Celebrating 10 Years of Dusty Medical Records

Local label Dusty Medical Records has amassed an impressive 40-plus release catalog over its 10 years in business, and now it’s time to celebrate. Plus: stream the new album from Light Music.

Over the last 10 years, countless Milwaukee bands formed and subsequently broke up, Verge Music Festival ceremoniously came and unceremoniously went, Milverine was just a local folklore secret before having an art gallery night in his honor where t-shirts were sold with his likeness, oh and a car existed until it didn’t. There have also been seismic changes in the way our culture consumes music. Social media made spreading the word about upcoming projects much easier, but the field became crowded due to the instant accessibility.

musicnotes_dustymedical_webThrough the wreckage, small local label Dusty Medical Records pushed forward against all odds, and not only survived, but ended up compiling an impressive catalog of some 40-plus releases, including seminal Milwaukee albums from Goodnight Loving, Call Me Lighting, Sugar Stems, Space Raft and Platinum Boys.

It all started in 2005 with a live Black Lips bootleg ripped from New York City radio station WMFU and pressed to 500 copies of vinyl, which is perhaps the most sought after Dusty Medical release to date. There cheapest copy is currently available on discogs.com for $45.

“At the time I did not have much of a vision for the label (you might argue I still don’t),” label founder Kevin Meyer says, “I just thought it sounded like a fun and awesome thing to try. Turns out, it was and it has been ever since.”

Vision or not, in a city searching for a musical identity, Dusty Medical became its go-to destination for garage pop, though that hasn’t been the label’s only brand. In 2010, Who-acolytes Call Me Lightning released When I Am Gone My Blood Will Be Free through the label, a post-punk power album that earned unanimous praise locally and gained some national attention. It’s undoubtedly one of the finest records of the past 10 years.

This weekend Dusty Medical celebrates its 10th anniversary with four days of shows throughout the city (see complete schedule below) that features more than a dozen bands that released albums on the label. Full four-day passes ($42) and single day tickets ($7-$15) can be purchased here.

Thursday, August 27

Opening Reception / Art Show

  • Works by Luke Chappelle, Music by Holy Shit! and The Ornerys at Acme Music & Record Emporium, 7 p.m. (FREE) – (2341 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.)

Midnight Reruns with The Midwest Beat with Phylums and The Get Drunk DJs at Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m. ($8) – (2501 S. Superior St., ClubGaribaldis.com)

Friday, August 28

Berserk Hour Patio Party

  • The Get Drunk DJs at The Vanguard, 5; p.m. (FREE) – (2659 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.)

LiveFastDie with A/V Murder, Johnny Ill Band, Drugs Dragons and The Vanguard DJs at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. ($12) – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave., CactusClubMilwaukee.com)

Saturday, August 28

Platinum Boys with Ramma Lamma, Head on Electric, Midwives and DJs Von Munz & Warlock at Quarters Rock ‘n Roll Palace, 4 p.m. ($7) – (900 E. Center St.)

Goodnight Loving with Tuff Bananas, Tang Soleil, Space Raft and DJ Greg Cartwright at Mad Planet, 9 p.m. ($15) – (533 E. Center S.t, Mad-Planet.net)

Sunday, August 29

Greg Cartwright with Sugar Stems ’n Friends and Hot Dog! Classic Country Spin DJs at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 3 p.m. ($12) – (1001 E. Locust St., Linnemans.com)


Stream of the Week

Light Music has been a noticeable presence in Milwaukee for some time, but last Friday marked the band’s official full-length debut, Oceans Daughter, off The Record Machine. Listen to the lush yet calculated indie-rock record below and catch the band’s upcoming release show at Mad Planet, 533 E. Center St., on Sept. 5 with Awkward Terrible and Ruth B8r Ginsburg.

Sound Off

Fans of WBEZ Chicago radio program Sound Opinions know music critic Jim DeRogatis’ voice pretty well (and his thoughts on R. Kelly), but how about his own musical prowess? Catch him play drums at Circle-A Cafe, 932 E. Chambers St., on Saturday with his punk band Vortis. The show starts at 7 p.m. with openers Bad Bread.

More Options

Tuesday, August 25: One Direction with Icona Pop at Miller Park, 7 p.m. ($24.50-$99.50) – (1 Brewers Way)

Also: Chill on the Hill featuring Greatest Lakes with Ladders and New Harmony Indiana at Humboldt Park, 6 p.m. (FREE) – (3000 S. Howell Ave., http://www.bayviewneighborhood.org/chill_on_the_hill)

Wednesday, August 26: River Rhythms featuring Hugh Bob and the Hustle at Pere Marquette Park, 6:30 p.m. (FREE) – (900 N. Plankinton Ave., Westown.org/neighborhood-events/river-rhythms)

Friday, August 28: Meat Puppets at Club Garibaldi, 8:30 p.m. ($13) – (2501 S. Superior St., ClubGaribaldis.com)

Saturday, August 29: Testa Rosa (album release) with Tense Experts at Shank Hall, 9 p.m. ($10) – (1434 N. Farwell Ave., ShankHall.com)



Kevin is a freelance writer residing in Milwaukee. He’s contributed to The Shepherd Express, Third Coast Daily, Pop Matters and the sadly now-defunct A.V. Club Milwaukee. He looks forward to forging a deeper connection with the city’s impressive music scene during his gig as a Music Notes blogger. His talents include music criticism, riding a bicycle, drinking tasty beers and a crafty croquet swing. His weaknesses comprise Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, professional wrestling and his ever-growing record collection. He’s in desperate need to find more physical (and hard drive) space for the exceptional albums Milwaukee musicians keep churning out.