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What Made Milwaukee Famous

Trying to Never Catch Up
Barsuk Records

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After the band's particularly rockin' set at the 2005 South by Southwest music festival, many in the audience were left asking, Who are these guys? After all the "who's on first?" confusion settled down, it was clear that What Made Milwaukee Famous had established itself as one of that year's festival favorites.

 

 

WMMF was formed in Austin in 2003 by Jeremy Bruch, John Farmer, Michael Kincaid and Drew Patrizi, and independently released its first full-length, Trying to Never Catch Up, in 2004.

Despite that album's title, from the very beginning these four Texans seemed to be on the fast track. In 2005 came not only the SXSW appearance, but also the opportunity to play alongside Franz Ferdinand on the legendary Austin City Limits ... all without being signed to a label. In early 2006, Barsuk Records scooped these guys up and is now releasing a remastered version of the band's 2004's debut, with four additional tracks.

 

The Barsuk release is an 11-song gem, which does a fine job of showcasing the band's range. The first few tracks are a blitz of fuzzy keyboard pop built from layers of blips and beeps, reverberating guitar and tinny, overdriven vocals. The middle of the disc cleans up to a simpler synthy-pop sound, similar to pre-Raconteurs-era Brendan Benson. Toward the close, the energy ramps up again, this time trading the drum machine for a kit, creating more organic, fuzzed-out guitar rock.

But in case you really just wanted to know ... beer. The answer is beer.

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