Every month, we’re going to count down the top 10 most exciting, surprising and just plain great moments in Milwaukee music. Let's get started.
10. Space Raft and Heartthrob drop by WMSE
Thanks to our favorite local radio station, WMSE, two of Milwaukee’s more promising and criminally under-recorded new indie rock bands – Space Raft and Heartthrob – have a combined 10 songs people can listen to (and download free of charge) as we anxiously wait for formal albums to come out.
9. Alexander Boyes Remixes Fable & The World Flat’s “Soliloquy In Symphony”
Back in April, Fable & The World Flat put out The Great Attractor, its long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s Ladies and Gentleman. The sturdy release blended tight production and affable pop hooks, highlighted by sleek single “Soliloquy In Symphony.” If you happen to be immune to the catchy track, maybe the Alexander Boyes remix of the song will strike your fancy. Be on the lookout for another Fable album late next month.
8. Absolutely puts out a new record
In heavier news, local rockers Absolutely put out new releases. The band’s Brother/Crab 7” features a retooling of “A Woman Wearing A Crab As A Hat” from Absolutely’s recent Amp Or Sandman EP.
7. Video released for Tony Memmel’s “Lucky Fin Song”
Local singer-songwriter Tony Memmel makes a living with a guitar in his hand, despite the fact that he was born with only one. Arguably more impressive than Memmel’s inspiring backstory of overcoming physical limitations to front a band is the work he’s done to help encourage others born with limb differences. Memmel is using his upbeat personality and musical talent to help spread the word about the Lucky Fin Project. He even wrote a song for Lucky Fin. In August, a video for the song featuring video from tour, interactions with children and about 12 other things that will make your day a bit brighter.
6. Paste Magazine names “10 Wisconsin Bands You Should Listen To Now”
Love from local press is one thing, but it means a little more when a respected national music publication like Paste calls attention to some of Wisconsin’s best bands. Though its top 10 list only scratched the surface of the state’s great music, all named – including Milwaukee area’s own Blessed Feathers, Juniper Tar, Field Report, Jaill, Vic and Gab, and Trapper Schoepp & The Shades – earned the nod.
5. Video released for Buffalo Gospel song “The Western”
Alt-country supergroup Buffalo Gospel put out a full-length, We Can Be Horses, earlier in the month. Around the same time, a music video for stripped-down and somber single “The Western” was cast out amongst the cat videos and assorted “Fails” on YouTube. Fans of trains, breaking glass, grainy black and white footage, and undeniably tremendous Milwaukee-sired folk will find enjoyment in this.
4. Hotel Foster’s Milwaukee Film Festival Soundtrack lineup announced
As if the ever-growing Milwaukee Film Festival couldn’t get any better, the event (which is taking place between Sept. 27 and Oct. 10) is adding a musical element to keep the fun rolling long after the screens fade to black. Each night, Hotel Foster will be the site of a MFF Soundtrack show. The lineup was announced last week. Among the myriad of great area acts slated to perform are Catacombz, DJ Asher Diamonds, The Championship, Painted Caves, Soul Low, Midwest Death Rattle, Vic and Gab, Young Holidays, and Fever Marlene.
3. Harley-Davidson celebrates 110 in style
Over the last 110 years, Harley-Davidson’s image has shifted from one anchored on the principles of rebellion and bucking rigid societal constructs into a high-end emblem to help middle-aged men cruise through their mid-life crisis in style. However, one thing has held true for the duration of the iconic motorcycle manufacturer’s existence. They know how to throw a party.
Harley’s 110th Anniversary brought more than 60 national acts to the Summerfest grounds, including Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Common, The Doobie Brothers, Toby Keith, Joan Jett, Dropkick Murphys, Cheap Trick and ZZ Top. Moreover, Harley-themed block parties showcased local talent such as Hot Coffin and Summertime Dudes on North Avenue and Brady Street as well.
2. Juniper Tar to bow out
First reported by OnMilwaukee.com’s Bobby Tanzilo, one of Milwaukee’s most accomplished and all-around favorite bands is coming to an end soon. Juniper Tar’s Sept. 21 Linneman’s show will likely be the band’s swan song, as lead singer and primary songwriter Jason Mohr is relocating to Denver to take a job with Colorado Public Radio. The folk-rock quintet had a pretty quiet year (while Mohr to eased into fatherhood and the rest of the band curated The Foster Project), but experienced a whirlwind 2012 that included a lengthy Hotel Foster Residency and releasing its best (and, turns out, last) album, the incredible Since Before. They’ll be missed.
1. New songs from local favorites
Local acts releasing singles isn’t big news on its own. However, when a cluster of some of the city’s best bands and solo performers issue single-song servings to serve as appetizers for upcoming releases, it’s worth noting. We can’t name all the great new songs put out, but some of our favorites are from The Delphines, The Fatty Acids, Lamb’s Legs, Blessed Feathers, City Of Ghosts, Catacombz and Klassik. Not only do these new songs solidify an impressive August in Milwaukee music, they hold the promise for great stuff for months to come.