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MKE Music Premiere: Get lost in the crowd with VBIV’s ‘Mercury Eyes’

Jen Heise

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.

Part of the draw of a night out is that you can’t be completely certain where it’ll go. That’s supposed to be a good thing, whether it means stumbling on a new spot or a new story or a new person you’ll talk about for years.

The flip side is when you’re just not feeling it — or maybe feeling things too much. Milwaukee’s Victor “Vic” Buell IV explores that slightly darker side of the night life on a new single from his solo project, VBIV, premiering today on 88Nine and here on the website.

Much like its subject matter, “Mercury Eyes” would feel a little out of place in most of the city’s clubs and taverns. The hazy, melancholic track is easy to get lost in thanks to a guitar-and-synth combo that seems better suited for tipping your head back, eyes closed, pondering your place in this world — sort of like what the person in the song seems to be doing:

Floating in darkness of shadows on the wall
Waiting in silence for someone I know to call
Neon lights shine like diamonds in your eye
Standing right in front of you, but I'm invisible to night

Buell had specific social scenes in mind as the song came together. “Maybe it's a romantic interest whose attention you're not getting. Maybe it's a former romantic partner, and you're being ignored. You're sharing the same space at the same time, but you're essentially invisible.”

He went on to explain the title as a way of describing the patrons looking out on a flashy club scene with shiny and silvery eyes — possibly the result of something they took that night. But, as Buell continued, “It's also a name for the way we see the world through our own reality tunnels that are malleable and fluid, like mercury.”

You can drift away while listening to the track on demand using the player at the top of this page, or hear it on 88Nine throughout the day (6:30 and 10:30 a.m.; 2:30, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.). “Mercury Eyes” will also be on VBIV’s upcoming EP, Material Vessel, which gets its release June 27.