The War On Drugs announce new album and two nights at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater

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The War On Drugs will play two shows at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater in February. The rock band will play Saturday, Feb. 12 and Sunday, Feb. 13, as part of a tour behind their just-announced upcoming album.

The band’s new album “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” will be out Out. 29, and today they shared its first single, “Living Proof,” which you can stream below.

The War On Drugs | Courtesy photo

Tickets for the Riverside Theater shows go on sale July 23 at 10 a.m., following a pre-sale starting July 22 at noon.

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Biz Markie, pioneering beatboxer and ‘Just A Friend’ rapper, dies at 57

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Biz Markie, an American original-born Marcel Theo Hall and a larger-than-life hip-hop figure, has died at the age of 57. Known widely for a career spanning back to 1986, Hall went on to become a beloved cultural figure later in life, celebrated for his spirited personality as much as his massive 1989 hit, “Just A Friend.” His death was confirmed by his manager, Jenni D. Izumi.

“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time,” Izumi told NPR via email. “Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years.”

Hall had reportedly been ill for months, but Izumi did not provide an official cause of death.

Michael Ochs Archives UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1970: Photo of Biz Markie Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Biz came of age when rap was still young; a free-for-all in terms of approach and style, an era that seemed innocent yet was wildly progressive. He was born in Harlem before moving to Long Island in his early teens. An early introduction for those outside of New York, at least on film, was best captured in the 1986 Dutch hip-hop documentary, Big Fun in the Big Town. In it, we see a tall, lanky beatboxer in a hat emblazoned with big letters spelling out “Biz Markie.” He’s effusive onstage with fellow crewmate, Roxanne Shanté. They’re doing exuberant back-and-forth routines as the camera zooms in on Biz, showcasing the innate ease at which he can pack a party and move a crowd through his voice and natural presence.

He was an early standout in the Juice Crew, a dazzling collective led by producer Marley Marl, a visionary who assembled a team so adept and rich in character it would only be rivaled in the modern age by the otherworldliness of Wu-Tang Clan. The crew, whose affiliates were mostly out of Queensbridge, was founded by radio DJ Mr. Magic and subsequently placed on Tyrone Williams’ record label, Cold Chillin’ Records. Their first release, 1984’s “Roxanne’s Revenge,” was produced by Marley and featured a 15-year-old Roxanne Shante. The charismatic release became a hit and is largely responsible for Juice Crew’s early strides.

The young proto-supergroup consisted of several eventual greats — Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Masta Ace, MC Shan and others. They were the vanguard of their day, a formidable team who emboldened the new school amid rap’s explosive mid-’80s popularity. Each member possessed distinct traits. If Kane was the dancing playboy and G Rap the hustler, Biz was the jester, the comic relief in a crew of serious rhyme experts. His delivery was never as dexterous as the others, but he’d use props and costumes to exploit his size, pushed the mic into his neck while beatboxing and made himself the butt of jokes. In a world of braggadocio, his self-deprecation was a refreshing contrast, decidedly humble, a theme he never strayed too far from for the rest of his career. He’s warmly dubbed by many as hip-hop’s “clown prince.”

Biz’s first official solo album was 1988’s Goin’ Off, a debut produced by Marley Marl, anchored by singles that remain among his best; “Make the Music with Your Mouth, Biz,” “Nobody Beats the Biz,” as well as “Vapors,” a hilarious four-verse tale of success and envy that proved to be a hit. In the song’s final stanza, he endearingly laments: “I say, ‘Can I be down, champ?’ They said ‘No!’ and treated me like a wet food stamp.”

“The Biz Never Sleeps,” his sophomore effort, generated not only Markie’s most-known song, but also one of rap’s most enduring, “Just A Friend.” It brilliantly sampled Freddie Scott’s “You Got What I Need” and became his biggest single, eventually charting at No. 9 on Billboard. In the music video, Biz dons a powdered wig, gloriously impersonating Mozart on the piano. It was a story-rap about constant rejection, bolstered by an earworm of a chorus. Biz is pictured weeping on the cover of the 12-inch single; big frown, handkerchief and all.

I Need A Haircut,” the followup to Biz Never Sleeps, is largely remembered for a court decision on copyright law: Singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan sued Biz and his record label, Warner Bros., for unauthorized usage of his 1972 hit, “Alone Again (Naturally).” The result was a landmark decision that tightened sampling laws thereafter, making all future rap (and all music) releases adhere to stringent licensing rules. Copies of “I Need A Haircut” were pulled from store shelves, making it a disappointment, despite bright moments— chief among them “Alone Again,” the song that got them in trouble and left the entire industry shook. His next release was impishly titled, All Samples Cleared!

As the ’90s came to an end, it was clear that Biz had been ingrained within hip-hop, but also beyond. He had admirers, including the Beastie Boys, who featured him on three of their projects; Check Your Head (1992), Ill Communication (1994) and Hello Nasty (1998). He was sampled by the Rolling Stones on “Anybody Seen My Baby,” where his vocals were added to the song’s middle sequence. He also appeared on reality TV (Celebrity Fit Club) and on pop radio in songs like Len’s “Beautiful Day” from 1999.

Biz’s final studio album, “Weekend Warrior,” arrived in 2003 and saw him working with producers 45 King and J-Zone, but he made the lion’s share of beats. A prominent appearance by P. Diddy affirmed his ennobled status. The album includes a charming late-era track (“Chinese Food”), in which he eulogizes Aaliyah and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez in the intro, before listing all his favorite Chinese dishes in the chorus.

He appeared in the movies too, playing an intercosmic version of himself in Men In Black II. On television, he had a recurring role on the music-centric kid’s program, Yo Gabba Gabba! In a charming segment called “Biz’s Beat of the Day” he does short instructionals on how to beatbox, often in costume. He also opened for Chris Rock on his No Apologies tour. There were popular t-shirts that widely sold with his face and now famous reactionary quip, “Oh Snap!” When his fandom was at an all-time high, dolls with his likeness, cereal boxes and action figures all became collectable items.

Until word of his recent hospitalization in late July of 2020, you could find Biz on social media, posting toys from his collection or playing 45s while dressed in a onesie. He still toured and did legacy shows and guest appearances seemingly often. He’d post show flyers, vintage ones that felt historical or current ones from tech conventions. There’s also pictures of him and fellow legends like Slick Rick and Rakim. His behemoth grin and comedic energy intact, vital as it was in that aforementioned 1986 Dutch documentary.

In 2005, an independent rapper named Edan predicted the coming of this awful day through a track called “Funky Voltron,” saying: “‘Cause when the beats sound iffy and the kids bark live / It’ll be a sad day like when the Bizmark dies.” For over 30 years Biz projected joie di vivre easily through humor that was always wholesome and good spirited. His artistry felt inclusive, he wanted us to laugh, to be entertained by his toys and record collection and beats and songs and jokes and the faces he’d make. And we were.

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Harry Styles and Jenny Lewis will play Fiserv Forum in November

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One of pop’s biggest stars has announced a Milwaukee tour date. Harry Styles will bring his “Love On” tour to Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum on Nov. 3, 2021. Indie-rock veteran Jenny Lewis will open.

Tickets go on sale Friday, July 23 at 10 a.m.

Harry Styles | Courtesy photo

Radio Milwaukee will be giving away tickets on the air next week, July 19-22.

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Milwaukee’s Klassik shares a new song in honor of Juneteenth

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Tomorrow will be the 50th anniversary of Milwaukee celebrating Juneteenth. In honor of this special occasion, Milwaukee’s Klassik has shared a new song called “Black Holiday.”

Klassik writes this about the song:

“I’m releasing a new single and video tomorrow entitled “Black Holiday” on the eve of Juneteenth Day, an important historical milestone and celebration in acknowledgement of the continued quest for Black Liberation (read: a true, black holiday). This is a piece of art inspired by and in response to the physical, psychological, and state-sanctioned violence incurred upon Black bodies around the world, with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the attempted murder of Jacob Blake being key local catalysts for me. The summer of 2020 ignited many fires, both literally and figuratively, and the fire of frustration, and an urgent sense of responsibility to articulate that rage and passion, created this song. 

The hook is a declaration not of mistaken identity, but of defiance and resilience.  “You’ve got the wrong one” is a declaration of self-awareness and pride, and of setting boundaries to protect the most impactful and effective form of protest, which in the case of Black Liberation, is Black Joy.” The visual, directed by myself, shot by Samer Ghani, designed by Rakim, and edited by Blizz, is intended to capture the frenzy and disorientation that this rage can incur, instilling a sense of urgency and defiance that is the driving theme of the song and visual.”

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Lakeyah just became Milwaukee’s first XXL Freshman Class member ever

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People may not buy print magazines like they used to, but XXL magazine’s Freshman Class remains one of the most prestigious honors in hip-hop. For years Milwaukee rappers have pushed for long-shot inclusion in the magazine’s annual Freshman Class issue, but none of them made it until this week, when Lakeyah was announced as one of this year’s 11 inductees.

The Milwaukee native joins a particularly competitive class that also includes 42 Dugg, Iann Dior, Coi Leray, Pooh Shiesty, Flo Milli, Morray, Rubi Rose, Blxst, Toosii and DDG. It’s hard to stress what an enormous honor that is. Past inductees have included Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper, 21 Savage, J. Cole and Anderson .Paak.
Lakeyah | Via Instagram

That exposure should further fuel Lakeyah’s skyrocketing career. In the last year, she’s released big singles with artists like City Girls, Yung Bleu and Gucci Mane.

You can read our interview with Lakeyah, and enjoy some of her recent videos below.

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Foo Fighters will play Milwaukee’s American Family Insurance Amphitheater

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Foo Fighters will play the Summerfest grounds’ newly remodeled American Family Insurance Amphitheater on July 30, the venue announced today. Unless a show is announced before then, that would make the group the first act to play the amphitheater since the renovations were completed during the pandemic.

Tickets go on sale Friday, June 4 at 10 a.m., with a presale taking place Thursday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with code MIDNIGHT. But Radio Milwaukee has a chance for you to score them earlier. Dori Zori will be giving away tickets every morning during her show through Friday.

Foo Fighters | Photo credit: Danny Clinch

Foo Fighters’ tenth album, “Medicine at Midnight,” was released this February.

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Modest Mouse announce Milwaukee show, share new single

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Modest Mouse are returning to Milwaukee. The band will play the Riverside Theater on Saturday, Aug. 21, they announced as part of an extensive U.S. tour that also includes performances at Lollapalooza and at Austin City Limits.

Tickets for the Riverside Theater date go on sale Wednesday, May 26.

Modest Mouse | courtesy photo

The show announcements come as the band is ramping up the campaign behind their upcoming seventh album, “The Golden Casket,” due June 25 on Epic Records. The band had already released one single from that record, “We Are Between,” and today they shared a second, “Leave a Light On.”

Stream it below.

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The Lumineers share a live release recorded in Milwaukee

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If you caught The Lumineers’ concert at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum last March, there’s a good chance it was the last concert you saw for a while. It was the band’s last concert for a while, too. The group’s March 11 date in Milwaukee was their final show before Covid-19 shut down their tour and live music in general.

It’ll still be a while before the band returns to the road (they’re set to resume touring in 2022), but in the meantime the band has shared today a new EP called “Live from the Last Night of Tour” recorded during that Milwaukee show.

Jeremiah Fraites The Lumineers | Courtesy photo

You can stream it below.

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Pitchfork Music Festival announces 2021 lineup, with St. Vincent, Phoebe Bridgers and Erykah Badu

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Pitchfork Music Festival will return this fall. The festival announced that it will celebrate its 15th anniversary year Friday, September 10 through Sunday, September 12 at Chicago’s Union Park.

The lineup is one of its strongest ever. Along with headliners Erykah Badu, St. Vincent and Phoebe Bridgers, the bill features Big Thief, Angel Olsen, Flying Lotus, Animal Collective, Kim Gordon, Thundercat, Yaeji, Dogleg, Danny Brown, Waxahatchee, Cat Power, Jay Electronica, Oso Oso, Ty Segall & Freedom Band, Jamila Woods, Caroline Polachek, Yves Tumor and the first Fiery Furnaces show in more than a decade.

Check out the complete lineup below.

Friday, September 10

Phoebe Bridgers
Big Thief
Animal Collective
The Fiery Furnaces
black midi
Hop Along
Kelly Lee Owens
Ela Minus
The Soft Pink Truth
DJ Nate
Armand Hammer

Saturday, September 11

St. Vincent
Angel Olsen
Kim Gordon
Ty Segall & Freedom Band
Jay Electronica
Jamila Woods
Georgia Anne Muldrow
Faye Webster
Maxo Kream
Divino Niño
Bartees Strange

Sunday, September 12

Erykah Badu
Flying Lotus
Danny Brown
Cat Power
Andy Shauf
Caroline Polachek
Yves Tumor
The Weather Station
Mariah the Scientist
oso oso
Special Interest
Cassandra Jenkins

Three-day passes are $195 and single-day passes are $90. “If the festival is postponed or rescheduled due to COVID-19, ticket buyers can keep their passes for the new dates or request a refund,” according to organizers.

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Wisconsin State Fair plans to return this August

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After a year off last year amid the pandemic, Wisconsin State Fair announced today that plans to return this summer, confirming a Aug. 5-15 run at State Fair Park. 

“In January, the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board approved a goal to have a fair this August and we are pleased to confirm we are well on our way to meeting that goal,” said Wisconsin State Fair Park’s board chairman John Yingling wrote in a release.

Wisconsin state fair food
Courtesy Wisconsin State Fair

“We are happy to confirm there are WonderFair days ahead and are excited to safely gather to celebrate everything we are so proud of in Wisconsin,” Wisconsin State Fair Park CEO Kathleen O’Leary added in the release.

The festival already has five Main Stage concerts confirmed, all rollovers from last year’s canceled dates: Skillet (Aug.5), Chris Young (Aug. 6), Brothers Osborne (Aug. 11), Boyz II Men (Aug. 13) and the Beach Boys (Aug. 14). Tickets for this shows are now on sale at

More concerts will be announced soon, according to the event.

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