FRONTIER RUCKUS

Matthew Milia
David Jones
Zachary Nichols

Enter The Kingdom

Sitcom Afterlife

Eternity Of Dimming

In the ongoing collapse of our collective attention span, the modern indie band at the 5th-album mark draws closer to endangered species status. Rarer still are bands who have managed to maintain the same integrity of creative purpose as Frontier Ruckus.

 

Enter the Kingdom, their 5th and most lush record to date, serves as an almost desperate invitation into the band’s most recurrent setting: the suburban American household. It is immediately apparent, however, that the emphasis this time is not so much on idyllic nostalgia but the very real and present tense disintegration of a personal kingdom once thought permanent.

 

We are thrust into stained living rooms where dads search for work on Craigslist, carports prowled by drunken ex-spouses returning with dubious motives, megachurch rec rooms marked by lust and disrepair.

 

Songwriter Matthew Milia has explained the album as a rather literal depiction of his father losing his job and relying on disability checks to retain a tenuous grasp on his childhood home. The specificity with which this is conveyed to the listener is harrowing at times, though never in full abandonment of a dark and balancing sense of humour.

 

Anna Burch’s harmonies return once more to add a crucial softness to Milia’s rough emotional edges. David Jones’ jangly musical counterpoints combine with Zachary Nichols vast array of instrumentation and string arrangements to achieve Frontier Ruckus’ most sophisticated and deliberate sound yet. Recorded in Nashville with founding Wilco drummer Ken Coomer, Enter the Kingdom sees the band eloquently mixing their diverse influences of 60s folk rock and 90s power pop into a truly poignant, accessible tonic of sadness and sweetness.

 

Michigan’s Frontier Ruckus formed at the turn of the millennium by Catholic high school friends Matthew Milia (vocals and guitar) and David Jones (banjo), who were then joined in their college years by Zachary Nichols (brass, musical saw, melodica) and Anna Burch (vocals and bass guitar). Each stage of the band has documented the blurry gradations of adulthood with magnetic detail. As a band steeped in both the nostalgic wonder and dysfunction of a 1990s upbringing, references to a shared history fondly held are intrinsic to Frontier Ruckus’ songcraft.

 

The band’s first two records—The Orion Songbook (2008) and Deadmalls & Nightfalls (2010)—embarked upon themes of place: the physical and emotional decay of Midwestern suburban anywhere and the edifices to which memories, at once universal and specific, seem inextricably bound. Then, poised for a mainstream breakthrough, the band instead delivered Eternity of Dimming (2013), an ambitious 20-song, 6000-word double-album of dense artistic indulgence and little regard for commercial viability. The album was received rapturously by the press and their fanbase became more galvanised than ever. Finding themselves constantly on the road and gradually divorced from the childhood they had chronicled so thoroughly, Sitcom Afterlife (2014) was a source of catharsis and agency in dealing with the messy break-ups and neglected apartments of everyday life.

 

Enter the Kingdom, however, sounds like an invitation. It’s a call to enter back into their world, through the bedroom window of Matthew’s cluttered ranch-style childhood home – featured on the cover. To check back on the status of what has been dismantled in time’s gradual crawl, and what beauty has miraculously been retained.

Photo credit: Noah Elliott Morrison

Click individual images to download hi-res version

Enter The Kingdom

Frontier Ruckus - Enter The Kingdom

Artist: Frontier Ruckus

Title: Enter The Kingdom

Release date: 17 February 2017

Catalogue no.: VJCD230P

Formats: CD / heavyweight LP with download / digital

1. Visit Me
2. Gerunds
3. 27 Dollars
4. Our Flowers Are Still Burning
5. Positively Freaking
6. Sarah Springtime
7. Since Milford
8. Gauche
9. Nothing Is Working
10. If You Can
11. Enter The Kingdom

Eternity Of Dimming

Frontier Ruckus Eternity Of Dimming

Artist: Frontier Ruckus

Title: Eternity Of Dimming

Release date: 29 January 2013

Catalogue no.: VJCD204

Format: digital, CD and LP

1. Eyelashes
2. Black Holes
3. Thermostat
4. Birthday Girl
5. Junk-Drawer Sorrow
6. The Black-Ice World
7. I Buried You So Deep
8. Granduncles Of St. Lawrence County
9. Bike Trail
10. I Met Rebecca
11. Eternity Of Dimming
12. If The Suns Collapse
13. Nightmares Of Space
14. Surgery
15. If The Summer
16. In Protection Of Sylvan Manor
17. Dealerships
18. Funeral Family Flowers
19. Open It Up
20. Careening Catalog Immemorial

ENTER THE KINGDOM

“How Michigan’s Frontier Ruckus have managed to put out 5 albums and elude stardom is beyond me, as this is some of the most well thought out and sweet chamber indie-folk I’ve heard.”
★★★★★
NEW NOISE MAGAZINE

“this is some of their loveliest work yet – as long as they keep making albums this beautiful, this poetic, I couldn’t be happier”
★★★★★
NARC. MAGAZINE

“Frontier Ruckus, where have you been all my life? If, like me, you’re into US indie outfits, then you’ll adore the fifth album from this Michigan-based band. Melancholic and vulnerable with enticing hooks and superlative wordplay, here is a guitar band to fall in love with.”
★★★★
THE MORNING STAR

“a swaying invitation into the suburban American household, offering a dreamy glance back into a past forgotten life. Like flicking through Polaroids, the sense of analogue expression is infectious – fusing 1960s folk rock and 1990s power pop”
AESTHETICA

“These songs will make you smile and think and maybe giggle once or twice, will resonate deeply at times but damn they are good!”
JAMBASE

“a well of inspiration, melodies, beauty and lyrics that are as stunning as they are funny. The folk rock band from Detroit, Michigan released their fifth record Enter The Kingdom in February this year and it is, once again, a work of art”
ONDER INVLOED

“Well-educated, literary-inclined American songwriters are hardly thin on the ground, but Frontier Ruckus’s Matthew Milia’s poetic inclination always sets him apart.”
MOJO

“Frontier Ruckus don’t sound like a band wrenched out of their comfort zone, more one entering a perfectly judged groove. Emotional yes, but not broken, troubled sure but beautiful – undeniably.”
FOR THE RABBITS

“With so much chaos in the world at the moment, this is just what we need. Without a doubt this is an album that will take you on a journey and hold your hand during it.”
VULTUREHOUND

“Full of muted desperation, Milia conjuring a less-than-cosy world of strip malls, Prozac and missed opportunities with humour and pathos.”
UNCUT

a band at the top of their game, primed and ready for discovery by a whole new audience… frontier ruckus have doubled-down on what it is that makes them unique, and in doing so have succeeded in adding a new level of orchestrated depth to their countrified folk tales, further cementing Enter the Kingdom with that oh-so-hard-to-find ‘timeless’ quality.
9/10
SOUNDBLAB

“Singer Matthew Milia is a terrific storyteller… intimate, haunting and cathartic, these tunes find a common bond with anyone who’s ever stumbled along the way, but still stays hopeful about finding peace even when the odds turn against it.”
8/10
GLIDE MAGAZINE

“Enter The Kingdom is a pleasure to experience on every level; there’s an air of endearing optimism that rings throughout, creating what will likely be one of the most engaging records of the year.”
EAST OF 8TH

“their poignant yet hopeful music has us hooked”
THE REVUE

“Milia makes his words dance as elegantly as ever, his bookish vocabulary offering more than just lyrical cleverness.”
★★★★
GIGWISE

★★★★
SCOTTISH DAILY EXPRESS

“Enter The Kingdom stands as Frontier Ruckus’ best and most relatable album”
★★★★
EAR BUDDY

“Enter The Kingdom is an absolutely gorgeous album from a highly underrated group.”
YORK CALLING

“It’s easy to see how Frontier Ruckus have earned the praise they have already received and if this album is anything to go by they look set for greater heights.”
NE:MM

“Milia invites listeners to “Enter the Kingdom” of this downbeat drama by enticing us with his sugary voice and songs that cuddle and swath with deceptive beauty”
AMERICAN SONGWRITER

“From start to finish the quality of music is high, as the sweeping strings bringing a sense of hope to American family life.”
★★★★
NEON FILLER

“a thoughtful journey through suburban Americana, combining gentle alt-country songwriting with elegant string accompaniment, candy floss vocals and deft, intuitive arrangement”
STEREOBOARD

“Frank, authentic and finally in full bloom, this is redemptive soul music for lost souls.”
9/10
ON YORKSHIRE

Frontier Ruckus - Enter The Kingdom
Frontier Ruckus Eternity Of Dimming