Wednesday, August 31, 2011

FEATURE: Adam and the Ants: Fashion Victims

They've gotten a bad rap due to their embarrassingly early '80s New Romantic look, but much-maligned or not, Adam and the Ants brought the goods when it came to the music. Thanks to Network Awesome, both the odd sartorial choices and the excellent pop are on display via an entire 1981 Japanese live show, featuring the band at the top of their game. To provide a bit of context, I was asked to produce a companion piece, a detailed profile of Adam and his alliterative insects.

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (08/31/11)

Here is the playlist for this week's edition of Mondo Radio, which you can download or stream here. If you enjoy it, find the show on Facebook and Twitter.

Artist - Song - Album
Suicide - Cheree - Suicide
Act - Ping Pong - BIPPP: French Synth Wave 1979-85
Les Visiteurs Du Soir - Je T'Écris D'Un Pays - BIPPP: French Synth Wave 1979-85
Air - Be A Bee - Love 2
Air - Kelly Watch The Stars - Moon Safari
Cut Copy - Son God - Zonoscope
New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle - Substance 1987
New Order - True Faith - Substance 1987
Depeche Mode - The Meaning Of Love - The Singles 81-85
Depeche Mode - New Life - The Singles 81-85
Fake - Dig - Welcome To Dreamland: Another Japan
Shonen Knife - Miracles - Burning Farm
Shonen Knife - Parallel Woman - Burning Farm
Adam And The Ants - Nine Plan Failed - Dirk Wears White Sox
Adam And The Ants - Family Of Noise - Dirk Wears White Sox
Adult - Good Deeds - Why Bother?
Gary Numan & Tubeway Army - Me! I Disconnect From You - Replicas
Gary Numan & Tubeway Army - Are 'Friends' Electric? - Replicas
Joy Division - She's Lost Control - Unknown Pleasures
Joy Division - Shadowplay - Unknown Pleasures
Wire - 1 2 X U - On Returning (1977-1979)
Wire - It's So Obvious - On Returning (1977-1979)
Beck - Derelict - Odelay
Pulp - Glory Days - This Is Hardcore
Enon - Old Dominion - High Society
Minutemen - Jesus And Tequila - Double Nickels On The Dime
Minutemen - Don't Look Now - Double Nickels On The Dime
The Dicks - The Police (Force) - 1980-1986
The Dicks - Gilbeau - 1980-1986
Mudhoney - Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More - Superfuzz Bigmuff (Deluxe Edition)
Mudhoney - Hate The Police - Superfuzz Bigmuff (Deluxe Edition)
Nirvana - Mexican Seafood - Incesticide
Nirvana - Hairspray Queen - Incesticide
Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited - 7" Single
Creedence Clearwater Revival - The Midnight Special - Willy And The Poor Boys
Neil Young - Sugar Mountain (Live) - 7" Single
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Effigy - Willy And The Poor Boys
Bob Dylan - Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? - 7" Single
Primal Scream - Shoot Speed/Kill Light - XTRMNTR

Monday, August 29, 2011

CALENDAR: Milwaukee Arts & Entertainment (08/29/11 - 09/04/11)

What the Milwaukee heads should be up to this week:


Not shit goin' on.


FILM: Tron: Legacy (The UWM Union Theatre - 7 P.M. - FREE)


FILM: 13 Assassins (The UWM Union Theatre - 7 P.M. - FREE)


FILM: A Clockwork Orange (The UWM Union Theatre - 7 P.M. - FREE)

MUSIC: TV on the Radio (The Pabst Theatre - 8 P.M. - $27.50)


FILM: The Big Lebowski (Discovery World - 5 P.M. - FREE)

FILM: Source Code (The UWM Union Theatre - 7 P.M. - FREE)

FILM: The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry (The Times Cinema - 8:30 P.M. - $8)

FILM: A Clockwork Orange (The UWM Union Theatre - 9 P.M. - FREE)

MUSIC: Cyborg Fortress, Zorch & Lines and Terminals (The Cactus Club - 10 P.M.)


FILM: Source Code (The UWM Union Theatre - 7 P.M. - FREE)

FILM: Battle: Los Angeles (The UWM Union Theatre - 5 & 7 P.M. - FREE)

FILM: The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry (The Times Cinema - 8:30 P.M. - $8)

MUSIC: Northless, Group of the AltosCanyons of Static, The Ronald RaygunThe Otto Modest, & Rot Box (The Borg Ward - 4 P.M. - $8) 

Friday, August 26, 2011

ALBUM REVIEW: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Mirror Traffic

Fans of '90s alt-rock were justifiably excited when it was announced last year that Ex-Pavement frontman and current Jicks leader Stephen Malkmus was heading into the studio to record a new album, with Beck attached to produce. Time may have dulled that enthusiasm a bit (goddamn time dulls everything doesn't it), but the newly released result of that meeting of the minds, while not a revelation, nevertheless remains a completely enjoyable and endlessly listenable batch of songs.

Mirror Traffic (originally entitled L.A. Guns, but changed due to the possibility of a legal dispute with the hair-metal band of the same name), is not radically unlike any of the other Jick's albums, or even later era Pavement, rocking and funny throughout, but with an effective undercurrent of emotional resonance. Those wishing for a return to the rougher, unpolished sound of Slanted and Enchanted may be disappointed, but Mirror Traffic still boasts all of Malkmus' off-kilter pop song-craft, as well as his notoriously obtuse lyricism. Producer Beck, whose own output has grown somewhat stale over the last few years, mainly just ventures to stay out of the way of Malkmus' tunes, resulting in a crisp, accessible sound. Clocking it at around 50 minutes, the album's a little on the long side, but stops short of wearing out its welcome.

Whereas much of the Jick's material, and indeed much of Pavement's, paints loving portraits of disaffected, directionless youth, Mirror Traffic seems to find Malkmus grappling with middle age on songs like "Long Hard Book" and "Share the Red", although, as mentioned before, deciphering his lyrics is a continual challenge and one that's mostly a waste of time. Better then, to just put interpretation aside and enjoy the music. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

FEATURE: An Interview with UWM Union Theatre programmer Brian McGuire

I recently sat down with Brian McGuire, newly-minted film programmer for the UWM Union Theatre, to talk about, among other things, the upcoming fall schedule and the state of the city's film scene. The theatre, which has been bringing under-seen independent films, forgotten classics, experimental cinema and much more to Milwaukee audiences for decades now, never gets it's due as the treasure that it is. In the interest of full disclosure, I did used to work there, but that shouldn't be taken to mean my enthusiasm is in any way disingenuous (anyway, don't people usually gripe about they're old jobs?).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (08/24/11)

Here's the playlist for this week's edition of Mondo Radio, which you can listed to by visiting the WMSE archives. If you enjoy it, please check out the show on Facebook and Twitter.

Artist - Song - Album
Pixies - Debaser - Doolittle
Yoko Ono - Mind Train - Fly
Van Der Graaf - Pioneers Over C (Live) - Vital
Can - Spoon - Ege Bamyasi
The Specials - Nite Klub - The Specials
The Specials - Doesn't Make It Alright - The Specials
Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love? - Singles Going Steady
Buzzcocks - Promises - Singles Going Steady
Shonen Knife - Twist Barbie - Burning Farm
Shonen Knife - Elephant Pao Pao - Burning Farm
Devo - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
Devo - Space Junk - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
Livio Salles - It Would Be Wonderful - Rendezvous In Rio
Eblis Wakara - Sunday Morning Swing Space - The First Release
Aphex Twin - Flim - Come To Daddy
Squarepusher - Square Rave - Selection Sixteen
LFO - Freak - Sheath
Little Stevie Wonder - Fingertips Pt. 1 - 7" Single
Little Stevie Wonder - Fingertips Pt. 2 - 7" Single
Sly & The Family Stone - You Can Make It If You Try - Greatest Hits
Curtis Mayfield - Superfly - Superfly: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Dead Kennedys - When Ya Get Drafted - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
Dead Kennedys - Let's Lynch The Landlord - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
The Dicks - Rich Daddy - 1980-1986
The Dicks - Sidewalk Begging - 1980-1986
Flipper - Shed No Tears - Blow'n Chunks
Chuck Berry - Brown Eyed Handsome Man - More Rock 'N' Roll Rarities From The Golden Era Of Chess Records
Roy Orbison - Ooby Dooby - The Cruisin' Years
Robin Seymour, WKMH Detroit - N/A - The Cruisin' Years
The Slades - The Waddle - 7" Single
Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs - Wooly Bully - Highs Of The Sixties
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Little Miss Strange - Electric Ladyland
The Standells - Dirty Water - Nuggets
Johnny Cash - Rock Island Line - 7" Single
Johnny Cash - San Quentin - 7" Single
Johnny Cash - Austin Prison - 7" Single
Johnny Cash - Next In Line - 7" Single
Johnny Cash - A Boy Named Sue - 7" Single
Johnny Cash - Everybody Loves A Nut - 7" Single
Blur - Trimm Trabb - 13
Boards Of Canada - Music Is Math - Geogaddi
Supergrass - Prophet 15 - Life On Other Planets
Super Furry Animals - Do Or Die - Guerrilla

Monday, August 22, 2011

ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - Muppets: The Green Album

Tribute albums based on childhood nostalgia are by their very definition a dicey proposition. In addition to the fact that even the best tributes tend to come out rather uneven, given the sheer number of bands providing the material, this particular sub-genre also runs the risk of trampling on cherished memories of our most formative years. Even the best among them, including Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks or Saturday Morning: Cartoon's Greatest Hits, only feature a few truly memorable versions, filling out the remainder of their track listings with covers that, more than being bad, are simply boring.

At times, Muppets: The Green Album falls into those same traps, but it's also elevated by the sheer quality of the songs as written. It doesn't really matter if an act's take on a song is unimaginative, as with Alkaline Trio's "Moving Right Along", the strength of the endlessly hummable original shines through. There are a couple of tracks however that are eminintely skippable, chief among them Amy Lee's torpid interpretation of  "Halfway Down The Stairs".

But mostly The Green Album is a charming, likable time-waster, perfect to spin a few times on a lazy summer afternoon and then forget about completely. Well, maybe not completely, as the few tracks that really stand out, like My Morning Jacket's "Our World" or Andrew Bird's gentle rendition of "It's Not Easy Being Green" wouldn't sound half-bad rounding out a mix-tape or coming up on shuffle. And really, isn't that all anybody should be asking from an album like this?

Unless of course, you work in Disney's marketing department, in which case you should also be asking it to build hype for The Muppets, due out this Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

FEATURE: Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Much More Than A Gimmick

My profile of the pioneering jazz multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk. An inspired, and often times underated talent, Kirk took his cues from dreams, could hold a single note for hours and often played three horns at once. Written for Network Awesome (your new favorite site, you're welcome), it is a companion piece to a wonderful collection of live footage of this rare talent.

CONCERT REVIEW: Squidbotz, Super Swamper & Busybodies (Quarters Rock 'N' Roll Palace, Milwaukee)

The transformation of Riverwest's Quarter's from an occasionally troublesome nightclub into a more traditional bar/venue space has been an incredible boon to the local music scene. In short time, the venerable tavern has once again become the "Rock 'n' Roll Palace" its signage has always purported it to be (assuming your definition of "palace" jibes with such a pleasantly dingy place), consistently booking a wide variety of local acts. In a very real way, it's just what the neighborhood needs, a reliable and accepting place for bands to play close to home, where even a meager turnout is good for the bar's business; in other words, it's mutually beneficial to both the owners and the groups. No one gets cheated, no one goes home angry. It lends a rather positive, productive vibe to shows and last night was no exception, although the energy level would probably have been significantly higher had the two touring groups, BEES and 2 Ton Bug, not both had van trouble and not been able to make it.

It was still a killer lineup. Opening the show was Squidbotz, a guitar and drums duo drenched in weird effects courtesy of a vocoder, a plethora of pedals and, I'm sure, a few things that are beyond my limited technical understanding. It's hard to tell what they'd sound like without all those twisted layers, but given the near perfect pop construction of the songs, it would still be pretty damn catchy. As it is, their sound is an impressive blend of sticky electro-funk and heavy rock riffage, all effortlessly delivered with a self-deprecating sense of humor.

Super Swamper (until recently known as Shamanic Vacation), is a heavy, somewhat trippy trio with strong overtones of classic rock. Imagine a muscled up version of the jammier side of Creedence Clearwater Revival. They're a tight unit, despite not playing out all that much, and a large part of their appeal can be traced back to their powerhouse drummer. There is some fat though; the vocals are a bit superfluous and could probably be dropped completely with out diluting their impact in the least.

De facto headliners Busybodies make a habit of pushing psychedelic instrumentals to their breaking point and beyond, resulting in epic jams that are often as hypnotic as they are rocking. For some listeners, they may take a bit of patience to get into live, given the fact that the songs are lengthy and unfold in sometimes subtle phases, but it's most certainly worth it (and it most certainly wouldn't hurt to be a little out of your head).

Even though it wasn't intended as such, the night turned into a well attended showcase for three of the more interesting bands in the city, and thanks to Quarter's there's no doubt that something similar will be happening again before too long.

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (08/17/11)

Here's the playlist for this week's edition of Mondo Radio. You can download or stream the entire program here. If you enjoy it, check out the Mondo Radio Facebook page and find us on Twitter.

Artist - Song - Album
Van Der Graaf - Ship Of Fools (Live) - Vital
Joy Division - Colony - Closer
The Fall - Hit The North - The Frenz Experiment
Public Image Ltd - Poptones - Second Edition
David Bowie - Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) - The Singles 1969-1993
Brian Eno - The Great Pretender - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
T. Rex - Telegram Sam - The Slider
Sweet - Sweet F.A. - Desolation Boulevard
Cheap Trick - Way Of The World - Dream Police
Ace Frehley - Snow Blind - Ace Frehley
Hello - New York Groove - New York Groove
Hound Dog Fujimoto - All Shook Up - The International Elvis Presley Impersonators Convention
Bitch Boys - Censur - Häftig Fredag
Bitch Boys - Discotek - Häftig Fredag
Dead Kennedys - Chemical Warfare - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
Dead Kennedys - California Über Alles - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
Sylvester - Dance (Disco Heat) - Step II
Donna Summer - I Feel Love - I Remember Yesterday
ABBA - On And On And On - Super Trouper
Herbie Hancock - Vibe Alive - Perfect Machine
Herbie Hancock - Future Shock - Future Shock
Herbie Hancock - Beat Wise - Perfect Machine
Herbie Hancock - Rockit - Perfect Machine
DJ Quik (Feat. Ice Cube) - Boogie Till You Conk Out - The Book Of David
N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton - Straight Outta Compton
2 Pac (Featuring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony) - Untouchable (Swizz Remix) - 12" Single
Depeche Mode - Master And Servant - Some Great Reward
New Order - Temptation (Live) - BBC 1 Radio Live In Concert
Yazoo - Situation (Dub Version) - 12" Single
Prince & The Revolution - Baby I'm A Star - Purple Rain
Mitch Ryder - Jenny Take A Ride - All Hits!
Jimmy Reed - Big Boss Man - Maximum R 'N' B: The Roots Of The Who
Link Wray & The Raymen - Batman Theme - Rock 'N' Roll 'N' Rumble
The Top Notes - Shake It Up, Baby - Maximum R 'N' B: The Roots Of The Who
The Who - Substitute - Who's Greatest Hits

Monday, August 15, 2011

FEATURE: Adventures in Record Collecting #1

In this new and mildly exciting new feature, I go record shopping and tell you about what I bought:
Date: 08/14/2011
Location: Milwaukee Record & Music Show, American Serb Hall, Milwaukee
Money Spent: $8.00 USD
Number of Records Purchased: 6

The Records:

ABBA - Super Trouper:

I hate to break it to you, but if you don't like ABBA, you're a hater, plain and simple. For those of you who do like ABBA, it's worth remembering that, although their greatest hits compilations have sold several million copies, the original albums are more than worth a listen. Like many of their later-era efforts, Super Trouper features a few mega-hits (the biggie in this case being "The Winner Takes It All") interspersed with rock-solid album cuts. My only compunction about buying this is that every time I listen to it, I'll have to wonder what sadist decided to package records with crumply, bunchy cellophane inner sleeves.

Herbie Hancock - Future Shock:

The 1983 LP whose hit single "Rockit", and its heavily-rotated video, launched scratching into the consciousness of the general public via a guest appearance by Grand Mixer D.ST, Future Shock was the first manifestation of Hancock's interest in electro-funk. Great record, it's going to warrant a lot of repeat listens.

Herbie Hancock - Perfect Machine:

It was five years before Hancock released this, the last installment in the Future Shock  trilogy. It may be a bit rougher around the edges than the first, but there's plenty to love here, especially with tunes like "Vibe Alive" and "Beat Wise". I've actually been familiar with this one for a while, so I knew it was a good buy, especially for 50 cents.

Prince - Purple Rain:

A classic, no explanation needed. Glad to finally have it on vinyl, it will look nice slotted next to my "Let's Go Crazy" 12 "

Yazoo - Situation 12" Single:

Though they only released two studio albums, Yazoo (known as Yaz in the U.S.) made them both count. A taste of the first, Upstairs at Eric's"Situation" became one of their most recognizable songs. Strange to learn that Alison Moyet's laugh was sampled for the "Macarena". While not that much of a radical departure, the dub version on the reverse is rather nice too.

Sylvester - Step II:

One of the greatest disco divas (even if he was a man), Sylvester's "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" is a dance floor classic, not to mention one of the earliest examples of what became known as Hi-NRG. The rest of the album doesn't disappoint either, even when the tempo drops.

Overall it was a good excursion. Everything's in nice shape and I didn't spend too much. Although I didn't find as many bargains as I would've liked to either. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

ALBUM REVIEW: Wiley - 100% Publishing

It's easy to see why grime has had a hard time gaining traction when it comes to crossing over to U.S. audiences. Though it's long been the most popular of the U.K.'s homegrown strains of hip-hop, it can't help but sound rather alien to American ears. Forged out of rave, danchall and, of course, U.S. rap, the genre can sound harsh and unfinished to those weaned on domestic styles based around samples of funk, soul and the entire spectrum of black American music. It's closest analogue in this country is probably hyphy's twisted, harsh version of Miami bass nastiness (E-40, Keak Da Sneak, et al.), which, while creatively vibrant, isn't exactly a chart and air play sensation.

But it would seem that there's more keeping grime from becoming more popular on U.S. shores than a lack of easy stylistic access points, especially given the talent of its leading lights. Take Wiley, whose latest, "100% Publishing" offers a plethora of head-bobbing breaks, electro flourishes and tongue-twisting rhymes. I hestitate to use the word "inspirational", mainly because it sounds like I'm going to ask you if you've heard the good word, but the general vibe of the album stresses the importance of getting on one's grind and staying there, putting in the work to build not only his own career, but a scene and a community. Make no mistake, there's no lack of bravado here; Wiley has no qualms about telling you how sick he is, but there's also a affective sincerity when he raps about trying to stay focused and push things to the next level, as on the CD only bonus track "Music Not the Money".

Refreshingly, it's apparent that these sentiments aren't just talk. The album derives its name from the fact that Wiley took on all aspects of the its creation; beyond writing and rhyming he's the sole producer, and even mastered the tracks himself. For many, this would seem to be a case of biting off more than one can chew, but Wiley tackles both aspects with aplomb, resulting in tracks that are as danceable as they are lyrically satisfying.

In the end, it's difficult to tell exactly why American audiences remain so unreceptive (or at least unaware) of grime, and by extension the whole of the U.K.'s MC culture. From the very beginning, rap has had a fierce sense of place, but there's never anything to be gained by being xenophobic. Especially when it comes to records this good.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (08/10/11)

In addition to writing, I also host a weekly show on Milwaukee's  WMSE FM called Mondo Radio. This is this week's playlist. If you're interested, check out the show's Facebook page and our Twitter account.

Artist - Song - Album
David Bowie - Beauty And The Beast - Heroes
Gong - Fohat Digs Holes In Space - Camembert Electrique
Can - Mother Upduff - Unlimited Edition
King Crimson - 21st Century Schizoid Man (Including "Mirrors") - In The Court Of The Crimson King (An Observation By King Crimson)
Norma Jean & Ray J - This Is Our Song Of Love - Raising Hell
The Politicians - Everything Good Is Bad - Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic
James Brown - Super Bad (Part 1 & Part 2) (Promo Version) - The Singles Volume 7: 1970-1972
The Stooges - No Fun - The Stooges
The Velvet Underground - Run Run Run - The Velvet Underground & Nico
The Velvet Underground - I'm Set Free - The Velvet Underground
The Stranglers - Golden Brown - Greatest Hits 1977-1990
Meadowlark Lemon - Po' Folks Disco - My Kids
The Clash - Tommy Gun - Give 'Em Enough Rope
Stiff Little Fingers - Suspect Device - The Peel Sessions
The Slits - I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Grlz: Women Ahead Of Their Time
Gang Of Four - Ether - Entertainment!
Captain Beyond - Raging River Of Fear - Captain Beyond
Led Zeppelin - Dazed And Confused - Led Zeppelin
Black Sabbath - War Pigs - Paranoid
Busybodies - Biggie - Bzybodies
Sonic Youth - Candle - Daydream Nation
Brian Eno - Blank Frank - Here Come The Warm Jets
Squidbotz - Party Patrol - Single
Gary Numan & Tubeway Army - Are Friends Electric? - Replicas
Gary Numan & Tubeway Army - The Machman - Replicas
Chromeo - You Make It Rough - Business Casual
Zapp & Roger - More Bounce To The Ounce - Grand Theft Auto: Vice City O.S.T. - Volume 5: Wildstyle Pirate Radio
Robert Owens - Bring Down The Walls - Trax Records: The 20th Anniversary Collection
Whodini - Friends - Kurtis Blow Presents The History Of Rap, Vol. 3
Boogie Down Productions - Jack Of Spades - Ghetto Music: The Blueprint Of Hip-Hop
Grandmaster Melle Mel - White Lines (Don't Don't Do It) - Best Of Sugar Hill Records
Nirvana - Dive - Incesticide
Mclusky - Clique Application Form - Mclusky Do Dallas

ALBUM REVIEW: Catacombz - Catacombz

My review of the newest album by Milwaukee heavy-psych monsters Catacombz, their third overall and the first to be pressed up on sweet, sweet vinyl. You should check out the record, it's rad.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

CONCERT REVIEW: Rafter w/ Juiceboxxx & Blueprint (Stonefly Brewery, Milwaukee)

Another fun night at WMSE's Radio Summer Camp festival. Especially good to see Juiceboxxx after so long.

CONCERT REVIEW: M.E.L.T. Radio Summer Camp Edition (Club Garibaldi, Milwaukee)

A vital showcase for ambitious electronic music from Milwaukee and beyond, M.E.L.T. shines the spotlight on knob-twiddling innovators and their sonic creations. Now if only some people had shown up.

FEATURE: From Handsome Furs to Drugs Dragons: The A.V. Club's Guide to Radio Summer Camp

My preview of the now come and gone 2011 Radio Summer Camp festival. If you missed, it's sure to be back next year with a brand new lineup of awesome bands.

CONCERT REVIEW: Wiz Khalifa (The Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, Summerfest, Milwaukee)

If there's one thing I love as a concert-goer, it's worrying that I'm going to be trampled to death.

CONCERT REVIEW: Mötley Crüe w/ Poison & The New York Dolls (The Bradley Center, Milwaukee)

A journey into the dark heart of hair metal. Sometimes you've got to take one for the team.

CONCERT REVIEW: Miltown Beat Down 2011 Finals (Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee)

Often hidden away in studios tweaking mixes and crafting beats, producers never really get their due as the real architects of current hip-hop's sound and feel. Of course, that doesn't really mean that it's fun to watch them onstage.

CONCERT REVIEW: Arctic Monkeys (The Rave, Milwaukee)

Since bands tend to thank the audience for their enthusiasm whether it's true or not, it's easy to forget that shows are always more fun when the crowd is genuinely excited, as was the case tonight.

Monday, August 8, 2011

CONCERT REVIEW: Neon Indian (Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee)

As a recent Flaming Lips collaborator and leading light of the chill-wave scene, Neon Indian has no shortage of hipster credibility, but there's something rather artificial at the heart of his sound.

CONCERT REVIEW: Hunx and His Punx w/ Shannon and the Clams & Holy Shit! (The Cactus Club, Milwaukee)

How are Hunx and His Punx NOT John Waters favorite band? Sleazy, outrageous, queer, and rocking in a very classical sense, they're like one of his films come to life.

CONCERT REVIEW: Talib Kweli (The Rave, Milwaukee)

Unafraid to be socially relevant in a time when the rap world seems to view "concious" as a dirty word, Talib Kweli brings spit-fire rhymes to The Rave.

CONCERT REVIEW: Robert Plant and the Band of Joy (The Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee)

Probably as close as I'll ever come to seeing Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant and the Band of Joy may not rock as hard, but it's easy to see they love what they do.

CONCERT REVIEW: Volcano Choir (Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee)

A collaboration between Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and members of Milwaukee's Collections of Colonies of Bees, Volcano Choir brings brings their droning indie-rock to Turner Hall.

ALBUM REVIEW: The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts

The latest (and possibly last) from The Go! Team brings an almost mellow vibe to their signature spunky sound.

CONCERT REVIEW: The Spinners (Potawatomi Bingo Casino, Milwaukee)

The Spinners bring some classic vocal group style to the Potawatomi Bingo Casino's Northern Lights Theatre, matching suits and all.

CONCERT REVIEW: Brief Candles, Golden Birthday & Catacombz (The Cactus Club, Milwaukee)

A (mostly) local show featuring (all) good bands. Read my full review here.

CONCERT REVIEW: Robyn (The Rave, Milwaukee)

Swedish techno-pop chanteuse Robyn has been experiencing a career resurgence lately. This is a very good thing. Read my review here.

FEATURE: Disappears

Chicago band Disappears scored a major coup when they enlisted Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley to play drums, making a good band even better. Read the full piece here.

ALBUM REVIEW: ESG - Dance to the Best of ESG

Despite poverty and a lack of musical training, the teenage ESG nevertheless created some of the funkiest and most enduring dance tunes ever made. Read my full review here.

FEATURE: Wu-Tang Clan

From music to fashion, movies to television, Wu-Tang was always pushing its empire into new territories. You can read the full piece here.

CONCERT REVIEW: The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Plays Pink Floyd (The Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee)

Classiness meets campiness as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra backs up a cheesy Pink Floyd tribute band. You can read my full review here.

CONCERT REVIEW: Richie Hawtin (Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee)

Detroit Techno legend Richie Hawtin performs a blistering DJ set at Turner Hall. Read my full review here.

CONCERT REVIEW: Futurebirds, Jonny Corndawg & Chaperone (The Cactus Club, Milwaukee)

Alt-country is a diverse genre, as these three acts (including the illustrious Jonny Corndawg) can attest. Read the full review here.

ALBUM REVIEW: Ben Folds & Nick Hornby - Lonely Avenue

Not even respected author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy) can elevate the music of Ben Folds beyond mediocrity. Read my full review here.

CONCERT REVIEW: Ghostface Killah (The Rave, Milwaukee)

Milwaukee gets a visit from the one and only Ghostface Killah. Read my review here.

ALBUM REVIEW: John Legend & The Roots - Wake Up!

A somewhat underwhelming effort, despite featuring The Roots' fine musicianship. Read the full review here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

CONCERT REVIEW: The Borg Ward Third Anniversary Show w/ Eiene Kleine Chinmuzik, Bzybodies & More (The Borg Ward, Milwaukee)

To celebrate the third anniversary of the Milwaukee DIY performance/art space The Borg Ward, the venue booked a diverse group of local bands and fired up the grill. You can read my full review here.

ALBUM REVIEW: The 13th Floor Elevators - 7th Heaven: Music of the Spheres - The Complete Singles Collection

It may have an unwieldy title, but this collection ably showcases the pioneering work of this underappreciated Texas band. Read my full review here.

CONCERT REVIEW: Terrior Bute (Club Timbuktu, Milwaukee)

My coverage of a festival performance from the brilliant Terrior Bute. Read my full review here.

FEATURE: The Dead Weather

Supergroups are usually a bad idea, borne more out of ego than musical inspiration. The Dead Weather, however, manage to avoid the pitfalls (mostly), resulting in some decent albums. Read the whole profile here.

CONCERT REVIEW: George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic (Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee)

Milwaukee gets a visit from a musical legend. Read the full review here.

ALBUM REVIEW: Los Saicos - ¡Demolición! The Complete Recordings

Though they only released a hanful of singles, Peru's Los Saicos made them all count. Read my review here.

ALBUM REVIEW: E-40 - Revenue Retrievin' (Day Shift/Night Shift)

A fantastic double release from the ever-prolific Bay Area master E-40, who's since added two more titles to the "Revenue Retrievin'" series. Read my review here.

CONCERT REVIEW: Captured! By Robots (The Cactus Club, Milwaukee)

No matter what you think of Captured! By Robots' music, you have to admit they're the best all-robot backing band in the business.

CONCERT REVIEW: Lupe Fiasco (The Rave, Milwaukee)

My review of the Chicago MC's performance in Milwaukee. Read the piece here.

CONCERT REVIEW: Yo Gabba Gabba! (The Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee)

My review of the touring version of Nick Jr.'s "Yo Gabba Gabba", which made me smile depspite being hungover and surrounded by screaming children. Read the full review here.

CONCERT REVIEW: Gut Reactions w/ Bzybodies & Ladyboys (The Cactus Club, Milwaukee)

All local show featuring Milwaukee bands, including some now defunct (Ladyboys) and some that are going strong (Busybodies). Read my review here.

CONCERT REVIEW: The Residents (Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee)

My first paid byline! Read my review of the show here.
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