They’re riding the new wave of the antipodean, New Zealand-based New Americana, alternative country, folk sound that’s been championed internationally by the likes of Nadia Reid, Aldous Harding, Marlon Williams and Tami Neilson. Though, The Miltones are becoming champions in their own right, armed by their unique sound with a bold, raw energy and a soft rock, blues edge.
Vocals, Guitar / Milly Tabak
Guitar / Liam Pratt
Keyboard / Guy Harrison
Bass / Chris Marshall
Drums / Tom Broome
An Auckland-based band gaining attention locally for the mesmerizing voice of Milly Tabak, who serves as the group’s frontwoman, with the supportive chops and solos of lead guitarist, Liam Pratt. Together the pair have been playing music together since their teenage years, and now form the songwriting core within the band, which has now grown to five.
The band’s music has evolved over the years into a duel disposition of foot-stomping country blues to soft rock ballads that reminds you of Americana folk rock of the 1970’s. Milly’s unrestrained, free-spirited voice alikens her to a young Stevie Nicks prodigee, with an untouchable energy to her strikingly raw vocal performance. With their nostalgia-inducing sound, they’ve gathered audiences in both millenials to baby boomers and everyone in between. “We’re incredibly lucky. We have a healthy mix of people who get into our music… We can play venues and have all the young bucks losing their minds dancing and from nowhere, the oldies fit right in and have a shimmy… It’s badass.”
So far, the band has supported singer-songwriter, Jamie Lawson, toured with The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band on their recent visit to New Zealand, and open for Melbourne-based group Skyscraper Stan and The Commission Flats at the Auckland Americana Festival earlier this year.
Both Milly and Liam took to playing music early. While Liam was taking guitar lessons as a kid, Milly cut her teeth on harmonica and took to gypsy jazz guitar, before learning a more steady rhythm based way of guitar. Musically, the band takes subtle influence from a great fusion of bands including Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, and Peter Green.
After forming a cohesive sound from years of playing together, the energy and rawness in Milly’s voice likens her to a young Stevie Nicks, while Pratt’s guitar playing follows in the footsteps of Stevie Ray Vaughan, CC Adcock and Derek Trucks.
Starting out as a duo seven years ago, the pair toured the country as The Miltones, gaining friends in far places along way and sharing their earlier material such as the memorable “Gypsy Queen” and the more recent single “Black Dahlia”, which served as the duo’s debut single in 2014. In the band’s true down to earth spirit, Milly hosted the “Black Dahlia” launch video party at
The Tabak family farm, which drew 200 paying guests to the rural outskirts of Auckland, where the band performed inside a purpose built venue.
Since then, the band has gained three new members: Guy Harrison on keys (Hollie Smith), Chris Marshall on bass (Miss June) and Tom Broome on drums
(Esther Stephen & The Means, Hollie Smith). Together as a five-piece, they’re a infectious fiery energy on stage as witnessed earlier this year by Mac+Mae.
“A band that’s driven by strong lyrics and not by gimmicks is a band that deserves to stand the test of time. The Miltones are that band.”
- Rip It Up
“If you’re into Americana, early Seventies rock or the blues, then Auckland band The Miltones are an act you don’t want to miss.”
This year, the group have been recording their debut album with the help of the widely-acclaimed New Zealand producer, Ben Edwards (Tami Neilson, Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid) at The Sitting Room in Lyttelton.
The emphasis has always been on the lyrics for Milly, and in their forthcoming work – it is deeply personal, with the content effected by the passing of Tabak’s father. The song Carlos refers to the guitar, owned by Milly’s father and was instrumental in her first musings in chord progression building. “It’s basically a tribute to Dad,” who is also The Wanderer, which was the first song Milly wrote after his passing.
“There’s a lot of frustration and sadness which features in your life when you’re young”, and that is what the forthcoming work captures and articulates, as Milly reflects.
“It’s almost like a coming of age album.”