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Well-Known Strangers LIVE - photo by paddy fineran

WELL-KNOWN STRANGERS

An interview with John Kulas, bassist of Racine's Well-Known Strangers
by Mike Huberty
January 2018

Racine’s WELL-KNOWN STRANGERS is the brainchild of guitarist Joe Adamek who envisioned creating a modern alt-pop sound that would be structured around the interplay of strong female vocals and the smooth sounds of the cello. He found those muses with vocalist Betsy Ade and cellist Sacia Jerome. They rounded out the band with southeastern Wisconsin music vets, drummer Roger Gower, guitarist Ted Koth and bassist John Kulas. We did a Q &A with Kulas to preview their upcoming performance at Madison’s High Noon Saloon on February 6th with BETH KILLE and THE RACING PULSES.


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Wisconsin native Claire Wellin of NYC's Youth In A Roman Field

Youth In A Roman Field

An interview with singer and songwriter Claire Wellin of Youth In A Roman Field
by Mike Huberty
January 2018

New York City’s YOUTH IN A ROMAN FIELD has a very Wisconsin connection with its front woman Claire Wellin. While she was raised in Wausau, she’s spent time all over the Midwest and landed in NYC where this talented multi-instrumentalist has put together a band that mixes up folk and jazz, as instantly likable for Indie Folk fans as those who enjoy spinning some of that Great American Songbook. Claire is playing a solo show at The Frequency on Tuesday January 9th and we spoke to her to preview the night.


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Kerosene Kites

Kerosene Kites

an interview with Beth Kille & Erik Kjelland
by Mike Huberty
December 2017

The two members that make up the KEROSENE KITES have been performing in the Madison music scene in various acts over the years, but the common thread with both of them is that they both write a ton of music as well as shifting from Rock to Country and Americana over their past few releases. So it makes perfect sense that songwriters Beth Kille and Erik Kjelland would team up to harness their copious creative powers together in a Folky Pop duo. Their first two releases were Christmas-themed, but now they’ve shed their Santa suits and their brand new album, Float Away, released on November 30th. They’ll also be performing around the area at Roxbury Tavern in Sauk City on December 14th and Fisher King Winery in Verona on the 15th. We talked with Erik and Beth about Float Away and their upcoming shows in the area.

MI: What inspired you guys to want to work together?
BETH:
We initially met at a songwriting workshop in 2011 but didn’t reconnect again until 2013 when I went to one of The Mascot Theory shows and was blown away. I chatted with Erik after the show who said we should try to cowrite sometime. Our first co-write was “I Am the Wrecking Ball” (one of the tracks on the new record) and we were both happy with it, so we just kept going. When we got together for another cowrite, we realized we both had a bunch of unfinished Christmas songs in our catalogs so we came up with the idea of doing a holiday album. Since our bands tend to slow down gig-wise in December, it was kind of nice to have something to get hyped up about in the winter. We also came up with the idea for Flannel Fest (a charity event with multiple Americana acts) at one of our early cowrite sessions. I think working on that project together made us realize that, not only do we have similar songwriting styles, but we also have similar work ethics. I often refer to Erik as my “brother from another mother” when I talk about our collaborations. He’s constantly sending me emails with answers to questions I am literally opening my email to ask him. I don’t know why we think so much alike, maybe because we’re both ambidextrous Pisces. Whatever it is, it’s really refreshing to work with a musician who is as talented, professional and kind as Erik who is also excellent at follow through.

ERIK: It can be a rare trait for creative persons to also have business-like drive behind their art. Beth and I both dream up crazy ideas, but we also have the tenacity to make sure those ideas actually happen. That’s what I admire most about Beth, and why I enjoy creating with her in KEROSENE KITES.


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King Llama - photo by Chad Elder

KING LLAMA

An interview with Ryan Bailey, Guitarist for King LLama
by Mike Huberty
October 2017

Progressive music takes precision and concentration. Time signatures change, genres bend in and out into one another, and a song can start in one place and end somewhere entirely unexpected. It’s this adventurous fusion of jazz, rock, and funk that KING LLAMA prides themselves on. A Los Angeles power trio consisting of guitarist Ryan Tanner Bailey, drummer Luis Briones, and bassist Nico Staub, KING LLAMA has toured from Illinois to Argentina with their instrumental fusion and they’re coming back to the Midwest on their latest tour. We talked with Ryan to get a little taste of what the intrepid music of KING LLAMA is all about.


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463 ViewsPermalinkKING LLAMA Website
Cold Black Ribver

Cold Black River

An interview with Cold Black River bassist and vocalist Eric Cobb
by Mike Huberty
October 2017

A fat sludge of doom-y sound slithering right into your earholes, COLD BLACK RIVER is Madison’s minor chord distorted retort to the happy Electronic Pop on the radio. If you haven’t heard Doom rock before, think of it as slower blues-based heavy riffs with deep bellowing vocals. And the lyrics are usually about something horrific, like the fact that there is no God, but if there was he would hate you. Or monsters and demons eating your soul, killing children, etc… stuff like that. It’s called DOOM for a reason!


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Janesville's VERSUS ME - photo by Elizabeth Wadium

VERSUS ME

An interview with Janesville metal band, VERSUS ME
by Mike Huberty
September 2017

Janesville’s VERSUS ME is talented AF. If you like hard rock there’s lots to like. Singer James Milbrandt has a fantastic voice when he’s singing, usually on the chorus ‘cuz the verses are always gutteral, more percussive than melodic. Bassist Lee Milbrandt and guitarists Patrick Thompson and Clint Greendeer are super heavy (but maybe give the 6-stringers a solo a sometime, c’mon!) On recordings, drummer Dustin Helgestad sounds like triggers and MIDI, but that’s the way heavy rock sounds now, if he can even play half of it live, then he’s awesome.

Alright, this all makes me sound like an old man (back in my day, drummers had to do cardio to be able to double kick!) The fact is, these guys are on the upswing with cool videos, major label level production, and you just know that they’re going to be rock n’ roll heroes with the hometown Janesville crowd at WJJO Sonic Boom - and they’re better than half the stuff JJO plays most of the time. I watched all their videos and then talked to them about their upcoming performance, influences, and more. Sunday October 1st they’ll be performing early, so don’t get too drunk on Saturday and come down and see these guys!


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799 ViewsPermalinkVERSUS ME Wiki
J Marsden

J MARSDEN

An Interview with Singer/Songwriter J. Marsden
by Mike Huberty
August 2017

Former WALL OF FUNK leader J. MARSDEN has consistently been one of Madison’s most underrated guitarists. With plenty of technical skill, a great sense of melody and most importantly, a surplus of heart, Joe’s first solo album, Gravity is a mix between ALICE IN CHAINS (Sap and Jar of Flies specifically), DAYS OF THE NEW (lower-register vocal melodies and hooks), and RADIOHEAD (expert guitar work ala The Bends).


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453 ViewsPermalinkJ MARSDEN Website
Porky's Groove Machine from Appleton, WI

Porky’s Groove Machine

An interview with nerd-funkers Porky's Groove Machine
by Mike Huberty
July 2017

With their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, Appleton’s PORKY’S GROOVE MACHINE plays campus-ready dance-able white guy funk that is ready to help you get on with your baddest self. They’ve got tracks like a “PSA (Porky’s Service Announcement)” proclaiming to “Don’t be silly, wrap your willy!” or with titles like “Hey! Fatballs!”, so you might have guessed that their music isn’t quite the deep introspective soul-searching kind.


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The Claudettes from Chicago

The CLAUDETTES

An interview with Johnny Iguana, founder and pianist in punk-blues act, The Claudettes
by Mike Huberty
June 2017

After spending the 2000s with Chicago indie rock/popsters, OH MY GOD, keyboardist and singer JOHNNY IGUANA started a piano/drum band in 2011 as the house act at a little Illinois bar called Claudette’s (and named themselves after the club and its wild owner.) Starting with good old American Roots music, he began borrowing elements from punk, blues, jazz, and even classical to create their sound and since the spare beginning they’ve added more musicians to the mix to fill out the sonic spectrum. In addition to Johnny Iguana on piano and vocals, THE CLAUDETTES are Berit Ulseth on vocals, Zach Verdoorn on bass/vocals, Matt Torre on drums. We talked with Mister Iguana to discuss their upcoming show at AtwoodFest at 2pm on July 29th.


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748 ViewsPermalinkCLAUDETTES Website

The Mannish Boys

An interview with Jesse Steinberg, Guitarist for Mannish Boys
by Mike Huberty
April 2017

Jesse Steinberg, the guitarist from THE MANNISH BOYS is on a mission to dispel the myth of Blues music as a genre for sad sacks whining about wayward women, downtrodden men, and lives lived too hard. They call themselves “booty-shakin’ blues” and Steinberg, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, has even authored a book on Blues Music and Philosophy.  The rest of the band is Andy Smith on vocals, Paul Schwoerer on harmonica, Jesse Olson on piano, Tim Payne on bass, and Johnny Watson on drums. We talked with Steinberg about THE MANNISH BOYS and their upcoming show at Capital Brewery on May 2nd.


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1472 ViewsPermalinkMannish Boys Website
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