88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Vanity Plates’ new album, ‘You Want to Move,’ will make you feel liberated

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We got a look into what was happening in studios earlier this year with their single, “Your Car,” but now we have the full compilation and it doesn’t disappoint. The album is nine tracks of an upbeat, transparent story filled with heavy percussion, climatic breaks, uplifting melodies and a perfect balance between it all.

vanity plates band

Throughout the album, Vanity Plates addresses relevant conditions and relatable insecurities without bleak despair, but with a rather wistful sentiment and revitalizing attitude. “You Want to Move” is a pertinent compilation that flips not-so-ideal circumstances into cathartic and liberating summer anthems. Take a listen below.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Tony! Toni! Toné! are among the headliners for the first Black Arts Fest MKE

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MC Lyte

Black Arts MKE Fest schedule

12:15 p.m. –  TBA
2 p.m.  – TBA
3 p.m.  – Opening Ceremonies featuring special musical guests
4:15 p.m. – TBA
6 p.m. – Bobby Rush
8 p.m. – Tony! Toni! Toné!
10 p.m. – MC Lyte

There will be four stages of entertainment during the day. The Miller Lite Oasis, Johnson Controls Sound Stage, Cultural Expression Stage and the Children’s Stage.

The Miller Lite Oasis and Johnson Controls Sound Stage will feature a range of entertainment reflective of different genres made popular by African American artists – R&B, Gospel, Blues, Motown and more.

The Cultural Expression stage, located east of the mid gate, is where you can nourish your soul with traditional dance, drumming, spoken word, hip-hop and other wonderful expressions of our heritage.

The Children’s Stage will feature a combination of performances showcases different styles of dance as well as workshops. Children will learn the history of each dance style, its relation to Black culture, and be invited on stage to learn some basic steps wrapped up with a performance.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

How Hop Along is keeping the healing power of music alive

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Say what you will about celebrity deaths, it’s been a rough month in that department. It began on the morning of May 11, when I found out that Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchinson was dead. By no means was I friends with Scott, but his music was near and dear to my heart. And, last September I got to sit down with him on his tour bus outside the Pabst Theater. Scott was disarming and gracious. The news of his suicide hit me like a freight train.

Then, last Friday, we learned that beloved chef and raconteur Anthony Bourdain had died from suicide. My family and I never sat down with Bourdain, but like millions around the world, it felt as if we lost a friend. Bourdain was a master storyteller and a very special human being. His television shows single-handedly raised the empathy quotient in the universe tenfold. Our loss cannot be understated.

Work took me out-of-town recently. As a result, I missed Riverwest FemFest, an inspiring annual gathering of femme creativity, as well as PrideFest, the official kick-off to summer festival season and an overall joyous affair. In light of missing these uplifting events, seeing Hop Along at Turner Hall was just what the doctor ordered.

hop along concert

Hop Along is a band from Philadelphia fronted by 32-year-old Frances Quinlan. Like Frightened Rabbit, Hop Along began as a solo project (when Quinlan was in high school and going under the moniker Hop Along, Queen Ansleis) and later Frances added her brother Mark on drums. A full band was eventually assembled and a studio debut “Get Disowned,” which was released in 2012. The band’s subsequent albums—2015’s “Painted Shut” and this year’s “Bark Your Head Off, Dog”—were critical successes released by the respected indie label, Saddle Creek.  

I have to give credit to my partner, who first discovered Hop Along last year in a Baltimore coffee shop. It was one of those moments when a song is so good, you’re compelled to ask the barista who it is. She has listened to Hop Along’s new record countless times after that. No surprise, she was eagerly awaiting Tuesday night’s show. On the other hand, I was unfamiliar with the band, but loved the single “How Simple” that’s been in rotation on 88Nine.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Keep your dongle in your pants (or you’ll lose it)

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What’s a “dongle” you ask? It’s a remarkably small device that you insert into the lightning jack on the newer iPhones if you want to connect your headphones (or a speaker or stereo) without using Bluetooth. Imagine buying a car that needed a tiny, easy-to-lose wire in order to turn on the radio—that’s just as bad as the dongle in my eyes.

iphone dongle

It doesn’t take long to realize that another added inconvenience of the dongle is that, while the dongle dangles awkwardly out of the bottom of your phone while you listen to music, your phone’s battery also drains, leaving you with no way to simultaneously listen to your phone and charge it. Of course, there’s an aftermarket device that is essentially a splitter to facilitate simultaneous charging and listening, but that device (double dongle?) is just south of $30. That’s even more money just to use your phone the way it could’ve been used a year or two ago, without the extra hardware. Grrrrr, Hulk mad.

The cynic in me feels like this is an orchestrated gambit to make you buy all the new Bluetooth headphones that have flooded the market in the wake of the dongle. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bluetooth technology. I have a 2011 car with an “upgraded tech” package. It gives me hands-free Bluetooth phone usage which has worked flawlessly for nine years. I don’t mind upgrading my car, just don’t make me upgrade my headphones—I have a pretty extensive collection of those that work just fine with cords, thank you very much.

The dongle works well for what it’s supposed to do, but its size also makes it remarkably easy to misplace or lose altogether. I’ve had my iPhone 7 for less than a year and I am already on dongle number three. And, at $9-10 a pop, that’s way more than one should have to spend for a function most phones already have built into them.

So, please keep a close eye on your dongle, lest you lose it. I suggest the fifth pocket on many kinds of pants, but remember that when you do laundry…I’ve washed my dongle(s) more times than I’ve lost mine.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Celebrate Make Music Day in Milwaukee with these free concerts

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Beginning with a dream by one man, Jack Long, to promote music relentlessly for a day, the idea grew into an international spectacle 35 years later. France’s Ministry of Culture declared the summer solstice, June 21, as a national holiday for the “festival of music,” Fête De La Musique. Accepted by 120 countries, over 700 cities participate each year in bringing live music of all genres to their streets for people of all ages.  

Milwaukee will join the world celebration with its own local concerts spread throughout the city streets and parks from 11 a.m. to midnight. Currently, 23 different acts will perform at 18 various locations. All shows are free to the public.

Here are our picks for some artists to check out at these participating Milwaukee venues:

Tribeca Gallery Cafe

  • Andii (Jazz, Folk, Singer/Songwriter)

Milwaukee Art Museum – Windhover Hall

  • Tom Herbstreith (Native American)
  • 4th Dimension (Jazz, Pop, Rock)

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

  • Loud Library (Pop, Other)
  • Tristann (Classical)

Central Library

  • Two Ukes Walked Into a Bar (Pop, Indie-Folk, Folk)

Center Street Branch

  • Saint Miguel & KhalilTheActivist (Hip-Hop, Jazz, R&B)
  • Melodic prodigies (Hip-Hop, R&B, Singer/Songwriter)
  • Laurence (Singer/Songwriter, Indie-Folk, Electronic)

Saint John’s on the Lake

  • 5AM A Cappella (A Cappella, Barbershop, Pop, Indie-Folk)

East Library

  • Tomás Goldsmith and Students (Kids, Jazz, Classical)

See the full lineup here.

Make Music Milwaukee is encouraging any venue and musicians of any genre or age to get involved in this musical extravaganza.

Information regarding participation can be found here.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco returns to the Pabst Theater!

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Just announced! Jeff Tweedy is a singer-songwriter most known as the frontman of Chicago-based Wilco, however he’s also contributed to power-pop trio Loose Fur and indie supergroup Golden Smog. He’ll be doing a rare acoustic solo performance in Milwaukee celebrating a retrospective of songs, Together At Last (dBpm Records), from across all of his projects. See the intimate and intricate performance right here in Milwaukee.

Radio Milwaukee listeners get early access to tickets! Your pre-sale starts Wednesday, June 13 at 10AM with code: 88NINE


What: Jeff Tweedy
Where: The Pabst Theater
When: Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Tickets and more info: pabsttheater.org/event/jefftweedy2018

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

A conversation with Real Estate’s Julian Lynch

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Real Esate (Julian Lynch, far right) by Shawn Brackbill

Radio Milwaukee had a chat with the newest guitarist for the band Real Estate, Julian Lynch. Julian is a resident of Madison, WI and talks about his role in the band, his love of Wisconsin, and being a musician while pursuing a PhD.

You can see Real Estate in Milwaukee tonight, Sunday, June 10 at The Back Room @ Colectivo!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Surgeons In Heat are bringing Milwaukee dream pop alive

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Later this month, Milwaukee’s Surgeons in Heat will be releasing their new album, “Bored Immortals.” In lieu of the release, they’ve leaked two new tracks that are airy and hypnotic synth-filled grooves.

Reminiscent of surf-style rock, the beats are what you would expect if the beach and dreams personified music in the 80s. Paired with nostalgic keyboards, vocal effects and catchy hooks, the tracks are perfect to get you out of the winter blues. It’s what we all need to get ready for summer. Listen below and catch them at the Cactus Club on June 29.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

See the closest thing there is to a live Prince performance

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Along with the alumni of “the funkiest band in the land,” NPG will spotlight its newest official member: lead vocalist MacKenzie. His incredible vocal range and dynamic approach to Prince’s ballads and the superstar’s upbeat rock, pop and funk songs have been electrifying audiences and garnering praise from music critics around the globe. Prince’s fans quickly embraced him.

prince concert summerfest milwaukee npg

Broadway World UK says: “His unique and reverent approach to the songs never strays into an impersonation. Instead, his own unique artistry shines through in a way that we think Prince would approve.”

Get tickets here.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Get ready to Chill on the Hill in Bay View with Lex Allen, the MSO and more

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Here’s who you can see playing the Humboldt Park bandshell this summer at Chill on the Hill:

chill on the hill lineup

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris for Milwaukee Magazine

June 5 | Lex Allen with Bay View and Parkside Drum Line

June 12 | Bandoleer Bacall and Moth Light with The Watchbirds

June 19 | Mortgage Freeman and Telethon with Bum Alum

June 22 | Kids from Wisconsin with “Realize Your Dream” Workshop

June 26 | American Legion Band

July 3 | Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

July 10 | Surgeons in Heat and B-Free with Amanda Huff

July 17 | World Music Night with Stas Venglevski, ¡paLABra! and Sindoolaa

July 24 | Humboldt Hustle 5K Run – Hot and Dirty Brass Band and They GuanUs with Milwaukee Rep Theater highlights from “In the Heights”

July 31 | Camel Tow Truck and The Unheard Of with Two and A Half Stars

August 7 | Kids and Family Night with The Trojan Horses and Negative/Positive with Half Glass Full and Daley Debutantes Baton and Drum Corp

August 14 | Xposed 4Heads and The Quilz with Kinsella Irish School of Irish Dance

August 21 | Who’s Your Daddy Trio and Matchstick with Beto y Azul

August 28 | Zach Pietrini and Mike Mangione & the Kin with Trapper Schoepp

And, here’s the food truck lineup: Hue Vietnamese, Babe’s Ice Cream, Streetza Pizza, Guanajuato Mexican, Gouda Girls and Tenuta’s Italian.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee