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What Made Milwaukee Famous

What Made Milwaukee Famous performs Friday, March 2, at Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington, 713-862-2513. Dr. Dog also performs.

They don't come from Milwaukee and they don't look like the type to guzzle down blue-collar beers, but this Austin-based quartet does serve up some sudsy, synth-y pop rock that will appeal to fans of Franz Ferdinand/Killers/Stills/Strokes. In fact, Michael Kingcaid (vocals/guitar/keys), Drew Patrizi (keys/guitar), John Farmer (bass) and Jeremy Bruch (drums) have opened for Franz, including a guest spot on their hometown show Austin City Limits. While there are quite a number of memorable tracks on their debut effort, Trying Never to Catch Up, it suffers a bit from musical schizophrenia, as if WMMF wants to show it can do it all at once. Veering from catchy '80s-tinged pastiches ("Idecide," "Hellodrama") to moody epics (the great "Judas" and the title track) to quieter numbers ("Almost Always Never," "Hopelist"), the band is simply all over the place. But it's only at the end that their real strengths come out, in the jaunty, Badfinger-style pop of "Sweet Lady" and "Building a Boat from the Boards in Your Eye." It's the style of these numbers that makes you want more of the same. Lyrically, there's an ocean of broken hearts crushed on the dozen tracks, but told more with the detachment of a novel rather than the overly florid emotion of a poem. Now, if Kingcaid could also just sing a pledge to stay away from those Julian Casablancas distorted vocals.

 
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