Milwaukee's music scene was the gift that kept on giving in 2010, with dozens of solid releases from musical acts new and old.
From start to finish, Y2X saw more good new music hit the streets of Brew City than any in recent memory. So why fight crowds at the mall or risk being trampled at Wal-Mart when you can knock out your Christmas shopping in one trip to the record store, while also helping to support your local music scene?
No matter who you're shopping for, this quick Milwaukee music gifting guide should help you find the right local tunes for each and every person on your list.
For your creepy drunk uncle who drives the creepy van he gets drunk in
Drugs Dragons- The self-titled debut from Drugs Dragons is an earful of squawking vocals puked over a pile of ripping garage punk. Perfect for the family member that shows up late to Christmas dinner, drinks all the booze, snatches a $20 out of your dad's wallet and hits the road with your teenage girlfriend.
For your drunk uncle who doesn't even bother showing up
Jonathan Burks, "Red Pulpy Mess" and "Loudmouth Soup"- For someone who sings so much about being drunk Burks somehow managed to put out two records in 2010. Burks is a master of no frills honky tonk tinged rock and roll that's best played out of blown out bar speakers at closing time. This record will be a big hit with that uncle you have to drive all over town looking for Christmas night, who stumbles in smelling of Jack Daniels with a handful of presents sometime in mid-January.
For your little brother who is blasting rap in his room during Christmas dinner
King Hell Bastard, "Remember the Name"- This 8-song EP plays like a full length with solid production and rowdy rhymes. These guys are one of the few hip hop acts in Milwaukee who could break outside the city. This record is perfect for your teenage brother who will take his headphones off just long enough to tell you that 'duh' he's already got it player.
For your older indie rocker brother who secretly likes his dad's Who records
Call Me Lightning, "When I Am Gone My Blood Will Be Free"- This post-punk trio headed by the wild and hirsute Nathan Lilley re-invented itself on their much delayed third record. Since finally seeing its release "When I Am Gone..." has garnered much praise for it's epic rock crescendos and brutal honesty. Give this to your brother who has had kind of a sh!tty year and hope the speakers hold up.
For that relative who is really into A Tribe Called Quest and Star Trek
Def Harmonic, "Figs"- This long awaited return from Milwaukee's most out of this world hip hop duo, was an emotionally charged reflection on how life on Earth can be just as cold as it is out there in space. With it's shimmering production, thoughtful lyrics, and futuristic sound this record would be perfect for that family member who cares as much about Cappadonna as they do about Copernicus.
For that aunt who likes Reality TV more than music
Danny Gokey, "My Best Days"- Everyone's favorite spectacled American Idol contestant came out with his uplifting adult-contemporary debut. If you've seen a Michael Bolton CD laying around a dusty stereo at any relative's house, this is just the kind of non-offensive music that will ensure an awkward and sloppy kiss on the cheek for years to come. That is if they can pry themselves away from "So You Think You Can Dance".
For that dude in his 20's that rolls joints with comics from "The New Yorker"
Jaill, "That's How We Burn"- This slow burning local garage-pop act delivered on their Sub Pop Records debut, after ten years of rocking local basements. With slick little ditties about partying too hard, dealing with difficult women and partying too hard belted out with front-man Vinnie Kircher's wry whit, "That's How We Burn" is a nice choice for anyone who's as high as they are smart.
For that guy in his 30's who still has an Atari
Faux Fir- These guys met over the computer on Craigslist and play music that sounds like it was written by computers. With chunky synth parts that would make the Mario Brothers weak in the knees, this is the perfect record for the guy who has to make it to level three of Castlevania to hear his favorite song.
For that niece in college who wears lots of cardigans
Eric and MaGill, "All Those I Know"- An amazing debut from former members of long-defunct indie rockers Camden. Lots of strings and eerie effects over sweet little indie jams and echoing choruses. If you have a daughter that always brings home guys in dark-rimmed glasses and Converse, this will make her thing you are pretty cool for a non-Vegan.