If you were active in the local club scene in the mid-aughts, you'd be forgiven for thinking Green Milk From the Planet Orange was from Portland. Between 2004 and 2006, the Japanese prog-rock trio played a half-dozen frenetic, window-shattering affairs at now-forgotten local stages—one memorable show saw them draw a severely over-capacity crowd to the Tube in Old Town.
Then the band flew home to Tokyo and went dark for nearly a decade.
Nearly 10 years after the release of band's last album, 2007's You Take Me To the World, a new recording appeared on Bandcamp. Appropriately, it's called "Phoenix."
"Every one of us put maximum power into this tune," writes the guitarist simply known as "Dead" K in an email. "And I was always thinking about rebirth in 2016, about my personal life and GMFTPO. So I wanted to tell my feelings to people in this song."
Going by single alphanumeric monikers, K and drummer A initially formed Green Milk in 2000. In the beginning, the band played in a more psychedelic jazz mode, eventually growing into their own with a more frenzied and drawn-out style of heavy rock, with expansive songs that often broke the 15-minute mark.
"When we started GMFTPO, we were into Pink Floyd and experimental music more, I think," K explains. "Then we got blood from Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and also some new wave bands. Now our music is inspired by heavy metal, I think."
The pinnacle of the band's recording career was 2005's City Calls Revolution, a master class in amphetamine-addled psych that came out on Portland's own Beta-lactam Ring Records. Those mid-aughts tours put the band on small stages across the world, surrounded by crowds who marveled at drummer A's powerful, relentless, ricocheting technique. K also stood out by playing his guitar sitting in front of his collection of effects pedals.
K describes "Phoenix" as the first song of the "new Green Milk," which now features bassist Wadamori Yu. The song is quite a journey. Over 13 minutes, it manages to capture the essence of past Green Milk endeavors, and prove that no energy has been lost in the interim. And now, we get to see the band live again sooner than expected.
"We were going to do a tour again in the US when we put out a new album. But we got a very good offer to play at a secret party in New York, so we could decide to do a tour on this time," K says. "We really appreciate the person who invited us."
Whoever that was, we appreciate them, too.
SEE IT: Green Milk From The Planet Orange plays High Water Mark, 6800 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., with Abronia, on Tuesday, Jan. 30. 8 pm. $8. 21+.