• 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.


    Posted 12/12/2015 by cal

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

  • Post-Fare Thee Well Thoughts

    Posted 07/12/2015 by cal

    After listening to the three Fare Thee Well shows from 4th of July weekend--y'know, members of The Grateful Dead plus Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti and our old pal Trey playing the Jerry role, sort of--I basically agree with the vague consensus I've found online and amongst Deadhead friends, which is that they were as good as they could possibly have been. It seems like everyone got what they needed out of that weekend; I couldn't help feeling giddy about the collective goodwill that was powering the sea of humanity in Soldier Field, and also a profound sense of relief having decided to skip it.

  • Thoughts About This Dead 50th Anniversary Thing

    Posted 01/17/2015 by cal

    Confession: I have no great, abiding affinity for the music of The Grateful Dead. The love I have for that band boils down to a deep respect. They started something in music that has had so profound an effect on my life and our world that I'll never fully comprehend it. Many of the greatest experiences of my life simply wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the Dead. One of the best band names ever, too, by the way. Jerry Garcia: incredible musician and philosopher. Phil Lesh: unreal bass player. The other guys: great at what they were doing, for a very long time.

  • SONGS OF INNOCENCE (and other tangentially related topics)

    Posted 10/05/2014 by cal

    I think U2 may have finally brought about the death of the record review. As a longtime fan, I can only sit back and laugh at the hoopla surrounding Songs Of Innocence. I've found it to be a pretty enjoyable listen. It's not going to win over many new fans, that's for sure. In fact, the way in which it was released has only energized the curious U2-hatred that has existed ineffectually for decades. It's like politics: At least 90% of the half a billion who now "own" this album made up their minds about U2 long ago. Those who haven't bought into the cult of U2 are now even less likely to listen to Songs Of Innocence, and even if they were to listen, there would be no getting around their hyperconscious truth that U2 is crap and couldn't possibly make good music.

  • I don't know what to call this one.

    Posted 06/09/2014 by cal

    I'll come right out and say it: The dissolution of The Delphines is devastating. Hush has become my biggest obsession-album of the year so far. To think that you could make that album and then not carry on, that messes with my head. Obviously it can't be nearly as trying for me as it is for the members of the band, and I'm excited for whatever they all come up with next, but it won't, and it oughtn't, be The Delphines. And that's brutal, for the city of Milwaukee and for music at large.

  • Beck=Modern Guilty Pleasure

    Posted 03/20/2014 by cal

    Yep, like Castle.

  • Bungle Thoughts

    Posted 01/14/2014 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?)

  • AV Club Milwaukee, RIP

    Posted 11/09/2013 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??).

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  • A Requiem For LULU

    Posted 10/29/2013 by cal

    I never reviewed Lulu, the 2011 album that seemed to mark the low point of both Metallica's and Lou Reed's careers; it was such a shitstorm of media frenzy that it ceased to be music before the general public even had the chance to listen to it. Although I didn't find it to be a complete mess in every respect, there's nothing on it that I ever want to listen to again. But I do have a theory on why it exists.

  • Lou Reed, RIP

    Posted 10/28/2013 by cal

    Around this time of year, the merits of best-of lists start to be discussed in music-nut circles almost as much as music. All I know is if it hadn't been for my public library and two or three books proclaiming The Top However-Many Albums Of All Time, I might never have gotten into The Velvet Underground. There, underneath Sgt. Pepper's and Dark Side and maybe a few other classic rock bastions, was The Velvet Underground & Nico, without fail. When I think about it now, I'm a little perplexed as to why I liked it when I took the record out from the library and played it, because I hadn't really even gotten into punk rock yet. Yet to me, a 14-year-old in 1990 or so, despite its somewhat grotesque production values and the weirdo lady singer, it sounded contemporary. I had no historical perspective on music yet; it didn't occur to me to be shocked that it was 23 years old. I liked it, but I didn't get it.

  • Love is Strange

    Posted 10/17/2013 by youphoric

    First a warning: I am not Cal. It's been a long time since I authored anything here, a forum that Mr. @roachcraft is kind enough to share with me on occasion.

    Occasionally the bug strikes me to write something here, and sometimes I actually have time to do it. This time, it started with a commercial. This Nationwide Insurance commercial really has nothing to do with the 1957 Mickey & Sylvia hit Love is Strange, but it has the word "baby" in it a lot and ohhhh our commercial is about big babies and omg I bet our target market remembers this song from Dirty Dancing so yeah let's use it!!! ........

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  • R.I.P., J-Tar

    Posted 09/18/2013 by cal

    There's nothing worse than a last show ever by a band that's at the top of its game (except maybe a last show ever by a band that was once great at the absolute bottom of its game), so I'm glad I can't make it to the Juniper Tar show at Linneman's on Saturday.

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  • Ultimate Pipedream McCartney Setlist

    Posted 04/29/2013 by cal

    I used to concoct dream setlists for my favorite bands all the time; not sure why I stopped, but with Paul McCartney--i.e., the greatest artist in pop music history so far--playing Miller Park in July, I couldn’t help geeking out.  This playlist does not necessarily support the outrageous claim I just made, but it does demonstrate that as of his latest album of original material, 2008’s Electric Arguments, he was still writing amazing songs completely different from anything he’d done before.  I would’ve made a very different playlist if I really wanted to make a case for his total dominance throughout the past five decades, but you don’t get a full sense of the character without his cringe-inducing cheese.  (Let’s assume that the author of “Silly Love Songs” is at peace with his sentimental tendencies.)  McCartney has written quite a few awful songs, and stubbornly recorded them and played them live over and over, but nobody else ever hit 70 years of age still writing and performing pop music at such a high level.  So, here’s what a live show made up of all my favorite McCartney songs would look like.  Except I excluded “Oh! Darling” because God knows he couldn’t possibly sing that nowadays.  Absurd, yes, and perhaps a BIT lengthy, but only four more songs than at Wrigley two years ago...

  • Where my brain goes when I get impatient for Phish tourdates

    Posted 03/07/2013 by cal

    Been listening to a lot of Phish lately.

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