It’s been said that desperate times produce desperate music, and the current scene in Milwaukee would appear to bear this out. Bands such as Father Phoenix, Cougar Den, Pigs on Ice and Call Me Lightning are cranking out uneasy, volatile songs that provide the perfect soundtrack for our current era of anxiety. These groups, with obvious roots in the world of hardcore, have managed to craft a sound that captures the anger of punk while avoiding the generic tendencies that mark much of the genre. Simply put, these groups are innovative and exciting. It’s a rare breed of band that is able to pull off such a delicate balance, and Milwaukee is lucky to have so many of them.