• The You-Phoria Guide To Festivals: 2014

    Posted 4/9/2014 by cal

    Because tweeting my disdain isn't enough.

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  • Animals In Human Attire: OURMEGADAWN

    Posted 4/8/2014 by cal
    Animals In Human Attire have been gigging around town fairly regularly for a few years now with somewhat of a revolving cast of players, and for anyone who's seen them live, it's probably tough to imagine them nailing down an official lineup, let alone coming together to record an album. Yet here it is: Ourmegadawn, actually the band's second foray into the studio, following up 2011's lost-in-the-shuffle self-titled debut. The new record comes close to capturing the unpredictable thrill of an AIHA live show, but it also allows some of their catchier melodies ("Antfarm", "Sun Machines") to worm their way quickly into memorability. It happily sacrifices the brute force of the debut for a more searching, thoughtful attitude, winding up with something perhaps less focused but much more original. Read more... Comments (0)
  • St. Vincent: Turner Hall, 4/4/14

    Posted 4/7/2014 by cal
    In September of 2007, The National played a lower-level show at the Pabst, and when the crowd filtered out it seemed like all anyone was talking about was opener St. Vincent. At that show, St. Vincent was simply Annie Clark, alone onstage with an arsenal of gadgets. I assume she must've had a guitar but I seriously don't remember; her set seemed to me like a noisy bunch of loops and I scoffed at the hype. Typical. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Papadosio: Turner Hall, 4/3/14

    Posted 4/6/2014 by cal
    It's a long road, getting into Phish and then Phish breaking up and trying to fill the void with jambands, then realizing that most jambands are terrible, and then Phish getting back together and being better than last time but not quite as good as WAY back in the day, and then still having this lingering hope that some day there'll be a new band that fuses dark, psychedelic rock with wild improvisational spirit that gives you the feeling Phish used to, and then projecting that desire onto every young band that you stumble upon with even a hint of that potential, and then writing ridiculous run-on sentences about the whole thing. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Beck=Modern Guilty Pleasure

    Posted 3/20/2014 by cal

    Yep, like Castle.

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  • #EMT2014

    Posted 3/4/2014 by cal
    Any seasoned festival-goer knows that the nature of the beast requires you to be prepared for AN ORDEAL. As such, any complaints about the weather during the second annual Eastside Music Tour are probably inadmissible. But come on. Traipsing up and down Brady Street in that freezing wind and snow was taxing despite all the whiskey. Sure, NEWaukee can't predict the weather when they're planning a festival in Wisconsin on the first day of March, but...seriously, was this the only weekend of the entire year available? Read more... Comments (2)
  • Umphrey's McGee: Riviera, 2/22

    Posted 2/25/2014 by cal
    Sadly, this is going to turn into one of those meta-review-type situations that I sometimes frown upon. The fact that I keep getting into these mental quandaries with Umphrey's suggests that either they're one of my favorite bands, or that I should quit going to see them altogether, but neither of these is actually the case. Argh. My apologies if you've heard or read some of these points before. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band: Cactus Club, 2/21

    Posted 2/24/2014 by cal
    As popular as psych rock seems to be getting, it's a little surprising how sparse the Friday-night crowd was for Chris Forsyth. Then again, this is a guy who doesn't have his own Wikipedia page yet, but that's not going to be the case for long I'll wager. Even though I am notoriously terrible at such predictions, the notion of Forsyth remaining obscure forever is inconceivable. There's no need to be a guitar-noise nerd to appreciate his songs, and this band that he's assembled to play his Solar Motel material (and beyond) has gelled in record time into a stampede of rock and roll perfection. Sorry, Chris, but you don't believe in silly things like jinxes, right? Read more... Comments (0)
  • The Rutabega et al.: Cactus Club 2/19

    Posted 2/24/2014 by cal
    You could say this show was highly anticipated. Traveling bands Victory And Associates and the rutabega have some vocal local cheerleaders, and the bizarre lineup was rounded out by bare-bones thrashcore outfit Skategoat and the crunchy goth-pop of The Revenge Society, who wound up playing last. Things in common between all of these bands: guitars, drums. Hodgepodge needn't be a recipe for failure, though, especially at Cactus Club (Who could forget Celebrated Workingman/IfIHadAHifi/Canyons Of Static? And could all those bands please start playing again some day?). Read more... Comments (2)
  • Bungle Thoughts

    Posted 1/14/2014 by cal
    In preparation for, and since, the Mr. Bungle radio show I did on WMSE last week, I've been listening to a lot of live Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3 and whatnot (OHREALLY?) Read more... Comments (0)
  • The Best Albums Of 2013

    Posted 12/29/2013 by cal
    2013: not as good as 2012 (musically speaking), but not nearly as bad as this boring list season would have you believe. Read more... Comments (0)
  • The Best Shows Of 2013

    Posted 12/15/2013 by cal
    Enough has probably been said already about that one thing my wife was in, right? Because that was my favorite live music event of the year/coolest thing that has happened in Milwaukee possibly ever, but even on my own blog, I probably won't write about that band much any more. After today, that is; there was a performance prior to my wife joining the band that I don't feel guilty mentioning, and from now on you can just assume that the Altos are still my favorite band in town and everything they do is awesome, until they break up or kick my wife out of the band. Mmmkay? So not counting the Film Fest, here are my favorite shows of 2013. Read more... Comments (0)
  • 2013 End-Of-Year Album Review Dump

    Posted 11/28/2013 by cal

    Representatives from record labels and PR firms (and Swatty) are constantly giving me new music. It's not as though I'm legally obligated to review any of it, but there's this nagging voice in my head that says 'You're listening to music you didn't pay for. You really should write about it.' I'm resolved to be more timely and judicious about this process in 2014, but for now, here are mini-reviews of a crap-ton of albums from 2013 that I didn't buy (not yet, anyway), complete with mp3s. Read, give a listen, and maybe you'll find something you want to explore further.

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  • Sparks: Lincoln Hall, 11/7/13

    Posted 11/11/2013 by Cal
    It's hard to put a finger on why Sparks, as an entity, exists. How has this pair of oddballs been able to sustain a career in music? I think of them as similar in a sense to The Residents, in that they're so fringe and unique that no one would dream of emulating them because they've already cornered the market on people who could possibly enjoy their style, yet they've been an unsung influence on countless artists who came after them. But during Sparks' performance Thursday night at Lincoln Hall, I realized that what I've been liking all these years isn't really what they are. Now that I grasp their actual intent (I think), I like them a lot more. Read more... Comments (0)
  • AV Club Milwaukee, RIP

    Posted 11/9/2013 by cal
    At a time like this I really wish I'd hung onto that final copy of Vital Source. I've wished that before, though. The last page of it was all Matt Wild ranting about how the music scene here sucked and he was quitting his band because the only people who came to shows were friends who bitched if you didn't put them on the guest list, or something like that. I always liked that little column, but after reading that tirade I wanted to find Matt and throw a shoe at him or something. This is how you want to end Vital Source's glorious run? Just because your shitty band (I never saw Holy Mary Motor Club and have no idea if they were any good) never got famous, you decide to tear down the whole Milwaukee scene? As an idealistic moron myself, I hadn't yet gotten to the point where I could look at the art of writing in a purely rhetorical sense, and I was just starting to feel like I was becoming immersed in this scene and discovering all these incredible Milwaukee bands (whatever happened to Wooden Robot??). Read more... Comments (1)
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