words by Cal Roach
Helloooooo Milwaukee! We’re back from a brief holiday break; hope you found ways to keep busy without us! This year is already starting to look exciting as heck, with lots of great shows announced for late winter and early spring (if there is such a thing). It’s never a bad thing to spend a little bit of time at the beginning of the year daydreaming about the distant onset of warm weather and a much more active music season, right? Sure, January is traditionally a bit of a slow month in terms of touring acts, but there’s no better time to catch up with the local scene in the meantime. There’s plenty to do; read on for some primo options.
Nothing gets the juices flowing like starting the year off with the debut of a brand new band, so our first recommendation of 2013 is that you head to Cactus Club (shocking, right?) tonight to check out the very first public performance by Body Futures! As you might expect, the project contains members from some of the Milwaukee scene’s most-loved bands, such as IfIHadAHifi, white, wrench, conservatory., The Five Mod Four and Everybody At Midnight. Should be awesome! Plus, guaranteed awesome: Disguised As Birds, one of the city’s most engaging noise-rock bands, will also be playing, and if you aren’t familiar yet, get yer ass over to their Bandcamp page and take an earful–that should convince you to go to this show. Add in a couple more killer noise-rock combos from Chicago, Nonagon and Fake Limbs, and you’ve got the makings of a stellar night of earplug-testing.
You could also head to Riverwest to check out the dark-ish, rumbling indie rock stylings of Sulek, who will be cramming into Circle-A Café for its famed “Alive At Eight” series–which means eight sharp, folks! We get a real Black Rebel Motorcycle Club vibe from this band, among other things; folky, garagey, eclectic, shifting from delicate to grand and back again. You can check out a sample from the band’s latest album, Unbound At Last (one of the many local records of 2012 that might not have gotten quite as much publicity as it deserved), on its Bandcamp page if you so desire. On a similar Americana kick, local singer/songwriter Justin Heron will join Sulek, and if you click his name, you can check out his brand new self-titled EP, ushering in what promises to be another stellar year of local recorded music.
We hate to keep bringing up Cactus Club constantly, but actually, no we don’t; it’s a great club that functions as a kind of haven particularly in winter, when you can’t be outside taking in live music anyway. And they’re always getting great bands to play there, like again on Saturday night, when you’ll get a rare chance to catch local ultra-lo-fi garage rock weirdo band Red Stuff. Of course, you’re better off picking up the vinyl at a local record shop, but if you must, you can listen to the digital files from the band’s latest EP, Pagan Rock, on Bandcamp. The live show promises to be loud and drenched in reverb, we’re pretty sure. Joining Red Stuff will be local psych-rock busybodies Moss Folk, who don’t have much of an online presence or any records available but have built up a heck of a reputation as a live band. Also playing: Bare Mutants.
Don’t look now, but Elusive Parallelograms have another EP coming out! Yep, it’s their third record in the span of the past year, and based on the excellence of the first two (Habits and Spaces, both eager to be listened to at good ol’ Bandcamp), we’re guessing the new Fragments won’t let us down, either. If you’d like to be one of the first people to get your hands on this bad boy, be at Linneman’s on Saturday night for the release party. As luck would have it, there are two other really good reasons to go to this show: Fahri, who put out easily one of the best Milwaukee records of 2012, Final Disconnect Notice, and Young Holidays, one of those rare examples of a dude self-releasing a 15-minute debut on CD-R and managing to attract quite a bit of local press, mainly because it is quite frickin’ good. It’s an eclectic mixture of indie rock, and it’s hard to say which act will be the best, so get there early and stay late.
We’re not sure if you’re getting the message yet, so we’re going to keep drilling it into your head: Technicolor Teeth. Teenage Pagans. Amazing album. Listen to it. You may not have seen the album on the local best-of lists because the band is actually based in that other hotbed of Wisconsin indie rock, Appleton, but that’s no reason not to dig into the waves of shoegazey brilliance. So, what do you have going on next Tuesday? You’re heading to Quarter’s Rock ‘N Roll Palace, that’s what! You’ll also be able to catch one of Milwaukee’s most buzzed-about bands of recent weeks, The Delphines, who made waves with a couple of tight, frenzied EPs in the second half of last year. Also playing: Chicago’s Outside World.