Milwaukee is chock full of things to do, but only a handful of Milwaukee events are worthy of the lofty honor of “Record Recommended” (patent pending). Here are our recommendations—brought to you by Lilliput Records—for February 26 – March 3, 2024.


An Evening With: Marbin @ Cactus Club
“MARBIN is a progressive jazz-rock band based in Chicago, IL, with a unique story that stands out in today’s music world. With a do-it-yourself approach, Marbin started touring extensively in 2011, bringing their original instrumental music to every part of the United States. Through word of mouth, Marbin has gained hundreds of thousands of devoted fans all over the world and has sold tens of thousands of albums. Marbin has released eight albums: Marbin (2009), Breaking The Cycle (2011), Last Chapter Of Dreaming (2013), The Third Set (2014), Aggressive Hippies (2015), Goatman And The House Of The Dead (2016), Israeli Jazz (2018), and Strong Thing (2019), the double album Russian Dolls + Ten Years In The Sun (2020), Shreddin’ At Sweetwater (2021), and Dirty Horse (2022). Marbin regularly plays in clubs all over the US and in jam and jazz festivals around the world.”


Richard Marx @ The Pabst Theater
“With beloved songs like ‘Hold On To The Nights’ and ‘Right Here Waiting,’ Richard Marx has left his mark on music. For most artists, that would be impressive enough—but Marx didn’t stop there. He’s written #1 singles over the last four decades for artists like Celine Dion and Chicago. His latest album, Songwriter, is filled with different musical genres, showing that Marx can make anything his own.”


Milwaukee Record Presents: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World @ Avalon Atmospheric Theater
Based on the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, this 2010 Edgar Wright-directed vehicle features the film’s slacker namesake (played by peak Michael Cera) doing battle with the “Seven Evil Exes” of his new girlfriend Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). The comic-inspired, video game-tinged, and all-around innovative comedy also boasts a stacked supporting ensemble that includes the likes of Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Aubrey Plaza, and Jason Schwartzman. The box office-bust-turned cult classic has it all: laughs, action, legitimately good music, and a star-studded young cast that all comes together to forge a truly unique cinematic experience.

Midweek Music: Valley Fox @ Crafty Cow (Bay View)
Back in November, we wrapped up another autumn installment of our Midweek Music concert series at Crafty Cow’s Wauwatosa location. For winter, the concerts will take place at Crafty Cow’s location in Bay View on select Wednesday and Thursday nights. Once again, there will be NO COVER for these all-ages shows, which will run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. If a free weeknight show isn’t already great enough on its own, Crafty Cow will offer $4 pints from Third Space Brewing during all Midweek Music concerts. They’ll also have a “Cheap Date” special, which includes two entrees, a starter, and a dessert for just $37. This week: local Americana outfit Valley Fox!


Laugh Track Cinema: Guardians @ The Laughing Tap
Are you a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000-style movie riffing? Are you a fan of semi-obscure Milwaukee-made movies? Then buckle up for the glorious return of Laugh Track Cinema! The newly revived series features local comics riffing (lovingly) on local films. This time around, those comics will tackle a doozy: 2009’s Milwaukee-made CGI creature feature Guardians! Need more incentive? Well, director Drew Maxwell will be in attendance for a mid-film chat, as will two other folks who were involved in the film: The Laughing Tap’s own Matt Kemple, and Milwaukee Record‘s own Matt Wild! And, speaking for myself, I have some STORIES.

Holy Shit! + Blue Balls, Panic On Panic, Robits @ Bremen Cafe
“It’s that time every four years they add and extra day to the very obviously worst month of the year. Many more people will die this year because of it. But we’re still here so we will do what we do every fur years, and that’s play music and eat Chili Mac. Tabman and I will bring Chili Mac, but you are also welcome to bring some if you like. Then there will be performances of “music.” That’s about it. Any donations you would like to bring will go to the Turbos for what I’m sure is an astonishing hospital bill. I can say with my whole heart I am glad that Joey is not one of the ones who left us.”

Ladies Rock Benefit Show: Chi Chi’s Restaurant + Dialogues, The LOL @ Cactus Club


Diet Lite + Motel Breakfast, Ladybird @ Vivarium
Milwaukee indie-rock band Diet Lite never half-asses it. The group’s albums, videos, and live shows are all dialed to the max, full of life and energy and occasional crowd surfing. So when the time came to release a DIY tour documentary, did Diet Lite slap 20 minutes of footage together and put it on YouTube? No, Diet Lite did not. Enter Stumble Out The Gate, a recent 90-minute documentary of Diet Lite’s first regional tour, which the band undertook in July 2022. The film, directed by Bridger Flory, premiered last fall at No Studios.

ADORNER (single release) + Hanna Simone, B~Free, Pretoria @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
When it comes to music, the word “psychedelic” often means “loud, distorted, and reverb-drenched.” But there’s another psych world out there, a psych world where the volume is turned down and the lights are dimmed, and where soul-baring vocals cut through the air. That’s the realm occupied by Milwaukee’s Adorner. Formed in late 2020, the band specializes in “indie rock with a poetic disposition, combining psychedelic edge with soulful emotion.” A self-titled EP was released in 2022; tonight, the group (along with an impressive lineup of supporting musicians) celebrates the release of a new single, “Nimwe.”

Jhariah + PIAO, Totally Crashed @ X-Ray Arcade

Friday Night Retro Dance Party: DJ Paul H @ Mad Planet


Buffalo Nichols + Social Caterpillar @ Vivarium
“Drum machines are a 50-year-old technology. If the blues hadn’t been hijacked and trapped in amber, I think they naturally would’ve been incorporated.” That’s Milwaukee musician Carl Nichols—a.k.a. Buffalo Nichols—speaking about something he knows a thing or two about: the blues. From his days as one half of Nickel&Rose to his time spent in Austin during the 2021 release of his solo debut on Fat Possum Records, Nichols has celebrated, reclaimed, and modernized the genre. Nichols’ “hijacked and trapped in amber” comment is key to understanding the artistic impulse behind the excellent new record, The Fatalist. And yet it only goes halfway: there’s no gimmicky instrumentation or bonkers Q-Tip feature here, and those trap beats appear only judiciously on tracks like “You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond,” “The Long Journey Home,” and “The Fatalist Blues.” Instead, Nichols’ beautifully rendered and piercing modern blues keeps one foot in tradition and the other in the concerns and trauma of the 21st century.

Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert @ The Pabst Theater
“Milwaukee, you’re in for something special. Last November, Cat Power delivered a song for song recreation of one of the most fabled and transformative live sets of all time. Experience Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert in full spellbinding glory live at the Pabst Theater—as she lovingly honors her hero’s imprint on history and brings a stunning new vitality to many of Dylan’s most revered songs.”

State Of Sound: Lauryl Sulfate & Her Ladies Of Leisure + Shontrail, The Hatchets, ADORNER @ Radio Milwaukee
Back in 2019, Milwaukee dance-pop mainstays Lauryl Sulfate & Her Ladies Of Leisure unleashed Dance Music Saves Lives, a love letter to the dance music of their youth and the people in society’s margins who threw down the beats. After a solid and productive year of positive feedback and loads of well-received shows, The LOL ran smack dab into the same pandemic that brought the rest of the music world to a screeching halt, driving Sulfate and her songwriting partner and bandmate, Mark Zbikowski, into the world of Zoom and file sharing. The fruits of those video chat band practices and .wav swaps make up the 2023 LOL follow-up The Afterparty. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the album finds the band tapping into anxiety, ruminating on death and the beyond, and touching on most of the typical dark thoughts that crossed a lot of minds during that persnickety little pandemic.

Social Cig + Gold Steps, TRIPTYCH @ The Cooperage
It’s easy to love Social Cig. The self-described “indie-skate-rock” project of Milwaukee musician Parker Schultz is arguably the most enjoyable (and popular) local DIY acts to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Dozens of high-profile shows have solidified the group as a can’t-miss live act. Alternately peppy and shaggy guitar-rock ditties about hazy days and young love have populated a handful of winning records since 2020. Now, with the released-at-the-tail-end-of-2023 five-track In The Pocket EP, Schultz and company chalk up another instantly likable collection of songs. It’s breezy, charming, and catchy as hell.

Lewberger @ Turner Hall Ballroom
“When best friends and comedy band Lewberger get into a fight, the rift in their friendship grows so large that it breaks the heart of the Wizard of Friendship. Lewberger is sent on a musical quest in NoFriendia, a wild land of true whimsy where they must venture to the intimidatingly Handsome Forest, through the Adults-only Haunted House, and many more amazing places all while being guided by…a giant…sausage man. Lewberger is Keith Habersberger (The Try Guys), Alex Lewis (Lincoln Lawyer, Valley Girl) and Hughie Stone Fish (Emmy Award-winning songwriter).”

Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound @ Anodyne Walker’s Point Brewery

Well + Good + Secret Menu, Pullstring, Socially Suspect @ Bremen Cafe

Shamrock Shuffle @ various locations

House Your Body: Jonn Hawley + Optimist, TJK @ Mad Planet


Hello Death + Code Noir @ Cactus Club
Moody folk outfit Hello Death excels at sparse, haunting music that works its way into your bones like a winter chill. Made up of members of Altos (Marielle Allschwang, Nathaniel Heuer, Shawn Stephany, Erin Wolf), the group doesn’t so much perform folk music as suggest it; Allschwang’s gorgeously airy alto, Heuer’s Nick Cave-esque baritone, and the group’s stripped-down instrumentation combine to form a sound that seems to pre-date music itself.

Sub-Radio + Moontower @ X-Ray Arcade

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