Ever since he was old enough to drink, West Allis native Sean Raasch has been playing music in Milwaukee area bars and clubs. He first made a name for himself as one half of the band Jackraasch — “an angsty, sloppy, rockin’ two piece” — with drummer Tyler Nelson. The duo became known for power chords, upbeat songs, shout singing, and plenty of partying.
In 2012, Raasch and Nelson transitioned to a more grounded, folk-rock sound, changing their name to Twin Brother. After playing one show, they added bassist and violinist Lodi (Lodewijk Broekhuizen), who they met while recording the first Twin Brother album. The connection was made at Club Garibaldi in Bay View, where Lodi was working as a sound engineer and Raasch helps with booking.
Since teaming up with Lodi, Twin Brother became one of the more formidable rock acts in town, playing Summerfest a handful of times and opening for bands at Turner Hall Ballroom.
Twin Brother’s last record — Swallow the Anchor — was one of the finest releases of 2014. It is a hauntingly beautiful piece of folk-rock. Raasch’s stellar songwriting is elevated by delicately heavy sounds, which build, pulse and haunt listeners well after the final chord.
Swallow the Anchor was followed up with a live recording from Club Garibaldi and a solo project by Raasch. In January 2016, Twin Brother took part in Local Coverage, performing their own renditions of Klassik’s hip-hop music.
Nelson parted ways with Twin Brother after Local Coverage 2016, ending a decade long musical partnership with Raasch.
“That was a pretty big deal for me,” says Raasch. “I tried to forget about it and keep working hard. I got a new drummer right away and we went at it for a few months with new songs and it just wasn’t working.”
The inability to gel with the new drummer led to Twin Brother calling it quits.
“I needed to take a breather and retool. A lot of things changed, including the way I look at music. I think before I might have had more grandiose ideas about why I played music. Now I’m playing because I love it. It’s a part of me and I have no choice but to play music.”
In the interim, Raasch fell in love, got engaged, and adopted a dog. He recorded additional solo material that is “kind of electronic and dancey, believe it or not.” He claims he may release these songs at an unexpected time, but he’s not too concerned with them at the moment.
In October 2016, Raasch decided to give Twin Brother another shot. Lodi has since moved to lead guitar, they’ve enlisted Luke Rivard on drums, Terry Hackbarth (Trolley) on bass guitar, Andrew Eshbaugh on trumpet, and Marlese Koehnlein on keys. He describes the new sound as “more flushed out, bigger, and groovier,” incorporating more vocals and harmonies.
Raasch is plays guitar on fewer tracks now, allowing him to be more of a lead singer.
“Watch out for my dance moves and butt shaking,” he teases. “Gotta give the people what they want.”
Twin Brother will play their first show with the new lineup this Saturday, February 25, at Cactus Club with King Courteen and Jacob Metcalf (Dallas, TX).
The band is working on a new album and the first single is due out next week. On March 14, Twin Brother will appear on a WMSE Local/Live from Club Garibaldi. That same week they will return to Garibaldi for a show with Mark Waldoch on Saturday, March 18.