Milk Maid Yucca

While there's nothing wrong with this sudden resurgence of '90s post-grunge lo-fi music, there's a reason the world is more interested in reissues of Sebadoh's good albums than Lou Barlow's many, many home recordings. And that is why Milk Maid's first album is a little frustrating: the seeds of a good record are here, but it needs something more. Perhaps more time or polish or even guitars, but something more. Yucca was recorded at home by Martin Cohen (formerly the bassist for Nine Black Alps) and features 11 songs that are either quiet, Jesus and Mary Chain-like fuzzy ballads or sludgy slabs of garage rock. Almost every song sounds a lot like someone else, and it becomes very easy to start listing the bands Cohen was weaned on: the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, the Ramones and so on. While Yucca might work well as homage, it isn't very satisfying as a debut. Cohen runs out of ideas far too quickly, with songs relying on feedback-heavy guitar solos instead of actual tunes, and any potential that "Kill Me Again" might have is thrown away when it simply ends before the one-minute mark. Milk Maid's charm can't even last for a 30-minute album, so they'd better be able to back it up next time with some perfectly executed pop songs instead of depending upon fuzzy nostalgia and other people's ideas. (Fat Cat)