Every month, we count down the top 10 most exciting, surprising and just plain great moments in Milwaukee music. February was low on shows, but there was no shortage of things happening in the local scene. Here are 10 standout picks from February.
10. Kiings collaborates with Rae Cassidy
Different month, same caliber of dazzling aural output from Milwaukee production duo, Kiings. This time Chris Siegel and Sean Foran collaborated with San Fermin's Rae Cassidy. Pretty noises follow.
9. Gerald Walker holds over fans with new mixtape
As a prelude to his forthcoming full-length Target, Milwaukee rapper Gerald Walker treated fans to an 11-song mixtape, entitled Yesterday You Said Tomorrow. Check it out before Walker’s show with Wave Chapelle, Klassik, Pizzle, and Yo-Dot at Riverwest Public House on Friday. [h/t Evan Rytlewski]
8. Lousy Trouts film/animate video for “Northern By You”
It’s very possible you’ve never heard the name Lousy Trouts until this very moment. But if you have even a passing interest in Milwaukee music, you’ve probably heard of some of the new band’s associated acts. Before the Trouts – with members also in Ugly Brothers, Animals In Human Attire, and Myles Coyne & The Rusty Nickel Band – release its debut album to stream (get it?!) at Linneman’s March 29, the band shot/illustrated an endearing low-fi stop-animation video for “Northern By You” at famed Riverwest house venue Chapter III. Trouts member Jack Tell shows he can more than hold his own, both musically and artistically.
7. Old Earth performance in Scotland is released
The first time Milwaukee experimental folk force Old Earth was covered by Edinburgh, Scotland, blog “Song, By Toad” it resulted in a record deal with Scottish label mini50. Last autumn, Old Earth mastermind Todd Umhoefer went to Edinburgh to play a series of shows, record a song and, fittingly, record a session with the site that helped make him a mainstay in some European circles. This video is also a great precursor to my MilMag print edition Old Earth profile slated for the May issue.
6. Platinum Boys release debut video, “Cruisin’ USA”
Dudes touching tongues, bananas being eaten in reverse and party-ready punk rock: Milwaukee super group Platinum Boys put out its debut video “Cruisin’ USA” on Valentine’s Day. Coincidentally, a song with the lyrics “All we need is a little speed" clocks in at a cool four minutes and 20 seconds.
5. Sleepwalkers and Brett Newski get national and international coverage, respectively
It’s always nice to see local acts get nods on the national – or international – level. Fresh off relocating to Milwaukee, The Sleepwalkers’ new ’80s-tinged garage rock song “My Best Was Never Good Enough” premiered on USA Today. Meanwhile, (now) Milwaukee-based folk-rock nomad Brett Newski’s new single “Dirt” premiered on the South African branch of Rolling Stone.
4. New releases aplenty!
Despite this particular February having some of our most stripped-down and Sigmund Snopek-highlighting weekly round-ups in Music Notes history, a wealth of new releases seems to suggest my days of highlighting post-game concerts are numbered. Local hardcore fixtures Get Rad recorded two songs for a split with Sweet Cobra. Ugly Brothers’ live 88Nine session is the band’s first mastered material to date. Estates preceded its March (limit 100) cassette release by tossing its six-song self-titled record online, and Ryan Weber managed a solo record with his new project, REW, that’s reminiscent and just as great as his work in Eric & Magill.
3. Canopies is back
Just when I was beginning to wonder what had become of Canopies, the group broke its relative silence since releasing the succinctly named [EP] in 2011 by putting out a music video for a new song called “Miss You Now.” Come for the infectious electro pop, stay for the public domain space footage. Hopefully this is an indication that a long-overdue new release is on the way.
2. Reunited and it feels so good.
In a matter of a few years, Milwaukee Day has quickly transformed from a humorous play-on-date to full-fledged holiday. In effort to outdo last year’s official declaration by the Mayor himself, this year the 4/14 crew coaxed two Milwaukee music legends out of retirement. Decibully and Juniper Tar will reunite at Turner Hall for the city’s sake. Blend in the awesome Whips – listen to Whips! – as the opener, and it’s a day to remember.
1. Outkast, Fall Out Boy and Paramore announced for Summerfest slots
As we endure round three of the polar vortex, at least the Summerfest brass is kind enough to drop a few headliner announcements into our consciousness to, in a very small way, remind us that summer will eventually happen (maybe?). This month alone, the Big Gig™ unveiled that Outkast will headline the Marcus on June 29 and Fall Out Boy and Paramore will co-head the amphitheater July 5. I also BROKE the hot scoop that 38 Special will play Summerfest June 29 and George Thorogood & The Destroyers are playing the fest July 5. Tell your dads.