WMSE Picks of 2015

POSTED:: December 23, 2015

FILED UNDER:: Top Airplay


Maybe there are too many best-of lists by years’ end, but it must be said, that as far as Milwaukee music aficionados go, no group of people knows music, front-to-back, across all genres, than the DJs of WMSE. You see it on our weekly top airplay charts and hear it for yourself on your radios and through your headphones and computer speakers. WMSE DJs are volunteers because they love music, and it shows: each program is designed, per DJ, to introduce the listener to both old favorites and newly-becoming classics.

Already got a favorite WMSE DJ? Take a peek at what they liked this past year, then check out the rest. You might find your own tastes aligning with DJs whose shows you might not be familiar with. Here’s the best of the best from us, to you. Thanks for another great year of Frontier Radio!


Tom Crawford, WMSE Station Manager
Mondays 3pm – 6pm / The Rock Ride + Thursdays 6pm -9pm / Radio Drill Time

The Pukes, The Pukes [EP]
Midwives, The Midwives [EP]
The Scarring Party, End Times
Phylums, Phylum Phyloid
Piles, Planet Skin
Group Of the Altos, R U Person Or Not
Estates, It’s Great to Be Alone
Testa Rosa, III
Zebras, The City Of Sun

Jay Burseth, WMSE Development Director

Midwives, Midwives
Tigernite, Tigernite
Kiings, WWYDF
Klassik, Seasons
Maritime, Magnetic Bodies / Maps Of Bones

Ryan Aschebrook, WMSE Underwriting Director
Saturdays 12am – 3pm / Industrial Zone

Dogs In Ecstasy, SYMPATHY 4 THE SOUNDGUY, Thunderzone Ent.
The Scarring Party, End Times, self-released
CaustiC, Industrial Music, Negative Gain
The Dark Clan, Hall Of Fame, self-released
Rio Turbo, Rio Turbo, Gloss

Erin Wolf, WMSE Music Director
Tuesdays 12:30pm – 3pm + 6pm – 7pm / The Rockleidoscope Show + Local/Live

5 National:

Shilpa Ray, Last Year’s Savage
Jessica Pratt, On Your Own, Love Again
My Brightest Diamond, I Had Grown Wild [EP]
Viet Cong, Viet Cong
Joanna Newsom, Divers

5 Local:

Piles, Planet Skin
Midnight Reruns, Force of Nurture
Testa Rosa, III
Dogs In Ecstasy, Welcome 2 Hell
Jaill, Brain Cream

Sid McCain, WMSE Promotions Director
Wednesdays 12:30pm – 3pm / Squid Inc.

Top 5 Local Releases:

1. The Vitrolum Republic, For the Lovespun Ramblings…
2. Midnight Reruns, Force of Nurture
3. Devil Met Contention, American Times
4. Platinum Boys, Future Hits
5. Maritime, Magnetic Bodies / Maps of Bones

Top 5 National Releases:

1. The Dirty Nil, Weakness 7″
2. Metz, Metz II
3. Benjamin Booker, Live at Third Man Records
4. Total Babes, Heydays
5. Frank Turner, Positive Songs For Negative People

Justin Bittenbender, WMSE Events Coordinator
Thursdays, 3am – 6am / Thirty-Three and a Thursday

New Favorites in No Particular Order:

Flying Saucer Attack, Instrumentals 2015
BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah, Sour Soul
Altos, R U Person Or Not
Helen, The Original Faces
Crown Larks, Blood Dancer


L’Orange & Kool Keith, Time? Astonishing!
Failure, The Heart Is a Monster
Title Fight, Hyperview
Ceremony, L-Shaped Man
Caspian, Dust and Disquiet

Paul Host
alternating Saturdays 3pm – 6pm / Milwaukee Rock Posters & Why My Head Hurts

1. The Revomatics, Roswell, WI
2. Xposed 4Heads, Disconnected
3. The Dead Metaphors, Cytopathic Warfare
4. GoGoSlow, Lahey
5. Cicada The Burrower, Stone Giants

alternating Wednesdays 6am – 9am / Wave Tank

D.Å.R.F.D.H.S., In the Wake of the Dark Earth
Rafael Anton Irisarri, A Fragile Geography
BOAN, Mentiras
Medio Mutante, Eadem Mutata Resurgo (reissue)
Oppenheimer Analysis, New Mexico (reissue)

Alien Andre
Sundays 3am – 6am / Earthling Soup

1. Testa Rosa, III
2. Revomatics, We Come In Peace
3. Aero Flynn, Aero Flynn
4. Painted Caves, Painted Caves
5. F/i, Venusian Holiday
6. Xposed 4Heads, Choose to Be Human
7. Tru Skool, 10 yrs. [album]
8. Alien Love Affair, Alien Love Affair [EP]
9. GoGoSlow, GoGoSlow [EP]

Mondays 6pm – 9 pm / Buzz’s Garage

Sonny Vincent and Rocket From the Crypt, Vintage P*ss, Swami
The Sonics, This Is the Sonics, Re:Vox
The Grovelers, Derelicts and Screw-Ups, self-released
OBN III’s, Worth a Lot of Money, 12XU
Various Artists, The Color of Noise soundtrack [AmRep documentary], MVD

Paul Cebar
alternating Saturdays, 9am – 12pm / Way Back Home

Saun & Starr, Look Closer
Dayna Kurtz, Rise and Fall
Leon Bridges, Coming Home
Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Los Lobos, Gates of Gold
Senegal 70

Erik Void
Wednesdays 3am – 6am / Everything That Rises Must Converge

pinkshinyultrablast, Everything Else Matters
Swervedriver, I Wasn’t Born to Lose You
Static Daydream, Static Daydream
Cold Showers, Matter of Choice
800beloved, Some Kind of Distortion

alternating Sundays 10:30pm – 12am / Female Focus

Brandi Carlile, The Fire Watcher’s Daughter
Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit, And Think and Sometimes I Just Sit
Florence & the Machine, How Big How Blue How Beautiful
Indigo Girls, One Lost Days
Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love

Andy Turner
Fridays 12pm – 3pm / Zero Hour

1. Tyler Keith, Alias: Kid Twist, self-released
2. Rolando Bruno, Bailazo, Voodoo Rhythm
3. Miriam, Down Today, Norton
4. Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, Transdreamer
5. The Grovelers, Derelicts & Screw-Ups, self-released

Shopkeeper Ken
Thursdays, 9am – 12pm / The Five & Dime Show

Ryley Walker, Primrose Green
Joanna Newsom, Divers
Max Richter, From Sleep
Shilpa Ray, This Year’s Savage
Nick Jonah Davis, House of Dragons

Sundays 12am – 3am / Alternative Bliss

1. Thee Oh Sees, Mutilator Defeated At Last (two years in a row for John Dwyer!)
2. Viet Cong, Viet Cong (simply amazing!)
3. Disappears, Irreal
4. Cheatahs, Mythologies
5. Midnight Reruns, Force Of Nurture
6. Ceremony, The L-Shaped Man
7. Moon Duo, Shadow Of the Sun
8. Yo La Tengo, Extra Painful (a reissue with so many added tracks, it’s like a new album!)
9. The Violet Hour, Fragments
10. Testa Rosa, Never Marry a Railroad Man (single)

Timmy Jam
alternating Mondays 12am -3am / Timmy Jam’s Theory of A Funk Opera

Jill Scott, Woman
Prince, Hit & Run (1st installment)
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
A Tribe Called Quest, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm [reissue]
The Roots, Do You Want More [reissue]
J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive
Prince, Hit & Run [installment 2]
The Foreign Exchange’s Tales in The Land of Milk and Honey

The Professor
Tuesdays, 3am – 6am / Night School

1. IO Earth, “Journey to Discovery”, New World
2. Neal Morse (aka the Neal Morse Band), “Doomsday Destiny”, The Grand Experiment
3. Nightwish, “Alpenglow”, Endless Forms Most Beautiful
4. Riverside, “#Addicted (hash-tag)”, Love, Fear and the Time Machine
5. TesseracT, “Phoenix”, Polaris

Rich Mars
Wednesdays 6pm – 9pm / City Rock Showgram

Motorhead , Bad Magic
Sleater Kinney , No Cities to Love
Say Hi, Bleeders Digest
Shilpa Ray, Last Year’s Savage
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, Ba Power

Honorable mentions: Dead Weather, Giant Sand, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Froth and Pow!

Dr. Sushi
Tuesdays 9am – 12pm / Dr. Sushi’s Free Jazz BBQ

Gov’t Mule (featuring John Scofield), Sco-Mule
Frank Catalano & Jimmy Chamberlin, God’s Gonna Cut You Down
Jack DeJohnette, Made In Chicago
Rob Mazurek & the Exploding Star Orchestra, Galactic Parables Volume 1
Kamasi Washington, The Epic

Mondays, 3am – 6am / The Wax Addicts

Jamie xx, In Colour
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Young Fathers, White Men Are Black Men Too
BadBadNotGood + Ghostface Killah, Sour Soul
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love

Tom Wanderer
Thursdays 3pm – 6pm / The Tom Wanderer Radio Experience

1. Shilpa Ray, Last Year’s Savage
2. The Blind Shake, Live In San Francisco
3. Bob Dylan, Shadows In the Night
4. Piles, Planet Skin
5. Broadcast, Tender Buttons (reissue)

Paul Matthew
Saturdays 9pm – 12am / Late Night Beat Generation

Orkidea, Revolution Industrielle
Bryan Kearney, The Things We Should Say
Lee Van Dowski, 050504
Illitheas, Endless
Redondo & Bolier, Every Single Piece (feat. She Keeps Bees)

Dr. Fell
Fridays 6am – 9am / Jing Jong Triple Play

Corners, Maxed Out On Distractions
Doldrums, The Airconditioned Nightmare
Damaged Bug, Cold Hot Plumbs
LA Priest, Inji
Howling, Sacred Ground

The Good John
Fridays 9am – 12pm / The Chicken Shack

1. Jeremy Pinnell, OH/Ky
2. Charlie Parr, Stumpjumper
3. PeeWee Moore, American Outlaw
4. John Moreland, High On Tulsa Heat
5. Whitey Morgan and the 78’s, Sonic Ranch
6. Chris Stapleton, Traveller

Cal Roach
Tuesdays 6pm – 7pm / Local/Live

1. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
2. John Zorn / Simulacrum, The True Discoveries Of Witches and Demons
3. Floating Points, Elania
4. Lanterns On the Lake, Beings
5. Zatokrev, Silk Spiders Underwater

Fridays 3pm – 6pm / The Blues Drive

The Henry Gray/Bob Corritore Sessions – Vol. 1, Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest, Delta Groove
Steve Earle, Terraplane, New West Records
Bob Dylan, Shadows In The Night, Columbia/Sony
Jorma Kaukonen, Ain’t In No Hurry, Red House Records
John Primer and Friends, Muddy 100, Raisin’ Music Records

Jon Blick
Thursdays, 12am – 3am / Overnight Sensations

Titus Andronicus, The Most Lamentable Tragedy
Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
Hardy and the Hardknocks, Drowning On a Mountaintop
Hop Along, Painted Shut
The Sonics, This Is the Sonics

The Grovelers, Derelicts and Screw-Ups
Tenement, Predatory Headlights
Great Lake Drifters, Radio Picture Show
The Traveling Suitcase, Nobody Wins
Tigernite, Tigernite

Jerry Glocka
alternating Fridays, 6pm – 9pm / Jerry’s Attic

Dave & Phil Alvin, Lost Time
The brothers Alvin reunite again for some hard driving blues and R&B

Van Morrison, Duets: Reworking the Catalog
Van picks the artists he feels will best interpret his back-catalog  (the late Bobby Womack, Mavis Staples, Taj Mahal, Steve Winwood, Mark Knopfler & others) –  dueting with them on mostly obscure album tracks.

The Complete Them (1964-1967)
The two studio albums remastered in stereo plus mono, plus demos and some live treasures like “Gloria” – live at the BBC – 1965!!

The Bottle Rockets, South Broadway Athletic Club
A beautiful collection of original, working-class, American Rock & Roll from the heartland.

Keith Richards, Crosseyed Heart
Keith takes us through many of his favorite genre’s– country, reggae, blues and Chuck Berry – with mostly new, original tunes

The Zombies, Still Got that Hunger
Original members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent continue on with some surprisingly solid new tunes and a couple of reworking’s of 1965-era Zombies tunes.

Bob Dylan, Cutting Edge Music (1965-1966) The Bootleg Series vol. 12
Dylan’s most prolific, mid-sixties studio recordings.  Tape was rolling – day and night.   All of the working demos, alternate takes, rehearsals and false-starts are here for your approval.

Bruce Springsteen, The Ties That Bind (The River Collection)
The original “River” album sounding as it should have plus rare outtakes and video from that era.

The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers (Super Deluxe Edition)
The original album plus a gorgeous acoustic version of “Wild Horses” and other alternates. Plus a handful of live tunes from the Roundhouse-1971.

Boz Scaggs, A Fool to Care
More satisfying blues, soul and R&B as interpreted by Mr. Scaggs with a few superb originals like “Hell to Pay” with Bonnie Raitt.

Craig Mertes
Tuesdays 6am – 9am / The Shape Of Rock

Piles, Planet Skin, self-released
The Hussy, Galore, Southpaw
Midwives, Midwives, Direct Current
Zebras, City Of the Sun, self-released
Tenement, Tenement, Don Giovanni
Moon Curse, Spirit Remains, self-released

Scott Lucey
alternating Thursdays 6am – 9am / Digital Dumplings In Analog Gravy

1. Grimes, Art Angels
2. Sufjan Stevens, Carrie and Lowell
3. Jamie xx, In Colour
4. Deradoorian, The Expanding Flower Planet
5. Tame Impala, Currents

Tim Noble
alternating Saturdays 3pm – 6pm / Milwaukee Rock Posters & Why My Head Hurts

1. Soft Kill, Heresy
2. Lunch, Let Us Have Madness Openly
3. Haust, Bodies
4. Rule Of Thirds, self-titled
5. Institute, Catharsis

Eric Von Munz
Thursdays 12:30pm – 3pm / The Von Munz Vinyl Variety Show

My top 5 Milwaukee releases in 2015:

Phylums, Phylum Phyloid, Dirtnap
Platinum Boys, s/t, Dusty Medical
The Pukes, s/t, self-released
Piles, Planet Skin, self-released
The Hullmen, Expensive Taste

National Top 5:

Holly Golightly, Slowtown Now!, Damaged Goods + Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs, Coulda Shoulda Woulda, Transdreamer
Moon Duo, Shadow Of the Sun, Sacred Bones
Wolfmanhattan Project, Smells Like You b/w You Were My Glue 7″, In The Red
Fuzz, II, In The Red
Ty Segall, Ty Rex, Goner

Mary Bartlein
Saturdays 6pm – 9pm / Instrumental Saturdays

Ken Elkinson, Music for Commuting Vol. 7  [12″], August Son Productions

The 3 cd box set follow up to Music for Commuting Vol. 1-6. Both of which are masterpieces of short variable tempo’d ambient tracks. Beginning his career as an acoustic pianist, Ken started his foray into electronic music a few years ago and is now one of the most prolific artists out there. I doubt the guy ever sleeps. You’ll see what I mean if you take a look at his website.

Tom Caufield, Rust of the New Babylon [EP], Bohemian Embassy

This is a brilliant 22 minute long single that Tom released earlier this year. I think I have listened to this song more then I have some of my favorite Peter Gabriel songs and that is saying a lot! Tom uses looping to create a lush and hypnotic piece of music. There is magic in this slow burn track and I just adore it. Seriously it’s crack for the ears! It is so good, you will feel bad that you only spent 99 cents to get it from iTunes.

Tiger Forest, The Tides of Day and Night, AMAdea Records

The Tides of Day and Night is the 5th studio release from German born Gunnar Spardel aka Tigerforest. With great respect to Tangerine Dream and all the pioneers of electronic music, Gunnar is a force to be reckoned with. An insightful perfectionist in the studio, Gunnar composes and produces some of the deepest and richest electronic music of our generation. His music is so deep you could swim in it! Gunnar is also keen to find and bring in other artists that complement his music like David Helping and Eskadet, and vocalist like Amethyste and Jennifer Hershman. A true master, Gunnar stands with the best of them, I absolutely, hands down love Tigerforest. Spoiler alert: New music coming in 2016! Yay!

Mike Howe, Lichens, Mike Howe Music

I have been a Mike Howe fan for a long time. Guitarist and composer, Mike has four previous releases on Real Music Records. However, Lichens is his first independent release and it is beautifully done from the cover art to the last notes. Independence (however scary that can be for any artist) suits Mike well and I look forward to more fine CDs like this one.

Jeff Oster, Next, Retso Records

What can I say……Jeff Oster is a muscian’s musician, all around great guy and master of the flugelhorn and trumpet. He can make them sing! Jeff could walk on stage with any band (and he often does) and fit in like the songs were written for him. Next is by far Jeff’s finest album and my favorite, surpassing my first favorite album of his, the 2007 release True. Next has everything you need for some awesome listening, including Carl Weingarten! While you are there check out the music by Jeff collaboration group – Blue Eternity

Runners up:

Terra Guitarra – Firelight on Earthsign Records
Sensitive Chaos – March of the Timeshifters on Subsequent Records
AeTopus – When on 12Ton Productions
Peter Calandra – First Light on PCM Records
Dean McPhee – Fatima’s Hand on Hood Faire Records
Ludovico Einaudi – Elements on Ponderosa Records

alternating Mondays, 6am – 9am / The Happy Monday Show

1. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
2. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
3. Sufjan Stevens, Carrie and Lowell
4. Bjork, Vulnicura
5. New Order, Music Complete

WMSE DJ sub / various shows

Clutch, Psychic Warfare
The New Division, Gemini
Blackalicious, Imani, Vol. 1
Tep No, The Last Ones Standing (single)
The Prodigy, The Day Is My Enemy

Jason Ellis
Wednesdays, 9pm – 12am / Team Metal

P***grave, Suicide Euphoria, Profound Lore
Tony Tears, Follow the Sign of the Times, Minotauro Records
John Carpenter, Lost Themes, self-released
Trtkmmr, Avec La Souillure Nous Entrons Au Regne De La Terreur LP, self-released
Ride For Revenge, Ageless Powers Arise, Bestial Burst
Lucifer, I, Rise Above
Vardan, Verses From Ancient Times, self-released
Drudkh, To the Epoch of Unbowed Poets, self-released
Throaat, Black Speed, Invictus
Black Cilice, Mysteries, self-released
Magister Templi, Into Duat, Cruz del Sur

Best live:

Acid King
Mortuary Drap/Mgla
Negura Bunget
The Body / Full of Hell

WMSE DJ sub / various shows

1. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
2. D’Angelo, Black Messiah
3. Sufjan Stevens, Carrie and Lowell
4. Shamir, Ratchet
5. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love

Pat Buckley
alternating Mondays 6am – 9am / The Happy Monday Show

Jim O’Rourke, Simple Songs
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
Panda Bear, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Multi-Love

Alex Stafford
Saturdays 3am – 6am / Brew City Brutality

1. Faith No More, Sol Invictus
2. Refused, Freedom
3. Iron Maiden, The Book of Souls
4. Lamb Of God, VII: Sturm Und Drang
5. Marilyn Manson, The Pale Emperor

Bob Midnight and Radio Dave
Tuesdays 7pm – 9pm / Midnight Radio

Bob Midnight

  1. Calexico, Edge Of The Sun
  2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Chasing Yesterday
  3. Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Loved Wild Lost
  4. The Wooden Sky, Let’s Be Ready
  5. The Fratellis, Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied

Radio Dave

  1. The Traveling Suitcase, Nobody Wins
  2. Best Coast , California Nights
  3. Houndmouth, Little Neon Limelight
  4. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
  5. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Chasing Yesterday

Rick Israel
alternating Wednesdays 9am – 12pm / Urban Fantasy

Charnee Wade, Offering, Motema
The Tuba Trio , Chronicles, Joba Music
Gary Bartz / Heads of State , Search for Peace, Smoke Sessions
Liberation Music Collective , Siglo XXII, Astrin
Jen Shyu / Jade Tongue , Sounds and Cries of the World, Pi

Chris Twining
alternating Saturdays 3pm – 6pm / Milwaukee Rock Posters & Why My Head Hurts

Testa Rosa, III
Jaill, Brain Cream
GoGoSlow, s/t

Sundays, 10:30pm – 12am + alternating Mondays, 12am – 3am / Female Focus + Rock & Blues

Nightwish, Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Symphonic metal containing beautiful,interesting melodies. Deluxe
version contains an additional disc of instrumental versions of the songs.

John Ginty, No Filter
Exciting organ-infused blues.

Soul Suga and Diane Durrett, self-titled
Lively soulful blues

Warren Haynes, Ashes & Dust
Americana solo release from the frontman of Gov’t Mule.

Rusty Wright Band, Wonder Man
Blues rock band with hard-hitting songs.

Best local CD – Testa Rosa, III
Great songs, musicianship and vocals.

Jeff Joy
alternating Wednesdays, 3pm – 6pm / The Blues Drive

Sonny Landreth, Bound By the Blues
Dave and Phil Alvin, Lost Time
Shemekia Copeland, Outskirts Of Love
Buddy Guy, Born to Play Guitar
Alabama Shakes, Sound and Color

POSTED BY:: Erin Wolf

TAGGED::WMSE, WMSE Picks, WMSE Picks of 2015