• The Best Music Of 2014

    Posted 01/20/2015 by cal

    The Beast. Many, many words and numbers and links (and even a few playlists) concerning my favorite musicks of 2014. Enjoy.

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  • 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?

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  • Secret Chiefs 3: Cactus Club, 10/8/2014

    Posted 10/09/2014 by cal

    I keep thinking that at some point they're not going to be as good. Probably just trying to lower my unreasonable expectations of this band. Fortunately Secret Chiefs 3 are unreasonably good. Every time they pick up instruments and play.

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  • 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?)

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Four Days And Seven Nights In Illinois

    Posted 06/02/2013 by cal

    At some point in the future, Honest Tune might get around to publishing my review of Summer Camp.  If not, I don't really care.  It's a load of crap that required only slightly more energy as the staff at Honest Tune put into helping me set it up, and it's not like it was going to garner me any pay.  But I couldn't leave it at that, so here's what actually happened during my end-of-May marathon seven-of-eight consecutive nights of live music in Illinois.

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  • My Favorite Shows Of 2011

    Posted 12/23/2011 by cal

    If I have any perennial list-readers here, most of them probably sighed preemptively as they imagined what would top my list this year, and they’re all correct: U2 (really impossible to choose between the two shows I saw), Phish (night one at UIC being the best of the seven), Secret Chiefs 3 at the Empty Bottle, Animal Collective at Pitchfork, and Paul McCartney at Wrigley Field. Oops, ya got me: I have favorite bands. I know music critics aren't supposed to reveal those, but there's no sense keeping it a secret. But rather than blather on about them yet again, it’s probably more productive for me to mention the top ten non-my-favorite-band shows of the year. So here goes. (To keep it interesting, I’m going to gloss over other obvious big names (Wilco, Pearl Jam, Primus, STS9), since they’ve all been covered plenty.)

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  • Secret Chiefs 3: Empty Bottle, 9/17/11

    Posted 09/19/2011 by cal

    Grudgingly, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that for all time, most folks just aren’t going to get obsessed with Secret Chiefs 3. In my impossible quest to be objective, the best I can come up with is that in terms of unique style crossed with instrumental versatility and prowess, they can’t be topped. I used to think Mr. Bungle, but in the long run Bungle doesn’t quite stack up consistently. As much as I love Mike Patton, his former Bungle cohort Trey Spruance has evolved waaaaaay more as an artist since the breakup, and is now making music much better than he ever did with Bungle.

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  • 2000-2009: The Decade In Music

    Posted 04/15/2010 by cal

    No: singling out twenty or so albums as the pinnacle moments from a decade is totally not absurd at all. I based these lists on a nebulous calculation of awesomeness times influence, but since I can’t control the listening habits of the world, sometimes pure awesomeness was enough. The stickler in me really wanted a nice round number for each list, but I came to the decision that only 36 albums really stack up as potential all-time classics for me. If you’re still craving more music-snob sarcasm after reading these lists, feel free to point out any oversights…

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  • The Best Records Of 2009

    Posted 04/14/2010 by cal

    It was kind of a shaky year in most respects, but musically, the 00s went out with a bang. Few (if any) records from ’08 will hold their value as long as the best of ’09. A lot of huge debuts this year bode well for a bright decade to come as well. Before we dive headfirst into it, let's take another look back at 2009. (note: album links should take you to some actual music)

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  • The Best Shows I Saw In 2009

    Posted 04/14/2010 by cal

    I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a better year of live music than 2009. 2001 and 2003 were pretty much neck and neck before, but they were both missing one key ingredient: a revitalized Phish. I wish I could’ve squeezed Radiohead in there somehow, but aside from that, it was as if all my favorite live acts conspired to keep my mind blown for most of the year. And since most (if not all) of them will be touring again in the coming months, ’09 may not even hold the crown for long…but we’ll see. My rule for this list, as always, is only one show per artist; otherwise, there might have only been three bands on it.

    (note: links in the headings are to my original reviews of these shows, where possible)

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  • 2009 In Music, So Far

    Posted 07/13/2009 by cal

    It’s nowhere near list season, but I guess it makes sense to at least do a quick rundown of some key releases of 2009 in the middle of the year. No one should have to wait until January to be told what to buy! At this point, I haven’t listened to most of this stuff enough to judge it anyway, but here’s what’s striking me so far…

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  • The Oddity Faire: A Completely Insufficient Review

    Posted 03/28/2009 by cal

    As Les Claypool’s traveling mini-fest tumbled through the Rave on March 20th, I faithfully stumbled in again, even though I keep wishing he’d pick a different venue. For a few different reasons, this event did not get all the attention it deserved from me, but I feel it is my duty to at least give the best recap I am able to.

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  • The You-Phoria Guide to the 2009 Concert Season

    Posted 03/06/2009 by cal

    The musical prospects of 2009 are quite honestly frightening. To begin with, barring my death, this will be the first time I’ll see Phish and U2 both in the same year; that alone virtually guarantees a landmark end to the aughts. But there’s a lot to get excited about, so I thought I’d run up a quick list (note: “quick” is a relative term) of potentials to shake us out of the winter doldrums if this 50-degree weather hasn't done it already.

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