Music Notes: Summer Mixtape 2016

Bad Grades, Something to Do, Soul Low and more. Your 2016 Summer Mixtape has arrived.

That’s it. Summer’s officially over. But before fall gets underway, let’s take a look back on the best local songs the season had to offer.

“What Should I Do” – The Pukes

The best campy horror films are vaguely familiar while at the same time establishing a singular aesthetic that elevates it a notch above the schlock. Garage punks The Pukes conjure a similar feeling on debut LP The Revenge of The Pukes. This track, in particular, mines well-trod musical territory, but still finds new ground.

Next show: Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., on Saturday, September 24 with Tacocat and Dude York, 9 p.m.


“Whatja Doo” – Bad Grades

Perhaps no person is more integral to the Milwaukee sound than producer Shane Hochstetler, who’s Howl Street Recordings records many of the city’s bands. In his downtime he also drums for Call Me Lightning, Zebras, Multiple Truths and the latest, Bad Grades, which also features members from Population Control, Northless and Volcanos. Its first released song, via Milwaukee Record, travels at breakneck speed.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled


“Responsibilities (ft. BJ the Chicago Kid & Anderson .Paak)” – Thane

Producer Thane delivered a stellar first impression on July’s three-song Gravity EP, but that effort was simply a warm-up for September’s sonically immersive full-length Topia. “Responsibilities” represents the album’s mid-way point and sends everything spiraling in a different direction.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled


“Not Making a Sound” – Something To Do

Milwaukee offers quite the variety of genres, but ska music has mostly been missing from the sonic landscape. That is, until Something To Do’s infectious Not Making a Sound filled the void.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled


“lanquidity with the Moor ft SB the Moor” – Scallops Hotel

There’s always so much to unpack from milo’s poetic verses. Fortunately, his songs don’t grow stale on repeat listens—especially on his alter-ego Scallops Hotel’s Too Much of Life is a Mood. The 10th spin can sometimes reveal new wrinkles.

Next show: Landmark Lanes, 2220 N. Farwell Ave., on Thursday, September 22 with Antilia Raid and, 9 p.m.


“Notice” – Ju Preach

There’s always a younger generation of rappers looking to push the old out. Ju Preach is the latest of the new crop from the hip hop collective CCM, which includes IshDARR, BoodahDARR, EMAAD and E Coop, and you can almost feel a hard shove on his latest track.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled


“We Like (Mammyth Remix)” – The Rusty Pelicans

The recently reunited Rusty Pelicans represent the music scene’s past, but a new album Apartment 7 and this remix from Mammyth proves that the hip hop collective are as relevant as ever.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled


“Off The Grid” Jay Anderson X Cristian Strehlow

This eclectic mix of jazz and electronic music from saxophonist Jay Anderson and producer Cristian Strehlow somehow feels weightless and grounded at the same.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled


“Attached to the Lamp” – Sat Nite Duets

The opening track from new album Air Guitar is a celebration of life on the road of a rock ‘n roll band through the good (“I just want to go back to Asheville again/ Get attached to the lampshade with all of my friends”) and the bad (“Maybe we can go back to Cleveland/ And play for the sound guy and the other band/ And the opening act got picked up by his dad/ It happened before, it will happen again”).

Next show: Air Guitar Record Release Show at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Ave., on Friday, September 30 with Negative Positive, 7 p.m.


“Finger Bones” – Soul Low

These simple yet effective three minutes from Nosebleeds presents a glance into the social anxieties of the digital age through a blinking cursor on a phone screen.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled


“Holy Ranger” – Devil Met Contention

This dark, scorched-earth closer to Devil Met Contention’s Fuel the Lights burns through the remaining gasoline in one fell swoop.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled


“16 Tiny Mountains” – Ugly Brothers

The titular track from 16 Tiny Mountains rambles along before picking up the pace for a spirited, pastoral finish.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled


“Uniform Souls” – El-Shareef

No song on this playlist makes me as nostalgic for summer than El-Shareef’s “Uniform Souls,” which feels like a perfect time capsule of the passing season. It’s the first single off the rapper’s forthcoming album, Matching Verts.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled


“Stay in Your Lane” Foreign Goods

An upbeat, vibrant reminder to mind your business, from the hip-hop/blues/jazz collective’s first EP, Coronation, a live recording from Summer Soulstice.

Next Show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled




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.