THE LATTERS Simple Shapes + Patterns (2008) & ASA MILBANKX “Fresher” / “Abaco” 45 (2011)

Simple Shapes + Patterns (2008)
Asa Milbankx Is The Reason People Endlessly Troll The Web Looking For New Music…

I first bumped into Asa Milbankx just a few weeks ago, while discussing Quadraphonic Nilsson recordings. He made an ever-so-slight sub-reference to where he posts, and after prying the address out of him, I was surprised to find this – what has quickly turned into my favorite album of the year… and it’s only February. This 2008 digital album, Simple Shapes + Patterns, released as The Latters (actually Milbankx, start to finish), had me almost immediately. Milbankx’s melodicism is effortless and his faultless vocals are a wonder. He’s not a hook machine, but a nuanced pop composer who avoids the typical verse/chorus/verse structures. His material unfolds naturally, with new harmonies, different rhythmic ideas and unexplained sidetracks around every turn. All without a whiff of that self-conscious encyclopedic showboating that can undermine even some of the greatest popsters. Just the opposite, Simple Shapes + Patterns flows with a casual ease, owing a debt to McCartney’s quieter songwriting influence, with echoes of the Wilsons and a few other angelic pop types. By track three, the soaring melody in “Ricochet” informed me I was officially hooked. It all makes you wonder where this guy’s been hiding out. Turns out… at an artist collective called Mount Valley, garnering a single comment per release (sometimes), practically a buried easter-egg of musical excellence lost inside this dark vast web. I’ve had it on a loop this last weekend and have come to love every… single… minute… of it. Milbankx’s work is genuinely appealing and repeated listens are guaranteed to reap rewards. Visit Mount (HERE) to get more of his work, all for free, and all criminally under-appreciated. UPDATE: We are now full-fledged fans, find more of our rambling, pontification about Asa Milbankx & Analog Birds, HERE.

“Fresher” b/w “Abaco” (2011)
Outstanding new digital 45 release. “Fresher” is a gorgeously lazy shuffle that eventually goes 3-D, with inventive harmonies coloring every measure. Great bass line by Ali A.B. If you’d told me this was a new Emitt Rhodes track, I would have believed it… if only because it betters my decades-old imaginary version. You should hear “Abaco” unfold for yourself, and don’t miss that uber-smooth instrumental break. Trust me. Once this stuff gets under your skin, the layers of vocals and instruments seem to breathe alive.


  • Willard
    January 31, 2012 - 11:17 | Permalink

    Get Simple Shapes + Patterns (@320) HERE
    Get “Fresher”/”Abaco” (@320) HERE

  • buzz baby jesus
    January 31, 2012 - 13:56 | Permalink

    In the meadows had me by the time the bass came in.

  • January 31, 2012 - 17:40 | Permalink

    Looking forward to hearing this!

  • Anne zurlo
    January 31, 2012 - 18:59 | Permalink

    Omg he is a present day nillson

  • Anne zurlo
    January 31, 2012 - 19:03 | Permalink

    Harry nilsson’s ears must be ringing! What a treat to hear someone that appreciates the days when music was great! Sir Paul is in for a treat when hears this up and coming artist.

  • Willard
    January 31, 2012 - 20:10 | Permalink

    Anne, you’ve got that new fan smell. I hear a lot of different people in his vocals, from The Wilson Brothers to Emitt Rhodes, but its the material that I’m most drawn to. I first heard this without knowing it just one person, and the arrangements and evolution of the tunes became even more amazing once knowing it. I haven’t been this tickled by an album since The Donnas’ Spend The Night, which shows you how fucked up I am. So, I’ll leave it to you guys to assess all this. Both album and single are still on loop around here. Thanks for chiming in.

  • Pingback: Milbankx review featured on Willard’s Wormholes

  • Muddy
    February 1, 2012 - 03:03 | Permalink

    This is astonishing and amazing. I’ll be listening to this a lot.
    This obscurity of this genius is yet more proof that there is often no justice in the world.

  • TheWalkingDeadMan
    February 1, 2012 - 17:23 | Permalink

    I also catch glimpses of Elliott Smith and Owsley here – not in an imitator sense, just some musical DNA…really good stuff indeed.

    • Willard
      February 1, 2012 - 18:50 | Permalink

      That might be his coolest attribute. The fact that he doesn’t lift anything from anybody, but you can hear the influence, or sometimes the homage, but it’s not like some showy spot-the-influence work. I was always warm on Smith but absolutely loved Owsley (and his offshoots).

  • February 2, 2012 - 13:30 | Permalink

    Finally got a chance to listen to this & I can’t believe I never heard of this guy. An excellent pop album — thanks for sharing this record (oops! I went & dated myself by referring to it as a “record” !)

  • Eric
    February 2, 2012 - 18:50 | Permalink

    This is no bullshit. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Alex
    February 3, 2012 - 12:09 | Permalink

    The single is terrific (not gotten into the full album yet). Can’t thank you enough. I was instantly reminded of a truly wonderful record from another worthy under the radar band – MAX INDIAN. So much music so little time, I know, but this is a gem. You can find a worthwhile review and link to their My Space where I came across it – here (no caps)

  • Bensheff
    February 3, 2012 - 13:47 | Permalink

    What a delight. Thanks

  • Stan thompson
    February 6, 2012 - 01:49 | Permalink

    This music is captivating and I cannot stop listening to simple shapes and
    patterns, hands down the best album Ive heard on years. Thanks so much for introducing me.

    • Willard
      February 6, 2012 - 17:19 | Permalink

      I’m the same way. Follow the link in the post to Mount Valley, MIlbankx just posted an incredible album from his previous band, Analog Birds (Musique Concrete) which is outstanding and highly recommended.

  • stuartreed
    February 7, 2012 - 12:04 | Permalink

    yep, i’m sold on Fresher. Cheers

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