Editors' pick

Miles Kurosky


Editorial Review

Miles Kurosky launches solo career with 'The Desert of Shallow Effects'

By Moira E. McLaughlin
Friday, March 19, 2010

Six rough years after his successful band Beulah broke up in San Francisco, Miles Kurosky is back with his first solo album, "The Desert of Shallow Effects," and he's coming at things from a new perspective -- as a married man and a practicing Buddhist.

"The last years, I've had a lot of time for self-reflection and meditation," he says.

The indie-rock Beulah had a small but loyal following. ("It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that Beulah is the best band ever" was a typical fan assessment.) In 2003, the band released its fourth album, "Yoko," to critical acclaim. But in 2004, amid personal strife in the lives of many band members, the group split up.

Since the band's demise, Kurosky, 40, has battled several physical and psychological ailments, including shoulder pain and subsequent surgeries that left him unable to play the guitar for more than a year.

"I have had a lot of ups and downs. . . . I think a lot of it was fueled by being in this business," Kurosky says. In the music business, he adds, you can "lose your sense of self. You start to define yourself by criticism and praise."

The intervening years, however, haven't been all bad. The up times have included marriage to a woman he says saved him "with her love." And Kurosky, who was raised Catholic, began practicing Buddhism, which he credits with bringing him peace. "Being a Buddhist, you're supposed to do your best to squash your ego, and in this business, it's important to have an ego."

Despite that, Kurosky says he still enjoys making music.

"In a certain sense [the songs] only exist if you share [them], and that's the good part, when the fan base comes in," he says.

The new album, Kurosky says, "fits nicely into my discography as a songwriter." It's sophisticated, lush pop music, with atypical instrumentation and at-times quirky, frantic interludes. Dark lyrics contrast with poppy, light melodies that Kurosky says reflect his love of Beatles melodies as well as "a little teenage Goth inside me." The song "An Apple for an Apple," for instance, begins, "Bring out your dead kids/Bring out your dead/Your sons and daughters, they won't be spared."

As he prepares to go on tour, Kurosky admits to being nervous, but with his health issues, he must try to take it all in stride. He eats right, meditates and does yoga.

"I'm trying to retain my sanity in light of putting out a new record," he says. "At the end of the day, this business can make me a little crazy."