5 bloggers, 5 questions, 1 band, hand-picked by the MWA writers. Welcome to FIVE x FIVE. This week: Milwaukee’s loveable noisemakers, The Midwestern Charm.
Unapologetic and brash, The Midwestern Charm are a power-pop group that turn the banality of Middle America into loud, catchy rock tunes. Their latest release Growing Pains is an incredible mix of pop-punk, folk, and alternative rock that is hard not to enjoy. In advance of their upcoming show this Friday at The Burlington Bar, we’re damn glad to have them on this week’s FIVE x FIVE.
Your second album, Growing Pains, just came out a couple weeks ago. What was working on that album like compared to your self-titled debut? Did your writing/recording process change at all?
Until this record I don’t think I ever wrote a song in the bathroom (although some of the old tunes belong in the can!). These tunes came slowly- crawled basically. The only two that came out pretty quickly were “With A Lime” (the bathroom tune) and “Valentine’s Day”. The rest were chipped away at for 7-9 months. “Stockholm Syndrome” took the longest, probably around a year. Recording this record was totally different than the last. Shane Hochstetler (who runs Howl Street and is a wizard) threw in his two cents whenever he had it and we would just run with things. Stuff kind of snowballed and we started seeing the album as it exists.
What was your biggest influence on Growing Pains? The album as a whole feels to me like it came right out of growing up in a
melancholy Midwestern suburb, is that pretty accurate or am I projecting my own adolescence onto it?
That’s definitely most of it. Growing up in an affluent part of Green Bay and going to college in Oshkosh had a lot to do with it. Falling in and out of love with someone/a city, isolation, the whole “folks force you to finish college and obtain mountains of debt when all you really wanna do is play in a rock band” thing… Basically it boils down to the realization that were all specks of dust in the universe, dead the moment we are born, and trying to climb outta that hole to make your time worthwhile.
It seems like we find a great Milwaukee band every time we blink an eye, who are some of your favorites? What acts do you love to play with in MKE?
Were big fans of Spaceraft, Midnight Reruns, Temple, Midwives, Calliope, Maritime… Were missing a bunch, but those guys are doing cool things.
2014 so far has seen the release of a new album, a Mile of Music fest performance, and a SummerFest performance. With the year more than halfway over, what can we expect in these last few months?
We’re playing that Yellow Phone Music Conference thing on September 6th, gonna crank out a music video once tour winds down, gonna be playing some dates with our friends Twins from Iowa. Check them out they’re way badass.
Which member of the band truly has the most “Midwestern Charm”? And why?
Either booze has disinfected our old Charm wounds or we forgot to read the fine print when we sold our souls to Satan and he took it all. Or both. Sorry.
Catch The Midwestern Charm live at the Midwest Action sponsored show at the Burlington Bar, Friday August 22nd, alongside Chicago locals The Holy Alimonies, Mooner & The Dirty Pigeons. Tickets are $7; doors at 8:00PM; 21+. RSVP here.