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Monday, Oct. 3, 2011

Blue Sky Hour

Hot Sun and Short Shorts

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JoAnn Riedl takes a break from The Barrettes, Milwaukee's all-female punk band, for an alt folk-rock direction with the trio Blue Sky Hour. If that suggests the early Violent Femmes, subtract the loosey-goosey feel of the Femmes' milestone first album, replace it with a more earnestly wistful viewpoint, tunes unafraid to turn into mini-suites and a bit of hometown cheerleading, and the Blue Sky Hour equation is nearly complete. Add what's probably the most poignant use of kazoo in Milwaukee rock history and Hot Sun and Short Shorts is a seven-song debut bubbling over with potential. Protean and sometimes boisterous as they get, however, one might wish for both more oomph and fun. Maybe Riedl's voice is a naturally better fit for “Simply Folk” than 102.1 FM, but if her other gig is any indication, she is versatile.