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Mill Race | Westerns

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Rock: Folk Rock Avant Garde: Avant-Americana Moods: Mood: Quirky
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by Mill Race

A Sci-fi Country-Western concept album. Analog synth and spacey pedal steel featured. Dentist cowboys, disgruntled bureaucrats, asteroids, etc.
Genre: Rock: Folk Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Official Statement
2:07 $0.99
2. Sub-Ballad Of The Chain Link Halo
3:09 $0.99
3. Spring-Loaded Winter
4:47 $0.99
4. Westerns
6:37 $0.99
5. Riding The Root Canal
3:47 $0.99
6. Asteroid
3:35 $0.99
7. Neoclassic
3:41 $0.99
8. Little Maggie
3:02 $0.99
9. On The Absurdity Of Proceeding Even Farther West
5:36 $0.99
10. Drumming Animal
1:37 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"exceptional...sounds like the unlikely offspring of those old-timey photo booths at the fair crossed with an original Nintendo. Just, y'know, in CD form." --Eugene Weekly, Jan. 2006

"The great new Salem band, Mill Race, have, as far as I'm aware of, already penned their own genre: sci-fi country. It's not nearly as heavy-handed as it sounds...the results are always spot on." --Portland Mercury, Feb. 2006

CD includes 14" X 19" poster with detailed line drawings (by the talented David Rafn) of the characters from the songs.

Julian Snow: weirdo analog synth, twangy guitars, not-so-twangy singing.

Eric Phipps: bass. Later of Polyvinyl Records band Wampire

Jeff Booth: pedal steel, mandolin, guitar. His tastes favor old country, bluegrass and western swing.

Jeff Graham: drums. A veteran of many bands, including a couple featuring Eric Lovre (Dharma Bums.)


Tom Nunes: production, recording. His engineering skills were praised by John Fahey in his book "Vampire Vultures."

North Salem High String Orchestra: strings on "Riding The Root Canal." The orchestra of Frank Herbert's alma mater.

The Absurdity Chorus: Lisa, Rocky, Tom, Eric, Julian.

The Clapping Animals: Jodie, Lisa, Tom, Julian.



to write a review

Portland Mercury

Great New Band
The great new Salem band, Mill Race, have, as far
as I'm aware of, already penned their own genre: sci-fi country. It's not nearly
as heavy-handed as it sounds, as their bubbling synths are very tasty, seasoning
the already syrupy pedal steel and mandolin arrangements. The band's debut album,
Westerns, is solidly anchored on Julian Snow's pleasing vocals and whether they're
playing standards or cryptically titled originals like "Sub-Ballad of the
Chain-Link Halo," the results are always spot on. JOSH BLANCHARD

Americana UK, David Cowling

Weird and wonderful space-county
I flat-out love listening to records like this; after the first few bars you know you’ll never be able to relax and know what’s coming next. They make an adventure out of the smallest things. I’m on tenterhooks wondering what the second syllable of win-ter will come out as (not as you might expect, as you might expect). The songs don’t follow any pattern and there is some sort of comic book concept (the illustrations and packaging are excellent) that runs through this with each song narrated by a different character; there are also some wonderful absurdist lyrics I’ve not witnessed since the recent A Witness re-issues. ‘Spring-Loaded Winter’ is filled with woozy disconcerting pedal steel, building to an atmosphere that is like a gentler Eraserhead only with pop elements that threaten but never fully form. They are as likely to follow with an instrumental full of misbehaving machines making an almost unlistenable racket as they are to lull us with a country tinged ballad that sounds like Grandaddy have lost their ambivalence towards technology and embrace it fully. The version of the traditional ‘Little Maggie’ seems beamed in from outer space, at the centre a folk rock version of the song and then there are video game interruptions, drums that seem to be fleeing and vocals that want to ignore the melody. Ending with a burst of clapping animals is not only marvellous but entirely fitting.

Eugene Weekly

COWBOYS IN SPACE (from Eugene Weekly, 1/5/06)

From a long list of false starts, in an attempt to describe Mill Race's exceptional debut album Westerns:

1. First impressions first: The packaging for Mill Race's debut full-length Westerns is fantastic. A matchbook of heavy cardboard, the case is playfully descriptive, with a pixel drawing of a cowboy on one side and the band's name (in typewriter font) and album title (in a western font) on the other. The pull-out liner "notes" are poster-sized, as much art as text, and frankly I can't help but feel warmly toward a band that credits their proofreader.

2. Mill Race's press release describes the band's sound as "sci-fi country-western" music, which is about as accurate as any press release ever has been. Their album Westerns sounds like the unlikely offspring of those old-timey photo booths at the fair crossed with an original Nintendo ? just, y'know, in CD form. Songs like "Sub-Ballad of the Chain-Link Halo" and "Asteroid" do such a lovely job of calling to mind broad expanses of country and sky, you might almost think the record was recorded in a deserted town square somewhere in Wyoming.

3. Mill Race singer Julian Snow's voice has a character like a dusty small town with one gas station: spacious and a little rough around the edges, it leads some songs and, in others, disappears in a spray of synthesized burbles or twang. On occasion, the fun-with-technology might test the patience of a more melodically inclined listener, but the guitar (regular or pedal steel) always swoops in just in time, bringing the band's more far-flung explorations back to earth.

Mill Race plays with Root Villa at 10 pm Saturday, Jan. 7 at Diablo's Downtown Lounge. 21+ show. $5. Don't miss it. ? Molly Templeton