Express Milwaukee - Music Feature http://expressmilwaukee.com/articles.sec-326-1-music-feature.html Mon, 27 Apr 2015 00:00:00 CDT en hourly 1 Video Villains Celebrate Three Years of Visual Accompaniments http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25567-video-villains-celebrate-three-years-of-visual-accompaniments.html Concerts featuring elaborate visual displays are a luxury typically reserved for artists with some serious financial backing, but as technology makes the tools of the trade more and more accessible, that’s all ]]> Regan runs again - Promises change in sheriff’s office http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25530-regan-runs-again-promises-change-in-sheriff%25E2%2580%2599s-office.html Pele Reunite, At Least for the Moment http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25506-pele-reunite-at-least-for-the-moment.html Do long-time friends and musical collaborators ever really have to explain why they’re getting the band back together? On this past New Year’s Eve, guitarist Chris Rosenau, bassist Matt Tennessen and drummer Jon Mueller took to the stage once again as Pele, supporting the recently]]> Incensed - Head shop owner protests raid http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25453-incensed-head-shop-owner-protests-raid.html The owner of a Springfield head shop says he fears bankruptcy in the wake of a raid by federal agents who emptied his store of pipes and suspected synthetic marijuana. That Traveling Treasures on Chatham Road was selling pipes and so-called incense t]]> Surgeons in Heat’s Overdue Return http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25468-surgeons-in-heat%25E2%2580%2599s-overdue-return.html Surgeons in Heat hit the ground running in the early ’00s. For a while, the Milwaukee/Madison band gigged relentlessly, releasing a new single every few months. They compiled some of those tracks into a self-titled EP in 2011, and promptly followed that up the next year with another EP]]> Incensed - Head shop owner protests raid http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25442-incensed-head-shop-owner-protests-raid.html The owner of a Springfield head shop says he fears bankruptcy in the wake of a raid by federal agents who emptied his store of pipes and suspected synthetic marijuana. That Traveling Treasures on Chatham Road was selling pipes and so-called incense t]]> Title1 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25445-title1.html The owner of a Springfield head shop says he fears bankruptcy in the wake of a raid by federal agents who emptied his store of pipes and suspected synthetic marijuana. That Traveling Treasures on Chatham Road was selling pipes and so-called incense t]]> Regan runs again http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25448-regan-runs-again.html A write-in candidate for Sangamon County sheriff is hoping to take advantage of an apparent split in the Republican Party that has two candidates competing for the post in the upcoming GOP primary. “I think that there’s an opportunity for our cam]]> Regan runs again - Promises change in sheriff’s office http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25450-regan-runs-again-promises-change-in-sheriff%25E2%2580%2599s-office.html A write-in candidate for Sangamon County sheriff is hoping to take advantage of an apparent split in the Republican Party that has two candidates competing for the post in the upcoming GOP primary. “I think that there’s an opportunity for our cam]]> Lorde Fredd33’s Spontaneous Art-Rap http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25345-lorde-fredd33%25E2%2580%2599s-spontaneous-art-rap.html Before we get into the new album from Milwaukee rapper Lorde Fredd33, there’s a bit of housekeeping to get out of the way, since it’s not the type of news that should be buried in the middle of an article. Fresh Cut Collective, for years the city’s most popular live rap band, is effectively ]]> ZZ Top Returns to the Basics http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25302-zz-top-returns-to-the-basics.html If there was one word that became meaningful during the extended time it took ZZ Top to complete its last album, La Futura, it was patience. The project took several years to complete, and by the time it finally arrived in September 2012, a full nine years had passed since ZZ Top’s previous]]> Platinum Boys’ Endearing Sleaze http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25264-platinum-boys%25E2%2580%2599-endearing-sleaze.html ]]> The Gaslight Anthem Shake Things Up http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25182-the-gaslight-anthem-shake-things-up.html The Gaslight Anthem wants to be a career band, a band that endures not just for a few years, but for decades. And looking at the artists that have managed to do this—Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Neil Young, to name just a few—there’s a common thread. Those artists have challenged]]> The Cavewives Embrace Classic-Rock Tradition in an Indie World http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25148-the-cavewives-embrace-classic-rock-tradition-in-an-indie-world.html Indie rock fundamentally changed the wiring of an entire generation of musicians. Over the years, the stylistic tics that once distinguished the genre—the idiosyncratic tunings, scrappy production, droll sensibilities and ironic detachment—have become so ingrained in the DNA of the]]> Kiings Round Up Milwaukee Talent on ‘WWYDF’ http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25107-kiings-round-up-milwaukee-talent-on-%25E2%2580%2598wwydf%25E2%2580%2599.html Before they came together as the electronic duo Kiings, longtime friends Sean Foran and Chris Siegel were both producers for hire and, like a lot of beat makers, both had grown frustrated with how little control they had over their work. They’d spend days perfecting a track for a singer or]]> A More Impulsive Group of the Altos http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25058-a-more-impulsive-group-of-the-altos.html ]]> The Coffee House Sticks with its Mission http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-25017-the-coffee-house-sticks-with-its-mission.html ]]> Bush’s Gavin Rossdale Remains Happily Tortured http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24895-bush%25E2%2580%2599s-gavin-rossdale-remains-happily-tortured.html ]]> Cold War Kids Find Solace in Simply Doing http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24797-cold-war-kids-find-solace-in-simply-doing.html ]]> Jamie Breiwick’s Dreamland Considers the Mysteries of Monk http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24755-jamie-breiwick%25E2%2580%2599s-dreamland-considers-the-mysteries-of-monk.html
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Wale is Done with the Radio http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24718-wale-is-done-with-the-radio.html ]]> The Borg Ward Hosts a Daylong Girls Rock Milwaukee Benefit http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24686-the-borg-ward-hosts-a-daylong-girls-rock-milwaukee-benefit.html ]]> Racine and Kenosha’s Best Bands are Led by Women http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24649-racine-and-kenosha%25E2%2580%2599s-best-bands-are-led-by-women.html ]]> Milwaukee’s 2015 New Year’s Eve Guide http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24620-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-2015-new-year%25E2%2580%2599s-eve-guide.html ]]> Chevelle Keep Progressing on ‘La Gargola’ http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24553-chevelle-keep-progressing-on-%25E2%2580%2598la-gargola%25E2%2580%2599.html ]]> Fall Out Boy’s Fortuitous Second Chance http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24508-fall-out-boy%25E2%2580%2599s-fortuitous-second-chance.html ]]> The Essential Milwaukee Albums of 2014 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24473-the-essential-milwaukee-albums-of-2014.html ]]> Cage the Elephant Conquer Expectations on “Melophobia” http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24444-cage-the-elephant-conquer-expectations-on-%25E2%2580%259Cmelophobia%25E2%2580%259D.html ]]> Title1 - subtitle1 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24418-title1-subtitle1.html Arctic Sleep’s Melancholy Metal Album http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24394-arctic-sleep%25E2%2580%2599s-melancholy-metal-album.html ]]> Resolved: The New Pornographers Are Not an Indie Supergroup http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24353-resolved-the-new-pornographers-are-not-an-indie-supergroup.html
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25 Years of Shank Hall - Peter Jest on the secrets of his club’s longevity http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24324-25-years-of-shank-hall-peter-jest-on-the-secrets-of-his-club%25E2%2580%2599s-longevity.html
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Volunteer Pick Up Some New Tricks http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24261-volunteer-pick-up-some-new-tricks.html Goner, the new 10-inch EP by the Milwaukee trio Volunteer, is getting some attention because of a recent endorsement ]]> Reigning Sound’s Soulful Turn http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24222-reigning-sound%25E2%2580%2599s-soulful-turn.html Reigning Sound leader Greg Cartwright is only still in photos]]> Interpreting Patti Smith http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24164-interpreting-patti-smith.html Of all the great songwriters of the last half century, Patti Smith is one of the most unknowable. That’s not because Smith is particularly private or her work is evasive or]]> Bastille Rides ‘Pompeii’ to the Top http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24165-bastille-rides-%25E2%2580%2598pompeii%25E2%2580%2599-to-the-top.html
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OK Go’s Multi-Media Assault
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The Wood Brothers Mix It Up http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24108-the-wood-brothers-mix-it-up.html
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The Legacy of 7 Angels 7 Plagues http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24070-the-legacy-of-7-angels-7-plagues.html
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Iron and Wine’s Ever-Growing Vision http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-24003-iron-and-wine%25E2%2580%2599s-ever-growing-vision.html
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An Expanded Spoon http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23954-an-expanded-spoon.html After going more than four years without releasing a studio album, Spoon returned as something of a new band, at least where their lineup is concerned. The band ha ]]> Influenced: Eric Blowtorch on Learning to Respect the Beastie Boys http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23941-influenced-eric-blowtorch-on-learning-to-respect-the-beastie-boys.html In Influenced, we talk to Milwaukee musicians about the artists that shaped and inspired them, both as performers and listeners.Eric “Blowtorch” Beaumont has been a fixture in the Milwaukee music]]> The Midwest Beat Keep it Casual http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23921-the-midwest-beat-keep-it-casual.html The Midwest Beat singer/guitarist Matt Joyce has always had a fondness for ragged, rough-around-the-edges records. “One of my all-time favorites is Neil Young’s]]> Old Earth’s Homemade, Collaborative Folk http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23861-old-earth%25E2%2580%2599s-homemade-collaborative-folk.html For Old Earth’s Todd Umhoefer, songwriting is a long, continuous process. By Umhoefer’s estimate, he spends some 45 or 50 hours]]> Jeff Bridges on His Lifelong Passion for Music http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23833-jeff-bridges-on-his-lifelong-passion-for-music.html Jeff Bridges will always be best known as an actor, iconic for his roles in films including The Fischer King, Tron, True Grit and the Coen Brothers’1998 cult comedy The Big Lebowski]]> Influenced: Body Futures on Genesis and Faith No More http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23829-influenced-body-futures-on-genesis-and-faith-no-more.html With a lineup of current and former members of White Wrench Conservatory, The Five Mod Four and IfIHadAHifi, Body Futures are eclectic, to say the least. For this edition of Influenced, we sat down and talked with vocalist, autoharp and keyboard player Dixie Jacobs and drummer D.J. Hostettler about not one, but two of their biggest musical influences: Genesis and the equally eclectic Faith No More. ]]> The Sounds of Irish Fest http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23811-the-sounds-of-irish-fest.html One of America’s first major celebrations of Celtic culture, Irish Fest was ahead of its time when it premiered in 1981. In the decades since, similar festivals have popped up around the country, spurred by the surging popularity of Irish dance and Celtic music, but Milwaukee’s]]> Strand of Oaks Finds Honesty in Volume http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23803-strand-of-oaks-finds-honesty-in-volume.html When Timothy Showalter decided to title his latest Strand of Oaks album HEAL, he didn’t type it in all caps as a gimmick. That title is a mission statement, a command to strip away all artificiality]]> Future Islands Find Their Audience http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23764-future-islands-find-their-audience.html

On March 3, Future Islands performed the song “Seasons (Waiting On You)” on the “Late Show with David Letterman.” It was standard operating procedure in music biz

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Winter Bear’s Deceptively Sweet Garage Pop http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23728-winter-bear%25E2%2580%2599s-deceptively-sweet-garage-pop.html

 As Erin Dorbin tells it, she chose Milwaukee. Dorbin had been bouncing from city to city for most of her adult life, either for school or for work, but Milwaukee was the first city she moved to not out of commitment or obligation

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Warped Tour Celebrates 20 Years by Carrying On http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23682-warped-tour-celebrates-20-years-by-carrying-on.html

 This summer marks the 20th anniversary of the Warped Tour, but you won’t see the tour making any kind of a big deal about it

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Influenced: Erin Wolf Revisits Her Favorite Mixtapes http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23665-influenced-erin-wolf-revisits-her-favorite-mixtapes.html You might know Erin Wolf as the music director and DJ for 91.7 WMSE, or perhaps you know her as a member of Altos and Hello Death. Or maybe you’ve attended a show booked by her and Brandon Malacar]]> Adam Duritz Acknowledges the Limitations of Songwriting http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23645-adam-duritz-acknowledges-the-limitations-of-songwriting.html

  Adam Duritz knows Aaron Rodgers.  Sure, the Counting Crows frontman wrote the alternative soundtrack to your mid-’90s break-ups. Sure, his Sideshow Bob

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Ramma Lamma Enjoy the Sleazy Fringes of Rock ’N’ Roll http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23603-ramma-lamma-enjoy-the-sleazy-fringes-of-rock-%25E2%2580%2599n%25E2%2580%2599-roll.html Critically speaking at least, fun music often gets shortchanged. It’s great to meticulously dissect albums with weighty themes or ambitious compositions, but sometimes you wish writers would spill some more ink over releases that don’t pretend to be anything but a damn good time]]> The Hold Steady Tour Behind Their ‘Heaviest, Biggest’ Record http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23573-the-hold-steady-tour-behind-their-%25E2%2580%2598heaviest-biggest%25E2%2580%2599-record.html

  The Hold Steady had to take a break. After putting out six albums in as many years, capped by 2010’s Heaven is

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Influenced: Mike Mildew on the Continued Relevance of Sonic Youth http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23565-influenced-mike-mildew-on-the-continued-relevance-of-sonic-youth.html Mike Schauwitzer sat down with us while working at Acme Records to discuss the band that opened him up to the world of noise music, Sonic Youth.]]> Wild Cub Opt for Delayed Gratification
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Don’t get Keegan DeWitt wrong. He genuinely loves “Thunder Clatter,” the song that’s brought his band Wild Cub so much attention. Everyone loves it. It’s an ecstatic, tropic cacophony about finding the right person exactly when you need to. DeWitt is grateful for the song, thrilled you are

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Warpaint’s Four-Piece Vision http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23497-warpaint%25E2%2580%2599s-four-piece-vision.html

 Ask musicians about the difference between their first and second albums, and they’ll often say the same thing. Debut albums are frequently a long time coming, collecting songs that artists wrote and refined over long stretches. Sophomore albums, on the other hand, stem from clean

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Appleton’s No Tomorrow Festival Gathers Metal and Hardcore Greats http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23458-appleton%25E2%2580%2599s-no-tomorrow-festival-gathers-metal-and-hardcore-greats.html Appleton, Wis. is kicking off the summertime music festival season with the sonic equivalent of a punch to the face. No Tomorrow Festival, taking place June 14 and 15 (with a pre-show occurring Fri]]> Maxwell Takes His Time http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23435-maxwell-takes-his-time.html

 Just as quickly as the ’90s ushered in a new soul-music renaissance, the ’00s put that renaissance on hold, as some of neo-soul’s brightest talents retreated from the spotlight. Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo spent much of that decade off the grid, sidelined by either personal issues or creative

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Influenced: Klassik Finds Jazz in The Neptunes http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23418-influenced-klassik-finds-jazz-in-the-neptunes.html In Influenced, we talk to Milwaukee musicians about the artists that shaped and inspired them, both as performers and listeners.Milwaukee rapper/producer Klassik has enjoyed solid recognition over th]]> Dia Frampton Starts Over with Archis http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23394-dia-frampton-starts-over-with-archis.html

 Dia Frampton knows she is asking a lot of her fans as she opens for Lindsey Stirling on a spring tour.

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Micky Dolenz Reflects on a Life With (and Apart From) The Monkees http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23348-micky-dolenz-reflects-on-a-life-with-%2528and-apart-from%2529-the-monkees.html

 By the mid-’80s, The Monkees were far from Micky Dolenz’s mind. Though the singer had dabbled in a few Monkees tie-in projects in the years following the made-for-TV band’s split, he eventually put the group behind him as he cobbled together a busy second career in television

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Influenced: Absolutely's George Anachev on Unwound's Perfect Imperfections http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23345-influenced-absolutelys-george-anachev-on-unwounds-perfect-imperfections.html In a lot of ways, Milwaukee's Absolutely stand out from of their peers. They don’t use synthesizers or offer folk balladry or Miramar-ready mosh breakdowns. Yet for the last five years, the trio has continued to be a solid live act, playing all ages DIY venues and clubs city and nationwide.]]> Milwaukee Soul Veterans Brothers By Choice Regroup http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23313-milwaukee-soul-veterans-brothers-by-choice-regroup.html

“We never really just broke up,” says Clarence McGee of Brothers By Choice, the Milwaukee R&B vocal group known in soul circles for their handful of collectible ’70s singles running a wide gamut of the era’s 

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Warren Haynes Honors Jerry Garcia, With Garcia’s Guitar http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23277-warren-haynes-honors-jerry-garcia-with-garcia%25E2%2580%2599s-guitar.html

When Warren Haynes fronts an electric band and a symphony orchestra for the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration coming to the Riverside Theater on May 21, it’s a toss-up as to what will be the biggest audience 

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Influenced: Estates' Charlie Markowiak on the Glory Days of Smashing Pumpkins http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23270-influenced-estates-charlie-markowiak-on-the-glory-days-of-smashing-pumpkins.html In Influenced, we talk to Milwaukee musicians about the artists that shaped and inspired them, both as performers and listeners.The Milwaukee three piece Estates formed just two years ago, but they c]]> A Return Trip to Nickel Creek http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23242-a-return-trip-to-nickel-creek.html

 When Nickel Creek went on hiatus seven years ago, mandolin player Chris Thile said the decision was simply a product of feeling they couldn’t make a better album than

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A New Home for Howl Street, Bay View’s Busiest Recording Studio http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23198-a-new-home-for-howl-street-bay-view%25E2%2580%2599s-busiest-recording-studio.html

 There are few people as important to the health of Milwaukee’s vibrant music scene as Shane Hochstetler. For the past five years, Hochstetler’s Howl Street Recordings studio has recorded a wide assortment of artists, helping such acts

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Influenced: Paper Holland's Andy Kosanke on the Sonic Bliss of The Cure http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23183-influenced-paper-hollands-andy-kosanke-on-the-sonic-bliss-of-the-cure.html In Influenced, we talk to Milwaukee musicians about the artists that shaped and inspired them, both as performers and listeners. Milwaukee’s Paper Holland came seemingly out of nowhere last ye]]> S. Carey Channels His Inner John Muir http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23160-s-carey-channels-his-inner-john-muir.html Sean Carey (known as S. Carey) is from Wisconsin. He grew up in Lake Geneva. He went to college in Eau Claire where he met, married and settled down with his wife. His day job is as drummer for Bon Iver and his latest solo album was recorded in Justin Vernon’s home state studios]]> IshDARR and the New Face of Conscious Rap http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23127-ishdarr-and-the-new-face-of-conscious-rap.html

Intelligence was a point of pride in ’90s hip-hop. From Q-Tip, Nas and Common on down, many of the best rappers of the era spoke important truths, contending that rap could and should be a force for societal betterment. By the mid-’00s, though, conscious rap had grown hopelessly

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Animals in Human Attire Climb a Mountain http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23085-animals-in-human-attire-climb-a-mountain.html

 Jack Tell didn’t just write songs for Animals in Human Attire’s latest album, Ourmegadawn. He drew them. As he tells it, “I’d been playing a lot of Legend of Zelda at the time,” particularly The Wind Waker

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Influenced: Matt Gorski on the Timelessness of J Dilla's "Donuts" http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23057-influenced-matt-gorski-on-the-timelessness-of-j-dillas-donuts.html In Influenced, we talk to Milwaukee musicians about the artists that shaped and inspired them, both as performers and listeners.If you’ve been paying attention at all to Milwaukee music for the las]]> The Sleepwalkers Double Down on 'Lost My Mind in Stereo' http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-23026-the-sleepwalkers-double-down-on-lost-my-mind-in-stereo.html

 In music few things are as romanticized as the session album, an album recorded in a burst of inspiration at a distinct place during a distinct time. For every session album, though, there are just as many like The Sleepwalker’s new Lost My Mind in Stereo, a mutt of an album recorded in bits

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For Juicy J, The Hustle Continues http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22966-for-juicy-j-the-hustle-continues.html

 After several fallow years, Juicy J enjoyed a banner 2013. The venerable Three 6 Mafia rapper’s third solo album Stay Trippy was a critical and commercial hit, yielding

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Influenced: Dogs in Ecstasy's Molly Rosenblum on the Subversive Brilliance of RuPaul http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22927-influenced-dogs-in-ecstasys-molly-rosenblum-on-the-subversive-brilliance-of-rupaul.html In Influenced, we talk to Milwaukee musicians about the artists that shaped and inspired them, both as performers and listeners. Molly Rosenblum is one third of Dogs in Ecstasy, a ]]> TRUE Skool Celebrates 10 Years of Helping Kids through Hip-Hop http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22794-true-skool-celebrates-10-years-of-helping-kids-through-hip-hop.html It’s something of a cliché to talk about how music changes lives, but the good folks at the Milwaukee hip-hop nonprofit TRUE Skool, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, have watc]]> Influenced: Enabler's Jeff Lohrber on a Lifetime of Loving Metallica http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22770-influenced-enablers-jeff-lohrber-on-a-lifetime-of-loving-metallica.html In Influenced, we talk to Milwaukee musicians about the artists that shaped and inspired them, both as performers and listeners. An international touring schedule and prolific output have earned Mi]]> Call Me Lightning's Long Road to 'Human Hell' http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22747-call-me-lightnings-long-road-to-human-hell.html Call Me Lightning’s new album Human Hell arrived this weekend. That news comes as some relief to the band, since as of just last week, its release was uncertain. The independent Minneapolis label]]> Noah Gundersen Emerges From Emotional Tumult on 'Ledges' http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22726-noah-gundersen-emerges-from-emotional-tumult-on-ledges.html

The emotional weight of Noah Gundersen’s austere songs echoes the tight-focus beauty of songwriters like Will Oldham, Justin Vernon and David Bazan. And like fellow Seattle resident

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Influenced: Sat. Nite Duets Recall Their Days of Weezer Message Boards http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22694-influenced-sat-nite-duets-recall-their-days-of-weezer-message-boards.html Milwaukee’s Sat. Nite Duets have been active for the last five or so years, but the groups core members—Ben Gucciardi, Steve Strupp and Joe Guszkowski—have been playing together in various forms since early adolescence. For this edition of Influenced, we spoke with Strupp and Gucciardi about the band that essentially started it all for them: Weezer.]]> Five Milwaukee Gospel Quartets, One Pabst Theater Stage http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22674-five-milwaukee-gospel-quartets-one-pabst-theater-stage.html

 For whatever John Sieger took away spiritually growing up in the Catholic Church, he didn’t take away much musically. The Gregorian chants at his church’s Latin masses were austere and foreboding, little like

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The Uptowner Puts a Hip-Hop Spin on the Open Mic http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22636-the-uptowner-puts-a-hip-hop-spin-on-the-open-mic.html

 Milwaukee rapper Mic Crawf never signed up to be the host of the Uptowner’s Sunday night open mic. He simply stepped up to fill in when the event’s original host, Scott Summers, didn’t show up one night. That

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Sobriety Becomes Jason Isbell http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22602-sobriety-becomes-jason-isbell.html

 Boozing it up is one of those rites of passage that some creative types are almost expected to go through. For Jason Isbell, it was a duty he was more than willing to

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Influenced: Volunteer and MKE Punk's Martin Defatte Talks Fugazi http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22591-influenced-volunteer-and-mke-punks-martin-defatte-talks-fugazi.html In Influenced, we talk to Milwaukee musicians about the artists that shaped and inspired them, both as performers and listeners. In this introductory piece, we spoke with Martin Defatte—former mem]]> Dr. Dog Discover Better Rock Through Carpentry http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22565-dr-dog-discover-better-rock-through-carpentry.html

 Were they a wine, Dr. Dog might be described as a rich, bountiful red. The rootsy undertones merge with ’60s psych and garage-pop while little baroque bloomlets dance across the palette, playing on subtle complexities in rhythm and melody that manifest in something as easily quaffed as

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Screaming Females Keep it Casual http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22538-screaming-females-keep-it-casual.html

 In another era, Screaming Females’ Marissa Paternoster might have been a glam-rock icon. Between her sneered vibrato and her ceaseless guitar riffs, she would have been

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Walk Off The Earth Strike it Big on YouTube http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22489-walk-off-the-earth-strike-it-big-on-youtube.html

 When the members of Walk Off The Earth finished filming the video of their cover of the Gotye hit “Somebody That I Used To Know,” the immediate feeling was anything but the excitement and anticipation

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Paul Cebar Looks to Tomorrow http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22442-paul-cebar-looks-to-tomorrow.html

 Nearly 40 years after his first paying gig in the city, there may be no more conversationally colorful character and Milwaukee institution than Paul Cebar. Inherent in Cebar’s verbal floridity, however, is the missionary zeal of a musician whose breadth of taste manifests in his own singular

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Loup Leaves Behind an Intriguingly Imperfect Posthumous Debut http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22416-loup-leaves-behind-an-intriguingly-imperfect-posthumous-debut.html

 This article is about a band that does not exist. Last month Loup released their posthumous, self-titled debut album on Bandcamp through Milwaukee’s Breadking Collective. According to frontman Brandon Miller, the functionally disbanded group wanted to document their existence

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Phox's Blissfully Codependent Folk-Pop - Monica Martin talks about the band's big year http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22395-phoxs-blissfully-codependent-folk-pop-monica-martin-talks-about-the-bands-big-year.html
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Milwaukee's 2014 New Year's Eve Guide http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22389-milwaukees-2014-new-years-eve-guide.html

As usual, Milwaukee welcomes the new year with an array of concerts, galas and gatherings, offering a night out for any budget.

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Country Rockers Chasin’ Mason Avoid Nashville’s Grip
 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22351-country-rockers-chasin%25E2%2580%2599-mason-avoid-nashville%25E2%2580%2599s-grip%25E2%2580%25A8.html “I hate country music, but you guys rock.”

 That, says Donn Trampe, is “our greatest and most recurrent compliment from first timers

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The Essential Milwaukee Albums of 2013 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22321-the-essential-milwaukee-albums-of-2013.html

 Recent years have been busy ones for the Milwaukee music scene, as local artists have landed major tours, signed to prominent

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Utech Records Festival Spotlights Milwaukee’s Experimental Music Clearinghouse http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22273-utech-records-festival-spotlights-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-experimental-music-clearinghouse.html

 Whatever you think about experimental music—what it is, where it is, whether or not the guy in the Motorhead T-shirt is listening to more of it than you are—you’re probably wrong. Nestled

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Italian Horror Maestros Goblin Land in America, Belatedly http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22231-italian-horror-maestros-goblin-land-in-america-belatedly.html

 An instrumental Italian progressive-rock band with a cumbersome history and a cult following, Goblin built its vast reputation largely by composing scores for iconic horror films in the 1970s. Yet longtime keyboardist Maurizio Guarini prefers sci-fi movies

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Metric Stays In the Moment http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22194-metric-stays-in-the-moment.html

 “It ought to be like a setlist,” Metric’s lead singer Emily Haines says of creating an album, and if you’re familiar with Metric’s catalogue, it’s easy to see how they’ve lived out that idea. Formed in 1998, the Canadian-American band has five full-length studio albums to their name, each showcasing their ability to

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Pretty Lights Looks Beyond the Light Show http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22147-pretty-lights-looks-beyond-the-light-show.html

 Right now, electronic music is more than a trend. It’s a tidal wave. Stars like Tiesto, Skrillex and David Guetta are filling arenas, and according to multiple media reports

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Waka Flocka Flame Can’t Rap and Is Proud of It http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22078-waka-flocka-flame-can%25E2%2580%2599t-rap-and-is-proud-of-it.html

“I just got attacked by a grandmother!” Waka Flocka Flame whispers into his phone after breaking free from her, almost laughing in disbelief. “For real: I just got attacked by an old lady!"

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Toro y Moi Trades Chillwave For Pop and House http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22056-toro-y-moi-trades-chillwave-for-pop-and-house.html

 Artist and producer Chaz Bundick, better known by his bilingual stage name Toro y Moi, is usually cited as a key figure in the chillwave

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City and Colour’s Dallas Green Puts Alexisonfire Behind Him http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22019-city-and-colour%25E2%2580%2599s-dallas-green-puts-alexisonfire-behind-him.html

 For a half-dozen years, Dallas Green did double duty in two very different musical projects. He was the guitarist, keyboardist and a main songwriter in Alexisonfire, a post-hardcore band playing hard-hitting rock

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The Men Trade Wild Rock ’n’ Roll for Rustic Pleasures http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21958-the-men-trade-wild-rock-%25E2%2580%2599n%25E2%2580%2599-roll-for-rustic-pleasures.html

 Listening to the roto-rooting squeal of “Grave Desecration,” a track from The Men’s 2010 album Immaculada, you’d never guess that three years later the band would be releasing an EP recorded around a campfire in the

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Wale Vies to One Up Himself http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21918-wale-vies-to-one-up-himself.html

 Rapper Wale has never made a secret of his desire to have each of his albums outsell the last. He titled his second album Ambition after all. On his latest album, The

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Songs Come Easy for Blitzen Trapper http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21881-songs-come-easy-for-blitzen-trapper.html

 Some bands switch labels to march up the ladder and expand their reach, while others do so seeking reinvention. For the eclectic Portland country/folk outfit Blitzen Trapper, their longtime record deal with Sub Pop—which released four of the band’s previous six albums, including

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Hello Death Find Comfort in Mortality http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21832-hello-death-find-comfort-in-mortality.html

 A band name can be worth a thousand words, and Hello Death says it all. The Milwaukee folk group that shares members with Altos released its debut self-titled album in June, and it’s the kind of decidedly bleak, darkly pretty thing you’d expect to hear from a band that has captured the essence of mortality in its name

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Billy Bragg Balances Activism with Artistry http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21803-billy-bragg-balances-activism-with-artistry.html

 Being fiercely independent in the music business is admirable, but it’s also challenging. On the one hand you have all the control, but on the other you have all the responsibility, and in a competitive world

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Zedd Talks Electronic Music, ‘Clarity’ and the Art of the Album http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21770-zedd-talks-electronic-music-%25E2%2580%2598clarity%25E2%2580%2599-and-the-art-of-the-album.html

 Before he reinvented himself as the electronic producer Zedd, Anton Zaslavski spent nearly a decade in his rock/metal band Dioramic, without much to show for it. The group played a few tours and signed to a

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David Hazeltine Honors Cedar Walton, Jazz Great - How the late jazz pianist left his mark on the entire Milwaukee jazz scene http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21749-david-hazeltine-honors-cedar-walton-jazz-great-how-the-late-jazz-pianist-left-his-mark-on-the-entire-milwaukee-jazz-scene.html At 4 a.m. on Aug.19, David Hazeltine received a text saying that his friend and mentor Cedar Walton, a giant of jazz piano, had passed away at age 79. Walton’s name doesn't readily elicit a s]]> Like Father, Like Son: Zappa Plays ‘Roxy & Elsewhere’ http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21732-like-father-like-son-zappa-plays-%25E2%2580%2598roxy-elsewhere%25E2%2580%2599.html

 Dweezil Zappa and his siblings Moon, Ahmet and Diva grew up under the roof of their father, the famous, eccentric and genius musician Frank Zappa. Along with their mother Gail, the Zappa clan was sometimes

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HARLEY-DAVIDSON 110TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION CALENDER http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21705-harley-davidson-110th-anniversary-celebration-calender.html THURSDAY, AUGUST 29 Music at the Summerfest Grounds:   MARCUS AMPITHEATRE 7:30 – Toby Keith Opening act: Kip Moore   BMO HARRIS PAVILION 1:00 – Whiskey of the Da]]> Aerosmith Set Aside Their Differences http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21690-aerosmith-set-aside-their-differences.html

 It took Aerosmith 11 years to release an album of new original material, Music From Another Dimension, but the album could have easily not happened at all

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Northless Exorcise Hurt Through Metal http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21643-northless-exorcise-hurt-through-metal.html

 “Heavy” is the word used most often to describe the sound of Milwaukee-based metal outfit Northless—with “brutal” coming in as a close second. On their breakthrough

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Soul Low’s Nervy, Effusive Indie-Rock http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21618-soul-low%25E2%2580%2599s-nervy-effusive-indie-rock.html

“All my favorite singers couldn’t sing,” David Berman once croaked on a Silver Jews record. It’s unclear whether the guys in the Milwaukee trio Soul Low are Silver Jews people—if they are, the influence isn’t

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Yes Revisit Three Classic Albums http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21584-yes-revisit-three-classic-albums.html

 The first time Yes drummer Alan White had to play songs from the 1973 album Close To The Edge, it was under less than

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The National’s Emotional Muddle http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21532-the-national%25E2%2580%2599s-emotional-muddle.html

 The National’s albums don’t come easy. Most of the veteran indie-rock band’s records have been the product of turbulence and bickering, with singer Matt Berninger butting

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Foxygen: Reverent Oddballs http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21508-foxygen-reverent-oddballs.html

 When it came to writing the follow-up to their DIY album Take the Kids Off Broadway, Sam France and Jonathan Rado of the California band Foxygen didn’t have to search too long to find inspiration. The duo experienced a fury of creativity long before they headed to the studio. That’s

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Megadeth Gives in to Paranoia http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21468-megadeth-gives-in-to-paranoia.html

 It may sound strange to suggest that a band that has been together for more than 30 years is still capable of releasing an album that captures the feeling of being

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Jon Phillip Sobers Up, Rocks Out in the ‘Good Land’ http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21419-jon-phillip-sobers-up-rocks-out-in-the-%25E2%2580%2598good-land%25E2%2580%2599.html By the time Jon Phillip sloshed off his plane at Mitchell International, he was blackout drunk]]> Vic and Gab Open Their Hearts http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21401-vic-and-gab-open-their-hearts.html

 As watershed cultural moments for music go, the mid-’00s Fox drama “The O.C.” probably won’t be remembered up there with The Beatles playing “Ed Sullivan” or the

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The Gleefully Consistent World of Matt and Kim http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21355-the-gleefully-consistent-world-of-matt-and-kim.html

 Matt Johnson has never had milk in his cereal. “I’m not vegan or lactose intolerant or anything, and cereal is pretty much my

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The Return of The Violent Femmes http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21318-the-return-of-the-violent-femmes.html

 No one was more surprised than Violent Femmes’ drummer Victor DeLorenzo when the play button was pressed and the band’s six-year pause ended. “Gordon [Gano] called me last October, on John Lennon’s birthday

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Wake Owl: Songs of the Soil http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21261-wake-owl-songs-of-the-soil.html

 Traveling the world, working on farms: This is a great roots-music backstory. It is also the backstory of Colyn Cameron

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Bombino: Journeys of a Global Nomad http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21188-bombino-journeys-of-a-global-nomad.html

Growing up as a member of the Tuareg people in western Africa, Omara “Bombino” Moctar realized that his home was often not a permanent one. Instead, he found a sense of home in being on the move

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Thirty Years of They Might Be Giants http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21143-thirty-years-of-they-might-be-giants.html When Nanobots arrived on March 5, it became the 16th album the duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell has released as They Might]]> Japandroids: Bottling the Enthusiasm http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21111-japandroids-bottling-the-enthusiasm.html

 The result is an album that plays like an especially participatory concert, though King is quick to note that it’s not actually a substitute...

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For Foals, the Third Time’s the Charm http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21059-for-foals-the-third-time%25E2%2580%2599s-the-charm.html

 Edwin Congreave says that Foals recent third album, Holy Fire, was easily the least stressful and smoothest album the group has made. “This album, we made it in London,” the keyboardist

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The Tao of Fred Durst http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-21020-the-tao-of-fred-durst.html

 Things are good for Limp Bizkit these days. Improbably good, even. After a decade marked by transition, turmoil and hiatus, the rap-rock band has settled into a comfortable working groove. The group is enjoying its first

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Big Boi Carries On http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20983-big-boi-carries-on.html Fans longing for an Outkast reunion should imagine how Big Boi feels. The rapper has made no secret of his desire to see his pioneering Atlanta hip-hop duo end its indefinite hiatus, but his estranged collaborator André]]> Lucero Embrace Memphis http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20943-lucero-embrace-memphis.html

 When guitarist Brian Venable of the Memphis band Lucero visits Milwaukee or Wisconsin to play a show or see friends, he’s always fascinated by the many historic and unique buildings dotting

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Dana Coppafeel and SPEAK Easy, Milwaukee’s Hip-Hop Odd Couple http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20905-dana-coppafeel-and-speak-easy-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-hip-hop-odd-couple.html You’d be hard pressed to find a pair of local rappers more mismatched than Dana Coppafeel and SPEAK Easy. The living embodiment of an early Beastie Boys single, Coppafeel is one of the Milwaukee rap scene’s great misfit]]> Carrie Rodriguez Finds Her Voice http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20863-carrie-rodriguez-finds-her-voice.html

 It would seem only natural that Carrie Rodriguez would have made the move into songwriting and being a solo artist in her own right after playing fiddle as a sideman

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Garbage Stick Together This Time http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20840-garbage-stick-together-this-time.html

 Garbage have been on the road for a long time now. By the time they finish their tour behind their latest album, 2012’s Not Your Kind of People, later this month, the veteran alt-rock band will have been touring for over a year

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Wavves Mature, Slowly http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20791-wavves-mature-slowly.html

 While they get plenty of hype, people seem to find a lot of reasons to dismiss Wavves—the grungy California garage outfit led by Nathan Williams—portraying them as drunken louts whose rapid rise to notoriety must

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Another Dose of Scottish Pessimism from Frightened Rabbit http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20767-another-dose-of-scottish-pessimism-from-frightened-rabbit.html

 Everything you need to know about Frightened Rabbit comes from a place: Scotland. That’s the home of the indie rock band, and its culture has informed Frightened Rabbit leader Scott Hutchinson—which means you’ll rarely hear

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Songs of Leonard Cohen - The enduring significance of a great writer http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20716-songs-of-leonard-cohen-the-enduring-significance-of-a-great-writer.html

 Leonard Cohen emerged as a recording artist in the 1960s, but even then, he seemed to be in but not of his era. The memorable songs he authored in those years, including

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Doubling Down - Tegan and Sara Go All-In On Pop http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20686-doubling-down-tegan-and-sara-go-all-in-on-pop.html

 There’s no more challenging dive than the one from a cult perch into the mainstream. Many artists take it only unwittingly, but a few

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Tame Impala’s Elusive Psych-Pop Experiment http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20643-tame-impala%25E2%2580%2599s-elusive-psych-pop-experiment.html

 If there’s a bellwether to determining a buzz band’s future, it lies in the sophomore record. Poor responses to follow-up albums have sunk many promising careers (look at Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or Tapes ’n Tapes)

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Hot Coffin’s Self-Accepting Rock ’n’ Roll http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20607-hot-coffin%25E2%2580%2599s-self-accepting-rock-%25E2%2580%2599n%25E2%2580%2599-roll.html The 2000s found punk music in transition, as the purebred traditionalist and pop-punk bands of the ’90s gave way to a tide of younger emo and post-hardcore groups with more dramatic songs and fussier hair. For a while these]]> Forty Years of Not Knowing Who The Residents Are http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20586-forty-years-of-not-knowing-who-the-residents-are.html If the eyes are the windows to the soul, The Residents in their most famous visual incarnation provided some of the strangest, most soulful music of the last half-century. The band’s striking visual presence]]> The Vaccines Discover Their Identity http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20545-the-vaccines-discover-their-identity.html

 “When you’re 24 and young and bored and don't know who you are no more, there’s no hope, and it’s time to come of age.”

These words, which appear in English rock band The Vaccines’ song “No Hope,” offer a candid look at a common struggle many face

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Yo La Tengo Will Not Be Around Forever http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20511-yo-la-tengo-will-not-be-around-forever.html

 Yo La Tengo have just returned from a tour of West Coast record stores, part of an aggressive first-week push behind their new album, Fade, and guitarist Ira Kaplan is adjusting to the full schedule. “I think in this modern record age, there’s more activity than ever focused on the initial week

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Punch Brothers Preserve Bluegrass’s Spirit of Innovation http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20471-punch-brothers-preserve-bluegrass%25E2%2580%2599s-spirit-of-innovation.html

 There’s nothing like a crowd to drive ambitious souls in new directions. So while the Brooklyn quintet Punch Brothers is a string band with a long collective pedigree in roots music, they’re also notable for their skill

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Marilyn Manson Escapes His Funk http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20441-marilyn-manson-escapes-his-funk.html

 Despite his reputation as a shock-rocker, Marilyn Manson insists he doesn’t want to be

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Bicentennial Rub: Fake live album, real protest http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20418-bicentennial-rub-fake-live-album-real-protest.html

 It’s not without irony that Peder Hedman now plays guitar in the ’80s-style punk band Bicentennial Rub, since Hedman spent the actual ’80s far removed from punk. He was too deeply ingrained in psychedelia at the time

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Paper Holland’s Long-in-the-Making Debut http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20394-paper-holland%25E2%2580%2599s-long-in-the-making-debut.html

 Most students go through college faster than it took Milwaukee’s Paper Holland to finish their debut full-length, Happy Belated. In fact, the recording process resembled something like an education for the band

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Dustin Diamond Revisits The ’90s http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20367-dustin-diamond-revisits-the-%25E2%2580%259990s.html

 It’s been an inglorious run for Dustin Diamond post-“Saved by the Bell.” Since waving goodbye to the show in 2000, Diamond has appeared on seemingly any reality show that would have him, including “Celebrity Boxing

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Sugar Stems: Amps and Moxie http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20339-sugar-stems-amps-and-moxie.html A self-described “poppy, fun rock ‘n’ roll band,” Sugar Stems will release their second album, Can’t Wait, at a Dec. 21 show at the Cactus Club. They hope it won’t be their last]]> The Essential Milwaukee Albums of 2012 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20307-the-essential-milwaukee-albums-of-2012.html Compiling an annual list of the most noteworthy Milwaukee albums is always one of the most difficult assignments of the year, but this year it was easy in some respects. On one hand, there’s no way to do justice to the breadth]]> The Joy Formidable’s Fragile Barrage http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20289-the-joy-formidable%25E2%2580%2599s-fragile-barrage.html

  One of this year’s most effective music videos is also one of the most flagrantly ridiculous. In the grandiose black and white footage accompanying The Joy Formidable’s “Wolf’s Law,” the full cycle of life

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Walk The Moon’s Chipper Communal Rock http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20236-walk-the-moon%25E2%2580%2599s-chipper-communal-rock.html

 A lot of things were different for Walk The Moon when it came time to record their second album. Where the group’s debut, I Want! I Want!, was self-produced and self-released, the band signed to major label RCA

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Titus Andronicus vs. Ideological Oppression http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20210-titus-andronicus-vs-ideological-oppression.html Much has been made of the first couplet on “Ecce Homo,” the lead track on New York-based Titus Andronicus’ latest album, Local Business. “Okay, I think, by now,” rambles vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stickles]]> Staying True to Matt & Kim http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20129-staying-true-to-matt-kim.html Matt & Kim keyboardist Matt Johnson knows the duo’s live shows are one of its biggest assets. The concerts have become legendary for the inclusive, participatory vibe]]> Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hall of Famers http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20078-red-hot-chili-peppers-hall-of-famers.html

 The Red Hot Chili Peppers had major occasion to celebrate their history and accomplishments this spring, when the band was inducted into...

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Wiz Khalifa: Life Beyond Rolling Papers http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20043-wiz-khalifa-life-beyond-rolling-papers.html

 Wiz Khalifa seems all too aware that music has long had its share of one-hit wonders, and that hip-hop fans in particular are always looking for the next big thing...

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The xx Go Small http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-20011-the-xx-go-small.html

 It’s hard to listen to the hushed, minimal pop of The xx’s debut album without feeling like you’re eavesdropping. When guitarist Romy Madley Croft and bassist Oliver Sim trade verses with each other...

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Dr. Dog Goes With the Flow http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19977-dr-dog-goes-with-the-flow.html

 2009 proved to be a big year for psychedelic chamber-pop darlings Dr. Dog. That summer, the band stepped out of their comfort zone and into the relative big leagues, leaving their hometown label Park the Van Records...

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Cory Chisel’s Americana, On His Own Terms http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19929-cory-chisel%25E2%2580%2599s-americana-on-his-own-terms.html

 One might have thought Cory Chisel would have been disappointed when it became obvious...

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Two Gallants: Refreshed, Renewed and Louder http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19899-two-gallants-refreshed-renewed-and-louder.html


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The Continued Vitality of Mission of Burma http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19847-the-continued-vitality-of-mission-of-burma.html


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Yo-Dot: Hard-Edged Rap With a Calm State of Mind http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19819-yo-dot-hard-edged-rap-with-a-calm-state-of-mind.html

 The clock works against players in most classic video games. Any moment they’re not collecting coins, completing...

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Minus the Bear, a Band Divided http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19763-minus-the-bear-a-band-divided.html
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Field Report's Moment http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19699-field-reports-moment.html In what may be remembered as one of the most fruitful breakups of all time...]]> The Politics of Meat Loaf http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19625-the-politics-of-meat-loaf.html Meat Loaf's blockbuster 1977 major-label debut, Bat Out of Hell, set the template for most everything...]]> The Brian Jonestown Massacre Does Berlin http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19578-the-brian-jonestown-massacre-does-berlin.html With its established arts industry, buzzing nightlife and cosmopolitan character, Berlin...]]> After a Shake-up, Barenaked Ladies Redefine Themselves http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19514-after-a-shake-up-barenaked-ladies-redefine-themselves.html From Bob and Doug to John Candy...]]> Sharon Van Etten's Songs of Heartbreak and Transience http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19448-sharon-van-ettens-songs-of-heartbreak-and-transience.html “The thing about revisiting cities...]]> Stevie Nicks Breaks Her Songwriting Routine http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19390-stevie-nicks-breaks-her-songwriting-routine.html When Stevie Nicks decided to record her first solo album in 10 years, she called her old pal...]]> Counting Crows' Different Kind of Covers Album http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19316-counting-crows-different-kind-of-covers-album.html Covers records are often a band's attempt to showcase their influences and explain how their...]]> Liars Reinvent Themselves, Again http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19250-liars-reinvent-themselves-again.html A pivotal challenge facing every...]]> Anthony Hamilton Settles In http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19178-anthony-hamilton-settles-in.html Even more than most of the other neo-soul singers who emerged at the turn of the century...]]> The Beach Boys Reunion That Almost Wasn't http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19098-the-beach-boys-reunion-that-almost-wasnt.html As late as last summer, it looked like this year's 50th anniversary of the Beach Boys wouldn't...]]> Patrick Watson's Traveling Chamber Pop http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-19027-patrick-watsons-traveling-chamber-pop.html Although the modern chamber pop composer has a relatively small field to play on, the competition...]]> Chris Robinson Taps the Dead and Creates a Brotherhood http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18970-chris-robinson-taps-the-dead-and-creates-a-brotherhood.html “I've never really made a lot of decisions...]]> How Destroyer Quit Rock 'n' Roll http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18902-how-destroyer-quit-rock-n-roll.html Destroyer has released nine albums since the band began in the mid-'90s as a lo-fi solo...]]> Langhorne Slim Finds Solace on the Road http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18832-langhorne-slim-finds-solace-on-the-road.html “Most relationships start breaking up the day you get in them,” Sean Scolnick says from a couch...]]> Remembering Milwaukee's Punk Scene - Lest We Forget brings together bands from the '80s http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18759-remembering-milwaukees-punk-scene-lest-we-forget-brings-together-bands-from-the-80s.html If one marker of growing old is the realization that the companions of youth are dying, then...]]> A Rawer Alejandro Escovedo http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18696-a-rawer-alejandro-escovedo.html During the first phase of his solo career, Alejandro Escovedo certainly made some fine albums...]]> Blowtorch by Himself - Milwaukee songwriter releases two solo albums http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18626-blowtorch-by-himself-milwaukee-songwriter-releases-two-solo-albums.html Spend enough time on the streets of Milwaukee's East Side and you'll surely encounter Eric...]]> Poliça's Somber, Mysterious R&B http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18560-policcedilas-somber-mysterious-rampb.html Getting hitched to a band mate unquestionably has its advantages. For one, spending time together...]]> Juniper Tar's Collective Voice http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18489-juniper-tars-collective-voice.html In this era of digital downloads, home recording programs and file-sharing options like SoundCloud...]]> Sammy Goes Solo - Sam Llanas reflects on life after The BoDeans http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18419-sammy-goes-solo-sam-llanas-reflects-on-life-after-the-bodeans.html An affinity for night is a large part of both the public and private persona of musician Sam Llanas...]]> Milwaukee Day Celebrates Milwaukee's Milwaukeeness http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18346-milwaukee-day-celebrates-milwaukees-milwaukeeness.html As holiday origin stories go, Milwaukee Day's beginning is hardly the pilgrims feasting with...]]> Mason Jennings, On His Own Terms http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18279-mason-jennings-on-his-own-terms.html Not everyone is cut out for the big time. Musician Tom Russell put it best when an A&R flack pressed...]]> Fresh Cut Collective's Live Hip-Hop http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18169-fresh-cut-collectives-live-hip-hop.html ]]> Megafaun Wings It http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18099-megafaun-wings-it.html Megafaun is on the unglamorous end of one of music's most romanticized origin stories...]]> 2012 SXSW Recap: A Very Crowded Party http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18100-2012-sxsw-recap-a-very-crowded-party.html It's not entirely clear what the annual South By Southwest music festival accomplishes anymore. Once an industry shindig where buzz bands played in hopes of landing a record deal, the four-day event (10 days, counting the film and interactive...]]> Ike Reilly's Hard-Luck Tales http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18030-ike-reillys-hard-luck-tales.html Even though he's only in his late 40s, Ike Reilly speaks like a man strangled by the Great Depression...]]> Group of the Altos Goes Big http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17958-group-of-the-altos-goes-big.html An oft-employed mentality these days seems to be the back-to-basics approach, where bands...]]> Gomez Celebrates 15 Years of Being Average Blokes http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17860-gomez-celebrates-15-years-of-being-average-blokes.html “We've never been fashionable,” Gomez's Ben Ottewell says in his deep-set voice. “We were never...]]> Trey Songz, Last R&B Singer Standing http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17790-trey-songz-last-rampb-singer-standing.html The last half-decade has been a transitional one for contemporary R&B. One of the dominant...]]> John Prine - Reflections on a Folk Singer http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17718-john-prine-reflections-on-a-folk-singer.html “I like his smile,” my mother always says when we listen to John Prine. It's a smile that represents the man well. John Prine is an American legend who continues to write, sing and perform songs since his 1971 debut. He is now in his fifth decade...]]> Charles Bradley Finally Gets His Moment http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17722-charles-bradley-finally-gets-his-moment.html Charles Bradley realized what he wanted to do with his life at an early age, an epiphany reached...]]> Heartless Bastards Retreat to the Mountains
 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17650-heartless-bastards-retreat-to-the-mountains%25E2%2580%25A8.html It's a story everyone's heard: One winter Justin Vernon coops up in his Eau Claire cabin...]]> The Low Anthem Searches for the Perfect Room http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17582-the-low-anthem-searches-for-the-perfect-room.html Lots of bands go into making new albums wanting to capture the sound of their live performances...]]> A More Polished Smith Westerns http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17456-a-more-polished-smith-westerns.html For most indie acts, luck means your career follows a slight incline. Then there are those acts...]]> The Lemonheads in the Land Down Under http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17392-the-lemonheads-in-the-land-down-under.html This winter's Lemonheads tour coincides with the release of a new, quite unique album...]]> Head On Electric's Different Kind of Grunge http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17336-head-on-electrics-different-kind-of-grunge.html Head On Electric's Sleep Slaughter Sheep isn't a debut album, but it could easily be mistaken...]]> Milwaukee Record Labels On the Rise in 2012 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17278-milwaukee-record-labels-on-the-rise-in-2012.html It has become something of a given that the Internet age has been less than kind to record labels...]]> Camper Van Beethoven Thrives Amid Decadent Decay http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17217-camper-van-beethoven-thrives-amid-decadent-decay.html “Dangerous business, using irony in America.” That's what David Lowery's English aunt...]]> The Smoking Popes Revisit High School http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17162-the-smoking-popes-revisit-high-school.html The Smoking Popes' punchy pop-punk, sensitive lyrics and crooned vocals helped influence...]]> The Essential Milwaukee Albums of 2011 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17078-the-essential-milwaukee-albums-of-2011.html Milwaukee's music scene has never been known for a single sound, but in 2011...]]> Nick Lowe Reflects on a Life in Rock 'n' Roll http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-17003-nick-lowe-reflects-on-a-life-in-rock-n-roll.html Rocker Nick Lowe was late for his interview. As someone who prides himself on reliability...]]> White Rabbits Tease Album Three http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16939-white-rabbits-tease-album-three.html As with The Replacements' Let It Be and Radiohead's OK Computer, third albums often...]]> Beirut: On Travels and Homecomings http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16861-beirut-on-travels-and-homecomings.html “Ha, not really, no,” Zach Condon says with a laugh, when asked if there's...]]> Yellow Ostrich: Reinventing the Basics http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16795-yellow-ostrich-reinventing-the-basics.html Alex Schaaf has a knack for vocal harmonies—which seems like an odd thing to say since...]]> tUnE-yArDs and the Struggle of Letting Go http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16734-tune-yards-and-the-struggle-of-letting-go.html There's a tension attempting to pull apart almost any buzz band: In order to be successful...]]> David Bazan Owns His Thoughts http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16620-david-bazan-owns-his-thoughts.html David Bazan likes thinking things through. His songs have always maintained intimate connections...]]> Brother Ali Lands on His Feet http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16539-brother-ali-lands-on-his-feet.html In this era of Internet users typing vicious attacks behind the curtain of their laptops...]]> A Quarter-Century of Widespread Panic http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16464-a-quarter-century-of-widespread-panic.html It's rare for bands to last 25 years. It's rarer still for bands to stay together that long...]]> Reclaiming the Smashing Pumpkins http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16394-reclaiming-the-smashing-pumpkins.html If you only know one thing about the reunited Smashing Pumpkins...]]> Reading Stephen Malkmus http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16324-reading-stephen-malkmus.html Perhaps the most quintessentially Pavement show Stephen Malkmus ever performed in Milwaukee...]]> St. Vincent, Without the Wink and Smile http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16254-st-vincent-without-the-wink-and-smile.html Annie Clark's first records as St. Vincent tempered her sometimes dark songwriting with generous...]]> Cut Copy: Restless and Ever-Growing http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16174-cut-copy-restless-and-ever-growing.html Cut Copy never seems to stop growing. After releasing the single “1981” and the EP I Thought...]]> The World Comes to Humboldt Park - Milwaukee's Global Union music festival http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16103-the-world-comes-to-humboldt-park-milwaukees-global-union-music-festival.html “This is the first time we've ever brought anyone back,” says David Ravel. The artistic director of Global Union...]]> A Greener Music Festival - Rock the Green strives for near-zero waste http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16098-a-greener-music-festival-rock-the-green-strives-for-near-zero-waste.html It doesn't take an expert to understand the environmental toll most outdoor music festivals take...]]> John Hiatt Taps His Earthy Side http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-16024-john-hiatt-taps-his-earthy-side.html Looking back, it was obvious that John Hiatt was born to be a songwriter...]]> TV on the Radio Goes (Relatively) Pop http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15958-tv-on-the-radio-goes-%2528relatively%2529-pop.html Things aren't always what they seem, particularly in the movie-magic land of Los Angeles...]]> The War on Drugs' Hypnotic, Sonic Assault http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15838-the-war-on-drugs-hypnotic-sonic-assault.html For Adam Granduciel of Philadelphia's...]]> Brief Candles' Long-Awaited Follow-Up http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15784-brief-candles-long-awaited-follow-up.html Brief Candles singer Kevin Dixon opens the song “Skylark” on the band's new Fractured Days...]]> Rasputina Marches On http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15706-rasputina-marches-on.html Rasputina was born two decades ago from songwriter Melora Creager...]]> Collections of Colonies of Bees' Many Layers http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15646-collections-of-colonies-of-bees-many-layers.html Collections of Colonies of Bees is best described as an experimental post-rock band, but that label misrepresents the spirit of their records, since the term “experimental” long...]]> Eels Make Peace With the Past http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15647-eels-make-peace-with-the-past.html Over the last 20 years Mark Oliver Everett has built a deep catalog of evocative, idiosyncratic rock as the auteur behind the Eels. Everett sings in a hoarse, flattened voice that dovetails with the downcast tenor of the songs. But if there's a gloomy undercurrent to songs like “Novocaine for the Soul...]]> Celebrating Black Music - Charlie Wilson, Roy Ayers, Clarence Carter play the African World Festival http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15564-celebrating-black-music-charlie-wilson-roy-ayers-clarence-carter-play-the-african-world-festival.html What the one-day African World Festival lacks in length, it makes up for in music, much of it local. The celebration of African American culture comes to the lakefront on Saturday, Aug. 6. Charlie Wilson could be the biggest draw among the act's four...]]> Underoath's Innovative Metalcore http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15511-underoaths-innovative-metalcore.html The problem with success is that people want to repeat it. Too often bands focus more on the end than the process. And in attempting to replicate a triumph, they lose track of the creativity that first made the music interesting. That's how most metalcore slipped into rote predictability...]]> Lucero Gets Soulful http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15451-lucero-gets-soulful.html For years, Lucero has been tagged as an alt-country group, but ask frontman Ben Nichols about the label and it's obvious he's always seen his band in a different light. “When we started, we got lumped in with the alt-country stuff...]]> The Meat Puppets Work Fast http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15372-the-meat-puppets-work-fast.html For someone who remembers all the details, Curt Kirkwood is a terrible historian of the band he fronts. He knows the facts (the Meat Puppets have been meat-puppeting since 1980) but puts no weight on the context. And there is a lot of context...]]> Local Love - Summerfest's Cascio Stage spotlights Milwaukee http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15286-local-love-summerfests-cascio-stage-spotlights-milwaukee.html For much of Summerfest's history, local bands were an afterthought. With so many touring acts dominating the schedule, local bands were left to compete for unglamorous day slots, with preference often given to reliable draws like cover bands over groups with edgier or more esoteric sounds...]]> Clarence Clemons, 1942-2011 - Remembering rock's greatest saxophonist http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15222-clarence-clemons-1942-2011-remembering-rocks-greatest-saxophonist.html The first time I saw Clarence Clemons, he gave me a sharp poke in the shoulder and told me I'd better wait for his boss. I didn't know who he was, but he was too damn big to poke back with any kind of authority. I also didn't know that his boss was The Boss...]]> Absolutely Embrace Imperfections http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15168-absolutely-embrace-imperfections.html All emergent musicians know that the process of creating an album is littered with obstacles, hitches and other assorted impediments to progress, but many also realize that those mistakes become the character of the music, inspiring innovation and personalizing its sound. The Milwaukee punk three-piece...]]> Against Me!: Reformed Teenage Anarchists http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15146-against-me_-reformed-teenage-anarchists.html Nobody's about to mistake Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel for Bruce Springsteen. Under Gabel's gruff, hoarse voice and his band's hard-charging punk sound, however, there are similarities: Both acts are known for impassioned performances, smart, heartfelt anthems and an inherent belief in the...]]> Producers Take the Spotlight at the Miltown Beat Down http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-15072-producers-take-the-spotlight-at-the-miltown-beat-down.html Six years ago, one local producer fed up with Milwaukee's segregated rap scene decided to try to unify the community through a beat-battle competition. And the Miltown Beat Down has done just that. Founder and emcee Jordan Lee, aka DJ Madhatter...]]> Iron & Wine, Supersized http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14995-iron-wine-supersized.html It's ironic that one of the largest bands on the road this spring will be Iron & Wine, the group that began a decade ago as just one man, Sam Beam, making stripped-back, acoustic albums. Beam is still...]]> The Baseball Project Circles the Bases http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14939-the-baseball-project-circles-the-bases.html While it's true that rock music has produced more evocative songs about heroin use—“Mr. Brownstone,” “Under the Bridge,” “Running to Stand Still,” “The Needle & the Damage Done,” etc.—than it has about the American pastime, The Baseball Project is working to even the score. In March the supergroup featuring members of R.E.M. and The Dream Syndicate released...]]> The Sea and Cake and the Pursuit of Inspiration http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14866-the-sea-and-cake-and-the-pursuit-of-inspiration.html Chicago's musicians are some of the most striking in the United States. They proudly defy most of those “charming Midwestern” characteristics that cloyingly cling to many musicians in the surrounding region, yet unwittingly steal a bit of it, making a case for cool smarts with many a jazz and experimental...]]> Boy Dirt Car Celebrates 30 Years of Noise http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14804-boy-dirt-car-celebrates-30-years-of-noise.html "I found myself recording sounds in Milwaukee in 2007 with my old friends; it just sounded like Boy Dirt Car," Darren Brown says of the reformation of the band that made for one of Milwaukee's most cacophonous musical exports of the 1980s. "From there we slowly reassembled and released in 2007...]]> Story of His Life - Mike Ness stretches Social Distortion in new directions http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14724-story-of-his-life-mike-ness-stretches-social-distortion-in-new-directions.html Social Distortion is the rare punk act that not only still tours heartily more than three decades after its start, but still sounds fresh and vital doing it. Indeed, press frontman Mike Ness about the flood of old-school punk acts reunited and back on the road and he might even bristle...]]> Jayme Dawicki Celebrates Love http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14661-jayme-dawicki-celebrates-love.html Jayme Dawicki isn't the tortured type. The Milwaukee singer-songwriter giggles frequently and speaks in the cheery cadence you'd expect from a former Miss Wisconsin, and her emails usually contain at least...]]> The Pixies Reunion, Seven Years Later http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14557-the-pixies-reunion-seven-years-later.html After years of inner-band tension, singer Black Francis dissolved The Pixies in early 1993, notifying his band mates via fax. Given that famously acrimonious breakup, few fans had long-term hopes for...]]> Mike Watt Tries to Make Some Sense of Middle Age http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14479-mike-watt-tries-to-make-some-sense-of-middle-age.html I'll admit that I always get a bit nervous when interviewing someone like Mike Watt. As a huge fan of the Minutemen, the seminal punk band that featured Watt on bass, I found myself with a list of questions involving songs that are now more than 20 years...]]> The Wood Brothers, Plus One http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14328-the-wood-brothers-plus-one.html Oliver and Chris Wood want to come clean: The Wood Brothers name is something of...]]> Amos Lee's Second Career http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14258-amos-lees-second-career.html Whereas many young musicians decide to put college on hold to take a shot at having a...]]> The Rural Alberta Advantage: Songs of Relocation http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14179-the-rural-alberta-advantage-songs-of-relocation.html Give credit to Toronto's The Rural Alberta Advantage for its naming prowess: The group's songs are indeed about the advantages to living in rural Alberta. Neutral Milk Hotel, to whom the band often gets compared, never wrote songs about neutral milk or milk hotels...]]> For Sarah McLachlan, A Different Kind of Tour http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14109-for-sarah-mclachlan-a-different-kind-of-tour.html "As one door closes, another one opens." Canadian songstress Sarah McLachlan invokes...]]> The Love Language, Now With Less Fuzz http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-14042-the-love-language-now-with-less-fuzz.html There are many ways love can get you kicked in the shins. Stuart McLamb knows...]]> Milwaukee Jazz Vision’s Eastside Jazzfest - Brian Lynch headlines growing music festival http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13962-milwaukee-jazz-visionrss-eastside-jazzfest-brian-lynch-headlines-growing-music-festival.html The second Eastside Jazzfest isn’t actually being held on the East Side...]]> Lucinda Williams Counts Her Blessings (And Some Woes) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13889-lucinda-williams-counts-her-blessings-%2528and-some-woes%2529.html Though Lucinda Williams titled her new album Blessed, and she counts the many...]]> Best Coast, Under a Microscope http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13815-best-coast-under-a-microscope.html “Vocals have always been my strong point: The one thing I feel the most...]]> The Chapin Sisters, Siblings in Sync http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13737-the-chapin-sisters-siblings-in-sync.html There were three Chapin Sisters—well, two sisters and a half-sister—before Jessica Craven...]]> Disappears Add Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, Press Forward http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13647-disappears-add-sonic-youthrss-steve-shelley-press-forward.html Disappears work fast. Consisting of members from various other Chicago groups (most...]]> Ben Folds and Nick Hornby’s Dispatches From the Malcontent http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13679-ben-folds-and-nick-hornbyrss-dispatches-from-the-malcontent.html Nick Hornby is not a songwriter. He has occasionally written about songs (most extensively...]]> Cheap Trick Goes Big - Guitarist Rick Nielsen teases the band's 12-show ‘Dream Police' engagement http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13600-cheap-trick-goes-big-guitarist-rick-nielsen-teases-the-bands-12-show-lsdream-police-engagement.html Rick Nielsen doesn’t consider himself a rock star. Nonetheless, his expansive repertoire of worldwide tours, successful albums and substantial collection of guitars suggest otherwise. This month, the Cheap Trick guitarist and songwriter brings his band to the Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s Northern Lights Theater to showcase one of the band’s most celebrated albums, 1979’s Dream Police...]]> Liz Phair: Ever Changing, But Still Boy Crazy http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13605-liz-phair-ever-changing-but-still-boy-crazy.html Liz Phair’s musical career has been marked by moments of intense transformation, even outright rupture, with the vulnerable (albeit highly sexual) singer/songwriter of 1993’s Exile in Guyville morphing into the pop artist behind such chick-flick-friendly tunes as 2003’s “Extraordinary” and even taking a turn as a hip-hop performer on the 2010 track “Bollywood.” For many longtime...]]> Sat. Nite Duets’ Spontaneous Rock ’n’ Roll http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13539-sat-nite-duetsrs-spontaneous-rock-rsnrs-roll.html Like many bands, Milwaukee’s Sat. Nite Duets frequently takes refugee in their basement on weekends to experiment with finding the right sounds. While they may not have the most functional gear, the band has thrived in their basement environment, creating scrappy, psychedelic and dirty rock ’n’ roll. It’s in this environment that scruffy guitar riffs wrap loosely...]]> Wu-Tang Clan’s All-Media Ambitions - From film to video games, the rappers have attempted every medium http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13484-wu-tang-clanrss-all-media-ambitions-from-film-to-video-games-the-rappers-have-attempted-every-medium.html Wu-Tang Clan always wanted to take over the world. From the very beginning, the New York rap crew loaded their collective persona with a lot of tribal rhetoric and continually reiterated the idea of building an empire for themselves and not being fleeced by the entertainment industry. The most meaningful step in accomplishing their aspirations...]]> Girl Talk’s Recycled Content http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13428-girl-talkrss-recycled-content.html One unassuming Monday morning last month, Girl Talk posted a free download of his latest record, All Day, only hours after completing it. The record was promoted with little more than a press release and a couple of tweets, but demand for it nonetheless exceeded the server space his label allocated, crashing its website almost immediately. Music news outlets...]]> The Essential Milwaukee Albums of 2010 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13356-the-essential-milwaukee-albums-of-2010.html Morale in the Milwaukee music scene reached new heights this year, and for good reason. In 2010, the city produced great new music at a rate unseen all decade, with bold albums coming from veteran acts and newcomers alike. And for the first time in ages, listeners outside of Milwaukee seemed to be paying attention. I realized the impossibility of compiling a remotely comprehensive list of all the great local...]]> Tim Kasher vs. The Dullness of Adulthood http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13271-tim-kasher-vs-the-dullness-of-adulthood.html Tim Kasher has never shied away from making listeners uneasy. On his dozen or so records with Cursive and The Good Life, he has armed his songs with confrontational emotion, frank sexuality and bitter humor. Each record finds new ways to make even his most hardened fans flinch, but Kasher outdoes himself on one particular track from his new solo album, The Game of Monogamy. The self-hating...]]> OK Go Gets Funky http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13195-ok-go-gets-funky.html One thing that is immediately obvious when hearing OK Go’s latest album, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, is that the band didn’t try to write another song like “Here It Goes Again.” That tune, from the group’s 2005 album Oh No, gained attention for its breakout video, a take of the four band members doing a choreographed dance on treadmills to their peppy guitar-pop song. Rather than continue in the...]]> Loretta Lynn Reflects on Her Cross-Genre Appeal http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13105-loretta-lynn-reflects-on-her-cross-genre-appeal.html In one of the many country traditions she refuses to let pass, Loretta Lynn still wears elaborate gowns in concert, long-sleeved dresses loaded with sequins and pillows of fabric. Each is one of a kind, handmade by her assistant Tim Cobb. “He’s done all the sewing for 30 years and keeps us looking good, or me at least,” says the 76-year-old singer. “Somebody once said, ‘Loretta’s the only one on stage all fixed up,’ because...]]> Stornoway’s Songs From the Seaside http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-13042-stornowayrss-songs-from-the-seaside.html Sometimes it takes a journey into untamed seas to discover riches, while other times treasures can mysteriously wash ashore. When it comes to creating music for the U.K. band Stornoway, named after the Scottish seaside town, there are countless chances to uncover new and exciting surprises. There’s a bit of a seaside atmosphere and sense of discovery that flows through the band’s debut, Beachcomber’s Windowsill...]]> Jay Flash’s Rapidly Evolving Experimental Folk http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12971-jay-flashrss-rapidly-evolving-experimental-folk.html Jeff Flashinski does not have the disposition of a born performer. He’s soft-spoken and shy, and he tellingly cites among his heroes Jacques Brel, the French singer so nervous he famously threw up before every concert. Flashinski’s anxiety isn’t that severe, but nerves cut short his first live performance in 2008, and today he still fights onstage jitters. For as nervous as he can be in concert, though, Flashinski certainly doesn’t come across that...]]> John McLaughlin Honors Coltrane’s Music and Spirituality http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12898-john-mclaughlin-honors-coltranerss-music-and-spirituality.html If John Coltrane is the leading voice in jazz, then John McLaughlin is part of a large chorus of musicians singing his praises through emulation and homage. But the English-born jazz-fusion guitarist, who leapt on to the scene in the 1970s playing not with Coltrane but with Miles Davis, approaches the legendary reedman from both a musical and spiritual perspective. McLaughlin’s reverence is part of his own inner mounting flame of...]]> J. Cole’s High-Pressure Debut http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12819-j-colerss-high-pressure-debut.html In rap music, first impressions count. From Nas to Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G. to Eminem, many of the genre’s giants arrived with perfectly realized debut albums, instant classics that remain the foundation of their legacies. Especially in the East Coast rap tradition, no achievement is more romanticized than the classic first album, yet none is more difficult to pull off...]]> Eric & Magill’s Songs of Rekindled Friendship http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12743-eric-magillrss-songs-of-rekindled-friendship.html While touring through Ann Arbor, Mich., with the band Camden a decade ago, Eric Osterman met and fell in love with the woman who would become his wife. He didn’t have to think long before he moved there from Milwaukee to be with her. It was the perfect happy ending—except for the scorned Milwaukee band mates he left behind. At the time, Osterman’s departure seemed a betrayal...]]> Dr. Dog’s Misconceived Album http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12653-dr-dogrss-misconceived-album.html Dr. Dog bassist Toby Leaman readily admits that in many ways the band’s latest album, Shame, Shame, is not the record the group intended to make when it started on the project. “We thought we were all going to be able to sit down, and we’ve got five guys, one guy on drums, one guy on bass, one guy on keys and two guys on guitar, and we thought everybody would be able to do their thing...]]> The Felice Brothers: Restless Spirits and Rustic Stories http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12506-the-felice-brothers-restless-spirits-and-rustic-stories.html With a sound steeped in tradition, songwriting that’s earned them comparisons to Woody Guthrie and a young Bruce Springsteen, and a combination of perseverance and gutsy determination, New York’s tightknit back-porch Americana/folk rock troubadours The Felice Brothers have gone from playing family barbecues in their Catskill Mountains-based hometown...]]> Joan Baez Marks 50 Years of Folk and Activism http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12426-joan-baez-marks-50-years-of-folk-and-activism.html Joan Baez has been one of the leading protest singers of the past 50 years and an outspoken activist on behalf of enough causes to fill a notebook, but one thing she had always declined to do is endorse a candidate for political office on any level—until 2008, that is, when she broke with tradition to throw her support behind presidential candidate Barack Obama. “It’s just that this was a statesman and a highly intelligent human being,” Baez says, explaining...]]> Elections Have Consequences: Mass Transit http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12436-elections-have-consequences-mass-transit.html Recommitting to Broken Social Scene http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12356-recommitting-to-broken-social-scene.html Recorded in the aftermath of their breakout album, You Forgot it In People, Broken Social Scene’s 2005 self-titled album reflected the chaotic state of a band suddenly in demand. Brimming with fanfares, crescendos and competing arrangements yet still making room for guest musicians on top of the band’s 15 or so core...]]> Farm Aid’s Changing Crusade - The benefit concert celebrates its 25th anniversary in Milwaukee http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12354-farm-aidrss-changing-crusade-the-benefit-concert-celebrates-its-25th-anniversary-in-milwaukee.html Those alliances are part of the reason Farm Aid chose Milwaukee for its 25th anniversary concert, Fahy says. Another deciding factor was the size and convenience of Miller Park, with its retractable roof in case of rain. The stadium allows for a concert capacity of about 34,000, significantly larger than the roughly 21,000-person capacities of the amphitheaters where Farm Aid had...]]> Finding Second Sun http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12273-finding-second-sun.html A World of Music - Global Union festival returns to Humboldt Park http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12280-a-world-of-music-global-union-festival-returns-to-humboldt-park.html One image among many stands out from year one of Global Union, Milwaukee’s annual world music festival at Humboldt Park. “The last act was Kultur Shock, a Serbian thrash-punk-metal band,” recalls the festival’s creator, Alverno Presents’ artistic director, David Ravel. “And I saw a dozen African-American women thoroughly rocking out...]]> Cementing the Dirty Projectors http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12209-cementing-the-dirty-projectors.html Dave Longstreth hadn’t intended for the Dirty Projectors to become a real band. He took on the name in 2002 to package what were essentially solo albums, which he recorded with a large, rotating cast of musicians. More than two dozen players recorded and toured with Longstreth in those early years—among them was Ezra Koenig...]]> Pavement’s Limited-Time-Only Reunion http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12137-pavementrss-limited-time-only-reunion.html Pavement never seemed like a band that sweated the details. With their wry, stream-of-consciousness lyrics and disjointed structures, their songs played like first drafts of songs the group never got around to cleaning up, and the band projected a devil-may-care attitude that typecast them as slackers. That lackadaisical confidence...]]> Slash Goes Solo, In Good Company http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-12067-slash-goes-solo-in-good-company.html Slash’s band Velvet Revolver may still be looking for the right singer, but the guitarist didn’t have the same problem while recording his self-titled solo album. He found 13 of them. He recruited a baker’s dozen vocalists, each of whom took on lead vocals for one song on his new album, save for Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge, who sang two. Despite the many vocalists and...]]> Coliseum Carves Out a Legacy http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11984-coliseum-carves-out-a-legacy.html Much has been made about Coliseum’s recent jump from metal-heavy Relapse Records to more indie-friendly Temporary Residence. The move is seen as symbolizing a transition for the Louisville-based band, an attempt to become more than just a loud—if innovative—hardcore punk band. June’s House With a Curse, as this narrative continues, is the band’s stab...]]> Irish Fest’s Cross-Cultural Music Lineup http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11920-irish-festrss-cross-cultural-music-lineup.html Mention Irish Fest’s 30th anniversary and a number of images come to mind: patrons eating corned beef (10,000 pounds in 2009, to be exact), plenty of pub beverages, bagpipers, lectures on Irish history and culture, children’s contests for red hair and freckles, leprechauns (yes, there’s a gathering of the little men in green for the...]]> Temporary Interpol http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11847-temporary-interpol.html The stark cover of Interpol’s upcoming self-titled record illustrates the letters in the band’s name pulling away from each other and crumbling apart, an image it’s easy to read as symbolic of the state of the band, given how longtime bassist Carlos Dengler left the group shortly after they finished cutting the album. In lieu of announcing a permanent replacement for Dengler...]]> Melissa Etheridge Sings Her Own Truth http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11769-melissa-etheridge-sings-her-own-truth.html Melissa Etheridge’s heart beats with a courage and conviction unmatched by most performers. But the musician’s greatest strength may be her ability to look within and embrace herself as she is, something that has given her a unique niche in the traditionally male-dominated rock ’n’ roll landscape. Such courage lies at the heart of Fearless Love...]]> Interview: Rufus Wainwright Talks Family, Going Pop http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11767-interview-rufus-wainwright-talks-family-going-pop.html Plenty of songwriters were born into musical families, but few more so than Rufus Wainwright, the son of folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, and the older brother of folk-rock singer Martha Wainwright...]]> The Dead Weather Do the Supergroup Thing Right http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11703-the-dead-weather-do-the-supergroup-thing-right.html Few pop-music terms inspire more eyes to roll than “supergroup.” Defined as a band whose lineup consists of members from other notable acts, the word itself seems to ooze contrivance and ego in a way that makes it challenging for the music to live up to the hype generated by disparate famous people sharing the same stage. Too often the albums released by these groups...]]> Langhorne Slim Finds Where He Belongs http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11636-langhorne-slim-finds-where-he-belongs.html Singer-songwriter Langhorne Slim found time during a month off from his relentless touring schedule to finally throw down some roots, moving into a home in Portland, Ore., where he and his girlfriend will enjoy time away from his life on the road. For Slim, aka Sean Scolnick, who turns 30 next month, finding a permanent place to live is a career milestone, a welcome sign of achievement for a troubadour who...]]> Neon Indian Has a Lo-Fi Cell Phone http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11567-neon-indian-has-a-lo-fi-cell-phone.html Alan Palomo’s cell phone doesn’t seem to work. His voice fades in and out and disappears in cell phone static and T-Mobile reverb. There are beeps and clicks and oddly digitized sounds. Based on sheer technological prowess, this shouldn’t happen. Palomo plays electro-pop. His electronics should work. This is a man who has just purchased a Theremin, nature’s most complicated musical instrument, with money...]]> The Second Coming of Sublime http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11499-the-second-coming-of-sublime.html Bradley Nowell never lived to see his empire. The Sublime singer overdosed on heroin in the spring of 1996, just two months before his reggae-punk trio released the self-titled album that would become its breakthrough, selling 5 million copies and yielding a succession of alternative-rock hits. After Nowell’s death, Sublime’s label, Geffen, moved quickly to meet the sudden demand for a band that no longer...]]> ‘Devo Is Like the House Band on the Titanic’ http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11426-lsdevo-is-like-the-house-band-on-the-titanicrs.html In preparing its comeback album, Something for Everybody, Devo took the unusual step of inviting fans to pick the 12 songs from a pool of 16 that would make the album. “We did it on purpose as an experiment,” Gerald Casale explains in a recent phone interview. “It’s something we had never done. We were always hermetically sealed, like little aliens...]]> The Groove Stage, Summerfest’s Home for Local Music http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11333-the-groove-stage-summerfestrss-home-for-local-music.html Local bands have sometimes been lost in the shuffle at Summerfest, but for the last three years a stage dedicated exclusively to local and regional performers has showcased the kind of independent Milwaukee bands that the music festival had historically overlooked. Since quietly debuting in 2007, the Cascio Interstate Music Groove Stage has...]]> Holly Golightly Makes the Case for Stagnancy http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11270-holly-golightly-makes-the-case-for-stagnancy.html Holly Golightly is an artist stuck in a rut, and that’s just fine with her. The U.K. garage-rock songstress introduced herself to the world in the early ’90s as a member of the Thee Headcoatees, an all-girl garage quartet assembled by Billy Childish, the man dubbed by The New York Times as the “Picasso of Garage Rock.” She’s watched garage-rock evolve from college-radio obscurity into a Top 40 sensation...]]> Renewed Pornographers - After an introspective record, the pop group returns to the upbeat http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11176-renewed-pornographers-after-an-introspective-record-the-pop-group-returns-to-the-upbeat.html “I feel like even if The New Pornographers weren’t around, I’d still be making music. It’s shocking to think that this would become a career,” says Carl “A.C.” Newman, head of indie-pop pros The New Pornographers. “I’ll get checks in the mail and feel like I’ve won the lottery. I don’t feel like it’s real, sometimes.” Though Newman may still be in that euphoric, sleepwalking state that follows a practicing musician who becomes a working musician...]]> Tess Passes On - The Loss of a Longtime Milwaukee Musician http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11126-tess-passes-on-the-loss-of-a-longtime-milwaukee-musician.html Jazz in the Park Kicks Off With The Bad Plus http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11106-jazz-in-the-park-kicks-off-with-the-bad-plus.html Jazz in the Park kicks off its 20th anniversary season at Cathedral Square on Thursday, June 3, with one of the concert series’ more exciting headliners, the New York City avant-garde piano trio The Bad Plus. The Bad Plus thrashed its way into the jazz limelight after its 2003 debut on Columbia Records, These Are the Vistas, which featured deconstructed interpretations of non-jazz songs, like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” and Aphex Twin’s...]]> Building The Verge Music Festival - Summerfest launches an alternative music festival, but is it here to stay? http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-11037-building-the-verge-music-festival-summerfest-launches-an-alternative-music-festival-but-is-it-here-to-stay.html By the end, RiverSplash was on life support. For two decades, the event had marked the unofficial start of Milwaukee’s festival season the first weekend of each June, but following years of bad weather and even worse press after a 2008 shooting, organizers announced in December that RiverSplash wouldn’t return this year. That cancellation freed up a prime weekend for Summerfest officials...]]> To Sharon Jones, It’s Not Retro http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10963-to-sharon-jones-itrss-not-retro.html You can call Sharon Jones the hardest-working woman in show business. You can call her a stage sensation. Just don’t call her “retro.” Jones and her band the Dap-Kings make fine ’60s/’70s-rooted soul music, blending the sounds of Motown, Stax and Philly soul into an irresistible, timeless mix. For some that makes Jones retro. “People keep saying that,” she says. “I’m telling you what I keep telling everyone...]]> D. Ellzey’s Hip-Hop for Grown-Ups http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10889-d-ellzeyrss-hip-hop-for-grown-ups.html D. Ellzey knows he isn’t the only 30-something rapper, but sometimes it can feel that way. “A lot of rappers my age may have a family, business interests, a whole life outside of rap, but for some reason when they enter the rap realm, they don’t express those sides of themselves,” the Milwaukee rapper says. “They dumb it down, taking one part of themselves and exaggerating it. We all have a child inside of us...]]> Matt Pond PA’s Variations on a Theme http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10810-matt-pond-parss-variations-on-a-theme.html Matt Pond PA is no longer from PA, though after 12 years as a band, not much else has changed. And even that hasn’t changed much. Pond relocated his band from Philadelphia to Brooklyn seven years ago, so they’ve technically been Matt Pond NY for more than half their existence. But if you have a good thing going, why change it?]]> Public Image Ltd., Resurrected by Butter http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10697-public-image-ltd-resurrected-by-butter.html Given John Lydon’s strained relationship with the recording industry, it seems fitting that the reunion of his post-Sex Pistols band Public Image Ltd. has been funded not by a record label, but rather a butter company. In 2008, the British butter maker Country Life recruited Lydon for an unlikely TV commercial, compensating him generously. “I thought it was the most anarchistic thing I’d ever heard,” Lydon recalls...]]> Manchester Orchestra’s Louder Brand of Indie Rock http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10649-manchester-orchestrarss-louder-brand-of-indie-rock.html Manchester Orchestra isn’t from Manchester, nor is it an orchestra. It’s a rock band from Atlanta with some strong opinions on the state of commercial rock. “I think there’s definitely something lacking in popular rock music today, especially what gets played on the radio,” keyboardist Chris Freeman says. “You get Nickelback and Creed. We need something a lot more daring and challenging...]]> Henry Rollins: Marathon Man http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10413-henry-rollins-marathon-man.html Henry Rollins first hit the road with seminal punk rock band Black Flag in the early ’80s, an experience he details in his memoir, Get in the Van. He gained a new audience in the ’90s with the Rollins Band, and has since toured for spoken-word shows, written and self-published several books, done some acting, and hosted “The Henry Rollins Show” on the Independent Film Channel...]]> David Bazan, More Conflicted Than Ever - The fallen evangelical goes solo post-Pedro the Lion http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10338-david-bazan-more-conflicted-than-ever-the-fallen-evangelical-goes-solo-post-pedro-the-lion.html 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...]]> Gilda’s Benefit http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10258-gildarss-benefit.html Dessa’s Advanced Course on Hip-Hop http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10187-dessarss-advanced-course-on-hip-hop.html Aspiring rappers could learn a few things from Dessa, and not just in the abstract sense. The Twin Cities emcee teaches hip-hop studies for a diploma program at a St. Paul school called the McNally Smith College of Music. “I teach a course on music composition that focuses on lyrics,” says the 28-year-old rapper, born Maggie Wander. “It focuses on a lot of the same principles you might find in...]]> RJD2 on Building a Different Kind of Beat http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10118-rjd2-on-building-a-different-kind-of-beat.html Ramble John “RJ” Krohn, better known by his stage name RJD2, still remembers the moment that inspired him to begin creating the instrumental hip-hop compositions that would become his signature. “The big light bulb went off in my head the first time I bought a sampler,” says the producer. “I vividly remember the first time I made a beat and having this rude...]]> Zola Jesus’ Nika Roza Danilova Talks Opera, Apocalypse http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10066-zola-jesusrs-nika-roza-danilova-talks-opera-apocalypse.html With some resentment, Nika Roza Danilova grew up in the wooded outskirts of rural Merrill, Wis., where adopted the alter ego Zola Jesus “and forced people to call me that to further alienate myself.” By age 16, she began recording music...]]> The Magnetic Fields Go Folk, Broadly http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-10034-the-magnetic-fields-go-folk-broadly.html “I have an idea for a paradoxical theme album called Untitled, on which all the songs are called ‘Untitled,’” Stephin Merritt tells me. I have no idea whether he is kidding, but that’s nothing new. I never have any idea whether Merritt is kidding. In conversation and in song, Merritt has a droll, poker face of a voice, dry enough to suggest sarcasm but too stern to know for sure...]]> Hayward Williams: Songs From a Long Winter http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9959-hayward-williams-songs-from-a-long-winter.html Milwaukee’s harsh winters take a well-documented toll on us physically, numbing our limbs, wearing out our backs and testing our immune systems, but they can be just as rough on us psychologically, as the blustery weather confines us to our homes, isolating us from the world. Singer-songwriter Hayward Williams’ latest album, Cotton Bell, was born of this annual seclusion. “The last couple winters have been really hard...]]> Juniper Tar’s Howl Street Retreat http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9878-juniper-tarrss-howl-street-retreat.html Ah, the fabled cabin up north. It’s rivaled only by the bedroom and Folsom Prison in the pantheon of romanticized places to record an album, conjuring restorative images of nature and solitude, as well as a whiff of man-versus-wilderness excitement. Countless musicians have made the trek up to the woods hoping for inspiration to strike, and as recording technology grows cheaper and more...]]> John Forté’s Second Chance http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9791-john-forteacuterss-second-chance.html By 2000, John Forté was in a rut. Just a few years before, he’d been considered one of rap’s top talents, a triple-threat songwriter/producer/rapper who proved himself with his work on The Fugees’ groundbreaking 1996 album The Score. But Forté fell on tough times financially after his own 1998 solo record flopped and his label dropped him. For extra income he began working for...]]> Milwaukee Hardcore Takes on Domestic Abuse http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9753-milwaukee-hardcore-takes-on-domestic-abuse.html While hardcore may not be the most female-friendly genre, there is a long history of punk bands using the stage as a sort of bully pulpit to get their fans to think about such issues as domestic abuse, rape, and sexism. As a young suburban hardcore kid...]]> Burkina Electric, Lukas Ligeti’s Electronic Africa - Present Music's restless journey http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9735-burkina-electric-lukas-ligetirss-electronic-africa-present-musics-restless-journey.html Being the first ever electronica band from Burkina Faso, the landlocked African nation formerly known as Upper Volta, is an interesting accomplishment. More intriguing, however, is the overall career of the group’s co-founder and percussionist, Lukas Ligeti. The son of one of the mid-20th century’s singular composers, Gyorgi Ligeti (author of the spooky music from 2001: A Space Odyssey), the younger Ligeti has found...]]> Surgeons in Heat Hit the Ground Running - Upstart trio quickly becomes one of Milwaukee's most visible bands http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9646-surgeons-in-heat-hit-the-ground-running-upstart-trio-quickly-becomes-one-of-milwaukees-most-visible-bands.html A band’s first months are a period usually reserved for false starts, the scrapping of potential names and learning how to play together as one. Evidently, Surgeons in Heat—a 6-month-old Milwaukee transplant that’s already played more than 25 shows, recorded and tirelessly promoted itself—wasn’t aware of that. When singer and guitarist Johnathon Mayer left Appleton and relocated to Bay View in September, he and longtime friend and drummer Ryan Rougeux enlisted the help of Milwaukee bassist...]]> Brandi Carlile: Hunting for the Right Emotion http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9581-brandi-carlile-hunting-for-the-right-emotion.html While recording her latest album, Give Up the Ghost, Brandi Carlile continually found new ways to tap the emotions that inspired her songs when she wrote them months earlier. “I would do things like wake myself up at like 6 o’clock in the morning when I was all tired and hadn’t had my coffee and I’m all bummed out and grumpy, and sing a song like ‘I Will,’ because I wanted it to sound crackly, pained and tired...]]> Sharon Van Etten’s Songs of Suppression and Absolution http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9549-sharon-van-ettenrss-songs-of-suppression-and-absolution.html For five years, Sharon Van Etten wrote music in secret, stockpiling songs she hoped to perform under better circumstances. “I started playing open mics when I went to college, but then I took a break,” Van Etten explains. “My boyfriend at the time wasn’t very supportive of my music and didn’t think I was good enough to perform, so I had to hide it from him...]]> Musicians Find Opportunities at Open Mics http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9501-musicians-find-opportunities-at-open-mics.html Open mic nights have long been stigmatized as forums for inexperienced musicians to play off-key cover songs to disinterested audiences at second-rate venues, but local businesses are working to change the image of open mics, and musicians are benefiting from their participation in this unsung format. Over the past three and a half years, bartender Tim “Timber” Buege...]]> 10 Stories That Shaped Milwaukee Music in 2009 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9439-10-stories-that-shaped-milwaukee-music-in-2009.html In just the past several years, a support system coalesced around Milwaukee’s music scene, with venues, radio stations, promoters and cheerleaders offering new opportunities and a bigger spotlight for local musicians. Newly nurtured, the music scene flourished in 2009, closing the year stronger than it had been all decade. As a result, 2009 was marked with success stories...]]> Spoon’s Decade-Long Hot Streak http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9378-spoonrss-decade-long-hot-streak.html It’s official: Spoon is the artist of the decade. The review aggregation site Metacritic made the call this month after crunching the numbers to determine the decade’s best-reviewed band. “The band topping the list was a surprise to us as well, albeit a pleasant one,” the site wrote. “The Austin, Texas, indie-rock band Spoon may not be the most prolific band of the decade, but they were the most consistently great...]]> Jay Reatard: How to Count to 475 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9326-jay-reatard-how-to-count-to-475.html No one is entirely sure of the number of albums released by Jay Reatard and his bands. His record company says it's more than 90. Wikipedia places it somewhere around 60. Reatard isn't certain of the exact number, but says that Wikipedia's discography has some...]]> The Lab Partners’ Live Hip-Hop Experiment http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9238-the-lab-partnersrs-live-hip-hop-experiment.html The Lab Partners is a new group that pairs Rusty Ps rapper Adam James (known as Phantom Channel) with Milwaukee producer Brandon Birchbauer (The LMNtlyst), but the project isn’t quite the traditional beats-and-rhymes rap excursion that description might suggest. The group was born of impromptu jam sessions between the two musicians, with James laying down drums...]]> Eric Blowtorch: The Jamaican Connection http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9134-eric-blowtorch-the-jamaican-connection.html Making connections proved easier for Eric Blowtorch than he could ever have expected. A longtime fan of reggae and all forms of Jamaican music, the singer had been flavoring his intense brand of soulful, political rock with island influences since the early ’80s. One day in 1993 he called Kingston directory assistance, asking for Duckie Simpson of Black Uhuru...]]> "Weezer Is Right and the Critics Are Wrong" - The Rivers Cuomo interview http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-9055-weezer-is-right-and-the-critics-are-wrong-the-rivers-cuomo-interview.html Rivers Cuomo cannot stress this enough: He’s not trying to piss anybody off. Of all the criticism leveled at the Weezer frontman for the band’s new album, Raditude, it’s that suggestion that bothers him the most. “I get particularly frustrated when—and this has happened quite a lot—the press insinuates that I am intentionally trying to piss off our audience, that Weezer is creating music that it knows is bad and is putting it out there to make people angry,” Cuomo vents...]]> Camera Obscura Reflect on Romance and Travel http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8983-camera-obscura-reflect-on-romance-and-travel.html Camera Obscura’s latest record, My Maudlin Career, is filled with such enchanting images of seas, forests, giant redwoods and shimmering moons over exotic locales, as well as such sensual chamber-pop arrangements, that it’s easy to mistake the album as romantic. Underneath all the beauty and pomp, though, is singer-songwriter Tracyanne Campbell’s most calloused set of songs yet...]]> Dinosaur Jr.’s Fruitful (but Tumultuous) Reunion http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8888-dinosaur-jrrss-fruitful-%2528but-tumultuous%2529-reunion.html It was one of the most acrimonious breakups in the history of rock music that didn’t involve sex: Dinosaur Jr. lead J Mascis booted bassist Lou Barlow from the group in 1989, right before the underground-rock group made its inevitable leap to a major label. While Mascis’ Dinosaur Jr. thrived during the post-Nirvana alternative boom of the early ’90s, Barlow stewed in resentment, writing songs defaming Mascis and telling anyone who...]]> Steely Dan Revisits ‘Aja’ http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8649-steely-dan-revisits-lsajars.html Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were united by a shared love of jazz music, and the genre’s influence pervaded even their earliest albums as Steely Dan. No Steely Dan album more fully embraced jazz music, though, than 1977’s Aja, the band’s best-selling and most beloved record, an elegant and elaborately crafted fusion of warm pop and cool jazz. Becker and Fagen had long wanted to create an album like Aja, Becker explains, but it wasn’t until 1977 that the duo was able to assemble the right roster of backing musicians...]]> The Black Crowes Hit the Barn http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8602-the-black-crowes-hit-the-barn.html To say the least, The Black Crowes didn’t play it safe when recording the group’s new two-CD set, Before the Frost… / Until the Freeze... The band skipped the expected trip to a conventional recording studio. The common practice of recording vocals separately and overdubbing instrumental parts went out the window as well. Instead, the band recorded the new music at the Woodstock, N.Y., barn owned by Levon Helm...]]> Matisyahu Finds His Light http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8514-matisyahu-finds-his-light.html Matisyahu immediately established himself as a singular musician with his 2004 album, Shake Off the Dust…Arise. To this day, there still aren’t many Brooklyn Hasidic Jews who fuse reggae and hip-hop. But in some respects, it’s only with his newest CD, Light, that Matisyahu has become his own man on an artistic level, making a CD that he says comes closer to fully reflecting the sound and range of music he wants to create...]]> Aaron Moore - Talking to a Blues Legend http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8488-aaron-moore-talking-to-a-blues-legend.html Legendary blues pianist Aaron Moore doesn’t particularly want to talk about touring with Muddy Waters, playing with B.B. King or knowing a “good man” named Elvis Presley. At 89 years old, and as one of the few remaining survivors of the 1950’s Chicago boogie-woogie blues scene, Moore is more inclined to reminisce...]]> Ingrid Michaelson Talks Matters of the Heart http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8399-ingrid-michaelson-talks-matters-of-the-heart.html Singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson is happy that, at age 29, she’s finally learning the distinction between love and infatuation, even if the lesson required several rounds of mistaking mere hankerin’ for actual love. “There’s a difference between a desperation that you have for somebody—you put them on a pedestal; you don’t even know them that well but you think you’re...]]> Andrew Bird: Destroyer of Perfection http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8331-andrew-bird-destroyer-of-perfection.html It’s easy to play a song imperfectly. Bands do that all the time, for lack of skill, for irony, or for utter lack of caring. Andrew Bird wants very much for the music in his live shows to be imperfect. He says that his live shows are perilous, on the brink of collapse. But “brink of collapse” better describes all those other, imperfect musicians...]]> Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon: Wisconsin Ambassador http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8239-bon-iverrss-justin-vernon-wisconsin-ambassador.html It’s not a particularly extraordinary story, but it’s been repeated so many times it has taken on the air of a myth: a heartbroken Justin Vernon retreated for the winter to his father’s northern Wisconsin cabin to lick his wounds, emerging from his three-month exile with a self-recorded album. The same way Blood on the Tracks owes nearly...]]> The Gaslight Anthem’s No-Compromise Policy http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8163-the-gaslight-anthemrss-no-compromise-policy.html On a strictly musical level, The Gaslight Anthem seems like a band that shouldn’t work. As singer/guitarist Brian Fallon noted in a recent phone interview, the band members weren’t...]]> Arctic Monkeys: An American Band? http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8090-arctic-monkeys-an-american-band.html They were the coke-snorting, trust-fund abusing, bastard grandkids of The Beatles—true libertines, influenced by The Libertines, with substance-driven frantic energy, skirt-chasing confidence and the too-cool-for-the-room sneer of disaffected youth. When NME named the Arctic Monkeys’ debut “the fifth greatest British album of all time,” the average age of the band members was 20...]]> Perez Hilton Talks Inaugural Tour - Will the blogger appear at tonight's free show? http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-8061-perez-hilton-talks-inaugural-tour-will-the-blogger-appear-at-tonights-free-show.html After a spectacular onstage breakdown that Perez Hilton himself might have appreciated if it had happened to somebody else’s tour, Perez Hilton Presents headliner Ida Maria has dropped out of the celebrity gossip blogger’s traveling road show. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, in her absence, the tour’s stop at the Turner Hall Ballroom at 8 p.m. tonight is now free...]]> Global Union’s Worldly Melting Pot http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7991-global-unionrss-worldly-melting-pot.html “World music” doesn’t mean the same thing it meant just decades ago, when the term referred to ethnographic field recordings. “It used to be world music was something that was regarded as quote-unquote ‘pure expressions’ of specific cultures and regions,” explains David Ravel, director of Milwaukee’s annual Global Union festival. “But we don’t live in...]]> Present Music’s Eclectic Season Opener - Ensemble welcomes indie composer Gabriel Kahane http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7918-present-musicrss-eclectic-season-opener-ensemble-welcomes-indie-composer-gabriel-kahane.html At first, pop-intellectual composer Gabriel Kahane may not seem a likely match for Present Music, Milwaukee’s contemporary chamber ensemble. But the son of classical pianist Jeffrey Kahane, who will be joining the neo-classical outfit for its Sept. 12 season opener at Turner Hall Ballroom, weaves a pastiche of styles into a collective musical esthetic that is its own genre, according to Kevin Stalheim, Present Music’s...]]> Psychedelic Furs: Britain’s Original Killers http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7836-psychedelic-furs-britainrss-original-killers.html It's been nearly a decade, but the Psychedelic Furs still have that new reunion smell. After a nine-year hiatus that ate up much of the 1990s, the band reunited in 2000, but only in a touring capacity, and their perennially announced but never-quite-recorded new album remains up in the air. The only thing that ties the British post-punk legends to the present is as a reference...]]> Cory Chisel’s Modern Gospel http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7765-cory-chiselrss-modern-gospel.html Perhaps as a result of trying to launch a music career from unassuming Appleton, Wis., where the pool of available backing players isn't especially deep, roots-rock singer Cory Chisel prefers to record his albums with a revolving door of outsourced talent. "It's always a long process of finding out who those people will be," Chisel explains. "I want to make music with people who really expand...]]> Woodstock at 40: A Legacy of Ideals and Commerce http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7690-woodstock-at-40-a-legacy-of-ideals-and-commerce.html Justin Townes Earle’s Solitary Americana http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7692-justin-townes-earlerss-solitary-americana.html Before heading to Milwaukee for this weekend's WMSE Backyard BBQ concert, Justin Townes Earle enjoyed a rare moment off the road, relaxing in an apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side that he and his fiance moved into earlier this year. For Earle, a 27-year-old folk singer/songwriter who had been living and working in West Nashville, Tenn., New York City's sights and sounds...]]> Singing With Les Paul http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7638-singing-with-les-paul.html If there was one person I would have reserved for immortality, it would have been Les Paul. He died Thursday at age 94 and, just maybe, he was ready to go. I'm not so sure, he made so many adjustments to be able to play music for such a long time, that you kind of think, even at his age, it was a little too soon. I mean, everyone... ]]> Jason Isbell: Estranged Trucker http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7618-jason-isbell-estranged-trucker.html When people ask Jason Isbell why he left the Drive-By Truckers after the band's 2006 CD, Decoration Day, to a point he feels he doesn't have to even say a word. The music tells the story for him. "I think the music they've made and the music I've made since then makes it fairly obvious the directions we were going in," the guitarist/singer... ]]> Lykke Li: Manic Pixie Dream Singer http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7511-lykke-li-manic-pixie-dream-singer.html Lykke Li is a mystery, "even to myself," she says. She's capricious and full of contradictions, at once plucky and melancholy, sweet and standoffish. She delights in her eccentricities, and though she doesn't lie, per se, she usually doesn't volunteer the whole truth, either. She spends a good deal of interviews refuting or correcting insinuations she herself made in previous interviews. It's easy to see why so many... ]]> America’s Other Great Guthrie http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7491-americarss-other-great-guthrie.html Woody Guthrie is a hard act to follow but his son Arlo has done so with great success. There will never be another Woody Guthrie, who wrote so many songsimportant songs that made an impression on many peopleand led the way for contemporary folk singers. But I believe that there are many out there like... ]]> Blink-182 Buries the Hatchet http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7448-blink-182-buries-the-hatchet.html Guitarist Tom DeLonge's relations with the rest of Blink-182 had so soured by early 2005 that he was no longer on speaking terms with his band mates. It was only through the group's manager that bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker learned DeLonge had quit. Amid the bitter war of words that followed, played out through the press, DeLonge criticized Blink-182 as embarrassing and sophomoric while he promoted... ]]> Words from the Genuis: An Interview with GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7413-words-from-the-genuis-an-interview-with-gza-from-the-wu-tang-clan.html After a delayed, then rushed performance at Apartment 720 Thursday night, or technically Friday morning, ExpressMilwaukee's Jacob Schneider caught up with Wu-Tang Clan rapper GZA about his classic solo album, Liquid Swords, his future plans with the RZA and the state of the Clan. ]]> Shank Hall Marks 20th Anniversary with Special Shows and Reunions http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7396-shank-hall-marks-20th-anniversary-with-special-shows-and-reunions.html Twenty years is an impressive anniversary for any local business, but its especially remarkable for a music club. Shank Hall, which marks its big 2-0 this year, has outlasted the many East Side venues which have succumbed to changing tastes, gentrification and rising rents. ]]> A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt - Steve Earle honors his muse and mentor http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7370-a-tribute-to-townes-van-zandt-steve-earle-honors-his-muse-and-mentor.html Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it also can be the deadliest. Rampant substance abuse finally caught up with Texas songwriting legend Townes Van Zandt on New Year's Day, 1997, when the accumulation of drugs and drinks ended his life at age 52. Musician Steve Earle, long considered Van Zandt's leading acolyte, dodged that bullet, kicking his own heroin habit while jailed in the mid-1990s... ]]> Horehound on his Trail - Jack White's Blues http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7303-horehound-on-his-trail-jack-whites-blues.html As one of the few remarkable artists to emerge from rock since Kurt Cobain, Jack White started from scratch, ignoring readymade musical models and building the sound of the White Stripes from the foundation of Robert Johnson's poetic voodoo blues. Setting the Stripes aside, White embarked on other projects, first the more straight-ahead rock...]]> Sonic Youth’s Obama-Era Rock Record http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7287-sonic-youthrss-obama-era-rock-record.html Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore was driving down the road, looking in the rearview mirror-not at the highway, but at his and his band's career. Three decades after teaming up with guitarist Lee Ranaldo and 28 years after forming Sonic Youth, Moore has been looking backward while continuing to push the band and its music ahead. "I've been doing the same thing since I was in my early 20s," Moore says as he drives down a highway near New York City. "I'm going to be 51 this year...]]> Why Black Francis Isn't So Weird Anymore - The Pixies Singer Explains How He Learned to Open Up http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7218-why-black-francis-isnt-so-weird-anymore-the-pixies-singer-explains-how-he-learned-to-open-up.html “I wish I could at will just conjure up whatever it is that’s a Pixies record every four years,” Black insists. “That would be nice, or at least convenient for my bank account. But it doesn’t work like that."]]> Van der Graaf Generator - Rock's ultimate alternative http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-7009-van-der-graaf-generator-rocks-ultimate-alternative.html In colleges around the world, 1967 felt for the whole year like the first week of spring. Green with promise, the spirit of possibility was everywhere. In 1967 psychedelia blossomed and a new breed of rock bands aspired to art and poetry. One of them, formed in the United Kingdom by Manchester University students, adopted the trippy-sounding handle of Van der Graaf Generator...]]> The Church’s Well-Aged Psychedelia http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6927-the-churchrss-well-aged-psychedelia.html For all the reverence it pays its elders, rock music remains a young person's genre, with its brightest talent often peaking early then floundering, struggling to live up to past heights. It's a harsh reality of which Steve Kilbey, the middle-aged frontman for the veteran band The Church, is all too aware. "If I was an artist, at age 54 you'd expect me to be right at the top of my game, painting passionately and with mastered...]]> Cyndi Lauper Talks LGBT Rights Ahead of PrideFest http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6860-cyndi-lauper-talks-lgbt-rights-ahead-of-pridefest.html In advance of her opening-night appearance at this year’s PrideFest at Milwaukee’s Summerfest grounds Friday night, the "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" icon spoke with us about her history of supporting LGBT causes and Barack Obama's commitment to gay rights.]]> Orchestra Over the Rainbow - John Schneider's musical mlange http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6840-orchestra-over-the-rainbow-john-schneiders-musical-m%25E9lange.html The John Schneider Orchestra originated around the piano in the bandleader's Walker's Point flat. At first it was just a lark, with Schneider and his friend David Carroll entertaining guests at their weekly dinner party with songs from the 1930s and '40s, especially from the Harold Arlen songbook. One of the regular dinner guests, Larry Krueger, had just opened a new bar and restaurant, Caf Mlange...]]> John Vanderslice Starts from Scratch http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6780-john-vanderslice-starts-from-scratch.html Every day, for 10 years, John Vanderslice has eaten the same breakfast: granola with rice milk. He drinks a cup of tea when he wakes up, and a second at 4 p.m. He is a creature of habit. There is only one time he forces himself outside of his comfort zone: when he plays music. "I'm a very routine person," he says. "For me, I need to get out of that. I like to keep myself on edge." Great albums don't come from a system, and excitement doesn't come from a routine. Good music, as it turns out...]]> Maynard James Keenan: Winemaker http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6754-maynard-james-keenan-winemaker.html Though Maynard James Keenan is best known as the raging frontman for the alternative metal band Tool, he’s also a professional winemaker who lives on an Arizona vineyard. He’s aware of the novelty. “In some ways, the low expectations work in my favor,” Keenan says. ]]> Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Sad But Glamorous World http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6697-yeah-yeah-yeahsrs-sad-but-glamorous-world.html Though he's better known as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' guitarist, Nick Zinner is also a dedicated photographer who packs a camera on every tour. The photos he's compiled in the 2005 book I Hope You Are All Happy Now and in a New York exhibition last year could rival Almost Famous for its heavily romanticized view of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle. Glowing crowds gaze at the stage with adoration and anticipation. Zinner's photogenic friends pose playfully. The band parties backstage. The photos give...]]> Third Eye Blind’s Semi-Charmed Second Chance http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6619-third-eye-blindrss-semi-charmed-second-chance.html In the six years since Third Eye Blind released their last album to commercial indifference, the stars have realigned for the once chart-topping alternative band. After a long period of dormancy, the band's late-'90s hits have found second life on nostalgic radio stations and in the songbooks of frat boys with acoustic guitars everywhere. Jim Carrey, another icon of Clinton-era irreverence, even prominently covered...]]> Fever Marlene’s Milwaukee Good Fortune http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6533-fever-marlenerss-milwaukee-good-fortune.html If Milwaukee ever launched a P.R. effort to lure more bands to the city, no band would make a better poster child for the campaign than Fever Marlene, the alt-rock duo that relocated to Milwaukee from Chicago in 2006. "It's just so affordable here," explains singer Scott Starr. "We found a real cheap studio loft here that we could build a studio in, and still afford to play Chicago, Minneapolis and Madison whenever we wanted, or to go out to Los Angeles or New York whenever we needed to...]]> Cursive’s Long Adolescence http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6427-cursiverss-long-adolescence.html It seemed like the perfect set list at the time. Since they were booked at a South by Southwest day party dominated by their peers from the turn of the century, including Frodus, a D.C. post-hardcore group that reunited this year after a decade hiatus, for old time's sake Cursive dedicated most of the set to their 2000 album Domestica, a crushing song cycle far removed from the band's current, less turbulent rock...]]> UMG Forms Milwaukee Rap Coalition http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6373-umg-forms-milwaukee-rap-coalition.html Prophetic didn't actually expect to hear back from Pharrell Williams after he ran into him at a N.E.R.D. concert last fall and attempted to pass on his new CD, but against the odds a month later Prophetic received a call from Pharrell's people and, soon after, Pharrell himself.]]> The Faintly Familiar Sound of M. Ward http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6286-the-faintly-familiar-sound-of-m-ward.html M. Ward is familiar. He may, in fact, be the familiar-ist musician of this century. His music is plucked from the furthest reaches of your long-term memory, from songs you can't quite remember, from bands whose names get lost on the tip of your tongue. He swivels from Johnny Cash to Chuck Berry to Roy Orbison, and channels Buddy Holly just as well in his own work as he does in a cover of Holly's "Rave On...]]> Pezzettino Takes Control - The quirky edge of alternative http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6191-pezzettino-takes-control-the-quirky-edge-of-alternative.html Maybe it was nature or maybe it was nurture. Either way, music must have been in the cards for Margaret Stutt, aka Pezzettino. However, a musical demi-career-to coin a term for the MP3-posting, DIY-releasing, club-touring route of 21st-century indie musicians-only recently entered her mind. A little more than a year ago she took up accordion and began writing songs. Since then, under the stage name of Pezzettino, she has played...]]> Nothin’ Left to Lose - Kris Kristofferson finds freedom in songwriting http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6126-nothinrs-left-to-lose-kris-kristofferson-finds-freedom-in-songwriting.html When told he's known better as a songwriter than a singer, Kris Kristofferson laughs. "I don't think there's much doubt about that," says Kristofferson, 72, in a familiar, graveled baritone thickened with age. Armed only with a guitar, a harmonica and his soul, Kristofferson has come to appreciate the directness of the acoustic approach and its ability to help him reach an audience. "All I can do is go by people's reactions to my work," Kristofferson says. "It's just the way I communicate with people."]]> Los Campesinos! Shout at the World http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-6030-los-campesinos_-shout-at-the-world.html "Oh, if only there were clothes on the floor," Gareth Campesinos! says midway through his band's hit (well, Internet hit), "You! Me! Dancing!" Ignore the cloyingly cute title; like the rest of Los Campesinos!' debut album, Hold On Now, Youngster…, the song isn't actually about dancing but rather the pursuit of sex that always seems just out of reach. Not since the Violent Femmes' 1982 debut has an album so...]]> Rachael Yamagata Gets Happy http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5879-rachael-yamagata-gets-happy.html

On the phone Rachael Yamagata is chatty, almost dangerously so. She repeatedly gets so overexcited by whatever she's giggling about that she walks straight into people on the street. This time, she is talking about her love of the Style Network show "Clean House. I have these weird tendencies toward designing furniture and rearranging furniture, and cleaning. If you give me a vacuum, I'd clean you...

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The Solitary Life of Bonnie “Prince” Billy http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5792-the-solitary-life-of-bonnie-ldprincerd-billy.html In one incarnation or another, for the past 15 years, singer-songwriter Will Oldham has made records on his own terms. After a peripatetic period he returned to his native Louisville, Ky., making a conscious decision to live far from the major metropolitan centers so he could manage, by his own estimation, to make a decent living. Oldham's label, Chicago's Drag City, supports his decision to remain geographically and philosophically in the outlying areas, away from the business of music and closer to the art. Still, Oldham is ambivalent about his distance from the mainstream... ]]> How Missy Higgins Conquered the (television) Airwaves http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5805-how-missy-higgins-conquered-the-%2528television%2529-airwaves.html Like so many modern adult-contemporary artists, Missy Higgins owes much of her stateside success not to radio, but television. Her music has been featured on shows like "Grey's Anatomy," "The Hills," "Brothers and Sisters" and "One Tree Hill," and her latest single alone, "Where I Stood," has been featured on no less than seven programs...]]> Rocktopus: The Eight-Arm Rock ’N’ Roll Machine http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5724-rocktopus-the-eight-arm-rock-rsnrs-roll-machine.html Kyle Denton tells me he is the manager and spokesman for Rocktopus, Milwaukee's eight-armed, aquatic rock 'n' roll machine. One can safely assume, though, that Denton and the mollusk are one and the same. Take the story of Rocktopus' first show. The band Elephant Walk, which features Denton, had to cancel a show, so Rocktopus quickly put together six songs in about a week and showed up as a replacement act. As a solo act, Rocktopus appeared to be a guy in a Hawaiian shirt with a plush octopus tied to his face...]]> Whatever Happened to the X-Ecutioners? http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5642-whatever-happened-to-the-x-ecutioners.html DJs had been refining their craft since the earliest days of hip-hop, but it wasn't until the mid-'90s that they made the case that turntables could be considered a lead instrument. DJ Shadow's Endtroducing..... was the breakout hit of the era's turntablism movement, in part because it eschewed the showy scratching that battle DJs prided themselves on in favor of brainy compositions. The X-Ecutioners, however, proved...]]> The Drive-By Truckers’ Dark Days http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5553-the-drive-by-truckersrs-dark-days.html When the Drive-By Truckers returned to touring last year, singer/guitarist Patterson Hood was eager to get back on the road. Just 18 months earlier, though, the feeling within the band from Athens, Ga., couldn't have been more different. "We were burned out and we were tired and we were kind of angry and frustrated," Hood says. "We had built this machine and all of a sudden we realized the machine was driving us. We weren't driving the machine anymore. And we started...]]> A Means to an End - Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt enlighten through songwriting http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5473-a-means-to-an-end-lyle-lovett-and-john-hiatt-enlighten-through-songwriting.html Lyle Lovett knows that great songwriting can be a means to an end, one that reaches out and touches audiences. The long, tall Texan, who's won several Grammy Awards for his heartfelt, wryly humorous lyrics, also knows a great song when he hears one. Based on his own musical experiences, the Houston-based singer/songwriter appreciates the art of songwriting more than most of us. "A great song is a rare thing," Lovett says. "Great songs never seem contrived; they just seem true." Lovett will explore many of his own songs during an all-acoustic evening Feb. 17 at the Pabst Theater, when he shares the stage...]]> The Education of Leo Kottke http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5384-the-education-of-leo-kottke.html If you make up a story about Leo Kottke, it's probably true. The 63-year-old roots singer/songwriter has lived a sweeping epic, a life incomparably colorful. As a boy, his family moved across 12 states. As a college dropout, he hitchhiked across the country. A firecracker damaged his hearing in one ear. Service in the Naval Reserve damaged his hearing in the other. He'll be glad to tell you about all of this, too. On stage, the acoustic guitarist will burst into four-minute monologues about how difficult it is to kill chickens, or about the dangers of stealing amplifiers. His shows are two-parts music and one-part backcountry Spalding...]]> Scott Weiland’s Busy Year http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5326-scott-weilandrss-busy-year.html Scott Weiland toured a lot in the last year-too much, by his own account. The singer started 2008 on the road with Velvet Revolver, his band with three Guns N' Roses vets. When that tour turned sour, ending with Weiland's acrimonious (and inevitable) departure from the group, he immediately rejoined his former Stone Temple Pilots band mates for a six-month reunion tour. "It was cool," Weiland says, "but we ended up touring longer than we should have. It was supposed to be four months, and the first four months were a lot of fun. But I think six months was a bit much when you're...]]> Return of the Speedfreaks - Milwaukee punk vets celebrate a new record http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5233-return-of-the-speedfreaks-milwaukee-punk-vets-celebrate-a-new-record.html Dan DuChaine, veteran drummer of the Speedfreaks, has seen it all. Along with vocalist Stephan Tremblay and guitarist Carl Steinhagen, he crashed through the hardcore and punk scenes in the early '80s when shows were "brutal," and not just in terms of sound. These days, "if you see a kid getting beat up in the front line, you stop the show-that's etiquette," DuChaine says. "But violence was a big problem back then." The punk scene itself may be more forgiving, but the Speedfreaks' music remains largely unchanged, filled with raw, positive energy. A quarter... ]]> Invade Rome - Milwaukee psych-rock vets start over http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5163-invade-rome-milwaukee-psych-rock-vets-start-over.html Chris Vos admits the timing of his epiphany wasn't ideal. Vos' band, Freshwater Collins, had just spent the last year and a half writing and prepping their new album, saving up the cash to record it at Madison's Smart Studios with producer Beau Sorenson, who has worked on recent albums by Death Cab for Cutie, and to perfect its artwork and packaging. With just two weeks until the album was to go to press, the band was driving home from a show opening for the Secret Machines when Vos shared his revelation with his band mates: "Guys, we're changing the name of the band...]]> A World Without Atomic Records http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5078-a-world-without-atomic-records.html Though Milwaukee music lovers were saddened to learn last month that Atomic Records will close this winter, few were genuinely shocked. The music industry was struggling long before the greater economic turbulence of the last two years, and with even titanic chains like Tower Records collapsing from the strain, the forecast for small, independent retailers has been dire. "It has been a death by a thousand...]]> 2008: The Year in Milwaukee Music http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-5030-2008-the-year-in-milwaukee-music.html Though it hasn't put the city on the national radar, there has been a crucial sea change here over the past two or three years: After a long period of neglect, Milwaukeeans have begun paying attention to their own music scene again. Newspapers and magazines large and small have started covering local music with fervent thoroughness, while Web sites and blogs are showering musicians with needed encouragement and promotion. Now, there is even more than one radio station open to airing local music, a modest accomplishment that nonetheless seemed infeasible as recently as 2005. In part because it finally has...]]> The Crystal Method - Serious about New Year's Eve, change http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4952-the-crystal-method-serious-about-new-years-eve-change.html When they arrive in Milwaukee, treat them as visiting professors. After all, they're experts. The Crystal Method has performed 13 of the last 14 New Year's Eves, and they know more about throwing that year-end party than you could ever hope to. If you don't think you're having a good time at their Dec. 31 performance at the Rave, you are probably wrong. "We know people are coming out to have a good time," says Scott Kirkland, one half of the big-beat outfit. "We take it seriously...]]> Malachi’s Doom-Metal Suites http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4878-malachirss-doom-metal-suites.html Malachi guitarist Dathan Lythgoe is the first to describe his band as dark, sad and overwhelmingly pessimistic, but, he says, all that bleakness serves a greater purpose. "I think that it's a reminder that there's a lot of bad things in the world," Lythgoe says. "It's easy to just live your life every day in your little bubble, so it's good to just be reminded that there's a lot of strife in the world, and that you shouldn't forget that you're lucky to be where you are, living where you are-that other people in the world might not have...]]> Al Jarreau’s Perpetual Christmas http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4788-al-jarreaurss-perpetual-christmas.html Each April, singer Al Jarreau begins using a familiar greeting he knows will take him through the end of the year. "I love to say 'Merry Christmas' to the lady at the bank and the folks at the grocery store," says Jarreau, 68. "When you're in the music business, that's about when you start thinking about Christmas anyway, because soon you will be practicing if you're in a choir or recording if you're a professional. And then it will be Halloween and then it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas will really be here." "Merry Christmas" was how...]]> Mac Lethal - Love for the fans, not so much the press http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4718-mac-lethal-love-for-the-fans-not-so-much-the-press.html Mac Lethal is a prick. Of course, that's kind of his appeal. A curmudgeonly white rapper with a waning hairline and a sad, protruding belly, Mac Lethal riffs like an incensed insult comedian about the many things that piss him off-Christians, vegans, scenesters, Ben Harper-filling the funny, irate rapper void left when Eminem lost his sense of humor. On 11:11, his debut record for the prestigious Rhymesayers label, Mac Lethal deems himself "a rapper who doesn't like rap," and though that isn't quite true, he voices the frustrations of everyone...]]> Open Book - Juliana Hatfield tells all (and then some) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4619-open-book-juliana-hatfield-tells-all-%2528and-then-some%2529.html The music is the same, but the context is so much different. Juliana Hatfield's still-girlish voice has deepened with age, and gone is the whimsy of "Spin the Bottle." It has been replaced by something more raw and confessional, and ultimately that much more sad. If you listen closely to Hatfield's new album, buried in that chipper jangle pop, you can hear the time. In the minds of her fans, perhaps, Hatfield's only struggles over the past 15 years have been the adolescent foibles and satiric disasters in her lyrics. But in the last few months, Hatfield has revealed herself with the... ]]> Round Two - The Etiquette prepares its follow-up http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4539-round-two-the-etiquette-prepares-its-follow-up.html A lot has changed in the six years since The Etiquette released its only EP, very little of it in the band's favor. In 2002's bullish music market, labels were still feverishly signing bands, particularly garage-rock bands with names that started with "The." On the strength of Ages, a hyper-hooky EP that however accidentally coincided with the era's rock revival, The Etiquette captured the interest of music managers and promoters, and found support on college radio and at CMJ magazine. It was, in hindsight, a rare window of opportunity for the Milwaukee band, one that frontman Eugene III (he prefers to keep his last name private) admits he was slow to seize. "I think about it all the time," Eugene says. "We were...]]> Rise Against Lobs Metaphorical Bombs http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4475-rise-against-lobs-metaphorical-bombs.html Rise Against is used to being misunderstood. To begin with, the group is widely tagged as a political band, a label that bassist Joe Principe says is too limited for the lyrics that singer/guitarist Tim McIlrath writes. "I kind of like to say it's more like we're socially aware," Principe says. "Tim, the way he writes is very broad. He has political songs, because he writes all of the lyrics, and then he also has social songs and even songs about his personal relationships. That's why I don't think we like to be pigeonholed as a political band." Some even consider Rise Against a leftist or radical... ]]> The Nightwatchman - Tom Morello's activist shadow http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4389-the-nightwatchman-tom-morellos-activist-shadow.html As much as Tom Morello enjoyed his stint with Audioslave, the post-Rage Against the Machine band he founded with Chris Cornell, Cornell’s scorching, introspective arena-rock left Morello hungry for the activism of his previous band. Since Cornell wasn’t providing him with the political material he craved, Morello began writing his own. Though styled after Woody Guthrie’s acoustic folk, the staid songs that Morello began to churn out with increasing speed were every bit as loaded as Rage’s thrashing screeds. But he knew he couldn’t perform them live under his own name without misleading concertgoers...]]> All Right, Hear This - Beastie Boys talk serious politics, new album http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4303-all-right-hear-this-beastie-boys-talk-serious-politics-new-album.html The 2004 presidential election and the prospect of twin George W. Bush terms mobilized not only the expected musician activists, bands like Pearl Jam and the Dixie Chicks, but also a new crop of recruits, performers that had never before immersed themselves in politics so deeply. Apolitical bands like No Doubt contributed to anti-Bush albums; for the first time in his career, Bruce Springsteen made an explicit endorsement, and even Eminem shelved his flippant shtick for a dire song rallying youth to vote Bush out of office... ]]> “I Hate Interpol, I Really Hate Swervedriver... - Magnetic Morning's clumsy beginnings http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4198-ldi-hate-interpol-i-really-hate-swervedriver-magnetic-mornings-clumsy-beginnings.html There are many things that Magnetic Morning is good at. Naming things is not one of them. Until a mere month before the group's debut EP was scheduled for release, the team of Swervedriver/Toshack Highway frontman Adam Franklin and Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino took the moniker "The Setting Suns." Unwittingly, they had taken the moniker from another band-the already-existing Setting Sun-who desperately wanted it back. More recently they had naming issues with their brooding... ]]> House of M - Saves the World, One Rap Song At a Time http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-1211-house-of-m-saves-the-world-one-rap-song-at-a-time.html Gambit is summarizing the namesake for his 12member rap group, the Marvel Comics crossover epic House of M. “Basically, there’s this character, the Scarlet Witch, who can change realities and probabilities,” he explains. “She has this big mental breakdown, and she ends up changing the whole Marvel world. It’s up to all the superheroes in the Marvel universe to band together and get the world back to normal. As his X-Men-derived alias suggests, Gambit has a passion for comics in general, but this particular story line has special relevance for him. “It symbolizes our group,” he says. ]]> Proud to be Uncool - Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4114-proud-to-be-uncool-stephen-kellogg-the-sixers.html When Stephen Kellogg talks of live shows being the lifeblood of his band, The Sixers, he could simply be repeating one of the classic clichs of rock 'n' roll. Or he could be referring to the very real fact that the group makes much of its living on the road, playing 200-plus dates a year. But what Kellogg is really saying is that he feels the concerts are where he and The Sixers truly shine and offer something genuinely unique to fans who have discovered the Massachusetts-based band. "I think what we're doing that's unique is we're giving people music that's not silly music, but we're giving them a light evening," Kellogg says. "You get to go hear cool music... ]]> Deerhoof Leaves a Paper Trail http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-4018-deerhoof-leaves-a-paper-trail.html Few bands seem to have more contempt for the structural formality of sheet music than San Francisco's Deerhoof, a trio whose rhythms waver with all the precociousness of lead singer Satomi Matsuzaki's schoolgirl voice. So it was with some irony that the first taste of Deerhoof's latest work was a single released as sheet music well before a recorded version surfaced. ]]> New South - Dead Confederate rebuffs Southern-rock conventions http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3908-new-south-dead-confederate-rebuffs-southern-rock-conventions.html Though his band's name seems pretty self-explanatory to him, Dead Confederate bassist Brantley Senn is amazed at how often it's misinterpreted.   "We're supposed to play this show sponsored by a cigarette company that rhymes with 'mammal,' and they refused to even put our name on the tickets," Senn says with a sigh. "They had a writer that refused to even write about us, because he said the name was racist. How dumb is that? We're Dead Confederate. It's not like we're Alive and Well and Retired in Florida Confederate."]]> Prog-Rock Survivor - An Interview with Peter Hammill http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3877-prog-rock-survivor-an-interview-with-peter-hammill.html Peter Hammill first made a name for himself in the 1960s as the singer-songwriter for prog-rock innovators Van der Graaf Generator, and since that band broke up in the 1970s has gone on to record literally dozens of shape-shifting solo albums, including his most recent, 2006's Singularity, his first since a Van der Graaf Generator reunited in 2005, and also his first since a near-fatal heart attack. The Shepherd Express' Mark Krueger interviewed Hammill this September, in advance of Hammill's Oct. 5 concert at Shank Hall. ]]> N.E.R.D. - Rap stardom, club culture and alternative rock http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3813-nerd-rap-stardom-club-culture-and-alternative-rock.html Our conversation is painful, marked by enough long pauses to fill an entire season of "The Office." Pharrell Williams, the singer and public face of N.E.R.D., is normally the chatty one, but right now he's so disinterested in my questions that he's making his less talkative bandmate Shay answer them from a third phone line. Though he struggles to be polite, Shay prefaces many of his short answers with a barely disguised sigh. "Hey, P, you still there?" ]]> The Goodnight Loving - Songs for Milwaukee http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3695-the-goodnight-loving-songs-for-milwaukee.html Though he cautions that two of his band mates who once lived there might disagree with him, Andy Kavanaugh doesn't have many kind words about Green Bay. "We went up there in the middle of winter to record our latest album," he says of his band, The Goodnight Loving, "and it was just kind of a sober experience. ]]> Kings Go Forth - Old-school harmonies http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3605-kings-go-forth-old-school-harmonies.html After years of vetting vintage R&B records at his Riverwest store, Lotus Land Records, and spinning rare funk 45s at his monthly "Get Down" event, Andy Noble says he's pinpointed the qualities that make a song stand the test of time. "I'm in touch with how music ages," he explains. "There are certain elements of music that hold up, like rhythms. Good dance rhythms hold up forever. ]]> The Black Keys Meet ZZ Top http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3527-the-black-keys-meet-zz-top.html You aren't anybody if you aren't recording with the Black Keys. Producer Rick Rubin, himself a somebody, recently tapped the band to back Billy Gibbons for a few songs on ZZ Top's next album. Gibbons and Rubin join R&B legend Ike Turner and super-producer Danger Mouse on a growing list of The Black Keys' recent collaborators.]]> Prog's Prolific Flower Kings http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3441-progs-prolific-flower-kings.html Prog’s Prolific Flower Kings http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3442-progrss-prolific-flower-kings.html Almost seven years ago to the date, on Sept. 14, 2001, The Flower Kings, now arguably one of the world's leading progressive-rock bands, played what just might rank among Shank Hall's most memorable and cathartic shows. "I remember that gig, and I remember those days vividly," says guitarist, vocalist and head Flower King Roine Stolt, when reminded that the Swedish band was on a rare U.S. tour as the tragedy of 9/11 unfolded. The Flower Kings opened their penultimate show of that tour with "Last Minute On Earth," the lead track from . . . ]]> Returning Home with the Celebrated Workingman http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3352-returning-home-with-the-celebrated-workingman.html Mark Waldoch had saved up the necessary money, prepared himself emotionally to leave behind Milwaukee, his home of 15 years, and was ready to start a new life in New York. What he hadn't planned on, though, was developing a kidney stone the size of a golf ball shortly after his arrival. "I was in and out of the hospital for two months, put under anesthesia and all that," Waldoch shudders. "It was rough. I mean, talk about insane, they put a laser up my wang to blow up the kidney stone. I had to wear a catheter." With no health insurance to fall back on, Waldoch quickly exhausted his savings. In considerable debt, he returned to Milwaukee . . .]]> Dispatches from a Wisconsin Cabin - Bon Iver records up north http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3267-dispatches-from-a-wisconsin-cabin-bon-iver-records-up-north.html It's a stirring story, one that wraps Justin Vernon's album into a neat package. It starts when Vernon's first band breaks up, and it ends in the Northwoods. Jobless and sick, with nowhere to live and a desire to be alone, Vernon stayed (rent-free) in his father's hunting cabin through the winter. He chopped wood, brooded for a while, and then created a spectacular solo debut. Vernon's For Emma, Forever Ago doesn't merely capture a desperate Wisconsin winter, it captures a man resigned to its snowy, woodland loneliness. That's the true-to-life legend of Bon Iver-the dreariness of life expressed through an album full of dreary optimism, written by a man whose stage name is a play on the French words for "good winter." At least, that's the true-to-life legend that people keep telling . . . ]]> Johnny Winter Promises an Evening of "Just Blues" - Online Exclusive http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3223-johnny-winter-promises-an-evening-of-just-blues-online-exclusive.html One would think that a 64-year-old blues musician who performs sitting down due to ongoing recovery from a hip broken in 2000 wouldn't be hard to track down. But it took several weeks and numerous trans-Atlantic phone calls before Johnny Winter finally surfaced in a club in a suburb of Rome, Italy. Winter and his three-piece backup band were on the last leg of a southern European tour, having just finished a late-night set performed before what the Albino blues guitarist thought was a fairly reserved crowd . . .]]> Twenty Years of Supersuckers http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3170-twenty-years-of-supersuckers.html The Supersuckers are the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world. It says so right on their Web site. And album covers. And merchandise. "At least 25% better than the next best band," says Rontrose, the band's one-named guitar player, tongue firmly in cheek. Some time around Thanksgiving, Rontrose and crew will celebrate their 20th anniversary as punk's answer to hedonistic, cowboy-hat wearing, meat-and-potatoes American rock 'n' roll. Twenty years is long enough for the band, born in Tucson, Ariz., to have moved to Seattle before the grunge movement took full steam . . .]]> Humanizing Katy Perry - Pop's Man-Eating, Girl-Kissing New Star Fine-Tunes Her Ima http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-3081-humanizing-katy-perry-pops-man-eating-girl-kissing-new-star-fine-tunes-her-ima.html Katy Perry’s single “I Kissed a Girl” has just topped the Billboard pop chart, and the 23-year-old’s schedule for the day is booked solid. Later today she’ll be shooting an insert for Blender magazine, doing an interview with Rolling Stone, signing autographs for an hour and a half, then performing as part of the Warped Tour. Right now, though, she’s doing phone interviews through an earpiece as she sits in pajamas and hair curlers, getting her nails done in a St. Louis strip mall. “I didn’t even care where we went,” she says, amused by the unglamorous salon. “I was like, ‘I’ve just got to get these cuticles cut!’ ” ]]> None of Them Knew They Were Robots - The mysterious sounds of Wooden Robot http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2990-none-of-them-knew-they-were-robots-the-mysterious-sounds-of-wooden-robot.html Local band Wooden Robot couldn’t be more mysterious. First, there’s their undeniably spooky sound: Think haunted Old World carnival or, better yet, a vodka-drenched dance party with your dead Polish-babushka grandmother. Then there are the places they usually play: dimly lit bars, crowded houses of friends and dark corners in cramped basements. The band’s performance at Turner Hall Ballroom on July 26, opening for Secret Chiefs 3 with The Demix, will mark a rare appearance in the spotlight. ]]> We’rewolves’ Marathon Summer http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2897-wersrewolvesrs-marathon-summer.html Mr. Bright Side - Demon-free and happy, Gavin Rossdale goes solo http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2818-mr-bright-side-demon-free-and-happy-gavin-rossdale-goes-solo.html Gavin Rossdale was never a particularly convincing tortured soul to begin with, but with each passing year of domestic bliss with his superstar wife, Gwen Stefani, each picture of the photogenic couple and their beaming son, and each celebrity tennis tournament, it became even harder to buy the sun-tanned family man as the embodiment of existential despair. The former Bush frontman gave his old tormented persona one last spin in 2005, teaming with members of Helmet to record a lone album of thrashing, seething alternative rock with a short-lived new band, Institute . . . ]]> Phil Lesh Reflects on His Influences http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2764-phil-lesh-reflects-on-his-influences.html The Brahms symphony, considered to be one of the 19th-century com poser’s most emblematic works, gave Lesh a musical appreciation and grounding in a broader compositional discipline unusual to rock musicians. It also led the Berkeley, Calif. native on an impressive musical journey that preceded his chance mid-1960s...]]> East Meets North - Prophetic Bridges Milwaukee's Disparate Hip-Hop Scenes http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2631-east-meets-north-prophetic-bridges-milwaukees-disparate-hip-hop-scenes.html Like just about everything in the city, Milwaukee’s hip-hop scenes are divided by racial and geographical boundaries. Populated largely by college students and graduates, the East Side’s hip-hop scene favors conscious and alternative rap, lionizes Talib Kweli and heralds the ’90s as rap’s golden age. Milwaukee’s grittier North Side scene, on the other hand, is more in the moment, drawn toward contemporary club rap, much of it fashioned after hits from the South. Separated by just a few miles, these two scenes exist with little overlap.]]> Kenny Wayne Shepherd and the Art of Blues http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2554-kenny-wayne-shepherd-and-the-art-of-blues.html It’s not hard to get Kenny Wayne Shepherd to talk about cars, especially the Detroit muscle machines of the early 1970s. The Shreveport, La., blues musician, in fact, seems to have as much respect for Chrysler and Plymouth products from the V8 era as he does for some of the blues giants that inspired the searing, rapid-fire guitar riffs that have become his trademark. “I grew up with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars,” says Shepherd, 31. “As an adult, I’ve had the chance to indulge that interest.” Shepherd’s passion for high-performance autos led him to join the 2008 Hot Rod Power Tour, a public driving event sponsored by Hot Rod magazine that left the Arkansas State Fairgrounds . . . ]]> The Roots of Juneteenth - Milwaukee's Black Independence Celebration http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2533-the-roots-of-juneteenth-milwaukees-black-independence-celebration.html Online Exclusive - Although the Emancipation Proclamation called for the liberation of confederate slaves, its effects weren’t immediate. The final slaves in Texas didn’t learn of their freedom until June 19, 1865, a full year and a half after the emancipation took effect, when the Union army rode into Galveston to enforce Abraham Lincoln’s executive order. The anniversary of June 19, or Juneteenth, has been sporadically celebrated in the south as a black independence day ever since, but the tradition never had a presence in the northern states before Margaret Hennsingsen brought it to Milwaukee in the early 1970s. ]]> Twenty Years of the Indigo Girls http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2358-twenty-years-of-the-indigo-girls.html High school friends Amy Ray and Emily Saliers parted ways to attend Vanderbilt University and Tulane University, respectively, but the two eventually found themselves collaborating musically back home in Georgia at Emory University. Performing together under the name Indigo Girls, Ray and Saliers honed their skills in the same college music scene that cultivated R.E.M. and The B-52s. Twenty years later, the duo has sold more than 12 million records and garnered seven Grammy nominations. “We just keep going,” Saliers says. “We’ve been doing it for so long that we just think about what’s coming next. If I do stop to think about it, I feel really grateful for it. In this business, where it’s hard to stay alive musically . . . ]]> The Untimely End of the Echo Base Collective - Police shut down Walker's Point bike co-op and performance http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2277-the-untimely-end-of-the-echo-base-collective-police-shut-down-walkers-point-bike-co-op-and-performance.html On April 23, the Echo Base Collective prepared for what they thought would be a quiet Wednesday night of folk and performance groups. The 20 people who showed up had just heard a New York spoken word group, Batter Recharger, and were waiting to hear a Chicago band and the local group Dharma Bumz. Members of Dharma were loading equipment through a garage door on the side of the building when two police officers appeared. “I told them they should talk to Dave,” said Keith Armstrong, singer for the Dharma Bumz, referring to Dave Casillas, the organizer of Echo Base. “They said they already had and were already in the building.” ]]> “Rock ’n’ Roll is in a Pretty Dire State... - An interview with Panic at the Disco's Ryan Ross http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2232-ldrock-rsnrs-roll-is-in-a-pretty-dire-state-an-interview-with-panic-at-the-discos-ryan-ross.html Call them Panic at the Disco 2.0. In the short time between their blockbuster debut album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, the band almost entirely reinvented themselves. They dropped the pointless exclamation mark from their name; they gutted their overblown, circus-themed live show, and, most importantly, they exorcized their music of almost all its emo excesses. On their recently released sophomore . . . ]]> Rilo Kiley’s Incidental Pop Album http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2197-rilo-kileyrss-incidental-pop-album.html For every band that finds wealth, stardom and happiness after signing to a major label, there are countless others crushed by the experience. Rilo Kiley doesn’t quite fall into either camp, guitarist Blake Sennett explains. The band’s tenure on Warner Bros. has been pleasant enough—marked by friendly, helpful people and devoid of interference from calculating executives or other horrors—but, Sennett concedes, “In ways, we probably shouldn’t have made the leap to a major label. “It seemed like the next natural step, something we had to do to reach people, but I think it was probably a miscue,” Sennett adds. “I’m not going to say it was a mistake, but I’m not going to say it was … well, the opposite of a mistake.” ]]> Healthy Living with Laura Veirs - Online Exclusive http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2099-healthy-living-with-laura-veirs-online-exclusive.html With her acoustic guitar, Daria sunglasses and poetry-laden lyrics, Laura Veirs certainly fit the mold of a typical modern folk singer-songwriter. For her most recent album, however, Veirs broke that mold, aggressively smashing it into tiny shards. Recorded with her newly christened backing band of the same name, Saltbreakers is a sometimes fierce, rock-driven album detailing—yup, you guessed it—a break-up. Veirs is currently on the road doing solo shows behind the record, and she took some time to chat with ExpressMilwaukee from Denver in advance of her Milwaukee performance Wednesday night. ]]> Protestant: True Believers http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2115-protestant-true-believers.html 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. ]]> Music Industry 101 with Marty Willson-Piper http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-2018-music-industry-101-with-marty-willson-piper.html Marty Willson-Piper takes a hands-on approach to his career these days. He keeps watch over the business dealings of his longtime band, The Church, and micromanages every aspect of his solo career and many side projects. He spends as much time behind the merch table as he can, and for the current tour behind his new album, Nightjar, he’s selling homemade EPs he burned to CD-R himself. He even designed the artwork. Of course, he honed his business acumen the hard way. “Ohhh,” he moans when considering what his life would be like had he been as involved behind the scenes during The Church’s early years. “I’d be dining at the Ritz right now! ]]> Same Hives, New Sound - Online Exclusive http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-1982-same-hives-new-sound-online-exclusive.html As Chris Dangerous tells it, The Hives formed with expiration in mind. “We always had these plans to record three of the best punk albums ever, then just break up,” the group’s drummer says. Of course, those plans changed after their single “Hate to Say I Told You So” became an international hit, making The Hives a bankable commodity—or, to put it in words the infamously self-aggrandizing group would use, one of the biggest bands in the world. ]]> The Intimate Confessions of Tegan and Sara http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-1931-the-intimate-confessions-of-tegan-and-sara.html Songwriters have long understood the poignancy that results from exposing their less-becoming side, but Tegan and Sara take self-disclosure to masochistic extremes. On their latest album of hyper-dramatic, uncomfortably autobiographical power-pop, The Con, the singing identical twins unabashedly cast themselves in the vilest light possible. “Sara and I both have this very self-deprecating, almost abusive way of looking at ourselves,” Tegan Quin explains. “We both feel like we can be very destructive and very pessimistic and very tortured and very weak, but in a weird way those are some of our best qualities.” ]]> R.I.P. Since By Man, 1999-2008 http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-1798-rip-since-by-man-1999-2008.html After a year and a half of inactivity, the Milwaukee hardcore band Since By Man made it official, announcing plans to break up following one last show this Saturday. Band members have already begun moving on to other careers, projects and cities. That it took them months to settle on a date for their long-planned farewell show speaks volumes about how divergent their paths had become. “We still enjoyed playing together, and our shows were great,” explains singer Sam Macon, “but the writing process was becoming stressful, and we were having difficulty coming up with material for our third album. Creatively, we were growing apart.” ]]> Talib Kweli’s Beautiful Business Model http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-1704-talib-kwelirss-beautiful-business-model.html Jay-Z had it easy. He faced few restrictions in his quest for money and stardom. Unapologetically driven by material desires and founded on a platform of social Darwinism, Jay-Z’s ascent to mogul-hood represents capitalism in its purest form. Like most rappers, Talib Kweli wants what Jay-Z has—money, esteem, an audience—but in his pursuit of these goals he’s been held to a much stricter standard than Jay-Z. Long ago labeled a conscious rapper by his fans, Kweli is expected to be above the perceived vanity of mainstream rap. While rappers like Jay-Z can play anything-goes, Tammany Hall politics, Kweli must adhere to restrictive campaign finance regulations or risk alienating his idealistic fans. ]]> From Moldy Peaches to Juno to 'Sesame Street' - The Curious Career of Kimya Dawson http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-1620-from-moldy-peaches-to-juno-to-sesame-street-the-curious-career-of-kimya-dawson.html Though her solo efforts coexisted with The Moldy Peaches, Dawson’s songwriting retains the pared-down, do-it-herself instrumentation of her former band without the Peaches’ scatological humor. ]]> Rudy Can't Fail - How Vampire Weekend Channeled Africa Through New York http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-1495-rudy-cant-fail-how-vampire-weekend-channeled-africa-through-new-york.html 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. ]]> The Wrath of Low - The notoriously quiet band sharpens its teeth http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-1397-the-wrath-of-low-the-notoriously-quiet-band-sharpens-its-teeth.html "Murderer," the climactic highlight of Low’s latest album, Drums and Guns, reads like the transcript of one of the president’s most disturbing talks with God. “One more thing I’ll ask you, Lord,” singer Alan Spearhawk impassively volunteers, “you may need a murderer/ someone to do your dirty work.” “Don’t act so innocent!” Spearhawk seethes, turning accusatory. “I’ve seen you pound your fist into the Earth . . .]]> The Many Muses of Mike Doughty - Music Feature http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-1298-the-many-muses-of-mike-doughty-music-feature.html Mike Doughty had one main goal while creating Golden Delicious, his latest release. “I really went in there with the intention of making it more pared down, to make good songs and make the happy, happy sound,” the former Soul Coughing frontman says wryly. This simple rhyme of an answer displays his sardonic wit and quirky lyricism, the defining traits of his music. Since Soul Coughing split in 2000, Doughty has refined his distinct, syncopated vocal delivery through his solo work, most notably on 2005’s Haughty Melodic, which yielded a radio hit in “Looking at the World From the Bottom of a Well.” The album was Doughty’s first with a backing band after a series of sparse, self-released acoustic efforts. ]]> New Day Rising - Bob Mould makes peace with the past http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-1128-new-day-rising-bob-mould-makes-peace-with-the-past.html For anyone who still associates Bob Mould with Midwestern punk, the cover of his latest solo album, District Line, may come as quite an eye-opener. The art focuses entirely on the sights of Washington, D.C., with allusions to the city’s color-coded Metro subway lines and a photograph of one of the never-ending escalators that service this underground transit system. Such aesthetic decisions, which Mould describes as “a nod to my almost six-year hometown,” immediately make clear the impact that living in the nation’s capital has had on Mould and his art. This doesn’t mean that District Line is filled with political rants aimed at those living and working in Mould’s back yard (though Mould remains civically responsible: Charmingly, he apologized for delaying this interview because he had spent the early morning voting in the D.C. presidential primary).]]> Slippery Lips - Black Lips press buttons, but get off scot-free (mostly) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-1043-slippery-lips-black-lips-press-buttons-but-get-off-scot-free-%2528mostly%2529.html In many cultures, Black Lips are considered unbecoming because they “tend to cast a sad reflection on one’s shoddy lifestyle,” according to the beauty and lifestyle magazine I Love India. Fittingly, then, few bands on the indie-rock radar are as notorious for troublemaking and excess as the Black Lips, a noisy, bluesy foursome from Atlanta. First there’s the band’s name, which could be viewed in a not-so-friendly light, especially after a few drinks. There’s also bassist Jared Swilley’s drunken driving charge, which keeps the band from crossing the Canadian border legally. ]]> Isaac Hayes: - Hot Buttered Impresario http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-961-isaac-hayes-hot-buttered-impresario.html Isaac Hayes released his first album in 1967, but when Hot Buttered Soul hit the charts he made his indelible impression on popular music. In 1972, the singer and songwriter, became the first African-American composer to win an Academy Award, for the Shaft soundtrack. He was the creative grist behind Otis Redding and Sam & Dave, including co-authoring Soul Man. Hayes, 65, has emerged as an actor, radio celebrity and restaurateur, triple talents he combined in his role as Chef on South Park. ]]> Jon Mueller - Deconstructs Metal http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-866-jon-mueller-deconstructs-metal.html Heavy metal, despite its commercial success, remains a highly misunderstood, frequently maligned genre. Often, too much attention is paid to vocal or guitar histrionics, while the rhythm section goes unnoticed or underappreciated. Yet if you closely examine some of metal’s greats—Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Slayer, to name but a few—you’ll begin to realize that it is the drumming that propels these bands. Whether it is in the shape of Bill Ward’s manic originality, Clive Burr’s galloping time keeping, or Dave Lombardo’s brutal blast beat, it’s the drummers that separate the great from the good in the world of metal. ]]> From Medieval Madrigals to Britney Spears - Richard Thompson's history lesson http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-748-from-medieval-madrigals-to-britney-spears-richard-thompsons-history-lesson.html When singer/songwriter Richard Thompson brings his “1,000 Years of Popular Music” tour to the Pabst Theater on Feb. 7, his fans may be surprised to learn that none of the British folk-rocker’s own music will factor into the program. According to Thompson, who has recorded more than 50 albums in varying musical . . . ]]> Dillinger Four, Pretentiousness Zero http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-691-dillinger-four-pretentiousness-zero.html Punk bands, seemingly by design, are not built to last. And the fact that they are often so ephemeral is probably a good thing. As many music fans have learned, particularly during the reunion craze of the early-21st century, there is nothing worse than watching a band that is well past its prime. “Live Fast, . . . ]]> The Importance of Being Earnest - Editors hit the road with big dreams, good manners. http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-602-the-importance-of-being-earnest-editors-hit-the-road-with-big-dreams-good-manners.html Ed Lay, drummer for Editors, is living the high life, and he knows it. He’s not about to jinx it with an off-color remark, a run-in with the tabloids or a fistfight with Interpol. He’s terribly earnest, in fact, as the band warms up for its 2008 U.S. tour in posh . . . ]]> A Little Folk, A Little Rock - Kevn Kinney's homecoming http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-543-a-little-folk-a-little-rock-kevn-kinneys-homecoming.html A Little Folk, A Little Rock - Kevn Kinney's homecoming http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-553-a-little-folk-a-little-rock-kevn-kinneys-homecoming.html Kevn Kinney answers his cell phone on day two of the new year from inside an Atlanta studio, where he is mixing Preapproved, his first solo album since 2002. The Milwaukee expatriate looks forward to a busy year.]]> Those Old Wisconsin Blues - A world-premiere musical http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-497-those-old-wisconsin-blues-a-world-premiere-musical.html Most residents of southeast Wisconsin, even music fans, are still surprised to learn that Port Washington and Grafton were home to a significant blues label in the 1920s, Paramount Records. Awareness has been rising: Dutch blues researcher Alex van der Tuuk authored a book on the label, and a . . . ]]> A Look Back - 2007 in Milwaukee music http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-417-a-look-back-2007-in-milwaukee-music.html Although it can sometimes feel like Milwaukee's music scene is a tad predictable, 2007 will be remembered as a more eventful year than most. Here's a look back at some of the biggest happenings, controversies and trends of the year. ]]> A Lean, Live Unit - Robert Cray's concerts spotlight his band http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-365-a-lean-live-unit-robert-crays-concerts-spotlight-his-band.html Fans who have seen the current edition of the Robert Cray Band know that one of the real attractions is listening to how the four band members play together, support each individual instrument and serve each song. ]]> The New Face of Milwaukee Emo? - The Response Fits the Bill (In a Good Way) http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-295-the-new-face-of-milwaukee-emo-the-response-fits-the-bill-%2528in-a-good-way%2529.html While recently re-watching Rushmore, Steve Kerwin realized with some dismay that a memorable line in the film bears an unintentional resemblance to the title of his band's latest album, With Friends Like You, Who Needs Enemies?]]> Jimmy Eat World: The Past is History http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-237-jimmy-eat-world-the-past-is-history.html The video for Jimmy Eat World's "Big Casino," the first single from their recent album Chase This Light, features the band performing in front of a large neon "Jackpot" sign while frontman Jim Adkins, perhaps reflecting on his own good luck, passionately sings lines such as, "I'll accept with poise, with grace, when they draw my name from the lottery]]> Cloud Cult's Green Operation http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-239-cloud-cults-green-operation.html Cloud Cult's Craig Minowa laughs when recalling a large Canadian retailer that used a song from the band's second album in a television commercial. ]]> Bob Schneider's New Focus on Rock http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-240-bob-schneiders-new-focus-on-rock.html Bob Schneider is the type of songwriter who gets bored if he plays even just a few songs in a row with a similar tempo or feel, and that unrest showed on his first albums. ]]>