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Top 10 Picks for March 2014
WAMI, SXSW and other (non-abbreviated) highlights in March music

10. Milwaukee Record announced

Excuse the shameless self-promotion, but this will be my last post for Music Notes. As you may have read last week, I’ve partnered with ex-A.V. Club Milwaukee editor Matt Wild to start a new Web-only entertainment periodical called Milwaukee Record. We officially launch Monday, April 7. Until then, check up on us on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I can’t say enough about how great it was to be even a small part of Milwaukee Magazine. Since the outset of 2010, I was given virtually free reign to cover whatever I wanted in the realm of Milwaukee music. I’ve been through two site designs, three editors, two partners and a pair of domain names (RIP, InsideMilwaukee.com!) in my time, and I feel the magazine has never been better. I know my replacement, Kevin Mueller, will do a wonderful job with “Music Notes.” Thanks, MilMag.

9. March music comes in like a lion
March got off to an outstanding start, as the first day of the month found the Eastside Music Tour taking Brady Street by storm, Blessed Feathers splitting a Pabst Theater bill with The Fatty Acids, and a wealth of Milwaukee music heavy-hitters taking on Marvin Gaye in Alverno Presents production “Unlooped.” Not to mentioned other events around town. While nobody could possibly make it to everything, there was something great for everyone.

8. Milwaukee does Austin
A few weeks after the Milwaukee music magnificence of March 1, there was a mass exodus of local musicians as approximately 40 area acts piled into vans – or two RVs paid for by a crowdfunding campaign – and went down to Texas to play South By Southwest. Depending on which band you ask, it was a let down, it was a great time or they saw Ludacris at a Whole Foods.

7. Buffalo Gospel plays CXCW
One of the bands that didn’t make it to South By Southwest this year was area folk staple Buffalo Gospel. Instead, the band opted to put Milwaukee on the map by partaking in Couch By Couchwest. Though nary a piece of furniture can be seen, Gospel’s tremendous performance of “Letters To Georgia” excuses the absence of a couch.

6. WAMI nominees announced
Love 'em or hate 'em, the WAMI Awards aren’t going anywhere. Nominees for the 34th annual awards show recognizing the best and brightest of the Wisconsin Area Music Industry were announced in mid-March. While some recent winners were questionable, this year’s ballot suggests the organization got its act together, with an adept ballot full of well-thought nominees spanning 33 categories. The WAMI Awards Show is Sunday, April 27 in at the Fox Cities PAC in Appleton. 

I want to be impartial, but I really hope The Happy Schnapps Combo takes home the Polka Artist Of The Year honors.

5. Some spring releases are about to sprout
Spring is a time of growth and rebirth… even though it snowed here this week. With spring here and summer on the horizon, some local bands are teasing forthcoming releases. Space Raft released a song from its debut album (due out in mid-May), and fresh off their photo shoot for their article in the April issue of Milwaukee Magazine, Animals In Human Attire played some songs for Tap Milwaukee.

4. New releases in full bloom
Beyond the audio breadcrumbs Space Raft and AIHA dropped, a bunch of bands managed full-on March releases. Among them: The Gazettiers, Caley Conway and the Lucy Cukes (played a release show for January EP) and Dogs In Ecstasy. Plus, the new folk trio, Lousy Trouts, will play its release show on Saturday.  

3. Kane Place Record Club releases awesome “Sunshine” music video
It’s not even April and we may already have the Milwaukee music video of the year. Kane Place Record Club’s video for “Sunshine” off its 2013 self-titled album is a marvelous mixture of special effects, animation and gruesome prop-work, all set to a deceivingly peppy song. Do yourself a favor and watch this video.

2. Juiceboxxx goes viral… unfortunately
One video you probably shouldn’t watch was the WTMJ in-studio performance by Milwaukee rapper Juiceboxxx. Though it seemed obvious he was battling technical difficulties during the unfortunate appearance, that didn’t stop people from panning the accomplished emcee’s local new mishap. Soon, national blogs picked up on the clip and, eventually, “Chelsea Lately” slammed him and “@midnight” (easily the best of Chris Hardwick’s 17 television shows) went especially hard on him.

In a segment called "Juice Beatboxing," Hardwick laced into the Milwaukee rapper's performance (and Wisconsin hip-hop in general), before dropping a "Yo, Pewaukee in the house!" He played a portion of Juiceboxxx’s now-viral clip and said, "Yep, that's right about where I put Wisconsin rap." Hardwick then added, "Sorry, I don't mean to dis-consin."

All in all, it’s been a tough month for the Juicer for something that didn’t appear to be his fault. Keep your head up and keep the beats slammin’, JB.

1. Call Me Lightning puts out Human Hell
Virtually inactive but always-awesome rock outfit Call Me Lightning went almost four years between releases. However, on the morning of March 1 (number nine flashback!) the veteran trio’s long-awaited album, Human Hell, came out – to the surprise of even some CML members – and it’s great.

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