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MKE Music Premiere: Alley Eyes enters a new era with ‘Killing Time’

Allison Calteux
Alley Eyes

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.

“Indie sleaze” might be the most unpleasant yet accurate genre name out there. Even if the music of bands like The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol never got its hooks into you in the early 2000s, you can probably conjure up the sounds (and smells) of the scene based solely on the title of the genre.

Stepping back into that scene once again with “Killing Time” — the song we’re premiering today — is Alley Eyes, the Milwaukee quartet that wasted little time spreading the indie-sleaze aesthetic across the city. In a few short years, they’ve pumped out three EPs and brought a much-needed distinct energy to stages around Milwaukee.

Listening to “Killing Time” will be an interesting experience depending on whether you’ve crossed paths with Alley Eyes prior to this. Their last round of songwriting resulted in the EP Things That Go Bump in the Night and its companion of B-sides, After Dark. The new track is markedly brighter and more “The Strokes-y” than what came before: crisp, clean and, dare I say, bouncy.

Something that remains, however, is the band’s wry perspective on the world around them. While the guitars and percussion lay down dance-worthy material, the lyrics go in … let’s say a different direction:

I’m not living
I’m just killing time
And unrealized
Well I hate that I feel so bad
Send a river of tears down Wisconsin Ave.
Spend a day walking in the rain
Thinking how my parents will die

Cheery, no? Yet the delivery of those lyrics is as chipper as the song’s general sound, which according to the band marks a new beginning. “While Alley Eyes seems to have shed the harsher tones of their previous work,” they noted, “their dark sense of humor seems to be a permanent fixture.”

We’ll play that juxtaposition on 88Nine’s airwaves all day today (8:30 a.m.; 12:30, 4:30, 8:30 and 11:30 p.m.), and it’s available to you via the player at the top of this page. “Killing Time” will get its official release this Friday, and Alley Eyes will celebrate with a show the following night at Mad Planet along with North Warren and The Keystones. They’ll also be at Falcon Bowl on June 14 as part of the “Take Me Back to Warped Tour” concert event hosted by the Emo Homies podcast.