Thursday, June 25, 2009

Best of 2009 so far, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

Those that are obsessed with details will note that the debut album by the man with the longest name in music, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (as 1 that has given my kids multiple middle names, I can truly appreciate this desire to keep them all even if Miles Robinson is a good name) was officially released in 2008 (pitchfork did review it).

But, no one talked about it or heard of it then. Due to this detail, I may not put this album on my year end list. However, it is one of the 3 or 4 best albums I have heard this year. In a twitter review, I said, "imagine Bon Iver beaten up by TV on the Radio with a distortion pedal," which could be a bit obtuse, even if meant to be complimentary.

Robinson stands firmly in the lowfi vocal spookiness of Bon Iver with touches of Bright Eyes or Arcade Fire. However, instead of heading to the darkness of a Wisconsin cabin for his inspiration, he heads to the clubs of New York City and instills in his meandering folksiness a sense of Beck-like funkiness and a love for distortion and feedback (it is impossible in my eyes to have too much distortion). Guests on the album include members of Grizzley Bear and TV on the Radio and the influence is obvious.

There is an edge to this album that is hard to describe. It sounds at times as if a folk singer got a lot of gear and decided to see what could happen. The wheels almost come off a few times and it sounds like it is careening off a cliff, only to put the brakes on at the last minute before the whole thing falls apart. I love it when that happens in music. It sounds dangerous and punky, but clearly residing in the singer-songwriter tradition.

Lyrically the albums falls into the typical confessional songwriter genre, with a bit more colorful language and experience. Considering the amount of drugs in this guy's past and his nights spent living on the street, one would expect as much from the words. It is definitely worth listening to more than once (like The Antlers, this one grows on you).

Listen here.
Buy the mp3 here.

there seems to be something wrong with the links. just enter Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson into myspace and you can here it.


Mike Stavlund said...

Ugh. I was trying really, really hard to cut back on my album purchases, but I should probably just give in and buy this and Hospice. You are always right about these things.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

Great suggestion, thanks for this. I listen to very little music, but when I do, I really enjoy it. This caught my attention.


P.S. I notice that you are still linking to my old blog. Would you be willing to update it to ? Thanks!