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MKE Music Premiere: Haunter tries to sort out the senseless on ‘It’s Okay’

Joe Kirschling

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 our Music Submission page to learn how.

There are aspects of life that are … let’s just say not great. A quick scan of the day’s headlines will provide countless examples while also demonstrating how easy it is to reduce these events to their simplest possible forms/explanations. The track we’re debuting here is a reminder that things are rarely that straightforward.

Milwaukee progressive indie rockers Haunter have a well-established rep for turning off-beat rhythms (literal and figurative) and sometimes-difficult lyrics into songs that fall on the gloomy-sounding side of pop. The trying topic they gave that treatment on new single “It’s Okay” unfortunately presented itself — yet again — on the day the band wrote the track.

“‘It's Okay’ was written on a day that another mass shooting occurred in the U.S., and its lyrics are meant to evoke the innocence of being a kid and how easily it can be lost or turn dark,” they explained to us. “The song's primary riff feels off-kilter and unresolved, giving the song an anxious feeling that progresses to the more intense dissonant and clashing sounds of the outro.”

It’s not heavy on the lyrics volume-wise, which almost gives more weight to the matter at hand. In very few words, the song puts a pretty blah “day in the life” up against that suddenly dark turn to demonstrate the thin line between tedium and terror:

Easy Mac in the microwave
Chillin' out in the basement
Summer break blasting vaporwave
Wonderin' how I can escape this

It's okay now I got my AK

Difficult subject matter, to be sure, but music has a long history of helping artists and listeners alike process the unimaginable. If it’s something you feel comfortable taking on, you can hear Haunter’s “It’s Okay” using the player at the top of the page and on 88Nine throughout today (7:30 and 11:30 a.m.; 3:30, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.).

The band will also host a listening party and live chat via Bandcamp at 7 p.m. April 24 — the official release day for their new album, Mytharc — and have a show coming up with Cripes at Great Lakes Distillery on May 11.