KEXP at CMJ 2012, Day 1: High Highs

photo by Lauren Slusher

In an interview with Spinner, Jack Milas of Sydney-via-Brooklyn duo High Highs noted that their PR agent once requested that the group deem their music “church wave.” “It’s not music that’s religious in any way… it would just sound good in a church,” Milas joked. “Maybe we’re onto something.” Silly genre tags aside, Milas is right – they are onto something. By running their gentle folk sensibilities through an electronic filter, High Highs have created a gorgeous, baroque sound that would indeed sound better in a church than in a grimy rock club. The merge of Milas’ acoustic songwriting and instrumentalist Oli Chang’s Boards of Canada-esque textural production shines in its glossy elegance, but Milas’ sharp voice and direct songwriting keep the band from falling into the abyss pedestrian coffeehouse background music abyss. Along with drummer Zachary Lipkins, the duo have been finishing up work on their debut album, which is due early next year.

High Highs have been building energy in New York for the last couple years. Their self-titled debut EP (available for listen here) is 13 minutes of pure bliss. The quiet, spacious melodies make for a day trip through the clouds. Their subtle beauty may be missed by the casual passerby, but High Highs have much beauty to offer. At the CMJ Union @ Union Square Ballroom during KEXP’s live broadcast during 2012 CMJ Music Marathon, there were no casual passersby… only dedicated fans by the end of their set. Even those who had yet to see the band perform live were lured into the performance and even got to hear a brand new song. If you’re in NYC for CMJ, you can still catch them around town until they hop a plane back to Australia, where their self-titled debut will be landing this fall.

photo by Lauren Slusher

photo by Lauren Slusher

photo by Ben Mobley

photo by Lauren Slusher

photo by Lauren Slusher

photo by Ben Mobley

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