Milk Maid emerged from the Manchester music scene, and consists of Adam Carless, Ian Hodson, and songwriter Martin Cohen – ex-bassist of Nine Black Alps. A DIY aesthetic has been a key component in the band’s ethos, with Cohen writing and recording everything in his flat.
Riding their own wave in the re-emergence of the Manchester music scene, Milk Maid has with their effortless creativity and swirling melodies created a significant buzz - appearing with such bands as Wild Nothing, label-mates Mazes, Titus Andronicus, Crocodiles and Male Bonding. Sessions at the BBC with Marc Riley and at Maida Vale with Huw Stephens has solidified Milk Maid’s status as one of the bands to look out for in 2011.
Milk Maid was first picked up by Mazes member Jack Cooper’s label Suffering Jukebox, and released the 7” ‘Such Fun/Can’t You See’ in 2010. The single is an example of their seamless blend of laid back guitar and heavily distorted vocals. Suffering Jukebox summed it up in the press release when they compared Milk Maid to Guided By Voices for their “laissez faire approach to recording solid gold melodies; throwing songs away most bands would kill for with a swooning arrogance.” It is this element that has seen Cohen branded with the ‘slacker’ tag and compared to artists such as Kurt Vile and Woods.
The band was signed onto Fatcat Records early 2011, with their debut album ‘Yucca’ being released on the 20th of June. ‘Yucca’s meshing of light and dark could sound forced in less capable hands, but the calm authority that Cohen wields over his songs is remarkable considering that the tracks contained on ‘Yucca’ represent his first forays in to song writing. Recorded in Cohen’s own flat, when the indefinite hiatus of Nine Black Alps meant the bassist found he had time on his hands, ‘Yucca’ is the sound of an artist moving out of the shadows of the rhythm section and delighting in the freedom of doing things his way. Timeless, sweet and sun-drenched pop hooks are pitched against viscerally dark lyrics that explore disintegrating relationships and emotional conflict to a backdrop of Cohen’s Manchester hometown. Indeed Cohen’s willingness to push the boundaries of what would usually be found in a three minute pop song with his lyrics, instrumentation and production is perhaps ‘Yucca’s defining feature.
Having encountered several line up changes 2012 sees Milk Maid release their second album, ‘Moslty No’ with Sam Alder, Scottie McKnight and Mike Jordan joining Cohen in the band.
While their debut album was mostly the result of songs Martin recorded in his flat with the help of a few friends, ‘Mostly No’ benefits from the fact that many of its tracks were played on the ‘Yucca’ tour and had the opportunity to be jammed out by a full band before being recorded, giving the band’s sound an added muscularity and dexterity.