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This Week in Milwaukee

Record Store Day, Parts & Labor and the 2011 Best of Milwaukee Web Awards Party

Apr. 14, 2011
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The Civil Wars w/ White Dress @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.

The Civil Wars' East Nashville origins saturate the duo's music, with singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White coloring their folk-pop with the Appalachian ambiance and Bohemian spirit of their home neighborhood. A friendship with a "Grey's Anatomy" writer helped the duo score an early break in 2009, when their single "Poison & Wine" was featured in full on an episode of that TV drama. The group's first full-length album, Barton Hollow, arrived this year to high praise from Taylor Swift, who endorsed the band through a series of enthused tweets.

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult w/ The Prep School Tragedy @ Miramar Theatre, 9 p.m.

Formed in the late '80s with intentions of scoring a never-made art film, Chicago's My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult quickly evolved from a straight-faced industrial-dance band to a winking, flagrantly exploitative sideshow act, often attracting as much attention for their sexually charged live act and sacrilegious imagery as for their campy records. Where the group's 2007 effort The Filthiest Show in Town celebrated Vegas-style lounge music with deliberately cheap production (right down to the synthesized saxophones), their latest album, 2009's Death Threat, offers a more straightforward rock set.


Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys @ The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m.

An honorary doctorate degree from Lincoln Memorial University made it official, but Ralph Stanley has been a doctor of bluegrass since the 1940s, when he began to hone his clawhammer banjo style. Stanley's soaring Southern gospel vocals grew from his exposure to Baptist church choirs and the rural music customs of his hometown in southwestern Virginia.

In 2002, his a cappella rendition of the Appalachian hymn "O Death" on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack earned him a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.


Earth Poets & Musicians @ The Coffee House, 8 p.m.

Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in 1970 as an environmental teach-in. The event is now observed in more than 170 countries, and since 1988 it has been celebrated locally by the performance group Earth Poets & Musicians, a collective that currently includes Jeff Poniewaz, Louisa Loveridge-Gallas, Harvey Taylor, Suzanne Rosenblatt, Jahmes Finlayson and Holly Haebig. They'll share their environmentally minded music and poetry through two programs this month: one tonight at the Coffee House with Milwaukee Poet Laureate Brenda Cárdenas, and another on Friday, April 22, with guest poet Bill Murtaugh at the Urban Ecology Center.

ScottFest @ Club Garibaldi, 7 p.m.

Musician friends of the late Milwaukee journalist Scott Weinberger created ScottFest last year to raise money for the Scott R. Weinberger Scholarship Fund, which is awarded each year to a graduating senior from Weinberger's alma mater, Oakfield High School. This year the fund-raiser includes performances from The Wooldridge Brothers, Liv Mueller of The Lovelies, the George Brumis Band, The Mike Benign Compulsion, Chris Porterfield of Conrad Plymouth, The Carolinas, The Friendly Lens and Ray of Light. Tickets are $10.

Record Store Day @ Various Locations

For the fourth year, musicians will release a slew of exclusive, limited-edition CDs, records and DVDs solely through independent record stores as part of Record Store Day, an effort to assist brick-and-mortar institutions that have been badly battered by the rise of digital music. This year's haul includes releases from Foo Fighters, Built to Spill, Nirvana, R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Fleet Foxes, Phish and Wavves, among many others. Select record stores, including local Exclusive Co. locations, will be featuring in-store bands and DJs throughout the day.

Roadside Graves w/ Conrad Plymouth and Jeremy Benson @ Cactus Club, 9 p.m.

New Jersey's seven-piece Roadside Graves takes its cues from Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg and plenty of other folkies at heart who are secure enough in their songwriting that they're not afraid of it being upstaged by beefy, rocking arrangements. The group's latest full-length, 2009's My Son's Home, is a collection of barroom dirges about war and death with songs that cut deep but rhythms that keep toes tapping. They followed it up with last year's You Won't Be Happy With Me EP, which they recorded in the idyllic Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Peelander-Z w/ Anamanaguchi @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 9 p.m.

The Japanese-American "action comic punk" trio Peelander-Z dresses like spacemen from a '60s children's cartoon and stages concerts that often play out like Japanese game shows, complete with audience karaoke sessions, human bowling contests and mock-wrestling bouts. The emphasis here is less on the music than the spectacle. Openers Anamanaguchi play digital punk music using a hacked Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy. Those geek credentials made them fitting choices to score last year's video-game adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.


Wisconsin Area Music Industry Awards Show @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 7 p.m.

Bascom Hill, Bon Iver, Danny Gokey, Jaill, Kings Go Forth and The Wildbirds compete for top honors in the Artist of the Year category at the 31st annual Wisconsin Area Music Industry Awards. The winners of that and more than two-dozen other categories will be announced tonight at an awards show featuring performances from musicians from around the state, including Fever Marlene, Beatallica, The Daredevil Christopher Wright, The Lucas Cates Band, Jeanna Salzer, Unity and Orpheus.


Jill Sobule w/ John Doe @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.

John Doe cut his teeth in the seminal Los Angeles punk band X before becoming active in the fledgling alt-country movement in the 1980s, while Jill Sobule emerged during the female singer-songwriter boom of the 1990s, scoring a couple of alt-radio hits with "I Kissed a Girl" and the typically satirical "Supermodel." Despite their differing backgrounds, Sobule and Doe crossed paths frequently on the road, occasionally sharing short tours together. Their kinship is on display on their new collaboration A Day at the Pass, a fan-funded live album that reworks old tunes from both songwriters and debuts a handful of new ones.


Parts & Labor w/ Call Me Lightning @ Cactus Club, 9 p.m.

Music listeners would usually be well advised to take claims of a noise-rock band making its "poppiest album yet" with a grain of salt, since pop is usually an extremely relative term in these contexts. But in the case of Brooklyn institution Parts & Labor, the term is literal. Recorded in Milwaukee (the one-time home of drummer Joe Wong), the band's fifth and latest album, Constant Future, is a rich, kaleidoscopic pop record built from throbbing synthesizers and distorted guitars, then buffed to an inviting sheen with the help of Flaming Lips and MGMT engineer Dave Fridmann. The record doubles down on the catchiness without compromising any of the band's signature weirdness. An opening set from local punk heroes Call Me Lightning should ensure a hearty turnout for this show.


Best of Milwaukee Web Awards Party @ The Wherehouse, 6 p.m.

This year, the Shepherd Express and expressmilwaukee.com asked readers to vote for their favorite Milwaukee-area websites, blogs and Twitter personalities in the first Best of Milwaukee Web awards. The winners of those awards will be printed in next week's issue of the Shepherd, but first they'll be announced at tonight's awards party and networking event at the Wherehouse. There will be a complimentary build-your-own-burger bar from Sobelman's, cupcakes from the Milwaukee Cupcake Co., drink specials and samples by Lakefront Brewery, games and giveaways, including a chance to win a new iPad 2. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the awards presentation begins at 7 p.m.


The Budos Band w/ Charles Bradley @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.

Brooklyn's 10- to 13-piece The Budos Band follows in the footsteps of their Daptone Records label mates Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, laying down brass-heavy, retro-minded funk and soul. They aren't strict traditionalists, though. Over a run of three self-titled albums, the band has infused Afro-beat rhythms into '70s-styled R&B instrumentals, and the band's 2010 record imports even more worldly sounds into the mix, drawing from Latin rhythms and Middle Eastern aesthetics.


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