Music Notes: Midwest Death Rattle Sinks Another Venomous Bite

Midwest Death Rattle celebrates the release of the cryptically eclectic new album, “Post-Apocalypso.” Plus: stream a new song from Vincent VanGREAT, watch a new video from GGOOLLDD and get ready for a busy week for live music in Milwaukee.

Like a snake burrowed inside a nest before striking its unassuming prey, Midwest Death Rattle operate with a veiled approach, as sinister elements seem to lurk underneath the surface before taking hold. Those visceral tendencies first emerged on the band’s 2012 self-titled debut—especially on songs like “Manimal Instinct,” “Food Chain” and “Run! Shark!”—and after an extended hibernation, the band is back for more blood. On Saturday, May 21, they celebrate the release of the 12-song follow-up Post-Apocalypso.

Midwest Death Rattle’s cryptic eclecticism remains one of the album’s strongpoints. Keyboards and horns shoehorn their way into the production, but rather than providing stability, their inclusion usually signals even more chaos. “A fear of the dark won’t buy you anymore time,” guitarist Nick Perow sings on the self-titled track, a sinewy, brooding post-punk dirge that signals towards our impending doom. But the song doesn’t truly sink its teeth in until the addition of a tuba to the fold.

It’s all pretty heavy stuff. “Your teeth are sharp/ You’ll get the job done,” goes the bristling, unapologetic “Feed Them to Each Other.” Post-Apocalypso is the soundtrack to nightmares.

Midwest Death Rattle headlines an album release party for Post-Apocalypso at Cactus Club on Saturday night with openers Mutts, Gallery Night and DJ Chris Schulist. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Stream of the Week

Last time we checked in with Vincent VanGREAT, the rapper was donning a Jabari Parker jersey alongside the beautiful Chicago lakefront on the music video for “Killer Steez.” On Sunday, May 15, he released the second single from his forthcoming album, UnGREATful, due out in June. While “Bel-Air” has a throwback aesthetic—the track’s inspiration comes from a certain ‘90s sitcom (“I feel a light breeze with my Carlton sweater”)—VanGreat doesn’t seem stuck in the past, rather incorporating the best elements from a preceding era to his fresh sound.

Video of the Week

Turner Hall Ballroom mostly hosts touring acts, while local musicians are often slotted in opening spots or as part of broader showcases like Local Coverage or Milwaukee Day. In very rare cases do local bands actually headline the ~1000-capacity venue. In January, GGOOLLDD celebrated the band’s first vinyl release with a party at Turner Hall, which is a big deal in of itself, but heightened by the fact that the event sold out. If you weren’t quick enough to get a ticket to the performance, you can now experience what the show/dance-party was like.


This Week in Live Music

Monday, May 16: Argopelter at Boone & Crockett, 9 p.m. (FREE) – (2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.)

Tuesday, May 17: The Revomatics with The Missing Letters and Dick Satan Trio at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. ($7) – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave.,

Wednesday, May 18: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros with Harriet at The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m. ($29.50) – (144 E. Wells St.,

Also: Disturbed with Pop Evil at The Rave, 8 p.m. ($36-$46) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave.,

And: Patrick Sweany with Shoot Down the Moon at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. ($10) – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave.,

Thursday, May 19: Mean Jeans with Spruce Bringsteen, Indonesian Junk, Easy Habits at Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m. ($5) – (2501 S. Superior St.,

Also: Buckcherry with Biters And Cherry Bombs at Potawatomi’s Northern Lights Casino, 8 p.m. ($25) – (1721 W. Canal St.,

And: Dave Miller’s Old Door Phantoms with Marielle Allschwang and adoptahighway at Company Brewing, 9:30 p.m. ($5) – (735 E. Center St.,

Friday, May 20: Shannon and the Clams with Dogs In Ecstasy and Phylums at Company Brewing, 10 p.m. ($12) – (735 E. Center St.,

Also: Powerwagon with Drunk Drivers and Magnetic Minds at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. ($5) – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave.,

And: Rocket Paloma with Caley Conway and Heavy Leaves at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 9 p.m. ($5) – (1001 E. Locust St.,

And: Music for the Mind at Turner Hall Ballroom, 5:30 p.m. ($20.92) – (1032 N. 4th St.,

Saturday, May 21: Midwest Death Rattle (album release) with Mutts, Gallery Night and DJ Chris Schulist at Cactus Club 9 p.m. – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave.,

Sunday, May 22: John Fogerty at The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m. ($59.50-$125) – (116 W. Wisconsin Ave.,

Also: Mushroomhead with Sumo Cyco, Madame Mayhem, Product Of Hate at The Rave, 7 p.m. ($18.50) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave.,

And: Group of the Altos with Jacob Metcalf and DJ Chris Rosenau at Company Brewing, 10 p.m. ($5) – (735 E. Center St.,

And: Will Johnson with Chris Porterfield at Club Garibaldi, 5 p.m. – (2501 S. Superior St.,

And: Wolves & wolves & wolves & wolves with City of Ghosts and Statures at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave.,



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.