Feb 28, 2009


UPDATE: Deastro unfortunately had to drop off tonight's show, but Chris Koza and The Explorer's Club are plenty reason to join the 9pm party at the Rathskellar.

Feb 27, 2009

Haunted by Piano Lessons

Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla -
Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano

I still have nightmares about piano lessons, sometimes when I'm awake. Though I deeply regret neglecting my skills, there is just something slightly scarring about being forced into lessons as a kid. The nightmares go something like this: I haven't practiced. Again. That's about it, all night long. But the daymares go something like this: I am sitting in a metal folding chair, pulling nervously on a lace from my dress shoe as I'm being introduced for a presentation. As I walk up to the podium, I completely blank on the piano song that I have memorized for the occasion. Except I hadn't memorized a song, I haven't played piano in six years, and this isn't a recital. This is a Power Point presentation on neural cell differentiation or tobacco-related healthcare disparities or how to conduct an in-district meeting with a legislator. I try to catch my breath.

Colin Munroe (ft Joell Ortiz, produced by Black Milk) Piano Lessons (mp3)

Feb 25, 2009

I Love Shamu

Nicky Hoberman - Rocky Horror (1999)

Natalie Portman's Shaved Head Sophisticated Sideways Ponytail (mp3): This is good not just because of the calypso dance break. It's also all the pop references, the quivering bass synth, the elementary "do you like" phrasing, the trendy DIY pastiche video, all the claps, and the Le Tigre riot vocals. Also, it's the ponytail.

Feb 23, 2009

Eyes On The Road

Pablo Helguera [from The School of Panamerican Unrest] (2006)

Jentri Colello Cannonballs (mp3): We're keepers of ambition, she said. Without children we continue to learn the world ourselves and without husbands we're free to follow wherever it takes us. I think we can only lose ourselves by not letting ourselves be strangers in this strange land, she said. If I don't see you again, so long, take care.


Feb 20, 2009

Peacock Dance

Like Megan Witmarsh's urban gorillas, Matt does the Peacock Dance. He arrives at the bar in neon desperation and his requests for a double whiskey are bright orange. Leaning to tell her something purple, he smells like kelly green. She smiles and responds in a crimson blue, the color of the night ocean lit from volcanoes below. They talk a bit about citrus yellow and how last week was more like mustard. He watches as her crimson replies deepen to royal blue and then asks her to accompany him to the jukebox. They dance the Peacock Dance all night to her favorite Peacock song.

Matt Kanelos & The Smooth Maria Peacock Dance (mp3)

Feb 16, 2009

In Praise Of Shadows

Eugen Sakhnenko - [from In Praise of Shadows]

Seeing her in her work environment is like seeing a nightclub in full light, without shadow or subtlety. Coyness and mystery are replaced by a large smile with white teeth and a forceful hello. Her face suddenly lacks the alluring makeup of the night. Under halogen tubes, honesty seems like the deception.

The Chairs Flume [Bon Iver cover] (mp3)


Feb 15, 2009

JustSayin Presents: The Explorer's Club, Chris Koza, & Deastro

JustSayin & WUD Music Presents...

Saturday, February 28th

The Explorer's Club Lost My Head (mp3): These perfect vocal harmonies dressed in pressed collared polos will help you fall in love or get beaten up. Either way, this South Carolina six piece will make sure everything goes down smooth. Doing "the Madison" on the line between inspiration and imitation, they'll bring their retro brand of beaches, going steady, and milkshakes to a venue that was especially vibrant in the 1960s.

Chris Koza Straight to Video (mp3): Chris' songwriting is politely subtle as our Midwestern neighbor, but precisely melodic as the rising star he has become. The formula that combines acoustic guitar and clean lyrics is especially powerful in a college town, and he'll surely feel right at home at a wooden table with a bunch of new friends in the Rasthskellar.

Deastro Micheal, the Lone Archer of the North Shore (mp3): In case I haven't mentioned it enough, Randy Chabot is releasing indie pop music by himself that is fuller and more relevant than his multi-millionaire music industry peers. I'm convinced his colorful exuberance and sincere demeanor will soon take over the world... and that the DIY dance party he'll bring to the union will be the perfect break for all the ambitious young souls in Madison currently hand-drawing their own truths.

Update: RSVP to the facebook event here.

Feb 13, 2009

Monotonix in Madison 2-13-09

Well now we know the High Noon Saloon is built to last. It's still standing after a beating tonight by Isreal's rock gang Monotonix. First seen in Madison at last year's Forward Music Fest, the band returned with the same intensity, a longer set, and even more acrobatics. Who knew the High Noon's bar could serve a second stage, with pillar Cathy Detmers faithfully serving drinks and unsuccessfully trying to hide the bar napkins from lead singer Ami as his hairy ass shook in front of her face. He managed to swipe the stack and tossed the white squares like confetti over the grateful capacity crowd, belly up to the bar and snarling to be served guitar.

The Monotonix experience has almost nothing to do with the music. In fact at one point in the show, the electric guitar was handed to someone in the crowd who ground his knuckles into the strings while the two band members launched themselves body surfing. The experience is more about poorly-fitting (and quickly stripped) vintage store female clothing, wide eyes and enthusastic screams of "Yasooo", a determination to climb to the top of the highest peak in the venue, and a guarantee that the performance will be presented face-to-face with every person in the room - from the front of the stage to the furthest balcony.

Monotonix Body Language (mp3)

Feb 10, 2009

Sound of Numbered Thought

Julia Sonmi Heglund [of fantstic Madison band Sonmi] - Consumption (2008)

Build Buildings Numbers (mp3): When I concentrate on calculating numbers and listen close, my brain sounds a little like this. Sloshing tissue, beeping electronics, static. Especially when my ears are clogged - on take-off, during the flu, under the bath water - they're able to hear inside out.

Feb 7, 2009

Bless Me

Bell Echinacea (mp3): She opened the clasp of her purse and began rummaging through layers of classical piano, falsetto, and handclaps. From deep inside - nearly up to her elbow - she plucked two small mirrors shaped like perfect circles. One remained like a quarter in her right palm as she placed the other atop her left cheek like a monocle. She peered from behind it, giggled at me, and raised the second above her right cheek. She said I could finally see myself in her eyes as her poetry had always promised. I told her she was beautiful, but much too literal.

Feb 6, 2009

Time Is Quick To Carry On

Mary Lou Zelazny - Submissives (2005)

Laura Gibson Spirited (mp3): A day springs away from the clutches of her bundled mother like a toddler on new feet. Her naked bum, with wide stomps and outstretched arms, greets the crisp air with enthusiasm. Her mother's own heart, frozen solid for months, now drips out of her fur coat and into a puddle at her feet. She watches her daughter with a slight smile. She knows the temperature will drop below freezing as the sun sets tonight, but letting go is worth the pain of refrost.

Feb 3, 2009

Of Human Design

JeanYves Lemoigne - from I Am a Pictogram

I'll always remember the day I found out what cities are made of. Walking home from downtown, I suddenly began to see the human decisions behind the buildings I passed. It sounds simple, but this realization flooded my perception like a lighting gel, overlaying human intention over the bricks instead of color. Behind every billboard there is someone who built it and someone who chose its colors, someone who thought it was a good idea to put it there and someone who was intended to see it. What seems to be an inconvenient turn in the sidewalk is actually the design of someone who didn't want you to be be hit by a bus inching over the low curb. You, and thousands of other people, haven't been hit by this bus and don't ever give it a thought. The stoplights are built for organization, lines drawn for moderation, bedrooms designed for procreation, thirty-seven floors stacked for productivity. The convenience store is there because someone needs to eat and forgot to buy groceries this weekend. We define the city as much as it defines us.

The Rural Alberta Advantage Don't Haunt This Place (mp3)