Crime and Judy collaborate on new sound

"We are continually in the process of doing something new," says Angelique Rosario, singer of Milwaukee indie band, Crime and Judy. "I've never experienced writing at the rate we've been writing. There is such a flow of ideas and energy between us -- a really difficult thing to achieve between six members."

Which is why even if you've seen them before, and you happen to catch the band perform this Friday at the Globe East, you'll probably hear something entirely new. Crime and Judy will re-emerge this weekend after a five-month hiatus with what they say is new music, and a new sound.

The band was started by 24-year-old Aaron Gorski in September 2000 and after a series of changes and additions, it appears the group has evolved into well-oiled, music-making machine.

Rosario chalks up the flow of creative juices to the environment.

"Everyone offers their opinions of what should be done with a song, and we'll try everything at least once. If you are presenting an idea, you know that it won't be immediately shut down. It's really healthy to know you're going into a practice space like that," she says.

The process of creating new material for the band's second-coming debut this weekend was a team collaboration, not the work of any individual person, band members agree.

"A year ago you could easily say we had one or two writers," says drummer Dan Hanke. "Now, the whole band is contributing in meaningful ways and it's been more than gratifying to see that evolution and the confidence gained from it."

Practicing in the basement of west side Milwaukee guitar shop Rockhaus, band members come with their individual ideas.

"Usually people come up with parts and we fit them together. We cut and hammer and polish until the structure is solid -- kind of like building a table, really," says bassist Keith Brammer, a veteran Milwaukee musician who has been in bands like Die Kreuzen and Carnival Strippers. "Our tastes are pretty diverse, which helps a lot in terms of keeping the songs from falling into the trap of sounding extraordinarily similar."

Diversity in the band may come in part by the fact that half of Crime and Judy's members are female, Rosario and India Lathon are the lead vocalists and Cathy Kolb plays violin and keyboard.

"I feel that in our individual styles, both singing and writing, we work contrary to our real personalities," says Lathon, of sharing vocals with Rosario. "I try on confidence and a little anger while she sweetly ties confusing emotions together, making sense of them ... But I feel that we compliment each other. From our first practice together, there was this instant connection."

The use of experimental and original sounds were part of Gorski's original concept of the band, and his dream seems to be finally coming to fruition, with the construction of this six-member band. An abundance of new creation withstanding, members of Crime and Judy find it difficult to characterize their sound.

"I couldn't classify it," says Gorski. "It's not alternative or country."

Drummer Dan Hanke takes a stab, describing Crime and Judy's music as "on the brink of chaos and grand design. In the same way the Liars sound like Jesus Lizard meets the Minutemen, Crime and Judy sound like Blond Redhead meets Sweep the Leg Johnny."

Well, okay, that may not exactly clear things up for you, but as Brammer concedes, this band would rather not contribute to casting itself in any type of category.

"Describing a band's sound almost always makes it seem less interesting than it is, especially if the band is doing something original," says Brammer. "And there's probably a big difference between what we think we sound like, and what other people will think. It's not boring, I'll say that much. My advice is to leave your preconceptions at the door."

Along with having alternate day jobs, four of Crime and Judy's members are also a part of a softer "sister" band, Speak to Sway. In addition, Gorski, Hanke and former Crime and Judy member Tony Olveda are creators of the newly established Latest Flame Records, a record label seeking to "pool resources and fill a gap in the Milwaukee music scene."

You can catch Crime and Judy at the Globe East Fri., Feb. 28 at 9:30 p.m., along with the Kilgores and Doom Buggy. The Globe East is located at 2028 E. North Ave. Tickets for the show can be purchased at the door for $6.

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