"We have an eclectic mix of instruments that produce a sound never heard before," says singer/guitarist Matthew Herring, of local band Milhouse -- a quartet who specialize in funky love songs and eclectic stuff that would have fit nicely on side two of Led Zeppelin III. "We've been doing this for over three years now. It's hard to remain consistent when the scenery doesn't change, and I feel that we have managed to do this. Our setup sets us apart from the rest of the local scene. For better or for worse, we are different."
Herring, cellist/vocalist David Isom, electric mandolinist Cory Jarrett, and percussionist Dusty Painter formed the band five years ago with the idea of performing melodic, groove-laden tunes with a folky twist and dense vocal harmonies. They celebrate the official release of their second independently produced studio album, Tales of Woe & Yay, this Friday with an in-store performance at Millennium Music on King Street at 8 p.m. and a full-length gig down the street at the King Street Grille (one of their favorite haunts) at 10 p.m. They will have free copies of the discs on hand for the audience.
The 10 lighthearted songs on the disc roll and bounce with a light, crisp sound and a solid funk foundation. Painter's peppery hand percussion work makes for an unusual backbeat while Jarrett's and Isom's string work intertwines just beneath the vocal melodies. Some of it sounds familiar: "The Monkey Song" is a mix of John Mellancamp's "Authority Song" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens. "The Monkey Song" could work at any campfire setting. The syncopation and tempo changes in the soulful "Crossroads" are as fluid and welcoming as anything Cat Stevens or Widespread Panic ever attempted.
Milhouse perform on Fri. Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. at Millennium Music and at 11 p.m. at the King Street Grille.