Melkbelly – Nothing Valley

Chicago post / noise-punk rockers Melkbelly (James Wetzel – drums, Bart Winters – guitar, Liam Winters – bass, Miranda Winters – guitar and vocals) are in no mood to take prisoners on their new full-length album Nothing Valley.

“Off the Lot” opens the album with a rapid-fire attack of Wetzel’s drums and angry guitar chords.  “Kid Kreative” brings to mind some of the Breeders‘ heavier tracks with Miranda Winters’ voice mixing post-punk attitude and garage rock urgency.

I don’t know what “R.O.R.O.B.” means, but I do know that it’s almost a goth rock classic.  Liam Winters’ bass line is one I’m sure Front 242 would love to have in their back pocket, and the rest of the band brings in a slightly creepy vibe you can’t ignore.  “Greedy Gull” has more angles to it than a 20-sided die.  The guitars are restless, but Wetzel’s drumming and Miranda Winters’ vocals keep the song rooted.

“Petrified” might indeed petrify you with its building wall of distorted sound.  By contrast, “Middle Of” will flatten you as it charges like an out of control steamroller.  “Twin Lookin’ Motherfucker” has great jagged guitar riffs throughout it.  “RUNXRN” chugs so hard it’s almost doom metal.  It abruptly ends, making the chaotic drums of “R2PCM” even more jarring.  At first, “Cawthra” sounds like a warped record (in a good way) and is an unexpected and welcome psychedelic diversion before it turns into a rock blitz.  I don’t know if “Helloween” is named after the German metal band, but the track is far more post-punk than metal (although some of the distortion in it would please any metal fan).  It’s also the longest track on the album at over five minutes.  This gives Melkbelly time to stretch their vocal and instrumental muscles in different directions, even dipping their toes into the goth pool for a couple moments.

This is one of my favorite rock records of the year.  I’ve been on a post-punk kick and Nothing Valley is a great addition to my collection.  It would be to yours as well.

Keep your mind open.

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Melkbelly announces tour dates with the Breeders and Bully.


(photo credit – Lenny Gilmore )

Chicago’s Melkbelly are set to release their debut full-length album, Nothing Valley, on Oct. 13th on Carpark Records’ imprint Wax Nine. Next week, the four-piece — Miranda Winters (vocals/guitar), brothers Bart (guitar) and Liam Winters (bass), and James Wetzel (drums) — hit the road for a run of pre-release shows supporting Protomartyr. Today, they are announcing more headline shows, plus support tours with The Breeders and Bully. All dates are below.

Emerging from Chicago’s DIY spaces, Melkbelly recorded Nothing Valley fresh off a west coast tour. The resulting debut album is organized noise and thoughtful freneticism. Throughout, they fuse dreamy vocal lines and cantankerous guitar racket as their songs clang and bang in stripped-down production that highlights the band’s sharp edges. Multi-faceted slabs of sound serve harmonious, immediate songs.

Watch Melkbelly’s “Middle Of” Video – “Kid Kreative” Video – Nothing Valley:
Via Wax Nine –
iTunes –
Apple Music – Tour Dates:
(new shows in bold)
Wed. Sep 6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo #
Thu. Sep. 7 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery #
Fri. Sep 8 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Festival
Sat. Sep. 9 – Asheville, NC @ Mothlight #
Sun. Sep. 10 – Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Yacht Club #
Fri. Oct. 13 – Chicago, IL @ The Hideout (Record Release Show)
Mon. Oct. 16 – Bloomington, IN @ Bishop Bar +
Tue. Oct. 17 – Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness
Wed. Oct. 18 – Washington DC @ Comet Ping Pong
Fri. Oct. 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Alphaville
Tue. Oct 24 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
Wed. Nov. 08 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom ^ — SOLD OUT
Thu. Nov. 09 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox ^
Sun. Nov. 12 – San Francisco, CA @ the Independent ^ — SOLD OUT
Mon. Nov. 13 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater ^ — SOLD OUT
Tue. Nov. 14 – Phoenix, AZ @ LBX
Thu. Nov. 16 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Fri. Feb. 16 – Norman, OK @ Opolis *
Sat. Feb. 17 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf *
Sat. Feb. 24 – Eugene, OR @ Hi Fi Music Hall * 
Mon. Feb. 26 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret *
Thu. March 1 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett *
Fri. March 2 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux *
Sat. March 3 – Salt Lake City @ Kilby Court *
Tue. March 6 – Kansas City @ The Record Bar *

# = with Protomartyr
+ = with Snail Mail
^ = with the Breeders
* = with Bully

Melkbelly’s debut album due October 13th.



Noisy, subversively catchy and rhythmically sophisticated, Chicago quartet Melkbelly emerge from Chicago’s DIY spaces with their debut album, Nothing Valley, out Oct. 13th on Wax Nine Records, a sister label to Carpark Records headed by Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz.

Melkbelly’s members live and breathe Chicago’s art and music underground where their paths crossed and alliances were forged. Vocalist/guitarist Miranda Winters played solo in folk rock project reddelicious. Brothers Bart and Liam Winters (the tall fellas playing guitar and bass in Melkbelly) ran an influential show space in Chicago. Drawn together by their passion for East Coast noise, particularly the flavor originating from Miranda’s previous homebase of Providence, RI, Miranda and Bart of Coffin Ships recruited James Wetzel, who studied jazz drums in college, from improvisational free-drum/noise duo Ree-Yees. This new group of friends orbiting the loft and art scene, began collaborating on each other’s projects, formalizing in a more guitar-driven quartet Melkbelly in 2014.

Melkbelly’s debut EP Pennsylvania came out that same year. Engineered by Cooper Crain of Cave/Bitchin’ Bajas, the record came easily. The Chicago Reader enthused for single “Doomspringa” with its “noisy guitar freak-outs” and “beautifully melodic verses” and compared Melkbelly, accurately, to a hybrid of the Breeders and Lightning Bolt.

In 2016, the band tested the waters with new material. Inspired by the geography of a West Coast tour, shared band experiences, the van “as a magical place” and failed touristic detours at a meteor crater (it was closed) and Spiral Jetty (not van-friendly), the band gathered material written by Miranda and spawned from recorded jams for its next album. In early 2017, Melkbelly recorded with Dave Vettraino at Chicago’s Public House, writing about half the album in the studio and tracking it to 8-track analog tape. The result is Nothing Valley, organized noise and thoughtful freneticism, a fusion of dreamy vocal lines and cantankerous guitar racket. Today they share the video for “Kid Kreative.” “Kid Kreative is about creating a unique aesthetic in art or music only to have it hijacked and manhandled by someone else who reaps the rewards,” explains Miranda Winters. “It was inspired by existing as a woman in the predominantly male space of loud-music where it’s easy to be both looked over and ‘borrowed’ from.”


wax nine –
itunes –
apple music –

1. Off The Lot
2. Kid Kreative
3. R.O.R.O.B.
4. Greedy Gull
5. Petrified
6. Middle Of
7. Twin Lookin Motherfucker
9. R2PCM
10. Cawthra
11. Helloween

Wed. Sep 6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo w/ Protomartyr
Thu. Sep. 7 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery w/ Protomartyr
Fri. Sep 8 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Festival
Sat. Sep. 9 – Asheville, NC @ Mothlight w/ Protomartyr
Sun. Sep. 10 – Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Yacht Club w/ Protomartyr
Fri. Oct. 13 – Chicago, IL @ The Hideout (Record Release Show)
Melkbelly Online: