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The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Who's making noise in and around Madison? What's new in the business of making music around town? Review shows and CDs here. Please keep all hype in Hype Exchange.

Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby defactobrigade » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:10 pm

rrnate wrote:
defactobrigade wrote:Just because a band releases a record in Madison doesn't mean we HAVE to commend them for that. The Isthmus is all about being nice to everyone, and honestly that's not the point of reviewing records. It should be somewhat objective. Otherwise why would anyone want to trust their judgement? There's no point to their opinion other than "Oh a Madison band released a record so lets be nice and say nice things about it." So why read their reviews even? Shouldn't they be telling you which records to buy and which to pass on?


No doubt as a publication they could be more critical, but the fact is, there is a certain sensibility that informs the AV Club picks (noisier, rockier, etc.); the Isthmus list is pretty different, in that includes country, reggae, folk, etc. - genres that are big draws in Madison but don't really align with your sensibilities.

That doesn't necessarily make it "shitty". Similarly, most of these folks aren't playing to vinyl hoarders, so why would it matter if they release their albums on vinyl vs. CD? The idea that "all the really involved music lovers love vinyl" is just wrong; that's just one kind of music spazz.


I never said all music lovers like vinyl. In fact I completely argued against that at one point. Someone on the board made a mention that vinyl was a hipster trend and I was showing that MANY different types of bands like to release their records on vinyl (hence citing the AV Club list since many of those bands have LPs and CDs). I also said that the best option was the Vinyl AND CD option. I know I wrote too much in those articles, but before you tell me what I said maybe you should read the post.

The Onion list still is pretty ecclectic. It just shys a bit away from the folk end of things (even though I'd consider Julian Lynch and Jeremiah Nelson folk in certain ways), and honestly I think that's fair considering it's PRETTY hard to make a unique sounding folk record these days that's powerful. I think that's a really hard task and not many musicians are up to that. Especially in town here. I absolutely know I could NOT make one. BUT it's not to say someone couldn't/can't/hasn't done it before (or will in the future), but I haven't heard what I considered to be a truly good and not completely trad folk record from a Madison musician in a really long time.
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby sule » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:46 pm

wow, what's with all the horrible zings all up in this thread? ie, the rotary phone comment and the taco comment. seriously, just horrible fellas.
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby sule » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:52 pm

i also think rich albertoni's best of list was dumb minus a couple of exceptions.. i've never taken any writing he's done seriously. even when it's about a band I'VE even been in. shit. he's kinda like the urban theater of writing.
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby Jou » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:34 am

I prefer vinyl, but also know that many people can't casually listen to it-and thus think any format is fine as long as it can turn a person onto a band or give them some enjoyment... You can say you just "'threw up' in your mouth a little," even if it's just some acidrefluxe and not full on projectile vomit. You didn't spew but you still barfed a little. It counts. You can do it in your car safely, without pulling over to flip sides.

That being said you can buy the best local band full length CD's at Pre-played for under a dollar, yet a little old 1 song vinyl single is still probably going to be a couple bucks at the cheapest.

Back on the original subject I also thought the AV Club list was by far superior and the additional of the second runner-up list was good. Just my taste and what I've heard more of and would like to hear more of. Lots of good albums on Onion's that should have been on the Isthmus's...

Here's a pretty good list... http://magazine.localsounds.org/2011/11 ... -releases/

Any that didn't make either list that deserve mentioning?

I think the American Dead are a good live band, but didn't get a chance to hear their album.
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby Jou » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:37 am

also sad that the Local Love Fest Mix didn't make it, as that would have just been the feel good ending everyone deserves :P
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby Jou » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:41 am

Q: Does underground hip hop get much vinyl release?
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby wallrock » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:01 am

Jou wrote:I think the American Dead are a good live band, but didn't get a chance to hear their album.

I agree that they're great live but I'm pretty certain that this was a 2010 release. I don't know why Rick has it listed as a 2011 record. I was at their release show a year and a half ago with Direct Hit!, Banner Pilot and the Gusto. That was a great show. I wish I would have picked up their record that night but I was skint after buying a few rounds and only had the cash for copy of Collapser, Banner Pilot's excellent second full album.
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby swoon_queen » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:23 am

This information is by no means official, but over the holidays, it was mentioned by a few folks on Twitter that Scott Gordon (former Madison AV Club editor) had been hired as a music writer for Isthmus. If that's true, then I'm pleased and excited for the implications at Isthmus re: music coverage.
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby flanneljammies » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:47 am

Not only is it true, it is official.
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby swoon_queen » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:25 pm

flanneljammies wrote:Not only is it true, it is official.

Sweet! I get zero internet at my folks' house so I probably missed the livestream of his official coronation or what have you. I've really missed Scott's writing and perspective. So looking forward to it!
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby BillyJake » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:10 pm

Best Best Of I have read in a while, someone actually listening to what is going on in and around Madison. None of the MAMA's Clique's here!

10 Must See Bands To See In And Around Madison, (Or Anywhere Really)

This list is not exactly non-partisan. As a band guy, I play in Clovis Mann, Crooked Barn, Unhinged el Camino; I’ve had the pleasure to play on bills this year with most of these bands. Others I caught in one of my rare nights off. Nonetheless, they are extremely talented. Most of these wicked pickers are pretty unheralded or less than well known. If you have a chance, check them out. They are, in no particular order:

The Smokin’ Bandits. Lacrosse’s most popular country rock act features the volcanic dueling guitar tandem of Gregory “Cheech” Hall and Pat Ferguson, smoky, down home vocals from Christian Staehly and the juggernaut-tastic rhythm section of Tim “Super” Powers and Matt Mahlum. They prove time and again why they are rank with the Midwest’s best. The annual “Bandit County Fair” festival they put on in DeSoto, WI each year is a showcase for some of the of acts to follow on this list.

Honest Monday. Vocally without peer, they mix ragtime, blues, and pop seamlessly. Craig Baumann, who does a killer Otis Redding tribute a few times a year, could knock down a wall with his voice. Harmonica maestro Danny Miller plays with a fluid style that is remarkably clean and pristine at times, and also ditch weed dirty at others.

Corey Hart. No reason this Madison favorite isn’t featured on the national stage. Every time I hear him sing it makes stare in disbelief. Also an excellent guitar picker, he’s not afraid to mix up delta bends with those freaky Beatle chords.

The Campaign. Paul Mitch and the Wedel boys, Joey and Danny, are another pitch perfect vocal group. They write neo-classic roc/ pop gems, but unlike some groups, they easily replicate, and in most cases elevate, the studio versions on the live stage. Whether they are playing acoustically or electrically (they switch it out a bit) they perfectly blend grit and finesse.

Sky Road Fly. Basically, if the Foo Fighters grew up on a farm, they would probably be Sky Road Fly. They write majestic anthems with intricate interplay. Live, guitarist Robert Halstead careens about and flails with a rock and roll St. Vitus dance of pure ecstasy.

Meantooth Grin. Tom Jordan, the singer and nasty slide guitar founder of MTG, bulldozes through some of the gnarliest blues-rock coming from Wisconsin today. Blurring and slurring slide lines hover over an evil nest of riffage that would make Humble Pie red with envy.

Moon Boot Posse. Another LaCrosse based favorite, they play dizzying sets of reggae and original party rock loudly and proudly. Guitarist Paul Matushek is one of those rare birds that, while destroying ridiculously technical solos and riffs, never falls into the often-triggered traps of the guitar hero noodlers. Watching him, while not only wildly entertaining, is extremely educational. On a side note, MBP are not afraid to bust out such classics as “America F#%k Yeah!” If you are on a bill with them, my fellow musicians, do yourself a favor and opt to play before first.

Mojo Radio. Sadly, time travel is not possible for most of us. Mojo Radio is in the small minority who has found the flux capacitor. With the help of some sort of wormhole, they dropped in from the skanky clubs of the UK circa 1973. This might not be true, but you would never know from listening to their live show. My favorite song from them is “Throw Your Hat in the Ring.” Layers of lyrical double-meaning peer around an alley’s corner while the boys rage through the streets of rock. Adam Ziertan’s vocals are double edged like the sweet buzz from a whiskey sour.

Nuggernaut. Trying to describe Nuggernaut with out saying “funky” or “jazzy” would be impossible. Funky jazzy. There, I said it. When John Hoel rips into a sax solo, be it over a standard or one of Nug’s own tastefully complicated originals, you forget that those sometimes violent, sometimes serene melodies are coming from a musical instrument. Hoel and trumpeter extraordinaire Andrew Traverse’s interplay is not unlike other great musical teams like Miles and Coltrane or Dickey Betts and Duane Allman. (I know those guys aren’t horn players, just trying to stress the transcendent theme.)

Little Legend. Madison is fickle when it comes to rock and roll. That being said, these guys will either become the new darlings of Madison rock, deservedly so, or will be yet another band that rips there brains out and ferociously plays to half filled rooms. Either way, they bring an intense sound that is rare in the town where quirkiness and funny hats are prerequisites for success. These guys bring it, and they do it in a monstrously grotesque blend of styles. It’s as though a gang of 50’s greasers crashed into a 90’s grunge band on the side of a lonely road.
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby jammybastard » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:19 pm

this thread is depressing, only because it's all been said here so many times before since this forum started.
almost on an annual basis.

you all rock, you all suck.
stop wasting your energy posting on a forum.
put it into writing music & playing shows instead.
:mrgreen:
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby wmhart » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:17 pm

swoon_queen wrote:
flanneljammies wrote:Not only is it true, it is official.

Sweet! I get zero internet at my folks' house so I probably missed the livestream of his official coronation or what have you. I've really missed Scott's writing and perspective. So looking forward to it!


This is great news!

I think this is his first article with Isthmus: http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/art ... icle=35630
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby wmhart » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:03 pm

Looks like the list of 2012 MAMAs nominees was just announced: http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/artic ... icle=36302

I haven't heard of 75% of these people!?!?
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Re: The Isthmus' best Madison albums / songs of 2011?

Postby supaunknown » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:38 pm

Color me impressed. That's a helluva list.

They should cut heads to decide this one:

Instrumentalist - Guitarist
Aaron Williams
John Masino
Louka Patenaude
Art Paul Schlosser
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