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Friday, April 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 47.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Daily

MADTRACKS

MadTracks -- 'Call the Doctor' by The God Damns

Classic rock-styled bands playing original material that are content to rock without treating the form in ironic, pretentious or post-whatever ways have been in short supply since punk rock -- aided by the bloat of prog rock -- consigned them to the parade of passe. However, Madison's had some excellent, direct rock bands in recent years, many of which unfortunately have been met with disinterest by a public seemingly hungering for anything other than loud guitars and real drums. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Long Time Coming Down' by Josh Harty

Presumably, the "you" Josh Harty addresses in his low-down anti-love song "Long Time Coming Down" is a woman. But really it could be anyone with whom the veteran singer-songwriter has tried and failed to cement an honest relationship. That's part of the power of this artfully ambiguous country-folk tune, a highlight of his new album A Long List of Lies. Even after Harty has tired of waiting and decides to move on, it's unclear exactly what he's left behind. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Alabama' by the Tim Whalen Nonet

Keyboardist/composer Tim Whalen can claim numerous accomplishments. For years, his funky, horn powered fusion act Phat Phunktion was a favorite at local watering holes and in far flung locales like Japan. On his own and in small groups, he was one of the sparkplugs of Madison's modest modern-jazz scene. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Will You Go With Me?' by Cribshitter

Forget the withering snarkiness. Forget the blasts of noisy chaos that break up the track listing on Cry a Little Rainbow, the epic 30-cut album on which "Will You Go With Me?" appears. Forget the tuba that throws down the bottom end on many the band's tunes. Forget the leonine mask the drummer dons both live and on the album's cover, transforming a cute quartet of collegiate types into the house band for The Shining. That's only part of the Cribshitter experience. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Flatlands' by Blake Thomas

The title cut from Blake Thomas' new poignant new album Flatlands is mournful, even morose at points. But it's not a downer. Not at all. As he confesses his sense of rootlessness and feelings of profound isolation, Thomas stretches the tune's simple country-folk melody with his portentous baritone, suggesting that there's something deeper and darker and far more painful troubling him than words can convey. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Whenever Julie Calls' by John Mendels(s)ohn

Yes, this is the same John Mendels(s)ohn whose clever, cantankerous and admirably unapologetic music criticism was first published in influential rags like Rolling Stone back in the late '60s. Mendels(s)ohn, of course, stirred up Madison's pop-rock music colony over the past year with his pieces for Isthmus, and he reports that "When Julie Calls" is based on experiences with a real Madisonian during his brief sojourn here. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Preacher' by The Takebacks

The Takebacks are a collaborative effort by "a garbage man, city electrician and a state custodian," but lessons learned from those occupations don't appear to have had much influence on the trio's eclectic output. Reggae, early punk and post-punk all figure in the threesome's current work, and to their credit, the group rarely travels the same path twice on its new album Call Collect Ask For... the Takebacks. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Daisies' by Jentri Colello

While Jentri Colello is very much the focal point of the new EP that bears her name, Bird of Prey is very much a band effort. And she's not just being charitable. "Daisies," the melancholy lead cut on the disc would certainly work as a simply strummed folk tune. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Spaceships' by Patchwork

Sometimes Patchwork leader Jeremiah Nelson sounds so much like Madison expat Carl Johns it's unnerving. His high, reedy voice bleeds sweetness, and you wonder whether it might wear out its welcome on more urgent material. However, it's the ideal instrument for "Spaceships," a bittersweet slice of back-porch folk-rock that also plays footsie with '60s psychedelia in a dreamy coda. >More
 MadTracks -- 'The Takeover' by Lucha Libre

Madison-born up-and-comers Lucha Libre serve up a furious mix of both hip hop and reggaeton on their new album The Takeover from I Need a Raise Records. They stick to the former, though, on the release's steady rolling title cut. A dour sample that recalls the universally recognizable "Song of the Volga Boatman" introduces the track, but it's really just a head fake. Mostly the crew is concerned with announcing their arrival in the major leagues. >More
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