Welcome Back, Fan-Belt
Holy crap, look who’s back? Don’t call it a comeback—well, ok, call it a comeback, but it’s not like we were dead or anything…just resting. Hi. Welcome back to Fan-Belt.com. I’m one of about 7 or so of your cordial co-hosts. If you’re an old friend, you probably notice we look a lot different. If you’re new, you’re probably thinking “oh, for Christ–another music blog in Milwaukee?” Aren’t the AV Club and Muzzle of Bees and Seizure Chicken, et al enough?
Well, no, actually. OK, maybe. But we like to think we’re going to be different.
But that’s where the criticisms come in. When people are committed to writing about what excites them, they end up ignoring the stuff that doesn’t thrill them as much. That’s all well and good; their blogs, their rules, and they do a great job! But we at Fan-Belt aspire to do more. We realize that, yes, the majority of music coverage in Milwaukee is spent on bands from the East Side/Riverwest/Bayview area, and that means punk and indie bands (and the majority of THAT coverage seems to be devoted to alt-country and beardo folk, but never mind that now). And hey, the majority of our writers are part of that scene. For whatever reason, most of the people with the passion and the outlets for writing in Milwaukee are people who are into that stuff. Meanwhile, hip-hop, goth/industrial, and local metal generally get the shaft.
So we’re going to try to change that.
Yes, we’re going to cover lots of crazy Riverwest basement shows and gigs in Bayview bars, but we’re going to branch out. We’ve got some dudes lined up who are excited to keep tabs on local hip-hop, and one writer who’s got her fingers the local goth/industrial scene (but we’re looking for more! If you know your local hip-hop, industrial or metal—or anything else for that matter—email us!). This is our sworn goal—to cover the Milwaukee music that no one else is covering. And we’re going to do that by recruiting people that are excited about the music no one else is covering.
As to that second point from “Stephen”—the “latest musical masterpieces from their hipster friends” thing—well, let’s lay it out there right now. Milwaukee’s not exactly New York or Chicago (thank god), and in a small town like ours, it’s impossible to find a writer that’s not multitasking or who’s not friends with local musicians. With a few exceptions, most of our writers play in bands, and as a result, you’ll likely end up hearing about them here (hell, I get called out constantly for pimping my own band on the internet—hey, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, as Hyden pointed out in that rebuttal). Heck, you think political writers aren’t pals with politicians? So the sooner we get over it, the sooner we can get to covering what excites us (which—and this may shock you—isn’t always what our friends are doing. I have plenty of friends in town who are making music I just don’t dig. It happens. It’s ok).
Anyway. It’s good to be back. Today we’re kicking things off with Brian Whitney’s inaugural “This Way for the Gas” column, in which he spouts off about the State of Milwaukee Music Today; the first chapter of Kathy Nichols’ “Bands of Future Past” series, where she’ll be documenting the classic Milwaukee music of yesterday of which you as a resident of our fine city should really be aware (she opens with a visit to a documentary about now-defunct Madison institution Smart Studios); and Jeb Ebben’s recap of Monday night’s Psychedelic Horseshit/Aluminum Knot Eye show at Circle A. We’re just getting warmed up, yo. Let’s do this.