Dean Spunt (No Age) Talks Milk Music’s Cruise Your Illusion

The first time I heard Milk Music was in 2010 when they played Pehrspace in Los Angeles with White Boss. Both bands are from Olympia. Milk Music...

The first time I heard Milk Music was in 2010 when they played Pehrspace in Los Angeles with White Boss.  Both bands are from Olympia.  Milk Music had a tape, it was purple, I bought it.  Then I got the Beyond Living 12″ and it played itself, hard. I showed some friends, I understood the sentiment, I could relate to the water, I liked the taste.

Cruise Your Illusion gives me hope, I can feel the fingers on the instruments, you can see their soul. Three whole minutes of music pass before you hear the distinct cry of the singer. That is confidence, they don’t give a fuck, it’s nice to see.

I enjoy the taste of the first track, “Caged Dogs Run Wild.” It sweeps in, gives you a sip, then it drops out… you wonder why, you love that it left but gives you just enough. These are working men. With my ears pressed to the cone of the speaker I dream about this tone. I imagine tour-born, American, wood-wielding Northwestern young men who may have dreamt of the same tone. They nailed the tone. The quality of the drums and guitar is something most might wonder how to get, but Milk Music didn’t wonder — they just let it out. It must come naturally. I appreciate the breakdowns in between the verses on “New Lease On Love,” it gives you perspective, breath… they love playing these guitars.  I’m held up in that beat of “Crosstown Wanderer.” These boys own their guitars.  Snare-rattle, finger-slip, it’s nice to be reminded of someone actually playing something.

When the beat breaks up in the middle of the first verse of “I’ve Got A Wild Feeling,” Joe Rutter hits those cymbals and forgets time, and it doesn’t matter anymore where that line starts or stops, you can just keep on going, you have to put your trust in that part. In them as a whole, they have figured it out for both of us, we don’t have to question why Alex Coxen sings so high. There is a note he hits that makes me smile.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Olympia.  If you’ve never been, there’s a saying there: “it’s in the water.” And you can refer to this as a slogan for beer but we used to say it about the bands — they drink it, they have a certain quality we always respected.

There is no need to rush into the vocal part on “Runaway.”  Let it ride. Simplicity speaks, come in when you want to, I appreciate it. Play those guitars the way you want to, the way your brain intended your hands to. Milk Music drink the water, but they have no choice, it’s inside them.

We start small, we end large: 16 minutes plus, “The Final Scene,” guitars and bass, jam with us. There’s that tone again.  You wonder how, but you never think about these guys searching thrift stores, Craigslist or their buddies’ practice spaces, you just think they were born with this tone. They own it. Backing vocals and a harmonica. I say you deserve it, you built me up and I can handle it.  I say thank you.

Dean Spunt is an artist and musician. He plays in No Age and runs the Post Present Medium record label. You can follow No Age on Twitter here.