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Saturday, January 24, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 31.0° F  Overcast
The Daily


God-Des & She bring new single to old stomping grounds

God-Des & She are one of Madison's great musical success stories. The duo got their start here in 1999, when God-Des' solo hip-hop act snagged soulful singer She from a rock band. When their career began to take off, the ladies realized their tunes resonated beyond the Midwestern Pride Fest circuit. >More
 Del the Funky Homosapien challenges pop norms

Del the Funky Homosapien has been rapping long enough to remember when underground hip-hop was just called hip-hop. He got his start in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when groups like Public Enemy, N.W.A. and De La Soul helped the genre burst into the mainstream. Then as now, Del, 39, was more interested in pushing musical boundaries than riffing off a tired formula to gain commercial success. >More
 Hanggai explores Mongolia's natural and cultural landscapes

While anthropologists chronicle the demise of Mongolian culture, which is evaporating amid China's urbanization, six musicians from Beijing may be saving the traditions. This ensemble, Hanggai, unearths Mongolian folk songs and melds them with current styles ranging from punk to ska to bluegrass. In the process, they preserve their forebears' sense of wonder, singing odes to the region's majestic mountains and sparkling streams. >More
 David Bazan tackles timely issues on Strange Negotiations

David Bazan says the Great Recession and the Great Bailout were weighing on his mind when he wrote the lyrics to his new album, Strange Negotiations. "'Wolves at Your Door' is directly about that," says the 35-year-old indie-rock singer, guitarist and songwriter from Seattle. The lyrics tell a story of a man who lets wolves into his house. The condition? They must prepare him a feast. >More
 Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit look to Alabama for inspiration

Rather than scouring Nashville or L.A. to recruit members for his newest band, the 400 Unit, singer and guitarist Jason Isbell went home. The band's name is even an Alabama reference, name-checking the psychiatric ward of a small-town hospital there. However, the themes of their sophomore album, Here We Rest, are familiar to folks from nearly every state -- and walk of life. >More
 Lucinda Williams' reserve belies her music's intensity

Lucinda Williams has spent much of 2011 answering the same question. Is there a theme to her new album, Blessed? Time and again she says no. Then she adds that she doesn't often think in terms of themes. Her simple, blunt response is quintessential Williams. Live, she's sparse on exuberant chit-chat between songs. Her persona is as down-tempo as a delicate ballad. >More
 Cake tries new flavors on Showroom of Compassion

Cake's half-spoken vocals, lonesome trumpet and vivacious vibraslap wheedled their way onto mainstream radio after their 1996 album, Fashion Nugget, became a staple in dorm rooms, coffee shops and other bastions of dry-and-devastating humor. Pretty soon, the band had a slew of hits, including "The Distance" and "Never There." >More
 Rocker Ted Leo salutes Wisconsin's labor protesters

Wisconsin's union protests got Ted Leo thinking. "I wondered why we're always talking about 'labor struggles' and 'union battles,'" he says. "I think it's incredibly messed up. The captains of industry and the people in the head offices force workers into an adversarial position." >More
 In troubled Africa, Femi Kuti's music fits the times

There couldn't be a more important time to listen to Femi Kuti. With citizens struggling for democracy in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and beyond, Africa is a hotbed of sociopolitical progress. Kuti's music is an ideal soundtrack. These days, his 2001 single "Fight to Win" seems eerily prophetic in decrying the poverty of the majority and the moral turpitude of certain powerful minorities. >More
 Talib Kweli backs away from the mainstream in Gutter Rainbows

Talib Kweli has returned to his socially conscious roots. Just last week, the Brooklyn-based MC made news when he dropped Colt 45's sponsorship of his April 20 concert in Lawrence, Kan. The Pabst brand has been criticized for marketing its new fruit-flavored, high-alcohol-content Blast drink to young hip-hop fans. >More
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