• 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 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.

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  • 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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  • MKE Day at Club Garibaldi

    Posted 04/17/2012 by cal

    I realize that Milwaukee Day is barely three years old, but checking my records, I’m certain that 2012 was the best one yet, at least in terms of live music.  You know it was a good night when you think about it the next day and you can’t decide which of three bands was the best.  Also, when the back of your neck kills with the slightest movement of your head.  Not a typical result from a Sat. Nite Duets show, but this was no ordinary 4/14.

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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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  • 2011: Year Of The Cactus?

    Posted 02/03/2011 by cal

    Not like we expect anything less, but Cactus Club just had a smokin’ hot two-week run of rock and roll shows, making the city forget that spring is still a long way off.  All three shows I saw there were cold nights packed full of people, even on a Tuesday!  How did this happen?  We know we can rely on a good beer selection, great service, perfect sound, and of course, a pool of local talent that keeps getting better all the time, often sending national-touring headliners away with their tails between their legs.

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