Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

MKE Music Premiere: Nuisance’s ‘Holy Basil’ is a global quest for serenity

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.

The story of Milwaukee duo Nuisance is one of time and space.

Pretty trippy way to start things out, huh? It’s hard to imagine a more apt introduction, though, considering we’re talking about the lead single from an album that examines “the nature of humanity through the microcosm of a garden.”

That’s how BJ Seidel — who along with Ryan Weber comprises Nuisance — described the upcoming LP, Squash Blossom Necklace, which includes the song premiering here today, “Holy Basil.” Any thoughts about the title being a Burt Ward reference goes out the window pretty quickly as it becomes clear how grounded (literally) the song is.

“Lyrically, this song is about trying to find a simple, domestic life experience in Australia,” Seidel explained. “A single palm on the front lawn is the Australian equivalent of a white picket fence. A garden where veggies, herbs (‘Holy Basil’) and succulents grow.”

Seidel would know a thing or two — or 17 — about locations flung far from Milwaukee. Last July, he departed on a year-long global trek with his family and a simple recording set in tow. As he went from the Rockies to the Pacific Coast and the sulfur springs of Japan to the Banyan trees of Australia, he laid down vocals in makeshift recording studios (aka bathrooms).

While all that was going on, Weber was Stateside cobbling together the virtual instruments responsible for Nuisance’s neo-folk sound, which makes its presence felt immediately on “Holy Basil.” A metronomic beat and repeating guitar section gets things going before Seidel’s light-touch vocals sing about “the green and purple leaves of holy basil.”

That is, of course, until the dreaded magpie enters the frame.

“The antagonist here is the angry magpie, which — if you ask any Australian — is the actual scariest animal on the continent,” Seidel shared. “It’s notoriously protective of its nest and young, and will attack anyone and anything that happens to walk past its domain. So, ultimately, you can say it’s a song about parenthood (haha).”

You can hear this quest for tranquil domesticity — and magpie avoidance — on 88Nine throughout today (6:30 and 10:30 a.m.; 2:30, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.) or any time you like using the player at the top of this page. Squash Blossom Necklace will sprout up on streaming services starting next Tuesday, July 16, the same day that Nuisance will hold a listening party at The Wiggle Room in Bay View.