It’s been a few years since I met Chris Milam outside the Uncommon Ground (on Clark) here in Chicago. He was promoting his very good album Kids These Days and we had a nice talk about everything other than that. My takeaway was that he’s a good guy, great songwriter, and seems to be genuinely interested in a lot of different things. He’s had what I think most would consider a pretty brutal run since then: got injured and couldn’t play for almost a year, went through a bad breakup, and lost his father to cancer.
Music, with all its power and beauty, provided a salve. Or at the very least stopped the bleeding. Meanwhile, his new album due out April 27th, came together after surviving as much pain as a human can be expected to endure. That makes it the perfect album to keep you company while you’re locked away in isolation. It deals with all the feelings you are currently having: loneliness, depression, sleepless nights filled with anxiety…the list goes on and on.
My favorite track is a bit of an outlier. “In The Blood” is a pure rocker while the rest of the album is more bittersweet. It’s angry and aggressive, providing a comfort from the pain one usually attains screaming into the void. He pinpoints cable news and religion as targets for his frustration; external cancers we allow into our lives. The guitar work from The Hold Steady’s Steve Selvidge really echoes the fractures in thought that come when your brain is on fire.
Though the times we are facing seem dark, there is always some light to be found. The same is true with Meanwhile. I urge everyone to check it out when it arrives at the end of the month (once we’re all done fawning over the new Fiona Apple album she just announced will be out soon). You may just find a little light to hold onto that helps calm your nerves for a little bit.
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