Aussie indie jazz-rock quartet Mildlife sound straight out of the late '70s, creating a lush, cosmic blend of jazz fusion, psychedelia, funk, and disco that sounds like a cross between Herbie Hancock and Krautrock.
Mildlife was formed in Melbourne by four school friends: keyboardist/vocalist Kevin McDowell, guitarist Adam Halliwell, bassist Tom Shanahan, and drummer James Donald. Taking their initial cues from '70s rock, they went on to encompass a much broader spectrum of influences, bringing them all together in an anything-goes kind of way. They set up their own studio and self-produced all their work, recording live in the room. Constant revision, experimentation, and perfectionism in the arrangement of disparately composed parts meant that it could sometimes take them years to finish a single piece. Shanahan and McDowell are also graphic designers who created the band's logo and all their artwork. Their debut album, Phase, was released in 2018 by Research Records to critical acclaim. It was recorded by engineer Jim Rindfleisch, an old friend of the band, who went on to join them as their drummer following Donald's departure. The success of the album led to a deal with influential British indie label Heavenly, home to Doves and Saint Etienne. In May 2020, Mildlife released the single "Rare Air," a lush, super-smooth groove. Their second album, Automatic, followed in September of that year. ~ John D. Buchanan