"On 'True Love Don’t Leave Scars,' though, the guys strum their way through a woodsy, summery sound, bringing to mind the warm California sun that shone down on their country-rock ancestors back in the ‘60s and ‘70s."
- Andrew Leahey, American Songwriter
"A compelling set of songs, one that invites further - and frequent - returns, even while making a connection first time around."
- Lee Zimmerman, No Depression
"At first glance, I couldn't believe a band as "young" as Farewell Milwaukee had enough miles behind them to sound so much like a band from the late '60s. For an instant, I heard Neil Young, The Band and The Allman Brothers. But the greatest part about Farewell Milwaukee's sound is that it's original."
- Mike Pengra, Minnesota Public Radio
"Can't Please You, Can't Please Me, this new album has a vintage quintessential Minneapolis sound. So good."
- Paul Fletcher, Cities 97 Radio
"Can't Please You, Can't Please Me is the sort of record you can put on, hit play, and leave on repeat for hours."
- Natalie Gallagher, City Pages
About Farewell Milwaukee and Can't Please You, Can't Please Me
“There’s something special in your eyes that makes me feel like a child...It’s like the first time I heard ‘Tumblin’ Dice’."
That’s Ben Lubeck on the intimate “The Way You Move,” from Farewell Milwaukee’s album Can’t Please You Can’t Please Me. Against the band’s sympathetic accompaniment, he sounds like a man who has spent many long nights spinning Between the Buttons and Let It Bleed.
Swift and inventive, Farewell Milwaukee’s sound is informed by artists from the 60s and 70s but is never beholden to them. Instead Farewell Milwaukee bend those influences into new shapes and sounds. On Can’t Please You, Can’t Please Me they work hard to make it look easy, establishing a casual country-rock majesty on the album’s very first notes.
Farewell Milwaukee have been mainstays on the Minneapolis scene since 2008, with two albums and countless live shows under their belts, but Can’t Please You, Can’t Please Me represents an enormous step forward. It’s their most confident album: the band shows fresh resourcefulness in crafting its sound, and Lubeck digs deeper into his own personal life to pen songs that reveal new, often dark depths with each listen. “I’d be lying if I said this record wasn’t extremely personal to all of us,” he says.
It took each of the six members of Farewell Milwaukee to bring Can’t Please You, Can’t Please Me to life: Lubeck, who wrote the songs during the long Minnesota winter, Aaron Markson on guitar, Adam Lamoureux on keyboards, Dave Strahan on pedal steel, bass player Joey Ryan, and drummer Brad Fox.
By the time the band arrived in Omaha at ARC Studio (owned by Mike Mogis and Conor Oberst) in December 2012, several of the album’s best songs were still only sketches. “I was writing lyrics at the kitchen table over breakfast before we headed into the studio,” says Lubeck. “That’s not how I like to work, but it meant the songs were very fresh and very real to me.” Those breakneck breakfast sessions resulted in a set of songs defined by their emotional urgency. Lubeck’s performances are among his most commanding and unguarded, especially when he lets loose that soul-splitting howl on “Love on a Wire.”
The band chose to work with Brad Bivens (Dawes, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones), who produced their second album, When It Sinks In. Over nine days Farewell Milwaukee recorded these dozen songs live, for the most part tracking together as a full band. “It allowed us to feed off each other’s energy,” says Lamoureux. “There’s a lot of flex and give in our music when we play live, so that seemed like the best way to re-create that energy in the studio.”
That determined work ethic and live-in-the-studio approach allowed Farewell Milwaukee to capture a certain dynamic—to nod to their heroes while never sounding like anyone but themselves. As Lubeck sings on “Come Naturally”: “To you they might be sounds in a groove on a record player you never use, something dusty, not made for you, something ancient, old, and barely used.” On first spin, it sounds like a metaphor for a romantic relationship, but as with all of these songs, “Come Naturally” rewards repeated listens with additional depth to discover. In fact, those lines become something like a mission statement for this hard-working band: Can’t Please You, Can’t Please Me is the sound of six musicians aching to put their own personal spin on so many generations of rock music, in the process making it their very own.