by Fraser McCallum
It started with snowpants. “Justin was playing guitar in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and I played…a fairy,” laughs Christian Ledwell, lead singer of Milks and Rectangles. It was at this theatre production’s cast party where the two met and discovered a mutual admiration for indy band Interpol. After a few jams, a rhythm section was recruited and the band Snowpants Tapdance was born, an early version of Milks and Rectangles.
That band, perhaps due to its cumbersome attire, did not last long but would evolve over a few years into PEI rock quartet, Milks and Rectangles. Ledwell, Justin Uyterlinde (lead guitar), and bass guitarist Brandon Williams remained and soon drummer Mike Carver would round out the lineup. Drawing on influences such as Franz Ferdinand, Beck and Tom Waits the band is now known for a catchy indy-rock sound that’s defined by crunchy guitars and tight, thumping drums.
Hot off the release of their debut EP, Civic Virtues, the Charlottetown-based band are busy these days. October saw a mini-tour with Halifax heavy hitters In-flight Safety and “the Milks” were recently branded on to the new rock label Night Danger Records. “Right now Night Danger has In-flight, ourselves and unofficially Dan Ledwell’s solo stuff,” says Christian. “It’s a way for the artists to help promote one another and showcase together.”
Brother Dan recorded the group’s EP and the dynamic was prosperous, unlike when some siblings are cramped into small spaces for excessive hours. “Dan was great. So supportive,” Christian reflects. “He put in a ton of time and energy—from mixing in Halifax, to adding horns, to eventually mastering it himself. Lots of gluten-free snacks too.” It was a family affair in some respects with older brother Patrick doing the album’s graphic layout and Dan’s girlfriend, Islander Jenn Grant, adding some harmonies on the infectious track “Slander Debunked.”
The album was recorded in bedrooms and living rooms between four houses. “Basically whoever would put up with the noise,” laughs bass player Brandon. The Milks’ drummer Mike is inspired by the local music landscape right now. “It seemed before that Halifax was the happening scene but right now Charlottetown’s making a name for itself. When bands like Two Hours Traffic get some national attention it can help turn the spotlight this way.”
According to Mike and his bandmates, future plans for Milks and Rectangles include showcases, another demo and a vinyl print with some fellow Charlottetown scenesters. “Right now there’s just a ton of friends in bands around here trying to make good music and help one another out.” Mike responds, “We all really just want to make the most of this.” www.myspace.com/milksandrectangles