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Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson has made a “startling debut,” suggesting that if he has yet to overcome his personal demons he has at least made peace with his past.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
(Say Hey)

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Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson is the very definition of a “tortured artist,” said Reed Fischer in The Village Voice. Life has thrown some punches at this multiracial songwriter during his short 25 years. In 1999, the Oregon-raised Robinson arrived in New York with dreams of becoming a musician. Soon swallowed up by the city’s temptations, he started pounding whiskey, abusing cocaine, and downing speed until he ended up on the streets, selling drugs to get by. His tragic story is “as biblical as it is trite,” said David Bevan in The Fader. But Robinson is too smart and self-aware a musician to turn himself into a bad rock cliché. This ramshackle rock and blues album is hardly a sob story. What makes it such a “startling debut” is Robinson’s lack of shame in digging up the dirt of his past. “Buriedfed”—a tumbledown tune about “kicking open the door to his own casket”—opens the album with a mindful Robinson: This is my last song about myself / About my friends / Find something else to sing.” Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson is “no record of redemption,” said Jessica Suarez in Spin. Robinson has yet to overcome his personal demons. But this album suggests he’s at least made peace with his past.

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