Together With Cats
"At only 19 years old and hailing from the college town of Columbus, Ohio, Blake Miller stands to quickly become one of the most renowned singer-songwriters of our day. But to call Blake a singer-songwriter is perhaps a misnomer, because there are far more dynamics going on here than a solitary voice accompanied by a lone guitar. His mastery of melody and arrangement creates songs that range from the haunting to the intimate, but contain an honesty that allows him to stay far enough outside the lyrical styling of the 'freak folk' movement to create something truly distinct. The songs contained here on Together With Cats exhibit vocal melodies suggestive of a combination of Devendra Banhart and Grizzly Bear, coupled with the intimacy and earnestness of early Iron & Wine recordings. Together With Cats chronicles home recordings made over the past year by Blake Miller and a rotating group of friends as collaborators. Slide guitar, violin, some mouth-based percussion, and more, pepper the album, but the dominate instrument is Blake's voice -- which is often multi-layered and provides a richness and texture to the album that makes you forget all else. After hearing these recordings through a mutual friend at a coffee shop, Exit Stencil approached Blake and ended up selecting 12 songs from his vast catalog to create a document that would portray a nascent talent coming of age. 'Blake's at his best when exploring loose structures and leavening them with unexpected sounds: the typewriter clacks, plaintive sour notes, and noisy harmonica blares of "Summer She's Hiding"; the deliriously sawing violins on the cloudy chamber dirge 'Mama Papa Witch Daddy'; the bleating horns and ratcheting mouth percussion of 'Like Birds Pouring Out My Sides.' "