The Bands of Summer – High Highs

12 Jul

High Highs

Today marks day two of the Bands of Summer new music special section. The order of these posts has no meaning, by the way. I am not attempting to rank the bands, but instead introduce their music to a wider audience. We travel today to ambient indie/pop after our exploration of the upper register of indie/folk with Dry The River yesterday. Everyone say hello to the Australian-born act titled High Highs.

High Highs is currently based out of Brooklyn, but their roots are firmly planted in a Sydney studio where singer/songwriter Jack Milas and electric/pop produce Oli Chang met. High Highs benefited from good fortune. While the two musicians did combine forces in Australia, it was only for a limited time, and, if not for the fact that they both worked for the same company and got offers to move to New York, the band would probably not be garnering record label attention today. The band attracted drummer Zach Lipkins and the tres amigos are currently recording, releasing and touring. But they are still a ways off from an album.

“We’ve only put out two songs, and that’s the story of it so far,” said Milas in an interview with Spinner back in March. Since then the catalog has expanded to four songs (one cover) according to the band’s Bandcamp. Two of these songs are available for free downloads. As for the band’s sound:

“Our PR agent, she wanted to insist that our genre of music is “church wave,” said Milas. “I find the whole “wave” thing really funny, in a good way. It works. It’s not music that’s religious in any way. It would just sound good in a church. Maybe we’re on to something.”

Church wave. I guess it’s a new way to describe the ambient indie/pop trend that is spreading quickly through the music world. With Milas’ falsetto and Chang’s ethereal music taste, High Highs is a solid EP/LP away from shooting up the ranks of the genre.

We start with “Horses,” a tasteful and intelligent release that floats with effervescent flare. The song, released in March, opens with an acoustic riff that merges into a spacey pre-verse segment. Milas’ voice is relaxing, imperturbable even. You get the sense that he is a real-life zen master. The song lulls listeners into a state of relaxation, but keeps them up with the poppy perambulating rhythm.

“Open Season” was released in November of 2010 and it was the piece that placed High Highs on the radar. The 3:48 song is a slice of indie pop mastery. The chugging rhythm moves well with Milas’ verses which evoke images of traveling down the California coast watching waves tirelessly crash into the sandy shore. You can almost feel the salty wind on your face. The song’s catch though resides at the minute mark. The well-placed keys make you want to whistle the segment that sticks to your ears like wet sand. The end provides this neat call and response ending with the acoustic riff under the first verse beautifully sung by Milas.

High Highs is a band worth looking out for. Hopefully their album will drop this year or early next year. For now, continue viewing their Myspace, Facebook and Bandcamp

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