• Milwaukee Psych Fest 3

    Posted 05/19/2015 by cal

    I won't lie, it was an ordeal, navigating normal life in addition to this Milwaukee Psychology Festival (third annual), down at the ol' Cactus Club. I think we all learned a lot about ourselves.

  • My Ten Favorite WMSE Programs

    Posted 05/03/2011 by cal

    It is pledge drive time for the best radio station in Milwaukee.  If you listen, you should really give WMSE some money.  Set up a monthly payment plan; are you really going to miss five or ten bucks a month on your credit card?  Isn’t it worth that much to keep this Brew City institution alive?  And if you don't listen, what's wrong with you?  It’s not just a treasure trove of incredible music you won’t hear anywhere else; these DJs, most of them unpaid volunteers, put their hearts and souls into playing music for us.  After all these years, they’ve become like old friends (even if it’s kind of an odd one-way relationship).

    Some of you know this feeling already, and as you glance down this list, I know what you’re thinking: how could Buzz and Grant and Faux Eyes and Melissa and Cosmo Cruz and Alien Andre and Rich Mars not make this list?  Where’s the Chicken Shack and Five & Dime Show and the Mad Kids and Team Metal and Why My Head Hurts?  Answer: they’re all tied for number eleven, because I can listen to every one of ‘em front to back and never feel like changing the station.  On commercial radio, even disregarding the commercials, I’m lucky if I can get through three songs.  WMSE plays almost exclusively good music and way more of it than anybody else.  Wondering what shows you’d enjoy?  Just tune in, give it 15 minutes and see what happens.  That’s what I’ve done for the past 15 years or so; read on for my current ten favorite shows.

  • 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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  • Brew City infiltrates SPIN

    Posted 05/26/2010 by cal

    There's no SPIN jinx, right?  No less than four mentions of Milwaukee appear in the latest issue.  There's the dubious notoriety of Weiland's latest crash-and-burn during STP's March show at the Rave ("...Weiland was out of it in Milwaukee, forgetting lyrics and looking confused...").  Summerfest gets a brief capsule in the festival feature story ("DON'T MISS: Thievery Corporation's politically fiery Bollywood-dub chutney"--no argument here).  Naturally, the review of the widely-acclaimed new disc from local heroes Kings Go Forth receives eight pink dots (that's four stars to the rest of the publishing world).

    But perhaps the most satisfying blurb is a shout-out to our very own Radio Milwaukee from Elijah Jones of The Constellations: "'We sent songs to everyone,' explains the singer.  'And 88.9 in Milwaukee was the first to catch on.  They invited us to play a show, and the day I got there, I heard three of our songs on the radio.'"  Between the Mighty 91 (still in need of ten grand in community support by the end of the month--show 'em some support at wmse.org!!) and 88Nine, we have the best radio airwaves pound for pound in the country.  Believe it, people: MKE is bustin' out.

  • What's The New Mary Jane?

    Posted 03/02/2009 by cal

    I can’t deny it: going into Atomic Records gets more depressing every time. You know, I saw the Rolling Stones at the very tail end of their last gasp at relevance, but at least I’ve skipped out on the past ten years or so. You don’t want your last memory of something to be the last days of a dragged-out mockery. It’s not Rich’s fault; he doesn’t have the option of just ending it abruptly and gracefully. The relationship with the fans is infinitely more personal, doomed to an unavoidably clunky, unsatisfying end. There will be no more amazing discoveries at Atomic. Last time I was there, even the conversation was almost nonexistent. So I don’t really think I can go in there any more. Maybe for the grand finale.

  • MSE Fest: Decibully, The Championship, The Celebrated Workingman

    Posted 09/04/2008 by cal

    If you had a good amount of free time one weekend prior to the big bike brouhaha, you could’ve caught a very nice smattering of bands that are contributing to making the Milwaukee music scene swell with excitement these days. I’m not going to say “if you had the money;” for the entirety of MSE Fest, which featured 29 artists at seven venues over the course of four days, you only had to fork over twenty bucks. Sadly, I was only able to make time for three of these artists, one night only.





MKE shows Phish Cactus Club SC3 Chicago Animal Collective U2 CWM metal jambase Wilco Pearl Jam Radiohead STS9 Umphrey's indie albums RIP Alpine Valley Turner Hall Altos Juniper Tar lists Buckethead Summerfest Pabst CML Pitchfork Lolla Yeasayer Decibully Claypool Katatonia 2015 Trey IfIHadAHifi the rave Open Mike Eagle Old Earth Opeth Zorn Tame Impala Primus WMSE Death Blues Sat. Nite Duets Umphreys St. Vincent Blut Aus Nord Shining Anathema Swans McCartney Across Tundras 2009 Moss Folk Death Grips Twin Shadow Scrimshaw Bon Iver Ariel Pink Delphines Lincoln Hall Garibaldi Bonnaroo Marc Ribot Ceramic Dog Northless Field Report Mad Planet Rothbury Young Widows King Crimson Godflesh Ulver Metallica Black Sabbath Calliope Vhol Zatokrev Scarring Party Dogs In Ecstasy Black Eagle Child Bread Mothers Panda Bear Nick Cave Riverside Mogwai Twin Brother Summer Camp White Denim KPRC Hello Death Yes rock Championship Fiona Apple Neurosis Atlas Sound Burning Sons Hotel Foster Deerhunter Arcade Fire Borg Ward KGF CoCoB interviews Hampton 2008 2007 Eaux Claires Circuit Des Yeux Kikagaku Moyo Bungle Negura Bunget Anthrax Broadrick TITD Carcass Mayhem Soldier Field L.A. Witch Drugs Dragons Mueller Gorguts MoTA Agalloch Primordial Krallice Great Old Ones Panopticon Pyramids Ævangelist Blanck Mass Chelsea Wolfe Xiu Xiu Kendrick Enslaved Sigh Fuck Buttons FKA Twigs Grimes Bowie Moon Curse Kiings adoptahighway milo Midwives Piles Tay Butler Haz Solo Sufjan Siren Feck Grohowski Brokeback TVOTR Dead Apollo Vermouth Klassik bliss & alice Mount Eerie iamamiwhoami Forsyth Shabazz Palaces FlyLo gauss Elbow Loop Running Vocokesh Space Raft Tapebenders MKE Day Volcano Choir Mind Over Mirrors Laswell Lombardo DEJJ Vic DMB Catacombz Reggie's Elusive Parallelograms Beck Riviera Chris Forsyth Run The Jewels El-P Daft Punk Dirty Beaches Russian Circles Thundercat Nirvana Fatty Acids Thom Yorke Lou Reed pop prog Linnemans Eric & Magill Earl Greyhound The Men Avett Brothers moe. Thievery Jon Mueller Promise Ring R.I.P. Jack White Wodensthrone Grizzly Bear indie rock Sugar Stems Lisa Ridgely Joe Crockett Wakarusa Bassnectar Sleigh Bells PJ Harvey Loyal Divide Kanye Danglers Hue Alpha Transit pink floyd Rush barrymore Pavement Malkmus 2010 experimental Madison tdmii Schlock 2006 AOTY Petty Ka Baird Necks Herbie Hancock Patti Smith Arte Para Todos Marielle Allschwang GNR MKE Psych Tom Petty Mercyful Fate King Diamond Celtic Frost Venom Morbid Angel Anal Cunt Entombed Def Leppard Danzig System Of A Down Isis Judas Priest Ministry Sepultura Slayer Cannibal Corpse Death Melvins Megadeth Amon Amarth Dio Iron Maiden Madison Square Garden Baker's Dozen Chris Cornell Soundgarden Al Lover Mr. Elevator LIttle Havana Waldoch Bill Mackay All-Seeing Eyes Foreign Goods Snoozy Moon Def Harmonic Chatham Rise PCWS Floorian Nest Egg Magas Flavor Crystals Doug Tuttle Ancient River Company Brewing Patti Oranssi Pazuzu Clouds Imperium Dekadenz Eye Of Solitude Klimt 1918 Ulcerate Perturbator Borknagar Chthe’ilist Dark Tranquillity Wormed black metal Emperor WITTR Ash Borer Faust Royal Trux Gary Wilson HEALTH Oneohtrix Ryley Walker Ragnda Richard Bishop Lightning Bolt Methyl Ethel Night Beats Earthless Bitchin Bajas NIS Simulacrum John Medeski Matt Hollenberg Kenny Grohowski Floating Points Vessels Peptalk Kamasi Washington Mbongwana Star Vince Staples Deafheaven Mgla Solefald Jamie xx Black Wing Have A Nice Life Oneohtrix Point Never Larry Gus Lanterns On The Lake Dungen Killing Joke Foo Fighters Courtney Barnett Ezra Furman Kelley Stoltz Sufjan Stevens CHVRCHES Platinum Boys Tigernite K.Diver VBIV Emmitt James Renji Tall Ducks Testa Rosa Devereaux LBN667 Fredd33 Midnight Reruns Will It Burn Light Music Maritime Murderhorse Shroud Of Despondency Lex Allen NAN Lorde Fredd33 MKE Psych Fest Wood Chickens Dapp Theory Andy Milne 75 Dollar Bill Acme Weird Al Jazz Estate Weiland United Center Psych Fest Mini Mansions Ttotals Holydrug Couple Holy Wave Porterfield Webster X Pizzle Colin Plant Christine Hoberg Piper Davis Torrice Albarakat Disappears DRKWAV Medeski Skerik Bjork Black Monolith Perfume Genius Mondkopf Timber Timbre Sun Kil Moon Medicine Cult Of Youth Emptiness Ishraqiyun RTJ D'Angelo Eyvind Kang Marissa Nadler Andy Stott Sun Glitters Thou TV Girl Voices SD Laika Kinth Strange Matter Lotus Ash M-Nat Mortgage Freeman Canopies Antemasque DJ Quik Suga Free Happyness Blind Shake Ryan Adams RWPH JKB Metheny Breadfest Marcy Caley Conway Zebras LTT Bremen Cafe Fripp Milwaukee Theatre Disguised As Birds Bladerunner psych Beast In The Field Plastic Crimewave Syndicate SOYSV The Blind Shake AIHA Papadosio Rebecca Rego Cowboy Winter Linneman's Solar Motel Wereworm Ruined Costume Circle-A Victory And Associates rutabega Revenge Society Skategoat Patton Spruance Dunn Forest Swords The Field Altar Of Plagues Besnard Lakes Killer Mike Danny Brown BSBD MBV Hiatus Boards Of Canada Cloak Ox Chance The Rapper John Grant Grumbling Fur Dustin Wong Jesu Joey Bada$$ Jonwayne Junip Locrian Palms Pelican Sigur Ros Washed Out SND Soul Low Fable Heartthrob Myles Coyne Blessed Feathers JFlash Kid Millions Dana Coppa SPEAK Easy L&R AfP Leonard Cohen Sparks mkefilm Day Joy Pizza! Steven Wilson Dick's Eight Bells My Gold Mask Shouting Matches Spectrals Team Spirit Temple Their/They're/There Tripwires Turf War. Angel Olsen Woods Mikal Cronin Wire Savages Kller Mike Yo La Tengo Cult Of Luna TFOES Fen Intronaut Nero Di Marte October Tide Portal electronic ambient Beacon Dying Machines Jonas Reinhardt Pharaohs Umberto Xander Harris All Tiny Creatures Body Language Emma Louise Isaac Delusion Majical Cloudz Mood Ring Mozart's Sister Royal Canoe Tullycraft Femmes Sigmund Schubas Township Constellation Cornmeal Caravan Of Thieves MMW Diplo UV Hippo Outside Quarters Follakzoid Psychic Ills Sacred Bones Orpheum Mike Dillon canyonsofstatic Dead Kenny Gs Ciocarlia Atlas Moth Mission Of Burma Gojira Paradise Lost Daylight Dies Switchblade Les Discrets The Gathering ITTCT Fear Falls Burning 2012 Godspeed Baroness Converge Liars Kendrick Lamar Ani of Montreal Frank Ocean Lonerism Dirty Projectors Police Teeth Fanfare Ciocarlia Nervous Curtains Bottom Lounge Worrier TPDR Lotus Plaza Suckers Lower Dens post punk Hollows Royal Baths Bear In Heaven Smoking Popes Imagine Dragons El Valiente Avett Bros Death Cab BMO MCA Beastie Boys Call Me Lightning Trapper Schoepp Levon Helm Paul Cebar John Sieger Hugh Masterson sviib Sat Nite Duets Semitwang Coachella Forecastle Hangout Sasquatch Chili Peppers SCI moe Janes Pretty Lights MMJ Girl Talk Andrew Bird IMP Cloud Nothings Kumas Hot Tuna Stonefly Drake J.Viewz Cymbals Eat Guitars Today Is The Day The Roots Hank 3 Junius Jay-Z Fucked Up CunninLinguists Grails Destroyer Rosebuds Esoteric Crappy Dracula Riverwest Testament Brief Candles Dick Dale Empty Bottle the wall Fib Seq RSD Wild Flag av club dreampop gothic King's Horses Terrior Bute yuck dirtbombs garage techno arkady ikarus down Summercamp muzzleofbees Lollapalooza PiL Yorke APTBS Future Rock Big Boi Janelle Monae The Books Beefheart National Acorn Nicki Minaj M.I.A. Eminem GNL Howl Street Jaill Dusty Medical Dirtnap 88.9 Conrad Plymouth Fibonacci Ribot Charleston Congress mgmt dr. dog quasi bone thugs strange boys the knife Roger Waters Systemic Torment Willy Porter widespread panic umphrey's mcgee ott bluetech big gigantic lotus sub swara zappa plays zappa john butler trio 88Nine Aragon Majestic you-phoria features STP Miramar Festivals films Deer Creek reunions Atomic RushMor Chicago Theater BBC kibitzer high noon Zeppelin Double Door