Friday, Feb. 3, 2012
Another year brings another Launchpad, Wisconsin's statewide battle-of-the-bands competition for high-school students. When Launchpad is good, it's a thrill to hear fledgling teen combos work out their muses. Last year's finalists come from an especially diverse musical stock, inhabiting rock (in and around the mainstream), punk and metal alongside lounge funk, aggressive Celtic folk and ska. Considering all of the electronic sounds on Top 40 radio nowadays, it's heartening, even quaint in a way, to hear teens take up guitars, basses, drums and other non-programmable instruments to make their own music.