by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
A few days ago I received an unexpected package in the mail: Where We Are, the debut EP by Bazile Mills — a finely produced 4-song 12-inch on black vinyl. I’ve mentioned before — send me vinyl and I will listen. And thus I have, and did again when they played their EP release show Saturday night at Reverb Lounge.
Bazile Mills is a big conglomeration of people on record and on stage. The record had a couple extra people on board who weren’t there Saturday night. Missing were vocalist Laura Long and viola player Avery Thomas. Both make central contributions on the record, so I was surprised at their absence, but as the New Yorker used to say, “musicians (and night-club proprietors) live complicated lives,” and things can get in the way on the night of your EP release show. Regardless, the stage was still crowded with three guitarists, bass and drummer and the occasional special guest.
Let’s talk about the record first. Two songs were recorded at the legendary ARC Studios by producer Ben Brodin (side A) and two were recorded at the legendary Hidden Tracks Studio by producer Jeremy Garrett. You can’t tell the diff in recording locales (which is a good thing, though I’m not sure what that says about either studio).
Opening track “Personal Concierge,” the only song voiced by Long, starts with a wispy violin/mandolin intro before shifting into 10,000 Maniacs gear. Track two, “Spirals Out,” sung by leader Dave Mainelli, tries for latter-day R.E.M., while “We Are the Misfits (Just Like You)” leans closer to Decemberists territory. The closer/title track (and personal favorite) pulls it all together along with a fine trumpet line and laid-back, easy-going vocals by Sam Vetter, who really should sing more.
In fact, Vetter was a highlight Saturday night (along with drummer Robb Clemans) as the band rolled through the new songs along with a few from an early digital release. The room was packed, and it indeed felt like a party, with Mainelli calling out a number of friends in the crowd. If I were to venture a guess I’d say Bazile Mills is a labor of love more than a career move by these musicians, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, considering the current state of the music industry, it’s becoming the only way to go.
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Some music industry news that just dropped into my email box…
Conor Oberst’s longtime managers Nate Krenkel and Gabriel Gonzalez have formed NAG Management, according to Billboard.com. The new company will also represent Bright Eyes, Desaparacidos and the Mystic Valley Band. Krenkel’s been involved with Oberst since that legendary Sony publishing rights deal way back in 2003.
Krenkel also runs Team Love Records with Autumn Seguin, who will be joining NAG, according to Billboard.
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.