Release Date: Oct 13, 2017
Record label: Wax Nine Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Noise-rock four-piece Melkbelly formed in Chicago's ever-fertile music scene just a few short years ago. But with just a handful of singles and an EP under their belts, a swift rumble of excitement grew around the band. Although they’ve been a noisy bunch since their inception, 2014’s Pennsylvania EP did allow Miranda Winters’ vocal and the melodies to shine brightly amongst all the shredding and thrashing.
Melkbelly’s Nothing Valley is the product of more patience than its pummel and scrape suggest. The close-knit quartet’s first recorded output since the Pennsylvania EP in 2014 is a solidified vision of ‘90s indie rock turned to rubble. Melkbelly vocalist/guitarist Miranda Winters’ unphased sing-speak voice on the previously released tracks “Kid Kreative” and “Middle Of”, that of a new Deal sister heretofore unknown, makes the first half of their “sounds like X-meets-Y” equation easy enough.
When it comes to song building, Melkbelly are, more precisely, song demolishers. They tear the wallpaper off of traditional structures, take sledgehammers to the joists and excavators to the foundations, then giddily sift through the rubble and reassemble the debris into something that in no way resembles a normal structure. Just don.
There’s something desperate about the Midwestern summer, a certain revved-up edge to any nice day that’s brought about by memories of the miserable just passed and almost returning. That impatient pursuit of fun takes a musical form on Nothing Valley, the debut album from Chicago’s Melkbelly and inaugural release for Wax Nine Records, the Carpark subsidiary run by Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis. The Breeders are the obvious point of comparison here, and not only because singer Miranda Winters has the vocal chops befitting a lost Deal sister.
Melkbelly may be saddled with the kind of name that makes one wonder what names they decided not to pick, but their debut album shows that you can't judge a band by name alone. The Chicago quartet kick up all kinds of gnarly racket on Nothing Valley, calling to mind Dischord bands like Fugazi with their stuttering rhythms; the Breeders, thanks to guitarist Miranda Winters' melt-in-your-mouth vocals; wiry '90s bands with insistent guitar attacks like Hot Snakes, and romping neo-punks like White Lung. It's 100-percent indie rock all the way without being hopelessly derivative.