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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WMSE Announces New Hip-Hop Show

Plus: Atlatl and The Good Luck Joes

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In recent years, DJ Aaron Wade’s “Late Night Hype Show,” 91.7 WMSE’s independent hip-hop program— by most accounts one of the longest running of its kind in the country, and certainly one of the best—had begun to feel less like a labor of love and more like a public service. Wade has often voiced his disillusionment with the state of hip-hop, and he could never muster the same affection for modern rap as he felt for the classics, so it was to great disappointment but not much surprise that he announced plans to end the show this March.

The show’s legacy will live on not only in Milwaukee, where it advocated many of the city’s biggest rap acts, but also abroad, thanks to the many freestyle sessions the show recorded with guests like Atmosphere, Eyedea and Sage Francis, MP3s of which will be shared online for years to come.

Before the “Late Night Hype Show” signed off for good Tuesday night, WMSE announced the time slot’s successors: prolific area DJs Kid Cut Up (of No Request Sound) and Madhatter (of the Rusty Ps). “We’re staying with the same format; it’s too established to change,” station manager Tom Crawford says.

“We’ve got two Milwaukeeans who are to the city just like Aaron Wade and his crew were 10 years ago. The new program won’t be the “Late Night Hype Show”—it will have a new name—but I have no doubt that it will reach the same audience.” Kid Cut Up, in particular, is known for his prolific taste in rap music—with No Request, his playlist spans forgotten old-school to contemporary commercial hits— but he says the new show’s focus will be similar to that of “Late Night Hype.”

“In certain ways, our show is going to be a little bit more broad as far as the music that we touch on, but we’re still mainly going to stick to independent, underground hip-hop and old-school rap—basically, music that you can’t hear anywhere else,” he says.

Addressing a common complaint about Milwaukee radio, Kid Cut Up also promises that local music will be integrated into its regular set lists, not broken out for special segments. The new program debuts Tuesday, April 1, at 9 p.m. without a name. Kid Cut Up and Madhatter are encouraging listeners to e-mail their title suggestions to nametherapshow@gmail.com.

Atlatl’s Debut:

One of Milwaukee’s most eager young bands, Atlatl, celebrates the release of their debut EP this Saturday, March 29, with a show at the Cactus Club. “The EP is only four songs, but it would have been more if we had the money to record more,” says guitarist Jeremy Rogers. “We probably have written over 50 songs at this point. It’s hard to keep up with all the music we write.”

They’ve only been playing together for a little more than a year, but the group has been able to amass so much material in such a short time because most of their five members take turns singing and writing, a strategy that makes even their four-song EP sound fragmented. The opening track “Smiling Circles” relies on a chugging, stoner-rock riff, while the closer, “My Devil’s Evangelical,” is a wild-eyed dead ringer for one of Modest Mouse’s latter-day romps, but omnipresent four-part harmonies lend a touch of unity to the whole affair.

The band’s name, by the way, refers to the ancient dart-throwing device and common Anthropology 101 exam answer. “We all sort of hate the name, but we’re sticking with it,” Rogers says. “And to be honest, it’s sort of grown on me. It rolls off the tongue fun: At-lat-l.”

Good Luck, Indeed:

Milwaukee’s lovable power-pop ensemble The Good Luck Joes scored a welcome break this month: “Greek,” the curious cable comedy/drama about college hedonism as filtered through ABC Family’s sunny perspective, licensed a pair of songs from the group. The propulsive “The Sun Explodes” and the gentler “Butterflies,” both from the band’s 2006 album What Do You Think of That Noise?, are featured in the March 24 and March 31 episodes of the program, respectively.

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