Top Ten Picks for August

August provided a bountiful harvest, with several artists releasing debut albums and one big 10-year anniversary. Catch up with the month that was with the Top Picks of August.

10. Phylums conjure slick throwback sound

Featuring members from Goodnight Loving, Holy Shit! and Head on Electric, Phylums eight-song debut finds the four-piece mining the catchy styles of ‘60s surf rock and bubblegum pop for this delicious, late summer concoction.

9. No qualms with new adoptahighway video

No need to turn on the air conditioning. Just watch this chilling installment of adoptahighway’s video series (directed by Wes Tank). That should do the trick. Read more about his latest album A Fault here.

8. (ORB) let out its inside voice

Electro-psych two-piece (ORB), which features former members of Terrior Bute, sounds like a combination of cosmic space transmission and a sloppy, beer-stained party. Recorded in a Riverwest basement, debut album Inside Voices, feels frantic and immediate, like stumbling home drunk to find a burglar ransacking your apartment.


7. Testa Rosa gets back in the groove

Fronted by Betty Blexrud-Strigens, who curated that Alverno Presents artist reimagining of Patti Smith in October, Testa Rosa returned this month for its first record since 2011. III finds the band picking up where it left off—showing off its knack for pop melodies and hooks.

6. Light Music shines on long-awaited debut

The sky’s the limit for four-piece indie-rockers Light Music. Out of any of this month’s releases, Ocean’s Daughter, holds the most potential for breaking out. The album’s lush, driving force sounds like a perfect fit for college radio.

5. WebsterX outdoes himself again

Milwaukee’s WebsterX continues his methodical release strategy this month by dropping the stunning music video for “Lately.” The Cody Laplant and Damien Klaven-directed video proves not only does the rapper excel behind the mic, but the camera as well.

4. Tigernite rockets into glam rock orbit on debut

Glam rock four-piece Tigernite released the daring, in-your-face self-titled debut this month that’s packed front-to-back with unstoppable anthems. Read more about the release here, and in the September issue.

3. An alto flies solo

Member of the 16-piece ensemble Group of the Altos and Hello Death guitarist Marielle Allschwang released her solo debut, Dead Not Done. The album is a dusty collection of brooding folk songs.

2. Tenement surprise re-releases old EP

Earlier this year, Tenement released one of the best Wisconsin records of recent memory, the expansive, head-spinning double-album Predatory Headlights. If the 25 songs on that record weren’t enough, the band re-released a five-song EP from earlier this year that was only originally available on about 50 cassettes.

1. Dusty Medical Records celebrates 10 years

Over the last decade, it’s become a go-to resource for Milwaukee’s best. This month Dusty Medical threw a four-day party showcasing many of the bands that have called the label home throughout the years, including Midnight Reruns, Platinum Boys, Space Raft, Sugar Stems, Greg Cartwright and Goodnight Loving. The list is sure to grow by the time 15 rolls around.



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.