by Katie Rankin
Milks and Rectangles is grateful for email. With one band member at sea, another in vet school, and the rest in other bands, Milks spent much of the last year emailing demos back and forth in preparation for the band’s first full-length album Milks and Rectangles. Lead singer and guitar player Christian Ledwell did the chunk of the songwriting out in the country, with the band recording about half the record in Halifax with Charles Austin later that fall. The rest, including vocals, was recorded with Ledwell’s brother Daniel, who recently received a Juno nomination for his production of Jenn Grant’s latest album.
“We had some time to learn how to be a band,” Ledwell says about the year-long process. He says the band’s seven year relationship makes the long-distance communication work. “I know what Justin [Uyterlinde, lead guitar] can do well and I can write the part that I know he’ll play really well but he takes it and makes it his own, changes it around and does a much better job than if I was playing it,” says Ledwell. He also credits his friendship with bass player Brandon Williams with the band’s ability to work around Williams’s inconvenient schedule as a coast guard. Drummer Mike Carver agrees that it can be frustrating but everyone needs a day job. “Brandon put it nicely,” says Ledwell. “‘You don’t want to be relying on the band to pay the electric bill.’”
The band says Daniel Ledwell’s enthusiasm and encouragement made him the perfect producer, and despite being brothers, there was no ego-clashing between he and Christian. “It’s fun to watch you two work because if we worked with another producer we’d have to really explain things whereas you guys have that like brother-talk almost. A language of your own,” says Carver. Daniel also knows each band member’s limitations. Ledwell credits playing bass player for Boxer the Horse with improving his stage presence. “I’m not a natural performer and it’s taken me a while to come around to it. I like songwriting and I kind of became a band leader by default.”
The album’s influences vary from Wolf Parade to Leonard Cohen to Beck. Milks and Rectangles will release the album for free online, something the band’s done with past EPs. “I just want people to hear it and like it. That’s the reason for spending a year writing it and doing other things that really suck like writing grant applications and answering emails,” says Ledwell. Milks and Rectangles CD release show is at Hunter’s Ale House on June 9 with Boxer the Horse.