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CD Review The Rotten Tommys - Shake It!

Rotten Tommys

Shake It!
Record Label: To The Core Records
Review by Sal Serio
May 2018

Madison’s The Rotten Tommys are back with their new CD, ‘Shake It!’, as they attack the specter of the sophomore slump with both barrels burning. This new CD hosts louder guitars, better crafted songwriting, and much improved sound engineering. Plus, MORE is always better, right? The first Tommys release was 10 songs and 26 minutes, and now we have 13 songs in 39 minutes. Bonus!


CD Review Josh Rouse - Love In The Modern Age

Josh Rouse

Love In The Modern Age
Record Label: Yep Roc
Review by John Noyd
April 2018

Ray-Ban suntans frolic in soft-rock cakewalks while country-club dreamers stalk satin-sheet streets heading towards an afternoon at the beach as light, bubbly synths swim in sleek, sophisticated lounge-songs detailing deceptively effortless pleasures behind subtle tropical bop. Songwriter, expatriate, voyeur, Rouse’s playful purrs coax vacuum-sealed feelings from zip-locked pop topped in carefree dares and cavalier lyrics. Cozy, sax-filled jazz slathered in break-through-the-clouds chords play against mellow morning-after melodies and beach-ball bass for a sublime, refined album. Hovering between impeccable replicas of golden moments and respectful revisions of dependable dilemmas, “Love,” captures signature originality under multiple traditions fusing infallible nostalgia and unapologetic novelty to timeless tunes packed in memorable tempos. Hear Rouse up close and personal, when he performs May 20th at Milwaukee’s Colectivo Coffee’s Back Room. 


CD Review Paul Draper - Spooky Action

Paul Draper

Spooky Action
Record Label: Kscope
Review by John Noyd
April 2018

Creamy chaos greets cinematic passion and sultry cosmic rumbles as high-voltage glam-rock meets sky-rocketing British blues-soul in the luminous, “Spooky.” Gorgeous orchestrated mayhem simmers at the ready as Draper’s cat-like stream of consciousness purrs in curious psychoanalytical diversions while submerging in flirtatious, vexing espionage. Slinging honeyed cunning for transcendent repentance and luscious bluster for martyred catharsis, the cumulative effect is staggering. Front-man for nineties alt-rock icons Mansun, Draper finishes his limited American tour at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater May 3rd opening up for the King of Prog-Rock, Steve Wilson. Rare as is Paul’s stateside appearance, rarer still is his presenting Mansun classics and his new album scaled down to just him and a sideman. Surely, a night of sonic pyrotechnics from both parties on the bill.


DVD Review The Groucho Marx - Mikado

Groucho Marx

Record Label: Video Artists International Inc.
Review by Gregory Harutyunyan
April 2018

Everyone knows who Julius “Groucho” Marx is. Sarcasm and mayhem are often attached to his name, whether with his brothers, through the “You Bet Your Life” television show, movies, or books. The little man, hunched over with the mustache and cigar are iconic. Period. Everyone has a favorite “Groucho” line. Mine coincides with the Beatles 1964 appearance at the Hollywood Bowl, when a plush dinner party, a “meet and greet” for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills with the trending phenomena of the moment. Television interviewers collared attendees, as they went into the gated grounds when along comes “Groucho.” They gush on and on about how excited he must be to get close to the Four Moptops, and how it will impact his life forever. “No. I came for the food,” he said.


CD Review Half Waif - Lavender

Half Waif

Record Label: Cascine
Review by John Noyd
March 2018

Elegant emancipation weighs heavy hearts against longing options as Half Waif’s labyrinth memories search for dream-harvested meaning and perch on disillusioned truths. Seducing through fluid theatrical-pop grooves, uncoupled couplets lay over celestial synth-beds decorated in ethereal hand-picked hybrids from baroque to goth to funk to prog. Silken willfulness nurturing guarded facades hide struggling grudges in gilded lilies, balancing rallying happiness and bewitching insistence with lusty percussion, swooning vocals and diamond-dusted keyboards. Sumptuously slippery,  “Lavender,” swims in deep self-reflecting waters combating shadowy current-pulling impermanence with quicksand questions connecting restless life-lessons, rising through swirling anthem-ramped rapture where twisted fates induce conscience-haunted moods fallen from rakish grace. The brainchild of Brooklyn’s Nandi Rose Plunkett, Half Waif plays Madison’s The Frequency May 4th along with introspective indie-rock hypnotists Hovvdy.


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CD Review The Heavy Set - The Highway And The Moon

Heavy Set

The Highway And The Moon
Record Label: The Heavy Set
Review by Sal Serio
February 2018

If I only had one sentence to write this review with, I would make it a question: “What kind of world would make Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) a household name, when Jake Ilika isn’t?” I mean, honestly. The emotion, depth, diversity, ethereal production quality, and uncannily excellent songwriting on this CD is beyond noteworthy. It MOVES me. It sits in my CD deck for repeated spins and new flavors bubble to the surface with each new listen. This may be the release of the year, and we’re not even two months in to 2018 yet. Seriously.


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