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The Keystones mark the official start of a ‘Bradford Summer’

 Three men with short facial hair wearing patterned shirts crouch at the base of a tree in a park-like setting.
Allison Calteux
The Keystones

Every week, Milwaukee Music Premiere connects the city’s artists with our listening audience. If you’re an artist with a track you’d like us to debut exclusively on Radio Milwaukee, head over to ourMusic Submission page to learn how.

Think “summer in Milwaukee,” and what comes to mind? Surely, Summerfest — and even more surely, Bradford Beach. The two come together this week in the form of a sunny song called “Bradford Summer” from Milwaukee modern-rock trio The Keystones, featuring a fun collab with fellow Milwaukee outfit Vinyl Theatre.

As The Keystones explained: “While nobody outside of Milwaukee understands the song name ‘Bradford Summer,’ anyone who's from here will instantly know what this track is about: a summer of sand and sun at Milwaukee's most famous beach.”

The song’s definitely got sun and surf in its bones (and a little sunburn sting to temper the hedonism). Shimmery guitars reflect on a fleeting summer love, making the most of living in the present and living out your summer days, 24/7, on the beach:

Oh, let’s have a Bradford Summer
Oh, who wants to drown in all my waves
Oh, she said a Bradford Summer
2012 light years away

While The Keystones may not have grown up near Bradford Beach, they fell in love with the iconic Milwaukee landmark as they spent more time there as adults. Hailing from Waukesha, bandmates Jack Sherman, Matt Sherman and Eddie Curran say that, as a band, they “want to make the town that created the guitar as we know it, proud.”

Anyone familiar with Waukesha will surely have heard of “The Wizard of Waukesha” Les Paul, creator of the famous guitar of the same name. The Keystones lean heavily into guitar-centric rock, calling on influences like Wavves, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Catfish & The Bottlemen and Young the Giant to bolster their own sound. Boasting “golden era of grunge guitar” born-on dates and tried-and-true love of garage and Brit indie-rock, many layers go into elevating their signature sound.

Still, there’s plenty of room for fun, as The Keystones demonstrate via a playful collaboration with alt-pop group Vinyl Theatre that really amps up the good vibes.

“We’ve been huge fans of Vinyl Theatre ever since they first toured with Twenty-One Pilots, [and] both of us have deep roots in Milwaukee,” The Keystones said in notes accompanying the new track. “So to collaborate on a slick pop track about our hometown feels like paying homage … to be involved creatively with one another — from song structure to lyrics to mixing and production — is a joy and an honor.”

You can hear the finished product using the “Listen” button at the top of the page, or dial up “Bradford Summer” on your listening device of choice — 88.9 on the radio, here on the website and on our mobile app. The song will also get its official live debut at Summerfest’s Uline Warehouse as The Keystones open for Fitz & The Tantrums at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, June 23.

88Nine Music Director / On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee