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Dave Miller: Old Door Phantoms

Glenn Astarita By

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Dave Miller: Old Door Phantoms
Guitarist Dave Miller has been all over the jazz, rock and improvisational map, performing with the progressive rock band Algernon and stints with Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls amid collaborations with many artists for numerous record labels. However, Old Door Phantoms is Miller's his first solo outing, where he draws upon numerous jazz, pop and rock influences.

It's an explosive set recorded at famed producer Steve Albini's Chicago studio, Electrical Audio. According to the press release, [the audio] "has the sound and feel of being in the same room with the band." Essentially, this production casts an analog LP feel and soundscape. It works rather well, especially when either Miller or keyboardist Ben Boye use the beloved Mellotron, often hearkening the infancy of the British progressive rock movement or more specifically, Brian Eno's haunting ambient-electronica works. Therefore, Miller's brainchild ignites a modern day uplift to 1960s and '70s rock-inflected genres along with more recent grunge rock outfits.

The guitarist initiates the proceedings with a late '60s Haight-Asbury psyche-prog piece "Found Towns," atop a bouncy groove and gravelly distortion techniques for an in-your-face jamboree. But "The Things I Don't Know," is abetted by eerie Mellotron clusters, summoning a sense of antiquity. He also intersperses some jazzy fills to complement his fervent strumming across alternating flows. The guitarist follows with a boisterous straight-four vibe on "Last Call," above the rhythm section's snappy pulse. Here, Boye tosses in a curve ball with his spaced-out and free-form Wurlitzer electric piano soloing.

The band dishes out a classic rock style motif on "For Too Much Longer," topped off with a cheery theme, hardened by Miller and Boye's coarse phrasings. And they shift the momentum during the raggedy and crunching blues workout "Tree Worship." The final track "Telstar," is the lone cover, and was a 1962 commercial smash for the Tornado's. Here, Miller is a prophet of good cheer within the surf music idiom. Overall, this rousing program offers many oddball concoctions of old school applications with a modernist's viewpoint. No doubt, Miller hit the bull's-eye with this magnetic release that retains all of its charm on subsequent listens.

Track Listing

Found Towns; Bison Disciples; The Things I Don’t Know; Last Call; Animism; For Too Much Longer; Tree Worship; Telstar.

Personnel

Dave Miller: guitar, Mellotron; Ben Boye: Planet; Wurlitzer, Mellotron; Matt Ulery: Fender bass; Quin Kirchner: drums, percussion.

Album information

Title: Old Door Phantoms | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: ears&eyes Records

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