Wednesday, November 27, 2013

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (11/27/13)

Here's the playlist for this week's edition of Mondo Radio, which you can download or stream here. This episode: "In Love with a Robot", featuring contemporary dance and synthpop. If you enjoy it, be sure to also connect with the show on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter!

Artist - Song - Album
Prince Rama - Those Who Live For Love Will Live Forever - Top 10 Hits Of The End Of The World
Prince Rama - Exercise Ecstasy - Top 10 Hits Of The End Of The World
Cut Copy - Pharaohs & Pyramids - Zonoscope
Cut Copy - Blink And You'll Miss A Revolution - Zonoscope
Toro Y Moi - Say That - Anything In Return
Toro Y Moi - Never Matter - Anything In Return
Daft Punk - Giorgio By Moroder - Random Access Memories
Daft Punk - Lose Yourself To Dance - Random Access Memories
Chromeo - I'm Not Contagious - Business Casual
Chromeo - Hot Mess - Business Casual
Union - Keep Your Body Rolling - 10 Jewels
Simian Mobile Disco - Off The Map - Temporary Pleasure
Simian Mobile Disco - Bad Blood - Temporary Pleasure
Hot Chip - Flutes - In Our Heads
Hot Chip - Night & Day - In Our Heads
Robyn - Dancing On My Own - Body Talk, Pt. 1
Robyn - Love Kills - Body Talk, Pt. 2
Röyksopp - The Girl And The Robot - Junior
Röyksopp - This Must Be It - Junior
Ready For Men - Weekends Away - Two Young Boys
Ready For Men - One Way Love - Two Young Boys
Happy Elf - You Foxy Lady - Alone
Happy Elf - Alone - Alone
Clockwork Orchestra - Mummer - Friends Without Names
Clockwork Orchestra - Black Ice - Friends Without Names
Faux Fir - Compact Disco - Fashionable Life
Faux Fir - The Windings - Fashionable Life
Strobelyx - Pinkelyx - Coloryx EP
Strobelyx - Redlyx - Coloryx EP

CONCERT REVIEW: The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses - Second Quest (The Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee)

Zealous fans, costumed and otherwise, turn out in droves for an evening of epic orchestral music inspired by the iconic video game franchise The Legend of Zelda.  

CONCERT REVIEW: Nightmare Boyzzz, Space Wolves, Tim Schweiger and the Middle Men & Beach Patrol (Quarters Rock 'n' Roll Palace, Milwaukee)

Generally speaking, bills at small clubs usually include a touring headliner outnumbered by a few local openers, but at this gig, bands from Milwaukee were in the minority.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (11/20/13)

Here's the playlist for this week's edition of Mondo Radio, which you can download or stream here. This episode: "Come on Home", featuring soul jazz, jazz-funk and more. If you dig it, be sure to also follow the show on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter!

Artist - Song - Album
The Horace Silver Quintet Feat. Stanley Turrentine - Psychedelic Sally - Serenade To A Soul Sister
The Horace Silver Quintet Feat. Stanley Turrentine - Jungle Juice - Serenade To A Soul Sister
Jimmy Smith - Back At The Chicken Shack - Back At The Chicken Shack
Jimmy Smith - Messy Bessie - Back At The Chicken Shack
Eddie Harris - Listen Here - The Electrifying Eddie Harris
Eddie Harris - Sham Time - The Electrifying Eddie Harris
The Cassandra Complex - I Believe In Free Everything - Cyberpunx
King Curtis - Soul Serenade - Soul Groove!
Bettye Swan - Willie & Laura Mae Jones - Soul Groove!
The Politicians Feat. McKinley Jackson - A Song For You - Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic: The Hot Wax Sessions
The Politicians Feat. McKinley Jackson - Speak On It - Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic: The Hot Wax Sessions
Gene McDaniels - Shell Of A Man - Natural Juices
Gene McDaniels - Feel Like Makin' Love - Natural Juices
Pretty Purdie - Song For Aretha - Soul Is ... Pretty Purdie
Pretty Purdie - Put It Where You Want It - Soul Is ... Pretty Purdie
Cannonball Adderley - Hamba Nami - Phenix
Cannonball Adderley - Walk Tall/Mercy, Mercy, Mercy - Phenix
Byard Lancaster - Rib Crib I - Funny Funky Rib Crib
Byard Lancaster - Rib Crib II - Funny Funky Rib Crib
Herbie Hancock - Sly - Head Hunters
Herbie Hancock - Vein Melter - Head Hunters

Monday, November 18, 2013

CONCERT REVIEW: Built to Spill (Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee)

It's been a full four years since Idaho-based indie rock staples Built to Spill released their last proper studio album, 2009's There Is No Enemy, not that you'd know that simply by surveying the crowd at this well-attended Turner Hall show. It's a testament to the band's lasting, wide-ranging influence, pitched somewhere between accessible jam band spaciness and off-beat, Pavement-style alternative, that they're more than capable of packing a house whether they've got something new to present or not. It's the point a lot of bands reach and then just start coasting, confident that their faithful audience will be there through thick and thin, but Doug Martsch and company aren't resting on their laurels just yet, delivering an impassioned performance that showed BTS to still be a vital band, if not a productive one. 

Perhaps just to get it out of the way, the band, after an epic bout of guitar tuning, got down to business with a few cuts off of 1998's classic Keep It Like a Secret, such as "The Plan" and the classic rock-quoting "You Were Right". The shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, who were almost exclusively white, as if that should come as a surprise to anybody, seemed to take the leap into well-worn material as a gift, and showed their appreciation further as the band wound their way through an eclectic set that of course touched on "new" songs like There Is No Enemy's "Planting Seeds". The intricate, almost brittle interplay of the three guitarists, along with Martsch's nasally emotive voice, are the big selling points of their sound, and both came through loud and clear.

There were admittedly a few moments where they gave over to indulgent noodling, but they never lost the plot completely, and the relatively new rhythm section of bassist Jason Albertini and drummer Steve Gere deserve a lot of credit for that. However, it was somewhat predictable, not surprising for a band without a new release to be touting, at least up until the usually obligatory encore, which they used as an opportunity to cut loose on a handful of covers, including Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) the Reaper", the Clash's "Train in Vain" and "Sludgefeast" by Dinosaur Jr. among others. It was an unexpectedly fun coda to what, for many longtime fans, might well have been just another Built to Spill show, proving there's a great deal of life left in this venerable act.

FEATURE: Against Music Itself and the Preconditioned Order: Japanese Noise

Noise music, if "music" is indeed an appropriate word, generally stands opposed to structure and order, but that bold, defiant stance isn't always easy to maintain.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (11/13/13)

Here's the playlist for this week's edition of Mondo Radio, which you can download or stream here. This episode: "Glamour Trash", featuring glitter, glam rock and more. If you enjoy it, remember to also find the show on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter!

Artist - Song - Album
Sweeney Todd - Let's All Do It Again - Sweeney Todd
Sweeney Todd - Roxy Roller - Sweeney Todd
Nick Gilder - (She's) One Of The Boys - City Nights
Nick Gilder - 21st Century - City Nights
Hello - New York Groove - New York Groove...The Best Of Hello
Hello - Machine Gun Hustle - New York Groove...The Best Of Hello
Sweet - Sweet F.A. - Desolation Boulevard
Sweet - Fox On The Run - Desolation Boulevard
Slade - Dirty Joker - Play It Loud
Slade - Dapple Rose - Play It Loud
Mott - Career (No Such Thing As Rock 'N' Roll) - Shouting & Pointing
Mott - Collision Course - Shouting & Pointing
Proyecto Puerto Rico - Morire - En Orbita
T. Rex - Rip Off - Electric Warrior
T. Rex - Monolith - Electric Warrior
Mick Ronson - I'm The One - Slaughter On 10th Avenue
Mick Ronson - Growing Up And I'm Fine - Slaughter On 10th Avenue
David Bowie - Starman - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
David Bowie - Rock 'N' Roll Suicide - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Brian Eno - Baby's On Fire - Here Come The Warm Jets
Brian Eno - Cindy Tells Me - Here Come The Warm Jets
Roxy Music - Virginia Plain - Roxy Music
Roxy Music - If There Is Something - Roxy Music
Sparks - Thank God It's Not Christmas - Kimono My House
Sparks - Hasta Mañana Monsieur - Kimono My House
Kate Bush - Them Heavy People - The Kick Inside
Kate Bush - James And The Cold Gun - The Kick Inside
John Cale - Gideon's Bible - Vintage Violence
John Cale - Hello, There - Vintage Violence
Lou Reed - Goodnight Ladies - Transformer
Lou Reed - Hangin' Round - Transformer
Jobriath - Liten Up - Creatures Of The Street
Jobriath - Ooh La La - Creatures Of The Street
New York Dolls - Jet Boy - New York Dolls
New York Dolls - Pills - New York Dolls
Zolar X - Jet Star 19 - Timeless
Zolar X - Space Age Love - Timeless

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Like many American small towns, Medora, Indiana was hard hit by the recent economic downturn, which was in itself but a cruel exclamation point to decades of dwindling manufacturing jobs. Once the town boasted two big employers, a brick plant and an auto parts factory, that provided well-paying positions for a booming middle class, but with them out of business, Medora's population has dropped sharply, as have incomes and property values. Mirroring the town's seemingly unwinnable battle against changing economic forces is the plight of the local high school basketball team, the Medora Hornets, formerly one of the most competitive in the area, now a ragtag squad of underprivileged kids locked in a seemingly unbreakable losing streak.

Following the lives of these teenage athletes as they struggle to turn things around is the engrossing new documentary Medora, directed by Davy Rothbart, longtime publisher of Found Magazine, and Andrew Cohn. As hard as the team practices however, the deck is stacked against them, not only because their opponents come from incorporated high schools with more students and bigger budgets, but because the problems of a community caught in the grip of poverty, from alcoholic and absentee parents to run-ins with the law, provide a constant distraction, and compound the apparent hopelessness of their demoralizing cycle of defeat. Nobody in town is hoping for a Hoosiers-style championship run, just one much-needed win, no matter how symbolic. 

In a variety of ways, Rothbart and Cohn's film, which was produced in part by Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci, recalls 1994's Hoop Dreams, only inverted (and not as good, though it's probably unfair to compare it to a bona fide documentary masterpiece). While Medora takes place in a rural, predominantly white setting, not the slums of inner-city Chicago, and profiles perpetual losers instead of talented players with an embattled shot at pro-ball stardom, the issues that motivate them are very much the same. Both are about America failing its marginalized youth, consigning them to crumbling housing, substance abuse and a failing educational system, and how lessons learned on the court can help undo some of that damage. 

Filmed over the course of two years, Medora is revealing but compassionate when it comes to its adolescent subjects, none of whom have had any easy go of it, grappling with learning disabilities, homelessness and other adversity, and is effective at drawing you into rooting for these epic underdogs, but feels somewhat short on drama considering the competition and precarious situations involved. Yet, while it's not as gripping as it maybe could be, there's a wistful, earnest sense of melancholy pervading every lingering shot of dilapidated buildings, every desperate locker room pep talk and even the nail-biting finale, that proves subtly, quietly affective, largely because, in the end, a Hornet's victory isn't the game-changer Medora really needs.

CONCERT REVIEW: Nick Sanborn: Lend Me Your Voice (Pitman Theatre, Milwaukee)

Breathing vibrant life into a deceptively simple concept, Nick Sanborn's Alverno Presents show, Lend Me Your Voice, delivers a unique concert-going experience.

FEATURE: Another Kind of Adaptation: A Boy and His Dog

L.Q. Jones' 1975 adaptation of Harlan Ellison's twisted short story "A Boy and His Dog" introduced the author's pair of post-apocalyptic wanderers to a whole new audience, but also had the unforeseen effect of keeping readers from seeing more of them.

Read the full piece here.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Calibro 35 - Traditori Di Tutti

When Italian record producer Tommaso Colliva invited a handful of musicians into his studio to pay tribute to some of his favorite Italian crime film soundtracks, it was only meant to be a one-off side project, a self-contained expression of admiration to the beguiling funk and jazz that throbbed behind the non-stop action of the colorful poliziotteschi and giallo b-movies prominent in the 1970s and 80s, but the sessions, which resulted in their 2008 self-titled debut, were too fun to give up on. They've since traded in covers for their own compositions and released a handful of albums, but as their new full-length, Traditori Di Tutti, proves, that original cinematic-throwback appeal is still very much intact. 

Beginning with the ominous "Prologue", a moody guitar and organ workout, the album charges through 12 tracks of sinewy rock, funk and jazz, which by and large capture that somewhat indefinable soundtrack music feel so well that you can practically see the nonexistent film unfolding in your mind's eye. There are a few missteps here and there, like the clunky "Stainless Steel", which sounds uncomfortably like Rage Against the Machine attempting to invoke the Kashmere Stage Band, but for the most part it's a credible translation of influences like Ennio Morricone, Goblin and others into an accessible modern pop format. It doesn't live up to those greats, but thankfully it doesn't feel like they're trying to. 

There's of course an air of conceptual cheesiness to Traditori  Di Tutti, which takes its name from a mystery novel by lauded Italian crime writer Giorgio Scerbanenco, yet between tracks like the wah-wah drenched "You Filthy Bastards!" and the swinging, orgasmic "The Butcher's Bride", it's the perfect thing to throw on should you find yourself in a protracted car chase or need to kill a vampire in a particularly funky manner, though it's also fit for a dull morning commute or sitting around playing video games. By this point, it should be obvious that Calibro 35 is extremely derivative, unabashedly so, but while it's admittedly nothing new, Traditori Di Tutti remains a charming exploitation homage.

FEATURE: Nick Sanborn Explores Collaboration, Playing Well with Other with Lend Me Your Voice

Longtime Milwaukee artist Nick Sanborn digs deep into the nature of collaboration for an installment of the eclectic Alverno Presents series entitled Lend Me Your Voice.

Read the full piece here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (11/06/13)

Here's the playlist for this week's edition of Mondo Radio, which you can download or stream here. This episode: "Looking for the Perfect Beat", featuring P-Funk and electro. If you dig it, be sure to also follow the show on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter!

Artist - Song - Album
George Clinton - Computer Games - Computer Games
George Clinton - Man's Best Friend/Loopzilla - Computer Games
Zapp - I Can Make You Dance - Zapp III
Zapp - Play Some Blues - Zapp III
Prince - Gotta Broken Heart Again - Dirty Mind
Prince - Uptown - Dirty Mind
Cameo - I Just Want To Be - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Cameo
Cameo - Freaky Dancin' - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Cameo
Tim Davis - Boogie Cadillac - Take Me As I Am (Without Silver Without Gold)
Herbie Hancock - Vibe Alive - Perfect Machine
Herbie Hancock - Perfect Machine - Perfect Machine
Kraftwerk - It's More Fun To Compute - Computer World
Crazy Gang - Telephone Computer (Original Version) - Every Sunday (Single)
Kraftwerk - Computer World - Computer World
Keith Mansfield - Electromatics (A) - The Video Connection
Material - For A Few Dollars More - Memory Serves
Keith Mansfield - Kinetics (A) - The Video Connection
Bruce Haack - Haackula - Haackula
Bruce Haack - Party Machine - Haackula
Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force - Planet Rock (Original Twelve-Inch Version) - Planet Rock - The Album
Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force - Looking For The Perfect Beat (Original Twelve-Inch Version) - Planet Rock - The Album
Planet Patrol - Don't Tell Me - Planet Patrol
Arthur Baker - Breaker's Revenge (Extended Vocal Version) - Breaker's Revenge (Single)
Planet Patrol - Play At Your Own Risk (Remix) - Planet Patrol
Tyrone Brunson - The Smurf - Sticky Situation
Tyrone Brunson - Hot Line - Sticky Situation

COMEDY REVIEW: David Sedaris (The Pabst Theatre, Milwaukee)

Though a bit like a bookstore appearance writ large, an evening with author and radio personality David Sedaris proves enlightening and, even better, extremely funny.  

CONCERT REVIEW: Brian Wilson & Jeff Beck (The Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee)

A mismatched pair of aging rock icons team up for a nostalgia-driven tour, and while the results aren't exactly thrilling, a few traces of their former glory remain.

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