ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS: Robits, Full Nude, Spidora

Bremen Cafe hosted a wonderful evening of rock and roll on Thursday featuring the likes of Robits, Full Nude and Spidora in addition to new wave/garage punk artist Christy Costello from Minneapolis.

Robits are a punk band consisting of vocalist/guitarist James Za, guitarist Eric Apnea, bassist Tabman and drummer Corey Baumann. Their name is an Isaac Asimov reference. The project began as a solo endeavor of Za’s before gradually becoming a full band.

“Some of these songs are pretty old and some are newer,” Za explains. “I was in a band called Eephus in Chicago that broke up, and then after that I had started writing more and moved back to Milwaukee in the middle of the pandemic. I spent a lot of that time recording songs and then I put them up on YouTube and Reddit; Discos Peroquebien from Spain heard it and offered to put out a tape so I did that and gave it to some friends including these four. I always wanted to play these songs live but I didn’t really know how that would happen, but Corey really wanted to play them after hearing it and then the rest of these guys followed after.”

“I learned how to play bass to be in this band,” Tabman adds. “I look forward to these practices a lot because I’m learning something new and it feels really good.”

“I was asked to play and said “fine”,” Apnea puts it, laughing.

Robits’ members have all been in bands together at one point or another, but this is the first time where all four at once are playing together. “We’ve all known each other for probably close to 25 years at this point,” Baumann notes. “We’ve always been super tight so it’s cool that we can have fun and knock out songs and bullshit. This is the most fun band I’ve been in in a long time.”

While they’re all busy with other bands too, Robits have a bank of songs that they have been regularly hashing out. “I would really love to record what we have soon,” Za said. “I do have some more stuff recorded that I haven’t shown the band yet and it’ll be good to have everyone’s input.”

Baumann concludes, “Once everything starts slowing down in fall, then we’ll have more time to focus on new stuff.”

Robits are playing YOOP! Fest up in Calumet, Michigan next, which takes place September 22-24th.

Full Nude is vocalist-guitarists Madi Moon and Sarah Long with drummer Brock Gourlie. Their sound encompasses noisy, fuzzy indie rock. They had their debut show at Circle A last summer.

Moon recalls how the band formed. “Me and Sarah went to Brock’s show, and Sarah texted me the next day asking if I wanted to jam and start a band to which I said “fuck yeah I want to start a band!” and so we started playing, and then I texted Brock and he came along too.”

Long adds, “We were so giddy because we’d wanted Brock to play in one of our bands for so long since he’s awesome. Because of lockdown I hadn’t seen Madi in a really long time and was actually surprised because 90 percent of the time you reach out to someone seeing if they want to start a band, it never happens. But when I texted Madi, she was ready to get together the next week.”

Moon came up with the band’s name, saying that it’s raunchy and made them laugh. “We were trying to go with a one-word name at first but that never works because every one-word name is already taken. I also thought “Full Nude” would look really good on a flyer.”

Both Moon and Long pen songs in Full Nude. “We write pretty quickly,” Moon said. “We’ve all been in a bunch of bands before and we try not to overthink things. Whatever we think sounds cool is where it goes.”

“There’s been maybe only one or two instances where one of us came to practice with almost a full song written,” Long notes. “Usually we’ll just start with a couple riffs, and if it doesn’t come together fast then we’ll get impatient and work on it later or scrap it.”

Long shares where her lyrics have been coming from as of late. “I’m in my mid 40s and busy being a mom and working, but I’m really into what I do for work – ecology – so a lot of my lyrics are inspired by that. I made a rule for myself after playing in bands for more than half of my life that I was going to take a break from writing songs about relationships – not that I don’t like songs about relationships – but here I write a lot of obscure stuff about ecology and stuff (laughs).”

Moon describes her own songwriting, “I like to write a song about nothing a lot of times and have to figure out how to make it interesting when it’s about something dumb. Like, “The Golden Girls” is a great sitcom but why would you write a song about “The Golden Girls” – that’s exactly what I did, because I love it.”

Full Nude have their debut album recorded and mixed; it’s getting mastered next and then they are putting it out on tape hopefully by the end of fall. It will be titled “Free Nudes.” They play one last show at Circle A on September 8th and then have a show at The VCR in Chicago coming up as well.

Spidora is Cris Siqueira on vocals, Chad Matzen on guitar, Ryan King on bass and Wendy Norton on drums. Their sound is described as heavy-Tropicália psych rock. Formed in the last two years, Spidora played their debut show at the Lyric Room in Green Bay this past April.

Siqueira, originally from Brazil, sings Spidora lyrics entirely in Portuguese. Her lyrics touch on political and social issues while incorporating humor and homages as well. “It’s ironic because when I had bands in Brazil I would sing in English, and that was kind of like my shield because nobody knew what I was saying,” she explains. “Now I have this new shield with singing in Portuguese here.”

Matzen recalls the band’s origins, “Ryan and I have always been able to work together well musically, and Wendy came into the fold easily since we played in Monitors before. After the pandemic we were talking about starting a band so we started playing together every week and it was purely just us jamming.”

Norton adds, “After Chad and I had played in a band together, he got married and had kids. For a while he was playing coffee shops doing these beautiful classical guitar-type gigs. Now that his kids are older and more autonomous, we were able to start playing again.”

“Now my kids work the merch table,” Matzen said with a smile.

On how Siqueira joined the band, Norton continues, “I really wanted a babe singer and I asked “what if we got Cris from Lion’s Tooth?” so Ryan and I went to her birthday party at Lion’s Tooth and we had this whole plan of attack; we brought a ton of snacks because I hadn’t seen her in a while, and I marched up to her right away and asked her and she said yes. I forgot to tell Ryan so two hours later he was wondering when I was going to ask her and I told him she already said she’ll do it (laughs).”

“What I thought was really awesome was that it all went over my head,” Siqueira said. “I had no idea they wanted me to get into the band; I had a band in Brazil but this is unlike anything I’ve had before. My first band was everyone’s first band where we were like “oh my God! we made a song!” but this band is all musicians that are on another level; they’ve been playing together for years before I even joined.”

“We completely changed when Cris joined because we needed to start writing actual, real songs instead of just jams,” Matzen notes.

The band’s name refers to a sideshow act that Siqueira used to do. “The head of a beautiful woman is displayed with six limbs like a spider,” she describes it.

They recently invested in an 8-track that they plan to start recording with. “We’re fed up with running around so we’re going to record it all ourselves,” Norton shares. “We’re going to finish this round of shows and then take November off to work on an album.”

Spidora play Linneman’s Riverwest Inn for The Trusty Knife’s “Dusty Medical” reissue show along with Delicious Monsters on September 1st. Then they’re at Falcon Bowl for the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference on October 13th, Liar’s Club in Chicago on October 21st and Cactus Club on October 22nd.

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