Every month, we’re going to count down the top 10 most exciting, surprising and just plain great moments in music. Let's get started.
10. Summerfest Returns!
For the 43rd year, the “World’s Largest Music Festival” returned to Milwaukee’s lakefront. The Big Gig continues through July 7, but the likes of The Violent Femmes, The Avett Brothers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fun., Cake, Tom Petty, Billy Idol, LL Cool J, Imagine Dragons, Alice Cooper, Pitbull and hundreds more have already graced Henry Maier Festival Park with their presence.
9. Breadfest Begins.
From one “Fest” to another, the inaugural Breadfest – an event began by Breadking Collective – brought 21 bands to four Riverwest venues to play six shows on June 29 and June 30. Breadfest was decidedly different than its crosstown festival counterpart, as its DIY focus and local-centric lineup brought Milwaukee favorites like Old Earth, Temple, Animals In Human Attire, Midwest Death Rattle and Absolutely to Riverwest instead of Foreigner, Pat Benatar and Red Hot Chili Puppets. If you missed the first of hopefully many Breadfests, download the Breadfest 2013 sampler.
8. Kane Place Record Club releases new song, “Sleep.”
As if June wasn’t already a big enough month for the Milwaukee indie rock staple with appearances at Locust Street Festival, Summer Solstice Music Festival and Summerfest, Kane Place Record Club put out an infectious, piano-driven and vocal distortion-heavy song called “Sleep” on its Bandcamp page. Hopefully that can hold you over until Kane Place’s record release show at Linneman’s Aug. 10.
7. The Championship is featured on MTV’s The Real World.
MTV’s longstanding voyeuristic drama, The Real World, is credited to be among the world’s first reality shows. Thanks for paving the way, guys! But in addition to the drunken fights and below blanket intra-cast hookups, the show does succeed in occasionally laying a good song over the society-diminishing video footage. Case in point, playing “Lonely Stranger” from Milwaukee folk rock veteran The Championship’s great 2012 album High Feather during the June 12 episode.
6. WC Tank releases music video for “Demigodz (Of Tha Law)”
Riverwest rapper Wesley “WC” Tank is among the more motivated and innovative hip-hop voices in town. Even if you can get down with his syllable-stacking catalog of songs (which is hard to imagine), his music videos are undeniably entertaining. In his latest collaboration with Honeycomb Productions’ Kurt Raether, Tank is transported to “The Gutterworld,” where black and white weirdness ensues.
5. Hugh Bob & The Hustle does Daytrotter.
Getting the Daytrotter treatment seems to be a rite of passage for any burgeoning unsigned band. Fellow Brew City bands, including Juniper Tar, Surgeons In Heat, The Fatty Acids, Collection of Colonies Of Bees and Field Report have previously dropped by Daytrotter headquarters in Rock Island, Ill., to lay down some songs. Earlier this month, Milwaukee alt-country stalwarts Hugh Bob & The Hustle became the latest local act to lay down stripped-down renditions of four songs. Stream the session here (registration required).
4. Vic & Gab gets SPIN treatment, premieres new song.
Just try to listen to a song by sister duo Vic & Gab without cracking a smile. It can’t be done. The sibling songwriters had the song “Come and Stay” premiered on SPIN June 6. The song is, thankfully, more of the same from the airy Milwaukee indie act. Give it a listen in anticipation of the forthcoming Vic & Gab LP, Love of Mine, which will be formally released July 9 and will be available at the band’s July 12 Cactus Club release show that also features openers Fable & The World Flat and Mutts.
3. Kiings drops new song and Rhye remix.
Area “Future Soul” duo Kiings, had an especially accomplished June that saw them collaborating with Brooklyn-based (by wat of Superior, Wis.) songstress Christine Hoberg on ethereal electronic ballad “You Can’t See Me” and remixing L.A. singer Rhye’s song, “Open.”
2. Jaill puts out something old and something new.
Jaill has a distinct summer sound that seems tailor-made for beach parties and barbeques. Sadly, this summer won’t bring a follow-up to 2012’s awesome Traps, as the band is touring in extended support of it and breaking in a new drummer. However, the Sub Pop Records band is doing just enough to tide fans over until its next release (2014). At the end of June, Jaill released a cassette on Burger Records that founding/only remaining original member Vinnie Kircher recorded in 2004. Only 250 copies of Cranes exist, so pick one up before it’s gone forever. Listen to “Holder” off the new… old release.
Jaill also thought to put out a music video for new song, “Pointy Fingers” – which the band debuted June 16 before a performance at Mad Planet (where a portion of the video was filmed).
1. Hello Death releases debut album.
Group Of The Altos (or “Altos” depending on who you talk to) offshoot Hello Death released its long-awaited debut album hello death on June 14. It’s littered with dark, beautiful vocal harmonies and keen instrumentation. It’s sure to appear on countless “Best Of” lists in town come December.