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Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010

Ando & The Jolly Barrels

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Milwaukee has long been an on-again, off-again hotbed for what's amorphously defined as punk polka. For a band bereft of a drummer and rich in accordion, Ando & The Jolly Barrels is punkier than most. Andrew "Ando" Ehlers' barbed vocal attack— like a junior Jello Biafra—and handling of the torso-encompassing squeezebox make him a compelling frontman.

Distancing themselves from their default genre's preoccupations with beer and levity, Ando and his Barrels attack emotional vacuity, apocalypse and boring day jobs with an enthusiasm bordering on crazed glee. And if the tempos and rhythms approximate hardcore more than what's to be heard at certain stages at Polish Fest and German Fest, then these guys would be the perfect opening act for everyone from the Violent Femmes to Gogol Bordello. If there's any justice, however, they'll be headlining soon enough.


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