Before I talk about the Swedish band Junip -- fronted by Jose Gonzalez -- let me just point something out.
There have been a lot of years during which a lot of bands only potentially saw Milwaukee out the window of a bus or a plane. If they were doing a seven-city U.S. tour, Milwaukee was almost never one of those cities.
But in 2010, Milwaukee is blessed with a number of great venues and thanks to the variety of music booked into rooms at The Rave, Turner Hall, Shank Hall, The Pabst, The Riverside, Cactus Club, The Mad Planet, Club Garibaldi and other venues, one can now can find a U.S. tour itinerary that looks like this: Boston, New York, Milwaukee, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle. You don't see Cleveland, you don't see Pittsburgh, St. Louis or Minneapolis. There's no Kansas City, no Atlanta, no Denver. Heck, there's no Philly or DC!
Say what you want about the Milwaukee scene, but I think the names of those seven cities says something about Milwaukee right now.
Anyway, most international music fans know Jose Gonzalez's acoustic songs for their tender vocals and introspective sound. Well, over a decade ago, Gonzalez formed a band called Junip, which released a 45 in 2000 and the "Black Refuge" EP six years later.
Last year there was another single, "Chickens/Azaleadalen" and a new EP, "Rope and Summit," which sounds quite like a fleshed out Gonzalez record, is out now.
Junip -- which also includes Elias Araya on drums and keyboardist Tobias Winterkorn -- is on the road this summer (as you can gather from my diatribe above) and hits Turner Hall on Saturday, June 12.
Especially interesting is the way Junip mixes Gonzalez's mellow, drawn style with sometimes driving tempos, as on "Far Away." The title track, meanwhile, has an alluringly stark and warm atmospheric sound.
The lengthy "At the Doors" is a throwback to the psychedelic era, with swirling Moog sounds, long instrumental sections and an almost otherworldly bass undertow.
Although the band is not a new one, the trio has only recently gotten serious about pursuing Junip. A full-length LP is also due out this year. Gonzalez says he's pleased to finally be able to bring Junip to the stage.
"We are really happy to have had the time to write and record these songs and now are excited to have the opportunity to play them live," he says.
Milwaukee's own Decibully opens the 8 p.m. show, making the $12 cover a real bargain. -- Bobby Tanzilo
Also in town on Saturday night is San Francisco combo Blame Sally, which performs at PrideFest on the Summerfest grounds.
The group, which has toured with the likes of Los Lobos, Ani Di Franco, Richard Thompson, Roseanne Cash and Greg Brown, is prepping to release a live record and its fourth studio disc packed full of the kind of folk-infused pop that has led the San Diego Troubadour to dub Blame Sally "a folk-based U2."
PrideFest admission is $13 and the band plays at 5 p.m. -- Bobby Tanzilo
It may be short notice, but tonight's show at Shank Hall is worth a look. Trashcan Sinatras headline the 8 p.m. bill with support from The Candles, Josh Lattanzi, who has toured with Tinted Windows, Lemonheads, Albert Hammond, Jr. (Strokes) and Ben Kweller, fronts the group. The debut album, "Between the Sounds," is a strong effort and should go over well in an intimiate club like Shank. --Drew Olson
If you drive past Turner Hall Ballroom on Saturday morning and the roof is missing, you can safely assume that George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic did, indeed, tear the roof off the sucker. The venerable funk group makes regular stops in town and always puts on a memorable, booty-shaking shows. --D.O.