In just five short years, the Riverwest-based Breadking collective has made its mark on the city’s music scene by nurturing a seemingly endless number of young bands, and by providing an informal support network for those groups looking to record, book a show, or just follow their creative muse. Spearheaded by the tireless Myles Coyne, Breadking is also remarkably elastic when it comes to genre, with the noisy punk of groups like Temple on one end, and the twang-y folk of groups like The Calamity Janes on the other. So where do Ladders, the latest Breadking band pushing their way to the front of the class, fall on that spectrum? On the group’s excellent debut album, Suha, Ladders make a case for occupying the middle ground—and benefiting from the stylistic push and pull coming from opposite ends.
Not that Ladders are a neglected “middle child”: fully fleshed-out and realized by Daniel Mitchell, James Sauer, Dan Oberbruner, and the ever-present Coyne, the group revels in its contradictions. Opener “Favorite Son” shuffles along quietly while delicately carrying Mitchell and Sauer’s alternately lilting and wounded vocals. Lush, simple beauty permeates the Coyne-penned “David,” while the Oberbruner-sung “Peaceful Country” marries a sluggish hangover lament with a breezy country ditty. Ladders count Fleet Foxes and Red House Painters among their influences, but it’s also easy to find hints of Built To Spill (at its most mellow) throughout Suha. With its plaintive opening guitar chords and sudden bursts of rhythmic life, “Constant Window” could have easily come from 1994’s There’s Nothing Wrong With Love. The terrific “Linger,” meanwhile, finds Ladders at their best: pensive and resigned, but quivering with life.
Recorded over the course of two days by Mortgage Freeman’s Chuck Zink, Suha (named after Coyne’s three-legged, tail-less cat) is ultimately a sweetly sad, twilight-hour album, but it’s never mopey, and certainly never sleepy. It also represents Breadking’s first steps in becoming both a loose collective and a working label. Before Breadking’s quiet domination continues, listen to Suha now, only at Milwaukee Record.
Ladders will celebrate the release of Suha Thursday, October 30 at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn. Ugly Brothers, Lousy Trouts, and King Courteen will play in support. Admission is $5, or $10 with a Suha CD.