• Levitation: Chicago

    Posted 03/15/2016 by cal

    The venerable Austin Psych Fest changed its name to Levitation last year, which was probably wise, considering that the term is at once ubiquitous and potentially constricting nowadays. Also, it would seem silly to have an Austin Psych Fest: Chicago (there’s one in Vancouver, too). The Thalia Hall (What a superb venue. I want to live there.) event this past weekend shared exactly two common artists with the Austin version happening next month, but what the Chicago incarnation lacked in Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, it made up for with, well, mostly current, relevant artists.

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  • 2015: Miscellaneous Uncategorizable Musicks

    Posted 02/08/2016 by cal

    My favorite genre!

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  • 2015: Rap

    Posted 02/08/2016 by cal

    One of the main reasons I didn’t want to do a simple list this year is that number one has been so obvious all year. Why bother if there’s no suspense?

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  • 2015: Metal

    Posted 02/05/2016 by cal

    After a relatively weak 2014, this year yielded a much more impressive and varied crop. I wonder if I said the opposite of that last year. I’m not going to look.

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  • 2015: Electronics

    Posted 02/04/2016 by cal

    I’m not sure if it was a slow year in this category or if I was lazy in seeking out new musicks. Or, if the combination of electronic and live instrumentation somewhat overshadowed the work of traditional DJs. You’d be better off checking out this page for DJ Screendoor's recommendations in this genre, but here are some of my faves…

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  • 2015: Rock

    Posted 02/04/2016 by cal

    It almost seems like an insult to relegate a band to this boring umbrella genre, but I'm not splitting up prog and indie and psych and whatever else you might want to use to distinguish your favorite band. If it's dominant instrument is an electric guitar and it's not metal, for the purpose of this exercise, it's rock.

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  • 2015: Singer/Songwriter

    Posted 02/03/2016 by cal

    It's a genre, let's face it.

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  • 2015: Pop

    Posted 02/02/2016 by cal

    In the interest of making the end-of-year process less intimidating to you readers, I’m not doing the usual massive top-twenty piece. Instead, I’m dividing things up between genres. Maybe people will be more likely to read a handful of smaller pieces; what do I know? Maybe, if you're good, I'll put a list at the end, since I think there's at least one person who is curious as to what it might look like. If you're good. Anyway, let’s not get hung up on specific genre definitions, okay? The purpose here is to point out some albums from 2015 that I loved, and in some cases, albums other people liked that I didn’t like so much. Please read on if my opinions on such things interest you.

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  • David Bowie, RIP

    Posted 01/15/2016 by cal

    I can't believe I just typed "David Bowie, RIP". Such bullshit. I wonder if it will ever seem true.

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  • 2015: Local Music

    Posted 01/12/2016 by cal

    What a year, Milwaukee.

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  • 2015: Live Music

    Posted 12/29/2015 by cal

    As I’ve ranted on twitter, 2015 was a fairly shitty year in terms of live music in Milwaukee. The Pabst group’s renaissance appeared to be over, as those venues welcomed lots of youtube sensations and actors and 88nine bands and not many artists I was very interested in seeing. What’s that? You say I’ve aged out of the venues’ target audience? Well shit. There were exceptions of course, and 2016 is already looking like it will destroy 2015 in this regard. We need slow years from time to time. And maybe the big events from this year will ultimately shine brighter in my memory for years to come. It certainly seems like they ought to. Here are the ones (excluding Altos and associated acts, since I'm married to an Alto and friends with the whole gang) that I most love reliving in my mind.

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  • WEILAND

    Posted 12/12/2015 by cal

    I really don’t have time for this. I need to be working on LISTS.

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  • Magnaball

    Posted 08/28/2015 by cal

    Sometimes you have to look on the bright side, and sometimes the bright side is all around you. As soon as our crew parked our cars and started setting up camp, it was apparent that we'd been directed right to the perfect spot. Plentiful space, cool neighbors, nearby showers and water spigot, and most shockingly, an actual restroom facility right across the path. For a second time this summer, I found myself at a festival with most of the usual festival bullshit stripped away. There weren't even any long beer lines at Magnaball.

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  • Phish: Alpine Valley 2015

    Posted 08/12/2015 by cal

    Sorry if the Blossom review was a bit insubstantial. I promise this piece is way longer.

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  • Phish: Blossom, 8/7/2015

    Posted 08/08/2015 by cal

    My primary gripes about Phish 3.0: the crappy new material, the tight song rotation, the bungled compositions, the terrible first sets, the lack of jams, the second sets that peter out into cock-rock jukebox mode. None of these things happened at Blossom.

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