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CD Review The Smells - Manure Spreader


Manure Spreader
Record Label: Rare Plant
Review by Sal Serio
June 2017

The Smells are a new-ish four-piece band from Madison, and they call their music “grain belt rock n’ roll”. They have two singers who also play guitar. Their names are Leith and James. Leslie plays bass guitar and sings. Josh provides the drumbeats. The Smells released an 8-song cassette tape called ‘Manure Spreader’. This is what I have to say about that.


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CD Review Big Thief - Capacity

Big Thief

Record Label: Saddle Creek
Review by John Noyd
May 2017

Big Thief steals your heart in small ways; tossing soft, modest waltzes in traveling vagabond ballads while defenseless confessions trickled with ticklish licks, windmill trills and ghostly solos smolder in glowing emotions. Penning beautiful second-thoughts and half-caught eavesdrops into bittersweet indie-rock subplots, song-writer Adrianne Lenker brings tender strength and subtle wonder to the band’s sophomore release deploying discerning ear-worms slipped in whispers uncoiling coy joys from stair-climbing rhymes. The charming, demure, “Capacity,” packages timid sympathies with earthy verses besides purring purges blessed in acceptance for driving folk woven from corrosive commotion and smooth blues tipsy with sing-song tonics rich in wise kindness. Returning to Madison for the first time as a headliner, Big Thief plays the High Noon Saloon July 3rd with Virginia folk-singer Twain.


CD Review Franky And The Band - Austin, Texas - The Rock Opera

Franky And The Band

Austin, Texas - The Rock Opera
Record Label: Round Rock Records
Review by Sal Serio
May 2017

Every once in a while, a package crosses my desk which catches me off guard with it’s unique and captivating presentation. And, let’s face it… in this modern age, to experience something artistic and musical that arrives from a road less traveled, is a rare and welcome event. In this instance, the road leads to and from Austin, Texas, and the project is a concept album about Austin, paired with a companion novella based in Austin. The brainchild of this conceptual undertaking is guitarist, singer, songwriter, and arranger Fehmi Nuhoglu, known more commonly as “Franky”.


(1066) ViewsPermalinkFranky And The Band Website

CD Review PHO - two


Record Label: PHO
Review by Sal Serio
May 2017

Recently in Madison to open a show for TAUK, the 7 piece horn-driven instrumental powerhouse from Minneapolis called PHO got the evening off on the right foot… well, both feet actually, as they immediately won over the Madison music freaks and got everybody off their butts and on to the dance floor. As such, I did not hesitate when asked to review the group’s new CD, their sophomore effort, simply titled ‘two’. There is a Prince vibe present here, which is not by accident. His Royal Purpleness had taken notice of PHO shortly before his passing in 2016, and actually invited them to open for Larry Graham at Paisley Park. Additionally, percussion on the ‘two’ CD is courtesy of Kirk Johnson from Prince’s New Power Generation.


(923) ViewsPermalinkPHO Website

CD Review Squarewave - A Tighter Knot


A Tighter Knot
Record Label: Artisanal Records
Review by John Noyd
April 2017

Bound by earnest concerns cresting in hypnotic topics and focused hopes bubbling with fearless endearments, “Tighter,” creeps half-asleep in deep-sea fatigue strung among tight-rope kaleidoscopes; a tense sensation somersaulting from beleaguered to exalted, smothered in displaced promises, uprooted in rooftop thoughts and lifted in shifting dreams. Paving dark, defiant highways where twisted detours pass wind-blown beachfronts smeared in silver-plated industrial-twang, Squarewave’s interstellar tremors race into an endless night hovering just past the hi-beams as love, freedom and release weave nomadic ballads between cataclysmic burn-outs dipped in dawn-breaking radiance and airless mechanics spinning molasses-wrapped melodies around storm-distorted chords. Shadow-soaked experiences made tangible in roaring prog-rock riffs. subversive psychedelic leads and driven New Wave rhythms; “Knot.” floats, emotes and coasts painting tasty hay-wired spirals amongst angular cliff-hangers.


DVD Review The Rolling Stones  - Rolling Stones From The Vault : L. A. Forum 1975

Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones From The Vault : L. A. Forum 1975
Record Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Review by Gregory Hartumian
April 2017

With 55-plus years of history, the Rolling Stones continue “pushing the envelope,” as Keith Richards was quoted. With the new “Exhibitionism” installation and public exhibit at Chicago’s Navy Pier, running Apr. 15 thru July 30 (, the project is more of a stroll through their cumbersome history. One visits a re-creation of their dingy 1961 apartment, memorabilia, what it’s like to be backstage, and performance clothes, not to mention loads of photos.

However, it’s best to remember the music they produced over that timespan which is oddly pushed to the periphery with the exhibit. Eagle Rock Entertainment has been working with the Stones management, and band members, over the past decade in releasing audio and visual items that are prized by collectors. There are roughly one dozen rare videos concerts that have been floating around for years in varying degrees of quality.


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