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Album Reviews
Monday, March 29, 2010

Lightning From the North

The third album from Milwaukee’s .357 String Band continues the group’s fearless and fierce refashioning of un-amped acoustic Americana/alt country, plumbing further depths of the Saturday-night rowdy/Sunday-morning righteous dichotomy. There’s a reason they call this music streetgrass...
Album Reviews
Monday, March 22, 2010

All Lubed Up and Ready to Go (S.B.S.)

If emo is the emotionally effusive and tender offspring of hardcore punk, there should be a new word coined for Milwaukee's Number 9 Hard. Call them “inebrio.” They're all about their booze. And screwing. And, if the graphics of this 15-song assault on all things tasteful indicate any truth about them, junk food. They may...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sky Was Wide (Big Bread)

Milwaukee’s Brian Drow works casual experimentation into the usual introspection and gentle encouragement proffered by his singer-songwriter style. Acoustic guitar and harmonica dominate, along with wispy, bittersweet reminiscences, but Drow mixes it up enough to keep his work compelling. Among the...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010

The Band In Room Number 4

Statobahn, founded by Milwaukee music vets David Hucke and Peter Torres, plays heavy rock with a decidedly progressive edge. Bludgeoning guitars agitate against the more celestial tones of organ and other keyboards. The act has a secret weapon, too, in Debbie Seeger's thumping bass. None of the four songs...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010

Live...Now and Then (Moo-Town Productions)

Folk music might be best appreciated when one mingles among other folks. Veteran Milwaukee folkie Jym Mooney proves that point on this collection of concert recordings from 1981 to 2009. Whether at The Coffee House, on Wisconsin Public Radio's “Simply Folk” or entertaining at a festival in Shawano...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010

Polkafinger

Richard LaValliere has traipsed through a few musical genres since his pioneering Milwaukee punk and post-punk bands, The Haskels and Oil Tasters. The name of his latest band offers a clue as to LaValliere's unforgotten Brewtown roots. Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Polkafinger revives the idea of melding Eastern European...
Album Reviews
Monday, Feb. 15, 2010

Vol. One

Milwaukee distaff rockabilly foursome Crazy Rocket Fuel make their retro country rockin' danceable while playing up bad girl imagery. Some of the language and metaphor they employ would surely have gotten Wanda Jackson a radio ban in her '50s heyday. These gals, however, work their sass factor...
Album Reviews
Monday, Jan. 25, 2010

Local Live: Live on 91.7 WMSE June 2 2009

Melissa Czarnik and Eric Mire are among East Side Milwaukee's more verbally dexterous rappers. Their sociopolitical M.C.-ing and the organic soul/jazz vibes on their latest studio projects transfer well to a live setting in one of the city's favorite noncommercial radio stations, WMSE. Saxophone, bass, guitar and...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010

Royalty Check Hotel

Former Journal Sentinel reporter and author Jim Hoehn releases an album every few years, whenever he has amassed enough songs to make it worthwhile. Hoehn’s varied styles, more or less Americana, expound on themes of making music and making escapes from everyday dreariness. Polka, country, lite rock...