Home / Articles / By Michael Carriere
Local Music
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008
  The past few years have seen Milwaukee turn out a number of powerful rock 'n' roll bands. While there is room for variety within the city, there is usually a consistency in the volume at which these acts play (loud) and the gender of those doing the playing (male). It's a band-centered, male-dominated world out in the noisy clubs of this city.
Local Music
Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008
The idea of punk rock as an antidote to bloated, spectacle-ridden rock 'n' roll has become a standard trope in many versions of popular music history. This stripped-down, simplistic style of play, conventional wisdom tells us, came along to cure the perceived excesses of classic rock and rid the world of the fashion-first consciousness of pop.
A&E Feature
Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008

UWM Maps Out its Future

How does a landlocked urban university expand? The question has vexed such institutions for centuries and has sometimes led to violent confrontations between town and gown. Columbia University recently marked the 40th anniversary of the uprising of 1968, which was spurred, in part, by the university's attempt to seize public land in nearby Morningside Park. Making this anniversary even more relevant was the fact that Columbia is once again venturing into neighboring Harlem-a move that has not pleased a number of that community's long-time residents. Other colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania and Yale, find themselves facing tough community opposition to plans to expand their respective core campuses . . .
Concert Reviews
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

There are few musicians in today’s indie scene as enigmatic as M. Ward. His latest album, 2006’s critically acclaimed Post-War, came across like a series of bulletins from a long-gone era, with Ward’s voice often sounding like it was channeling the highs and lows of American history. The result was a record that had something of an otherworldly feel to it. Post-War was clearly rooted in the past, but there was something about Ward’s delivery that made the record feel incredibly relevant . . .
Local Music
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
It’s been said that desperate times produce desperate music, and the current scene in Milwaukee would appear to bear this out. Bands such as Father Phoenix, Cougar Den, Pigs on Ice and Call Me Lightning are cranking out uneasy, volatile songs that provide the perfect soundtrack for our current era of anxiety. These groups, with obvious roots in the world of hardcore, have managed to craft a sound that captures the anger of punk while avoiding the generic tendencies that mark much of the genre. Simply put, these groups are innovative and exciting. It’s a rare breed of band that is able to pull off such a delicate balance, and Milwaukee is lucky to have so many of them.
Music Feature
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
It is often taken for granted that hardcore punk is—and perhaps should be—the domain of the young. Young adulthood is a scary time for most of us, and what better way to express one’s youthful angst than by identifying with a music scene that embraces those feelings of alienation and confusion? I don’t think I would have made it through adolescence with my sanity intact without records like Black Flag’s Damaged and Minor Threat’s Out of Step. Those albums provided me with a useful outlet for my youthful rage and, perhaps more importantly, made me realize that I wasn’t the only one feeling so, well, out of step. At a time when one’s identity is incredibly unstable, any sense of community becomes paramount, and hardcore punk became the one place where I felt truly accepted.
Concert Reviews
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 11, 2008

While many of their indie-rock contemporaries remain mired in gloom and doom, The Hold Steady demonstrated with a sold-out Turner Hall Ballroom that there is still a place for fun in rock ’n’ roll. In fact, it appears as if the band’s genuine warmth and love of music has helped to grow an even larger audience. No longer just a secret among in-the-know hipsters, the group attracted a remarkably diverse crowd. And those in attendance . . .
Books
Monday, April 14, 2008

African Americans’ active role in 20th-century migration

The 20th-century history of African-American migration to the urban North is often told as a tale of declension. Leaving the repressive South, blacks soon found that life was little better in Northern cities, where discrimination, bitter poverty and unmitigated segregation continued to inform the African-American experience. Acts of resistance are often noted in this narrative, and attention is paid to the legal and political gains that African-Americans made in the face of such severe oppression, including 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Yet the story almost always ends with African Americans falling victim to the city, the field of play for the modern condition. Deindustrialization, white flight and the rise of the black “underclass” all serve to underscore the high price that modernity has exacted on the black community. Within this narrative, African . . .
Music Feature
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

How Vampire Weekend Channeled Africa Through New York

What is a young artist to make of a post-Giuliani, post-9/11 New York City? Some credit the former mayor’s strategic employment of the “broken window” philosophy in fighting urban crime and blight—along with a police force that, putting it kindly, ignored many of the subtleties of community relations—with helping the city to clean up its act. Many old haunts that once housed angst-ridden musicians are being developed into condominiums and shopping centers (it was, for example, recently announced that the former site of CBGB is being converted into a store for upscale men’s fashion designer John Varvatos). At the same time, the horrific events of 9/11 have created both a newfound sense of community among many New Yorkers and an intense preoccupation with all things safety-related. The grime, danger and sin historically associated with New York have seemingly been wiped off the cultural landscape of the city, creating a new atmosphere marked by a cleanliness that threatens to erase many aspects of the region’s checkered history.
Concert Reviews
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March 15, 2008

In both sound and manner of dress, members of The Scarring Party draw from the musicians of the early 20th century. Their frontman warbles like a demented vaudevillian performer, and they prominently feature a tuba. Their lyrics read like a 21st-century adaptation of the Old Testament. And they are quickly becoming one of the hottest acts in Milwaukee. Playing a well-attended Turner Hall Ballroom to commemorate the release of their new album, Come Away from the Light, the peculiar band demonstrated why so many have embraced them. The group’s newest material fleshes out the promise of its earlier work, adding cello and violin to a mix that already includes a litany of off-thewall instruments . . .

Top Articles from Michael Carriere

No articles in this section