The Trusty Knife
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The Trusty Knife

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | SELF

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"A.V. Club's favorite Milwaukee music of 2008: Farms In Trouble and The Trusty Knife"

Our look back at the year's musical bright spots continues with two records from Riverwest
The Trusty Knife
By Decider Staff December 19, 2008

Throughout the year we hear a lot of local records at Decider HQ. Some of them are good, a lot of them aren’t, and a select few never leave the CD player. This week we're looking back at records that belong in the last category. Today, we cheat a little and look at two records from Riverwest label Activities Recordings: Farms In Trouble's The Gas Station Soundtrack and The Trusty Knife's self-titled debut.
The Riverwest-based Activities Recording Group had a great 2008, emerging as the city’s one-stop shop for top-flight indie pop. First, the label released The Gas Station Soundtrack by Farms In Trouble, a loose-limbed side project for members of local indie-scene stars The Candliers and The Trusty Knife (along with pals in Nothing In That Drawer and Scrimshaw). Drawing on Guided By Voices, Elephant 6, and Captain Beefheart, Farms In Trouble’s debut full-length alternates between concise blasts of melodic bliss and meandering sonic collages over 28 tracks (which, like GBV’s 28-song Alien Lanes, last just over 40 minutes). It’s a thrilling, ramshackle record that feels all the more precious because it never quite falls apart. Then came the even better full-length debut from The Trusty Knife, a charming collection of good-time pop-rock songs that splits the difference between Elvis Presley and Elvis Costello. Here's the video for "It's All Built In," a standout track from The Trusty Knife, along with downloadable MP3s for The Trusty Knife's "Now You See Me Now You Don't" and "My Beautiful Baby Born Inside Out" by Farms In Trouble. - A.V. Club Milwaukee

"Introducing The Trusty Knife"

Introducing The Trusty Knife
Posted: June 18, 2009 by Anthony M. Van Hart in Uncategorized

I’ve got one of those nine to fives that nobody wants. It’s a tad back breaking, a bit demeaning, and a whole lot of ridiculous. But there was a time when small victories were won by the soul resurrecting activity that we called the “dock dance party.” These impromptu gatherings on the dock of the warehouse were momentary get downs and shimmy shakers that would take place whenever a real ass kicker of a song would scream out of the shitty PA. So if you can picture it, a bunch of dudes would bust a move to ? and The Mysterious’s “96 Tears” or EP’s “Don’t be Cruel” and when the shaking was done, we’d hang our heads and go back to the grind.

All of my dance partners have since moved on and all of their replacements are far too Stepford to shake a leg at work but I merely bring up this fond memory to find out if you’ve heard Milwaukee band The Trusty Knife? Wait. Better question. Have you seen The Trusty Knife?

The five-piece plays an influence heavy brand of jangle-y pop that remains unique. And trust me that’s not just because there’s an incredibly driving bassoon that weaves texture and a foundational groove to a lot of their songs. While cursory listens may call upon “garage” associations or classifications, they are too sophisticated to be labeled just so. After just a few listens my ears and The Trusty Knife started to feel like old friends as the sound peeled like an onion and the phrasing and vocals of lead singer Zach Pieper revealed Bowie-ified Lou Reed stirred with some spastic David Byrne, and the jingle of the guitar that strums over the groove heavy bass (and bassoon!) is reminiscent of‘ Maggie’s Farm”-ish Dylan. But all associations aside, this band’s music is super tight, fun, and my favorite thing to come out of Milwaukee in a while.

Every listen to their debut album can be turned into a dance party and even though the band may not think they make dance music, I’d find it pretty hard not to shake the plaster off of a body cast to songs like “Flash in the Pan” and “Now This Is Love.” The kids at Locust Street Days this past Sunday proved just that (sans body cast) as they bopped and pogo’d along to every audible sound like it was a 50’s beach party. Based on that aspect alone, they are now for me a “must see” band. They can be my fog lifter. Who needs dock dance parties when we’ve got The Trusty Knife? - Blonde On Blonde

"Saturday night: The Trusty Knife"

See the city's best new indie rock band tonight at Mad Planet

By Decider Staff December 6, 2008

Like their good friends (and Riverwest neighbors) The Candliers last year, The Trusty Knife has become one of the city’s most notable indie-pop bands of 2008. On its excellent new self-titled full-length, which will be celebrated tonight with a CD release show at Mad Planet, the surprisingly spry fivepiece sounds like The Shins covering The Dave Clark 5: Get beyond the usual indie trappings—clanging guitars, self-effacing geekiness, xylophones—and what you have is a good-time rock ‘n’ roll dance band. (As in sock hops, not Studio 54.) “Now You See Me Now You Don’t” has an incredibly catchy melody, but what really drives the song is how Ross Bachhuber’s soulful bass flows into Brock Gourlie’s drums, creating a rhythm so simple and insistent that it all but drives you to the nearest dance circle populated by poodle skirt-donning girls named Sandy. So, obviously, the CD release show ought to be the most. Live, the band’s wiry hooks become even more spastic and thrillingly alive under the direction of frontman Zack Pieper, a livewire who recalls the restrained dementia of early David Byrne. That doesn’t really come across in this video for “It’s All Built In”—Pieper is working his laidback pelvis-thrusting side here, assuring anyone thinking of attending tonight’s show that you will not be the most embarrassing dancer in the house. - A.V. Club Milwaukee

"The Trusty Knife and Crappy Dracula @ 7 Mile Fair"

The Trusty Knife and Crappy Dracula @ 7 Mile Fair
Saturday, July 26, 2008

By Tea Krulos
Shoppers paying the $1.50 entrance fee to 7 Mile Fair were unknowingly paying admission to a concert at an unlikely venue for two local bands, The Trusty Knife and Crappy Dracula. The Trusty Knife has created a local buzz with their unique indie rock, while Crappy Dracula is known for their strange sense of humor and has often been compared to the Dead Milkmen and Flipper. The bands set up under a small makeshift stage in an outdoor stretch between the two main buildings of the fair.
The show idea started as bar talk between the two bands and quickly escalated.
Besides some fans that caravanned with the band, fairgoers stopped to take in the sounds in between perusing knickknacks, old lawnmowers, parakeets, Scarface memorabilia and other assorted junk.
The bands, which originally planned to set up at 11 a.m., arrived at 1:30 p.m. and played for a couple hours. At least one band member says the tardiness was due to a late night at the Cactus Club the previous night, where both bands had played sets.
In addition to their usual set lists, both bands played an ode to 7 Mile Fair. Crappy Dracula reworked lyrics to one of their songs in tribute, and The Trusty Knife performed a lounge-like ballad for the thrifty shoppers at the flea market.
“If you’re in love with value/ then I’m in love with you/ you better set up a table/ at 7 Mile Fair,” singer Zack Pieper crooned, reaching out lovingly to the small but enthusiastic crowd.
Dug Belan, bassist and singer for Crappy Dracula, said the reception from 7 Mile Fair management was great and that both bands hope to return to the event someday. - The Shepherd Express


"The Trusty Knife (Self-Titled LP)" (ACT-005) Released by Activities Recordings, 2008.

"Natural Habitat" 7" vinyl single- Released by Activities Recordings, 2007.

"LOOKSONGS!" (Recording In Progress)

Trusty Knife also gets a lot of play on local Milwaukee stations 91.7 WMSE and and 88.9 Radio Milwaukee, and has appeared live in the studio on both. The WMSE performance can be streamed from the station'swebsite.



The Trusty Knife has played with a variety of legendary acts over the last 7 years, both in their hometown of Milwaukee, WI and elsewhere. They have been often heralded by the press as the hands-down best live rock & roll band in the city.

Their debut album was recorded & released in 2008; and despite limited distribution has become something of a cult classic for those in the know. Two new albums are now in the mixing stages, and poised for simultaneous release.