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MKE Music Premiere: A peculiar, pleasant stroll through Old Pup’s ‘Spider Towns’

Isaiah Gencuski

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 does a hungover teacher, babbling baby, slithering house snake, slow-dancing sunset, leftover pizza and suffering jukebox have in common?

Don’t feel too bad about not knowing the answer. Before listening to Old Pup’s new track, “Spider Towns,” I didn’t know, either. Actually, even after listening, I still didn’t know. So before you hit the button at the top of this page, I’ll let Old Pup’s Will Hansen fill you in.

“The mellow, woozy instrumentation and lyrical imagery acts as a collective sigh for the ‘hungover teachers,’ the ‘leftover pizzas,’ the ‘suffering jukeboxes’ and the ‘babbling babies’ that exist in everyday mundanity and carry their own unique capacity for existentialism, heartbreak and wonder.”

Got it? Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Feel free to just let the higher meaning sort of sink in as “Spider Towns” washes over you, because that’s how this song should be enjoyed.

With Hansen’s sepia-toned vocals and aforementioned woozy pedal steel alongside a who’s who of fellow Milwaukee musicians (Johanna Rose, Nate Kinsman, Andy Goitia, Ben Boehm and Drue DeVente), the track is a cowboy stumbling home after two too many sasparillas, contemplating our collective place in the universe:

Slithering house snake
Curls up beneath the old straw hat
On the tired floor

Slow-dancing sunset 
Limbos down low at the luau
The loons sing along

To put it another way, it’s a very Old Pup kind of tune: surreal, absurd — and strangely comforting.

You can listen to “Spider Towns” on demand using the player on this page, and 88Nine will spin it on-air all day (7:30 and 11:30 a.m.; 3:30, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.). The single’s official release is June 12, and it will fill the role of title track on Old Pup’s sophomore album coming later this fall. You also just might hear it when Cactus Club welcomes Old Pup, along with New Orleans songwriters Chris Acker and Maddy Kirgo, for a June 16 show.