Our fat-free, dolphin-safe Milwaukee calendar is chock-full of things to do, but only a handful of events contained therein are worthy of the lofty honor of “Record Recommended” (patent pending). Here are our recommendations for the week of June 20-26, 2016.
Monday, June 20
Athletic Supply + Western Medication, (ORB), DJ Girlsname/Stumblesome @ Quarters
Back in 2015, former Young Holidays wunderkind Max Holiday began releasing music under his new moniker, Bleach Athletixx (since renamed Athletic Supply). Songs like the druggy and Vice City-channeling “California Future,” the druggy and washed-out “Squatter’s Rights,” and the (you guessed it) druggy and ’80s-dance-party-vibing “American Made Motorcycle” proved that Holiday continued to possess an almost unnerving knack for creating catchy-as-hell pop songs that retained a charming homemade spirit. His latest single, “Rotation Of The Earth,” is quite possibly the best yet.
Wednesday, June 22
Jessica Lea Mayfield + Testa Rosa @ The Back Room @ Colectivo Coffee
Hailing from Kent, Ohio, Jessica Lea Mayfield caught the attention of Dan Auerbach at an early age; The Black Keys frontman would go on to produce her first two albums of twilight-hour folk, With Blasphemy So Heartfelt and Tell Me. 2014’s excellent Make My Head Sing, however, finds Mayfield striking out on her own and turning in a surprisingly crunchy, grunge-tastic album that still retains her knack for setting a gloomy mood. Milwaukee’s own Testa Rosa opens the intimate Colectivo show, fresh off last year’s winning III.
Thursday, June 23
Fivy + Abby Jeanne, Curta, Chakara Blu, Taj, DJ Stumblesome @ Riverwest Public House
Milwaukee rapper WC Tank used the Stumblesome moniker between 2003-10, chalking up full-length releases with names like The Bubble Shell People Chain Change and On The Insides Of The Sprawling Fences Of Southwestern Wisconsin. Unlike the eccentric art-rap for which he would later be known, Tank’s music under Stumblesome focused mainly on instrumental, sample-heavy collage with a chilled-out hip-hop bent. That aesthetic holds true with Mussel Memories, an endlessly fascinating, Russian nesting doll-esque album that liberally samples from sources as disparate as films like Five Easy Pieces and 1969’s Mr. Freedom, to a photography tutorial, Allen Iverson’s infamous “practice” rant, and a Jane Fonda workout tape. Tank will present and DJ tonight’s show.
Friday, June 24
Milwaukee Record Book Club: Steven Hyden, Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me @ Cactus Club
Since departing his post as A.V. Club Milwaukee‘s City Editor way back in 2011, Steven Hyden has seen his work appear in renowned publications like The A.V. Club‘s national site, Pitchfork, and Grantland. Along the way he found time to write a book. Hyden’s debut novel, Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me, is a hugely entertaining and fascinating book, exploring some of music’s great rivalries (Prince vs. Michael Jackson, Beatles vs. Stones, Taylor vs. Kanye) through the prism of how they relate to and inform our own lives. Hyden will join host Matt Wild at the Cactus Club to discuss the book, his time in Milwaukee, and likely much more during the first Milwaukee Record Book Club. The event will double as a live recording of our On The Record podcast, and will also feature an audience Q&A.
Screaming Females + DUSK, Holy Shit!, New Boyz Club @ Cactus Club
After Hyden answers his last question, the fun continues at Cactus Club with a goddamn fucking Screaming Females show.
Saturday, June 25
Summer Soulstice @ East Side
For the past 16 years, the East Side’s annual Summer Soulstice Music Festival has celebrated the first day of summer with music, food, drinks, general North Avenue revelry, and that one guy who always shows up carrying a giant lizard. Sure, some Milwaukeeans may see the East Side as the drunk, boat-shoe-wearing doofus to Bay View and Riverwest’s agreeably bearded cool kid, but the neighborhood still knows how to throw a party. Space Raft, Brothers By Choice, Foreign Goods, Klassik, Soul Low, Lex Allen, Queen Tut, NO/NO, Brett Newski, Cree Myles, and more are set to perform.
Direct Hit! (record release) + Midnight Reruns, The Hussy, Jetty Boys @ The Metal Grill
Now that the ink has dried on Direct Hit!’s Fat Wreck Chords deal, Milwaukee’s premier pop-punk prodigies are ready to release the record that captured Fat Mike’s attention into the world. Wasted Mind, much like 2013’s wonderful Brainless God, is an ambitious concept album that’s executed to near perfection. This time around, the story depicts a drug trip gone awry and the altered perception of the protagonist thereafter. The year is young, but if Wasted Mind isn’t the best record a Milwaukee band puts out in 2016, it’ll at least be in the conversation. Joining Direct Hit! at this all-ages Metal Grill affair are Midnight Reruns, Madison’s own The Hussy, and the punk rock pride of Sheboygan in The Jetty Boys.
Sunday, June 26
Garlic Fest @ Braise
Summer in Milwaukee is a lot of things, but pleasant-smelling it isn’t, what with all the sweat and garbage cans teeming with plastic Miller Lite cups. Add to that stinky list Braise’s annual Garlic Fest, which returns for its fifth year in 2016. Enjoy garlic-rific food from a host of Walker’s Point restaurants, garlic-themed games for kids, live music, beer, Bloody Marys, art, and complementary Altoids. (Not really on that last one, but c’mon, Braise, you should totally do that.)