Our city has some fantastic musicians. Many of them are signed to major labels and recognized nationally. For as much pride this city has in itself, and we have pride in the musicians and the Milwaukee music scene here. So, I decided to call some of our talented musicians around the city and I asked them to sit down with me and talk about music. Every musician picked a song this week, to make 5 Songs That Milwaukee Musicians Can’t Stop Listening To.
1. Field Report picks Kate Bush – “Snowflake”
Field Report is the anagram that Milwaukee musician Christopher Porterfield releases his music under. His 2014 release, Marigolden, was voted by Milwaukee the second best album of 2014. His music is thoughtful, introspective, and moving. Listen to his song “Home (Leave the Lights On).
Porterfield picked Kate Bush’s, “Snowflake.” It is a slow, sprawling, ten minute drift from the sky to the ground. It makes sense for Porterfield to pick this. It’s not an easy listen. That’s not what he wants music to be. He wants a challenge. Something that is in the foreground, not the back. It’s a song that you don’t get unless you “get it.” I like that about this song and I like that about Christopher Porterfield.
- Listen if you like: conceptual songs, creepers, piano.
2. Canopies picks Alex G – “Harvey”
Canopies has called themselves, “The most unlucky band in the world” when performing in our studio at 88Nine. Equipment problems. Timing issues. General anxiety. But those are the side effects of creating the nuanced pieces of artistic production that are Canopies’ songs. Listen to Canopies’ song, “Miss You Now.”
Canopies introduction to Alex G’s “Harvey” is as thoughtful and personal as the song itself. I sat down with band member Jake. He was prepared. He had thought about this song before. I liked that. We tried to record the introduction several times before I finally suggested that I just get out of the room entirely and him record it himself. The result is thoughtful and personal. It lends great insight into the song, and ultimately, into Canopies.
- Listen if you like: growing up, changing, home recordings.
3. The Living Statues pick Kanye West feat. Paul McCartney – “Only One”
The Living Statues are a Rock ‘n’ Roll power trio that could easily be the next Strokes, Black Rebel Motorcyle Club, or Arctic Monkeys. On stage they glow with energy and playfulness. They are one of those bands that you will hear on 88Nine and you will hear a DJ say, “That was from Milwaukee’s own The Living Statues” and you think, “What? That was Milwaukee, not New York?” Listen to their song, “Knockin’”
It’s a little ironic that Chris Morales, the drummer from The Living Statues picked a song that has no drums in it. But, such is the power of Kanye West and Paul McCartney. Morales points to the beauty of this collaboration and the collaborations between band members. The Living Statues lead singer Tommy Shears loves Paul McCartney. Morales loves Kanye. The twain shall meet, in harmony, as band members, and in their love for this song.
- Listen if you like: lullabies, Kanye singing, not rapping, Paul McCartney’s sweet sweet piano skills.
4. Vic from Vic + Gab picks The Drums – “I Hope Time Doesn’t Change Him”
A lot of siblings use music to create an identity that separates them from their other siblings. Or their family in general. Vic + Gab did not do that. And we are better off for it. Instead, the sisters teamed up to form one the most highly regarded and listenable bands in Milwaukee. Vic + Gab play as extensions of each other, intertwining harmonies in choruses and verses, but still maintaining individual identities in the music, and in life. Listen to Vic + Gab’s “Love of Mine.”
When we recorded, Vic pushed Gab to go first and when I told them that I might not be able to fit both introductions in one week Vic said, “air Gab’s first. Mine doesn’t matter.” Naturally, I put hers first. Vic talks about the power of live performance in her introduction. Did you ever have that moment when you were sure that you made eye contact with the lead singer and they sang directly to you? That happened to Vic with this song. And she talks about it directly to you.
- Listen if you like: Killer bass rhythm, atmospheric vocals, The Smiths.
5. Gab from Vic + Gab picks Johnny Aries – “Unbloomed”
Having Vic without Gab just seemed unfair. A yin without the yang. Peanut butter without jelly. It just would not feel right. The songs that Vic + Gab picked complement each other so perfectly, it’s no wonder that Vic + Gab are perfect bandmates together. When listening to this song, imagine laying on your bed, dreaming of going to a beautiful dance, and then getting up and waltzing with your imaginary partner. Or at least, imagine Gab doing that as she describes it in her introduction.
- Listen if you like: grade school dances, day dreaming, The Smiths.