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Brew City Sludge - April 2008

by Lane Klozier
This Month: Milwaukee bands Powers, High Lonesome, The Aimless Blades

Klozier here.

New band for ya. Powers is a quartet made up of Bay View boys that like to play very loud. Weird time signatures, fast tempos, and braying lyrics that come too quickly to understand make for all that a growing punk rock boy (or girl) needs. Ex members of Johnny Toymaker, The Missing, and about 40 other bands bring a lot of experience to the table. Juan, Josh, Paddy and Kevin seem like nice enough guys in a casual conversation, but, on stage, the mood is dangerous. I got tired just watching these guys. If you’re not one to be caught in the pit, you’d better stand back a little and hope not to be impaled by a hurtling guitar neck or drumstick. No record out just yet; but they’re working on it. Meanwhile, make yourself a protective vest out of old beer cans and check ‘em out at the Cactus Club April 25 with The Box Social and The New Loud.

Milwaukee’s High Lonesome is, seemingly, a throwback. Yet, somehow, they manage to transcend their own genre. With obvious influences such as Dylan, Hank Williams and Guthrie, the band takes the normally “back porch” approach of the genre straight to the pulpit. Without ant pretension, banjo and auto harp float around a rhythm section made up of snare and stand-up bass. Whether it is their jangly cover of Will the Circle be Unbroken or their droning Hell Bent and Bottle Bound, the band manages to put just the right amount of jump, wail or punch into each song.

The member list of The Aimless Blades reads like a who’s who list from Milwaukee’s music scene. Founder and main writer Blaine Schultz is still at it with bassist Angella V Elles, guitarist Scott Krueger, drummer Jim Richardson and Paul Setser on keys. Their latest release entitled Rara Avis is, in this writer’s opinion, their best work yet. The record has enough polish to be radio ready without any fluff or unnecessary tricks. In the vein of great acts such as Tom Petty or Matthew Sweet, the songs stay on course, letting smart riffs and strong melody lines do all the work. Knowing the low key nature of the band, we may not see them on the MTV anytime soon, but, who needs a MTV when you’ve got a truly good record to listen to.

That’s all for now my darlings.

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