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Eclectic Vibes - February 2011

CD/DVD Micro Reviews by Andrew Frey

Our old friends Asylum Street Spankers are passing thru for the final time on 2/20 at the High Noon Saloon as part of their Spanks For Everything! tour. Founded by Christina Marrs and Wammo this Austin based entourage has been kicking out their distinct brand of twisted alt folk jams for over 14 years now and due to a variety of reasons including kids, the economy and lineup changes this will be the end of the road for the Spankers. Better get there early! Asylum Street Spankers

The Eighth Day Of The Year
Saturday 1/8 was a fine day to be out and about in Madison. Earlier in the day we decided to start our new years out right and took the new sprout (my 11 month old son) out to see the Madgadders. They were appearing as part of the ‘Kids in the Rotunda’ series at Madison’s 200 million dollar art palace aka The Overture Center. We managed to catch their 1pm show which was the finale of 3 shows that day. 

The Madgadders are a colorful family fun oriented band that includes members of VO5. On this outing they played selections from the Beatles and Queen as well as a School House Rock song and others. It turned out to be a lively show and a great place to see a free event with a lot of other kids (if you made it in before the 400 person capacity was reached).

Continuing on with our musical escapades, later in the evening we found ourselves at Mr. Roberts (sans child of course). We didn’t go there to see any particular band, mostly just to get out. We knew Mr. Roberts has music every night with no cover, but we were pleasantly surprised with our findings. They now have their stage in the back room (in case you haven’t been there in a while) and even though the stage area is just an area and not an actual raised stage, it’s still a billion times better than when the bands were crammed up in the front corner. The Combustible Trio (formerly the Oncken Jazz Expression) was the entertainment for the evening and all was jumpin’ and jiggy once they started their set. The lone bartender on this evening was bustling up a storm to keep up as thirsty patrons emptied their cups again and again while the band played on.

The stage area was lit in classic Wisconsin style; two neon beer signs proudly blazing their logo while dimly illuminating the musicians. The trio blasted out jazzed up classic rock covers from the 60s and 70s as well as a few choice originals and we had a great time out in the Mad City on the eighth day of the year.

MICRO REVIEWS: This Month's Rating Scale is from 1 – Chum to 10 – Sushi
Collective Acoustics - bc >= ad

Collective Acoustics

bc >= ad
Record Label: Gah Gah Music
Review published: April 2011
Rating: 10

Love at first riff? From the very moment I put this in the player, the silky smooth organic rocktronica created by this experimental trio caressed my musical g-spot. The flowing and dreamy instrumentals are comprised of curious guitars, murmuring and enticing jazzy rhythms and patches of blissful ambience. All played on real instruments. No samples, loops or MIDI here. The highly versatile crew creates in other interesting ways including organs, electric bass and harpsichord plus instruments and devices of their own design.

Carlos GoGo Gomez - New Paradigm Global Music

Carlos GoGo Gomez

New Paradigm Global Music
Record Label: KidLat Records
Review published: April 2011
Rating: 9

Railing against the boundaries of what most consider the parameters of music to be this Ifa priest, martial artist and world renowned percussionist manages to surprise and inspire through his attractive shamanic messages and mystical beats. Transcendental drones subtly change and morph into mind-bending expressions of bliss and unity.

Eugene Grey - Diversity

Eugene Grey

Record Label: Greyhound Records
Review published: April 2011
Rating: 9

Disc 1 shows off the instrumental side of this hard working and award winning Jamaican born guitarist and composer while disc 2 has all the vocal tracks thrown in. I can’t decide which is better. They are both flavorful in their own way, highlighting inflections and nuances of the buoyant horn section and funky subtly flowing rhythms that are based in Afro-pop, reggae, jazz and jam.

Ridley - Planets


Record Label:
Review published: April 2011
Rating: 8

A universe of sounds is at their disposal and these musicians take full advantage of the panorama. Temptations of poptronica are caustically interrupted by jarring currents of industrialized rhythms only to be emoted into the ambience of post planetary escapism. As one of the last projects to be recorded at the now defunct Smart Studios, this spirited electronica explores fanciful compositions into varying forms of musical satisfaction and subterfuge that manage to surprise and delight on numerous levels.

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Titans Eve - The Divine Equal

Titans Eve

The Divine Equal
Record Label:
Review published: April 2011
Rating: 4

I love thrash metal as much as anyone, but this throwback thrash quartet brings back all the things I don’t love about the music. Starting with the poor cover art, it continues with the cheesy logo and predictable song names. This group has cookie cutter repeat written all over them. I’m sure they worked hard on this, but to no avail, as I have seen and heard this hundreds and hundreds of times before.

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Water Street Bridge - Hard Times

Water Street Bridge

Hard Times
Record Label:
Review published: April 2011
Rating: 9

A mischievous ensemble of cleverly kicked up traditional and original Celtic folky ditties peppered and pizzazzed with violin, mandolin, ukulele, washboard, bodhran and more!  The song ‘Shack of Sit’ is symantic ear candy plus ya gotta love the revamp of ‘I Want Candy’ as ‘I Want Guiness.’ Makes me thirsty just writing about it. Catch their show at Lyons Pub in Watertown, WI on Thurs 3/17 for an early evening St Patty’s Day show.

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