10 Milwaukee Albums, Songs To Listen To In February

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Times are tough again for live music because of the omicron variant. In recent weeks, Milwaukee has seen the most show cancellations and postponements since the pandemic was declared in March 2020.

So this month, streaming service Bandcamp is bringing back its popular Bandcamp Fridays to help its site’s DIY artists through the struggle. Again, Bandcamp is waiving its share of royalties on the first Friday of each month, beginning February 4. (The program will continue at least until May.)

So, with many Milwaukee bands playing fewer shows than usual, consider supporting them by buying, not just streaming, their music.

And there’s a lot of great Milwaukee music to choose from for February. Here are my 10 favorite new and local albums and songs, listed in alphabetical order.

‘Coming Home’, OhGeeez

Singer-songwriter Sean McGibany found inspiration for this mixtape from an unusual source: Disney Channel’s animated series “Amphibia,” about a girl who is transported to a strange world, who in the final season (spoiler alert) goes home with a part of her. new frog-creature friends. The show often airs in the Levy house, but you don’t need to know the program to appreciate “Coming Home.” While the production is a bit too slick for my liking – a rocker like “Fighter” could use more grit – the pop hooks are undeniably soft and sticky.

Up-and-coming street rapper from Milwaukee, Big Wan (born Dawan Turner) was shot and killed last month. Before his death, Wan planned to release his last mixtape on January 24, which would have been his 20th birthday. Now, “Dog Slayers, Vol. 3” is a sobering homage, but it’s also a testament to Big Wan’s singular talent, highlighting his witty wordplay, cheeky punchlines and delivery. fast (seasoned with syrupy insults) that will continue to influence other local rappers.

Milwaukee rapper Big Wan, one of the most up-and-coming talents in the street rap scene, was fatally shot on Nov. 26, 2021. Milwaukee police have yet to identify any suspects.

Times are heavy, but even a grim, sappy ballad like Skillet’s latest “Valley of Death” is way too heavy for 2022. Nonetheless, the Christian rock band with three Kenosha-based members – husband and wife John and Korey Cooper , and drummer and backing vocalist Jen Ledger – find success by sticking to a winning formula that fuses spiritually-tinged optimism with hard metal riffs and a touch of ultra-slick hip-hop-inspired production. In other words, it’s stuff that will sound great in stadiums, like WWE and NFL shock music, and at festivals, the band is used to dominating. Skillet will perform a concert after the Milwaukee Admirals game at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, 400 W. Kilbourn Ave., on April 8. The show is free with a play ticket ($24 to $48).

‘Here Waiting,’ {Else}

Acoustic rock inherently has a softer touch, but {Else} does some captivating and expansive things in these settings, from the baroque folk fantasy of “Sparrow” to the finale of “Here Waiting,” “Terra,” which fuses instrumentation pristine acoustics (including cello and gaohu, a Chinese string instrument) with electronic production reminiscent of Trent Reznor’s more pensive side.

‘Kuchisabishii’, Nuisance

Burnhearts and Goodkind co-owners BJ Seidel and Ryan Weber (both formerly of Decibully) have reconnected with their musical side during the pandemic. Not only have their former band Camden reunited to release their first album in 21 years, but Seidel and Weber have started something decidedly different with the debut album by new experimental pop outfit Nuisance, their songs awash with synths inspired by the 80s and dreamers. , ethereal voices which, on “Usufruct”, resemble the piercing falsetto of Frankie Valli.

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t convinced “Night Reminder” would hold up to its 68-minute runtime, based on its slower six-minute opening track “Where You’re Coming From.” But this introduction to singer-songwriter Fisher’s debut album pulls off a nifty trick: Thanks to its patience and Fisher’s songwriting strength, “Night Reminder” slows your pulse and pulls you in.

‘No Regrets’, Bad Boy

Fronted by Xeno, the original Cheap Trick frontman, Bad Boy have been performing gigs in the area since the 80s, but with no new music to show for over a decade. That is to say until “No Regrets”, which proves that the group has not been freewheeling. Explosive new songs like “Rock That Fire” will go great with the standards, but there’s also an element of surprise here, like rockabilly swinger “I’m Not a Llama.” Bad Boy’s next show is Feb. 26 at 9 p.m. at Da Bar, 1902 S. 60th St., West Allis.

Milwaukee band Bad Boy have released their first album in over a decade, "No regrets."

Allen was instrumental in local reggaeton brother duo Gego y Nony’s breakthrough hit ‘Frontea’, but as his own artist he works in a radically different spectrum, crafting radio-ready country tunes, flipping the familiar Nashville “ride hell” mentality for a more sensitive and empathetic attitude.

Rapper Berry dropped one of her best tracks so far for the final day of 2021, completing her swagger-soaked flow by leaning into her sweet singing R&B vocals over a juicy, bouncy beat from Yondo. But it’s Berry’s expression of her resilience that makes “Solo” soar the most.

Rapper Shle Berry performs at the Journal Sentinel studios with support from DJ Alpine.

The nonprofit mentoring 22-year-olds has recruited local artists such as producer and songwriter Traxx Sanders and Alex Tha Brownie Man to create a cutting edge and inspirational collection of R&B and hip originals -hop – as well as a cool, modern take on Sam Cooke’s classic “A”. Change Is Gonna Come” – which openly explores the impact of trauma and offers listeners the hope of rising above it.

“Must-Hear Milwaukee Music” airs on or about the first of every month in the Journal Sentinel and on jsonline.com. If you have a new album, EP or song coming out, contact Piet Levy at [email protected] for consideration. Follow him on Twitter at @pietlevy or Facebook at facebook.com/PietLevyMJS.

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