If you haven’t heard, Milwaukee Record is putting on a little show Friday, January 16. Essentially, the inaugural Local Coverage will feature some great local bands playing at Club Garibaldi as part of a Girls Rock Milwaukee benefit. However, there’s a catch: each band will be covering another local band for the entirety of their set. While we feel the benefit show’s concept is pretty unique, the idea of Milwaukee musicians taking liberties with material from their local counterparts is not unheard of in the recorded format. After Friday night, there will be many more examples of Milwaukee-on-Milwaukee covers. Until then, here are 12 examples of local coverage we found in the Milwaukee music scene.
1. and 2. Call Me Lightning covers “Say Fuck No To Rules, Man” and “You Over Rotated” by Get Rad
In 2008, Milwaukee scene staples Call Me Lightning and Get Rad traded material and released an unheralded split seven-inch on a since-shuttered Iowa-based label called Scenester Credentials. Only 600 records were printed. We have two and a guy from Absolutely has another. The 597 others who bought this obscurity were no doubt bowled over by Call Me Lightning’s angular (and slightly slower) renditions of Get Rad’s “You Over Rotated” and “Say Fuck No To Rules, Man.” Even as a cover, the latter is arguably a top 10 CML song candidate, which is saying a lot.
3. and 4. Get Rad covers “Ghosts In The Mirror” and “We Be Dragons” by Call Me Lightning
Ever wonder how The Trouble We’re In-era Call Me Lightning would sound if they played twice as fast and Nathan Lilley sounded four times more menacing? This will give you a pretty good idea. This side doesn’t translate quite as well, but it’s still great. Honestly, if you have between $1.50 and $5 (plus shipping), pick up a used copy immediately.
5. to 7. Eric & Magill cover “We’ve Lost Our Touch” by Noon Duet, “Baggage Claim” by Faux Fir, and “Aren’t We All Found Out” by Maritime
When Eric & Magill aren’t releasing their own great albums, the project composed of former Camden members Ryan Weber and Eric Osterman—who now live in Los Angeles and Brooklyn, respectively—periodically honor their hometown (and friends from bands like Shearwater, Braid, and The Snake The Cross The Crown) with dreamy pop tributes on their Kick The Covers Off releases. Volume one found them redoing songs by Faux Fir and one by Noon Duet, a project featuring William Seidel, another Camden member. Last summer, Maritime’s “Aren’t We All Found Out” got the Eric & Magill treatment as part of volume two.
8. Brett Newski covers “Kiss Off” by Violent Femmes
Violent Femmes is a band that’s huge in Milwaukee, and pretty much everywhere else, really. Brett Newski has been trying to carve a foothold in his hometown, but has been much more successful pretty much everywhere else, really. Whether it’s an ode to the city his mail comes to while he’s touring the world constantly or merely just a song he likes to play, Newski isn’t afraid to work the famed Femmes song “Kiss Off” into his set list. Judging by this video, people in South Africa don’t seem to mind a bit.
“I’ve been playing that a few years. [I] started playing it in South Africa when I heard how popular the Femmes were there. I had no idea the enormity of their popularity overseas,” Newski says. “That’s my favorite Femmes song of all time. [It] completely embodies folk punk in my mind.”
Bringing things full circle, Newski recently went into the studio of original Violent Femmes drummer Victor DeLorenzo to lay down tracks for his American Folk Armageddon follow-up.
9. Made Of Oak remixes “Work Suite” by Faux Fir
Apparently there’s something about Faux Fir’s music that compels people to remix it. It’s strange because the band’s originals are usually outstanding. In this case, though, the adaptation is considerably better. Made Of Oak (aka Nick Sanborn of Decibully and Sylvan Esso notoriety) used most of the same ingredients Faux Fir combined in their 3:32-long space-aged synth jam and, instead, emerged with a deconstructed remix that brought Ryan Rupprecht’s bleak lyrics about the drudgery of office life to the forefront and forged a sad-yet-beautiful composition from pieces of a pop song.
10. and 11. adoptahighway remixes “1, 2, 3, Avenue B” and “Windings” by Faux Fir
Also part of Faux Fir’s Second Pass album of remixes, adoptahighway provides a creepy and borderline menacing reconstruction of the band’s “1, 2, 3, Avenue B” that still manages to sprinkle some particulate pop appeal amid Barry Paul Clark distinct brand of jazz-tinged experimental electronica. Clark’s project also redressed “Windings” with especially disjointed results.
12. Cinnaminiatures covers “House With Haunting” by Jaill
Calling themselves the city’s “premier, all girl, punk rock, holiday jam band,” Cinnaminiatures recently dropped a pair of unannounced holiday-adjacent digital releases. Haunt’s Catsup is, as you could guess, a Halloween EP. As part of the near-10-minute record, the novelty rockers took a crack at Jaill’s “House With Haunting” with spooktacular results. We eagerly await hearing what Milwaukee song Cinnaminiatures will resurrect this Easter.
Hear the next batch of Milwaukee-on-Milwaukee covers at Milwaukee Record’s inaugural Local Coverage benefit on Friday, January 16 at Club Garibaldi. The show costs $5 (minimum donation) at the door, with all proceeds going to Girls Rock Milwaukee. We’ve also partnered with our friends at Ale Asylum to organize a raffle, with all proceeds from tickets sold also going to Girls Rock Milwaukee.