What Made Milwaukee Famous keeps winning despite Trying to Never Catch Up

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:: What Made Milwaukee Famous :: Hi-Dive :: April 24 :: 
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By TiffanyChilds

The music world would surely be a better place if all classified ads turned out as well as the one placed four years ago by Michael Kingcaid of What Made Milwaukee Famous. Kingcaid’s vision and the Austin Chronicle can be credited with bringing What Made Milwaukee Famous together, but it’s their dedication to giving something to everyone that is making them everyone’s new favorite band.

Although the name does indeed mention the city of Milwaukee, it is not because the band has any connection to it. It’s actually a subtle reference to Schlitz beer and, more importantly, a song by Jerry Lee Lewis. That should give the potential listener some idea of the rollicking ride the debut release from What Made Milwaukee Famous entails.

The CD, Trying Never to Catch Up, takes listeners on a wild journey from start to finish, blowing through genres and emotions like a freight train running late on an express route. It isn’t always a conscious act, though. “We all come from different backgrounds, punk, garage rock, jazz, indie, even latin. We try to embody everything we enjoy and whatever happens happens,” said Kingcaid in a recent interview with The Marquee.

Whatever is happening is apparently a good thing. What Made Milwaukee Famous — an Austin-based quartet featuring Kingcaid (vocal/ guitar/keyboard), Drew Patrizi (keyboards/vocals/ guitar), John Farmer (bass/vocals) and Jeremy Bruch (drums/vocals) — already has a sizeable following from playing the infamous South by Southwest Festival four years in a row. They’ve also been placed on both Billboard and Rolling Stone’s bands-to-watch lists, performed as an unsigned act for Austin City Limits with Franz Ferdinand, and appeared on Steve Lamacq’s music show on the BBC.

Part of the reason the group is so appealing is that, quite frankly, they try to be. “We don’t pander to one particular type of listener because we don’t see a reason to alienate a genre. Good music is good music,” Kingcaid said about the diverse sources of fans and praise What Made Milwaukee Famous receives. The result of their non-favoring ways is a CD full of quirky and traditional, gentle and boisterous, insightful and aloof styles of music.

Although it seems the band would become too contradictory, everything comes out perfect in its own way. Barsuk Records thought so, too, when they picked up What Made Milwaukee Famous last year. The band had self-released their debut CD in 2004 and were shopping it around when the label took notice. After cutting a few songs and adding four new ones to “improve the flow and keep it fresh for old fans,” according to Kingcaid, Barsuk released Trying Never to Catch Up last August.

Garnering praise from all corners of the States, What Made Milwaukee Famous hit the road on a practically full-time tour in support of the release and found out that there truly is no rest for the weary or at least the well-received weary. After touring for months, the members of What Made Milwaukee Famous found themselves driving for 11 hours from Lawrence, Kan., to Austin, Texas, and setting up for South by Southwest to immediately play a packed schedule all week with barely a breath in between.

Poised to return to the road, Kingcaid told The Marquee that it is all worth it. “We’re tired, but excited. It’s awesome to play in different towns and see new fans,” he said. As a bonus, they’ll be spending some of this tour with fellow label mate Aqueduct, which is preferable to the band. “It’s a hell of a lot cooler to play with one act,” Kingcaid believes, “rather than not knowing who you’re sharing the bill with.”

Their live performance has turned out to be as well received as the album. What Made Milwaukee Famous has been amassing fans far and wide and generating rumors that they have the ability to fuel any crowd into a dancing, singing madhouse.

As Barsuk Records says, “Austin, Texas loves What Made Milwaukee Famous. Now it’s time for the rest of the world to catch up.”

If you’re still behind, Kingcaid offers this advice, “Buy the CD and listen. Then come to our show. You won’t hate us, that I can promise. And you might even find that you love us.”

 

:: What Made Milwaukee Famous ::

:: Hi-Dive :: April 24 ::

 

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