10 Paces, Fire
Being in bands with each other since high school, the members of 10 Paces, Fire have gone from distorted riffs and screamo vocals to the clean tapping guitar of Todd Johnson and the strong melodic voice of Andy Wambach. In their past two EP’s, the band has honed their sound to a delicate balance of technical instrumentation, not hesitating to include multiple time signatures and sporadic rhythms, and approachable lyrics that allude to relatable topics, such as the comradery of friendship and childhood nostalgia. With their most recent release, Lakes Refract & Lakes Reflect EP, the band retained their wide-range appeal, while pushing the limits on common song structure and progression.
- Jeremy Treuden - Drums
- Jon Tagliente - Bass
- Todd Johnson - Guitar
- Andy Wambach - Vocals, Guitar
- Stop-Motion Recolections EP (2010)
- Lakes Refract & Lakes Reflects EP (2011)
After only starting the band in the spring of 2011, Alta has been putting in the hours, already releasing two EP’s and going on a two-week tour of the Midwest. While their recordings are evidence of the young band’s talent, one has to attend a live show to truly experience Alta’s sound. Often using looped sound clips and white noise to set up songs, the band ends the generated anticipation with full, yet tight rhythms similar to Indiana band, Native. The band’s signature feature is Justin Gaworski’s striking, strained, high-pitched howl, which cuts through the wall of sound and serves as another rhythmic instrument rather than the main melody. And just when the listener has Alta’s next step figured out, instruments often drop out for short moments of group chant. With the majority of the members only being freshmen in college, Alta has plenty of time to keep building their archive of songs and continue gaining fans through their recordings, live shows, and avid touring schedule.
- Adam Heil - Drums
- Justin Gaworski - Bass, Vocals
- Eric Ash - Guitar
- Josh Rardin - Guitar
- Tape Split with Arizona Wilder (2011)
- This Space Will Accommodate Canvas EP (2011)
Another relatively new band that’s made a name for itself in the basement show circuit is Arizona Wilder. The aggressive, post-hardcore band’s most prominent characteristics are built on contrasts. The drumming can vary from steady rock beats to chaotic, unpredictable rhythmic attacks. The bass is thick and grounding, while guitar parts jump from bending low patterns to piercing high note screeches. The band’s dynamic is most obviously characterized by is its two lead vocalists, David Algrim and Mike Bitsas. The two often provide call and response screams, Algrim’s being a punk inspired cry and Bitsas’ a more forceful, rich shout. Although Arizona Wilder knows how to play on the contrasts of loud and soft, quick and slow, the music always retains their intense nature and dark tones.
- Brandon Chapin - Drums
- Phil Cowan - Bass
- David Algrim - Guitar, Vocals
- Mike Bitsas - Guitar, Vocals
- Tape Split with Alta (2011)
Sporting patterned pants, bright colored graphic T’s, and a variety of beanies, it’s not hard to miss the boys of Awkward Terrible in a crowd—much less when they’re making a considerable amount of ruckus on stage. Chris Kowall, a.k.a. Chris Crimson, and Sam Sieger, a.k.a. Sam Decimus, make up the duo of Awkward Terrible. Using keyboards and hacked Nintendo Gameboys, Kowall creates 8-bit synth parts that play throughout their driven, garage punk compositions. Their live shows are energetic and yield spontaneous behavior from the band, sometimes escalating to Sieger standing on top of his throne while still attacking his symbols.
- Sam Decimus - Drums, Vocals
- Chris Crimson - Guitar, Vocals
- Horchata EP (2012)
- I Feel Asleep (2011)
Boy Blue is quite possibly the catchiest band in the New Ground Noise roster. Although the band knows how to craft a solid hook, they never use it as a crutch, progressing through the song with extended bridges and variations on repeated phrases. While the music is danceable with good pop sensibility, it also has a feeling of being genuine and uncontrived. With influences, such as Foals and Passion Pit, bands like Boy Blue have found ways to perform music leaning toward the pop end of the spectrum in a more progressive and interesting way. In recent months, listeners of 88.9 Radio Milwaukee have been able to hear Boy Blue’s single, “Robot Tube Socks” off of their 2011 I Liked You Better When EP.
- Jered Polish Shilling - Drums
- Sammie Anderson - Bass
- Nick Schubert - Synths, Guitar
- Josh Loeffelholz - Vocals, Guitar
- I Liked You Better When EP (2011)
Shoot Down the Moon
The final featured New Ground Noise band is the brainchild of Jake McDonald and Matthew Flanagan. The two share songwriting duties as well as trade back and forth between lead vocals during a Shoot Down the Moon set. Flavors of folk and country infuse the backing instrumentation to lyrics that often possess a reflective, personal nature. While many songs begin at a mellow, steady rate, they often escalate to hard rocking bridges and outros. The band recently recorded a new full-length album at Bobby Peru’s Recording Studio right here in Milwaukee. Listeners can look forward to hearing the new tracks later this year.
- Zak Ihlenfeld - Drums
- Jon Taglienti - Bass
- Justin Cohen - Guitar, Keys
- Jake McDonald - Guitar, Vocals
- Matthew Flanagan - Guitar, Vocals
- Swollen Teeth (2010)
- Up At Dawn (2007)
- What Goes Around, Comes Around EP (2005)