Noisy Rock Night At X-Ray Arcade
Several Milwaukee rockers joined Minneapolis “bedroom pop turned basement pop” band Oftener at the new X-Ray Arcade Sunday night. The Unitaskers, Operations and Flat Teeth all played too, with the smell of fresh popcorn in the air and classic arcade game sounds filling the ambience.
Operations are a relatively new dream-noise pop group consisting of vocalist/guitarist Alisa Rodriguez, vocalist/guitarist Charles Markowiak, bassist Sam Gargulak, and drummer John Schoneman. Their first show was the day after Christmas at High Dive, and they have played Cactus Club and Bremen since as well.
The band speaks favorably about X-Ray Arcade, saying how Milwaukee has been in dire need of an all-ages venue. X-Ray has been open for about two months now.
“It’s been a bummer for kids that wanna go to shows in Milwaukee and they’re all twenty-one and over,” Rodriguez said. “When you get to be a certain age you don’t think so much about younger kids that listen to the same music you do. I was listening to a lot of weird music as a kid so I’d always be like, “aw this band I really like is playing Cactus Club but I can’t go.” So it’s cool.”
“It’s always nice when the performance space is separated from the bar and has professional sound,” Schoneman added.
“It’s also nice to have a spot that’s still Milwaukee County but a little south so you get people from Racine or Kenosha at shows,” Markowiak said.
Operations formed out of the various collaborations the band’s members have had previously. Rodriguez explains.
“Charlie and I were playing in the band Sundial Mottos, and our guitarist sorta out of nowhere moved to Chicago. So I was worried about what we were gonna do now. It’s tough having members that live out of state. So I decided Charlie and I should start something together cuz he’s always been a guitarist and he’s got some really cool interesting ways of playing that I’d never really seen much from people my age.”
“Alisa and I have been playing music together for like four or five years now,” Markowiak said.
Gargulak and Schoneman had also played music together with Markowiak in the past and got brought on board as well. The band’s name comes from a song from both Duster and Deerhunter, titled “Operations.”
While the band does not currently have music out yet, they have about nine songs finished recorded. They play Milwaukee Psych Fest April 12th and Nausicaa May 16th.
Flat Teeth are noisy, melodic emo rockers consisting of vocalist/guitarist Nik Stoehr, lead guitarist/vocalist Andy Kosanke, bassist Ken Siegel, keyboardist Andy Orlowski, and drummer Brian Szymanski. Sunday night marked their first show in six months; they have been cooking in the studio in that time.
Similar to Operations, Flat Teeth also love having an all-ages venue.
“I wish they had this when I was younger,” Stoehr said.
“It’s been a very long time since I can remember an active all-ages venue that wasn’t a house show,” Kosanke said.
The band’s debut EP “Winter House” dropped last September. They are working on a debut full-length album and played plenty of new songs Sunday night. They do not have a title for it yet.
“Everything in this band is a democracy and titles keep getting voted out,” Stoehr joked.
Flat Teeth play Anodyne this Friday, No Studios April 20th, and Linneman’s May 11th.