Local Bands: You Can DIY

cassette tapes

As the age of major music labels comes to a close, more and more musicians are finding themselves in that highly-desired position of being in control of their artistic future.  Being able to steer your career exactly where you want it is a great thing, but not everyone is born knowing how to drive.  To help navigate those tricky roads, we’ve collected some helpful resources and inspiring DIY ideas to expose your music to the largest possible audience.

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Pitchfork: Reflections From Hipster Mecca

Flaming Lips

“How about a cheer for all those bad girls/And all the boys that play that rock and roll/They love it like you love Jesus/It does the same thing to their souls” — Tom Petty


Music festivals can be compared to something of a religious exchange.  Really.  Just think about it.  How much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice to your music gods in return for a blissful, out-of-this-world live spectacle?  Would you fry yourself under the unforgiving midsummer sun for hours on end?  Would you brave the untold terrors of the port-a-pottys (yikes), or the critical gazes of ever-so-ironic hipster brigade?

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Music as Life’s Narrator

What is the soundtrack of your life?

Even for those of us who don’t pay much attention to the hottest bands of the month, music still exists in our peripheries..and in our psychies.

Try this..if you were born in the 50’s or 60’s you probably have a particularly visceral and emotional response to these songs

or 60’s & 70’s?

or born in the 70’s & 80’s?

Most, if not all of us could probably tell the stories of our lives simply by playing the music we chose to listen to at that time; childhood hope..teen angst and insecurity..young adult disillusionment..and so on.

The attraction of the mix tape is essentially the inclination to package and express hopes and experiences in our lives, through music. I know my generation spent countless hrs. on bedroom floors pressing the record button on 2 deck cassette players. But each generation has their own version of musical storytelling, whether it be record collections or personalized Pandora stations.

But why is it that music resonates so deeply through our life experiences?

It turns out that music essentially has it’s own biology. Although the right hemisphere of the brain is often associated with creativity, studies show that neuro-pathways in the brain respond to music in both hemispheres. In fact both sides are essential for the accurate perception of musical components such as rhythm.

The biology of music effects us viscerally as well. The reason you want to shake it in response to music is because the human brain activates it’s movement centers as part of its neurological response. It really is unnatural to be stuck in your chair at a great show- formalities of the venue or not.

Other studies have shown that music affects the emotional centers of the brain- although that process is not entirely understood yet. Medical studies have shown however that this connection can help patients lower blood pressure, increase the efficiency of oxygen delivery to the heart, help dyslexics read more easily, & help premature babies gain weight faster.

Whether we understand all the connections yet or not, one thing is clear..we are hard wired to experience and process music in our lives.

Mark Jude Tramo, a Harvard neuroscientist, believes the explanation becomes clear when we take in to account that dance and music preceded verbal language in human evolution. In fact, there have been no cultures discovered in human history without archaeological evidence of a role for music.

But after all the analysis what does this all really mean for you? Keep rocking- your brain needs it.

-MJ Hecox

Reference: Music on the brain: Researchers explore the biology of music By William J. Cromie, Harvard Gazette

Will NOT Comply: Wilco guitarist Nels Cline sticks with non-commercial fare

I’ve been fortunate to be involved with every Wilco show since their first show in Madison at Club de Wash in November 1994. The band had just formed out of the acrimonious split that occurred between Uncle Tupelo frontmen Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar. I had a birds-eye view of the last throes of that collaboration at an Uncle Tupelo show I presented at the Barrymore in March 1994, one of the last shows the band did before breaking up.

Jay Farrar (vocalist, guitarist), Jeff Tweedy (bassist, guitarist, vocalist), Mike Heidorn (drums)

The original members of Uncle Tupelo sitting From left to right: Jay Farrar (vocalist, guitarist), Jeff Tweedy (bassist, guitarist, vocalist), Mike Heidorn (drums)

Jeff and Jay at that point were not talking to each other. The tension was palpable, with Jay walled off and aloofly cocooned, and Jeff noticeably upbeat — perhaps relieved the end was near. I remember that the Bottle Rockets opened the show, and vaguely recall Brian Henneman joining them onstage. That the line-up, apart from Jay, essentially became the band that only months later debuted as Wilco. (I also remember staying up all night at a hotel on E. Wash — the Aloha?–with Jeff and the guys, joined by Mark Spencer of Blood Oranges — who was touring with Freedy Johnston. The Bushmills did us in as we watched the 1967 Casino Royale spoof on late-night television — starring Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and Orson Welles — it was a hoot.)

A lot has happened to Wilco since, more than can be captured in a single paragraph. The Reprise to Nonesuch saga resulting in the ground-breaking Yankee Hotel Foxtrot — expertly captured in the great documentary I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, a Grammy nod for A Ghost is Born, and several line-up changes, including the addition of avante-garde jazz guitarist Nels Cline.

Jeff Tweedy & Wilco

Jeff Tweedy & Wilco

That Nels would join Wilco in 2004 was no real surprise Wilco fans, even those who preferred the early days of A.M. and Being There Cline is highly revered in No Wave and free jazz circles, an area of interest for Tweedy and Co. spurred by their collaboration with NYC producer/musician and Chicago transplant Jim O’Rourke. (O’Rourke and Tweedy had recorded a record together with drummer Glenn Kotche under the rubric Loose Fur, which led to Kotche joining Wilco in 2001.) Cline was also a member of The Geraldine Fibbers in the 1990s, a band that played the East End around 1997. I’m not sure, but they might have opened for indie supergroup Golden Smog, another one of Tweedy’s side projects.


Nels Cline Singers: Nels Cline (guitar) Devin Hoff (Bass) Scott Amendola (Drums)

Fans of Thurston Moore, Marc Ribot, Elliot Sharp, Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman — you are strongly encouraged to check out Monday’s show with The Nels Cline Singers at High Noon on Monday, June 2. An instrumental trio, The Nels Cline Singers offer an evening of improvisational jazz that rarely comes to Madison, at least not since 1993-94, when John Zorn visited Madison twice in the span of six months.

Doors or this mind-blowing show open at 7pm, and Painted Saints (featuring Paul Fonfara — interviewed in this week’s Onion) kicks off the evening at 8pm. This is an 18+ show. Tickets are $16 adv and $18 dos, and are available HERE. See you there!

– Tag Evers

A Week in Live Shows

Can you keep up after last weeks intense run? Oh yes you can! Summer is rolling around and that means tour schedules will slow down- so get it while it’s hot (or at least before you have to travel 4 hrs. for a touring band and a beer)!

Friday May 2


Genre: Rock

“..rock and roll at its pure, shaggy best. If you’re tired of that, you’re tired of life…” -Splendid

Chains of Love- The Dirtbombs

10:00 pm @ High Noon Saloon 608-268-1122 $12 adv – 21+



Saturday May 3


Genre: Rock

“..proclamations about life and the Devil growled over careful acoustic strums and tiny wisps of pedal steel…” -Pitchfork

Dane 101 Interview

Two Free BRMC Song Downloads

Saturday 9:30 pm @ High Noon Saloon 608- 268-1122 $16 adv / $18 dos – 18+



Sunday May 4

RA RA RIOT + THE LITTLE ONES with special guests HEY CHAMP

Genre: Indie/ Folk Rock

“Ra Ra Riot – a band of Syracuse University students past, present and on hiatus – find that balance — already in its short life, literally putting heartbeats and pacemakers into the stuffing of all of the songs that they’ve thus far put to their name – an explosive tag of cheerful and misleading aggression…” -Daytrotter

Dying is Fine- Ra Ra Riot

Four Free Ra Ra Riot Downloads from Daytrotter

The Little Ones..are here for you to feel better about yourself, once the cabin fever has lost its control and you’re free to go. They taunt everything from the waist down — on everyone within a 10-mile radius — to not go on and freak out all over the place with euphoric spasms becoming dancing and universally recognized getting down…” -Daytrotter

Lovers Who Uncover- The Little Ones

Four The Little Ones Free Song Downloads From Daytrotter Sessions

Three The Little Ones Free Song Downloads

8:00 pm @ The Annex 608- 256-7750 $10 adv – 18+



Monday May 5


Genre: Indie/ Psychadelic

“..the band can strum hypnotic, Eastern-tinged folk as it well as it pounds hypnotic, Sabbath-style riffs.” -Onion AV Club

What Needs Must Be- Dead Meadow

Five Free Dead Meadow Song Downloads

9:00 pm @ High Noon Saloon 608- 268-1122 $8 adv / $10 dos – 18+


$1.50 PBR bottles all night & FREE Pizza from Glass Nickel!

Thanks to WORT FM and The Onion!


Tuesday May 6

TEGAN AND SARA Out of Hibernation Tour with special guest AN HORSE

Genre: Indie/ Pop/ Alternative

“..defying conventional notions of rock rhythm, and featuring songs that seem to go through at least three melodic changes before recycling.” -Onion AV Club

Walking With A Ghost- Tegan and Sara

Free Tegan and Sara Song Download

7:30 pm @ Barrymore Theatre 608-241-8864 $25 adv – all ages



Thursday May 8


Genre: Americana/ Alternative/ Country

“With accompaniment as varied as vocals from Ollabelle and Brazilian percussion from Mauro Refosco, White still keeps us off balance with rich, unpredictable textures that convey lost-in-the-backwoods disorientation.” -Billboard

If Jesus Drove a Motor Home- Jim White

Listen to NPR World Cafe – March 5, 2008 Jim White in-studio performance/ interview

8:00pm @ Orpheum Stage Door 608.255.8755 $15 adv $17 dos – all ages



No giveaway on this post darlins’ but check back on Monday- that one’s a guarantee! Continue reading

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