Music Notes: Top Picks for November 2016

Bliss & alice, AUTOmatic’s “Marathon,” Lisa Gatewood’s acoustic EP, and much more.

Catch up on the last month in Milwaukee music with the top Picks of November:

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pink confirmed for next year’s big Summerfest anniversary

In 2017, Summerfest celebrates its 50th anniversary, and plans for the big blowout are already underway. This month the festival announced two Marcus Amphitheater headlining acts: Red Hot Chili Peppers on opening night, Wednesday June, 28 and Pink on July 2.

  1. MELT music series returns from hiatus

After some time off this year, the experimental electronic music series MELT (Milwaukee Electronic & Experimental Music) resumed on Black Friday with a showcase at Quarter’s Rock n’ Roll Palace featuring Pressboard, Victor Orozco, Max Holiday, Hot Science and The Demix.

  1. The renovated Jazz Estate re-opens, once again plays hosts to live music

The venerated East side establishment The Jazz Estate recently reopened its doors with an updated, ever swankier interior and a hip cocktail menu (the bar is now run by the owner of Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge). But while the new sheen makes the surface look nice, what gives this place substance is its live entertainment. Live jazz performances happen every Thursday and Saturday night with other shows interspersed throughout the week. You can check out the schedule here.

  1. Local short film features ripe cast of Milwaukee musicians

A new short film by music video directors Cody LaPlant and Damien Blue premiered in November. “Until They Berry Me,” which features Lorde Fredd33 and Mic Kellong in leading roles, enlisted a cast of actors from hip hop collective New Age Narcissism and other local entertainers, like King Courteen and Zed Kenzo. “The narrative transpired into something that came to be a bit more experimental than we’d expected,” Blue said of the film. “It definitely took a turn from the script. The different ways in which this story can be received among its viewers is what intrigues us.”



  1. The Midwest Beat release two Neil Young covers

This month, in honor of Neil Young’s 71st birthday, The Midwest Beat released covers of Young’s “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” from the titular 1969 album and “Wonderin’” from Everybody’s Rockin’. Both tracks capture the spirit of the source material while also adding the loose, shambolic energy of The Midwest Beat.


  1. The Rusty P’s unveil new music video

“The boys are back in town” goes the opening line of The Rusty P’s “One Moment,” a track off the legendary Milwaukee rap collective’s comeback album, Apartment 7. The music video for the song itself is a throwback—shot in black and white and interspersing the rap performances with street scenes.



  1. GGOOLLDD conjures ‘80s horror films in new music video

After the tour bus breaks down and strands the band overnight in the middle of nowhere, a supernatural force starts picking off members beside the campfire in the new music video for GGOOLLDD’s “Undercovers.” Directed by Savannah Ziemann, the video feels like an homage to campy ‘80s movies.



  1. Lisa Gatewood confronts despair on moving, bare-bones acoustic EP

While the new EP, When it’s the End, You Feel it in Your Bones, is a spare recording that essentially only contains an acoustic guitar and the voice of singer-songwriter Lisa Gatewood throughout the effort, these four songs cut deep. None hits harder than the closer “Questions,” which, coincidentally enough, includes the only other accompaniment—a harmony between Gatewood and Ben Cervenka, a friend and fellow Milwaukee musician who passed away in 2014. The two had performed the song together at a couple live shows and a batch of recordings sent from Cervenka’s mother included the pair singing the track. However Gatewood deemed the quality too unprofessional to make the cut, so instead she redubbed her vocals over a version Cervenka had recorded by himself.


  1. AUTOmatic finds its stride on Marathon

With the up-and-coming voices emerging over the past couple years, AUTOmatic is starting to represent the old guard of Milwaukee hip hop—the group’s first project Audiology came out in 2008—but this month’s full-length, Marathon, sounds as fresh and smooth as ever. While some perceive the race to the top as a sprint, AUTOmatic sees the long run ahead.



  1. bliss & alice’s stunning change of pace

On Poetry Volume One – The Shit Talker Tape, after a throat clear and opening disclaimer, bliss and alice begins the mixtape with his rapid-fire verses before the music even has time to kick in. The pace rarely slows from there. On follow-up Mama Tried, the rapper has totally different intentions. We’re welcomed with two minutes of ambient noise before bliss & alice raps, “It’s been a long time coming.” While his previous project showcased a spitfire attitude, Mama Tried is a testament of restraint. It’s an emotional album teaming with sorrow and late-night musings.




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.