The sophomore album by Austin rockers What Made Milwaukee Famous, What Doesn’t Kill Us, starts out in a big way. Track one, “Blood, Sweat and Fears,” features huge drums with a heavy sound that resonates through the listener that then segues into the musically upbeat “Sultan,” the record’s first single (view the video below). Like much of the record, the poppy instrumentals behind “Sultan” masks its darker lyrical content as front man Michael Kingcaid sings, “I’ve got one last chance to bury my past / And leave it buried deep in the ground.”
Next comes “Cheap Wine,” a melodic and downtrodden tune with a beautiful keyboard part about the troubles of life, fatal friends, and how to drown out the sorrows with a little bourgeois booze; “The only thing that gets me through / Cheap wine makes me smile / And hold on tight, for a little while.” “The Right Place,” as pop-laden break-up song, follows, again masking hurt and disappointment with catchy riffs and infectious hooks. Much of the remainder of What Doesn’t Kill Us follows in the same vain; melancholic material matter laid down by Kingcaid’s pleasant yet sad voice, covered up by guitar, keyboard and horn parts rife with beautifully arranged melodies that move either the heart or the feet, sometimes both.
What Does’t Kill Us is a smart album in all senses of the word; it’s melodies and pop sensibilities are outstanding while the heavy lyrical content cashes in on fifty-cent words such as “impetuous,” “bourgeoisie,” and “acquiesce.” This record well-crafted from start to finish and I wouldn’t be surprised if What Made Milwaukee Famous was able to earmark seven or eight songs as potential singles: all notions of the dreaded “sophomore slump” are left behind.
What Made Milwaukee Famous’ What Doesn’t Kill Us drops March 4, 2008 on Barsuk Records.
“Sultan” music video – with special guest!
Mar 07 – Emo’s/Austin Tx. (CD Release show!)
Mar 10 – Loft/Atlanta Ga.*
Mar 12 – North Star Bar/Philadelphia Pa.*
Mar 14 – Fillmore at Irving Plaza/New York Ny.*
Mar 15 – Rock and Roll Hotel/Washington Dc.*
Mar 16 – Jack Rabbit Slim’s/Albany Ny.*
Mar 18 – La Sala Rossa/Montreal Qc.*
Mar 19 – Mod Theater/Toronto*
Mar 21 – Basement/Columbus Oh.*
Mar 22 – Metro/Chicago Il.*
Mar 23 – Varsity Theatre/Minneapolis Mn.*
Mar 25 – Marquis Theater/Denver Co.*
Mar 26 – Club Sound/Salt Lake City Ut.*
Mar 28 – Richard’s on Richards/Vancouver*
Mar 29 – Chop Suey/Seattle Wa.*
Mar 30 – Hawthorne Theater/Portland Or.*
Apr 02 – Boardwalk/Sacramento Ca.*
Apr 03 – Fillmore/San Francisco Ca.*
Apr 04 – Avalon/Hollywood Ca.*
Apr 05 – Brickhouse Theater/Phoenix Az.*
*with Louis XIV