If access to the means of production and distribution has meant a nearly unmanageable explosion of music -- and it has; sure, anyone can do it, now, but how to be heard above the din? -- one definite upside is that there is more great music coming out of Milwaukee than ever before.
Witness I'm Not a Pilot, a quartet whose self-titled debut EP is officially released with a Miramar Theater gig on Friday, June 5.
The disc -- handsomely packaged and sonically sound -- features five melodic bursts that are notable (especially among local music) for its lack of guitars. Instead, these at times epic, at times tender, songs are constructed around frontman Mark Glatzel's piano and voice and Peter Thomas' cello work.
"Wait Here" has a lovely melody and "Mausoleum" conjures both Queen and Keane, thanks to an almost baroque arrangement and vocals that recall Freddie Mercury and Tom Chaplin.
"I'm Not a Pilot began as an outlet for ... (my brother) Mark to work out the melodies and songs in his head," says bassist Matt Glatzel, formerly a member of Stukenberg. "In November 2008, Mark recruited (me) to play bass and (my) old bandmate Steve Vorass to play drums.
"A month later, Mark invited Peter Thomas, a cellist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, to sit in on a few practices."
Then, says Glatzel, the band just clicked.
"The energy of the four (of us) together in one room was electric," he recalls. "The invitation to sit in turned into a invitation to join the band."
The EP was recorded and mixed by J. Christopher Hughes in spring and it was mastered by Wisconsin studio whiz kid Justin Perkins.
In addition to the CD release show at the Miramar I'm Not a Pilot also has gigs on the books in Chicago and at the Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Ill., at the end of June.
Some other gigs on tap this week include:
Rock outfit Cavo is ripping up the rock charts with its first single, "Champagne." Since it landed on the radio in April it has, according to Reprise Records, "reached an audience of more than 24 million, scoring 124 radio adds amongst all Rock formats. It has claimed the No. 7 slot on Active Rock, broken into the Top 20 on the Mainstream Rock Chart, and gone Top 40 on the Modern Rock Charts" and "had the highest R&R Active Rock chart debut for a new artist since Avenged Sevenfold's "Bat Country" in August 2005."
The song is from the quartet's major label debut, "Bright Nights * Dark Days." You can see Cavo at The Rave on Tuesday at The Rave Bar with Veer Union and Halestorm.
Singer and songwriter Freedy Johnston returns to Shank Hall on Friday for an 8 p.m. gig. Shank also hosts The Subcontinentals' CD release party on Saturday. Sieger and company's long-awaited debut, "The Early Years," is finally here.
Sunday finds Irish singer and songwriter Luka Bloom back at Shank, too. Birdie Busch opens the 8 p.m. show. Did you know that Bloom is actually a stage name for Barry Moore, the younger brother of legendary Irish musician Christy Moore? I didn't.
At Shank, Bloom will almost certainly focus on his most recent disc, last year's "Eleven Songs."
SF's John Vanderslice is an indie-rock king and he brings his seventh Barsuk, "Romanian Names," to Milwaukee for a Turner Hall gig on Thursday at 8 p.m., The Tallest Man on Earth opens the show.
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.