Chris Milam had a torrid lead-up to the recording and release of Kids These Days.
A broken engagement caused him to lose everything but what he could fit in his car. Then, on tour with all his possessions...until the car and its contents were stolen.
Staring life with not much but his health and trying to consider the future were formative for Milam and his songwriting as he went into the studio.
Behold what has emerged from those dark days! A dynamic and beautifully layered sound.
For Kids These Days (out last April on Namesake Records), Milam teamed up with Memphis producer Toby Vest (High/Low Recording). To fund the recording, Milam spent a year without a home, using itinerant lodgings whereever they presented themselves, saving for studio time rather than paying out for rent. He called in Memphis musicians Greg Faison (drums), Pete Matthews (bass), Luke White (guitar), Jana Misener (cello) Krista Wroten (violin), and Vest (keyboards, effects) to vividly portray the dramatic emotions of uncertainty and loneliness that went into the songs.
“We wanted the record to feel atmospheric, dynamic, and unpredictable,” Milam says. “It was important to me that these songs were built around live takes. Memphis musicians have a way of filling a song with life—beautiful, weird life.”
The track 'Kids These Days' has an epic, multi-tiered sound while 'Autumn' contains an infectious sweep, soaring pop vocals and a driving, escalating melody. 'Tell Me Something I Don't Know' features the much-repeated plea in a distorted, unsettling way. All three are break-up songs from someone that tells it like it was. 'Coldweather Girls' is irresistible while 'Prayer #4' showcases Milam's searing vocals (a little John Denver-esque here). Embrace the fuzzed, swirling guitar of 'New Drug' and the nostalgic sentiment of 'When I Was Young' and 'Hey, Hollywood'.
Kids These Days is an atmospheric, dark and thoughtful collection. Highly recommended.