A.V. Club's favorite Milwaukee music of 2008: Honorable mentions
Five more records we couldn't get enough of, born and raised in this very city
This week Decider looked back on our favorite local records of 2008. And we just can’t stop adding to our list. We promise to cut ourselves off after talking up these five noteworthy records.
.357 String Band, Fire And Hail
On 2008’s invigorating Fire And Hail, Milwaukee’s .357 Band shred like Megadeth covering Flatt & Scruggs, offering a potent and incredibly fun reminder that blistering bluegrass pickers were the original headbangers. Along with just being a blast, . 357 String Band’s amped-up, punk-rock take on bluegrass—they call it “streetgrass”—is doing its part to keep American roots music from being overly NPR-ized, emphasizing the rough edges and inherent wildness of classic sounds created by rough, inherently wild people.
Download "Down On A Bender" here.
Tay Butler, Tay’s Anatomy
Milwaukee hip-hop might not have a signature sound, but local MC Tay Butler turns that potential negative into a positive on Tay’s Anatomy, taking the best from regional scenes from around the country to create an eclectic and consistently enjoyable debut. Straightforward beats, deep bass lines, and old-school soul samples provide a solid foundation for Butler’s buttery flow.
Download "Make Up" here.
The Celebrated Workingman, Herald The Dickens
“Milwaukee gets my sweet regrets, I love you all just fine,” bellows Celebrated Workingman singer Mark Waldoch on “We’re Numb,” the memorable opening track from Herald The Dickens, an intended farewell from a guy who briefly left town for Brooklyn only to return home this year. Waldoch’s untamed vocals might be a turn-off for some, but the Big Apple’s loss was Milwaukee’s gain, and Herald The Dickens was one of the indie scene’s most emotionally stirring records of the year.
Heathrow, World Opinion Is With Us
Given its name, it’s no surprise that Heathrow has a musical fondness for Britain—there’s even a hint of an accent in singer Matt Fletcher’s voice. Heathrow’s music recalls the poppier side of The Psychedelic Furs, though with a Midwestern sensibility. The band’s 2008 release, World Opinion Is With Us, is a real grower, loaded with rock-solid songs like “Kiss The Girls” that really start to reel you in by the fourth or fifth listen.
Download "Kiss The Girls" here.
The Lackloves, Cathedral Square Park
Coming nearly four years after 2004’s The Beat And The Time, The Lackloves’ Cathedral Square Park solidified the band’s status as one of Milwaukee’s most beloved power-pop bands. Now that we’re mired in another frigid weather, the fact that a record with songs as sunny and sugary as “Marlena” came out of a city this miserable half the year makes The Lackloves all the more impressive.
Download "Marlena" here.