Posts Tagged ‘Mild High Club’

Mild High Club is Alexander Brettin. An album that speaks directly to the times we live in, Going Going Gone sees Mild High Club blending the psychedelic pop of earlier albums Skiptracing and Timeline with influences from around the world, especially Brazilian avant- garde music from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

The Chicago-based psychedelic poppers Mild High Club, led by the irrepressible Alexander Brettin, present their first album in half a decade – excluding their 2017 collaboration with King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. ‘Going Going Gone’ sees them take a much more global stance this time around, with Brazilian tropicalia influences particularly prominent.

Mild High Club – ‘Going Going Gone’ limited green coloured vinyl LP on the Stones Throw label.

This LP is released on Friday 17th September.

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King Gizzard’s very own resident art mastermind Jason Galea has outdone himself with this one. Having already been responsible for a bunch of the best music videos in the country over the past years, he and the band have made the best pencil-on-paper animated clip since ‘Take On Me’ was blaring out of stereos.

Seriously, the constantly-morphing visuals and soothing strains of ‘Countdown’ could be on a loop for an hour and we’d still be watching, entranced, as abstract images assemble and disassemble themselves before our eyes, and it might just be the best clip they’ve ever made – although that’s a big call, considering everything else they’ve put out.

The track is of course taken from their latest LP Sketches of Brunswick East, King Gizzard’s collab with Mild High Club and their third album of four they’re releasing this year, which hit #4 on the ARIA charts after Flying Microtonal Banana and Murder of the Universe peaked at #2 and #3 respectively.

Of course, with the record out, the King Gizzard boys are gearing up for their upcoming Gizzfest tour, having announced a massive lineup for their hometown city of Melbourne,

Sketches Of Brunswick East is a collaboration with Mild High Club frontman Alexander Brettin.

“[Mild High Club] came over and played Gizzfest with us in December and [Alex] just stayed at my house for a few weeks. We were sending each other these really rough, vague ideas before that…usually just a chord progression or a melody.” McKenzie told Triple J that while Brettin was staying with them they worked on about 15 recordings. McKenzie explained in an interview last month how this process led to the title of the album: “Alex from Mild High Club, they came over and played Gizzfest in December, and ended up just staying at my house for a few weeks. We had really, really vague ideas before we started, a handful of iPhone voice memos to each other, which we ended up calling sketches. Mostly they were just a chord progression or some melodic part with a chord thing underneath it. It was just simple stuff. They really were just jump off points, and when we finally got together, we sort of fleshed these songs out together.”

This week on McKenzie said the worked on the album almost every day Brettin was staying with them in December 2016. He previously described the sessions noting the casual manner the material developed. “A lot of the time Alex and I sitting on the couch in my living room with two unplugged electric guitars, just sort of noodling, until we kind of felt like we were somewhere. Going to the studio just like, I don’t know, whoever was around, usually there were four or five of us and we would just get together and kind of try and make these little sort of doodly things into songs, which is probably not that uncommon of a way to try and make music, but there is a certain pressure that was there when you know that Alex or you know that the person that you are working with isn’t going to be there for very long.
We were just making these bizarre recordings that weren’t songs by any stretch, though some of them felt like they were more songs than others, and there were a lot of pieces of music that were like, “okay that’s something, but what is it?” And it took a long time, up until now really, to feel like… We’ve been kind of going back and forth, sending each other overdubs and recording vocals and flushing out these songs and just getting all the sort of disparate… a lot of them were, at the time, improvised somewhat jazz-inspired pieces of music, and try to make them into what felt like a record or a cohesive thing that was worthy of being a record, and I think we got there in the end, but it took a long time.”

Since the December 2016 sessions Gizz and Brettin “spent up until a month ago going back and forward, changing them, cutting things out… [and] finished the record that way.”
“I wasn’t sure if this was going to take another year, or if we needed to get together again and work on this a little more, but I think what we came up with is really interesting and it’s funny to me, maybe not to anyone else, but it’s funny to me that when I listen to the record it actually kind of does sound like in between Mild High Club and King Gizzard, so I’m not sure if that was just always what was going to happen, but it’s funny that that was kind of the end result, to me at least.”

McKenzie described the material as “interesting, chilled, jazzy, loose improvised pieces.” it’s a lot more relaxed than Murder of the Universe obviously, and there are more sort of individual songs, but a lot of the songs segue to other pieces of music and there are a lot of interlinking things and there is some fun instrumentation on the record.
Alex and I were saying to each other when we were making this record because Alex has been working on another Mild High Club record as well and we just kept saying to each other, ‘This is the record where we just do weird stuff. This is the record where we just do anything, Let’s just make some weird music, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it. It’s just a strange record. It just is it’s own thing, let us stretch our limbs and just see what happens. We have three weeks, let’s make some bizarre music,’ and funny enough it didn’t end up that bizarre, but it’s something.”

The title of the album is a nod to Sketches of Spain, Miles Davis​’ classic 1960 collaborative LP with Gil Evans. A Heavenly Recordings first revealed Sketches Of Brunswick East is “a jazz-based, improv- leaning collection entitled Sketches Of Brunswick East, whose name alludes to both Miles Davis’ Sketches Of Spain, the notion of sketches as outlines for ideas and all- round sketchy behaviour.”

Stu Mackenzie explained, “it’s jazzy, it’s definitely not a jazz improvisation album. As much as I’d like it to be a jazz improvisation album, I think that would be fairly flattering. There is improvisation on this record. It’s a weird record, it’s all over the place, and the nature of it being collaboration and the nature of the way we made, caused it to be a certain thing.”

As for the two albums to follow Sketches Of Brunswick East and complete Gizzard’s ambition of five studio releases in 2017, at last update Stu admitted they’re “sort of distant at the moment, but we’ll see. We’ve got a little bit of time at home, so I think we’ll do it. But who knows.” Note the aforementioned Heavenly Recordings April press statement that revealed Sketches of Brunswick East’s album title and jazz inspirations also confirmed “two more albums will follow that in 2017.


  1. Sketches Of Brunswick East I
  2. Countdown
  3. D-Day
  4. Tereta
  5. Cities, Planes, Migraines
  6. The Spider And Me
  7. Sketches Of Brunswick East II
  8. Dusk To Dawn On Lygon Street
  9. The Book
  10. A Journey To
  11. Rolling Stoned
  12. You Can Be Your Silhouette
  13. Sketches Of Brunswick East III

Note the tenth track’s title is incomplete. It appears to be a “A Journey To” somewhere, but the writing of the end of the line is illegible.

King Gizzard drummer Eric Moore (founder of the band’s Flightless​ Records) that the LP is now released and it will be issued though he stopped short of announcing a release date. “We’re just gonna drop it at any point,” Moore said. “It’s just coming out, straight up.” Rumor has its release will be a random day within the next two weeks. the title of the album is Sketches Of Brunswick East. Aside from being released on Heavenly Recordings in the United Kingdom, it’s expected on ATO Records in the United States and Moore’s Flightless Records in Australia.

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As if the name Mild High Club isn’t a clear enough indication of this band’s motives, their debut album’s artwork includes a symbol combining a marijuana leaf with an airplane. It’s not hard to guess what’s in store; appropriately enough, the album consists of mellow psychedelic pop filled with pleasantly dazed vocals, languid tempos, gentle guitar licks, and soft, atmospheric keyboards. The word “Mild” is key here; this isn’t some over-the-top hallucinatory experience in the vein of the Flaming Lips. Mild High Club is the home for the musical output of Alexander Brettin, a jazz-schooled musician transplanted from the Midwest to LA. The Club is due to release the debut album “Timeline” on Circle Star Records, the new imprint of Stones Throw Records. Recording with a Fostex 4-track cassette recorder, Macbook, 12-string electric guitar, portasound keyboard, bass, drum machine, software instruments “and whatever was lying around”, Brettin began working on Timeline in 2012. In addition to the pure pop of singer-songwriter Todd Rundgren, sixties psych wields an obvious influence over Mild High Club’s music, but Brettin strips away the opulence commonly associated with it in favour of phased melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Though he may have been “interested in making simple pop songs with a little bit of jazz,” Brettin’s subject matter is far from simple.

The hard, snapping beat of “You and Me” immediately makes the song standout, and its relaxed tempo and dreamy synths push it over the top. The drumless, acoustic-based ballad “Elegy” is about as blue as the album gets, but not enough to kill the buzz. The album ends with “The Chat,” a brisk tune featuring “ooh-la-la”s by Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) as well as Ariel Pink; the track is in line with the more straightforward numbers from his 4AD albums (as in, the ones that aren’t covered in cartoon sound effects or filled with disturbingly perverse lyrics).

Timeline’s themes include the role of the internet and avatars, gender-neutral songs about hooking up, making real connections in the hyperreal world of social media and digital devices, and the artist’s internal wrangling over the process of song writing itself. Mild High Club recently toured with post-punk pioneers. Mild High Club doesn’t try too hard and avoids indulging in cloying weirdness, resulting in an enjoyable, naturally flowing album.