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May's Top Ten Musical Moments
The monthly roundup includes Hello Death, Sylvan Esso and Sat. Nite Duets.

Before outdoor day drinking swallows the entirety of our non-working lives and an unrelenting hangover plagues the other portion, let’s recount the best things that happened in local music this past month.

10. WTF? Marc Maron cuts some guitar for Trapper Schoepp and the Shades’ next record

While recording the new Trapper Schoepp & The Shades album in Nashville, drummer Jon Phillip and bassist Tanner Schoepp crossed paths with comedian and podcast host March Maron. Any listeners to Maron’s show know that the cat-loving stand-up has a passing interest in the guitar. So, naturally Phillip and Schoepp asked the intrepid podcaster back to cut a few licks in the studio. Apparently Maron’s first time in the studio went well, and perhaps—opposed to his first movie role in Mighty Ducks 2—Trapper Schoepp & The Shades won’t scrap his contributions. Listen to Maron talk about the experience at around the seven minute mark in his opening before interviewing RuPaul Charles.

9. Another good month for local records

May saw the release of a charcuterie board full of albums. Brett Newski provided the Cheddar cheese with the workman-like power-folk songs on American Folk Armageddon. Kinetic snazzed things up with some prosciutto on its jazz fusion full-length, Mindload. Antler House came with the oft-underrated and essential olives and pickles on Through The Dirt. And AUTOmatic delivered the stone ground mustard on The Air Quotes Mixtape.

8. Pizzle grabs media attention with attention-grabbing song title

A couple weeks ago the rapper Pizzle dropped the track “Killwaukee,” a Milwaukee take on Nicki Minaj’s popular portmanteau “Chiraq.” It circled some local blogs, but didn’t become a major societal issue until reaching the ears of concerned CBS 58 news reporters, who stormed gun violence meetings and actually prodded Mayor Tom Barrett for comment. I wouldn’t want the story to gain anymore unnecessary traffic so I won’t post a link to the video here, but instead spend a couple minutes listening to Pizzle’s fiery song.

8. Local musicians find spots in summer festivals

Say what you will about the lackluster local booking at the KNE New Music stage, but most traffic doesn’t pick up until late afternoon when deserving local acts go on anyway. Check out the headliners here. The much closer but just as clustered Locust Street Festival offers as many quality bands as Summerfest’s local stage but packed into one Sunday on one strip in Riverwest. The usual suspects—Fatty Acids, Kane Place Record Club and of course Sigmund Snopek—are paired with some newer to the festival, like Whips. Check out the full lineup and set times here. Lastly, Chill on the Hill announced its weekly line-up for Tuesday nights in Bay View’s Humboldt Park. Paul Cebar & The Tomorrow Sound, Extra Crispy Brass Band, I’m Not a Pilot, plus many more will headline.

6. Myles Coyne and the Rusty Nickel Band stops by Daytrotter to record a few new tracks

Over the years Daytrotter has gained an extensive catalog of recordings at its Rock Island studios. File Myles Coyne and the Rusty Nickel Band onto that ever-growing list. You need a membership to stream (or download) the songs the site posted last week, but it’s well worth the cash to hear the scrappy folk group try out a few new ones, plus recut their track, “Empire” from the Sound of Young Milwaukee compilation. Listen to the session here. 

5. Sat. Nite Duets unshackles new single, announces new EP

Anyone that knows me is well aware I’m a sucker for some Sat. Nite Duets. On last year’s Electric Manland, they completely shed the Pavement comparisons, went into full party mode and truly came into their own. That hedonistic direction continues with “On My Honor,” which the band released in advance of an EP, Los DJs. The EP is slated to come out next month and will probably make an appearance on next month’s list.

4. Hello Death unveils gorgeous “Settlers” music video

Hello Death’s haunting and arresting self-titled debut from last year instantly established them as one of the city’s must-see live acts. The band creates the type of breathtakingly gorgeous folk songs that could easily provide the musical accompaniment to breathtakingly gorgeous cinematic shots of deciduous scenery. So, it made sense that the band would shoot a pristine, textured music video in a forest. Directed by Hello Death’s baritone-voiced upright bassist Nathaniel Heuer, the video for “Settlers” premiered during a show at the Walkers Point Anodyne Coffee, but a stream still hasn’t emerged online. Come on, guys!

3. Sylvan Esso’s coming out party

It’s been quite a month for the two Sylvan Esso band members who initially met at Cactus Club a few years ago. Not only did Mountain Man’s Amelia Randall and Decibully’s Nicholas Sanburn release an enrapturing eponymous debut, the electro folk duo also made an appearance on Last Call with Carson Daly, even though I was more surprised to see that talk show still on air than watch Sylvan Esso gab on network television.


2. Space Raft releases a stunning debut

Aren’t bands usually supposed to sound shaky on their first release? Space Raft shakes off that stereotype and delivers an uproarious power-pop record that sounds absolutely huge.

1. And so did The Delphines.

What a month for debut full-lengths. After a few singles and EPs, The Delphines seemed like a band that might release in that shorter format forever. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, and gave us the majestic lo-fi album Hush. While no more than 27 minutes long, these 10 songs make up the most solid tunes in their catalog. Plus, there’s at least one certified hit, the glossy, up-tempo “Little Viking.”

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