Singer-songwriter Miles Nielsen stirs up his own pop rock brand of Beatles-esque Cosmic Americana with his sophomore album, Miles Nielsen Presents The Rusted Hearts, available nationally at digital retailers Feb. 14 via independent label Rotown Records.
Having previously been released in a limited run at concerts and his website in the fall, the 12 tracks now make their way from the Midwest to listeners everywhere. Nielsen will continue touring throughout the area with a coast-to-coast tour kicking off in February.
The son of legendary Cheap Trick guitarist/songwriter Rick Nielsen, Miles calls Rockford home and collaborates with the area’s top talent. The end result is a meticulously arranged album with gorgeous tones and thoughtful production.
The opening shuffle, de facto theme song “Rusted Hearts” sets the scene with a Charlie Chaplin reference and wheezy organ. Waltz-time “Dear Kentucky (You’re Killing Me)” is thick with cigarette smoke, hungover daylight and regret. “Sirens” begins on a minor key New Orleans-styled woodwind part but quickly reveals a sunny “I was just waiting on the rainbow” chorus.
Lest you think the whole album is all nuance and genre work, there are ample rockers as well. “Cold War” chugs along with subtle xylophone touches; “Overrated” rolls in on a rollicking two-bar drum intro and a healthy sense of humor, and “The Grain” features a hooky, wordless chorus, chiming guitar and bright Wurlitzer piano.
Making up The Rusted Hearts are Daniel James McMahon (guitar/vocals), Micky Rosenquist (drums/percussion), Adam Plamann (horns/percussion/keys/vocals) and Andrew Scarpaci (bass/vocals). Several of the members previously played with the Wisconsin-based ensemble Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons while some are currently performing around Rockford in a side project with Cheap Trick’s drummer Bun E. Carlos.
From the Feb. 8-14, 2012, issue