Meet one of the newer faces on the indie folk scene: Milo Greene, a five piece group out of Los Angeles. Less than two years old, they have already experienced the sort of pre-album buzz that most young bands can only dream of. Armed with only a four track EP, Milo Greene proved themselves worthy of opening for Grammy Award-winning duo The Civil Wars on their tour as well as playing at SXSW this year. Just recently, the band was given a spot at this year’s coveted Lollapalooza festival. Their appeal stems from their simple, yet beautifully crafted melodies supplemented by not one but four incredibly gifted lead singers. Each lends a crooning voice that harmonizes effervescently with the others. But more than just creating “pretty music”, Milo Greene demonstrates an understanding of folk music well beyond their years and the ability to infuse their own style into their songs through a myriad of voices and instruments.
In an interview with (one of the) lead-singers, Robbie Arnett, he told me a little more about Milo Greene’s recent surge in popularity: “Last year was a rollercoaster ride for us. To experience this kind of buzz, going to shows and seeing them get sold out, it’s just a dream come true. It’s funny because we were all playing music individually for years and didn’t have much luck building an audience. But in a relatively short time we feel like we’ve finally gotten our voices heard.” Arnett isn’t kidding when he says “short time”. In the band’s year and a half existence they have amassed a cult following that even includes Orlando Magic shooting guard and self-professed indie junkie, J.J. Reddick. “Yeah getting to meet J.J. and hearing what a fan he was of our song ‘1957’ was really awesome. He brought us out to San Antonio to watch the Spurs-Magic game and we got to hang out with him afterwards. He’s a really cool guy and it’s awesome that he found out about us they way he did.” Reddick, like many Milo Greene fans, found out about the band through indie blogs and the indie social sphere. No doubt social media has fed some of Milo Greene’s popularity but Arnett tells me they try not to put too much stock in it: “Music is still the focus for us, it always has been. It sounds cliché but, in the end as long as we’re making music that we love, we’ll leave it to our fans to decide whether they want to hear us or not.”
Following a cross-country tour with The Civil Wars, Milo Greene is back in Los Angeles putting the finishing touches on their debut album, which is slated for release on July 17th. Arnett explained how their collective love of film influenced their songwriting: “Movies are definitely a big influence in our music. We all love geeking out together and watching movies, lately we’ve been on a ‘Spaghetti Western’ binge with some classic Pacino flicks thrown in there. We love analyzing scenes from movies, looking at the different themes and moods attached to them and then thinking to ourselves ‘well how would that sound musically’?” Listening to their music you definitely get a sense of what Arnett is talking about; the themes are all familiar but the way certain lines are repeated and embellished by their harmonizing it almost sounds like they are quoting a sound bite from a classic film. (watch them perform their hit “1957”)
The future looks bright for the twenty-somethings from LA. When asked about plans for the future, Arnett told me they plan to continue touring: “Touring will definitely be our lives for the immediate future. We’ve been working on this album for a while and some of the songs are over two years old so we’re anxious to get them out there in the open. We’re just really excited and nervous to keep touring around, playing music, shaking hands, kissing babies and whatnot.”
Milo Greene hasn’t announced any concerts in the Northeast yet, however, they plan to release a tour schedule later this year. The band will be at Lollapalooza with a set on all three days. Be sure to check out their music and keep an eye out for their debut LP releasing on July 17th.
Milo Greene’s website: http://www.milogreene.com/