Amy Miles
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Amy Miles

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The best kept secret in music

Press


""Amy Miles-Noble Hatch" by Mike Joyce"

Everyone knows that one way to achieve immortality is to bully a kid who grows up to be a songwriter. Arkansas traveler Amy Miles has the last wicked laugh on "Noble Hatch," named after a grade school bad boy -- crush, menace and lasting inspiration all rolled into one: "Short-long peach fuzz / Sniffing glue to catch a buzz / Pull my shirt down to see how much I had grown . . . not much," howls the now grown-up girl with guitar, serving up a plate of deliciously cold revenge with the vocal support of "Saturday
Night Live's" Weekend Update co-anchor Amy Poehler.

Miles has Hatch to thank for the album's frequently tortured and torchy tone. She's on record as saying all the songs here reflect their relationship in one way or another, from the Prince-tinted opening tease "Let Me Be Your Friend (Let's Dance)" to the dire blues "My Down Time."

Now based in Manhattan, Miles pleads for everyone to "turn it up, turn it up" on the former track, which truly warrants a wattage spike, but she doesn't always take her own advice, pitching her still girlish voice at a soft whisper on the finger-picked acoustic guitar track "DJ Playing the Violin," the dreamy lament "Hooked" and the sad, shimmering keyboard ballad "Out for the Count." She's not tending to her wounds all the time either, as "In This Bar" and "Back to Bed" provocatively demonstrate.

Still, despite the mood swings, there's no mistaking a common thread running throughout "Noble Hatch": songwriting that's cutting and smart. - The Washington Post


""Pick of the Week-Amy Miles" by Michael McCall"

The opening page on her website announces, "Amy Miles makes rock music," because she's been described so many other ways: as a singer-songwriter and a punk, as an alternative-dance or a dark-pop artist. All fit one song or another, for the Arkansas-born New Yorker concocts witty, wicked tunes built on narrative lyrics set to a mix of raw guitars, dreamy soundscapes and stripped-down beats. She cites The Breeders and Prince as influences, and her droll, biting voice calls to mind Chrissie Hynde and Liz Phair, but her songs are original snapshots from a sex-and-the-city single who hangs on Avenue B rather than the Upper East Side. Her first album, 2002's terrific Dirty Stay-Out, is named for that moment when the sunlit trek home in evening clothes communicates exactly what transpired the previous night. The just-released Noble Hatch is even better. From the rhythmic come-on of "Let Me Be Your Friend (Let's Dance!)" to the deliciously salacious "Back to Bed" to the stunning string-ballad "Now That You Left Me" to a knockout cover of Tina Turner's "Total Control," Miles is all over the place, yet her aim is always true. - The Nashville Scene


""A Poet of Rejection," by Mariko Beck"

WHO: Amy Miles.
WHAT: Pop and rock.
WHEN: 10 tonight, 7 p.m. March 26.
WHERE: Tonight at the Living Room, 154 Ludlow St., Manhattan, (212) 533-7235 or livingroomny.com. March 26 at Maxwell's, 1039 Washington St., Hoboken, (201) 653-1703 or maxwellsnj.com.
HOW MUCH: No cover, $5 suggested donation and one-drink minimum at the Living Room; $15 at Maxwell's.

Her backup vocalist is better known than she is. But if Amy Miles' new release, "Noble Hatch," gets the attention it deserves, she soon might catch up to band mate Amy Poehler of "Saturday Night Live" fame.

"She's got a great girl rock voice," Miles says of her pal Poehler.

Miles' girl rock voice isn't too shabby, either. Her first album, "Dirty Stay-Out," found airplay on college radio. Her silty voice and grungy guitar invite comparisons to Kim Deal of the Breeders. On "Noble Hatch," Miles juxtaposes gritty rock songs and lush ballads with just enough twang to evoke her Southern roots.

The daughter of an opera singer and a choral composer, the Arkansas native is classically trained in voice.

Her parents frowned on rock and country music, which only further fueled her fascination with Prince and Dolly Parton. Both artistsshaped her story-telling approach to song writing.

"I start with a theme and write songs around it," says Miles, who's
based in New York City. "This record came from a song that I wrote about Noble Hatch, a boy I had a crush on in the eighth grade. All of the songs are about unrequited love."

Not all of her musical projects channel the sound and fury of
heartbreak. Working with Poehler and other comedian friends, Miles created "Soundtracks Live," a parody of '80s movies with musical performances that debuted at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in 2003. The show was recently taped as a pilot for VH1. - The Bergen Record


""Critic's Pick-Rock-Amy Miles," by David Menconi"

Every great record might not need a broken heart for inspiration, but it sure seems that way. So we all owe a debt of gratitude to Noble Hatch, who apparently broke Amy Miles' heart in their native Arkansas some years back. Miles exacts her revenge on "Noble Hatch" (Pcoop Records), a razor-sharp pop album that should have the title subject kicking himself for not treating her better."Saturday Night Live" cast member Amy Poehler contributes backup vocals to "Noble Hatch," but the superlative
tunes and Miles' withering deadpan are all you'll notice. Recommended to fans of Liz Phair, Sam Phillips or the Breeders. Miles plays Local 506 with I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House. - Raleigh News & Observer


""Picks of the Week-Amy Miles," by Carly Carioli"

Amy Miles rolls deep with Saturday Night Live's Amy Poehler on VH1's Soundtracks Live, and she also has a band called Baby with Shudder To Think castrato Craig Wedren, but her new solo album, Noble Hatch, out this Tuesday, could make her a star in her own right. A concept album about the boy of the title - a mulleted lad she had a crush on back in elementary school - it's delivered as a tour de force of indie folk, power pop, and new wave rooted in the sisterhood of Liz Phair, Mary Timony, and the Go-Go's. - The Boston Phoenix


""Caught Around Town" by Steve Morse"

The strong-willed [Amy] Miles is a buzz act out of New York by way of Arkansas. She played solo (she'll return soon with a band) but left a distinct impression as a young, bohemian Patti Smith type who would have been right at home in CBGB's heyday. There was a literary spark to her songs, and she also did a show-stopping version of the Motels hit "Total Control." She definitely left you wanting more. --Steve Morse - The Boston Globe


""(Laugh) Riot Girl," by David Yaffe"

Though singer Amy Miles has enough projects this winter to keep her rooted in the presentÑa new rock album, an original comedy show bowing on VH1, and a close circle of friends that include Janeane Garafalo, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler Ñ she still canÕt stop thinking about the past. ÒÔ80s movies and songs make me want to get a hickey and dry hump,Ó says Miles. ÒThatÕs the inspiration behind everything I do.Ó That explains her latest album Noble Hatch, inspired by the Skoal-chewing, Polo-smelling boy who broke her then 14-year-old-heart. With Kim Deal-style vocals MilesÕ Hatch grittily (and wittily) conjures up the ghosts of youth past. It hits stores this month on the heels of the new VH1 show she codirects with Poehler, Soundtracks Live, a series of tongue-in-cheek recreations of classic Ô80s films like Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles, fearlessly performedÑsometimes in dragÑby Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Michael Ian Black, among other top sketch comedy players. ÒMixing comedy and live music together is tricky and riskyÑlike your first time having sex, but when you get it right,Ó she laughs, ÒitÕs downright orgasmic.Ó - Elle Magazine


""Amy Miles: A genre bending singer songwriter who has taken the road less traveled," by Ray Rogers"

Okay, so she's a solo chick who plays the guitar--just don't call Amy Miles a folk singer. In fact, the 30-year-old Arkansas native's oeuvre is much closer to the scruffy rock songs that Kim Deal of the Breeders writes than to earnest coffeehouse fare. "I'm so inspired by Kim Deal," says Miles. "She's a tortured, screwed-up genius. All the best ones are." Then it hits her: "Sometimes I think I'm never going to make it in this world--I'm just not fucked-up enough!"

Perhaps not, but Miles clearly has a knack for writing about colorful characters, which makes sense, as she is a bit of one herself. Since moving to the Big Apple 12 years ago, she's been an art-school dropout, a waitress, a nanny, and a cage dancer at New York's notorious Limelight club in the Michael Alig era. "My first record, Dirty Stay-Out (2002), was about the girl who stays out all night and does the walk of shame the next morning," she explains. "My songs can be pretty personal, but I'm not a journal thumper."

Miles's new album, Noble Hatch (Pcoop), harks back to her Southern roots, taking its title from the name of a kid she had a crush on in middle school. "Noble Hatch was such a bad boy. He was, like, 16 when we were in eighth grade," recalls Miles. "All the songs on the album are about him in some way, and that longing and pain that go along with being a young woman." - Interview Magazine


"Amy Miles: talking about Blue Devils, cage dancing and 'Noble Hatch,' by Otis Taylor, Jr."

Amy Miles is seasonally depressed. As she takes walks in the Bronx, she longs for springÕs sunshine.

ÒYou always want what you donÕt have,Ó Miles said after a late-morning stroll. ÒI get it at the end of February.

ÒItÕs like I need some sunshine.Ó

Her new disc, ÒNoble Hatch,Ó certainly shines. Miles dabbled in folk, electro and rock to create a breathtaking pop disc.

A graduate of Dreher High School, Miles isnÕt just a songwriter. She acts, too.

Recently, Miles pitched her show, ÒSoundtracks Live!,Ó to VH1. It parodies scenes from Ô80s movies with live performances of songs from their soundtracks.

Think Judd Nelson walking across the football field at the end of ÒThe Breakfast Club.Ó What words come to mind?

DonÕt you ... forget about me...

Miles had help from her New York acting buddies who have made names for themselves on another ÒliveÓ show. ÒSaturday Night LiveÕsÓ Weekend Update co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler appear in the ÒSoundtracks Live!Ó pilot.

Poehler also sings backup on ÒNoble Hatch,Ó which is named after a Skoal-spitting, Polo shirt-wearing Arkansas boy a young Miles had a crush on.

We talked to Miles about her life since leaving Columbia for New York when she was 18. ItÕs been an interesting adventure.

Do you have fond memories of Dreher? (She didnÕt even remember that DreherÕs mascot is a Blue Devil and she wasnÕt invited to her 10-year class reunion.)

No offense to Dreher, but itÕs tough to move in your senior year. My stepdad got a job in Columbia. I wasnÕt a popular student. I had rumors circulating about me within two weeks.

I heard your mom owns a store on State Street.

Godi. ThatÕs my mom. SheÕs the Feng Shui /New Age goddess of Columbia, South Carolina. I donÕt know how much of that stuff I believe, but IÕm totally into it because of my mom. SheÕs totally Feng Shui-ed every place IÕve been.

What was New YorkÕs draw?

I left the South at 18 because I wanted something different. It was hard as an adolescent to fit into God-fearing country. It seemed like the most exciting place to go. When I thought about New York, I thought it would be like living in a Spike Lee movie, and it really wasnÕt too much different. I was anxious to be around different cultures, different kinds of people. It was exciting and wild and dangerous.

I read somewhere that you were a cage dancer. If itÕs true, what was that like?

I was and it wasnÕt as exciting as it sounds. It was at the Limelight (a club made famous by New York scenester Michael Alig) and that was really crazy. It was really fun at the time, but it was also kind of silly and it really wasnÕt really my scene. It was a job. I danced with drag queens and transsexuals and that was fun. I did it for three years. After that, I started playing music. It was a weird thing to maintain because I started nannying in the morning.

Do you think Noble Hatch will hear the songs on ÒNoble Hatch?Ó

I donÕt know, and I think itÕs OK if he does. I donÕt think it would upset him. HeÕd probably be confused. I think it would be interesting if he did hear them. The theme is a crush, and I named it after him. I think his name is funny and poetic. It doesnÕt sound like a name to me. It sounds like an idea. It was just a crazy time and his name has always stuck in my head.

You are so busy, how do you find time to write music?

ItÕs hard sometimes, but thereÕs always dry spells. I spent a week in LA and it rained like it had never rained before. I didnÕt have a car and I was stuck in a hotel. I spent that week drinking heavily and writing music. I always find time to get drunk and write songs. I try to take advantage of those breaks.

I have to ask about how you hooked up with Amy Poehler? SheÕs on fire right now.

WeÕre just very good friends. I met her years ago on a film she did with my husband (A.D. Miles), ÒWet Hot American Summer.Ó We just started singing together and she has a great little voice. We work together. WeÕre friends.

LetÕs talk about the VH1 show ÒSoundtracks Live!Ó WhatÕs the deal?

ItÕs sort of a wait-and-see thing. We shot a pilot. It was really fun to make. WeÕre waiting to see if itÕs going to be an actual show. ItÕs sort of a crossover between comedy and music.

Could you give me your top five New York bands right now?

I enjoy listening to people I know. The Vitamen are amazing. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Moldy Peaches, Magnetic Fields, They Might Be Giants. I toured with the Giants and that is super fun.

Do you break hearts?

IÕm definitely gonna try not to for the rest of my life since IÕm married. Maybe some people on this earth would consider me a terrible heartbreaker. I try to be nice. I love boys.
- The State


""From Dirty to Noble," by Brita Brundage"

Arkansas-born but New York-seasoned artist Amy Miles hasn't exactly released her latest album Noble Hatch yet. To be precise, it's awaiting a label, but what can be said definitively is that it derives its name from a boy Miles had a crush on in sixth grade. He sported a mullet and called her "bird." What's not to love? That experience, or lack thereof, and its surrounding confusion/longing/imaginings, is the central fact of her album, but not in any obvious let's-trip-down-memory-lane way. Rather, Miles, whose 2002 album Dirty Stay-Out drew a lot of Liz Phair comparisons, hinges each song on some particular scrap and spins off from there, chasing her own elusive story. The opening song, "Heavy Packer," sets the mood--beginning with whispered vocals that swell into a simple drum beat and loose layers of distorted sound that act as the wavering backdrop for her high, sure voice. Often, it's hard to understand exactly what Miles is saying, as she has an all-encompassing sound, like a wind chime in an icy forest, or a seagull on a stormy beach--the focus is constantly shifting. Cymbals roll and the guitar progresses simply on "Hooked," while her voice unravels with "Woo-oo-whos" that invoke the sweet melancholy pop-rock of the mid-1990s. Her line-up of contributing artists is as broad as the dark strokes she draws across the otherwise breathy pop. There's singer-organist Jed Parish from (former New Haven band) the Gravel Pit, singer-songwriter Sam Bisbee, Jesse Blockton of the Vitamen and even SNL comedian Amy Poehler on backup vocals.

Somehow the formula works, and just when Miles seems to creep too slowly, she digs in. It's the country buried in her that holds her earth-bound, or possibly a healthy touch of cynicism, but she manages to sound spiritually knowing and comfortably separate all at once. "You have to wonder how it would have gone / if I had kissed you in 1991," she sings on "You Have to Wonder." "When I was 17 and you were 21 / oh, how I wonder how it would have gone." There's a power to Miles' presence that makes even the moodiest, Cowboy-Junkies-ish, songs like "Now That You've Left Me," just take on other shapes, become something other than music, like heavy perfume wafting into a room.

The songs are well-constructed. They have layers that make sense the way scrapbooks do, the way the discarded notes in Found Magazine belong pasted together. There are the seductive vocals, then the sharp beats, then the simple guitar, and then the dissonant effects. Dreamy and lush, "DJ Playin' the Violin" is one of the album's best, the way it settles on the brain like a warm stupor. It's lyrics suggest something--"Friday night the world's fair site / rolling round smoke it up / Well, I could burn you and learn a lot, too / I could turn to you and hurt you." That's an approximation of the lyrics anyway, and if it's not quite right, well it's the Siren-coaxing movement that's holding it together anyway, the way her voice suddenly careens away on a high whoop, with just the right touch of brazenness. - The Fairfield Weekly


Discography

LP, Noble Hatch, 3/8/05, Redeye Distribution (streaming audio available at all retailers. Spun frequently on college radio from coast to coast.)
LP, Dirty Stay-Out (debut), 8/16/02, Pcoop Records
(streaming on I-Tunes, frequent spins on KCRW, KEXP, WFUV and various others. Currently sold out.)
LP, Baby, (a band Amy is in with Craig Wedren of Shudder To Think) 3/04

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

While growing up in Arkansas, Amy would lie on the floor of her lemon yellow bedroom listening to Prince on her clock radio. When Ò1999Óshowed up under the X-mas tree, she listened to it obsessively. She believed that she, too, would write great songs one day.

After high school, Amy moved to New York City where she worked as a nanny by day and a cage dancer by night. She packed a lot of living into a few years, but sheÕd almost forgotten the creative inspirations that attracted her to New York in the first place. Writing up a storm, she started performing at open mics. Prominent scene makers took notice of AmyÕs cynical songwriting and whiskey-drenched voice, and before she knew it, she was performing at the best venues in NYC.

In 2002, she begged, borrowed and stole studio time to put together her first record, Dirty Stay-Out. A year later, Dirty Stay-Out was sold out, and her single ÒKill to KnowÓ was in heavy college radio rotation.

Amy quickly rose through the ranks of NYC's performing elite. She helped form the Òdisco metalÓ band Baby with Craig Wedren (Shudder To Think), became a frequent and favorite performer in the off-broadway hit, LoserÕs Lounge, and recorded her second full length album, Noble Hatch. Amy also created Soundtracks Live!, a hit music and comedy
show that intertwines parodied scenes from great 80Õs movies with live performances from their respective soundtracks. Soundtracks Live! taped a pilot for VH-1 in September 2004, featuring comedians and musicians who are as recognizable as they are talented.

On March 8th, 2005, Amy released Noble Hatch nationally, in association with Redeye Distribution. Noble Hatch is a 14 track homage to that first insatiable crush and all the hormonal awakenings it inspires. Amy will be touring heavily in support of Noble Hatch, winning minds and breaking hearts from coast to coast.