10. WAMI Awards announced
Around this time of year, local critics always seem to deride the nominations for the annual Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) Awards for missing out on some of the city’s best acts, but this year the WAMI nods look stronger than ever. The list for Artist of the Year is pretty solid, including Reyna, DIRECT HIT!, The Pukes, PHOX, Vinyl Theatre, B-Free, Dead Horses and Pizzle. Check out the rest of the nomination here. The awards show is scheduled for April 23 at Turner Hall Ballroom.
9. The fifth annual Milwaukee Psych Fest will spread ethereal sounds throughout the city this May
Calling Cactus Club home for the past four years, this incarnation of Milwaukee Psych Fest announced in February that it will also take place at Boone & Crockett (on Thursday, May 11) and on two stages at Company Brewing (on Saturday, May 13), in addition to a show at the Cactus Club home base (on Friday, May 12). A full schedule of performers is available here.
8. Coolio played a show at Mad Planet in 2017
Yeah, that happened.
7. Soul singer Abby Jeanne releases debut album
“2016 gave me gray hair,” sings Abby Jeanne on “Aged Young,” the penultimate track of her debut album, Rebel Love. The promising 24-year-old singer certainly sounds like an old soul whose best years are still ahead.
6. Bo & Airo unveils frenetic music video for “Sirens”
Shot at Riverwest bar High Dive by Cheston VanHuss, bassist and drummer rap duo Bo & Airo (of Bo Triplex And His Beautiful Band and Will Rose of Airo Kwil) premiered their music video for “Sirens” in February at Company Brewing. Watch the frantic, spirited video and hold on for dear life.
5. Piles returns with single and album announcement
The fuzzy, ‘90s-indie-rock-leanings of Piles’ 2015 album Planet Skin never forgot to include a good hook with all the noise. The band’s new single, “Up,” turns the chaos up a notch. It’s a breathless, dizzyingly three minutes that leaves you gasping for air and wanting to hit the repeat button. The song was released in February in advance of its third record, Expeller, which is out on March 14 on Gloss Records. The band plays an album release show at Riverwest Public House on March 17. More details here
4. Whips does the same
It’s been more than two years since Whips’ unstoppable post-punk debut, Turn It On. In February, the band returned with “Goldmine,” a chugging, explosive track that’s imbued with a lust for danger. They also announced a release date for a follow-up album The Ride (via Skeletal Lightning). The album is due out April 7. You can pre-order a copy of the vinyl record, compact disc, cassette or digital download here.
3. Hey look, Midnight Reruns also drops new single and sets album release date
Last month, Midnight Reruns revealed plans for the follow-up to 2015’s incredible Force of Nurture. The 10-track Spectator Sports is due out March 24 on Dusty Medical Records. In the meantime, the band released a brief sample from the album in February, the second track from the record “Scorpion.”
2. Okay, just one more: WebsterX releases single and announces new album
February was certainly the month of album announcements. Rapper WebsterX released new single “Intuition” and set a March 24 release date for his new full-length record Daymares, which is coming out on Closed Sessions.
1. The Fatty Acids pitch a perfect change-up on Dogs of Entertainment
Perhaps Milwaukee’s most recognizable local rock band, The Fatty Acids have been performing in the city for nearly a decade. But that comfortability within the scene has not caused the band to remain stagnant creatively. Dogs of Entertainment feels vastly different than the bombast and wild energy of 2013’s Boléro and it’s better because of the alteration. Their latest is more laid-back and exploratory, proving that, even nine years in, The Fatty Acids still want to discover new sonic landscapes.