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The Meat Puppets

The Meat Puppets

by Joshua Miller
May 2009

Drifting in the hazy, smoky air like their psychedelic, attention inducing beats, guitar plucks and other worldly lyrics that intertwine, the MEAT PUPPETS and their music refuse to return to reality.  While some attempts have been made to call their sound acid-fried country-punk, stoner rock or cow punk, just to name a few, the band couldn’t care less.

“I don’t own up to any genre classification,” says singer Curt Kirkwood.  “We’re just the musicians.”


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I Fight Dragons

I Fight Dragons

by John Noyd
May 2009

Bratfest 2009, Saturday May 23rd - stage two, early afternoon; the six-headed monster that is I Fight Dragons grab their joysticks and commence to rock with old school video game samples, digitally modified vocals and fanboy fantasies of conquering worlds and getting all the girls. Smarmy and cynical, IFD’s boyish charms and killer riffs pick a part hearts and kick out the jams. “I just tried to keep the guiding principle that it had to be fun, joyous, and smart,” says lead vocalist Brian Mazzaferri. A glib, gleeful stew of polished geek-pop anthems, old school video gamer gambits and rockin’ smartass scholarship, IFD take their Super Mario soundbites, new wave power-ballad cravings and studio noodling to a whole other level.


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Madison's The Sharp and Harkins Band

The Sharp and Harkins Band

by Cactus Joe
May 2009

“To Each His Own” is the newest album by Wisconsin acoustic rockers the Sharp and Harkins Band. Branching out from acoustic and folk roots, the record is a mix of styles, with the goal of capturing the band’s more rock-influenced live sound. Many of the 14 songs on the album sit solidly within the rock genre, while still retaining a loyalty to the acoustic and folk sincerity that has won them considerable acclaim.

“This album was more for us to do our own thing,” said Ryan Harkins, one of the founding members along with Andy Sharp. “Our first album was more acoustic based, influenced by Jack Johnson and Ben Harper. After playing live we evolved into more of a rock band and we wanted to show that in our new album.”


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Milwaukee's Black Frog

Black Frog

by Kris Klassen
May 2009

Guitarist/vocalist Eroc explained to me how they came up with the name BLACK FROG. He had four carnivorous albino aquatic frogs in a fish tank. One day he noticed a frog was missing. The next day another one was gone. Mystified, he put weights on the cover of the tank but he came home and the other two frogs had vanished.

Months passed and the frogs were never found as Eroc concentrated his energies on building a recording studio in his basement and launching a new band. One fateful day, the furnace in the studio needed repair and as the technician opened the furnace, Eroc heard him scream. When Eroc entered the room he found the repairman holding four fist sized frogs as flat as pancakes and blackened from oxidation. They had made their escape through the heating ducts to an entire new floor of the house. In honor of these four brave souls, Eroc decided to name the band BLACK FROG. He still has their corpses today and hopes to shellac them into a guitar.


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American Thrash metallers Chimaira

Chimaira

by Chris Fox
May 2009

Welcome to the monster that is CHIMAIRA. With a name that means: grotesque monster having disparate and disagreeing parts, it can be expected that these guys bring a lot to the heavy metal table. Much like their name, the band is a constantly disagreeing group of musicians that strive to persistently improve their intense and precise sound. A sound defined easily with one word, heavy, seems to continuously attract more and more metalheads to their broadening fan base. Being known for their fast guitars and shotgun drums this sextet never ceases to impress.

Their upcoming release, “The Infection,” is due out on April 21, and as promised by lead guitarist, Rob Arnold, it will be “gut wrenching and in your face, like CHIMAIRA has always been.” The new album provides a new side to the group, Arnold explains, it has a “sledgehammer type groove,” that is a bit slower than previous albums, but just as heavy. With the standard metal influences, like Slayer and Metallica, CHIMAIRA strives to get heavier and expand their repertoire. As with any group of musicians, these ten-year veterans of the genre find themselves consistently maturing and creating a higher standard for themselves. They are always striving to improve what they are what they represent.


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Wisconsin's Mother Orchis

Mother Orchis

by Joshua Miller
May 2009

Loudly making an entrance with a wave of raw emotion, MOTHER ORCHIS roams Milwaukee bars and clubs, looking to produce like minded beings that absorb her trance-inducing musical waves. 

Approaching this mysterious being reveals the elements that drive her: a band by the same name, which effortlessly blends classic rock, psychedelic rock and metal.  Laying down the beat of her footsteps and heart beat is Jesus, who keeps time her epic like movements.  Rochelle (often shortened to Roach) adds bass in rhythm with her heart beat while Kevin chugs away fiercely on his guitar.  Hallowing, somewhat growling, with an Ozzy Osbourne-like darkly tone, Matt Leece provides the final elements with his voice and guitar.

“I think we all kind of were on the same page from the get go,” Leece says of his band’s ability to merge their sounds together.


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