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June's Top Ten Musical Moments
Space Raft, Locust Street Fest and the BMO Harris Pavilion.

10. The 30th anniversary of Die Kreuzen’s debut full-length

For Record Store Day this past April, seminal Wisconsin hardcore band Die Kreuzen reissued its very first release, the EP Cows and Beer. But this June also marked another reason to celebrate the group, as the month marked the 30-year anniversary of its eponymous debut LP on Touch and Go Records. While music writers seem to be fawning over grunge icons Nirvana with endless retrospectives on their discography and their impact on mainstream culture, they seem to be ignoring some of the underrated hardcore bands from a decade prior that put out great albums that influenced the next era. Listen to Die Kreuzen’s debut full-length below.


9. Big month for BMO Harris Pavilion concerts

When the BMO Harris Pavilion opened a couple summers ago, early reports on concert turn-outs were grim. But the Pabst Theater Organization might have the 10,000-person capacity venue figured out. Their first show at the Pavilion—originally moved from the 2,500-seat Riverside Theater—was a crowded, fantastic Vampire Weekend performance. And this month the Pabst also announced a stop from the teenage alt-pop sensation, Lorde, at the BMO Harris Pavilion on Friday, September 26.

8. Fauxny releases colorful new EP, Rues

Since 2011, the anonymous bedroom R&B project Fauxny has delivered a new EP every 13 months for listeners to unravel its mysterious contents. The soulful Rues marked the culmination of the ambitious four-year project. In a Facebook update, the covert singer allowed a slight peek into his process and future: “On my birthday, I've finished the series I plotted out alone in my bedroom in 2010. I've released 22 songs over the course of four years in four albums. Today is the last day I am 22 and the first day I am 23. Thank you all for your support. Now, this is where I end. And where I begin.”

7. Enabler scores praise from Pitchfork

The indie music magnate has certainly lost its tastemaker status over the past few years, but receiving the Pitchfork stamp of approval still means something these days. The Milwaukee metalcore three-piece Enabler earned a favorable 7.0 review this month for La Fin Absolue Du Monde, which is particularly solid since the ratings for metal albums tend to remain low—the No. 6 album on the Top 40 Metal Records of 2012 received the same score as Enabler.

6. Calliope delivers the trance-y new album Orbis.

An experience from Austin Psych Fest last year had a lasting influence on Calliope’s second release, the space-y, psychedelic, Orbis. The group distanced themselves from the Doors and Animals comparisons on the record, as the new stuff found them discovering their own fuzzed-out sound. Read a brief Q&A with the band from earlier this month. 

5. Breadfest line-up announced, will crown local (most likely Riverwest) band that’s best at basketball

Breadking always seems to have busy months, but June just might have been the music collective’s most active. First, the second annual Breadfest line-up was announced, featuring many Riverwest stalwarts playing just about every Riverwest music venue, plus Wu-Tang Park. The four-day festival begins on Thursday, July 31. All access wristbands cost $25. Breadking also announced an elimination bracket to determine the best Milwaukee band at 3-on-3 basketball. The championship of the 32-band tournament will take place on Breadfest’s second day, Friday, August 1.

4. Death Blues releases heady new LP

The nervy project of percussionist Jon Mueller (Collections of Colonies of Bees and Volcano Choir) unleashed a walloping, layered masterpiece on Sige Records this month. Non Fiction was recorded (where else?) at Howl Street Recordings and pressed as limited run vinyl (100 clear, 200 black copies). Watch the music video for an edited segment of the psychedelic “Do” below.

DEATH BLUES: 'DO' from rhythmplex on Vimeo. 

3. Pabst Street Fest at Burnhearts

Thankfully, an early downpour quickly passed over Bay View, only moving back the festivities at Pabst Street Festival outside Burnhearts about a half an hour. When GGOOLLDD kicked the day off at around 1:30 p.m., a good crowd had already arrived. And by the time Sylvan Esso played in the late afternoon, the block was crammed with people. It’s a shame that the bar only holds two outdoor concerts a year—the other, Mittenfest, is in February. There are few block parties that achieve this level of fun and brandy-induced debauchery.

2. Whoa. Space Raft deservedly lands on CMJ’s best songs of the year (so far) playlist alongside some well-known bands

The debut record from Space Raft is good—like, really good. So it’s not surprising to see such a quality band receive some nationwide acclaim from a magazine, especially a college radio-focused one. What’s a bit shocking, however, is there was no other qualification when CMJ listed Space Raft on its best songs of the year so far. It’d be one thing if the list contained bands that national audiences probably hadn’t heard of, but, no, there’s Space Raft’s “We’re Not Alone” listed next to St. Vincent’s “Birth In Reverse” and The War on Drugs’ “Red Eyes." Conspiracy theorists and Jim Carrey movie enthusiasts please discuss the significance of the band’s alphabetic placement at No. 23.

1. Locust Street Music Festival kicks off the summer

Whenever any out-of-towner experiences a particular chilly, winter day with not much to do, we always reassure them that when the temperature finally warms up, the city goes wild with outdoor festivals. The 38th Locust Street Music Festival in Riverwest has annually marked the start of the summer block party season on some unseasonable days, but this year, the event experienced almost-perfect weather. It also helps that the festival featured some of the music scene’s best bands—Fresh Cut Collective, The Fatty Acids, Whips and Kane Place Record Club, among others.

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