Music Notes: Top Picks for December 2016

A Tribe Called Quest tribute, a new record label, and festival compilations.

Catch up on the best happenings from the Milwaukee music scene last month with the Top Picks of December:

10. New festival compilations from Local Coverage and Riverwest FemFest

In anticipation of their respective January festivals, Local Coverage (at Turner Hall on Friday, January 13) and Riverwest FemFest (at various locations in Riverwest on January 18-22) released compilations in December. The 14 tracks off the Local Coverage mix comes from last year’s festival, where 10 local bands played a short set of another local band’s work. The FemFest release features 14 bands that are set to play the upcoming festival, like Fivy, Fox Face and Caley Conway.


9. Klassik plans to re-envision A Tribe Called Quest

While the ambitious music series Alverno Presents is no longer, its direction continues on. It was announced in December that producer/rapper Klassik will ostensibly curate an “Uncovered” performance at Turner Hall Ballroom on Friday, January 20. His muse will be the seminal hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest.

8. Musicians feel the holiday spirit

December saw the release of new holiday music from Tenement’s Amos Pitsch (Yule), Eric & Magill, (The New Year Is So Near) and Ian and The Dream, in the form of a cheeky music video for “Gimme Money For Christmas.”


7. Moon Curse takes dive into underworld in new music video

A new music video from doom metal band Moon Curse finds a down-on-his-ropes man scribbling a suicide note on the beach. Directed and edited by Ross Monagle, the stunning “Beneath the Waves” is a journey to another, more gruesome world. 

Moon Curse – Beneath The Waves from Ross Monagle on Vimeo.

6. VoodooHoney Records announces launch

On December 10, Company Brewing hosted an unveiling party for a new record label, VoodooHoney Records. Headed by jazz saxophonist Jay Anderson, the label “aims to become a central hub serving Milwaukee artists and creativity-driven industries. By fostering and promoting new work in music, the written and spoken word, visual media, fashion and other arts-related business,” according to a press release from the label’s chief editor Brooke Maroldi. Artists on the label already include Anderson, B-Free, Black & Mad, Brit Nicole, Foreign Goods, Kavon Cortez Jones, Klassik, Nickel & Rose, SistaStrings, Stomata, The Truth and Lorde Fredd33

5. Promising new voice in Milwaukee rap unleashes on track

Every month fresh voices continued to emerging from the city’s music scene. The younger-than-he-sounds rapper Rah has been around for a little while, but his new single “Add It Up,” is his best track to-date.

4. Glossy Dashcam track showcases GGOOLLDD singer

If the first cut from Dashcam’s debut EP, Dreamwave, sounds a little like a GGOOLLDD song, that’s because the electro-pop producer employs the voice of the band’s singer Margaret Butler on the track. But while GGOOLLDD often sounds bright and empowering, Dashcam’s work on the slow-burning “Fire Escape” is darker and more brooding.


3. Chris Siegel and Strehlow’s collaborate on breezy instrumental

The producing team of Chris Siegel and Strehlow returned once more in 2016—you may remember the duo’s work on “This Is How ft. Siren, Lex Allen, & Christine Hoberg ”-  for this warm-sun-conjuring instrumental track, “Streets Ahead,” which features Siren and jazz saxophonist Jay Anderson.


2. Marielle Allschwang unveils picturesque music video

At Anodyne Coffee on December 9, singer-songwriter Marielle Allschwang premiered the video for Dead Not Done track, “Aquarium.” Directed by Heather Haas, the video utilizes a cinematographic technique, causing the images to resemble moving pieces of art. It’s a beautiful, dramatic work.


Aquarium by Marielle Allschwang from Heather Hass on Vimeo.

1. Year-end roundups

Every year I look forward not only to writing my own year-end list of best albums, but also I’m anxious to see what other people have to say as well. There are often records and songs that I have missed or that I too easily overlooked.  If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the great year-end round-ups from Milwaukee Record, The Shepherd Express and The Journal Sentinel.



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.