month, we count down the top 10 most exciting, surprising and just plain great
moments in Milwaukee music. Here are 10 standout picks from December.
Avenues gives the gift of “PUNK ROCK CHRISTMAS”
If your senses aren’t inundated with holiday cheer yet,
local pop-punkers Avenues wrapped up its own take on the yuletide standards
with “PUNK ROCK CHRISTMAS” – an
admittedly repetitive, but fun Christmas carol.
9. WC Tank
releases “In A Blaze Of Light” on SoundCloud
Wesley Tank put a bow on a year – which came complete with an album release, an opening slot of Canadian
cult rap legend Buck 65 and great music videos (of both the starring in and directing variety)
– with the quiet release of “In A Blaze Of Light” on
SoundCloud. The latest from the artsy emcee channels ’80s era movie montages
melded with his unmistakable lyrically slathered, off-kilter style. WC Tank
will release a new record in mid-2014, and is putting wraps on a video he
directed for Hellfyre Club and Busdriver in Los Angeles. This short-but-sweet
song is the saltine palate cleanser between an impressive 2013 output and the
great things that await the motivated rapper within the next 365 or so days.
makes music video for “Miller City Blues”
One part Roseanne-esque theme song, another
part iTunes commercial with a dash of gritty blues rock for flavor. Those
ingredients coalesce to make Calliope’s “Miller City Blues” music video.
Introducing… Platinum Boys
Speaking of new projects composed of noted Riverwest
musicians, Platinum Boys – a brand new punk band that features members of noted
local acts as Rio Turbo, The Fatty Acids and Catacombz – played its inaugural
show on Dec. 13. Less than a week later, Platinum Boys clued those who missed
the performance what they sound like with the release of “CRUISIN USA” on Bandcamp. Check it
out. It’s free!
& The World Flat gets the WMSE treatment
In addition to its wide range of music (some even too crazy
for us to fully appreciate) and championing local music, art and film, WMSE is
great. The station’s series of in-studio performances call some of Milwaukee’s
best acts into the booth. Synth-poppers Fable & The World Flat – close to
completing a two-release year – stopped by to play an abbreviated set heavy
with songs from its latest, Dark Flow.
and Christopher Porterfield collaborate on “Garden”
Under the name Kiings, the Milwaukee-based duo of Chris
Siegel and Sean Foran gussy up songs from such lofty in-state acts as Phox; Vic
and Gab; Field Report; and (Brooklyn by way of Superior, Wis. singer) Christine
Hoberg. Kiings is at it again, this time with an electronic adaptation of
Chris Porterfield’s “Garden.” Oddly, the melding of styles
works much better than expected. But who are we to doubt Kiings?
Following a WAMI- and 88Nine Award-winning 2012 on the
weight of his debut LP In The Making, the star of locally sired
rapper Klassik continued its rise in 2013 with a Summerfest opening gig for
Talib Kweli and the mid-December release of his follow-up album YRP (or Young Rising Phenoms). The
title proves accurate, as the solid 10-song effort is sure to have a residual
effect on the accessible rapper’s ongoing ascent next year and beyond.
in a name? National attention.
Sadly, this month marked the end of The Onion being
printed, as well as the last local A.V. Club site, A.V. Club Milwaukee. Aside
from being one of my employers (will write for food, by the way!), the abrupt
conclusion of the site will leave the city with one fewer publication that
championed local arts and entertainment, and took critical stands against questionable
However, the shortsighted decision to end A.V. Club Milwaukee doesn’t
spell the end of coverage for Milwaukee bands on the outlet’s national level – so
long as those Milwaukee bands have funny names. Local acts Animals In Human
Attire and Like Like The The The Death join the likes of Vomitchapel,
Futurecop! and Lazercake in the ONLINE ONLY publication’s annual “The Year In Band Names”
listing. Congrats, guys.
recognizes some of 2013's best
On Dec. 5, 88Nine “Radio Milwaukee” held the 6th annual
awards ceremony at its spanking new Walker’s Point property. Listeners voted on
the finalists, while 88Nine employees selected the winners from that pool.
Tangentially-Milwaukee-based Volcano Choir took home two of the 11 awards – including
Album Of The Year and Band Of The Year honors – and Vic and Gab, Greg Koch Band,
The Fatty Acids, Boy Blue, Kiings, Paper Holland, Jayk, Kane Place Record Club
and Made In Milwaukee also took home hardware.
It’s great that local musicians are recognized, but the
“Bandcamp Release Of The Year” category should be replaced (perhaps with local
show of the year). Almost every local band has albums available on Bandcamp. With
no assertions to the bands not being deserving of their honors, it’s also a tad
fishy that two acts that agreed to play the event prior to the selections also
took home awards. Still, the great intentions of this localized award show
overshadow its blemishes.
Here’s the full list of winners.
Guszkowski is moving to Missouri
It’s a bittersweet end to a great year in Milwaukee music,
as my Music
Notes counterpart Joe Guszkowski is leaving the website (and
Milwaukee) to attend grad school in Missouri. Not only will Joe’s departure
shake up this site (and Bonnie No How’s Top 5 Crushes of 2013 list), it will
also spell fewer shows for his band Sat. Nite Duets. Fret not, though, the band
will NOT break up. On the contrary, there are already tracks laid down for an
EP next year.
Joe’s contributions will be
sorely missed. He left Music
Notes much better than he found it. Best of luck, Joe.