What Made Milwaukee Famous

What Made Milwaukee Famous

What Made Milwaukee Famous has been a stalwart of the Austin music scene since their inception in 2003. The three original members, Michael Kingcaid (vocals, guitar, keyboards), John Farmer (bass), and Jason Davis (guitars, vocals), each bring a diverse range of influences to the table, allowing them to seamlessly shift between genres at the drop of a hat. With the release of their first two recor
ds, Trying to Never Catch Up and What Doesn’t Kill Us on Seattle’s Barsuk imprint, the band has been touted for their abilities to channel strong musicianship and diverse song-writing into instantly, addictive hooks. Their “elegant pop” (Billboard) has landed them on the bill at a number of the mammoth festivals including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Sasquatch, SXSW and Lollapalooza, highlighted by a taping on PBS’s prestigious Austin City Limits with Franz Ferdinand. They have also shared the stage with the likes of Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, The National, Snow Patrol, The Walkmen, TV on the Radio, and the Pretenders to name a few; a testament to their musical diversity and mutual respect with other artists in the industry.

What Made Milwaukee Famous has returned with their third full-length album (due out January 2013) that picks up right where they left off, uniting powerful, anthemic hooks with lush instrumentation. WMMF has enlisted a who's who of the Austin music scene with guest spots by Kelly Doyle (Robert Ellis) on lead guitar, Evan Jacobs (Tacks the Boy Disaster, Polyphonic Spree) on keys, and Cully Symington (Okkervil River, Cursive, The Afghan Whigs) on drums to round out a fresh new sound for the band. Their new album tentatively titled, You Can't Fall Off The Floor, was recorded at Good Danny’s studios in Austin, TX and co-produced by Danny Reisch (White Denim, Shearwater). Guest musicians Kathleen Edwards and Matthew Vasquez (Delta Spirit) lend their talents, along with Austin staples Dana Falconberry, Warren Hood, Mike Harmeier (Mike and the Moonpies), Gary Newcomb (Lil' Cap'n Travis), Aaron Sinclair (Frank Smith, The Lot Six), and Mike Booher (Zykos). With the impending release of WMMF’s newest installment, they are poised to satiate their passionate devotees with exciting, new material and their rivetingly energetic, live shows.


Some bands form as an epiphany. A few musicians come together and suddenly, POW!!!, they’re a band. Most good bands, though, are formed over time – shaped by the wind and the rain and, in Texas at least, the glaring sun.

“Slowtrain has had an evolving line-up for many years now,” says band leader and songwriter Adoniram Lipton, the driving force behind the band. “I’ve always had a problem with solo artists who give themselves a band name even though it’s just them. So let’s be clear, this isn’t some Bright Eyes thing. More like The Jayhawks. And, incidentally, the line-up we’ve got now is the best Slowtrain has ever had. Wherever we go from here, we’re going together. We are a band, pure and simple.” And the evolution of Slowtrain was anything but accidental.

A few years ago, Adoniram looked at the embarrassment of riches that is the Austin music scene and decided that it was time to expand his circle of comrades. So, true to form, he set about doing that.
Putting together a makeshift rehearsal space in his living room, Adoniram began inviting fellow musicians back for impromptu jam sessions after Austin’s regular venues had closed shop for the night. One night Interpol would be mixing drinks in the kitchen, the next night Adoniram could be found snatching random strangers off the street to come in and shake a tambourine.

Though born from a love of music and fellow musicians, it turns out this was also a fantastic way to find exactly the right people if you happen to be forming a band. It’s also a great way to hone your craft and explains why Slowtrain is so highly regarded by Austin musicians. Adoniram has since played and recorded with a wide array of bands including The Black, The Shine Brothers (Black Angels side project), Radar Radar, A Few Nice Things, Mike And The Moonpies, Hilary York, and Mike Kingcaid (What Made Milwaukee Famous side project) – to name just a few.

The songs on Bound To Find You Out were heavily influenced by Adoniram’s interest in the style of bluesman Son House – subtly manipulating phrasings to impact meaning, a theme that flows throughout the record, both musically and lyrically.

“Obviously, The Band and Dylan have been influences of mine. The first CD I ever bought was Dylan’s Greatest Hits 2. I’ve loved Joe Cocker’s With A Little Help album since forever, I still listen to that record from start to finish all the time. I think Muddy Waters had the best rock and roll band ever. There’s no end to this conversation.”

Much like the band itself, their new album Bound To Find You Out has traveled an interesting road from inception to landing in the hands of their ever-growing fanbase. The basic tracks were cut live in the studio in San Marco’s famed Fire Station studios. The approach was to book eight consecutive days of 14-hour sessions in order to capture the crackling energy of their live shows. Lipton and guitarist Andy Keating then retreated to a borrowed house in the Texas hill country, set-up some recording equipment, and began fleshing out the recording. It was here that the swirling organ and layered guitars that give the record its’ distinctive sound were added.

The rough mixes of the album drew the attention of producer Mark Addison (Ian Moore, Guy Forsyth, Sara Hickman – and many, many more), who offered the band his time and expertise to help refine the sound of the record. A few weeks later the finishing touches on Bound To Find You Out, including many of the vocals, were hammered out at Addison’s Aerie Studio.

And so it was that this new record was born. Since you are reading this it has probably found it’s way onto your desk or into your hard drive. Give it a listen – we suspect that you will enjoy it. See you at the show.

Slowtrain is: Adoniram Lipton (piano, guitar, vocals), Andy Keating (guitar), Matthew Roth (bass), Nathaniel Klugman (organ and keyboards), Doug Walseth (guitar) and Aaron Calhoun (drums).

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