• 2013 Mid-Year Album Roundup: Pop

    Posted 06/28/2013 by cal

    I work really well under deadlines, but when it comes to giving myself deadlines, maybe I'm not so good?  So, the promo mp3s have been piling up, and I've been listening to them for months, and now I've finally got a whole assload of reviews ready to post.  We'll kick things off with Pop Music, everyone's favorite genre.  Read on for reviews of new albums by All Tiny Creatures, Body Language, Emma Louise, Isaac Delusion, Majical Cloudz, Moon King, Mozart's Sister, Royal Canoe and Tullycraft.

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  • The "Difficult" Followup to "The Pop Breakthrough"

    Posted 11/09/2012 by cal

    It’s a time-honored tradition, ever since The Beatles followed up Please Please Me with the experimental mindfuck of With The Beatles.  Sometimes the motivation is strategic: fearing a loss of cred, the sudden superstars show they can still get weird.  Come back, disenchanted fans who stood by us until we got famous!  Sometimes, it’s pure iconoclasm, or just an attempt to provoke.  Sometimes it’s laziness.  Sometimes, I suppose, that’s just where the creative minds of the musicians happened to venture.  This year, Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, glitterati of the formerly freak-folk Brooklyn Empire (Yeah, I know Ariel Pink is an L.A. nutjob; he got famous thanks to discovery by AnCo and is now an honorary member of the family), pulled this classic maneuver all at once, perfectly timed to give music critics just enough time to let the challenging music sink in before their best-of list deadlines.  If the music is good enough.

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  • The Records Of Record Store Day

    Posted 04/21/2011 by cal

    As I like to keep saying over and over again, we Milwaukeeans have it good.  Not only do we still HAVE record stores, we actually have this Wisconsin chain with some real pull in terms of distribution.  So while the little little guys across the country get practically shut out of Record Store Day, The Exclusive Company managed to score a lot of great limited releases for the holiday.  I lined up right as the store opened and still managed to snag everything I was hoping to find.  Yesterday I sat down for an old-fashioned licorice pizza party with all the new goodies; read on for my impressions.

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  • The Best Music Of 2010: Non-MKE Edition

    Posted 12/29/2010 by cal

    Yes, there was a lot of good music produced in 2010 outside of Milwaukee too; not much in the way of rock and roll, but we'll hold down the fort here in the Brew City while the rest of the world takes care of the dreampop and chillwave and experimental electronica.  I’m so sick of deciding whether or not to harp on the tidal wave of 80s retro I could puke.  But if you dig post-punk and synthpop, 2010 has been a second golden age, despite how derivative it may be (cue the everything’s-a-rerun-since-The-Beatles choir).  It really has been a terrific year for music (particularly for the 4AD label, holy crap), and there are buttloads of really good albums that I won't even mention here, but everything on this list is essential listening front to back.

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  • I promise, I'm not going into hiding.

    Posted 08/30/2010 by cal

    It's just been a very busy summer, particularly August.  So much going to shows, not so much time to write about shows.  And other sites have been gobbling up my recent reviews.  But there will be lots more show reviews, record reviews, and other random blathering in the coming months, right here on you-phoria, I swear!  In the meantime, a few links to recent stuff in other places...

    Lollapalooza at JamBase

    Phish, Deer Creek, night one at Jambands.com

    Phish, Deer Creek, night two at Jambands.com

    Look for reviews of Phish at Alpine Valley at Jambands also, presumably in the next week or so.  Thanks to everybody who has checked out this site over the years, and stay tuned for lots more musings very soon!

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  • Yeasayer: ODD BLOOD

    Posted 05/17/2010 by cal

    Don’t resist the notion: Yeasayer is indeed treading a trajectory dangerously parallel to Animal Collective’s.  The first couple of times I listened to the band’s 2007 debut All Hour Cymbals, I was turned off by the similarities.  As is often the case, it took a revelatory live show to make me revisit the album in earnest, and I hardly hear the AC in it any more.


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  • Yeasayer: Majestic Theatre, 4.28.10

    Posted 04/30/2010 by cal

    Are we getting to a point in popular music where maintaining a definable identity is equivalent to stagnation?  Constant reinvention seems to be the order of the day in indie rock, but the type of transformation between Yeasayer’s 2007 debut All Hour Cymbals and this year’s Odd Blood is on the caterpillar/butterfly order.  That’s not to say the new Yeasayer is a more beautiful creature, just virtually unrecognizable.  But thinking back, the metamorphosis should’ve been evident to me from the 2008 fall tour; Yeasayer had already progressed beyond its freak-folk phase.  Still, it was far from synth-pop…


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  • The Best Shows Of 2008

    Posted 02/04/2009 by cal

    When I started brainstorming this list, I was thinking "who the heck did I even see this year besides SC3?" As it turns out, as I've perused the archives, that's due to the dominant awesomeness of SC3 and NOT the lack of good shows this year. I had a brutal time trying to decide what meant more to me than what else, but here's how it all shook out…

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