words by Cal Roach
We’re barely halfway through January, and already the 2012 Milwaukee music machine is in high gear. Last weekend saw the release party for Sat. Nite Duets’ awesome new album, Summer Of Punishment, with superb performances by The Fatty Acids and Catacombz as well. IfIHadAHifi just released a kickass new EP, Nada Surf +3, and relative newcomers Head On Electric and Midnight Reruns both just released solid debut albums. Elusive Parallelograms have a new EP just around the corner, and if all that weren’t enough, there’s a Promise Ring reunion on the horizon! 2012 is shaping up to be a banner year, so get out there and support your local scene! Here’s what’s coming up in the very near future.
Tonight (Friday) at Turner Hall Ballroom, get a blast of nostalgia for the good old days you never knew, as Beer And A Movie returns with a special sing-a-long edition. Grease obsessives apparently get almost as nuts as Rocky Horror Picture Show fanatics, so load up on hair products and leather and get ready to croon along with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John to all of your favorite 50s-via-70s jukebox hits. There’s an all-you-can-drink happy hour starting at 6:30, and if you wear a costume you can even get in free (to the show, not the all-you-can-drink part).
Children of the 90s are lucky: so many of the best bands of the era are doing reunion tours these days. In the case of The Lemonheads, who are playing Saturday night at Turner Hall Ballroom, there’s the added bonus of getting to hear the band’s seminal 1992 album It’s A Shame About Ray in its entirety (just don’t count on hearing their cover of “Mrs. Robinson;” apparently frontman Evan Dando is sick of that one). Dando has a reputation for being a bit erratic, so if you’re a fan, don’t miss this chance to see the band; it might be your last.
Kool Keith made his name in the 90s too, but unlike The Lemonheads, he never broke up, putting out quality records the whole time under various aliases (his most recent being 2008’s Tashan Dorrsett). Whether you’re into the whole “horrorcore” idea or not, there’s no denying that Keith is one of the most unique and influential MCs of the past couple of decades, combining serious social commentary and outrageous humor with Zappa-esque ingenuity. His performance Saturday night at Mad Planet is sure to be a supremely entertaining event.
Celebrate the fact that your work week is more than halfway done on Wednesday night and head to The Hotel Foster. This little joint is quickly becoming North Avenue’s most intriguing hot spot, and on this night the elegant confines will be bombarded by the shaggy, raucous rock of Call Me Lightning. It should be an interesting night if only to see how many nice beer glasses and/or light fixtures get rattled to the floor by CML’s explosive live show. Also playing: Hot Coffin, the just-formed group comprised of local underground rock luminaries (no, we’re not going to say “super group!”).
Thursday marks a celebration that any fan of experimental electronic music should feel good about: it’s the one-year anniversary of the MELT music series! Masterminded by local DJ The Demix, the event is unlike anything else in Milwaukee, bringing in weirdo artists from all over the place. This week’s edition features Pressboard (a.k.a. Jim Schoenecker of Collections Of Colonies Of Bees), WC Tank and Echo Island.
Otherwise, for a somewhat less danceable, more traditional evening of music, head to Hotel Foster for a performance by The Championship. The band has been in hiding for quite some time, so we’re betting they’ll be playing some choice new tunes at this show. If you’re into country, folk, rock or just really great singers, you need to check out this band. Also playing: Trapper Schoepp & The Shades, one of Milwaukee’s most popular straight-up rock and roll bands.