Artists You Should Know (ticket giveaway): Elmwood

elmwood

If you were lucky enough to catch the G. Love show at the Barrymore earlier this year, you were also treated to an opening set from funk rockers Elmwood.  Now, the boys are back and ready to entertain Madison audiences yet again with a headlining show at the High Noon Saloon on September 10th.  Read on to find out more about the band and enter to win a pair of tickets to the show! 

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Artists You Should Know: The Ditty Bops (Plus Ticket Giveaway)

Ditty Bops

There aren’t many musical acts that could pull off a freshly modernized vaudeville-style show complete with costumes, puppet shows, and skits, but if anyone can rock ragtime chic, it’s the Ditty Bops. This duo has been taking their fearlessly quirky cornucopia of jazz, swing, folk and sounds to the stage for something of an “Andrews Sisters meets Sleater-Kinney” live experience.  Read on to find out more about the girls’ music, their green living crusade, and how you could win a pair of tickets to their show at the Barrymore on June 17th.

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Monday Concert Connection: Tons O’Tix!

We’re bursting at the seams with shows this week!  There’s sure to be something for even the pickiest of music fans.  Whether you’re into indie, hip hop, funk, electronic, or folk, we’ve got you covered!  Read on to get a sneak peek at the upcoming shows from Jenny Lewis, John Vanderslice, The Tallest Man On Earth, Pretty Lights, The New Mastersounds, Rock Plaza Central, Laura Gibson, and Mr. Lif.  Even better?  We’re giving away free tickets to almost all of them! Ready?  Set?  GO!

Laura Gibson

Laura Gibson

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Media Roundup: Tours and Tracks for the New Year!

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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For the fourth year in a row, B.R.M.C. has made a free mp3 track available to members of their website.  Click here to sign up, and take a listen!

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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She and….him!? MTV.com is reporting that actress-turned-songstress Zooey Deschanel is engaged to Death Cab for Cutie‘s Ben Gibbard.

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The Notorious B.I.G.‘s biopic, Notorious, will officially hit screens January 16th, but you can catch a clip from the upcoming film right here.

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Jazz trumpet master Freddie Hubbard has passed away at age 70.  The influential musician collaborated with the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Herbie Hancock.

Freddie Hubbard

Freddie Hubbard

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Did you miss out on The Gaslight Anthem‘s recent passionate show at the The High Noon Saloon?  Well, as long as you’ve got some gas in the tank, you’ll have a second chance!  The band just announced a new headlining tour, with more dates on the way.

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Before we thought Rod was sexy, and Ronnie joined the Stones, they rocked together as The Faces.  The band is reported to have reformed and is rehearsing  for a string of tour dates.

The Faces

The Faces

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In other touring news, Drive By Truckers have a slew of new dates with the stage for 2009.  Check them out here.

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The folks at Daytrotter had kind words for upcoming True Endeavors artists, Le Loup.  Check out what they had to say and preview a handful of the band’s moving songs.

Le Loup

Le Loup

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Check out the rad new ’80s-inspired video from South African hip hop artists, Playdoe.

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Here’s your intriguing cover of the week Alejandro Escovedo slows down The Gun Club‘s “Sex Beat,” to achingly eerie Nick Cave-esque results.

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And how about an old Pavement show to close things off this week?  Aquarium Drunkard has a lengthy 1992 Minneapolis show posted for your enjoyment.

Pavement

Pavement

Media Roundup: You Say Hello, I Say Goodbye…

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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Carl Barat‘s post-Libertines outfit, Dirty Pretty Things, have played their final show. Check out the video for “Bang, Bang You’re Dead,” from the band’s brief, but successful career.  They will be missed.

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Though fans will have to shell out big bucks to get their hands on some of the limited edition packages, it’s being reported that U2‘s new album will be made available in five different (and arguably unnecessary) versions.

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In an unexpected move, Morrissey has signed on with alt-country label Lost Highway Records for the release of his next album, Years of Refusal, due out in February of next year.

Morrissey

Morrissey

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As the year draws to a close, music fans are busy compiling their Best of 2008 lists.  Check out Spin’s collection of 10 great albums you may have missed.

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A dispute between Warner Music Group and Google has led to the removal of several artist’s music videos from YouTube.

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On the eve of the 20th anniversary (!) of their debut, The Stone Roses‘ bassist reveals that the band is 3/4ths of the way decided in favor of a reunion.

The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses

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Hear the story of  Robert Wyatt, “the godfather of righteous jazz-pop lullaby,” in his own words.

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The video for “The Fear,” the first single from pop Brit wit Lily Allen‘s upcoming record hit YouTube.  Do you think Lily will avoid the sophomore album curse?

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Hear a different side of Strokes drummer Fab Moretti with his side project, Little Joy.

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Interview: Murder By Death

When you have a voice that sounds like a resurrected Johnny Cash dabbling in the forces of evil with Glenn Danzig, no one really expects songs about girls, cars and endless summers to come rolling off of your tongue. Indeed, Murder By Death’s Adam Turla is well-accustomed to narrating stories through song with heavier themes – sin, guilt, revenge, and (of course) death, just to name a few. However, the band’s most recent full-length release, Red of Tooth and Claw, is much more than an assortment of direction-less tragedy. Murder By Death bring the spirit of centuries old Americana to life with haunting, ragged tinged tales that instantly provoke brutal self-reflection. In anticipation of their Friday show at the Annex, Turla recently took the time to answer several questions about the band’s inspiration, and the art of storytelling.

Tell me about how you all found each other and created the band.

We were drinking buddies at college in Bloomington, Indiana – thought it would be fun to have a different kind of band.

What were your musical experiences growing up?

I took blues/jazz studies from 13-16 and occasionally played live in a group with my teacher in Detroit. Sarah [Balliet, cello/keys] went to high school at a youth performing arts school in Kentucky, and Dagan [Thogerson, percussion] and Matt [Armstrong, bass] were always looking to be in rock bands.

What inspired you to start writing?

A lack of anyone else I knew writing original stuff. Same reason I started singing.

There’s a line in “Boy Decide” that goes, “You’re too old to fuck around and too young to die.” Did you relate to this stuck-in-the-middle kind of existence before making the decision to seriously pursue music?

We never actually made a decision to seriously pursue music. It kind of just happened, and suddenly it was our lives. Sarah actually came to Indiana University with the intention of going to the music school here (one of the best in the country) and then decided she didn’t want a music career…ironically, two months later, she joined the band that gave her one.

That line from “Boy Decide” is very reminiscent of topics like aimless youth, societal dissatisfaction and moments of significant personal choice that were popular with beat poets. Is literature a big influence for you? If so, who are some of the writers you admire?

Literature is a huge influence and interest of mine. When I was 15 the beat poets were of major to interest to me with themes of Buddhism (which I went to college to study), and travel. My favorite authors have been pretty steady for the last 5 years, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

How did Tent Show Records come about?

A strange record deal that involved having our own label that was paid for by someone else. It worked and didn’t work—we didn’t have time to run a label for anything but our own bands and didn’t want to sign a band and then not have time to work hard for them.

How do your songs usually evolve from initial idea to finished piece?

I write the melody and lyrics all in my head and then eventually show it to the band who make it real.

How much of your own life are you comfortable injecting into your music?

Some, but like my favorite authors I like to fictionalize some of it and wrap a shroud of mystery around some of the stories.

Why do you think music is such an effective vehicle for the stories you create?

Brevity. I have more trouble writing long passages.

There’s a Greil Marcus quote that says, “It is a sure sign that a culture has reached a dead end when it is no longer intrigued by its myths.” Taking this into consideration, it seems that your band is doing all that it can to perpetuate American culture. What attracts you to the mythology and romanticism of old America?

Exactly what you are suggesting – fear of a dead end in culture. With 500 channels on cable, entire neighborhoods of boorish taupe monstrosities, and Paris Hilton a major news figure, I try to give people a little more credit for the kind of material they can take in. We create stories that attempt to have a meaning, rather than temporary entertainment.

Your lyrics frequently describe themes of physical suffering and a kind of dark emotional desperation that isn’t always easy to find in modern music, but they’re common in old traditional folk and blues. Do you think our generation is at all affected by the more “sanitized” content in popular modern art, music and literature?

Maybe. I think giving people only media that is easy to swallow is practically criminal. Ok ha maybe not that bad. But luckily there will always be an ebb and flow of intelligent trends in order to counteract the inane.

Lots of your songs (like “The Big Sleep” for example) seem to hint at religious prophecy. Do you look to religious texts as models of powerful storytelling?

The greatest, most insanely improbable stories are our religious stories. They illustrate peoples’ fears and hopes.

Do you ever worry that the excitement of your music takes away from the power of your words, or does it alternately serve to amplify their affect?

We attempt to have the music evoke the tone of the lyrics – we spend a lot of time trying to create an interplay.

Tell me about recording Red of Tooth and Claw. How did that experience compare to the recording of your other albums?

We were very practiced and just blew through the 3 weeks. The producer Trina Shoemaker was a badass – we just went in, played 2 or 3 takes and it sounded great. It was a very organic recording with few little edits.

What do you enjoy about performing live?

Everything.

What is the most important thing you try to achieve when sharing your music with a crowd?

Not fucking up because my mind wanders.
Murder By Death will be in town on Friday the 29th for their 9:30 pm show at the Annex. Madison’s own National Beekeepers Society and Crane Your Swan Neck open the show.
-Shelley Peckham

Murder By Death- Brother

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August 27, 2008

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.

Drums

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