Milwaukee’s love affair with its late-’70s, early-’80s rock scene is well-documented and well-earned. Bands like The Haskels ruled, full stop. Looking for a modern take on that classic Milwaukee sound? Then look no further than Alternative Radio. The band. Not the radio format.

“The band met at art school and began by playing campus shows at pop-up art galleries,” reads the group’s bio. “This Milwaukee rock ‘n’ roll band takes off where the local scene left off in the ’80s. Taking cue from bands like Oil Tasters, Couch Flambeau, and The Haskels. The band looks back at the past to look to the future and returns to the primitive rock and roll of the ’70s.”

Alternative Radio has released numerous singles, EPs, and LPs since 2019, but the new Kicking Down The Door EP may be our favorite. Opener “Two Young Lovers” is an atmospheric dance-punk ditty that ends with a bit of spoken word. “Kamikaze Love” ups the strut and attitude (“They say lovin’ you is suicide, baby!”), while “Black Sheep (II)” wears its early-CBGB influence on its sleeve and spikes it with some swirling organ. Closer “Baby Let Me Know,” meanwhile, is half-song, half-gag, with Alternative Radio playing the part of a leering band belly up at the bar of a sparsely populated gig. “Aw, come on, you know us! We’re in a band!”

Alternative Radio has a couple of out-of-town shows lined up for January and February; the band’s next Milwaukee shows are set for February 25 at Bremen Cafe, and May 19 at Shank Hall.

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MKE Music Rewind: The Haskels, ‘Taking The City By Storm’

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.