This Week in Milwaukee
Thursday, Jan. 13
James McMurtry w/ Jim Hoehn @ Shank Hall, 8 p.m.
roots-rocker James McMurtry is the son of an English-professor mother
and a novelist father (Lonesome Dove author Larry McMurtry), so it’s no
surprise that a literary streak runs through his songs, which often play
like dispatches from a country at war with itself. John Mellencamp
helped McMurtry get his foot in the door, producing the songwriter’s
1989 Columbia Records debut, Too Long in the Wasteland, but McMurtry’s
subsequent albums have been much more political than that debut,
particularly his most recent ones, 2005’s Childish Things and 2008’s
Just Us Kids, both of James McMurtry which wallow in Bush-era despair.
Sharking Hour w/ Shoot Down the Moon and Jay Flash @ Mad Planet, 8 p.m.
Milwaukee group Sharking Hour considerably fleshed out their sound on
their 2010 sophomore album, Telemetry, channeling the back-to-basics
songwriting of early alt-country, the frayed rock ’n’ roll of The
Replacements and the earthy, lived-in mood of The Feelies’ mid-period
records. Their first release as a full-piece band, following their 2009
debut, North of Nippon, which they recorded as a duo, Telemetry benefits
from a live, in-studio sound that better captures the spirit of their
Friday, Jan. 14
So So Radio w/ Boy Blue @ Murray Cultural Center, 7 p.m.
gigging around the region helped the Janesville-bred power-pop trio So
So Radio to land a great slot opening for The Hold Steady at last
month’s New Year’s Eve show at the Riverside Theater. This weekend the
group follows up that gig with a pair of Milwaukee release shows behind
their debut album, Dustcovers, a Big Star-inspired set of pop-rock with
frequent nods to Okkervil River’s dramatic Americana. Tonight’s all-ages
show at the Murray Cultural Center, 2586 N. Murray Ave., pairs them
with openers Boy Blue. They’ll split Saturday’s 21-plus bill at Mad
Planet with the synthloving Milwaukee alternative trio The New Loud.
The Red River w/ Jackraasch and Slow Walker @ Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m.
judge from their latest album, the aptly titled Little Songs About the
Big Picture, the Portland, Ore. indie-pop band The Red River’s record
collection begins at about 1996 and ends at about 2004. Lo-fi but not
unambitious, the group pays homage to heyday indie-rock, showing
particular reverence for the pocket symphonies of Elephant 6 acts like
Neutral Milk Hotel on bittersweet, banjo-, string- and brass-laced
ditties about the trivialities of daily life and what it all means.
Saturday, Jan. 15
Kathleen Madigan @ Pabst Theater, 7 p.m.
a comedy scene that heavily favors performers who are young, loud,
crass, male or ideally all of the above, Missouri stand-up Kathleen
Madigan has managed to build a profi le without being any of those
things: She’s a low-key, middle-aged woman with an understated,
conversational style. Frequent appearances on “The Tonight Show With Jay
Leno” have helped her build an audience, as have dual stints on “Last
Comic Standing,” where she fi rst competed in 2004 before returning as a
S. Carey w/ Conrad Plymouth @ Club Garibaldi, 10 p.m.
Claire drummer S. Carey parlayed his fandom of Bon Iver’s For Emma,
Forever Ago into a gig touring with that group. Between tours over the
course of two years, Carey pieced together the songs that would make up
his 2010 solo album, All We Grow. The album’s intricately composed,
atmospheric folk is very much in the spirit of band mate Justin Vernon’s
work, though where Vernon prefers raw emotion, Carey leans on regal,
fluttering arrangements that draw from his classical training. Tonight
Carey headlines the second of two anniversary shows for the local music
blog Muzzle of Bees, supported by Milwaukee folk-rockers Conrad
Plymouth, a group with its own roots in the Eau Claire music scene.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals w/ Chamberlin @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m.
her obvious reverence for ’70s classic rock, 20-something Vermont
musician Grace Potter is a terrifically magnetic stage presence who
exudes confidence far beyond her years, whether she’s pounding on her
organ or wailing away on her Flying V guitar. After inviting countless
Janis Joplin comparisons, last year Potter and her band, the Nocturnals,
parlayed their frequent appearances at outdoor blues, rock and
jam-oriented music festivals like Bonnaroo into significant album sales,
debuting at No. 20 on the Billboard charts with their self-titled third
album, their most high-profile yet.
Tuesday, Jan. 18
Toxic Holocaust w/ Burning Sons and Architects of the Aftermath @ Cactus Club, 9 p.m.
the last decade, Portland, Ore., thrash-metal enthusiast Joel Grind has
run his band Toxic Holocaust as something of a solo project,
self-recording most of his albums alone and hiring ringers to back him
on the road. Grind’s latest album for Relapse Records is 2008’s An
Overdose of Death, a typically morbid homage to early Slayer and
Discharge with myriad songs about widespread death. Among the
representative song titles: “March From Hell,” “Endless Armageddon,”
“Feedback, Blood & Distortion” and “City of a Million Graves.” The
band is well paired on this bill with Milwaukee speed-punk veterans
Burning Sons and local metal purists Architects of the Aftermath.
MELT @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.
This month the experimental Milwaukee electronica artist The Demix began curating MELT, a weekly Tuesday night music series at Mad Planet. Tonight’s sophomore installment of the series gives a sense of how eclectic each week promises to be. Headlining the bill is the prog-influenced lounge band Lovanova, which will be supported by intelligent dance music enthusiast RichDad, the electronic DJ Megan Minya and the remix artist Boost. The night will also include a drum and bass battle.