• The Best Shows I Saw In 2014

    Posted 12/23/2014 by cal

    In an effort to impress upon people who need these things explained the ultimate meaningless of the numbers involved in these lists I like to write, there is a tie for number one this year. The shows were so completely different and earth-shattering that I couldn't possibly choose. BUT THEN NUMBER TWO SHOULD REALLY BE NUMBER THREE. Are you happy now?

  • 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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  • The Best Shows I Saw In 2012

    Posted 02/03/2013 by cal

    When I started looking back on 2012, I definitely felt like it was amazing for records but not so amazing for live music.  If that’s true, it’s only because every year is great for live music, and 2011 will always be tough to beat.  And in terms of the Milwaukee scene, 2012 was easily the best year yet that I’ve been a part of, even if some of my favorite local bands (*cough cough ahem* CELEBRATED WORKINGMAN) virtually went into hiding.  Many highlights from unexpected bands, and of course some reliable greatness from perennial faves, make up this year’s list.  Read on for those highlights.

  • Juniper Tar: Turner Hall Ballroom, 4/27/12

    Posted 05/01/2012 by cal

    Ever since Wilco went indie rock, the whole folk rock trend seems to have lost its way.  Hell, even My Morning Jacket went disco, and if all we’re left with is Fleet Foxes in the national picture, God help us. (I’m not even going to get started on Bon Iver.) But freed from the pressures of keeping up with a widespread scene, Milwaukee has kept the flame alive all this time, to the point where now it’s the dominant unifying sound of Brewtown.  Go figure; this is where the rural and the urban meet, a cultural melting pot with plenty of room to breathe.  It may be a sad thought, but with the passing of Levon Helm, there could well be a massive resurgence in roots music, but around these parts it’s been full steam ahead all along.  2012 will purportedly see new releases from The Championship and Field Report (start getting excited now), and Friday night, The First Waltz at Turner Hall Ballroom (naturally!), was in honor of Juniper Tar’s exceptional new album Since Before.  I don’t care if you’re sick of hearing about these guys.  They rule.

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  • "The First Waltz" Residency, Night 4

    Posted 04/19/2012 by cal

    Was it just me, or were fewer people gabbing during last night’s residency finale?  Even though it was, appropriately, the most celebratory-feeling show of the run, people seemed to be paying attention.  Maybe it was because most of the curious-onlookers and make-the-scene-sters had been filtered out and the room was full of people who wanted to be there and loved the music.  Or maybe it was just really loud, and I was close to the stage.  Whatever the case: gratitude.

  • "The First Waltz" Residency, Nights 2 & 3

    Posted 04/14/2012 by cal

    Last week I was either too busy or too lazy (I forget which) to do a recap of night two of this residency that’s racing to its conclusion all too quickly, and it wouldn’t be fair to skip a week.  So, let this be your official welcome to the new and improved You-Phoria, thanks to the dedicated work of the inventor and namesake of this site (and birthday boy)!  Act now, limited-time, Milwaukee Day offer: TWO Juniper Tar Hotel Foster “The First Waltz” Residency reviews for the price of one! (Actually, it’ll be up here forever; no need to rush.)

  • "The First Waltz" Residency, Night 1

    Posted 03/29/2012 by cal

    Hotel Foster . Finally, a worthy successor to The Globe East. Wednesday night was my first venture into the building since Today Is The Day played in it, October 2002. It was kind of like going into Shank Hall for the first time after its renovation, except it didn’t feel sucky. You don’t get many chances in life for a sudden memory dump like this, and it was weird but invigorating envisioning the dingy black environs from back in the day and remembering all the great shows. Foster is nothing like The Globe, really, but of course it shouldn’t be. It’s a symbol of the new Milwaukee, the one that demands a modicum of style and a substantial selection of Wisconsin beers and fierce support of this potential golden age for local music.

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  • AV Club, Et Cetera

    Posted 04/18/2011 by cal

    Just a quick note for anyone who doesn't get my Twitter/Facebook updates: I've been doing quite a bit of work for The Onion's AV Club lately; too much to put links to all of it here, in fact.  If you're interested, here are a few recent reviews

    Robert Plant and Band Of Joy @ The Riverside

    Bright Eyes @ The Pabst

    Sharon Van Etten @ The Pabst

    At this point, you can't really search for my name at the AV Club's website.  I hope I can get them to fix this at some point.  If you happen to be on Twitter, I'm @roachcraft.  Much more to come this week and in the future at You-Phoria, have no fear.  Thanks for reading!  We really do appreciate it.

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  • Milwaukee's Best 2010

    Posted 12/15/2010 by cal

    After a 2009 lull, the Brew City stormed back this year with an astounding array of incredible records.  I decided I couldn’t extricate myself from my hometown bias, because I would put Milwaukee’s top ten records up against the rest of the world’s top ten without hesitation this year.  Credit local überproducer Shane Hochstetler in large part: he produced or co-produced six of the albums on this list and many more at his Howl Street Recordings, the new Midwestern music Mecca.  And wouldn't you know it?  His next door neighbor at Mystery Room Mastering and Recording, Justin Carl Perkins, had a hand in at least four of 'em as well.  And with the onslaught of online free/pay-what-you-want downloads (thanks, Radiohead!!), y’all have no excuse for not checking out at least half of this music (note: if the album title contains a link, it should take you to a download page).

    As the consumer paradigm continues to shift away from albums, the line between LP and EP is beginning to blur, so I’m lumping them all together here.  A cohesive and moving collection of five tunes can be just as powerful a statement as an hour-long treatise, and it’s kind of the year of the EP in Milwaukee anyway.  And with the rest of the world going all 80s retro this year, MKE seems to be taking its cues from much further back in time (warning: three different Buddy Holly mentions.  Unavoidable), but making sounds uniquely modern.  This is one of those lists where I feel bad for all the records that aren’t number one, ‘cause they’re all so damn good.  Enjoy.

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