Milwaukee has always been a great destination for out-of-town bands. We have an ever-growing number of venues willing to take a flyer on bands from all over the country and the world, offering Milwaukeeans the unique opportunity to check out some truly amazing bands we might not otherwise get to see. In this installment, we take a look at up-and-coming Brooklyn band Ex Cops.
Photo of Ex Cops by Christian Larsen
Check Them Out
Saturday, March 2 at Cactus Club opening for West Bend’s own Blessed Feathers and Mississippi-based Young Buffalo.
What’s The Big Deal?
Formed in 2011 by Brian Harding (ex Hymns) and Amalie Bruun (ex Minks), the two-piece quickly caught on after self-releasing a few stripped-down tracks it recorded to CD. Like more than a few of Ex Cops’ Brooklyn borough counterparts, the band quickly captured attention from a myriad of indie music blogs, which – along with their distinct, palatable pop hooks – helped the pair garner the inaugural spot on the new subsidiary from Fat Possum Records (home to indie heavy-hitters the Walkmen, Yuck, etc.), Other Music Record Co. The debut album (for the band and the label), True Hallucinations, was released last month, giving the world a longer listen to the much-buzzed-about project.
How’s The Latest Album?
Don’t let the doom and gloom of instrumental intro “S&HSXX” fool you, True Hallucinations is a sugary-sweet recipe that blends equal parts pop and indie rock to form something that – though far from astounding musically – will stick in the craws and crevices. Harding’s hushed vocals blend sublimely with Ex Cops’ decidedly up-beat tone. Brunn’s warm harmonies with Harding heap a thick layer of icing atop the digital dessert. While the duo has added three others to provide live accompaniment, the album in its entirety in still an intimate homage to its minimalistic and homemade predecessor. “Separator” (the closest thing to a sad song Hallucinations has to offer) takes the cake, with cheery namesakes “Ken” and “James” trailing closely.
What People Are Saying
“…True Hallucinations is a testament to the duo's unfailingly snappy songcraft and how naturally it can adapt to different forms and settings; even the album's most languorous moment, the moonstruck ballad "The Millionaire", feels brisk and engaging, thanks to its wonderfully dazed central melody. Dream pop is an easy formula to replicate-- emit a breathy, androgynous coo; step on tremolo pedal-- but it's an awfully hard one to keep fresh, and remain on the right side of the line that separates blissful reverie and insomnia balm. Acid-trip allusions aside, True Hallucinations is ultimately a triumph of focus and discipline.”
- Stuart Berman, Pitchfork.com
“… for the average indie-rock fan, there’s a treasure trove of songs here, whether in the Cults-esque major chord chatter that ends ‘Separator,’ the beautiful chillwave-balladry of ‘The Millionaire,’ or the downright infectious and optimistic chorus of ‘Billy Pressley.’ The truth is, True Hallucinations is catchy, varied, and consistent in its quality. So treat yourself and listen to a record that gives that indie-pop loving part of your brain exactly what it wants.”
- John Darr, SputnikMusic.com
Music Video for “Separator”