Blacking Out the Stars
Epic Hero frontman Justin Milbradt is sorting out memories by crafting heartfelt melodies. In his band's upcoming EP release "Blacking Out the Stars" (due to drop in late Spring) Milbradt has much to reconcile. "This record has really given me the opportunity to say everything that I can't articulate in my day to day life. 'Blacking Out the Stars' is about reaching for that relationship that you've always wanted, and realizing it's no longer there." Milbradt learned the art of telling a story in a song with help from Minneapolis music legend and national songwriting star Dan Wilson. The lead singer/songwriter of Semisonic boasts writing credits stretching from Mike Doughty to Jason Mraz to the Dixie Chicks. In Milbradt, Wilson was able to help steer a little focus and connect creativity with feelings. In "Blacking Out the Stars" Milbradt and band mates Brad Bivens (bass) and Dan Deurloo (drums) offer a sound that blends an edgier Nada Surf/Death Cab for Cutie with a dash of mainstream melodies like Better Than Ezra/Matchbox 20. The EP's single "Stars" matches spite with spirit in Milbradt's contempt of a past relationship. The band's 2003 album "New Life" was a tightly constructed, hook-heavy and hum-worthy song display. Also produced by Wilson, the album included fan favorite "End of the Line," a somber story of a girl leaving behind the life she knows, while finding inspiration in uncertainty. The song is still in rotation at Minneapolis' Drive 105. The band has been steadily touring to support "New Life" and 2000's "A Brighter Mess" over the last several years. Epic Hero has played dates with Ben Folds, Semisonic, Dishwalla, Soul Asylum, Blue October, Switchfoot, Something Corporate, Phantom Planet, Lit, the Heartbreaker's side project The Dirty Knobs, and even a few dates with country act Rascall Flatts. Epic Hero has performed at CMJ and on Santa Barbara's KTYD and KCOP, and Los Angeles' Mark and Brian Show on KLOS. TV appearances have included performances on Fox TV's Minneapolis and Green Bay affiliates, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis and the adolescent-focused "Whatever" show on Kare-11 in the Twin Cities. The band has sold more than 7,000 records -- 300 apiece at the Ben Folds concert and after the Mark and Brian appearance. For Epic Hero, 2006 is nowhere near the "end of the line" rather a time to stretch out emotionally and physically plot the next step. Judging by the overall growth of the last few years there's a lot to look forward to.