words by Cal Roach
There’s something worthwhile going on every night for the next week, folks, and it’s totally not even summer yet. We couldn’t even mention all of the stuff we would normally insist on checking out, so we tried to shy away from some of the stuff we gush about all the time so you don’t get sick of hearing about ‘em. Read on for a smorgasbord of record release parties, rummage sales and pseudo-Satanic rituals going on in MKE over the next several days…
Headbangers rejoice! Tonight (Friday) is probably the most exciting show to hit Milwaukee in metal terms so far this year. Little Rock’s most esteemed band (??), Pallbearer, will cause a sinkhole to swallow up Cactus Club. The band’s debut LP, Sorrow And Extinction, was one of the great overlooked albums of 2012, a shuddering slab of classic doom. If you don’t put in earplugs for this show, you WILL suffer hearing damage. Oh yeah, Northless is playing too. What more can be said about the best metal band in Milwaukee? Heck, one of the best in America; we’ll throw that out there with no hesitation. They just put out an EP cased in birch. That’s how frickin’ cool they are. Plus, local sludge/doom up-and-comers Moon Curse will be there too; don’t miss this.
If your dancing style is a little less neck-intensive and more lighthearted, you might want to go to Yield instead tonight. Worrier, one of the MVPs of Riverwest Fest 2012, will be playing there, possibly trying out material for a new album that’s supposedly coming out this summer. The band is certainly due; its 2010 debut, Source Errors Spells, is a terrific onslaught of hyper indie pop, and recent performances suggest more of a post-rock/improvisational drift that we’re pretty excited to hear more of. Joining Worrier will be Boy Blue, a local indie rock/dance pop hybrid band that dropped a moody, catchy little EP, Words On Trial, last December, probably a bit late to get put on local best-of lists but definitely worth 15 minutes of your time! Also playing: Chicago’s Carbon Tigers.
Saturday is positively stacked with great musical options all over town; sorry, we can’t pick for ya! First up, the prolific Lisa Ridgely will bring her band The Fainting Room to Stonefly for a set of deceptively beautiful, subversive folk-pop. She’ll be joined by Esh, a Chicago transplant currently making waves on the Brew City scene with her sultry rock and roll band. She doesn’t exactly have an indie rock sound, but not exactly mainstream either; is it possible to be halfway in between those two? Her powerful voice is the main attraction for sure; check her out on Reverbnation and come up with your own genre if you like. Plus, Chris Demay (of Juniper Tar and a WMSE staffer, FYI) will be there playing a solo set as well.
Also in Riverwest, get underground at Chapter III (Bremen and Locust, near the Public House) with a couple of Milwaukee’s hottest and hardest-to-pigeonhole new-ish bands. Animals In Human Attire could possibly be described as progressive indie rock, but that doesn’t quite convey how weird they are; you really ought to see for yourself. Then there’s Outside, a Centipedes/Absolutely side project that basically blew away the hyped touring acts at Quarters a couple months ago. If you like your psych rock proggy and heavy, you definitely need to see this band live as soon as possible. You’ll also get a couple of sets by out-of-towners in the deal: one by Chicago’s Roaming Bear and one by Omaha’s Video Ranger, so come early (er, 7 p.m.; pretty early for a Saturday! But you can go even earlier if you want to hit the rummage sale.) and stay late! (Er, we make no predictions on when the guys who live here will kick you out.)
ALSO in Riverwest: It’s the EP release party for The 57s, Milwaukee’s latest entry in the balls-out rock-and-roll sweepstakes, going on at the Riverwest Public House. Their sound is somewhat retro (or vintage, if you will) punk rock, fast and loud and echoey but not overly abrasive; you can understand the lyrics and they’re pretty much about girls and stuff, and there are guitar solos. You can get a sneak preview of their album, 3 Of Swords, here. It’s also the album release party for The Jones Island Flood, a Bay View band playing garage-y, twangy punk–perhaps you caught them this past Tuesday on WMSE’s Local Live? They’ll be joined by Resist Her Transistor, a somewhat more established local post-punk outfit whose latest single, “Cut That B*tch,” is probably worth the minute and fifty-four seconds it will take you to listen to if you click on that link; it’s loose, scrappy, noisy and a lot more fun than singer Steph’s grave delivery makes it sound initially.
Trusty ol’ Cactus Club has got the goods Saturday night as well: local moody synth-rock combo Into Arcadia, to be precise. These guys don’t seem to get as much hype around town as they deserve; maybe because they don’t fit into a certain scene, or maybe because they don’t play a heck of a lot of shows, but whatever the case, check out their album from last year, Escaper, next chance you get. You gotta love music that can haunt you, make you think and make you dance all at the same time. They’ll be joined by Midwest Death Rattle, a band formed last year from the ashes of Revision Text and who released a debut full-length last year as well; here it is on Bandcamp! Straight up funky rock and roll for people who like to dance. Also playing: Chicago’s Soft Speaker.
Next Tuesday night sees the road warriors of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club roll into town for a show at Turner Hall. The band has evolved through the years from an essentially classic rock/psychedelic sound through a more minimalist tribal/folk-rock phase; for the past couple of albums it’s been straight-up gritty, rootsy rock and roll. New album Specter At The Feast doesn’t quite live up to the band’s best work (2004’s Howl, if you ask us), but like all BRMC albums it does contain a couple of real gems, and this is definitely a band that must be experienced live to get a full understanding of what it’s all about. Along for the ride on this tour: thenewno2, better known as George Harrison’s son’s band, but that’s not really fair; Dhani isn’t riding any Beatle coattails, and he’s a heck of a songwriter in his own right, crafting very unique sounds in the live setting and very much worth checking out.
Sometimes the hype machine gets out of control before a band even has a chance to prove itself musically; such may wind up being the case with Sweden’s Ghost, but the jury’s still out. The band’s first album, 2010’s Opus Eponymous, was a fairly nonthreatening retro-heavy-metal offering, which was odd given the band’s ostensible Satanic intent. The new Infestissumam is significantly more interesting, a little heavier and quite a bit more experimental, and the controversy surrounding the band is made all the more interesting due to the members’ identities being kept secret all this time, credited only as “Nameless Ghouls,” except for singer Papa Emeritus II. This has all the makings of a musically underwhelming media circus, but if for no other reason than curiosity, we’ve got to recommend checking this show out next Wednesday at Turner Hall. If it sucks, we promise never to mention Ghost again! Also playing: Ides Of Gemini.