Ten years ago, there was no artistic decision less cool than removing the “alt” from alt-country. It was often seen as a signal of abandoning an audience and forgoing “authenticity” in order to broader a listener base. That certainly changed as the decade wore on, when bands like Fleet Foxes could remain hip while singing about the Blue Ridge Mountains all the way from Seattle.
Rilo Kiley singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis was never truly accepted by indie culture on her country-fied solo debut, Rabbit Fur Coat. In Pitchfork’s 6.1 review of the album, Chris Dahlen wrote, “in fact, more than any indie country album in months, Rabbit Fur Coat makes me question why indie singers put on their cowboy hats in the first place. The classy folk and Americana that Lewis invokes here never goes deeper than an aesthetic decision, and she’s better at talking about bad times than bringing them to life– or making them go away.”
That rejection perhaps makes Wednesday night’s 10-year anniversary celebration of the album at the Pabst Theater all the sweeter. Rabbit Fur Coat launched Lewis’ successful solo career, where she continues to remain an underrated yet unstoppable force—2014’s Voyager dealt with some serious personal issues underlined with some very wry humor, a delicate line that’s harder to balance than it seems. The Watson Twins, a twin sister duo who provided back-up vocals on Rabbit Fur Coat, open the show.
Jenny Lewis celebrates the 10-year anniversary of Rabbit Fur Coat with the Watson Twins at the Pabst Theater on Wednesday, September 7. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Stream of the Week
Despite the seaside title, Night Beach, the debut full-length from Honeymooners, is one of those soul-searching albums that’s best experienced with headphones on and the blinds drawn. It’s an insular and encompassing effort, one that takes some cues from Radiohead and Grizzly Bear.
This Week in Live Music
Tuesday, September 6: Izzy Strange & Zeus with Cullen Sampson, Mozaic, B Justice, Cinco, CleretiC at Riverwest Public House, 2 p.m. (FREE) – (815 E. Locust St., RiverwestPublicHouse.WordPress.com)
Wednesday, September 7: Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins at the Pabst Theater, 8 p.m. ($37.50) – (144 E. Wells St., PabstTheater.org)
Also: Savage Master with Ahab’s Ghost at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. ($8) – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave., CactusClubMilwaukee.com)
Thursday, September 8: Matthew Sweet with David Ryan Harris and Gabe Dixon at Shank Hall, 8 p.m. ($20) – (1434 N. Farwell Ave., ShankHall.com)
Also: Proud Parents with Athletic Supply, Apollo Vermouth and Iron Pizza at High Dive, 9 p.m. (FREE) – (701 E. Center St., HighDiveMKE.com)
Friday, September 9: Mavis Staples with The Family Stone at Potawatomi’s Northern Lights Theater, 8 p.m. ($35-$45) – (1721 W. Canal St., PaysBig.com)
Also: Something To Do (album release) with Tigernite and Avenues at Company Brewing, 10 p.m. ($5) – (735 E. Center St., CompanyBrewing.com)
And: Go Go Slow with Tapebenders, The Glacial Speed, Rally at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave., CactusClubMilwaukee.com)
And: Joseph Huber Band with Gnarrenshiff and November Criminals at Circle A Cafe, 8 p.m. – (932 E. Chambers St., Circle-A-Café.org)
Saturday, September 10: A Tribute to Ornette Coleman with The Century Quartet at Company Brewing, 7:30 p.m. ($10; $5 with dinner reservation) – (735 E. Center St., CompanyBrewing.com)
Also: The Australian Pink Floyd Show at The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m. ($35.50) – (116 W. Wisconsin Ave., PabstTheater.org)
And: Astronautalis with Oxymorrons at Cactus Club, 9 p.m. ($14) – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave., CactusClubMilwaukee.com)
And: Tech N9ne with Krizz Kaliko, JL, Starrz and We Are One at The Rave, 8 p.m. ($27-$37) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., TheRave.com)
And: The Lillies at Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m. – (2501 S. Superior St., ClubGaribaldis.com)
And: Ethan Keller (album release) with Scott Hlavenka and Luke Cerny at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 8 p.m. ($10) – (1001 E. Locust St., Linnemans.com)
Sunday, September 11: Lydia Loveless with Will Courtney and The Wild Bunch at the Back Room at Colectivo Coffee, 8 p.m. ($15) – (2211 N. Prospect Ave., PabstTheater.org)