Tuesday 29 Jul

Planting the seed

Chelsey Cope’s new band, Elms, is as earthy and native to Oklahoma as the trees that are their namesake. The soulful folk four-piece’s debut EP, Parallel Lines, was recorded at Bell Labs Recording Studio in Norman and is on its way in September. But the band has already given us a tease, with its first single, “Burn,” going live on SoundCloud on July 14.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Commercial rock

Center of the Universe Festival featuring Capital Cities, Young The Giant, AWOLNATION & more
Downtown Tulsa 

07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Mack truckin’

9 p.m. Friday 
Kamp’s Lounge 
1310 NW 25th St. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Chevy cruisin’

Chevy Woods with Kevin Gates & more
9 p.m. Sunday 
Vibe Night Club 
227 SW 25th St. 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Rock steady

7 p.m. Saturday
Frontier City
11501 N. Interstate 35 Service Road 
Free with park admission 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Reviews · Indie · Heavy Years: 2000-2010 —...

Heavy Years: 2000-2010 — Chris Mills

An under-radar singer/songwriter gets a well-deserved retrospective

Stephen Carradini June 13th, 2011

Singer/songwriter Chris Mills’ appeal can be summed up in the title of his 1996 debut EP, “Chris Mills Plays and Sings.”


It’s a straightforward, difficult-to-Google proclamation that belies a wry, self-aware sense of humor and a lack of concern for popular acclaim.

Heavy Years: 2000-2010” is a great introduction to his enthusiastic, acoustic-based, alt-country/rock/pop ballads. His well-developed melodic touch (horns everywhere!) and impressive lyrics show that although Mills knows all the rules, he has more fun breaking them. “You shine like something that shines / And you ring like something that rings / There are no words to describe such a beautiful thing,” Mills delivers in “Such a Beautiful Thing,” investing an abysmal, self-parodying songwriting move with meaning.

The gravitas of his voice sells the whole thing beautifully, and you’ll probably not even realize that if Justin Bieber sang it, you’d want to punch your radio’s lights out. The album is full of these types of situations, most notably “Watch Chain” (which punks the main caveat of “I Will Survive”) and “Atom Smashers” (which features perhaps some of the most self-aware lines ever).

His voice is the element sitting one down on the “best things” list from his lyrics. A comfortable mid-range, it never seems stressed or challenged. His mouth opens, and a voice falls out. Mills is almost the quintessential “phone book” voice: He could read the listings, and it would still be riveting, thanks to the nuances of his well-controlled voice.

The album collects 14 songs, giving you nearly an hour of singer/songwriter goodness. Because this is essentially a greatest-hits collection from an artist who (sadly, unfairly, incorrectly) has no hits, there is almost zero filler. The one exception is “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” which sounds exactly as histrionic as the title insinuates. Skip.

From the jaunty, saloon-esque opener of “You Are My Favorite Song” to the abrupt starts and stops of “Escape from New York,” this album delivers engaging tunes from the beginning to the end. Fans of Josh Ritter, The Format’s quieter work and well-orchestrated alt-country will love it. —Stephen Carradini
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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06.24.2011 at 11:03 Reply

Check out this Riverfront Times article and interview with Chris Mills at the link below: