Home / Columns / This Week in Milwaukee / Aug. 21 - Aug. 27
Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008

Aug. 21 - Aug. 27

This Week in Milwaukee

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Thursday, Aug. 21

99 Bottles @ Oriental Theatre, 7 p.m. Though it's difficult to consider a product as ubiquitous as beer an endangered resource, a group of Milwaukee filmmakers are making a case that hard times have fallen upon microbreweries. Their new documentary, 99 Bottles, investigates how ingredient shortages, stricter laws and numerous fees cut into the profits of small brewmasters. Two dozen breweries were interviewed for the film, which premieres tonight, including Lakefront Brewery, Water Street Brewery, Stonefly Brewery, Lake Louie Brewing and New Glarus Brewing Company.

Amir Stoune @ Linneman's, 9 p.m. Graciously dubbing the place of his birth "Hellwaukee," local hair-metal expat Amir Stoune is doing another homecoming gig for fans who may have missed his Aug. 15 per formance for his "Lost In Hell" tour. A long time devotee of no-nonsense guitar riffs la Mtley Crue, Amir, as he prefers to be called, recently released his sev enth full-length album, Eviction Notice From Hell, which takes a decidedly darker heavy-metal tone. His comically enthusias tic ego aside, Amir consis tently delivers retro, hair twirling licks from the days when the Sunset Strip was king.

Friday, Aug. 22

Decibully w/ The Championship, The Celebrated Workingman and Koufax, 7 p.m. In an ideal world, tonight's show would be Decibully's CD release party. Although the Milwaukee indie-rock band has finished recording their upcoming album, they haven't cemented their release plans yet; a new song posted on their MySpace page is dispiritingly tagged with "'08?" as its year of release. Here's hoping the album, tentatively titled World Travels Fast, delivers more of the band's signature arrangements of sprawling, richly tex tured music. Unceremoniously tacked on to this otherwise all-local bill-which includes The Championship's stark Americana and The Celebrated Workingman's festive indie-pop-is Koufax, the indie-ish Vagrant Records alums whose sound presaged the recent New Wave revival. Without much love from the Internet, Koufax never found a scene to call their own, though the Spoon-with-horns formula of their upcoming album, Strugglers, could earn them a critical reappraisal.



Friday, Aug. 22

Dairyland Youth w/ Casey Stang and Peter D'Amore @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m. Just in time for their 20th anniversary, and a mere seven years after they began record ing it, the Germantown college-rock oddities Dairyland Youth have finally finished their reunion record. Save for the cleaner recording quality, the band's new Re:Volting sounds lit tle changed from the band's early cassette releases. These upbeat songs still ring with Sonic Youth's detached potency, Hsker D's punky hooks and The Lemonheads' chiming, mumbled melodies. It's music straight out of a time capsule, but music that's aged well.


Dear Astronaut w/ The Ultraviolents, Nummy and Blessed Sacrifice @ The Borg Ward Collective, 7 p.m. Though they proudly consid er the Borg Ward their home, the members of Milwaukee's Dear Astronaut have made quite the name for themselves on the rest of the local all-ages circuit, thanks in part to their anthemic and doomful guitar work, which is nicely offset by softly repeated melodies and the band's sporadic, blas vocals. The Dark Forest, the group's 2007 EP, showcased a more cut-and-dry fuzz sound, a bit of a departure from their "psych-folk" roots. Hot on the heels of their last EP, the band has already begun to arrange their next 7-inch, Dandelions, due out this winter.


Decibully Dear Astronaut | Photo by Concetta Clemente

Saturday, Aug. 23


Midwest Beat w/ Jail and Elephant Walk @ Club Garibaldi, 10 p.m. Three Milwaukee-area bands offer up their latest 7-inch releases for tonight's shared bill. Each of the groups takes inspiration from eras past: Midwest Beat plays vintage, '60s power-pop; Elephant Walk mines roughly the same decade but sticks to antique garage rock; and Jail is the most eclectic of the bunch, with fidgety art-pop that nods particularly to the nervous post-punk of Orange Juice and Josef K.

Heathrow w/ Knit Delicate and Mystery Palace @ Cactus Club, 10 p.m. For nearly 10 years, Milwaukee's Heathrow has been walking a fine line between '90s Britpop and a softer, Midwestern type of sound. Their debut, 2003's critically noted Listening Class, was a throwback to the "Lips Like Sugar" days of sharp, melancholic gui tar pop. This June the group released their second full-length album, the confidently titled World Opinion Is With Us, which prompted tonight's rather belated hometown CD-release party at the Cactus Club. Borrowing ambient feel-good rhythm from Coldplay and the softer side of the United Kingdom scene, World Opinion sees the Milwaukee anglophiles further polishing their peppy afternoon-drive pop.

Counting Crows w/ Maroon 5 and Sara Bareilles @ Marcus Amphitheater, 7 p.m. The same magic that allowed Counting Crows' unkempt, dreadlocked singer Adam Duritz to date two of the three female leads from "Friends" must have carried over to Duritz's music career, because 15 years after the band's blockbuster debut album, they're still playing arenas and amphitheaters. In a testament to the power of '90s nostalgia and VH1, Counting Crows are even headlining this bill, while Maroon 5, a younger, prettier and more commercially relevant adult-alternative band, opens. Duritz and his band of Crows are tour ing behind their first album in five years, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, another one that details stark, existential dread with non-threatening, Van Morrison-style arrangements.


Tuesday, Aug. 26


Pecha Kucha Night @ Hi Hat Garage, 8 p.m. Think of Pecha Kuchas as speed-learn ing sessions. Each evening, a lineup of presenters gives quick lectures on an idiosyncratic topic of their choice: Subjects at Milwaukee's first Pecha Kucha event in June ranged from the informative (recycling programs) to the bizarre (anarchist bird watchers). To eliminate the chance for droning Ben Stein types to lose the audience's attention, each presenter is backed by 20 slides that change every 20 seconds, so there's only a scant six-and-a-half minutes for speakers to make their case. After its sold-out debut, the Pecha Kucha (Japanese for "chitchat") returns to the Hi Hat Garage for an evening of 10 new presen tations.

Wednesday, Aug. 27


Ruby Isle @ Cactus Club, 9 p.m. Joining a growing Midwestern tradition of infusing otherwise tried-and-true genres with an indie-electro sensibility, Minneapolis' Ruby Isle utilizes particularly novel source material: classic rock, the unspoken scourge of indie-rock circles. Lending additional strangeness to Ruby Isle's incongruous mash-up is a guest appearance on the band's debut album from flash-in-the-pan YouTube royalty Tay Zonday, a fellow Minnesotan. While it remains to be seen if such a bizarre team-up will curse Ruby Isle with a similar 15-minutes-of-fame kiss of death, the band's combination of clear, vintage-guitar grinds and compulsively catchy dance-synth bloops goes down easy. Plus, there's no denying that the group's singer- Mark Mallman, who doubles as a glam-rock solo artist-knows how to turn a hook.