It’s understandable if your DVR is currently at capacity, filled with television shows from last fall that you’ve really been meaning to watch. It’s similarly easy to get behind on the expansive and impressive output from Milwaukee’s music scene. That’s why at Music Notes we’ve decided to create quarterly mixtapes to keep you caught up with the best stuff. Here’s the first installment, featuring an eclectic crop of songs from this winter.
“Andromeda” – Klassik
It’s appropriate to kick off this winter playlist with Klassik’s star-gazing “Andromeda” since the dizzying track comes off the rapper’s Winter EP, the first in a string of four seasonal releases—sounds familiar, huh?
Next show: Mad Planet on March 28 with Kiings, BoneLang and Three. Stacks. Eliot.
“Candy” – Platinum Boys
A highway cruising, beer swilling, shout-out-loud anthem from debut LP Future Hits—what’s more fun than this?
Next show: Circle-A Cafe on March 22 with The Fog
“You Never Know” – Surgeons in Heat
This weightless cut from the upcoming Surgeons in Heat full-length, Disaster, brings to mind the sticky, catchy hooks of Telekinesis—that is, before the bottom falls off the song and it turns into a road weary jam that’s more in line with The Men’s New Moon. It’s well worth the ride.
Next show: Album release party at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn on May 1 with Canopies, Sat. Nite Duets and Fatty Acids.
“Red Flag” – NO/NO
There’s always something sinister lying under the surface of NO/NO’s synth-heavy post-punk songs and this one from the four-song EP X.O. is no exception.
Next show: Linneman’s on March 28 with Rio Turbo, The Fatty Acids, Lorde Fredd33, and The Sounds of Time
“You Had Me” – Dream Attics
The only band featured here that haven’t played a single show, Dream Attics build upon the glitchy, electronic pop tunes from last summer’s EP, Unbend, with “You Had Me,” a smooth, laid-back jaunt that melds the soothing voices of Shane English and Amanda Huff (from Flag Signals) and Nick Tovarek’s slick production.
Next (first) show: Mad Planet on May 2 with Terror Pigeon and Max Holiday
“Too Bad” – IshDARR
Milwaukee’s rap wunderkind is coming of age with staggering results. This stand-out track from the astounding Old Soul Young Spirit is the most club-ready banger of the bunch. Stand back.
Next show: The Rave on April 16 with IAMSU!, Rome Fortune and Dave Steezy
“Two Years/Two Weeks” – Soul Low
There’s a visceral despair running through Jake Balistrieri’s frantic voice on “Two Years/Two Weeks” from Soul Low’s Kind Spirit EP that feels completely relatable for anyone who’s ever been swept up with too many responsibilities. It’s a friendly reminder that every once in a while it’s necessary to breathe.
Next show: Cocoon Room on April 20 with Pile, Animal Faces and Piles
“Blackout” – The Living Statues
With this polished, bouncy track, the throwback garage rockers The Living Statues continue their mission to craft enough anthems to one day fill arenas.
Next show: Shank Hall on May 8
“Boyz” – GGOOLLDD
Listener beware: This utterly infectious track from the utterly unstoppable synth-pop group GGOOLLD will stay stuck in your head for days.
Next show: Cactus Club on April 24 with Buhu and Workout Music
“Doomsday (feat. siren)” – WebsterX
This euphoric track finds the spirited rapper WebsterX confronting mortality and not allowing it to overcome him while he’s still alive.
Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled
“Coplight” – Group of the Altos
The new, scattered Group of the Altos album R U Person Or Not is a major departure from 2012’s self-titled debut, which found the then-12-piece band in firm post-rock mode. It’s a wonder that the new record holds so well together in spite of its wild divergences, which is what endeared me to the album at first. But when I saw the now-15-piecer play their release show at Company Brewing last weekend, I was blown away at how well the band is at playing simple, sweet love songs.
Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled
“Slept In” – estates
The emo revival is alive and kicking in Milwaukee. While clocking in at less than two minutes, this single from estates’ upcoming sophomore record It’s Great To Be Alone brings back the crashing spirit of ‘90s Midwestern emo. What this song lacks in track-time, it makes up in noise.
Next show: Cocoon Room on March 23 with Typesetter, Watcher’s Woods and Mountain Language
“Blood Boil Slow” – Devil Met Contention
It sounds like the arid, dusty southwestern air has done irreparable damage to Ehson Rad’s vocal chords on this selection from the band’s four-song American Times EP. His gravely voice works to an advantage, however, on the equally gruff, shadowy track.
Next show: Shank Hall on April 2 with Dead Horses
“Then She Put Her Foot Down” – Midwives
Anger and scorn fuels this brash, aggressive song from Midwives’ self-titled full length. It’s not 80 seconds long, but there’s still time to fit in a killer solo.
Next show: Cocoon Room on April 7 with Xetas and Foreign Lawns
“Qualmness” – adoptahighway
This eerie, ethereal track from experimental electronic producer adoptahighway’s pulsing record A Fault feels like a ticking time bomb that’s ready to explode.
Next show: Cactus Club on March 27 with ZeroBeat, The Demix, Night Hunter and Stratus
“Garden (feat. Christopher Porterfield & milo)” – Kiings
The greatest trick the producer duo pulls off on debut record WWYDF is bringing together two unique Milwaukee voices—Field Report’s Christopher Porterfield and the lyrical rapper milo—and making the pairing sound seamless. Hopefully this success spawns even more adventurous collaborations in the future.
Next show: Mad Planet on March 28 with Klassik, BoneLang and Three. Stacks. Eliot.