Featuring WebsterX, GGOOLLDD, Lifetime Achievement Award, and more.
The local music scene never stays the same for long, but these past few months hip hop and electro-pop utterly dominated the city. Catch up on the current sounds being crafted on laptops throughout Milwaukee with this 11-song playlist that highlights the best songs from the fall.
“London” – bliss & alice
While Mama Tried, the sophomore project from bliss & alice, slowed down the rapid-fire delivery from 2014’s debut Poetry Volume One – The Shit Talker Tape, the relaxed pace accentuates the rapper’s dynamism behind the microphone. On this standout track, bliss & alice shows off new skills—like a deft ability to carry the melody.
“Fire Escape (featuring Margaret Butler)” – Dashcam
Electro-pop producer Dashcam has made a name crafting remixes of fellow Milwaukee artists, including Rio Turbo, GGOOLLDD, No No Yeah Yeah Okay and NO/NO, but now an album of original material is in the works, starting with this glistening, retro-futuristic track featuring GGOOLLDD singer Margaret Butler.
“No More” – B-Free
This snappy neo-soul tune from B-Free’s Ode 2 A Luv Affair conjures up those classic ‘90s R&B radio hits that were accompanied by impractically steamy music videos.
“Blue Streak” – WebsterX
One of the distinct voices in Milwaukee’s active hip hop scene, WebsterX soars high above the clouds on this punchy, astral track—the first single off the rapper’s much-anticipated album.
“Kill Me” – REYNA
Another ‘80s-inspired electro-pop group on the verge of something bigger, sister-duo REYNA (formerly known as Vic and Gab) released another track of its forthcoming debut EP. This dreary ballad uncovers their darker sensibilities, which are hiding underneath vibrant synth-pop melodies.
“Breaking Hearts Ft. EMAAD & Ju Preach (Prod. Canis Major & Bizness Boi) ” – IshDARR
This closer from IshDARR’s impressive Broken Hearts & Bankrolls serves as a platform to show off the burgeoning Cream City Motion collective. Fellow members EMAAD and Ju Preach (who both put out their own projects this year) step up to the plate in a big way here.
“Speak To Me” – AUTOMatic
“I’m analog in this digital age/ I’m playing throwback video games 16-and 8-bit” APRIME raps on this track from the hip hop duo AUTOmatic’s latest record, Marathon. The refusal of him and partner, producer Trellmatic, to blindly chase trends in hip hop helps in making this song sound timeless.
“Undercovers” – GGOOLLDD
With GGOOLLDD selling out Turner Hall Ballroom two years in a row, there’s little debate which band is the biggest in Milwaukee right now. And with songs as catchy and as dance-floor-friendly as this one, it’s not hard to see why.
“Streets Ahead” – Chris Siegel X Strehlow
You may know the electronic music duo of Chris Siegel (also of Kiings) and Strehlow for their two collaborations earlier this year, “This is How” and “All I Think About.” They’ve teamed up again in December for this instrumental track, which sounds like a potluck of sprightly genres that make even the harshest winter temperatures feel like the warm summer sun.
“Ode to the Local Band” – Lifetime Achievement Award
“The bartender said, hey man/ You’ll be drinking domestic beers and rail drinks for the rest of your natural life,” goes this dire snapshot on the worst parts of being in a local band. The song’s a good reminder that the next time you should buy someone in a band a beverage, spring for the nice stuff.
“Epicenter of Anomaly” – Gauss
This noisy track from Gauss’ EP Thalweg sort of sounds like The Cure slowed down to half speed. The song simmers slowly before ultimately fading out, eschewing the long build to a big momentous release that a lesser song might reach for.