Since announcing its presence with 2018’s excellent debut album, You Want To Move, Vanity Plates (the pet project of ex-Ugly Brothers vocalist Alex Shah) has endured a pandemic that shelved plans for a 2020 release, experienced a handful of lineup changes, and gradually built a local following on the strength of a steady diet of shows they’ve played throughout the Midwest.

Now that things have somewhat normalized, inspiration has returned to Shah, and things have solidified with addition of drummer Shane Timm and bassist Pete Ciolino, Vanity Plates—which describes itself as “Milwaukee alt-pop for overthinking underachievers”—is ready to make up for lost time. Today, the trio released a brand new song on streaming platforms, as well as an accompanying music video for the single.

“Posthumous Fame” is the lead single off Vanity Plates’ forthcoming sophomore album, Good Grief, which is due out later this year. Shah tells Milwaukee Record the song was inspired by musicians who didn’t garner mass appeal until after their death.

“The song is basically a tongue-in-cheek attempt to prevent a similar fate for myself and a meditation on the monkey’s paw dilemma that comes with pursuing a dream,” Shah says. “In reality though, I think it’d be pretty rad if people kept discovering and enjoying our music after I’m gone.”

Another potential path to discovery comes by way of the music video for “Posthumous Fame,” which also came out today. While Shah says a connection between the song and its visual pairing could possibly be made, he mostly just wanted to hang out at the Mitchell Park Domes (which he says is “one of [his] favorite spots in the city”) with his bandmates. Additional performance footage was shot at The Factory, which is also in the Clark Square neighborhood.

Don’t wait until Vanity Plates is gone to enjoy them. Check out the Domes-heavy music video for “Posthumous Fame” now and see Vanity Plates live at Cactus Club on Thursday, February 1.

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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.