Being originally from Wisconsin and now transplanted to various places all along the West Coast, I have found it difficult to explain to people in these major cities what the Wisconsin music scene is like. I think that a lot of those who I’ve spoken to don’t really believe me when I tell them about the rabid basement shows that I grew up in, the teeth that I have chipped and lost in mosh pits, and the musical origins/energy in performance/etc that I have taken from being raised in that kind of creative environment. We mean it over there. If Wisconsin likes your band, we’re going to go damn crazy for you when you come to our towns.

 

Lately when people ask me for a good example of a band that encompasses the Wisconsin sound, I show them the Ditchrunners’ “Yankee Yell” EP. Released early this year, this 5 track disc contains the Wisconsin life in it: songs about the street, the wilderness, drinking all day and various oddities that are scattered all over the state (like Muskee Jacks in Minoqua). All of the aforementioned activities are something that every Wisconsonite could tell you about. We have all drank so much that we’ve passed out in the street before. We’ve all gotten lost within ten miles of a major metropolitan area and suddenly found ourselves stuck in the woods and/or fields somewhere. We’ve all met some of the incredibly eccentric local residents who proudly declare that they have made it a point to never leave their remote unincorporated town without a weapon. All of these things are experiences and moments that make Wisconsin great. Again, ask any Wisconsonite about what I’ve mentioned here. Everyone has a story (or 50). Milwaukee WI has one of the highest alcohol sales per capita in the country. We don't even have half of the tourism that some of the other cities have in the top ten list. That's just our weekly beer run. In your face!

 

Something that really stands out to me in this disc is the fast-paced, tight composition of the music. “Yankee Yell” is a debut release for the Ditchrunners. Typically when a band releases their first record/EP there’s a lot of slow and sometimes even choppy segments that show a band finding their sound. There’s nothing like that here. This stuff is heavy with loud crew vocals, sometimes vulgar (therefore I love it) and intense. These guys were sure about what they sounded like going into this at the beginning. They didn’t need a few records to “find themselves” like many musicians do. The Ditchrunners were ready well before any studio time was involved.

 

“Street Rat” is my favorite number of theirs. Fast, loud, and pissed. This tune alone is worth the purchase.

 

I was lucky to be on tour when these guys were recording, I got to stop by the studio with them in Madison and play accordion on “Muskee Jacks”.

 

Word has it that this is a limited print, and the boys of the Ditchrunners have just released their first full length record. I’ve seen a few of their shows since I’ve heard this disc, and the music just keeps getting crazier!

 

You want to know what I’m talking about when I tell you the stories about the time I spent in Wisconsin? Listen to these guys and you’ll believe me when I say that it’s a very Wisconsin thing to get drunk at 9AM and run naked through a field while you…nevermind.

 

Check these guys out here.

 

Have a listen!

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Ando Ehlers | 
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