Monday, July 13, 2009

Canceled: A Bad Week for Milwaukee Punk Fans

By Evan Rytlewski
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It's been a bad week for Milwaukee punk fans: Two of the week's most exciting punk shows were canceled.

The Baltimore art-punk group Double Dagger, which channels all the fury of Les Savy Fav and Fugazi with just half the instruments—no guitar; just drums and a really loud bass—ducked out of their Thursday night show at the Borg Ward in order to play Chicago with the Fiery Furnaces. Bad trade. I can't imagine the crowd at a Fiery Furnaces concert being more receptive to Double Dagger's shouty tirades than the kids at the Borg Ward would have been. Either way, though, don't let the band's Milwaukee diss stop you from checking out their outstanding new album on Thrill Jockey, More, which tempers the bands punk with more cerebral tangents befitting their new label.

At least there was a little bit of a heads up when Double Dagger cancelled, unlike when Fake Problems canceled their concert tonight at Stonefly Brewery—and an entire leg of their tour—because of a death in the family this weekend. That show, too, promised to be pretty damn amazing. Fake Problems' latest album, It's Great to Be Alive, is the first album from that Against Me!/Gaslight Anthem-style of roots punk that I've made a real connection with, thanks largely to the band's twitchy, imaginative guitars and brassy, kitchen-sink arrangements that nod not only to the aesthetics but also the scope of recent Cursive and Modest Mouse albums, especially in the album's curveball-throwing final half.

It might be a while before Milwaukee hosts either of these bands, but both of these records are worth picking up.

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