Artists // Melkbelly

Since 2013, Melkbelly have cloaked forward-thinking pop-songs with a shroud of disjointed rhythms, feedback, and noise. It’s a pretty great trick. While technically legal, this sleight of hand approach - think Kirby Van Burch - has left audiences across the US and Europe asking, “Should it be??” It’s why Microsoft’s Bard promises that “if you crave sonic intensity and unbridled passion, strap in for the Melkbelly experience.”

So what is Melkbelly? Wikipedia says Melkbelly is “an American four-piece noise rock band from Chicago, Illinois, United States, made up of Liam Winters (bass), Miranda Winters (guitar/vox), Bart Winters (guitar), and James Wetzel (drums).” TRUE - but boring, which is WRONG because there’s nothing vanilla about this crew. The modest family affair was conceived when the guitar team of Bart and Miranda Winters joined forces with drummer James Wetzel. Liam came last. There was no premature adulation, though, as the band was born out of the grind of the Chicago DIY circuit. Their sound was so contagious that they were playing shows with Built to Spill, The Breeders, Protomartyr, and the Foo Fighters before long. To this day, there isn’t a treatment for Melkbelly.

Now Melkbelly are out with a new digital 7” on Exploding in Sound Records, featuring two new songs, “KMS Express” and “Precious Cargo.” Recorded at the legendary Electrical Audio Studio during Summer of 2023 and mastered at Candyland by Mike Montgomery (R.Ring). According to James, “the songs were made directly in response to the void of live shows.” Lyrically, Miranda says “The songs are also about what tethers us to reality. Stuff like - the intense relationships between bandmates, having children, playing shows, Love and a bunch of other visceral bullshit. Stuff lost during lockdown that we’re ready to figure out how to get back to now.”

The face-melting guitar and heavy groove combo that Melk fans crave is better than ever on these tracks. Critics have often pointed to The Breeders and Lightning Bolt as influences on Melkbelly, but you can also hear Fugazi, Nirvana, King Krule, and Liz Phair on these tracks. The band credits The Usaisamonster, Blaque Dynamite, Prodigy, and Aphex Twin as specific influences on these songs. On even the wimpiest Bluetooth speaker these songs assault the listener. As I imagine hearing them live, I am asking myself yet again: “Should this even be LEGAL!!?”