Allen Cote

lipstick detox

Lyric Advisory Board is pleased, proud, and slightly piqued to present lipstick detox - the second in a series of alternative therapy sessions by Allen Coté and John Shepley Frater, with even more inspired artwork by Karen Gorecki. Cobbled together from a handful of informal living room jams over the past few months, and recorded live with minimal overdubs, this catharsis represents a slightly more accessible but no less esoteric step forward from the previous release, while maintaining the same spirit of improvisation and pure expression.

An examination of love, loss, longing and learning to let go, these songs explore the edges of Americana, bordering on something the late, great Hunter S. Thompson might term "bat country." There are interpretations of classics by John Prine, Lyle Lovett and John Callahan; new labors of love by Allen; and some spontaneous outpourings composed on the spot. This time around we've even got some fiery fiddle by our old friend John Patek, and some lovely lilts by our young friend Kate Marnul. 

We've got a lot more in the can, but we can't promise it will ever see the light of day, so don't sleep on this one. I can't in good conscience say it's the best thing I've ever done, but it's definitely the most honest, and I don't know that I'll ever be able to be this vulnerable again. If you've ever wanted to hear someone literally choking back tears while attempting a vibrato at the bottom of their vocal range, well ... here's your chance.

lipstick detox was arranged, performed and produced by Allen Coté, John Shepley Frater, John Patek and Kate Marnul; mixed and mastered by Allen Coté; and released by Dézòd Rèkòd.

the last silent desert (original motion picture soundtrack)

Happy Bicycle Day! In honor of the international holiday, Lyric Advisory Board is pleased to present the last silent desert (original motion picture soundtrack) - the first in a series of alternative therapy sessions by Allen Coté and John Shepley Frater, and featuring artwork by Karen Gorecki, our introduction to the otherworld was wholly improvised, arranged and overdubbed in an approximately eight hour session on December 7, 2019 utilizing all homemade instruments.

Running the gamut from eerie slide to uke etude to an honest-to-god country song, the results are predictably unpredictable - there's either something for everyone here, or nothing for anyone (or more likely, something for anyone and nothing for everyone). Whether you love it, hate it, or are just particularly perturbed and disturbed, we promise you've never heard anything like it before. 

Future releases will most likely take a more tangible form, but in the mean time, please enjoy this palate cleanser, perhaps in conjunction with your own personal form of therapy. Open your ears and your third eye, and allow us to take you on a trip through an inner landscape that is deceptively spare and anything but silent - we'll even get you home in time for dinner.

the last silent desert (original motion picture soundtrack) was composed, performed and produced by Allen Coté and John Shepley Frater; edited, mixed and mastered by Allen Coté; and released by Dézòd Rèkòd.



In the beginning was ¡paLABra! and ¡paLABra! might or might not have been with god, but ¡paLABra! was most certainly not god.

They tried pretty hard, though. There was some study, and some substance, and some spontaneous improvisation. There were a couple storm sessions, ten songs recorded live in less than ten hours. There were several thousand followers singing and dancing on a hill, and several invitations from elected officials. Were they not fairly level folks, it could have been pretty heady stuff.

It is generally agreed upon that Allen Coté, Benjamin Schaefer, Calvin Turner, Lisa Ridgely, Nathan Kilen, Quinten Farr and Sugar Ransom are some of the most multi-faceted artists in Milwaukee, having performed with dozens of different ensembles across the country. It is somewhat more contentious as to what exactly possessed this diverse group to record an album devoted entirely to the gospel of long dead Cuban composers. And it is a complete mystery as to why they chose to do it in such a visceral and violent fashion.

To call it the devil's music does the devil a great disservice, as the sacred squall transcends ideas of good and evil, existing outside time and tempo as that which just is, as though it had always been, the primal scream in Latin. It is both utterly revolutionary and completely commonplace, a howling guitar and inhuman vocoder grating the melody to a five century old folk song. It is passionately romantic and wholly without sentiment, a bolero acid-washed with bleeding fingers. It is the rhythm of the saints and the harmonies of the angels sung by hell's choir. It is a sound for the whole being, the head, the heart and the hips.

With the passing of plagues, we may never again have the opportunity to bear direct witness to this madness, but that may be for the best, as that which is only exists by virtue of that which is not. In the absence of ¡paLABra! we have been given a text of the intangible, lovingly translated by engineers Andrew Jambura at Silver City Studios and Justin Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering, illuminated by artist Sue Lawton, and published by Dézòd Rèkòd, with all royalties returning to the estates of the original authors.

¡paLABra! will be available in all tangible and intangible forms on May Day, in our year of the lord, two thousand and twenty-one.

Pezzettino presents Venus

Pezzettino is more than proud to present their latest release Venus. Produced by Margaret Stutt and Allen Coté, recorded by Allen Coté and mastered by Justin Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering, the EP features such Milwaukee notables as Nathan Kilen on drums, John Patek on strings, Chris DeMay and Lisa Ridgely on vocals, along with Stutt on piano and vocals, and Coté on guitars and bass.

Venus was arranged and recorded in a two week session at Allen Coté's home studio in Cudahy, WI during the Summer of 2019. The EP is supported by music videos released on and, and has been described by each respectively as "a wonderfully eclectic blend of minimal piano, clattering atmospherics and Stutt’s mesmerizing voice" and "dreamy [...] and almost ethereal."

Margaret and Allen have been fortunate enough to collaborate and call each other dear friends for over a decade, and their trust shines through in the delicate and occasionally dangerous arrangements.  Blending chamber-folk, pop and indie-rock into a cauldron, the result is arresting and intimate, and wholly prescient for our precipitous times: there is quite simply nothing comparable.

Venus is available on multiple digital formats, and on a very exclusive vinyl release. Due to the "ethereal" nature of the content, and the constrictive nature of the climate, there will be no performances. Do yourself a favor and don't sleep on this release.

A Year in the Rearview

I recently realized that I haven't written or posted anything here in over a year, despite how much has happened in that time - I shall do my best to remedy that now, in as few words yet as much detail as possible.

¡paLABra! was honored to be a part of Milwaukee Record's Public Domain video series, filmed in the Back Room at Colectivo, releasing our take on possibly the oldest piece in the Cuban songbook, El Son de la Ma Teodora. We also performed at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's annual awards dinner, featuring our newly elected governor and lieutenant governor.

Speaking of the Back Room, fellow LAB member Nathan Kilen and I performed there back in April, backing Peter Mulvey for the release of his new album, There is Another World. A few months later, I found myself there yet again to sit in with Gina Barrington and her band Rose of the West, performing an old favorite we hadn't played together in probably seven years.

Lyric Advisory Board had a relatively light year, especially after the craziness of releasing our album The Great American Novelty in 2018, but we still managed to get in some shows with friends like Faux Fiction, Long Mama, and The Fainting Room. We are hitting/have hit all the customary tribute shows at Linneman's, including Kneel to Neil and Nod to Bob (where Jeff and I will also be playing with the great Heidi Spencer), and have a few tricks up our sleeves for the New Year, as well.

This summer The Hatchets finally released their long awaited album, The Uncounted Blue Jillions, on which I had the rare pleasure to play nothing but a ton of bass. We played some great shows, got some great press, and Justin's face popped up on a few billboards around the city. Somewhat related, in late summer my dear old friend Margaret and I finally started recording our first true Pezzettino collaboration together, despite having played together in various capacities for something like a decade - the results are absolutely stunning, and should be out in early-mid 2020.

I was honored to receive an award for Best Score - International Short Documentary from the Hollywood North Film Awards for my work on Andrew Gralton and Tia Richardson's "Sherman Park Rising" - the film was also screened at the Beloit International Film Festival, and continues to make rounds on the festival circuit. I provided some tracks for some exciting upcoming feature-length documentaries, and am currently cleaning up the old catalog to submit for a few more films currently in pre-production.

Finally, and perhaps most personally importantly, in March I realized a life-long dream to become a PADI certified scuba diver, receiving my open water certification at the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve in Guadeloupe. Since then I have spent the better part of the year diving shipwrecks in and around Door County, in between playing guitar for sunset tours and mid-day sails. Next season I will be a full crew member for several boats, and in addition to providing a soundtrack for a day on the water, will also be accumulating sea time and dive hours - to what end, I have yet to determine, but all roads lead somewhere.

I hope it doesn't take another year for me to remember to reach out, but just in case, thanks to anyone (besides Eastern European bots) who actually reads this, and please feel free to get in touch if you have any needs or questions before next winter ... until then, stay warm, stay safe, and take care of each other.

Endless (or Just End This) Summer

It's been a busy year, both for myself and the chaos that is apparently our new normal.

Lyric Advisory Board released our new album in June with a series of happenings across the city. ¡paLABra! did a little more long-form experimentation with Cuban classics at Chill on the Hill in July. A few days later, I found myself on a stage with Bernie Sanders and Randy Bryce (again).

Vitrolum Republic played all over town all Summer, including the WMSE Backyard BBQ in August, headlined by heroes from back home, the Old 97's. That same month, LAB hosted a beach party at the Cudahy Family Library with some skewed surf-rock, and I rekindled an old musical friendship for a weekend of duets. I even managed to break my "no more solo shows" rule more than a few times, playing across the state from union halls to farmer's markets, Summerfest stages to sunset cruises; challenging myself to perform without a single pedal, pick or prop to hide behind.

LAB was included on a compilation of protest music out of Madison, featuring many phenomenal Wisconsin musicians, including our dear friend Peter Mulvey. Pezzettino released a beautiful EP, with Margaret and I collaborating cross-country over many months. Yahara is slowly honing their imminent masterwork, on which I had the rare joy of playing nothing but bass.

I'm currently finishing up the music for my tenth season with the Emmy-winning PBS television show Wisconsin Foodie, due to air early next year. LAB will be once again participating in the Fall run of tribute shows at Linneman's (including my twelfth consecutive Kneel to Neil). Somewhere in there I might finally get around to finishing the rest of the ¡paLABra! studio sessions.

With all this busywork to keep mi mente y mis manos ocupados, it's been all too easy to forget about the slow disintegration of our social sanity; but then something like this past week of extreme hatredviolence and prejudice chokes our national consciousness, and it's all I can do to find purpose. I hope that anything I've said or done these last few months has meant anything to anyone, but just in case, let me say one more thing, which hopefully can mean something to everyone:


Lyric Advisory Board presents The Great American Novelty

Lyric Advisory Board's original, full-length debut is an unapologetic concept album, detailing the dissolution of a decadent society. As told through the eyes of many disparate participants, the sum attempts to make sense of the senseless, alleviate suffering through satire, and encourage all involved to assess their own culpability.

Act I: The scene is set by the rise of an authoritarian, sung by a chorus of the fearful who fuel the regime. The backlash is immediate and vocal, but quickly devolves into a dance party. When the cocaine wears off, the anti-authoritarian grow desperate. The combined toxicity of drugs, alcohol and entitlement prove deadly for Mother Earth and her young daughters. A victim of a mass shooting extends forgiveness at the very moment of violence.

Act II: Some yearn for an afterlife. Some attempt to hasten the end of this life. Some read Marx. The dispossessed descend upon the suburbs, and cultured domesticity gives way to chaos. A reassuring voice whispers promises from the wreckage. The cycle begins again.

The Great American Novelty was arranged, performed and produced by Allen Coté, Jeff Brueggeman and Nathan Kilen; with B~Free, Heidi Spencer, John Patek, Kat Wodtke, Pizza Slice and Willa Moon Coté. The album was mastered by Justin Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering; and the cover artwork is an original commission from Sue Lawton. All songs were written by Allen Coté, published by Dézòd Rèkòd (ASCAP); except "The Promise," written by Farrington/Floreale/Mann.

The Great American Novelty has been called "a masterfully crafted experiment in storytelling and musical composition," by Mike Holloway of the Wisconsin Gazette, and "outright visceral [...] crazed Americana" by Evan Rytlewski of the Shepherd Express. Evan further describes lead single and music video "American Carnage" as "a deranged update of Bob Dylan’s 'Subterranean Homesick Blues,' a profane kiss-off to a profane president."

The album is available digitally and physically on Bandcamp, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, Napster, Deezer, Tidal, iHeartRadio, and many others.