“Listen – I think you’ll be impressed.” If those words came from your slacker cousin, you may be able to dismiss them. But when they come from David Dye of NPR’s legendary music show World Cafe, those words carry a great amount of weight. You can hear him use them in reference to Milwaukee/Madison AM Gold quartet Surgeons in Heat if you listen to a December 2011 episode, and the bold statement has only gotten truer. This month, the band dropped their sophomore EP, Midnight At Bellevue, which calls on soulful hooks that infiltrate your brain through your eardrums and bury themselves there. It’s a peaceful takeover, and one you’ll surely welcome if you download it the EP for free at their bandcamp.
Bandcamp’s great, but fans of physical releases will rejoice, too, because this show celebrates the release of their Surgeons in Heat LP. On one side the vinyl contains their debut, the Surgeons in Heat EP, and you can find the new Midnight at Bellevue EP on the other. As a recent PopMatters review asserted, their emergence on the national scene has begun and it will only continue to intensify, so this will likely be something you’ll want to pick up to say you “knew them when.”
Joining them will be three other local acts Wisconsin is lucky to call their own. The Midwest Beat have been wowing Madison crowds for years now with their guitar-driven pop. They’re no stranger to the Terrace or to acclaim from local press, hopping their way onto Best of Madison lists practically every year. A.V. Club Madison raved about their most recent release, Gone Not Lost, saying the “tunes come neatly gift-wrapped with big hooks, back vocals that actually serve a purpose, and all the little details like bridges and pre-choruses that have somehow slipped through the cracks of modern pop.”
The Fatty Acids are no stranger to accolades themselves, having found themselves up against some act called Bon Iver (no, not Bonnie Bear) for Wisconsin’s band of the year at this year’s WAMI Awards.They’ve released two full-lengths, Stop Berries, Berries and Berries, Berries, and Leftover Monsterface (both available for free at their bandcamp). With names like that, you know they’re not dull. Their quirk pop sound is as big as their humor, with horns, howls, and drums beaten so mercilessly by Cole Quamme that you wonder how they’d survive a show. Their live show is known for its raucousness, as a dismembered R2D2 can attest to.
Pioneer will get us started at eight. Pioneer is made up of the three Madison-dwelling members of Surgeons in Heat along with Jacqueline Kursel. You would probably never know there was any relation between the two bands if you weren’t told; Kursel and Kenny Monroe trade off vocals in some stripped-down folk complemented with cello. It’s beautiful stuff, and Madison’s taken notice – it’s why when acts like Cate Le Bon and Breathe Owl Breathe come through town you can find Pioneer on the bill. Check out their bandcamp to listen to a few of their tunes.
If you don’t want to come down to Memorial Union at 8 p.m. after those descriptions, I don’t know what else I can do for you. Well, except tell you to download Surgeons in Heat’s “No One Left” below, watch their “The Price” video, and check out the links within the article, as they show just how talented these bands are. See you tonight.