A Collection of Stories about Collections of Colonies of Bees: Bon Iver, Pitchfork and sleeping instead of Cactus

Since I first saw them play about six months ago, I’ve said this randomly to various people at various times: Collection of Colonies of Bees may be my most favorite Milwaukee band of all time. I saw them open for Slarrafenland (the Danes) that I was blown away. I bought a copy of “Birds” that night, but didn’t realize their official release just happened. I love the textures of their music, the delicate melodies, the thought-out percussion.

I’ve analyzed their songs in various movements and permutations, dissected layers of guitar and loops and percussion, danced around my room and fallen asleep to their newest album, “Birds.” Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve seen them at the more low-key Milwaukee venues: Stonefly, Cactus Club and Mad Planet. I’ve also been to drummer Jon Mueller’s house. EEEEE!

And because I’m an old school music fan, I hate when the masses discover something close to my heart and co-opt it. I refer to songs, bands and sonic images in particular, mostly because it’s the most likely to be turned it into something I hate. Hey — it happened with the Pixies, being used in soundtracks everywhere. It happened with the Arctic Monkeys, and Feist with her iPod commercial.  Meh.

So I feel very protective of Mueller, guitarist Chris Rosenau & co. — I admire them from afar, am generally intimidated by them (it’s the all-black outfits and being part of various noise acts and intellectual sonic experiments. Plus, Rosenau is a biochemist!).


But now that Bon Iver just championed them on Pitchfork, the masses are going to co-opt my love for “Birds” and I’m going to see ten gazillion hipsters at their shows, which will all sell out! Waah!!! I mean, obviously that’s good for the band, which is traveling to South By Southwest next month as part of the Table of Elements showcase, but still. I feel like someone copied a secret recipe for chicken soup that my mother passed onto me and started selling it at McDonald’s. Or posted my secret crush on a billboard on 16th and National.  Or something. That didn’t even make sense, byt mine all mine!!!

Today is Cocobee’s release party at the Cactus Club, and today is also the day we shot them for MKE’s Feb. 28th issue. I kind of ruined my fangirldom today though. I was up early for various work things, I dressed in a summer dress, I froze all day, I interviewed about six people in the span of eight hours — I was totally tired. So when Rosenau asked me if I was going to their show, I muttered something like, ‘no I have to sleep” and immediately started kicking myself.
AAAAGGHGHGHGHGH! I didn’t mean that in the “i have to wash my hair way.”
I really didn’t.

I was just really really tired. I would watch a Cocobees show over very many things I enjoy, including but not limited to: eating foie gras, riding a ferris wheel, getting free drinks, shopping for clothes, petting rabbits and eating chocolate. But I was exhausted. Mueller and their guitarist Daniel were nice enough to let me off by saying they felt like sleeping too. But I really really did want to watch the show. Anyway, there it goes.

P.s. CoCoBees precursor, Pele, has its whole catalog on sale at the  Polyvinyl store for $20. That is such a good deal! $20 worth of GOODNESS!!!

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