You may have heard that it’s Record Store Day tomorrow, WMSE has been pumping it so I’m all for it. You may have also heard that vinyl is pretty cliche now, even though hip-hoppers have been going to the crates for decades. Since you are back in your place recognizing who-did-what-when-first, I can go on, it’s ok if hipster was the new hip-hop.
Getting back to vinyl LPs, 7″ and 45s, the main reason you should check out RSD is that theses gals and guys keep these dusty plastic relics around so classic, rare and new music live for decades. Although Record Store Day exists more to honor those diehard proprietors that value those that value the experience of bricks and mortar music shopping, the day will also provide great opportunity to kindle an appreciation for Milwaukee’s vinyl record stores. I can’t buy all the LPs in Milwaukee so I’ll my favorite crate digging spots.
Bullseye Records – Eastside, Irving and Farwell
Sitting just-off one of the hippest corners of the City, Bullseye Records has new and used picks suited for finicky Rock fans of all gradients. It also has a decent stack of soundtracks and an underrated jazz section of all eras. They get a little pricey, they also know a LP fiend when they see one. You can listen to used records first, a move that is always appreciated.
Rushmor Records – Bay View, Kinnickinnick and Potter Ave
Ask yourself if you are deep [add rock genre left of prog]. If you have an answer, head directly to Rushmor Records. They have a storied history of producing and supporting hand-picked local bands, so yeah, no posing allowed.
The Exclusive Company – Eastside, Farwell and Brady, Southridge, Steinmart Plaza, 5026 S. 74th
To Milwaukeeans ancient and younger Exclusive has always been the place to go for new music. Post Napster and iPod launches, none of the big boy record stores survived, not even Sam Goody. The Exclusive Company, a Wisconsin staple, is the kind of place you can go in need of a guitar pick, even in Oshkosh and someone will magically have one behind the counter. Vinyl has become a bigger part of the mix on recent years and they’ve done well sorting and categorizing their bins. The South store gets noteriety for a ripping metal and 7″ punk section. They keep the local kids stocked too. You can get that adoptahighway release a fault off the shelf there. Today on the Mother’s Day of record stores, Exclusive will have live music at the Eastside location and will be giving stuff away with Dave Grohl on it (he’s RSD’s official Ambassador).
Off the Beaten Path – Eastside, 1938 N Farwell
It was way dustier and more disorderly before the original owner died, the quality is still there. Off The Beaten Path has kept up the tradition, and is a real oasis for the LP enthusiast. Its got a lower half level that sends you 30 feet to the back of the store where its easy to lose track of time. Off The Beaten Path offers a balanced set of genres and wrapped rare releases and reissues.
Musical Memories – Juneau Town, Kilbourn and Marshall
It’s a premier shop. When James Brown died I stopped in there and bought 5 classic James Brown albums in pristine condition, and there about 16 more. The Big Payback still hits my table regularly. Musical Memories has one of the most carefully curated selections I’ve seen in the City and all the records are in excellent condition.
Record Head – West Allis, 70th and Green Field
Radio Shack wishes it could be Record Head. This shop has a nice selection of used instruments and audio gear. They carry vast selection of used and new mainstream media like movies, cds and games. The vinyl here stays secluded to mostly 70s and 80s funk, classic, psychedelic and 80’s rock and jazz, good digging overall. They have some good dollar bins as well.
Bay View Books and Music – Bay View, 2653 N Kinnickinnick
Those tried and true Eastsiders should remember this shop from that skeezy little retail outlet that used to be on Prospect Ave. Bay View Book and Music has a the best dollar bins around. The main selection has several dozen choice classic rock, metal and soul plays.
Love Unlimited – Bay View, 2649 N Kinnickinnick
When you see that hunk of plastic mannequin donning mega retro vintage clothing you think resale shop. Love Unlimited despite its rep a clothing store has well groomed cabinets of vinyl LP with local oddities like Eric Blowtorch somehow embedded in there. A listening station sits in the back giving some piece of mind if you see album with the rocking album cover you’d rather not take a chance on.
They’re a couple other super top secret spots I’m not going to mention because well, you got to keep some things sacred. My quick honorable mention spots are the South and especially the Northside Half Priced Books. The old Downtown Books was probably on of the best all around experiences Milwaukee before it splintered, they had vinyl… mostly folk and palor music, which store has the selection now? That’s your scavenger hunt of the day… Go!!! Lastly, although I haven’t been yet, Glass and Groves on 3rd and Wells Street downtown can probably get you going too.
Shane Endsley’s horn pitter-pattered like hand-placed rain drops on a hot tin roof, pinging tones varying with the contours of the surface they hit; mo’ better. Ben Wendel bled raw emotion over the reed of his sax in response to the weather around him, seeking companionship from Kaveh Rastegar’s bass scales, sharing the moment. Mirages hid the tenacious movement of drumsticks parried by Nate Wood’s hands. Wood may be a mutant able to perceive rhythm and tempo more precisely than a digital controller. Keyboardist Adam Benjamin blankets it all with modulation and visionary arrangement taking the place of 7 guitars.
Pretty damn cool these Kneebody kids are. Reading the periodical titles in their review trophy case you might think these dudes were the clone army spin-off band of Dave Koz. Wall Street Journal, New York Times and L.A. Times all agree Kneebody makes beautiful music. Some consternation can be traced in attempts to find a suitable genre box to pack them. For whatever value it may have, to my ears they do much to contribute to the progression of acid jazz.
Kneebody, Jazz Estate
Kneebody, Jazz Estate p. 2
Without actually smelling it, the stench of stale beer permeated Eddie’s crap-hole apartment. Petty thieves, smart alec jerks, low-life amateur cons, and shape-shifters, litter the neighborhood that starts when you enter the Alchemist Theatre. It’s dingy. It’s plastered with aerosol tags and shitty band posters, were you just there or are you here? The Bowery was kind of like that. New York 1977 that’s where we are, in the Kitchen.
Aaron Kopec steps off the curb into the gangways of the Rotten Apple to set his latest production Another Tale of Eddie, the first episode in his New York Stories trilogy set for this spring. Like the title says, this tale is about Eddie Valentine (David Sapiro), an oxymoron of a character. He lacks enough scruples to guiltlessly ensnare straggling neophyte posers in petty schemes that separate them from their loose change. At the same time he’s so un-hardcore, he demonstrates repeated he lacks the stomach to really be a heartless bastard that belongs to the night.
Eddie’s running mate Izzy (April Paul) kicks her wits in a nasal Queens-laden inflection, smacking him coldly with sobering sarcasm at every opportunity. She’s not the sharpest razor, only getting the job done as needed. When she teams up with Eddie to fleece fresh faces that show up at a rock shows, she lets you know she’s at least good at one thing.
A Lit Match
Rose (Shannon Nettesheim) enters Eddie’s world, and he quickly finds out she is fresh in more places than just the face. With her, his bladder repeatedly gets called to the carpet. Known to hide behind his tough guy personal, Eddie jellies before our eyes, slowly and sappily, at one point so disgustingly he nearly dry-heaves on himself. He reluctantly bares his soul to Rose, as bared on the pages of his crumpled up notebook, oh god, he’s a writer.
When the Glass Shatters
Enjoyable aspects of Another Tale of Eddie present themselves readily, starting with the scenic design. Small details go duly noted. Manufactured grime coats all of the furnishings, vintage beer cans line the sink and counter tops, a working Zenith tube-t.v. fires up occasionally (the pitch of the transistor jars any pre-milennial memory). In one scene, Eddie opens the cupboards and it’s filled with toasters, a nice reference for recent Alchemist regulars.
Nettensheim maintains an enigmatic disposition throughout her portrayal of Rose, adding much needed dimension to the play’s structure. Eddie stands as a relatively straight-forward character. Sapiro reads this role quite transparently leaving some scenes to approach death on set, although he mostly revives them at the last possible opportunity. In the shoes of Izzy, April Paul provides valuable pace and character consistency of a lower-Eastside punk, from Brooklyn. Jacob Woelfel (Hilly Crystal), Annie Lipski (Sindy), Nathan Sawtelle (Bruce) and Liz Witford make cameos, and most likely will appear in upcoming New York Stories episodes.
Another Tale of Eddie basically acts like that person that does annoying things to the point that you are almost irked, then somehow salvages your outlook with a catchy idea, or lets say a story. This time the Alchemist delivers a mental nipple twister, which in some strange way was kind of gratifying.
Another Tale of Eddie runs tomorrow night March 21, and next weekend on the March 26, 27 and closing Saturday March 28. All shows start promptly at 7:30p.
Rumors of an instantaneous sell-out at Turner Hall added to the lore that made Sleater-Kinney’s highly anticipated post-Valentine’s Day performance at the Riverside legendary. You know you’re all grown up when you can say you’ve been to the Riverside more than once in a calendar year. My time has apparently come. If any band was to do it I’m glad it was them.
The Elephant Pose
Riverside’s gorgeous Baroque interior couldn’t mute the obvious mental chatter permeating the foyer atmosphere, brimming with posers poser-checking other posers, myself included. My then-girlfriend, now-fiance, caught me laughing out loud while watching Portlandia a couple years ago, and enlightened me on Carrie Brownstein. I admittedly only had at the tip of my tongue, ‘Oh that cool looking girl who’s pretty funny?’
I imagine 5 out 7 people attending stood in the category of Portlandia fans first. My fiance even confided her deference for Bikini Kill when she heard Sleater-Kinney was coming to town, and she’s not even as big a Portlandia fan as I am, right? Really, it’s not worth being like the SXSW hoard. Really, it’s physically, emotionally and socially impossible to have been there for everything, especially anything that happened before 2005.
SXSW Hoard via Jimmy Kimmel Live
Clear the Non-Sense
None of that poser-pretension mattered inside the Riverside auditorium, only that the die-hard pretentious were sharing their moment, gladly letting a little rub-off on everyone else. Neo-true skool Hip-hop serial-banger Lizzo had already tenderized the crowd and Sleater-Kinney went right to work.
They riffed, Carrie Brownstein funky as ever, in a capped shoulder blouse and jeans, throttled then soothed her guitar strings. They belted, Corin Tucker grounded herself as if she was drawing power directly from the floor to mega-amplify her cavernous voice. They banged, Janet Weiss pelted her drum kit furiously. They animated life-less objects, the backdrop of their staging hung motionless upstage, gray and textured like concrete; brought to life under DIY special effects, cut squares wafting upwards, blown by a giant fan.
Sleater-Kinney, Entertain – Live (2015)
Sleater-Kinney’s prowess showed best in their updated delivery of gravity carrying songs like Combat Song and their willingness to drift-off to distant glory held in frenetic anthems like Not What You Want, while introducing new material from their latest LP No Cities to Love. Brownstein heaped tons of praise on Milwaukee for turning out on a Sunday night and gushed a little at the Riverside’s handsomeness. I’m sure everyone welled-up a little with classic Milwaukee exuberance, wishing only to turn the entire lower level into the pit.
Understanding they are a piece of the heart and a gasp of the breath of the last generation to leave home en-mass and in earnest at 18 or sooner, Sleater-Kinney was nothing less that impressive musically. To know they played The Globe with a lot less lights and people, is even more ridiculous. What else is there to say, if you weren’t their you missed two damn good shows, hopefully in 15 years everyone in the audience and on stage will still have enough spunk to do it again.
Sleater-Kinney dropped into Milwaukee as one of 20 U.S. stops on their international campaign for their latest album No Cities to Love.