In the absence of a gig round-up this week, I wanted to make sure you know about two great shows in Brew City this weekend.
On Friday, singer and songwriter A.A. Bondy plays at Club Garibaldi. The former Verbena frontman introduced Milwaukee to his solo debut, "American Hearts" -- released in 2007 on Superphonic and reissued last year by Fat Possum -- while opening for Bon Iver at The Pabst in '08.
Now, we get to see him in a more intimate venue, thanks to Muzzle of Bees man Ryan Matteson, who booked the show in the back room at Bay View's Club Garibaldi.
Although the dark, acoustic-y "American Hearts" -- a quiet little masterpiece -- has drawn comparisons to Bon Iver, Avett Brothers and M. Ward, I think it sounds a lot like a stripped-down, back to basics Josh Rouse, in part thanks to Bondy's voice -- which isn't dissimilar to Rouse's -- but also thanks to some melodic affinity.
Bondy's got a follow-up record -- called "When The Devil's Loose" -- due on Sept. 1 on Fat Possum, so you can expect to hear some new music on Friday.
On Saturday, Milwaukee boy -- now transplanted to Minneapolis -- Mark Mallman plays at The Mad Planet as part of a tour in support of his latest disc, "Invincible Criminal," which was written in the basement on the haunted church in which Mallman lives.
The record is exactly the sort of blessedly overblown, infectiously melodic mix of retro and modern pop and rock, with twinges of old time Springsteen and even a touch of Hold Steady, which is little surprise since that band's Craig Finn guests.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.