Following their two prior full-length albums, Suha (2014) and Saye Lonnie (2015), Milwaukee-based indie rock band Ladders releases a self-titled EP of five brand new songs on August 10. Founded in 2014, the band consists of Daniel Mitchell (lead vocals, electric guitar), James Sauer (lead guitar, vocals, keys), Dan Oberbruner (bass, vocals) and Myles Coyne (drums, vocals, keys).
Ladders' prevalent sound is solid, refreshing indie and classic rock. These are well-written songs with influences ranging from folk rock to country. Daniel's vocals lead us through the songs on this EP, with a sound and quality that's reminiscent of artists such as Neil Young, Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver.
The EP's opening track ("Magic Curb") is relaxed, smooth and laid back. The soft, fingerstyle technique from James Sauer on lead guitar stands out in this track, gently leading us in and out of it.
"On Time" is an energetic, rocky track with subtle tempo shifts and lead guitar that stands out between verses. This track is reminiscent of early Pale Saints "The Comforts of Madness" (one of my all-time favorite indie bands).
"Day Mountain Air" continues where "Magic Curb" left off, with its easy listening rock style, but soon gets rocking as the song progresses. Similar to the opener, the carefully placed notes from lead guitar add a nice harmony and melody to this track.
The upbeat "50 Miles High" follows - an energetic, classic rock sound with a folky feel and melodic chorus: "Don't be on the wrong side of the light".
I think the closing track "Bricks" is definitely a highlight of this EP with a thoughtful, easygoing sound and anthemic chorus. Its lyrics describe how "Brick by brick by brick we will reconstruct ourselves". This is the song that you'll be humming along to afterwards.
Aside from the music, the physical CD of this EP showcases some stunning pen and ink artwork (front and back sleeve and CD itself) from artist Jason Limberg.
The songs were recorded at Howl Street Recordings with Shane Hochstetter (Mixing Engineer) and Carl Saff (Mastering Engineer). CD pressing was done by Sooper Dooper Print & Digital Media.
Above: Ladders live at Sofar Sounds Chicago, July 15, 2016
I was lucky to catch Ladders performing recently at a Sofar Sounds show in Chicago in July, along with fellow Milwaukee band and friends Yahara. Ladders' intimate live performance on stage in a North Side condo was polished and remarkable - they were a perfect closing band to the evening.
At the time of writing this post, the EP is available for pre-order. In the meantime, head over to the Milwaukee Record website for exclusive streaming of the five new songs.
Find out more about Ladders on their Facebook and Bandcamp pages.