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MKE Music Premiere: North Warren’s got the good stuff on ‘Drugs!’

Lane David

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.

What do you call an anti-drug drug song about drugs? If you’re Luke Esperes, you call it “Drugs!” Is the exclamation point slightly misleading in that respect? Sure. But hit the “Listen” button at the top of the page, and you’ll realize pretty quickly this is an “exclamation point” kind of a song.

Before going too far down the pharmacological path, it should be noted this track is not strictly about the Nancy Reagan “Don’t Do Drugs” kind of drugs. As Esperes explained to us, “I'm also talking about consumption of social media, doubt, fear, shopping or any other form of consumption you can manifest addiction from. It's not good but it feels good — just like I'm singing about a serious topic, but the upbeat music (hopefully) feels good.”

It does! From the opening strains of the funk-tinged guitar to the crowd-shouted vocal stylings, this is a full-out rocker that tosses in an “oooo oooo oooo” section to take things in for a landing. Not only does it feel good, it sounds good — crisp, clear and nicely polished without crossing the line into too shiny (kudos to Ethan Radtke of Sandbox Audio and Justin Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering).

The words to go with that music have similarly not been fussed over, and in that way they allow the message to come across plain and simple:

You’re doing drugs in the basement
I don’t need to be wasted
What do you bring to the table?
I just need to be stable

I’m just taken aback
By all you have to say
Close me out close me in
I’m just overthinking
Hold me now, tell me how 
I’m supposed to get on with it

Reading the lyrics back, it’s clear this is a pretty trying situation. Throw the music in, and something that’s bad for you in the long term feels pretty good for a couple minutes. Sound familiar?

“Drugs!” by North Warren will spin on 88Nine five times today (7:30 and 11:30 a.m.; and 3:30, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.), and you can listen to it anytime right here. The track is the lone single from the band’s upcoming EP Body Language set for release May 25. The same day, they’ll headline a release show at Vivarium with support from Okay Omen, The Nile Club and Doubter.