Playlist: Best of Summer

The best Milwaukee songs from Summer 2015, featuring Maritime, IshDARR, Light Music, Marielle Allschwang, Tigernite, Yo-Dot, Phylums, Klassik, and more.

This summer was memorable for many reasons. The Rolling Stones kicked off Summerfest. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced a presidential run then shortly thereafter pulled out of the race. The Bucks publicly-funded arena deal was falling apart and now it’s all but completed. And, the biggest news event of all, 50 Cent signed vodka bottles at the Woodman’s in Oak Creek. Through it all, local musicians provided relief from all the ruckus. Here are the best Milwaukee songs from summer:

“Cold Coffee” – Phylums

There’s nothing worse than a cold cup of coffee (unless, of course, it’s summer, then the stuff is magic). While it’s the bad, stale kind that Phylums’ reference on this jangly opener from debut full-length, Phylum Phyloid, the actual song tastes quite refreshing.

Next show: Bremen Cafe with Static Eyes and Lutheran Heat on Oct. 24

“Satellite Love” – Maritime

This infectious single comes from Maritime’s forthcoming album, Magnetic Bodies/Maps Of Bones, out October 16 on Dangerbird Records. It’s the band’s first release in four years and makes a great first impression of what’s to follow.

Next show: Cactus Club on Oct. 17

“Seasons” – Klassik

This soulful piano ballad finds the mercurial producer/rapper Klassik crafting a shape-shifting masterpiece that wouldn’t feel out of place on Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. The song is the namesake for his latest album, one of the year’s best.

Next show: Miramar Theatre with MOVITS! and Sidewalk Chalk on Nov. 11

“Sugar” – IshDARR

This delicious helping from wunderkind rapper IshDARR has racked up more than 150,000 plays on Soundcloud since it dropped in July.

Next show: Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts on Sept. 23 (today!) at 5:30 p.m.

“Squatter’s Rights” – Bleach Athletixx

Young and broke, trying to find a place that satisfies his girlfriend’s request for a lakefront view and his own need to see the skyline; set to a Teenage Fanclub record.

Next show: Circle A Cafe with Dogs in Ecstasy on Oct. 2

“Dead Not Done” – Marielle Allschwang

She’s one-sixteenth of art rock ensemble Group of the Altos and one-fourth of haunting folk outfit Hello Death, but on this title track from her debut full-length, Marielle Allschwang makes a clear statement that her voice is a singular and stunning force on its own.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled

“Don’t Go Quietly” – Light Music

This track from debut record, Ocean’s Daughter, opens with a bright synthesizer that foreshadows a thunderous pop song, but that jubilation is immediately reeled back with a brooding piano. Light Music balances those polar opposites throughout “Don’t Go Quietly.”

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled

“Empire” – Tigernite

This euphoric, soaring glam rock anthem from self-titled debut record, stakes Tigernite’s claim as supreme world ruler.

Next show: Milwaukee Film Festival Opening Night Party at Kenilworth Square on Sept. 24

“ATM Fees” – Emmitt James

The line about Scott Walker running for president already feels dated, but that silky beat feels timeless.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled

“Animal” – (ORB)

(ORB) lets out a beastly shout on this fuzzy, synth-based track from debut full-length Inside Voices.

Next show: Cactus Club with Awkward Terrible, Jake Simmons & The Little Ghosts and The Fever Haze on Oct. 10.

“Until” – Yo-Dot

The next Yo-Dot record, Burleigh Bodega, is near. The rapper promises a late fall release date. This new single should tie you over until the album drops.

Next show: No Milwaukee dates scheduled

“Zen Scientist (feat. Myka 9)” – milo

The always philosophizing poet/rapper milo keeps his streak going on this single from the forthcoming full-length, so the flies don’t come, out Friday on Milwaukee label Ruby Yacht.

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.