There are certain genres of music that are synonymous with specific regions of the world. The correlation between the 90’s grunge sound and Seattle, country music and places like Nashville and Texas, and the unmistakable sound of traditional Irish music are easy to pinpoint. However, the American Southwest, while culturally rich, has more or less struggled to find its niche in the music world. Yet, that is precisely what Jared & The Mill have been pursuing for the better part of the last decade. Keeping it passionate, frank and even funny, the quintet have accomplished the feat with flying, desert colors.
Jared & The Mill was birthed into the hot Phoenix sun by Jared Kolesar and his Arizona State University buddies back in 2011. Since then, the band of brothers have been consistently and successfully creating their own brand of what Kolesar refers to as “Western Indie Rock.” The ASU alumni kept their school spirit with them long after their college tenures. As Kolesar describes the significance of The Mill: “We all went to ASU. The big party street is called Mill Avenue. There’s an old flour mill at the end of the road. That kind of sprouted the name.”
Their unique brand of Western Indie Rock is best represented via their latest album, 2018’s This Story is No Longer Available. Kolesar says of the record: “This Story is kind of like our big artistic statement. It sounds like the modern millennial culture – in my mind at least. And that’s obviously not something that’s really defined. I feel strongly that it sounds like where we’re from.”
The album is varied to say the least, with a nice mix of western-tinged love songs, country tunes, messy guitar-driven musings on regret and even a Pink Floyd-esque spacey jam. However, despite the western indie feel of the record, Jared & The Mill are certainly not afraid to rock out. Numerous tracks exercise their fair share of freedom in dynamic range, frequently going from soft and subtle like the Avett Brothers to all-out gang-busters a la Kings Of Leon in the blink of an eye.
Kolesar and crew have been described as a mix between The Lumineers, Arcade Fire and Waylon Jennings, a comparison which he is “super down with,” but it’s their sense of humor that sets them apart from these influences. This lightheartedness is exemplified in what they call “skits,” appearing every few songs on the album. While skimming the track list, one such break from the music catches the eye, a skit appropriately titled “Jared and the Mill Sucks.” It’s a 15 second rant by a friend of the band who was coaxed into saying, according to Kolesar, “the most offensive thing about the band possible.”
In addition to the laughs and showing love to numerous locales across the United States on tour, Jared & The Mill have also shown love to the men and women in our armed forces overseas. Kolesar recounted a recent trip to the Persian Gulf where they “were flown onto and off of an aircraft carrier off the coast of Iran.” He went on to say that they “think it’s important to provide a sense of home to people that are really far away,” and that a lot of military overseas are “just kids. Sometimes they’re scared, sometimes they’re homesick, and to be able to provide a sense of home for those young kids was a really, really cool opportunity for us.”
On the heels of This Story is No Longer Available, Jared & The Mill tour the US this Summer. They perform at The Moxi Theater Friday, August 16 with Silver & Gold and Weareforests. Tickets at moxitheater.com