Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012

Latest Flame Gets an Anniversary Party, and a Compilation

By Evan Rytlewski
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The 10 years since Milwaukee's Latest Flame records put out its first release have seen a lot of trends in music come and go, most of which had nothing to do with the kind of music the label was releasing. Rock briefly came back into vogue as a novelty—as if returning from an imaginary period where it had never been there—while indie-rock grew increasingly twee and cutesy, then increasingly serious and folky. The label was similarly removed from trends at a local level, too. It shows little interest in the kinds of basic garage-rock and Ramones-ian pop-punk bands that reliably draw a crowd in Milwaukee, and though its roster of weird, aggressive punk and noise-rock bands shares some influences with the city’s ever-vibrant all-ages scene, its priorities are different. Latest Flame’s bands are first and foremost interested in using loud music as a source of fun. If they happen to touch on politics or big issues in the process, well, so much the better.

This weekend the label celebrates its 10th anniversary with a two-day lineup that proves its lineup as strong as ever. Milwaukeeans IfIHadAHiFi, who have become the label’s flagship band in many ways, have grown heavier and wilder over the years, but like the turn-of-the-century D.C. bands that inspired them, they never forgot that good punk music can also bring the party. Portland’s System and Station, meanwhile, play the type of hooky indie-rock that might have earned them a big following, had they not been orphaned by indie-rock’s changing tastes and growing disinterest in guitar bands. Bloomington’s Waxeater loyally carry the Jesus Lizard torch, while Fargo’s Animal Lover piss all over it; they’ve put on some of the wildest shows I’ve ever seen. And Milwaukee’s Heavy Hand, the label’s youngest acquisition and one of the city's most promising new rock bands, give a lot of hope for the label’s future.

The Latest Flame anniversary shows take place Friday, Oct. 5 at the Cactus Club, and Saturday, Oct. 6 at Quarters. The label will also make a sampler available at those shows. Here's its tracklist:

1. Heavy Hand - Inspired By Haircuts
2. IfIHadAHiFi - Throw Deep
3. WAXEATER - Give It A Name
4. Trophy Wives - (You're Like A) Bad Song
5. Victory and Associates - Wildly Plausible
6. System and Station - Turned Guns
7. The Gunshy - I Don't Want To Think About Dying Anymore
8. Karl J. Paloucek - Oscillation 5
9. Nervous Curtains - Cats In The Dark
10. IfIHadAHiFi w/Police Teeth - Steroid Unicorn
11. Fuckface - Blue Tumor (live @ Miramar Theater 7-7-10)
12. Animal Lover - Fine Dining
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