COLLEEN GREEN MILO GOES TO COMPTON LP COVER
Milo Goes To Compton LP
ART FAG RECORDINGS
I'm reading this book by Bruno Latour called We Have Never Been Modern, and without being too much a pretentious asshole, in a record review on a blog, I think his main point in that book is relevant to any review of Milo Goes To Compton, which is, in my mind, a masterpiece of disciplined musical excellence
Latour's point in We Have Never Been Modern is that the critical process of "demasking" or "revealing" self destructed once intelligent people realize that would-be Modernists can destroy any argument by switching their style of argument from one discipline to another.
To illustrate this situation, take the field of popular music and critical responses to "lo fi" or home recorded material. Critics in favor of such music will argue that the purity of the recording process outweighs a relative lack of technical acumen. Critics who dislike such music will argue that Art without technical expertise is impossible to enjoy and fails to achieve the goal of giving pleasure to the listener. Who's right? Both critics. Who's wrong? Both critics.
For me, Milo Goes To Compton brings to mind several different memories:
1. Seeing live performances by Colleen Green, Best Coast, Dum Dum Girls, Pearl Harbor/Puro Instinct in the last five years.
2. College era listening to bands like the Descendants and The Ramones.
3. The songs on the actual album.
The best part about Milo Goes To Compton are the songs themselves. Good Good Things, the first track on the LP, is a classic album opener with a slow start and the characteristic breathy vocals. It's an invitation to the listener, and it demonstrates, right off the bat, that the Artist understands the assembling of the product for the listener. I checked to see the track listening on the Descendent's Somery record, where Good Good Things originally appeared- and it was track 10- moving it up to track one helps to set the table for what comes next.
Track 2 is I Wanna Be Degraded. The tempo quickens, the drum/guitar pairing is familiar to the listeners ear, obviously tracking the Ramones referencing title. Personally, I think this song is an immortal classic. The theme of degradation is so central to modern life, and it also tracks the "degraded" quality of the recording itself. The central lyrics are shocking and clever and introduce an element outside of the realm of "twee" or "cutsey." An edge, if you will.
When I listened to the Milo Goes To Compton test press at M*Theory records (because my turntable was broken by Crocodiles bassist Marco Gonzalez during a festive celebration.) it was GOLDMINE, track 3 on the record, that stuck out because the vocals are layered 3 or 4 times on top of each other, and for the first time, a keyboard is introduced to the basic drums/guitar combination. The Album literally expands in scope, and right on time- without a surfeit of self indulgent songs in between I Wanna Be Degraded and Goldmine.
If Milo Goes To Compton hasn't won you over by track 3, you have no heart and are a soul-less monster. I defy anyone to actually listen to the first three songs of the record and not say it's a great record.
Great Pop Music is about restraint. It's about with working what's available to you and creating a new world. Great Pop Music draws you in, and it uses limitations as strengths. That is the case with the drum machine/guitar/vocals pairing of Milo Goes To Compton- this is pop music stripped down to an essence, so refined and spare that it requires no fillips.
It is also a quality that all of the break-out Artists of the larger Art Fag Recordings/Zoo Music family: Crocodiles, Dum Dum Girls, Best Coast, Dirty Beaches and Colleen Green- possess, as well as non-family member but close in time and space Artists like Wavves, No Age and Abe Vigoda: It's the ability to rise above limited material circumstances by the use of superior song writing and deft deployment of available resources. In that respect, all of these Artists are like all of the other Artists to emerge from any "Underground" anywhere- doing more with less.
My sense is that once people become familiar with this recording, Audience interest in her live performance- which is electrifying in my mind- should increase. I never reviewed Dirty Beaches Badlands on this blog- because I felt like I had a conflict of interest, but I was detached enough from Milo Goes To Compton's creation that I feel like my judgment isn't clouded.
Colleen Green's Milo Goes To Compton is a masterpiece, and I recommend it to my readers- you can still get the first press green vinyl edition if you hurry.
BUY MILO GOES TO COMPTON (REVOLVER/MIDHEAVEN)