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Thursday, May 22, 2008

An interview with Panic at the Disco’s Ryan Ross

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 . . .
Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tonight @ Yield - 8 p.m.

Two of Milwaukee’s biggest active alternative-rock bands show their support for the social justice organization Community Shares of Greater Milwaukee (CSGM) tonight by playing a benefit event for the non-profit group at Yield. Fever Marlene and On a Sun headline the 8 p.m. all-night event, which will also feature . . .
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
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.”
Monday, April 28, 2008

Forever Changes Collector’s Edition (Rhino)

In 1967, rock bands on both sides of the Atlantic were struck with the full potential of the record album as a broad aural canvas. In that year the multiracial Los Angeles group Love recorded Forever Changes, which despite its obscurity at the time has been deemed a milestone in art rock by some critics. The album’s latest repackaging includes the original Forever Changes plus an unreleased alternate mix of . . .
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Local Music

At this point it’s fair to recognize songwriter Mike Jarvis as an elder statesman of Milwaukee’s pop music scene. In addition to a résumé that includes time with The Blow Pops, Root Cellar, Simpleton, Chicago’s Green and three albums with The Lackloves, guitarist/vocalist Jarvis has toured Europe and Asia. The Lackloves’ latest album, Cathedral Square Park, marks a lineup shift back to the band’s original trio incarnation after spending much of its existence as a two guitars/bass/drums quartet. Drummer/vocalist Tommy Dougherty and newcomer bassist/vocalist Kevin Ponec round out the current lineup.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Championship embrace rural Americana

One of Bay View’s rootsiest bands has just gotten rootsier. The Championship’s 2005 debut album was a more modern exercise in Americana, firmly grounded in contemporary folk-rock and alt-country, but there’s little about the group’s rustic new album, Midnight Golden, that couldn’t have been recorded decades ago. “We wanted to get back to that late-’60s, early-’70s, AM gold feel,” explains singer/songwriter Joe . . .
Monday, April 7, 2008

Secrets of the New Explorers (Independent)

The six sparse and spacey songs on Secrets of the New Explorers by Glen Phillips (the former frontman for ’90s alternative-popsters Toad the Wet Sprocket) could land this sonic astronaut some new fans. With low-fi guitars, minimal percussion and dreamy vocals, Phillips explores space travel and the mysteries of the solar system. The strongest cut here, “Solar Flare,” even invokes
Friday, April 4, 2008

Tonight @ the Cactus Club - 10:00 PM

Anticon Records is known almost exclusively for a certain sound—electronica-influenced, abstract hip-hop, often with an avant-garde edge—but one act on the label’s roster smashes this mold. Although they siphon certain aesthetics from hip-hop, Why? sticks mostly to tumultuous indie-pop and spry, Animal Collective . . .
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

March 29, 2008

Like Jonathan Richman, Jens Lekman is a doeeyed and baritonevoiced songwriter who travels the world singing simple, unaffected songs about universal experiences. And like Richman, he writes some of the purest, most genuine music ever recorded. But where Richman relies on just a primitive guitardrum setup to share his vision in concert, Lekman aims for something grander. For his latest tour, he’s recruited a quintet of musicians, including a violinist and cellist, whose swooning strings caress his more intimate songs and aggrandize his zippier, poppier ones. With a little assistance from a laptop, Lekman’s arrangements can conjure anything from classic soul to disco to calypso. Jonathan Richman’s music only sounds this fully realized in Jonathan Richman’s head.
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008

Sia

Tonight @ Turner Hall Ballroom - 8:00 PM

Beneath her deceptively small frame and her little-girl haircut, singer Sia boasts a surprisingly powerful set of pipes, the kind that light torch songs. She built up her resume through her chilled-out work with Massive Attack and, most prominently, Zero 7, but her strong new solo release, Some People Have Real Problems, trades . . .

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