Type “Milwaukee psych-rock” into the search engine of your choice, and you’ll quickly land on Calliope. (Go ahead, try it!) The group has been blasting the city with it’s heavy, bluesy, Doors-channeling stoner-rock since 2011, culminating in 2014’s excellent ORBIS (and the terrific single “Casino”). Now, frontman Al Kraemer is taking one small step away from his band to focus on a new side project, Moon Rats. What do Moon Rats sound like? Kraemer pegs their sound as “dirty desert stoner-psych rat-metal for motorcycle enthusiasts,” which works for us.
While Moon Rats is essentially a Kraemer solo project, the full live band features Jeff Grabo from The Rashita Joneses on guitar, Brendt Dondero from Sonic J on drums, Anthony Smith from Calliope on bass, and more guests planned for the future. Calliope, meanwhile, recently sent off a new full-length album to be mastered, and plans to release it on vinyl in the coming months.
Before Moon Rats make their live debut Thursday, June 16 at Cactus Club with Dead Feathers, Calliope, and Vocokesh, listen to the band’s first song, the psyched-out and appropriately driving “Highway Lord” (“My motor is my soul / I am the highway lord”), only at Milwaukee Record.