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Milk Teddy "Zingers" CD $18 (L&L079) Add To Basket.


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Recorded throughout 2010 and 2011 by Josh Bach, James Tulczyn and Thomas Mendelovits in various studios and living rooms around Melbourne, Zingers realises the dreams of deep, cosmic production hinted at on earlier Milk Teddy releases (Going to Sri Lanka 7” on Knock Yr Socks Off Records and the Extra Texture cassette on Totem Tapes).

At times recalling Lou Reed, The Feelies and Television Personalities, Zingers runs through the first-wave punk inflections of the title track and the blissful new wave of ‘Suburbs Mystery’, while ‘Michael’ hints at doo-wop and the album's closer ‘Come Around’ at acid-fried futures. Throughout, the album is filled with anti-confessional songwriting and the soulful, curious and high-reaching playing of Milk Teddy’s five in-tune members.

Zingers delivers swatches of flange, phase and other secret sonic treats, while Thomas’s thoughtful, euphoric tenor vocal is pushed to the fore and backed by the band’s trademark strains at classic underground guitar pop.

1) Zingers 2) Suburbs Mystery 3) I Can Hear It When You Sing 4) Going to Sri Lanka 5) Porcelain Skin 6) XTC 7) Secret 8) Michael 9) Night Worker 10) Come Around

"Another great pick out of Melbourne this week with the debut album from Milk Teddy on the horizon. Drawing on bits of American indie's founders a la The Feelies and Brit jangle circa Television Personalities, but adding a dense layer of swirling, euphoric gauze to Thomas Mendelovits' yearning vocals (that at times almost recalls Jim James’ angelic yowl); the band creates a much more complex set of songs than many of their contemporaries. The majority of Zingers feels barely tethered to the ground, floating in and out of stratospheric vocal passes, shimmering keys and enough reverbed jangle that it would make any member of the Captured Tracks roster jealous at how effortless it all sounds. Roll in some subtle touches of The Chills and XTC (the latter even have a song named after them) and the album is a crossroads of sweetly shimmering, yet propulsive pop that hangs in the air long after the record has stopped spinning. There's been plenty to love from down Melbourne way this year but few have tugged at our hearts and minds like Milk Teddy have." Raven Sings the Blues

"'Zingers' is the catchy, clever, and effortlessly charming debut full length album of Melbourne's Milk Teddy, a five-piece previously acclaimed for their 'Going To Sri Lanka' 7" and self-titled cassette releases. The eleven songs here display the band's tremendous skill in writing classic underground pop with a new wave undercurrent, and shows a playful but sincere songwriting sensibility." Album of the Week, RRR FM

"Obscured under an array of familiar textures lies the hooks, distant intonations and unmistakable pop sensibility of Milk Teddy's debut LP. Keeping the marks of its two-year germination, time is given to building its rich lo-fi tapestry with samples appearing fleetingly amongst seas of synths and jangling guitar hooks, all of which act to ground it amongst contemporaries. But Zingers is often too varied to be lapped into any growing Melbourne sound, at any time crossing from trebly guitar-pop to ’80s synth balladry or songs with New Wave and post-punk influences. Zingers is a dreamy haze that reaches broadly for its inspirations, all floating amongst a shallow-fried, lackadaisical mess.

It's this embrace of so many usually foreign sounds that makes Zingers a great record. In a year where tapping into the Flying Nun sound seems the prerogative of so many local acts, it's refreshing to see Milk Teddy make some subtle variations to the formula. Milk Teddy do fit into that aesthetic, with tracks like 'I Can Hear It When You Sing' and 'Zingers' sounding like not-too-distant cousins of a Twerps recording, but it's not long before a driving synth recalls something from a slightly different place, like that of Geoffrey O'Connor's yearning nostalgia. It's clear that they're close to, fond of and familiar with many of Melbourne's growing names, but their ability to find an able middle ground whilst flavouring it with their own character is the record's true achievement.

Thematically, you're left only with clues. There are hints at the mundane, the fantastical and the desperate, but there's nothing clear enough to delve into; it expresses vague sensations rather than specific feelings. 'Going to Sri Lanka' feels less about an international journey as it is a general bewildered feeling of going astray. The specifics of the song are smeared by the arrangements, and the lyrics are almost always indecipherable, with the caught moments only giving hints at what might come. “Where have you been.../You're spreading yourself thin,” sings Thomas Mendelovits on 'Michael’, with the ensuing words smeared under his long-drawn delivery. After another bar or two, you're lost amongst noodling guitars and a far-away snare drum that keeps the time only to a vague plea for reclaimed normality.

Zingers is a playful record. If there's ever a moment of darkness, it's swiftly swept away by one of the threads of their muted tapestry. Reverberating guitar, delay-heavy vocals, sustained synths and canned-sounding bass-lines all merge into a blanket of soft edges, leaving little to grab onto. Ultimately, the way these songs tend to wash over you is as much the album's strength as its weakness. Clutching at so many sounds and grinding them into homogeneity makes for a gorgeous middle point, but for a band who can so ably craft a hook, they're so obscured that you're likely to miss them.

This in itself is commendable – this is a band more than capable of writing a pop hit, but they never stray from their manifesto of obscuration amongst psychedelic adventuring. The heavy-handed approach to Zingers' arrangements may be a death knell for any kind of widespread success, but it makes for a truly unique record. It trades on the charm of Twerps, the lethargy of Mad Nanna and the homage-driven emotion of Geoffrey O'Connor, but it never pauses long enough to stumble into a pigeonhole. You can file it wherever you need to. Zingers is a smudged portrait of its time and place – a snapshot of Melbourne in 2012 that’s as good as anything it takes inspiration from." Mess+Noise

"Milk Teddy is a five-piece, experimental pop group from Melbourne, Australia. The band released its debut, full-length LP last week. The album is being co-released by The Lost and Lonesome Recording Co. and Knock Yr Socks Off Records. Zingers centers around the type of clangy guitar riffs that have dominated the underground pop scene of the last five years and the shimmering tenor of lead singer Thomas Mendelovits. Listen and watch a video for Milk Teddy’s single “Suburbs Mystery” below. Grab a copy of Zingers on vinyl, CD or digital download via Bandcamp. Don’t sleep on the impromptu piano jam buried at the end of the album’s closer “Come Around.”" Thought On Tracks

"Zingers is the catchy, clever, and effortlessly charming album from Melbourne’s Milk Teddy, a five-piece previously acclaimed for their Going to Sri Lanka seven-inch, and self-titled cassette releases.

The band’s great appreciation of experimental pop styles shines through each of the eleven tape-recorded compositions.

Highlighting the band’s coherent but versatile approach, new wave grooves, reverberant doo-wop harmonies, and classic guitar songwriting all feature on this playful and adventurous debut full-length. " Simon Winkler, Stack (JB HiFi)

"Zingers is the debut album by Melbourne indie-rock ensemble, Milk Teddy. It’s a decidedly lofty affair that’s undeniably grand in a Wes Anderson or Michel Gondry sort of way. A magnificently technical and warm matinee performance held together with cardboard, masking tape and aspirations.

A friend described this album to me as a fresh take on the jangly guitar-pop that has been infesting Melbourne for some time now. And he’s right, that jangly guitar is the first thing to cut through in opening title-track Zingers. That jangly guitar is surrounded by washes of synth ambiance; it’s not hard to imagine a science-fiction feel to the song-craft. It’s exotic and distant but also cute and cheesy.

Milk Teddy are a rich chocolate-y éclair and they share a lot in common with oodles of European indie rock groups. It’s the way in which they make themselves sound as big as they can be instead of just a microphone surrounded by three guys and a tweed amp. Zingers reminds me of records from groups like Mew and Oh No Ono, bands that share the same dreams of grandiosity. However, it’s got a lot of of the same pleasant charm of Crayon Fields in it too. What’s different about Milk Teddy is the way that front man Thomas Mendelovits seemingly shouts the lyrics off the top a very tall hall-reverb-shaped mountaintop. They’re a garage rock-band but the garage is a Titan garage that fits a couple of cars and has a mini-fridge in it, maybe a folded-up ping-pong table as well.

Tracks like XTC go from VHS to blu-ray and you watch the band bloom in front of your ears. The samples really keep the album chugging along from song to song. It’s like a radio-play being tuned in and out of in parts and really does well to frame the songs as one big scrapbook. It can become somewhat same-y though and the distinctions between songs can sometimes be hard to find. Multiple listens and familiarity compliments Zingers and I don’t really want to call it ‘a grower’ as the record is still very immediate.

Milk Teddy should be proud to make a record that is so ambitious and modest at the same time without coming off as obnoxious. Zingers is so very twee but it’s the sincerity of it all which makes it more of a confident Life Aquatic that than a socially awkward Juno. " Josh Watson, 4ZZZ FM

"Way back in the olden times of November 2012, Australian band Milk Teddy released Zingers a ramshackle guitar pop album that owes as much to the, um, ramshackle guitar pop scene in New Zealand as it does to The Feelies and the sort of mindboggling, hey-check-out-what-I-made-before-you-even-got-up-this-morning vibe that so many bands hope to reach but rarely do. Basically, Zingers is an album for moping around your house. It feels designed to be re-discovered (or, if you’re like me and “late” to the party, just discover it for the first time). Do you ever have a day where you’re flipping through your own records and you come across something that you haven’t listened to in awhile and it sounds like a revelation? At once both familiar and completely new. Zingers can be that album. The guitars jangle, the vocals sound half-asleep, and when the harmonica on album closer “Come Around” kicks in, everything feels exactly as it should be. " Sam Hockley-Smith, Fader