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Madison Music Project -- The Motorz

Today's highlighted Madison-based musical act is The Motorz.

If you like bold power-pop conceived in a dirty garage, The Motorz are your band. Inciting people to dance and drink at their energetic live shows for more than four years, this Madison (by way of the Northwoods) group is gearing up for a big 2007. Who are The Motorz? Like many groups from the garage, they sport nomes de guerre: Kyle Motor, Aaron Motor, Dan Motor, and Josh Motor, respectively on the guitar, guitar, bass and drums.A brief history of the band is detailed in this bio written by one of its pistons:

The Motorz were formed in Madison, Wisconsin in the spring of 2002 by bassist Dan Bornemann and myself (Kyle Urban) as the logical extension of our previous band The Clones. We brought in Dan's bandmate from The August Teens, Aaron Hartman, on guitar. All we needed was a great drummer. As luck would have it, Aaron's brother was living with a great drummer named Josh Labbus. So we all got together and it clicked.

Since then we've played all over Madison, and occasionally elsewhere. We've shared the stage with many kick-ass bands, and we hope to keep doing so for a long, long time. In 2004, we released our first full-length album, Three Chords And A Cloud Of Dust on Four On The Floor Records. Then we decided the best thing to do was split up, because even though we were all on the same page of what we wanted to do bandwise, none of us realized it ... until a couple of months later when we found out how much we all missed going out, having drinks and hitting the stage. So we came back with a special self-released budget EP entitled Crowd Killer, which was comprised of a bunch of really old songs that we didn't play live because they killed the crowd, even though they kinda work as lo-fi demos.

Plus, Josh and I keep extra-busy with rock and roll kingpin (and occasional 5th Motor), Dan Hardgrove, and ex-Mudride guitarist, Dave Esmond, as The August Teens.

Best-known for their shows devoted to kicking ass, The Motorz have spent much of 2006 off-stage, working in the studio on their new album. Well, albums, actually, as they're planning a twin (not double) release sometime in early 2007. Kyle Motor explained the situation early in the year:

What have we been up to? Recording. A lot. We started recording a new album. Then we realized we had a lot of songs that we wanted to do. Then more songs appeared out of nowhere. We're gonna record those too. We're hoping to have all this stuff done by the end of the summer. Then, depending on how we manage to pull it off, we won't have one, but TWO NEW FULL-LENGTH ALBUMS. That's right. Two new albums. We've made up our minds, there's no turning back now.
Since then, the band has been locked in the studio much of the time, assembling both albums. By the beginning of November, they were about halfway finished, expecting to wrap up guitars and vocals before moving onto mixing in December and through the winter.

While the band readies its new material, many of its old recordings are available at via a nifty audio console. There are eight songs there: "Sweet Little Suzy," "Knocked Me Out," "Can't Sleep," "Big Loud Stereo," "When You're Naked in My Room," "Bobby Sherman Lunchbox," Summertime Girls," and a demo version of the same. All of these songs are sourced from their 2004 album Three Chords and a Cloud of Dust and their 2005 EP Crowd Killer. These works followed an earlier self-titled release in 2003.

"I just can't get enough of their Cheap Trick-esque garage rock," writes local music blogger (and Isthmus contributor) Kiki Schueler in a review of a July '05 show by The Motorz at the High Noon Saloon. She has also reviewed an October 2005 performance at The Klinic by the band, as well as a June 2006 acoustic set of theirs back at the High Noon (seen here in pictures). More photos of the band in action are available here.

The Motorz are taking to the stage two more times this year. First up is their big show at the King Club this Friday, Dec. 1, where they will be playing with MaeRae and their visiting buddies from Chicago, The Penthouse Sweets. More discussion about this weekend's festivities can be found here. They'll be closing out the year with Last Band Standing III, the emerging local rock holiday tradition that leaves everyone passed out under the tables, set for the High Noon on Friday, Dec. 29.

This is the latest featured entry from the Madison Music Project, an online database of Madison-area musicians. Please register or update your current profile on the project for consideration in these highlights.

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