Alone at St. Hugo is the forthcoming debut album by Matthew Milia—lead singer and songwriter of Frontier Ruckus.
Recorded to the reel-to-reel of Ben Collins' Tascam 388 tape machine in a small Ypsilanti, Michigan room, the record captures the sound of two friends setting out to find a harmony-laden, power pop backdrop for Milia's signature lyricism. This bedroom-fi analog approach resulted in something both classically lush and intimately raw at once. Each track began with Milia on guitar and Collins on drums, playing live in the room together. From there, they divided a small universe of overdub responsibilities between themselves evenly—mellotron, pedal steel, Hammond organ, cello, mandolin, and horns being a few of the textures wrangled in giddy, all-night sessions. Coupled with vocal layers verging on Big Star grandeur, the most poignant aspect of the musicality's sweetness is the foil it serves to Milia's vocabulary of domestic American darkness—a world of decaying suburban landscape and the desperate hope still residing therein. At the core of this ethos is a set of finely honed songs—a dense but deliberate catalog where memory is obsessed upon; self-identity transforms in the combat of adult defeat, footholds are gained, and then the cycle of tiny tragedies reemerge and reverse back on themselves. Through all of it, a wry sense of humor winks its way through the pathos, atop chord changes displaying a level of precision and classic craft uncommon to the habits of today's songwriters.
Matthew Milia is represented by Jennifer Hass at APA.
A selection of mixes in varying states of finality will be updated here: