Somewhere between a scuzzy basement party and a VIP champagne room resides Milwaukee’s preeminent party-pop outfit Rio Turbo. Led by the tireless, occasionally clothed Joe Peterson (who also does time as bassist for the Platinum Boys), the group has become a delightfully sleazy local institution over the last five years, opening for the likes of Big Freedia and Natural Child, and practically daring audiences to politely nod and shuffle their feet. Rio Turbo, in other words, ain’t exactly a “cross-your-arms-and-sip-your-drink” kind of band.
And thank goodness for that. After all, isn’t music supposed to be…fun? Now, following two solid albums from 2013 (KISS FM and ISH ISH), Rio Turbo is poised to make the leap from Riverwest cult act to full-fledged Milwaukee darling with its upcoming self-titled album. Produced by NO/NO frontman Harrison Colby (Peterson’s cohort in the recently formed Gloss Records) and Willy Dintenfass (Dogs In Ecstasy), the record is an unabashedly populist, glam-tastic disco riot populated by scuffed-up club hits and sex-fueled tales of partying hard and makin’ love. Is there a sly wink accompanying the proceedings? Maybe, but it’s hard to get too miffed when Peterson and company make it all seem so easy.
Rio Turbo sees its release on Gloss Records March 24, with a release show at Linneman’s March 28. (NO/NO, Kid Millions, Lorde Fr3dd33, and The Fatty Acids will play in support). Until then, get a taste of the record’s M.O. with two exclusive tracks: “Lip Service” scores big with shimmering production and tasteful vocoder effects, while the brief “Bloody Knuckles” fuses the squelching synth of old-school techno with the driving punk of Peterson’s other projects. Get dressed (or undressed), enjoy the recreational drugs of your choice, and listen below.