Milquetoast – Caterwaul

I can’t pretend like I’m ever terribly excited to hear a band that has descriptors like “doom”, “stoner”, and “sludge”. This is mostly because modern bands who fall into these categories often take themselves too seriously, and frankly I just don’t understand why you’re so goddamn negative and serious if you’re blazing up all the time. Thankfully, Milquetoast does not fall into this genre trapping.

They have instead crafted a modern day album of AmRep-style bangers that sometimes even veers into old school hardcore goofiness, a la Flag of Democracy. Before grunge was called grunge and ruined by shit bands like Alice In Chains, it kind of sounded like this. There is definitely some excellent Mark Arm howling going on. I’m also hearing Cows, particularly in the way Milquetoast throws instrumental curve balls at you to keep things interesting.

I’m listening to this via a YouTube link, so it’s difficult to refer to specific tracks, but there’s enough variety on here to make the whole thing worth your time. This is a quality I’ve found lacking in other “doom” and “sludge” bands. Unless your band is exclusively marijuana referencing in the name, I don’t get the “stoner” part either.

Historically, AmRep, Mudhoney, and proto-grunge bands like Cosmic Psychos (who invented that blown out sound) have been way more famous for beer consumption. To me, this is drunk music more than stoner rock, and that’s a good thing. Whatever you like to do to your brain when you pretend like the world isn’t ending, do it while blasting Milquetoast. This is a super fun record that I wish I had a hard copy of. Highly (or drunkenly) recommended.

–Zach Akenson

Tracks:
Intro
Dead Inside
Recognize
Matapacos
Stoner Safari
Step Off
Space Force
Fake News Blues
Wall
Forgotten Death

Bio:
When Milquetoast (milk-ˌtōst) is used as an adjective, it means timid, meek, or unassertive. But you only need a single distorted power chord or unhinged howl from the Indiana trio’s punked-up party sludge to get sucker-punched by the band name’s irony. Milquetoast will kick 2022’s front door off its hinges with their debut LP mastered by Chris Fielding of the mighty Conan, appropriately named Caterwaul.

Formed in 2018 by vocalist/guitarist Ty Winslow, Milquetoast was devised as an expression of weirdo punk fury. In fact, it was Winslow’s penchant for loud riffs and cheeky vibes that initially lured vocalist/bassist Andy Bowerman as a collaborator.

“In a church 2.5 hours in the middle of nowhere,” Bowerman recalls, “I was looking out into the melee [of a mosh pit] and seeing crossdressing members of [Winslow’s then-band] Battersea riding each other around like jousting mounts. So the friendship came easy—and came often.”

After recruiting drumming dynamo Nick James, the band’s unique impish energy took shape. Gather the mops that soaked up sweat and blood from stages in the ’80s west coast punk and Seattle grunge scenes. Squeeze the fluids into a shot glass…

MILQUETOAST IS:
Ty – guitar and vocals
Andy – bass, vocals, and synth
Nick – drums

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