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Monday, July 7, 2008

Atlatl @ The Cascio Groove Garage

Friday, July 4, 2008

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  In less than half a year, Milwaukee’s Atlatl has transformed itself from virtual unknowns to one of the city’s most likeable bands. Of course, they’ve had some help. Radio Milwaukee 88.9 has all but adopted the band, giving their day-dreamy single “Hey Man” the kind of airplay the station usually reserves for Atmosphere and Curtis Mayfield. The song deserves the exposure: Sweet and effortlessly hooky, it evokes one of Modest Mouse’s long drives with nothing to think about.

  With their tag-team vocalists and songwriters, Atlatl divide their time between riffy, jam-rock and squirrelly, breathlessly wordy indie-quirk. Although the latter makes more of an impression, the two styles play well off each other—the band mixes it up just enough to keep their guitar-driven sound fresh, but never goes overboard with the genre-hopping like many of the jam-leaning bands they’re exposed to on their college campus.

Atlatl’s early evening set drew a large, happy crowd that aligned roughly in a gradient based on age, with the college students dancing and twirling in the front, and older onlookers standing in the back.

Judging from their tireless networking, Atlatl seems to be looking to break beyond the Milwaukee market. Their eyes may be bigger than their stomach, given their relative greenness, but it’s hard to fault them for it: They have the spark to back up their ambitions.