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Concert Reviews
Monday, June 21, 2010

June 18, 2010

Given Milwaukee’s hot and humid weather, Florida native JJ Grey must have felt right at home kicking off his tour in a crowded Shank Hall Friday. As easy as Grey’s music is to take in, it is difficult to pin down. It’s not retro but it’s not modern, either. Much like their Stax/Muscle Shoals forefathers, Mofro lays down a thick groove blending Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes...
Album Reviews
Monday, June 14, 2010

The Things We Left Behind (Telesoul Records)

Blue Rodeo, something of an institution in their Canadian homeland, has released 12 studio albums since 1987. The Things We Left Behind, an ambitious double CD, blends country, folk and pop while taking a serious glance back toward the studio sounds of Laurel Canyon. The thick instrumentation and lush mix...
Monday, June 14, 2010

Jan Reid remembers Doug Sahm

Doug Sahm evolved seamlessly from slicked-back hipster to long-haired cosmic cowboy during a career that began in the early 1950s as a steel guitar prodigy on the knee (literally) of Hank Williams and did not end until his death more than five decades later. The guy was a force of nature...
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...
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...

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