words by Cal Roach
You’ve survived the Great Milwaukee Heat Wave Of Late June 2012! You’ve made it through the Summer Solstice! The days may be getting shorter from here on, but they’ll be packed with more and more activity as the summer wears on. Be thankful you live in a city where there is so much amazing music being made all the time–and you can usually get to any of it without the stress of massive traffic jams. Here’s a small sampling of what’s coming up in the next week or so…
Milwaukee’s Elusive Parallelograms may not play out as often as some local groups, but they keep cranking out quality records at what could almost pass for Beatles-like prolificacy in this day and age. Hot on the heels of the excellent Habits EP (which just came out in February), the band is holding a release party for the new Spaces EP at Cactus Club tonight (Friday). How can a band combine the moody pop sensibilities of 90s-era Radiohead and Oasis while sounding modern and not at all British? Find out at this show. And get there early, folks; you’re unlikely to find a more choice psych-rock local bill than this one, which includes Worrier, Red Stuff and Moss Folk as well.
You may have heard some rumblings recently about a new Milwaukee band with the unwieldy name Like Like The The The Death (hey, blame David Berman), whose excellent debut album Ghosts Of Dead Bros may or may not get some airplay on certain regional college radio stations but it will definitely sound great blasting out of your car stereo with the windows down (because who can afford to fix the air conditioner?). The band is playing tonight at The Borg Ward, that little all-ages club/gallery on National that might be the best place in the city to discover a new favorite band you’ve never heard of before. Luckily, they managed to book Golden Fetal Eyeball Tremors (a Fahri side project, so, y’know, probably awesome) for the same bill, thereby salvaging the band-name factor at least. Also playing: Radiant Republic Of Texas (it’s a four-word-band-name-minimum show, duh).
We’re pretty sure music will be involved (most likely: Creedence; least likely: The Eagles), but the main draw for the MKE edition of Lebowski Fest goes beyond the soundtrack to the celebrated comedy about The Dude. After all, as you may be aware, our fair city has an exalted place in the history of bowling, and that’s not just because we lay claim to the oldest certified bowling alley in the country! (But it doesn’t hurt.) This two-day event features a screening of the cult classic film in Cathedral Square Park for night one (Friday) and afterparty at Bad Genie, while Saturday goes deep with bowling at AMF Lanes and, well, scruffy-looking guys resplendent in bathrobes and shaggy quasi-mullets. Fear not, ladies: pay close attention to the film and you might notice a couple of female characters you could dress up as! Chopping off a toe is optional, however.
The corner of Oakland and North has seen its share of disaster over the past couple of years, but when they put a stage on it and sell beer, everything seems to work out amazingly well. This year’s Summer Soulstice festival boasts, as usual, a stellar lineup of local talent, and you don’t even have to pay to get in! Anyone who caught The Celebrated Workingman here in 2010 will tell you it was a spine-tingling rock and roll show, and the band returns tonight along with headliner Maritime plus John The Savage, Jeanna Salzer Trio and others. Plus, there’s another stage at the east end of the street where Herman Astro, Hugh Bob And The Hustle, Trapper Schoepp And The Shades and lots more will play as well.
Just across the bridge and north a few blocks, you could catch The Danglers playing up against the west wall inside Circle A Café (lucky there are only three people in the band). These guys are pros in the tight-spaces area, though; they used to cram themselves way up onto the corner of the bar at Linneman’s back when that’s where the stage was and regularly blow people’s minds. Recommended for those who like music that fits no conventional genre, improvisational violin playing, and virtuosic drums and upright bass.
Also playing Saturday night is a band that could’ve been forgiven for not returning to Milwaukee. In January of 2010 when Mouth Of The Architect visited our city, the band played The Eagle’s Nest (go ahead, GFoogle it; it no longer exists) and the power kept going out until finally the band had to give up and quit playing. Booking this band was a coup for the little “gallery” basement, but it might’ve left a sour taste; fortunately for lovers of crushing atmospheric metal, the band has decided to let bygones be bygones and return to the Brew City, playing–way too appropriately–at Frank’s Power Plant (get it??). Also playing: New York’s Himalayas
This coming week’s edition of Chill On The Hill should get plenty of Bay Viewers out of the house on a Tuesday night, and also, you could bike to Humboldt Park from Riverwest in like 20 minutes, so you really have no excuse for missing this excuse for weeknight partying. Because of course, everyone reading this lives in one of those two neighborhoods. Right, so Great Lakes Drifters recently slapped a killer EP up on good ol’ Bandcamp; it’s only three songs but we’re confident that they’ll play more than that for this event! And it’ll be an eclectic night of music overall if Vitrolum Republic has anything to say about it, so get there early!
Lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you that Summerfest starts Wednesday–surprise! As usual, the biggest music festival in the country boasts a ton of great and crappy bands; if there’s one thing you can say for it, Summerfest caters to an awfully wide spectrum of music-lovers (still waiting for that first Norwegian black metal band, though). If you’re there and you’re not sure what you should see at any given time, your best bet is to head to the Cascio Interstate Groove Stage, which features a ridiculously good lineup of local talent this year. Wednesday you can catch Icarus Himself, Coo Woo and several others, and Thursday it’s Midnight Reruns, Vic And Gab and Boy Blue plus three more (and all five of these bands have new albums out within the past year). There’s nowhere you’re more likely to discover something new and amazing than at this stage, and that goes for the whole fest!