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Sunday, November 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 49.0° F  Fog/Mist
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Happy new year! That's how I feel as we produce the first issue in September every year because it truly is the beginning of a new annual cycle in the Madison calendar. With 6,000 or so incoming freshmen at the U, not to mention our other higher learning institutions, plus a few transfers, plus some faculty and staff, plus the working folk and families who have relocated to Madison during the summer, you have a sizable influx of people new to the scene.

It is our job, then, to do some 'splainin' about the local culture, which we are happy and well prepared to do. We gave the footballers their due last week. After all, whether you're associated with the University of Wisconsin or not, the football team is a source of interest and entertainment throughout the state. This week we offer information intended to be especially helpful to the newbies, a survey of local bands.

Contributor Scott Gordon is a veteran observer of the local music firmament, with the past title of editor of The Onion's AV Club in his resume. In his cover story he discusses the standout local ensembles and their significant dates at various venues around town and out a little ways. His commentary is a good overview of the state of local music, which is pretty strong. So enjoy, and whether you're recently arrived or have been here for a while, pick a date and go see some live music.

Since it is the first issue of the month, we also include our Isthmus Parents coverage. You can access family-related information online at IsthmusParents.com anytime, but each month Isthmus Parents makes an appearance in print. This week we preview the season's arts activity and hear from Mama Madison, Sari Judge. And in grownup matters, reporter Joe Tarr sends dispatches from Charlotte, N.C., land of the Dems. Next week he has the cover for a wrap-up of the conventions.

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