It’s one hell of a great time to be a fan of Milwaukee music. Not only is the local scene experiencing “a moment” of sorts, with countless projects hitting their stride at the same time and propping each other up like never before, the ongoing vinyl resurgence is also bringing material of bygone bands from long ago to wax for the very first time. Earlier this month, we alerted you to the exciting news that early-aughts math rock outfit Tintoretto will be putting out rerecorded versions of its entire catalog on vinyl on June 7. Well, on that very same day, another Milwaukee math rock band from the early 2000s will finally see its long-out-of-print material being made available on vinyl for the very first time as well.

Murder In The Red Barn formed from the ashes of turn of the century acts like Hero Of A Hundred Fights, Tintoretto, Axtident, and Managra. During the band’s limited run, it put out a full-length album (2001’s Get In Before The Rain) before chasing it with a self-titled EP in 2003 and calling it quits later that same year. While Murder In The Red Barn’s tenure was brief, they left a lasting impression on listeners—including one fan who has taken his appreciation for the short-lived project to the next level.

During the early days of the pandemic, Kevin Curty found himself relying on music from familiar favorites to help him get through the bleak and chaotic months. That passion for math-y material made by Milwaukee musicians found him making the decision to begin Dipterid Records, a label focused on getting music from some of his favorite acts on vinyl. By the end of 2022, Dipterid (in association with Forge Again Records) put out The Goodboy Suit’s 2002 album Within Walls Without Windows and also put out a new release by Winnipeg-based band Fox Lake. Having acquainted himself with the process, Curty set his sights on his personal white whale.

“It was time to reach out to Murder in the Red Barn, introduce myself, and show that I wasn’t fooling around,” Curty tells Milwaukee Record. “Not a single member knew who I was, and I could tell that they were skeptical.”

Undaunted, this math rock fan-turned-independent label owner/operator eventually earned the trust of ex-Red Barn members, got the blessing from any label who had ever handled the band’s material, and tried to get the music he’d heard in CD, MP3, and cassette formats so many times before onto vinyl once and for all. There was only one problem: no one knew where the masters were. About a year and a half later, a member found the missing reels buried in a closet. Curty drove from his home in Joliet to Milwaukee to get the “old and sticky” relics so he could bring them to recording engineer Carl Saff, who “baked” them in order to create digital masters.

The final product from those years of correspondence, searching, and digitizing is a 10″ vinyl version of the self-titled EP, which features remastered versions of all five songs from that 2003 release, as well as updated cover art/colors. That “red/black swirl” vinyl release is limited to just 300 copies. Orders will be sent out on or around Friday, June 7.

Moreover, Curty says he put the majority of his energy into the vinyl version of disparate John Congleton-produced material from 2003 that was largely found on the Space Album double cassette FTAM posthumously put out for the band in 2019.

Vocalist Billy Zientara provided new artwork from Alex Beals, which Michael Welch of American Handstand Records organized for the repurposed and repackaged vinyl release.

Zientara also decided to rename the collection of recordings Songs Of Discontinuity. That LP is limited to just 260 copies, of which 200 are black vinyl, 30 are “International Orange” and 30 are “Silver Molten Blue” in color. Like the self-titled 10″ EP, Songs Of Discontinuity is also available for pre-order now and will be shipped out Friday, June 7.

For Curty, the release date will mark the end of a multi-year endeavor that found him making new friends, learning significantly more about the recording process, and breathing new life into 20-year-old music that he says helped get him through some tough times.

“I wish I could find the words to describe how relieved and satisfied I am that these projects are coming to a completion,” Curty says. “These last two years have been one wild ride, and I am eager to hear what the proud fans of this band have to say about these records.”

About The Author

Avatar photo
Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.