Posted 12/15/2010 by cal
After a 2009 lull, the Brew City stormed back this year with an astounding array of incredible records. I decided I couldn’t extricate myself from my hometown bias, because I would put Milwaukee’s top ten records up against the rest of the world’s top ten without hesitation this year. Credit local überproducer Shane Hochstetler in large part: he produced or co-produced six of the albums on this list and many more at his Howl Street Recordings, the new Midwestern music Mecca. And wouldn't you know it? His next door neighbor at Mystery Room Mastering and Recording, Justin Carl Perkins, had a hand in at least four of 'em as well. And with the onslaught of online free/pay-what-you-want downloads (thanks, Radiohead!!), y’all have no excuse for not checking out at least half of this music (note: if the album title contains a link, it should take you to a download page).
As the consumer paradigm continues to shift away from albums, the line between LP and EP is beginning to blur, so I’m lumping them all together here. A cohesive and moving collection of five tunes can be just as powerful a statement as an hour-long treatise, and it’s kind of the year of the EP in Milwaukee anyway. And with the rest of the world going all 80s retro this year, MKE seems to be taking its cues from much further back in time (warning: three different Buddy Holly mentions. Unavoidable), but making sounds uniquely modern. This is one of those lists where I feel bad for all the records that aren’t number one, ‘cause they’re all so damn good. Enjoy.