Harvey Milk Take Their Turn

Posted in Reviews on August 9th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Some bands you listen to because you enjoy them, some bands you listen to because you think they’re interesting. Some bands you listen to because they’ve influenced others and you want to hear why, and some bands you listen to because you just have to find out what the fuck the big deal is. The latter is my experience with Harvey Milk, who since their 2006 reunion and subsequent releases on Hydra Head have officially become the rock the cool kids dig. When the chance came up for me to check out A Small Turn of Human Kindness, the latest from the Athens, Georgia, trio, I more or less popped it on just to see what it was all about. I remember seeing Harvey Milk open for Khanate in NYC a few years back, and I remember being neither over nor underwhelmed, but whatever, maybe something’s changed.

Not really. A Small Turn of Human Kindness sounds like a genuinely cerebral exercise, so it probably isn’t. Creston Spiers, Kyle Spence and Stephen Tanner present the album as one long piece, with various misanthropic titles spread across seven tracks, ranging from “I Just Want to Go Home” and “I Alone Got Up and Left” to the ominous “I Did Not Call Out.” As the vocalist and guitarist, Spiers leads the way through the songs, which lumber with a heavy foot in and out of doomed minimalism, feedbacked solos, and a spiritually downtrodden demeanor that feels genuine enough to get by tagged “authentic.” Tanner’s bass tone is low the way you think of trenches, and Spence’s drums are perfectly suited to accenting the best of both his bandmates. It’s not surprising, since Harvey Milk has been around long enough for A Small Turn of Human Kindness to be their seventh album with the band having broken up and gotten back together, but as power trios go, they more than earn their name. For its consistency of mood alone, A Small Turn of Human Kindness is unrelentingly heavy.

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Harvey Milk Make a Small Turn

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 3rd, 2010 by JJ Koczan

My, the children do love that Harvey Milk. The children in tight flannel shirts, anyway. But if you read the following PR wire release carefully, you’ll see that the band — or at least their label, the ever-suave Hydra Head — is well aware of their hipster appeal. You can tell with the “slumming it” line, which from where I sit is a direct shot to the center of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and any dig on those kids is fine by me. I’m getting sidetracked. Harvey Milk have a new record coming out, and it’s called A Small Turn of Human Kindness. Here’s the info:

A Small Turn of Human Kindness is as dense and as heavy temperamentally as it is musically. The seven songs so subtly bleed together that the listener has no choice but to view the entire album as a linear orchestration with a singular ebb and flow…. a rising and falling action, refined to hell and back. And so, all of these things lead me to believe that any and all true Harvey Milk fans will eventually argue this record as the band’s finest work. Or at least the vinyl version will become the quintessential mantle-piece for a generation of suburban children slumming it in the inner city… you know who you are!

1. *
2. I Just Want to Go Home
3. I Am Sick of All This Too
4. I Know This is No Place For You
5. I Alone Got Up and Left
6. I Know This is All My Fault
7. I Did Not Call Out

Harvey Milk Live:
3/5 Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theatre w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/6 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/7 Baltimore, MD @ Otto Bar w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/8 New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/9 Boston, MA @ Middle East Downstairs w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/10 Montreal, QC @ Il Motore w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/11 Toronto, ON @ Wreck Room w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/12 Hamtramck, MI @ Small’s w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
3/13 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean w/ Coalesce, Atlas Moth
5/27 Nashville, TN @ Rockettown w/ Converge, Lewd Acts, Black Breath
5/28 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade w/ Converge, Lewd Acts, Black Breath

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