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Off the Cuff
Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010
Since heading off to California to move up the ranks of the record biz, Milwaukee native Cheryl Pawelski has worked at EMI, Concord and Rhino Records. Among the projects she has produced include box sets on Miles Davis and John Coltrane, The Band and Big Star. Once again she has...
Album Reviews
Monday, Aug. 24, 2009

’Cause I Sez So (Atco)

A mere 36 years after producing the New York Dolls' debut album, Todd Rundgren returns to work with a band based around surviving members David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain. A bit of history: In the early '70s, the Dolls released a pair of pioneering albums that came to define glam and punk rock. True to form, the band self-destructed...
Books
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Richie Unterberger delivers ‘White Light/White Heat'

"Name your favorite Velvet Underground album," I once challenged a friend."Which Velvet Underground?"he responded. From the relentless, mind-crushing throb of "Sister Ray" to the delicate strum of "I'll Be Your Mirror" to the...
Album Reviews
Monday, June 15, 2009

Live at Bob’s (Faux Real)

In the '80s, when John Sieger was in the R&B Cadets, you might have labeled his songs revisionist. Later, with Semi-Twang, the band's heartland sound would be seen as a precursor to alt-country. But as the times catch up with each solo album, it becomes clear that the Milwaukeean's songs are simply timeless. Taking his cues from the...
Album Reviews
Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009

“Salt Water” (Bopaganda! Records)

The trail end of 2008 saw the RIAA confirm that sales of vinyl records are surging. Sure, CDs and MP3s are convenient, but all you have to do is listen to vinyl to confirm its sonic superiority. Look no further than Milwaukee's own Eric Blowtorch, who has released a 7" vinyl slab of reggae flavor. The A-side "Salt Water" skanks along with a throbbing rhythm section as Blowtorch sings of dread on the high seas. The flip side is a dub-crazy version led by a melodica riff that fades into ghostly piano and Echoplexed vocals. While some artists...
Books
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The band that made Minneapolis rock

Jim Walsh’s The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting—An Oral History (Voyageur Press), published to coincide with Rhino Records’ first installment of Replacements reissues, wisely lets those who were there tell the tale. History, by its nature, allows the winner to write the story, and rock ’n’ roll mythmaking is as much about refraction as it is reflection. Walsh’s anecdotal style depicts a Minneapolis music scene built around a few record stores and clubs hip enough to evolve into the post-disco era. Guitarist Bob Stinson, his 14-year-old brother bassist Tommy and drummer Chris Mars were jamming in the basement to Yes’ “Roundabout” when songwriter Paul Westerberg talked his way into the group. As midwived by Peter Jesperson and his girlfriend . . .
Concert Reviews
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

As leader of The Silos, Walter Salas-Humara has been recording since the mid-’80s, working on more than a dozen albums with collaborators as diverse as Alejandro Escovedo and, in an upcoming project, novelist Jonathan Lethem. At Sunday’s Shank Hall show, Salas-Humara led a band made up of Milwaukee and Madison musicians.
Album Reviews
Monday, June 9, 2008

The Shaming of the True (Faux Real)

For more than two decades John Sieger has been cranking out great songs, ranging from tunes for the R&B Cadets and Semi-Twang to a string of solo albums. The man oozes soul, and his talent is not in question. Even still, Sieger and co-writer Michael Feldman’s gems too often fly under the radar. Recorded. . .
Album Reviews
Monday, May 12, 2008

Deluxe Reissues (Twin/Tone/Ryko/Rhino)

OK, so The Replacements hung around for an album too long (maybe even two albums), but their arc is the stuff of legend with good reason. Gather ’round, children, and you will hear stories of the early ’80s, when “alternative” music was still called “college radio” and good old punk rock was still relevant. Well, kinda . . .

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