Fading Summer: Enjoy the Season’s Last Rays With Colleen Green and La Luz

Colleen Green at Lucky Cat and La Luz at Cactus Club help send off Summer on a high note. Plus: WMSE’s 6th Annual Backyard BBQ, the stream of the week, and more.

The strange, unseasonable cold snap appears to be over (for now) and it really couldn’t have come at a better time. Summer is on its way out the door, but before its unwanted exit, there’s still time to fire up those grills and crack open a few cold ones before winter ceases all outdoor activities.

A waning summer signals a passing of the guard. Teenagers start high school for the first time; college students experience their first keg stand, and new graduates come to terms with how hard it is to get an actual job. It’s the time of year when everyone is forced to grow up.

The breezy, laconic punk singer Colleen Green (who plays Lucky Cat, 2541 N. Bremen St., on Tuesday) makes her aspirations known immediately on her third full-length, February’s I Want to Grow Up (off Hardly Art). Behind crunchy guitars and wry smile, she drowsily sings, “I want to grow up/ I really do.” And the thing is the 30-year-old singer (whose Twitter handle, by the way, is @colleengreen420) isn’t just sarcastically rattling off those words, she actually means it.

The album marks the first time left the cramped confines of her bedroom to record, as she spent 10 days in Nashville recording with Jake Orrall of JEFF the Brotherhood and Casey Weissbuch of Diarrhea Planet. The relative polish only brightens Green’s creative knack for catchy melodies and incisive lyricism. It’s her most confident and personal effort to date.

But while Green seeks maturity on I Want to Grow Up, she still leaves room for lounging around. “TV is my friend/ And it has been with me every day/ From an early age,” she sings on stand-out track “TV,” which could easily be a slacker anthem for anyone that has time to kill and a friend’s Netflix password.

La Luz. Photo by Andrew Imanaka.

Seattle’s La Luz (who plays Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., on Sunday) proffers a different perspective of summer on 2015’s Weirdo Shrine (also off Hardly Art). While its windswept melodies and crashing surf rock guitars sounds like an era already passed, an eerie, timeless undercurrent—the album was influenced by Charles Burns’ graphic novel Black Hole—pervades throughout the dreamy sheen, making La Luz more likely to search for ghosts through the woods than hit the beach and catch a wave.

Weirdo Shrine, the band’s second album, marks a major step forward in La Luz’s surf noir. De rigueur garage rock guitarist Ty Segall produced the record, capturing the group’s much-heralded, lively performances on tape. To make them feel at home, he set them up in a surf shop in Sam Dimas, Calif. The record feels immediate and alive and one that’s worth soundtracking a cool, late summer night bonfire. Just watch out for what’s in those woods.

Colleen Green headlines all-ages venue Lucky Cat, 2541 N. Bremen St., on Tuesday with Philadelphia’s Mannequin Pussy and Jaill at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. La Luz plays the 21-and-over Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., on Sunday with Will Sportt and Mercy Brown at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8.

Stream of the Week

The debut EP from The Pukes, which surfaced on Bandcamp a couple weeks ago, is a refreshing surprise, like an unexpected breath mint after, well, you know what. Listen to five songs of catchy surf punk below and see the three-piece this Saturday at Frank’s Power Plant, 2800 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., with One of Us, Faux Fiction and The Monday Specials. Doors open at 10 p.m. and cover is $10.

Backyard Party

The opportunity for hosting an outdoor, all-day party diminishes greatly with each passing week, something definitely on the mind of WMSE 91.7. This Saturday the local radio station hosts its 6th Annual Backyard BBQ in Cathedral Square Park. The event features J.D. McPherson, Dirty Bourbon River Show, Phil Hill, Devil Met Contention and Jim Liban with the Joel Paterson Trio. Festivities start at 4 p.m.

Other Options

Thursday, September 3: Slightly Stoopid with The Expendables at The Rave, 8 p.m. ($30-$35)

Friday, September 4: Christian Mistress with Northless and The Old Northwest at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. ($10)

Saturday, September 5: Light Music with Awkward Terrible, Ruth B8r Ginsburg at Mad Planet, 9 p.m. ($7)

Also: Rusty P’s and LMNtlyst (album release) with Def Harmonic, NNYO and DJ Bizzon at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. ($10)

And: Ed Schrader’s Music Beat with Mexican Knives, (ORB) and Soup Moat at Riverwest Public House, 9 p.m. ($7)



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.