Milton Mapes

Milton Mapes

BandRock

While maintaining itself as a rock band by definition, Austin's Milton Mapes often straddles the bounds of atmospheric indie-rock and timeless, dusty Americana. Recommended to fans of: Neil Young, Wilco, Pedro The Lion, My Morning Jacket

Biography

Milton Mapes' upcoming release, The Blacklight Trap (March 2005 on Undertow), is NOT a “concept album”. However, it is the kind of thing that makes most sense when you sit down and immerse yourself in it. This one is a little darker than their two previous releases. Whereas The State Line and Westernaire had a certain regional soundtrack quality, The Blacklight Trap is more of a global landscape. In Neil Young terms, its mood is more like On The Beach. It’s an intense record for heavy times, but not without a silver lining. It begins with a sunset “In The Corner Where It All Began” and ends with a deep night ballad in “Craters Of the Moon”. The characters in these songs all seem to be lost, wounded, or trapped; their salvation lying somewhere out of reach. If not in our world “The Blacklight Trap”, then somewhere beyond it.

Like the characters on the record, the band, too, finds itself in a sort of categorical limbo. While maintaining itself as a rock band by definition, the Milton Mapes sound often straddles the bounds of atmospheric indie-rock and timeless, dusty Americana. Although the band's roots are sewn into the imagery of the songs, their genre is not strictly one or the other.

Milton Mapes (from Austin, Texas) formed in 1999, naming the band after singer/guitarist Greg Vanderpool's grandfather. Vanderpool and bandmate Roberto Sánchez, both veterans of Dallas’ Deep Ellum music scene, subsequently spent a year in Nashville compiling songs that would make up Milton Mapes' debut release The State Line (2001). The 7-song CD was well-received by regional press and radio, drawing comparisons to Neil Young (Harvest) and Bruce Springsteen (Nebraska).

Milton Mapes eventually evolved into a complete band (now with the addition of Britton Beisenherz, Cliff Brown, and Jim Fredley), honing in closer on an atmospheric revival of Young's Crazy Horse or Bob Dylan's electric conversion. The group released Westernaire (Aspyr Media) in 2003, reflecting this migration with a heavy dose of layered guitars and textures. Sounding much less "country" than the title might suggest, Westernaire explores pastoral themes of "the unknown", love, and alcohol without being cliché in its delivery--oftentimes allowing the quiet moments of a song to shine as brightly as the loud ones in cinematic fashion.

Appearing both as a duo and with a full band, Milton Mapes continues to pioneer toward new audiences with a personal and diverse set of live performances. In addition to contributions for numerous compilation CDs, the group has shared stages with an assortment of its respected Texas contemporaries and touring acts such as Chris Whitley, Ron Sexsmith, Willie Nelson, Marah, and The Handsome Family. After gaining notable attention from press and radio around the US and overseas in 2003 and 2004, Milton Mapes is poised to bring its darkest and best record yet to the rest of the music world in 2005.

Discography

Milton Mapes: The Blacklight Trap (2005)
Milton Mapes: Westernaire (2003)
Milton Mapes: The State Line (2001)
Milton Mapes/Nate Fowler: Sway Split Single (2001)
"Stubb’s The Zombie" Video Game Soundtrack (2005)
HearMusic Sweetheart Compilation (2005)
Bloodshot Records 10th Anniv Compilation (2005)
HearMusic Vol 10: Reveal Compilation (2003)
Paste Magazine Music Sampler 9 Compilation (2004)