I have to give credit to social media on this one. Back in 2013, a friend I have never met in real life recommended the album Eternity Of Dimming by Frontier Ruckus. I instantly fell in love with Matthew Milia’s detailed songwriting and the melancholy tone provided by the band. I also fell in love with the “Frasier”-inspired shirt I would later buy when I finally saw them in concert a few years later. Despite my fandom, I hadn’t listened to any of Milia’s solo work until a few days ago when his former bandmate, Anna Burch, mentioned his new album in an Instagram post. Social media, you’ve done it again!
If you like Milia’s songs with Frontier Ruckus, it’s almost a guarantee that you will enjoy Keego Harbor. Sonically, it’s not too far from his bands sound. Pedal steel, organ, mellotron, and all those other sorrowful instruments appear here. In fact, if there was a singing saw, you may not even recognize it as a solo album. Milia’s voice comes out so beautifully in this collection of songs, it feels almost like he’s reading you the audiobook of his autobiography.
Known as the flirty one/I met you, I was thirty-one/I just stood around and hoped that you would notice Figured I had given up/Like people who smoke with the windows up/In their Tauruses singing choruses so hopeless In love with the crooked tooth/Where the snow boot hit you in your youth/In this endless grid Where the springtime hid like crocus
There’s something magical about the way Milia can hit on so many different issues, addressing them fairly directly, in song and still make it sound good. Aging, isolation, human minutiae…these are not the most exciting things to talk about. And yet, when Milia sings about them, I just want to keep listening for as long as he wants to go.
You can check out the rest of the album for yourself here. There is a vinyl release coming at the end of August, and you can pre-order that right here. I highly recommend you give this one a listen and if you’ve never listened to Frontier Ruckus, absolutely fix that as soon as possible.