Whitney brave I-94 for a neighborly Studio Milwaukee Session

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Chicago band Whitney are no strangers to Milwaukee. From birthday celebrations to rowdy weekends, they’ve dropped in on our city in their spare time, including at a recent Studio Milwaukee Session.

During our interview, they talked about some of those experiences, how their name shows up in searches for Whitney Houston, how to make an interesting cover song and how they approached their new album, Spark, in what they call “high definition.”

Head down below to listen to our chat and the three songs they played, plus you can check out a photo gallery from our performance space full of Radio Milwaukee supporters (who got a bonus autograph session!).

Whitney live at Radio Milwaukee

Our fall drive starts Oct. 5. But thanks to Radio Milwaukee Board Member Lacey Sadoff, who’s matching donations dollar for dollar, your gift today does twice as much to help us meet our goal so we can keep bringing you stories like these!

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Cayucas talk switcheroos, songwriting in a sunny Studio Milwaukee Session

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If the warm weather wasn’t enough to keep your summer rolling a little bit longer, Cayucas brought a full blast of sunshine to their recent Studio Milwaukee Session.

Our room full of members felt like they were closer to the Pacific coast than Lake Michigan’s as twin brothers Ben and Zach Yudin eased their way through new singles “Topo Ride the Wave” and “Sayulita” to lead off the set. Then our own Marcus Doucette jumped in to give the guys a chance to talk about, among other things, helpful critiques during the recording process.

“When we wrote the song, it was originally titled, ‘Ride the Wave,’” Ben said. “The producer of the song was always telling us we had some generic song titles. He told us we gotta put a little English on it, gotta go a little left of center. So I think I was drinking Topo Chico, and the word ‘Topo’ just seemed to fit.”

Before finishing their set with “Jessica WJ,” they also gave us a rough idea of when to expect their already-finished new album, shared a helpful songwriting rule and revealed how the Bring It On movie franchise led the twins to execute one of their very few switcheroos.

You can listen to the full Studio Milwaukee Session below and check out photos from Cayucas’ visit. But if you’d rather join our next one in person (You should! They’re fun!), become a member today.

Cayucas live at Radio Milwaukee

Our fall drive starts Oct. 5. But thanks to Radio Milwaukee Board Member Lacey Sadoff, who’s matching donations dollar for dollar, your gift today does twice as much to help us meet our goal so we can keep bringing you stories like these!

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Buffalo Nichols balances past and present at Studio Milwaukee Session

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Carl “Buffalo” Nichols’ emergence as an artist has as much to do with appreciating the past as leaving it behind.

He grew up on the Northwest side of Milwaukee but gained valuable perspective by heading overseas. He played in several bands but went solo to evolve as a musician. He loves the blues but is driven to forge a stronger link between its past and the more current Black experience.

Those bold decisions have served Nichols well. Just in the last week or so, he took the stage at Newport Folk Festival and then played a standout set at Lollapalooza. But before those appearances, he joined us for a Studio Milwaukee Session and shared three songs, as well as a little bit of insight to his life choices.

You can listen to the performance and check out photos from the session below.

Buffalo Nichols live at Radio Milwaukee

Our fall drive starts Oct. 5. But thanks to Radio Milwaukee Board Member Lacey Sadoff, who’s matching donations dollar for dollar, your gift today does twice as much to help us meet our goal so we can keep bringing you stories like these!

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Built to Spill whips up a wide-ranging Studio Milwaukee Session

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Doug Martsch is an old hand at easing people into new situations.

Built to Spill’s frontman created the band with the intention of rotating musicians in and out to “make different kinds of music, make different kinds of records and not have a particular sound,” he told us at Built to Spill’s Studio Milwaukee Session in May. “Another reason was to just be around different people, spend time around different groups of people and not be with the same people my whole life.”

(All photos courtesy: Jen Ellis)

The session had that inviting feel as the band — featuring Melanie Radford on bass and Teresa Esguerra on drums — welcomed the audience with “So” off 2015’s “Untethered Moon” before showing off a biting new track, “Gonna Lose” from their upcoming album, “When the Wind Forgets Your Name.”

Martsch kept things laid back during the Q&A, talking about influences like David Bowie and Hüsker Dü, frank self-evaluations of his musicianship, and supportive family members who traded cars for guitars.

Appropriately, the band wrapped the session with “Stop the Show,” a track from 1997’s “Perfect From Now On” that went from low key to high intensity during the 8-minute rendition. Listen to the full set below and check out photos from their visit.

Built to Spill live at Radio Milwaukee

Our fall drive starts Oct. 5. But thanks to Radio Milwaukee Board Member Lacey Sadoff, who’s matching donations dollar for dollar, your gift today does twice as much to help us meet our goal so we can keep bringing you stories like these!

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Valerie June’s music and message light up a Studio Milwaukee Session

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Cosmically conscious and possessing a sense of self-awareness that makes her magic seem palpable, Valerie June exudes a charisma we were lucky to see and hear during a recent Studio Milwaukee Session.

She stopped by for a visit on a sunny afternoon that was, in turns, funny, wise and musical. Between dropping pieces of wisdom like how “time is only linear on Earth,” she exuded an undeniable presence while sharing a few songs and many reflections we could all use right now.

You can listen to the full session below and check out photos from this incredible performance.

Valerie June live at Radio Milwaukee
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Spoon bring a bit of Texas to their Studio Milwaukee Session

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Consistency and creativity are hallmarks of great artists, and Spoon put both qualities on display with every new release. Their 10th studio album, “Lucifer on the Sofa,” brought the band — and their sound — back to Austin, resulting in a collection of songs that swing from relationship tales to Texas roadhouse tunes.

At a Wednesday afternoon Studio Milwaukee Session, band members Britt Daniel and Alex Fischel played a stripped-back set that still delivered the foot-pounding feel of their latest album. They also discussed Austin’s influence on their sound, Justin Timberlake’s speaker-shredding studio work and something coming out soon they can sort of kind of talk about but not really.

You can listen to the session and check out photos from their set below.

Spoon live at Radio Milwaukee

Our fall drive starts Oct. 5. But thanks to Radio Milwaukee Board Member Lacey Sadoff, who’s matching donations dollar for dollar, your gift today does twice as much to help us meet our goal so we can keep bringing you stories like these!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Listen to Pup’s first-ever acoustic performance, captured live at Radio Milwaukee

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In the car on the way from Turner Hall Ballroom to 88Nine Steve said to Stefan, “We should play the songs a couple times before going on stage.” Stefan, sounding like he hadn’t quite thought of the concept before said, “Oh yeah. Rehearsal. That sounds like a good idea.”

After running through the songs a couple times and sounding great, in the green room Steve turned to me and said, “You know, this will be the first ever acoustic performance by Pup.” The band has previously been insistent that their music would not work in an acoustic setting. We beg to differ.

Acoustic session with Pup
Photo by Erin Bagatta

Track list

  1. “Robot Writes a Love Song”
  2. “Matilda”
  3. Interview
  4. “Morbid Stuff”
Photo by Erin Bagatta

Our fall drive starts Oct. 5. But thanks to Radio Milwaukee Board Member Lacey Sadoff, who’s matching donations dollar for dollar, your gift today does twice as much to help us meet our goal so we can keep bringing you stories like these!

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Listen to Alt-J perform a stripped down set at Studio Milwaukee

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Studio Milwaukee sessions are back! We lucked out getting Alt-J back in the Radio Milwaukee studios, for the first time since their debut album in 2013.

They stopped by our space right before they took the stage at Turner Hall and performed for an intimate crowd of about 20 Radio Milwaukee members.

Alt-J perform live at Studio Milwaukee

Program director and morning show host Dori Zori welcomed Alt-J to the stage and chatted with them during the three-song set. They talked about making the album, how Dori was personally affected by their music and, of course, Dori’s iconic question “what did you childhood smell like?”

Listen to the performance and interview above.

Photo credit: Erin Bagatta
Photo credit: Erin Bagatta
Photo credit: Erin Bagatta
Photo credit: Erin Bagatta

Then vs. Now

Remember when Alt-J performed in our studios in 2013?
Look at these babies, our midday host Marcus Doucette included!

Our fall drive starts Oct. 5. But thanks to Radio Milwaukee Board Member Lacey Sadoff, who’s matching donations dollar for dollar, your gift today does twice as much to help us meet our goal so we can keep bringing you stories like these!

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Parquet Courts brings a full concert experience to Studio Milwaukee

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New York indie punk band Parquet Courts stopped in Milwaukee earlier this month, and before their show at Turner Hall, they brought a full concert experience to Studio Milwaukee.

With a stage full of gear and an array of effect pedals, they performed “Watching Strangers Smile” and “Walking at a Downtown Pace” in the clip below.

Parquet Courts performs live at Studio Milwaukee

Lead singer Andrew Savage, bassist Sean Yeaton and guitarist Austin Brown also talked about the band’s collaborative process for songwriting and the intentional choices they made in mixing the record. Hint: if you watched the recent Beatles documentary, you might recognize elements of the group’s process.

MAHDI ATIF Photo credit: Mahdi Gransberry
MAHDI ATIF Photo credit: Mahdi Gransberry
MAHDI ATIF Photo credit: Mahdi Gransberry
MAHDI ATIF Photo credit: Mahdi Gransberry
MAHDI ATIF Photo credit: Mahdi Gransberry
MAHDI ATIF Photo credit: Mahdi Gransberry

Our fall drive starts Oct. 5. But thanks to Radio Milwaukee Board Member Lacey Sadoff, who’s matching donations dollar for dollar, your gift today does twice as much to help us meet our goal so we can keep bringing you stories like these!

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Listen to this incredible Studio Milwaukee Session with Tank and the Bangas

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Studio Milwaukee Sessions are back at the 88Nine space, and who better to cap off an unseasonably warm weekend than New Orleans’ Tank and the Bangas.

Ahead of their May 13 release “Red Balloon,” this wonderful band blessed the stage with three of their latest singles, “Stolen Fruit,” “Black Folk” and the single we have in rotation “No ID.” Relive this lovely performance and interview with our own Tarik, by clicking below.

Tank and the Bangas perform live at Studio Milwaukee

Want to be in the audience for our next Studio Milwaukee session? Click the orange heart above to learn more about Radio Milwaukee membership.

Our fall drive starts Oct. 5. But thanks to Radio Milwaukee Board Member Lacey Sadoff, who’s matching donations dollar for dollar, your gift today does twice as much to help us meet our goal so we can keep bringing you stories like these!

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