The local music scene heated up during the month of June. The city of festivals is in full swing, creating tough decisions on how to best spend your weekend. But before enjoying the rest of the summer, let’s remember how great last month was with the Top Picks of June:
10. Lil Wayne performs lil known club show
As reported by Shepherd Express music editor Evan Rytlewski, one of the most well-known rappers alive appeared at North Side club Onyx on an unassuming Monday last month to ostensibly promote January’s Sorry 4 The Wait 2 mixtape. Despite other rappers frequent no-shows to these smaller, less-advertised club events, Lil Wayne actually came through and took the stage, er dance floor, to perform some songs. For those in attendance, it was a memorable sight to see, no doubt.
9. Colectivo Coffee on Prospect Avenue hosts first back room music performance
Pabst Theater Group runs three established venues Downtown—Turner Hall Ballroom, Riverside Theater and Pabst Theater—but it sometimes reaches out to other smaller clubs to host more intimate concerts. In June, it tested a back room space at the Prospect Avenue Colectivo Coffee for a show with singer-songwriters Olivia Chaney and Waukesha native Hayward Williams. Milwaukee Magazine’s own Ann Christenson reviewed that performance.
8. Martime announces release date for first album in four years
It’s been four years since Maritime’s last record, Human Hearts, which in local-music years is an eternity. But the band finally announced the follow-up, Magnetic Bodies/Maps of Bones, due on October 16 (with a release show on the following day at Cactus Club), according to Milwaukee Record.
7. Calliope’s Victor Buell IV goes solo on new EP
Last year bluesy psych-rockers Calliope put out fuzzed-out six-song EP Orbis that felt as dark as it was fun—the title track has a particularly amusing story behind its genesis. Last month guitarist and producer Victor Buell IV released the first EP, Control, from own solo project VBIV, which finds him taking a more laid-back approach than his band, as the songs casually float through the ether.
6. Death Blues shuts final chapter of five-year project
The spark of inspiration that drummer Jon Mueller first felt in New Orleans after talking with residents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina spawned into the multi-disciplinary project Death Blues that released four albums, two ambitious Alverno Presents performances and a series of personal essays, and a manifesto. This month Mueller played the final Death Blues show at The Shitty Barn in Spring Green, Wis., with musicians Marielle Allschwang, Nathaniel Heuer, Jim Warchol, and Ken Palme. While this marks the end of Death Blues, keep your eyes peeled on whatever heady project Mueller releases next (like his one-off live performance of new solo album INITIATION at Eaux Claires festival on July 17).
5. Klassik closes out EP series with Autumn
This month jazz-influenced producer/rapper Klassik released the fourth and final EP leading up to new album Seasons, which is due out in July. Autumn may be the best yet. I’m particularly a fan of the glossy centerpiece “Hi Klass.”
4. Locust Street Festival proves as weird, great as ever
Perhaps it’s because Locust Street Festival is the first neighborhood party of the season, but the Sunday festival (held on June 14) feels like the most distinct and neighborhood appropriate celebration of the year. Its revolving crop of mostly Riverwest-centric bands never feels stale because the neighborhood’s scene is so strong and the festival provides the best people watching outside the State Fair. See photos from the festival here.
3. Peter Mulvey writes song about tragic shooting and starts a movement
Perhaps the city’s most underrated singer-songwriter, Peter Mulvey’s record Silver Ladder from last year displayed a special knack for engaging storytelling and thoughtful quips. This month Mulvey burst into the national spotlight after posting a musical call to action in response to the Charleston, S.C. shooting entitled “Take Down Your Flag.” The song, which contains a verse eulogizing one of the victims, gained traction online as other musicians picked up the slack and wrote their own verses on those tragically slain (Mulvey even posted a follow-up video on how to play the song). After going viral, the song incited pieces from Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and Pitchfork.
2. The Rolling Stones freaking play Marcus Amphitheater
The seemingly endless local coverage on The Rolling Stones, a band that hasn’t put out a decent record in almost 30 years, leading up to their performance at the Marcus Amphitheater left a sour taste in my mouth, but the booking of such a legendary act in a relatively small space can’t be overstated enough. Even better, despite their age, the Stones put on pretty decent performance.
1. Jaill celebrates Brain Cream release in style
No stranger to out-of-the-box release parties, jangly guitar pop group Jaill celebrated their new album off Burger Records, Brain Cream, with a barbecue in the parking lot of supremely underrated Walkers Point dive bar Just Arts. The weather called for rain, but other than a few sprinkles, held up nicely as Jaill sauntered through some new tracks off their loose, fun album. You can order the album here. As an added bonus, the band released the music video for “Getaway” yesterday.