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Album Reviews
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We Keep Our Secrets Safe

Milwaukee hard rockers Trance Halo inaugurate a refigured line-up with their second release. Christ Radomski (guitar) and Russ Fink (drums), both formerly of Evel, segue smoothly into the band's dramatic post-grunge moodscapes. Theirs is a commercially viable sound that would fit with glove-like ease on active...
Album Reviews
Monday, May 17, 2010

Wash Away

Waupun’s Book Club is set to make the town known for more than its prison. Vocalist-guitarist Sam Sterk sounds a bit like Billy Corgan, but lyrically he is probably in a less-tortured place than the Smashing Pumpkins/Zwan frontman. Neo-psychedelic grinding and earnest, emo-esque pleading inform vignettes that...
Album Reviews
Monday, May 10, 2010

Love Notes (Da'Soul Recordings)

Prolific Milwaukee adult R&B/smooth jazz crooner Chazz Dixon delivers another set of sensuality and sentimentality with Love Notes. Deceptively minimal production by J brings to mind the softer side of ’80s soul, made for seduction and (on the mid-tempo numbers) dancing. Dixon's yearning tenor brings Smokey...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On the Other Side

On Milwaukee quartet Burgundy Ties’ first full-length CD, On the Other Side, the group comes across like an adult-contemporary radio dream band. Echoes of laconic ’70s country rock and singer-songwriter confessional sensitivity get filtered through current-day Americana. Those influences mingle with the kind of...
Monday, April 19, 2010

Listening to The M.U.T.E.S.

"I think all actors should study silent films," says Alice Wilson, founder of The M.U.T.E.S, "They are a wellspring of useful information about our craft. So many ways to communicate without saying a word!" Wilson's fascination with movies made before dialogue was an option led her to develop one of the city's busiest theater troupes. Since their April 2009 inception, "We've averaged two and a half times per...
Album Reviews
Monday, April 19, 2010

Finitude… the becoming of a storyteller

Kudos to Milwaukee duo At the Well for reviving and putting a new spin on a 1970s style without making it sound retro. At the Well's Solomon Behnke and Cory Jacobson bring the Me Decade's acoustically folky pop/rock into a compelling sphere with some metallic guitar solos and the kind of oddly funky grooves that...
Album Reviews
Monday, April 12, 2010

It Ain't Eazy Being Pretty Ricky Phontaine

One might assume that a Milwaukee rapper who calls himself a Martian with the soul of a hippie would be an East Side alternative MC with aspirations of being on a label like Def Jux or Rhymesayers. That Pretty Ricky Phontaine fits better with the Northwest Side hip-hop mainstream makes for an interesting surprise...
Album Reviews
Monday, April 5, 2010

A Sun-Up Sky (LML Music)

Long before "pop" became whatever Ryan Seacrest is hawking in any given week, it was a word synonymous with the Great American Songbook and the mature emotional palette expressed therein. Racine native Suzanne Jamieson excels in applying the colors from that palette to some of that book's songs...
Music Feature
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The fallen evangelical goes solo post-Pedro the Lion

David Bazan's creative life appears to be marked by contradiction, either by design or outside perception. Congratulate Bazan on his full-length solo debut, Curse Your Branches, which cracked Billboard's Top 200 album chart, and he shrugs it off. "To me, honestly, it says more about the dismal state of the music industry. I sold more records with Pedro the Lion," Bazan says in reference to the band that gave...