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Various Small Fires Channels Brassy, 1970s Pop Sound Into Contemporary Songs

Bonnie North
Various Small Fires, playing in Lake Effect's performance studio

 Editor's note: This piece was originally published May 23, 2018.

The members of the Milwaukee band Various Small Fires are of different generations and different backgrounds. But they’re united in a remarkable ability to channel a sound that would have been right at home 40 years go. Even their original material has a soulful flavor of 1970s, brass-infused pop.

Their recent studio session here at Lake Effect was brass-infused, although the brass instruments and their players had to be sequestered in the hall so they wouldn’t overwhelm everyone else. Ahead of a weekend show at the Brewtown Eatery on West Howard Avenue, they joined us in the studio to talk about how they found their sound, why playing music is important to them, and what single album each of them would bring to a desert island.