The A.V. Club’s guide to Milwaukee fall album releases
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With a long, blistering summer more or less behind us, it’s time for Milwaukee to unpack its sweaters and jeans and settle in for an all-too-brief fall. For local musicians, it’s also time to release a slew of new albums and EPs. Groups like Field Report, The Exotics, Jonathan Burks, and Hugh Bob And The Hustle have already unleashed their latest creations on the city in recent weeks, but there’s plenty more to come. The A.V. Club rounded up seven upcoming Milwaukee records worth sticking in your ears this fall, along with the “when” and “where” of the album’s release party.
1. AUTOMatic, Art Imitates Life (Sept. 27 at The Hotel Foster)
The two-man team of AUTOMatic (A.P.R.I.M.E. and Trellmatic) has been a Milwaukee hip-hop staple since 2007. With ties to the highly regarded House Of M collective and two full-length albums already under their belts, the duo’s new Art Imitates Life dials back AUTOMatic’s past flirtations with ’90s-flavored hip-hop in favor of a funkier, more psychedelic sound. Guest spots on the disc come courtesy of DJ JDL, Logic, guitarist Mike Carpenter, vocalist Elle Razberry, and others. The record is being released on vinyl and digital by Milwaukee’s own retro-minded Dope Folks Records (the label’s 21st release, but its first release of a new album) at a show that doubles as Dope Folks’ second anniversary party.
2. Klassik: In The Making (Oct. 5 at BBC)
A background in R&B and jazz sets Milwaukee MC Klassik apart from others in the local hip-hop scene, infusing his tracks with a lush, improvisational quality that few in the city can match. The aptly named In The Making will be Klassik’s first full-length album (past collaborations with Dana Coppafeel and 4AR on their terrific Know Flight Zone project have been, well, terrific), and features the winning, Hall-And-Oates-by-way-of-Nicki Bluhm-indebted track “Anything.”
3. Hayward Williams, Haymaker (Oct. 7 at Miramar Theatre)
Singer-songwriter Hayward Williams makes good on both halves of his job description with a deep, husky voice and a knack for leading what could otherwise be standard-issue roots-rock down a dark, twisted alley. On the new Haymaker, Williams moves away from the sparse tunes of 2010’s Cotton Bell and whips up an album full of barroom barnstormers and somber, spiritual, and slightly spooky meditations. It may be the most autumnal of all of Milwaukee’s autumn releases.
4. Blessed Feathers, Peaceful Beasts In An Ocean Of Weeds (Oct. 8 at Stonefly Brewery)
Wisconsin’s Blessed Feathers certainly aren’t lacking for a compelling origin story: Raised as a Jehovah’s Witness in Lakeland, Florida, singer Donivan Berube disassociated himself with the church, left home, and drove 36 hours to Wisconsin—all at age 17. He ended up finding work at a restaurant in West Bend (not Milwaukee, but close enough) where he met his eventual musical (and life) partner Jacquelyn Beaupr. The duo’s atmospheric folk-pop caught the ear of New York producer Kevin McMahon (The Walkmen, Real Estate, Titus Andronicus), who recorded the upcoming Peaceful Beasts In An Ocean Of Weeds EP.
5. The Delta Routine, Cigarettes & Caffeine Nightmares (Oct. 11 at The Hotel Foster)
“Rock” is an easy attitude to cop—it’s fun, the hours are good, and the ladies seem to love it. On its third full-length album, Cigarettes & Caffeine Nightmares, Milwaukee’s The Delta Routine once again assume the tired-and-true rock stance by mining the classic, guitar-driven treasures of the past. Singer-songwriter Nick Amadeus injects a bluesy swagger into the proceedings, while his band does its best to summon up the hard-living, pre-gentrified ghosts of a mid-’70s CBGB. The good news is that they pull it off—the album is a big step up from 2011’s More About You, and the gritty, rousing, sing-along title track alone should solidify The Delta Routine’s reputation as one of Milwaukee’s top-tier bar bands.
6. The Championship, High Feather (Oct. 16)
No one will accuse The Championship of being prolific—since forming in 2004, the group has released just three full-length albums and one EP. Lineup changes and sporadic shows have been the order of the day since 2009’s Moving At The Speed Of Darkness EP, though things seem to have stabilized as of late. On the new High Feather, lead singer Joe Crockett puts his mournful croon to excellent use on moody tracks like “My Heart Goes Out To You.”
7. Stacian, Songs For Cadets (Oct. 26 at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn)
Milwaukee’s electronic scene has been slowly bubbling to the surface in the past few years thanks in large part to monthly events like MELT and Night Flight at Quarters Rock ’N’ Roll Palace. As just one woman with vintage synths, drum machines, and enough reverb to make her vocals stretch out past the city limits, Stacian—a.k.a. Dania Luck—creates an incredibly big, nocturnal noise. Both as a solo artist and as the curator of Night Flight, Luck drags Milwaukee kicking and screaming into the world of dark, experimental synth-pop. A new album, Songs For Cadets, will be released at a show that will also feature the return of Milwaukee’s Trusty Knife.