Milan Jay, Get Ghost

And now, from Milan Jay (scrappy little band of my heart, west of Ireland division:): Get Ghost. The song drops this Friday, and on Saturday, accompanied by their brand new drummer, they play their first show in 18 months in Egan’s Basement in Ballinasloe, Galway.

The rest of the new record will be along later this year; in the meantime, if you liked that, take a skimmy through their back catalog. It’s good stuff.

Milan Jay, How Well Do You Remember Dying

Milan Jay (John Millane and Joseph Kenny) have spent the better part of the last year and a half (or so) holed up in a small town in the west of Ireland working on a new record. How Well Do You Remember Dying is the first single; the full record is expected in 2014.

Despite the name, the song is not about literal death or actual resurrection; rather, it is a hard-edged meditation on burning your life down and starting over. It might not be the life you expected, or the life you had planned. It is the life you chose.


Fanmix: Warren Ellis, Gun Machine

Fan mixes: collections of music created as both soundtrack and illustration for other works, usually works of fiction, intended as both appreciation of and enticement to read the work of fiction.

This one is for Gun Machine by Warren Ellis, who is author of, among other things, Transmetropolitan and Crooked Little Vein, and is NOT the dude who plays music with Nick Cave.

Gun Machine is a murder mystery set in New York. But not the New York you usually see on cop shows; the Financial District, which is older and darker. Down there you’re off the grid. The streets are narrow and twisty and reality can be very thin. Depending on how the wind is blowing off the water, it does feel like you could walk around a corner today and stumble into the 17th century, 1926 could be tomorrow and 2018 was last week.

“Off the grid” would actually sum up the book as a whole. It is also bloody, startling, deeply lonely, occasionally bitingly funny, like watching my own city from the wrong end of a telescope, a complex puzzle, and very, very good. If you pick it up, be sure to both read and listen carefully; Ellis uses music and sounds much like Nathaniel Hawthorne used light, that is, as both text and subtext.

The mix below is my attempt at capturing the spirit of the work. The songs chosen are intended to trace the outline of the narrative in broad strokes. All of them, save for two, are available for sale and/or free download from the artist.

The exceptions are Panic! at the Disco’s cover of Karma Police, which is a fan bootleg of a live performance, chosen for the quality of the static, and Kasey Anderson and the Honkies’ Abbaddon Blues, because it is from Let the Bloody Moon Rise, a record which saw only limited release before Anderson went on indefinite-but-hopefully-not-permanent hiatus and which is now (almost) out of circulation.

1.BT, Go(d)t

2. Panic! at the Disco, Karma Police (Radiohead cover)

(If you want a visual.)
3. Foster the People, Pumped Up Kicks
Foster The People - Pumped up Kicks

4. Breakfast in Fur, Whisper
Breakfast in Fur - Whisper (Official)

5. David C. Clements, Oh Child

6. Blondie, Heart of Glass
Blondie - Heart Of Glass

7. Jane’s Addiction, Chip Away
Jane's Addiction - Chip Away

8. Firewater, A Little Revolution
FIREWATER: A Little Revolution

9. Milan Jay, In the Shadows of Footsteps


11.Xiu Xiu, Hi

12. Kasey Anderson and the Honkies, Abbaddon Blues

13. Cage the Elephant, Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked
Cage The Elephant - Ain't No Rest For The Wicked

14. Blackwater Jukebox, Carousel

15. Willow Sea, Night Light

Halloween Special: Citóg Mixtape Volume IV

Gothic Christmas has (probably) been rained out for me this year – I’m writing this as Hurricane Sandy rolls over Manhattan – but I’ve been staying in the holiday spirit by listening to this mixtape from Citóg, a record label/ independent collective from the west of Ireland.

Milan Jay, scrappy little band of my heart, contributed a track called Mask Up (The Ballad of Michael Meyers) which I am sharing below, but the rest of the compilation is also excellent.

Milan Jay: In the Shadows of Footsteps

Because every time I listen to it I find something new and interesting within the layers of tones, and because it’s the exact sort of full-throttle industrial-flavored jam I need in my life in general, but even more so for the next week and a half.

It’s a free download on Soundcloud for right now; the “official” release is August 4, the same day Milan Jay (now with new drummer!) will be at Indiependence in Cork.
In The Shadows Of Footsteps (Free Download) by Milan Jay

For more music from Milan Jay, visit their bandcamp page. And if you like you can read my thoughts on some of their earlier work (spoiler: I like their tunes a lot) over here.

Doesn’t Matter Where You Take Flight: Milan Jay

Milan Jay is John Millane (left, above) and Joseph Kenny (right) – the name of the band is a loose reverse anagram of Millane’s name – and they are from Ballinasloe, just outside Galway City, in County Galway, Ireland. Millane began making music on his own in 2008; Kenny joined him 2010, and their producer/mixer Mike O’Dowd is currently helping out with drums. Right now, in addition to working on new music, they are contemplating a SXSW bid.

I’m hoping they get to go, because I have told pretty much everyone who asked me for new music recs in the last two weeks (and several who didn’t), y’all need to listen to this. Since their discography is tiny but very rich, like a Fabergé egg, I’m just going to talk about all of it:

1. Mellow Funk (2009) [available at: Bandcamp]

This record, their first, is available in its entirety as a free download from Bandcamp. It’s wholly instrumental, and “Mellow Funk” is a very appropriate title. I’ve been putting these songs on when I need some quiet, and yet also need to drown out very annoying people on the train.

This is the video for Terracotta Nights, which is the last song on the record, and will be your five minutes of Zen for today:


Milan Jay - Terracotta Nights


2. To The Sea and Swim (November 2010) [available at: Bandcamp; iTunes]

This is the first EP of what will eventually be three-part cycle – more on that below – and it is about half instrumental, and half not. The two tracks with singing are With The River Flow and We Believe, the latter of which is a free download at Bandcamp. Their sound continues to be pretty mellow here, though it is definitely does get deeper and more complex. I like listening to both To The Sea And Swim and Jupiter Falls just to count the instruments as they come in and then track them through the mix.

Here’s Jupiter Falls for you to listen to:


Jupiter Falls by Milan Jay


3. To The Night and Sky (June 2011) [available at: Bandcamp; iTunes]

This is the second EP of the three-part cycle. I can’t really declare a favorite here, because a) there are only five songs and b) I’ve been listening to all of them kind of a lot, however, I will say if you’re dipping in and out rather than taking the plunge, pay special attention to these:

Interconnected the first track, starts almost literally with a bang. It has a big thudding beat and includes a sample from Repo Man. The video they made for it, below, is comprised entirely of what seem to be black and white home movies of regular people doing Irish step dance. Now, I (voluntarily!) took a couple of years worth of step dance lessons when I was in high school, so I can almost hear the thudding and clicking of their feet on the floor, but even without that background the way the music and the action synch is pretty amazing.


Milan Jay - Interconnected


Time To Leave Computers Behind is the third song, and is a free download at Bandcamp. This is the one I put on to get myself moving either in the morning or after class, and I have a feeling it will be on every road trip / travel mix I make from now on. Here’s the video, starring the band and the beautiful Irish countryside:


And finally, there is 421 Wilson St., song number five, which is an instrumental track. It starts with a mixture of electronic and real rain – the latter was recorded by sticking the mic out the door of the studio and waiting for breaks between passing trucks – and slowly expands to include more instruments, including keyboards and guitars.


421 Wilson St. by Milan Jay


4) Robot Revenge (September 2011) [available at: Bandcamp]


This song, also a free download from Bandcamp, is the first single off the as yet un-named third and final EP in the “The Philosophor Trilogy”, named after their label, Philosophor Records, which will be out at the end of November. (Americans: Just in time for post-Thanksgiving shopping! Buy yourself a present on Black Friday!)

It combines punk swagger and bravado with meta-commentary about punk swagger and bravado, and, in the video below, they have Punisher stickers on their equipment. This was actually the first song I listened to, and those stickers as well as the fuzzy guitars were what drew me in and made me want to know more.