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Thursday, January 29, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 31.0° F  Overcast
The Daily


Bob Dylan's Tempest bursts with intriguing contradictions

On his latest album, Tempest, Bob Dylan repeats simple melodies, bothering little with surprising change-ups or even modest bridges. He doesn't work himself up beyond the shuffle of the opening track, "Duquesne Whistle." But the album's worth exploring, if only to find the contradictions within the songs. Dylan will perform a selection of them when he visits the Alliant Energy Center Coliseum Nov. 5. >More
 Diamond Rings pairs brash electro-pop with sparkly accessories

Face-melting guitar solos have nothing on the existence-shattering power a real pop star wields. It's the kind of energy Diamond Rings -- a.k.a. glamorous musical mastermind John O'Regan -- will radiate when he brings gigantic songs like "I'm Just Me" to the Frequency Oct. 28. He's touring his sophomore album, Free Dimensional, with his latest band while his indie-rock project, Matters, lies low for a bit. >More
 Heartless Bastards make room for reflection on their new album Arrow

Erika Wennerstrom tries to have it many ways at once in her bluesy rock band Heartless Bastards. Her baritone howl is tough enough to preside over surly guitars and a muscular rhythm section but leaves room for vulnerability as well. Wennerstrom even tried full-on tenderness for much of 2009's The Mountain, favoring slow rhythms that sway instead of the punch of the band's 2005 debut, Stairs and Elevators. >More
 Neil Halstead attracts admirers with his ethereal songs

Neil Halstead's name just doesn't jump off the page. It really should, though, because Halstead's music is worth celebrating. His career has enjoyed three distinct, equally great phases. First there was the crucial shoegaze and dream-pop band Slowdive, then came the wistful country-rock group Mojave 3, and now there's his solo act, which churns out brilliant, quiet folk. >More
 Dirty Projectors' new short film Hi Custodian adds context to their latest album, Swing Lo Magellan

"Read the book before seeing the movie" is some of the most annoying yet valid advice in existence. It's about context, something the rock 'n' roll weirdoes of Dirty Projectors offer in bunches in their new short film, Hi Custodian. A companion piece to their intricate 2012 album Swing Lo Magellan, the 20-minute film falls short of the grand ambition of movies like Purple Rain but offers more insight than a standard music video. >More
 Andrew Bird changes pop music to his liking

Andrew Bird is one of rock's most unlikely stars. A classically trained violinist with a penchant for whistling, his brand of cool is anything but conventional. He didn't even like pop music until his late 20s. Then he embraced loop pedals and reworked "Don't Be Scared," a sparkling alt-country tune by the Handsome Family. >More
 Matthew Sweet to revisit Girlfriend, his magnum opus from 1991

Glimpse certain touring acts' recent set lists, and you'd swear time stopped during the 1990s. Dr. Octagon reprised 1996's Dr. Octagonecologyst at two July shows, and Green Day played 1995's Dookie at England's Reading Music Festival in August. This Wednesday, Madison gets a visit from Matthew Sweet, who'll perform Girlfriend, his power-pop masterpiece from 1991, at the High Noon Saloon. >More
 Saul Williams and Dessa shepherd hip-hop into poetic territory

"Spoken word" isn't the sexiest term in hip-hop, but it signals a point where the genre's artistry becomes more eclectic and free. American-born, Paris-dwelling artist Saul Williams and Dessa of Minneapolis' Doomtree crew blend rapping, singing and poetic monologues within a single track -- sometimes a single line. >More
 John Paul Roney trades loud arena rock for quiet folk

Last year, as an experiment, Nashville musician John Paul Roney pulled the plug on his Twitter-driven existence. During this temporary hiatus, he discovered what he calls an "inherent lie to social media" -- that it's not very social at all. He's found a real connection onstage, with friends. >More
 Sinatra and Vic Chesnutt haunt Kelly Hogan's new album I Like to Keep Myself in Pain

Kelly Hogan seems well adjusted -- almost. She does in the context of I Like to Keep Myself in Pain, a new album brimming with eccentric, tormented songwriters. The late Vic Chesnutt wrote its most stark and memorable track, "Ways of This World." M. Ward added a Sinatra-themed sketch called "Daddy's Little Girl." Other contributors include surreal singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock and enigmatic Magnetic Fields leader Stephin Merritt. Hogan ties it all together with her mighty voice. >More
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