Old Milwaukee, that sometimes forgotten city due north of the Midwest metropolis of Chicago. Milwaukee the name conjures up unmistakable images; the great breweries, the influence of German architecture and food. Milwaukee is often thought of as “second fiddle” in the list of great Midwestern cities, and it has always responded with a quiet and classy “fuck you.”
Part of the reasoning behind this “fuck you” is the fact that Milwaukee needs nothing from anyone. It has miles of free lakeshore, excellent bars and restaurants, oh and most importantly a pretty kick ass and highly diverse music scene. On any given night one can wander into one of the multitude of narrow parlor-styled bars and hear live music in just about every genre imaginable.
The folk-Americana five-piece Paladino is just one such band you might hear jamming away on a given night in the back room of a bar that from the outside looks like a house, and probably also is a house.
What perhaps is most striking first off about Paladino is that three out of its five members can lay claim to being lead singers and songwriters for the band. It is a feature that sticks out as you listen to their debut EP Bellows.
The opener “A Place To Plant Our Flag” opens with a bristling yet controlled energy, a controlled unison of energy if you will, as the kick drum and concertina bounce in perfect time as the mandolin beautifully frets away and the bass thumps like a quickened-heart pumping blood. Next “Trails End” takes on heavier elements of rock and pop and of course a completely different vocalist, which almost makes it sound like a different band.
Compare this to the pop-funk folk of “Mint Condition” which sounds like a song that could lure a few booze soaked patrons from their stools to the dance floor when played live. Then there is the sadly windswept closer “Iowa” a song perfect for last call.
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