Artist: Mill's End
Basics: Billed as a band that "carries on a tradition of American Alt-Country that blends modern influences with folk/Americana songwriting," Mill's End's sound is "firmly rooted in a style reflective of Drive By Truckers, Whiskeytown, the Jayhawks and the Old 97's, but with a healthy dose of classic and progressive rock."
There is certainly a pretty tame alt-country sound to Mill's End, and lead singer/best last name-haver Jeff Bump sounds like Live's Ed Kowalczyk -- if he were getting pelted by rocks.
The band apparently started once jam sessions between the lead singer and drummer became pretty serious. Don't all good things come from jam sessions?
Best Song: "Back Room" has a very twangy, country/lounge singer feel to it. Jeff Bump's vocals are at their best in this effort, not straining to sound like something he is not. The song is painfully simple, yet it showcases just what it is Mill's End is best at -- making music that is fit for a local Phoenix/Tempe bar. That is not an insult, rather it is a compliment to the band's strengths. They aren't going to hit it big on the national scene any time soon, so they might as well hone their craft for the various local Tempe venues.
Worst Song: "Hiding" showcases Jeff Bump's vocals at their most warbling and confusing state. He has an interesting vocal range, but hist style of singing for "Hiding" does not quite match up to the band's sound -- at least for this one instance. Bump's vocals compliment the band most of the time, but they are far too off-putting to in this instance. Any focus trying to be made on the song is ruined by this confusing, annoying singing style.
Suggestions: As I mentioned, keep plugging away and get a full-length ready. I can see this band becoming bigger in the local scene, they just need to keep on what they are doing and that will all take care of itself. There is a big market for alt-country in the Phoenix metro area, and the top spot for the genre is certainly always up for the taking.
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