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Studio Milwaukee Session: Slow Pulp

Jen Ellis

When we set out on our history-making quest to book five Studio Milwaukee Sessions in five days, it wasn’t a specific goal for the majority of our lineup to have Wisconsin ties. But we were thrilled when Slow Pulp — who got their start in Madison — made it three straight Badger Staters to start the week.

Those roots run deep, too. Henry Stoehr (guitar), Alex Leeds (bass) and Teddy Mathews (drums) have played together since sixth grade, and Emily Massey (vocals, guitar) jumped in after meeting Mathews and Stoehr at UW-Madison. They’ve since decamped to Chicago, but the musical foundation that formed in their home state remains.

Talking to 88Nine’s Erin Wolf, Massey gave a nod to WSUM — the university’s radio station — for a few encouraging nudges along the musician’s path, including playing one of her songs on the air for the first time.

“That was a really special feeling. College radio and community radio introduces you to so many songs that you might not hear on pop radio. That was really formative, I think, for all of us I’m sure. … Even when I’m home in Madison, I always have those stations on, and it’s so fun to see what’s coming out of them.”

Slow Pulp made Wednesday’s session even more of a treat by playing three songs from just-released album Yard live for the first time anywhere. Clearly, that was an intentional move by Massey and company considering their affection for Radio Milwaukee. Although more logical types would chalk it up to a scheduling quirk considering the band was mere hours away from kicking off a global headlining tour at The Back Room.

Either way, we loved being able to share those live debuts on 88Nine and with a very enthusiastic crowd at our Walker’s Point studios. Set opener “Cramps” met their energy nicely before the band downshifted just a bit to finish the broadcast portion with “Worm” and the harmonica-tinged “Broadview.”

After some effective audience persuasion, Slow Pulp agreed to stick around for one more and opened it up to requests, eventually settling on “High” from 2019 album Big Day. The impromptu interactive finale sent everyone on their day feeling good and — I know we say this every time, but it’s important — provided that little extra something for those lucky enough to be in the room.

If you want to join them for the next one, we have two more Studio Milwaukee Sessions that are open to the public this week: Grace Potter on Thursday and The Lemon Twigs on Friday. Beyond that, you can snag an invite to all of our sessions by becoming a Radio Milwaukee member right now. You can also pick up Slow Pulp’s new album, Yard, on Bandcamp right now.

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Set list

  1. “Cramps”
  2. “Worm”
  3. “Broadview”
  4. “High” (non-broadcast performance)