevant record, when available, at Amoeba]:
 
1. Shuggue Otis’ “Strawberry Letter 23”: Whether it's a sun roof, moon roof or a simple side window, roll it down and pump out the yam!


 
2. SWV’s "Right Here": Ummm...Sisters With Voices! And Michael Jackson sample?! Duh.


 
3. Tangerine Dream's "One Night In Space": Summerdrugssummerdrugssummerdrugssummerdrugs.


 
4. James Brown's "The Payback": Summer Soul Session, aka, Triple S'zzzzzzz!


 
5. The Human League's "Human": Slow dance summer nights.


 
6. Arrested Development's "Mr. Wendal": Introspective summer days.


 
7. Haim's "Forever": Neighborhood grooves. Kewlest girls in town!


 
8. Astrud Gilberto's "Misty Roses": If you're looking to give birth in the spring months of 2013, this might make the cut — depending on the temperature of your relationship, of course.


 
9. Dream's "He Loves You Not": Four words — bad boy for life.


 
10. Bobby Womack's "Please Forgive My Heart": June 12!
 

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Arrested Development (2), The Human League (1), James Brown (24), Tangerine Dream (2), Swv (2), Shuggie Otis (4), Superhumanoids (5), Papa (4), Fleetwood Mac (27), Fleet Foxes (3), Amoeba Hollywood (409), Live (5), Milo Greene (3), Haim (11), Astrud Gilberto (1), Dream (11), Bobby Womack (10)