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French Kicks / What Made Milwaukee Famous / Matt & Kim
August 21, 2006 - The Troubadour - Los Angeles, CA
by Ashley Graham
09.04.06

There was something freaky in the water at the Stumpf household. Or weird genes anyway. How else could we account for a staggeringly tall Nick Stumpf in comparison to a short-as-an-average person Lawrence? I dwell on this as I stand, immersed in the kiddies, at the recent French Kicks all ages show at the Troubadour. Why am I so stuck on it? Because halfway through French Kicksí set, Iíve realized that things are starting to sound a little too familiar. The setís too long. And itís okay, because I love this band and their live show is where they really show their true colors, but it leaves my mind wandering. Iím also wondering how many drinks Nick has had to make him this tipsy. Itís surprising how at ease he is, considering that Stumpf, the Nick kind, has always seemed so calculated and uncomfortable with the spotlight. Heís smiley even, joking and laughing and loving every minute of his time in front of the packed house.

Itís never easy to lose a founding member of your band, and Nick was quick to point this out when I spoke to him just before the release of the bandís latest disc,
Two Thousand. But he was reflective, and ready to embrace the new lineup and songs with vigor. Itís worked. Chemistry is intact and the band still performs to their best abilities (albeit perhaps a little on the long side). (But, while weíre on that new lineup, give the new guy some freakiní light! I barely saw him!)

Openers What Made Milwaukee Famous didnít receive as much love as was deserved. The songs from their recently re-released disc
Trying to Never Catch Up are frickiní fantastic, full of an energy that sets them apart from their peers. They are quirky, fun-loving fellows, and the music follows suit. Itís great live, and itíll be even greater live when they move their way up in the lineup. Check out the latest disc, which is out now on Barsuk.

Now listen. You know when you go to a show and you think you have the whole thing figured out? Like, you love the headliner and youíve heard a few songs by the opener and overall it should be a fine night? Yeah, that was me on this night. I hadnít accounted for the band sandwiched between those more familiar to me, though. Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim were, in all honesty and with total sincerity, the fucking coolest thing Iíve seen live in just aboutÖ forever. SO MUCH ENERGY! SO MANY SMILES!! Gosh, they made me happy. Seattleites could probably compare their charm to like-minded acts like The Pharmacy--they contain within their songs and set a love and charisma that wins over everybody. Though somewhat inexplicably, you canít hate the Pharmacy just because you are too totally in love. Matt & Kim are the same way. Meet your new favorite band:
http://www.myspace.com/mattandkim. Listen to ďYea Yeah.Ē Shit, dude.

More info. on the others:
http://www.frenchkicks.com, http://www.whatmademilwaukeefamous.com.