Deriving their name from a nickname that was given to its frontwoman while she was in college, and now seen as the band’s motto representing their approach to life and music, the emerging Los Angeles-based indie rock act Mihi Nihil (pronounced Mee-Kee, Nee-Keel) — Mihi Vox (vocals), Benjamin Montoya (guitar), Nick Sternberg (bass) and Adam Alt (drums) — currently feature a former New York-based opera singer and three self-taught rock musicians. Interestingly, the band can trace their origins to a free-flowing batch of sessions that the longtime friends jokingly called “Whiskey Rehearsals,” which helped to quickly establish a sound that draws from an electric array of influences including early Radiohead, The Clash, Ennio Morricone, Sixousie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Neil Young and Pixies.
Eventually, those “Whiskey Rehearsals” between the four friends led to the material which would eventually comprise their Adam Lasus-produced full-length nine-song, self-titled debut album. Recorded and written by the band in one room, the album’s material captures their simpatico and collaborative working relationship.
In the lead-up to the album’s release, the band released four singles over the past few months: two of the singles have appeared in two major motion pictures, with all four appearing in a handful of media outlets across 15 countries, as well as on 45 playlists. Their self-titled album’s fifth and latest single “Gold” is a slow-burning desert rock-like dirge centered around Mihi Vox’s expressive vocals, rumbling bass lines and gently swirling guitars that slowly builds up until a rumbling roar with soaring hooks. And while possessing a patient, almost painterly quality, “Gold” evokes sand-swept blacktop that reminds me The Fire Tapes‘ Phantoms, PJ Harvey and Chelsea Wolfe among others.
Veteran indie producer Adam Lasus (Yo La Tengo, Helium, Madder Rose) captured the band’s live energy to tape, revealing an album imbued with a timeless, lush and layered sound that’s meant to be savored and slowly ingested. Like colorful rock formations, the music encompasses a myriad of subtle tints and bold textures. Recorded without a click track, MIHI NIHIL naturally expands and contracts, pushes and pulls, moving with ease. Whether it’s the cinematic echo of Ennio Morricone in “Verberation” or the ominous yearning for connection in the more soporific electro “Space Invader,” MIHI NIHIL shifts tonal presentations effortlessly with maximum emotional thrust.