In Bed With Jason: Mild High Club

Photo courtesy of Stones Throw Records

Photo courtesy of Stones Throw Records

Whether it’s the weather, the midterms, or anything else, I can stand to benefit from some chilled-out tracks from some chilled-out B-Room musicians. My brain is dead as disco, and in my search for artists that could cover me like the quilt of my bed over the course of my hibernation, I came across one that suits the mood perfectly. This artist goes by the name Mild High Club.

Hailing from Los Angeles, Alexander Brettin composes lo-fi, psychedelic slower-paced rock music under his alias Mild High Club. What he records is incredibly easy to listen to, with just enough technical flourishes to make the individual parts notably impressive. It’s the kind of smooth and freely flowing music that you can effortlessly zone out on a brick wall to.

The synth-heavy backing tracks provide a cozy haven of sound for the listener, as the guitar melodies take center-stage in the mix. There’s usually an acoustic guitar laying down a base for the chord progression, as well as an intricate bass line that follows a more melodic pattern than rhythmic. The drums are simplistic and low in the mix, utilizing the minimalist approach necessary to establish the project’s desired mood.

The only album out by Mild High Club is titled Timeline, released with Circle Star Records, a derivative of Stones Throw Records. The style of Timeline can be (a little bit too) easily related to the likes of his comrades: Ariel Pink, Wire, and mostly Mac Demarco. In fact when I first heard Mild High Club’s “You and Me,” the arpeggio pattern of his twangy guitar tone had me convinced that I was listening to Mac Demarco. While it’s a pleasing tone, I believe a bit more originality on Brettin’s part might allow the public to look at him more seriously.

When he releases his next album, I’ll be looking for a stronger sense of musical distinctiveness, and more passion. While the tunes are all interesting and a fantastic source of easy listening, I sense of slight lack of passion in his voice, which sometimes becomes monotonous and tiresome. The fuzzy effect he puts on his vocals only furthers this setback. It will be an easy fix, and I’m sure I’m not the first critic to point this out. I’m assuming he’s on his way to fine-tune the musical gift he has. After all, Timeline is only the first major release under his belt. He’s still growing, expanding, and improving his talents. I’m excited to see what comes next.

This is a vital track off of Timeline, called “Undeniable.” This song is a trippy kick back to the ‘60s, with multiple guitar lines that dominate the mix.

A huge influence on Mild High Club just has to be The Beatles. My mind automatically goes to Abbey Road-era Fab Four when I hear the punchy bass line of “Weeping Willow,” reminiscent of Macca’s Höfner 500/1 bass guitar that twisted the entire history of rhythm.

Listen to “Weeping Willow” and then listen to The Beatles’ “Sun King” back to back, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Photo courtesy of Logan White

Photo courtesy of Logan White

The mood that Mild High Club establishes is indisputably relaxing. As the name suggests, the music is not too hot and not too cold, but rather dreamily “mild.” If you’re one to burn that illegal incense, then that’s where “high” comes in.

As for the “club,” his team of touring Mild High-ers is coming to the Funhouse in Seattle along with Freak Heat Waves on Tuesday, March 29th. I’ll be going, and I’m expecting an enjoyable performance. You can buy tickets here.

Alexander Brettin is an exceptionally talented songwriter, and I believe his time in the bedroom has done him well. A little more time will help him mold the clay thoroughly, and I’m anticipating the next sculpture to further demonstrate his superb gift.

JASON McCUE | Vinny Diesel 4 Prez | KXSU Reporter


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