An extended vacation hasnt hurt What Made Milwaukee Famous performing prowess in the least, with the indie-rock act returning to form after the first few shows of its current tour, once it shook off the cobwebs.
Yet the same cant be said for everything.
The shows have been great in terms of playing. The attendance has been light, front man Michael Kingcaid said with a laugh. Weve been gone for four years. Its to be expected, but weve got a 100 percent conversion rate. Everyone who shows up leaves a fan.
Its been a rough go of things for the Austin, Texas-based band after charming Barsuk Records with an easy-breezy brand of Spoon- or Shins-style indie rock back in 2006; the deal soured after a pair of albums, 2006s Trying to Never Catch Up and 2008s What Doesnt Kill Us.
The members respective personal lives swung their own punches, and a substantial disillusionment with not only their hometown, but the music industry as a whole, slowed progress.
Now, What Made Milwaukee Famous is left trying to hold itself up on its own.
Theres something to be said for cutting out the middleman, Kingcaid said. Its just a matter of being able to get your music it out there.
The outfit is doing just that with You Cant Fall Off the Floor, penned in a frenzy (along with what will become WWMFs fourth album) when Kingcaid escaped to the Texas sticks, crashing in a double-wide trailer.
I just needed to get out of Austin for a while, he said. It was the most fruitful writing period for me ever. Two of us got divorces. That was challenging enough. It writes itself.
Even still, Floor has taken nearly three full years to finish. Kingcaid and company used that time to its advantage, collecting a whos who of Austin musicians for the album, as well as guests like Kathleen Edwards and Delta Spirits Matt Vasquez.
I was very much picking out musicians to play to the song, Kingcaid said. Its much more focused than either of the last two records. Because it was piece-mealed together, we were very particular about everything.
The clouds are parting for What Made Milwaukee Famous; the guys gain a little more confidence after every show. As the title You Cant Fall Off the Floor suggests, things are looking up.
Theres an optimism, Kingcaid said. At least you cant fall off the floor, you can only get up.