If there’s any karmic justice in the music business, Milagres will be one of the biggest bands of 2012.
Sonically, this Brooklyn–based quintet recalls what’s so great about Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire and even Coldplay – sublime post–pop songs given dreamy melodies and incredibly atmospheric arrangements. Lyrics that hint at melancholy and splash vividly in the stream of consciousness - but don’t make you want to slit your wrists.
The piano–based music of Milagres – in Portuguese, it means “miracle” – isn’t all navel–gazing, not by a long shot. It’s certainly not a dance band, but critical comparisons to the quirkier sides of Prince, Peter Gabriel and even Radiohead are not far off. The muse is in full flower here.
There are plenty of big beats and soaring choruses on the just–released Glowing Mouth, Milagres’ second album (the first on the national label Kill Rock Stars). Like all great artists, bandleader Kyle Wilson and his cohorts understand how to do what’s necessary to best serve each song.
Milagres was one of the biggest surprises at last spring’s inaugural Savannah Stopover, and this week they’re back – on the cross–country tour bringing Glowing Mouth to the masses – for a Oct. 5 show (with Peter Wolf Crier) at Live Wire Music Hall.
We spoke with New Mexico native Wilson last week, just a day or so before the band was to hit the road.
Do you feel like you’re on the edge of something?
Kyle Wilson: Definitely. It’s hard to say for sure like what is gonna happen, exactly, but having worked at this for a really long time, right now it definitely feels like there’s a much larger forward momentum than there ever has been in my musical career.
You left New York for an extended trip to the mountains of Western Canada. Were these new songs written from that experience?
Kyle Wilson: I actually went on a mountaineering expedition, like full–on, didn’t use a real restroom for 31 days, had food dropped in by helicopter every 10 days, very intense. I was really considering dropping music and trying to embark on another very ambitious, unrealistic career tract in mountain guiding.
I think I always knew in the back of my head that I wasn’t ever going to stop making music, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue to sideline any other ... here I am, 30 years old, and I’d sidelined any other notion of career because I wanted to be a musician. I was really grappling with that decision and trying to decide if I wanted to essentially give up.
But you had a pretty bad accident in the mountains – from what I’ve read about it, it sounds like 127 Hours.
Kyle Wilson: I think there’s more of a drama emphasis put on the actual injury than there should be. I would say that the fact that I spent some time in bed, hurt, was one aspect of the creation of the album. But really, everything that was happening leading up to that point, and the expedition itself, were probably more key in the writing of the record.
The song “Halfway” I can’t get out of my head this week. Strange video – I especially liked the flying–cat part that looks like The Neverending Story.
Kyle Wilson: The concept for the video was pitched to us by the director, Dimitri Simakis. He’s the wizard behind the curtain at Everything is Terrible, which is a really cool website. We loved it right off the bat. Our music has a real seriousness to it, I think, but we as people have a pretty strong sense of humor. Or at least we like to think that we do! So I was really glad that the video kind of made me laugh out loud.
There’s a huge difference between taking what you do seriously, and taking yourself seriously.
Have you reached the point where you can write a song just to write one, or is everything still personal?
Kyle Wilson: I think this album was pretty personal, and a lot of the lyrics were stream–of–consciousness. But that was actually something I had to work pretty hard to allow myself to do. The album that we finished before this was very much a concept album; every song was about something specific, and the voices in the songs were the voices of characters in the songs.
And I think I have more of a tendency to write songs that are not personal. This time, I wanted to see what would happen if I allowed myself to write songs that were more personal. And I was curious to see how people would connect to them.
I have this general distaste for the typical themes in pop music, or indie rock or whatever you want to call it. You know, romance and stuff like that kind of just turns me off. I’m not really interested in albums that are about stuff like that. There has to be something more for me.
Where does your melodic sense come from?
Kyle Wilson: I listened to tons and tons of Beatles growing up, and my dad’s record collection was full of classic rock. So probably some of it comes from that. But I studied classical composition for a really long time. So I think pretty hard about where I want the melodies to go and what I want them to sound like.
With Peter Wolf Crier
Where: Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St.
When: At 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5
Tickets: $10 advance, $15 day of show
Artist’s website: milagresmusic.com