Jeff Cook
Band of the Week

Listening Party Demands Your Attention

How? With acoustic down-home Americana music that still has intensity.

By - Aug 26th, 2016 03:39 pm
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Listening Party. Photo courtesy of the band.

Listening Party. Photo courtesy of the band.

Listening Party is a Milwaukee-based band with a sound that captivates and resonates with soulful acoustics, balladic melodies and a sound that feels like you’re listening to an acoustic track on a great old rock album.

Formed in 2012, the band released its first album, The Last Word in February, 2013. Since then Listening Party has gone through some changes in the line up while retaining the core trio, and have refined their unique sound. On May 5th of this year they released a self titled album that shows the maturation of their musical vision.

Songs like “Low,” “The Rock” and “I’ll Be The One” really define this talented trio as one of Milwaukee’s premier alternative folk bands with intricate melodies that never feel contrived and a driving quality that demands your attention.

Maximum Ink describe the band’s sound as “downhome Americana folk, soothing and smooth vocal harmonies over acoustic guitars with a little electric piano and clean electric guitar layering extra melodies over the top. If you’re into TRAMPLED BY TURTLES or THE LUMINEERS, you’ll find lots to enjoy listening to their songs.”

Listening Party is led by Weston Mueller, a singer/songwriter native from Appleton, and also includes Joshua Hester (bass/mandolin/guitar), and Jacob Wood (piano). I had a chance to do a little Q&A with Mueller and here’s what he had to say:

When did you start playing music?

I always enjoyed singing and I had my first guitar lesson when I was 12. However, it wasn’t until college that I really started to fall in love with singing/songwriting. I know the other fellas both started at an early age, too.

How did the band come together?

The service industry ultimately brought us together. A few months after graduating college I met Joshua Hester when we were both working at a restaurant. He had just returned to Wisconsin after playing bass in a surf rock group in California and was looking for a new project. We both relocated to Milwaukee where I ended up meeting Jacob Wood during my first training shift at a bar. He had just graduated college with a music education degree and had just moved to Milwaukee himself. After that, the rest is history!

Who are some artists that have influenced you?

The Rolling Stones, Iron and Wine, Bob Dylan, Ray Lamontagne

How would you describe your music?

We like to call it alternative folk. The next album we are working on is primarily focused on story telling. Including bouncy rhythms, soulful melodies and spicy lead instrumentation.

What are some other styles/genre you listen to?

We like the funk.

Any local bands you really like? 

Really been digging on the Dead Horses

Do you ever collaborate with other artists? 

Hoping to get around to that, there are some talented people in Milwaukee.

How do you create songs, with music first, or the lyrics?

Each song comes about in a different way. Sometimes it comes from just a melody or possibly a combination of lyrics and music. I really enjoy taking phrases I stumble upon in conversations and basing songs around them. That makes it feel genuine and brings a sense of raw emotion to it.

What’s the vibe in the studio when you are practicing or recording?

We are playful. Maybe too playful. We have a lot of inside jokes that we drop on each other at questionable times. Keeps it interesting.

Do you usually play Milwaukee?

Yep, all over Wisconsin really. This summer we were in Milwaukee, Madison, and the Fox Valley a lot. Even made it out to Indiana, Michigan and Illinois!

Any albums or EPs coming out soon?

Just released an album in May but we are already back in the studio recording the next one. It never ends.

What about upcoming dates?

Sep 2- Iron Horse Hotel-Milwaukee
Sep 9- Lakeshore Ind Music Fest-Manitowoc
Sep 24- Houdini’s Escape-Appleton
Oct 1- Harrys on Brady-Milwaukee
Oct 2- Brady St Pet Parade-Milwaukee
Oct 13- Nomad-Milwaukee

What are your plans for the future?

Laugh a lot and play as much music that we can until it’s not fun anymore.

Cascio Interstate Music is proud to sponsor Urban Milwaukee’s Band of the Week column. Running in tandem with their own Band of the Month program, supporting local music is key to CIM’s mission.

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