Categories: Reviews

Atmospheric Post-Punk Americana in Mihi Nihil’s Self Titled Debut

Out today—Los Angeles band Mihi Nihil’s eponymous debut album (Flora Toro Records) touts a hypnotic, melodic sound steeped in atmospheric post-punk and rock. Comprised of Mihi Vox (vocals), Benjamin Montoya (guitar), Nick Steinberg (bass) and Adam Alt (drums), the band features a unique lineup of a former New York City opera singer backed by three self-taught rockers. The name Mihi Nihil (Mee-Kee Nee-Keel) sounds like a University’s Latin motto, but it was actually the lead singer, MIHI VOX’s, nickname in college. Now a band motto, the name represents the group’s approach to life and music as they write songs together. 

Mihi Nihil pulls from a kaleidoscope of influences, including early Radiohead, Ennio Morricone, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Neil Young, The Cure and Pixies. Mihi’s captivating vocals flow seamlessly from serene unfolding to anthemic power, gliding alongside the tectonic pull of Benjamin’s guitar. Nick and Adam drive the bass and drums with commanding fervour. Leading up to their self-titled LP, the foursome has steadily fed four singles over the prior months. Their music feels at once mysterious and familiar.

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Be There reflects on losing people, and time, and wanting to be present. Moving with emotional intensity, the track subsides to a stillness, leading you to the calm after a storm. Vertigo becomes a high-wire act of internal conflict and the downward spiral of the human existence, before embracing oneself. I Eat You is more manic and playful, echoing the late Nobuhiko Obayashi with its mix of humour, horror and fantasy revolving around consumer culture: the perfect main course to a whole new world of purity in rock, music, and opportunity to get deeper with folks who love it. The wistful waltz Falling Star carries a 1950’s dark soul that lilts and sways as the heart-splitting song speaks of regret and blame with a little wish of hope at the end. Gold, an homage to the soundtracks of the classic spaghetti western deals with forgiveness from beyond the grave. The soporific electronic track Space Invader serves as a dreamscape ghost tale of a lonely soul. The spaghetti western is revisited with Verberation, an apocalyptic song of warning. Who Do You Think You Are references LA: a city of neon dreamers forever in pageant mode. Ticking Clocks addresses mental health, memories and loss.

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 sound and a myriad of subtle tints and bold textures. Recorded without a click track, MIHI NIHIL shifts tonal presentations effortlessly.

The band plans a limited vinyl pressing using the highest quality products with eco-friendly conscience companies. The record is fully designed, hand-numbered and packaged by the band. They also hope to do a live streaming show, partnering with famous The Last Bookstore in downtown LA for promotion for the vinyl release.

Purchase and Stream the album here.

Follow Mihi Nihil here:

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