If you are able, please donate to Max Ink to help us navigate the Pandemic. We will see you on newstands when the Live Music scene is back in action!
  • Disc Reviews

    by Max Ink Staff Writers


    Skizzwhores - Insomnia Mania

    Skizzwhores - Insomnia Mania

    Skizzwhores

    Album title: Insomnia Mania
    By Laura Sorensen
    Posted: Apr 2016
    Label: Gears N Cogs Media
    (1555) Page Views

    There are those bands that need more members to produce more sound. Then there are bands like Skizzwhores that need only three members to produce a lot of sound. Their second release and full length CD “Insomnia Mania” is rich with strong instrumentals generating from a single guitarist, bassist and drummer. Combined with the raw, straightforward vocals, using a unique blend of Grunge-Smear and Punk Rock, Skizzwhores produces a mix of music that ranges in style from old school B-52’s to rap style rock like Limp Bizkit, and various other artists such as Distillers, Sonic Youth and The Germs. With intriguing song titles like “Non Conforming Conformist Ate My Brain” and “Sex & Politics” one is drawn to find out more about the music this not so subtle three piece ensemble produces. Lyrics such as “Rise and rally in the streets,” “Same old shit,” and “Millions of hairs stand on end like standing at the edge of hell,” give one cause to believe this group is not only serious about their music but also about their message.  Each track is inevitably upbeat and inspiring.  The Madison based band Skizzwhores is quickly building a reputation, so while new shows may be in the works they will definitely be playing Pride Fest in Milwaukee, WI on June 10, 2016.

    Read More...


    Pat Travers and Carmine Appice - The Balls Album

    Pat Travers and Carmine Appice - The Balls Album

    Pat Travers and Carmine Appice

    Album title: The Balls Album
    By Sal Serio
    Posted: Mar 2016
    Label: Purple Pyramid Records
    (2342) Page Views

    Pat Travers and Carmine Appice! Consider the accumulated years of touring and recording experience, and the full cast of characters that have collaborated with these two rockers. There is a whole novel of great stuff, right there! However, the task at hand and the bounty on the mantle is ‘The Balls Album’, which provides plenty of evidence that testicular fortitude is readily in abundance with these guys.

    Sure, it’s a no-brainer that this audio document bursts with thunderous drumming and pyrotechnic lead guitar work… I mean, duh, right? But what smacked me squarely between the eyeBALLS was a combination of the varied, memorable, and emphatically solid songwriting displayed within, and, even more impressive is the crystalline quality of Travers’ vocal work. Surely Pat sounds equally as good as any of his classic 70s work, or perhaps even better.

    So… quality? Check! In fact, check that one off several times over! But, let us talk quantity. How does 14 songs grab you? By the BALLS? That is oh so apropos. Not a tablespoon of filler lives here, and you get the soft with the hard, the bouncy with the bulging, and the smooth with the prickly. After all, THIS is the BALLS album.

    Read More...


    The Crookes - Lucky Ones

    The Crookes - Lucky Ones

    The Crookes

    Album title: Lucky Ones
    By John Noyd
    Posted: Mar 2016
    Label: Modern Outsider
    (2359) Page Views

    Cardiac satellites catapult submerged urges into prancing manic courtships as The Crookes’ promising romantic stamina kicks power-pop jaunts roasted in heart-racing impatience from rose-colored pub-rock propositions; slamming candied music-hall anthems from fidgety indie misfits. Suave hurrahs from Teddy Boy choirs steeped in radiant riffs and galvanized sighs, Sheffield’s schooled hooligans produce fuzzed-out shin-digs from thick six-string pillaging born beneath lovelorn vocals and strapped to dapper eighties keyboards. Open-hearted larks from cobblestoned Romeos, “Lucky,” spins the wheel and plays to win, a monument to spidery pride devising clever webs connecting lively vibes to slacker jackpots snatched from ghost-coated tremolo, unshakeable beats and skulking bass. Adopting a breezier countenance from their brooding beginnings, the British quartet visit Madison’s The Frequency April 9th along with modern-pop electro-philosopher Geographer.

    Read More...


    Haelos - Full Circle

    Haelos - Full Circle

    Haelos

    Album title: Full Circle
    By John Noyd
    Posted: Mar 2016
    Label: Matador Records
    (2188) Page Views

    Ravishing break-beat sass lavished in funky diamond grinds alternate between snake-charmer calm inclined towards dark carnal electro-soul and diva-shrieking sequences slipping into stormy trip-hop gospel. Assembling a massive sonic palette techno-geeking out with mood-enhancing slow-jams building into smoldering sideways-glance dance-grooves; the tantric London trio employ erotic electronics alongside three-part vocals roping consensual adventures into pulp fiction; fatalistic mystics tossing harmonic bon mots rinsed in cloudy synths, cobbled to clanging arrangements and polished in sleek percussive fevers. A cool goulash brewing ultra-smooth moods beneath dramatic buzzed-out attitude, “Circle,” orbits panoramic landscapes where gleaming antiseptic effects meet deep eclectic sets and exalted chill-pop operas turn lethal, conniving and irresistible. In a rare treat for Wisconsin, Haelos plays Milwaukee’s Back Room at Collectivo Coffee on Prospect April 8th

    Read More...


    Droids Attack - Sci-Fi or Die

    Droids Attack - Sci-Fi or Die

    Droids Attack

    Album title: Sci-Fi or Die
    By Sal Serio
    Posted: Mar 2016
    Label: Riff Reaper Records
    (2198) Page Views

    Unearthed at last is the ultimate Droids Attack document. The talisman. In the long run, has the Droids sound changed much since their first 2004 CD? Not really, except it’s tighter and the vision is more fully realized. The meaty chord-driven locomotive zephyr thrust of sledgehammer metal-punk has simply zeroed in on the target with pinpoint accuracy, and the result is one of blissful head-banging wonderment.

    Nailing the concept of uber-product is the physical presentation of this music. I can’t recall the last time I was this awestruck by a local band’s CD artwork, and overall conceptual statement. The combination of Eli Quinn’s Moebius-like illustrations with Brad Van’s graphic art skill equals pure genius. While listening, I can’t help but gaze at the CD itself to get the full effect, which is sort of like a science-fantasy graphic novel and ancient cultures history lesson all rolled up into one big ball-busting enchilada.

    An auspicious local offering such as this needs a CD release event that resembles a ritualistic feast of alchemists, aliens, and perverse party-goers. It would also likely resemble the drop of a hydrogen bomb. Will we sci-fi… or die? Find out on Thursday, March 10, at the High Noon Saloon, when the Droids Attack festivities will be preceded by sonic statements from Attalla and The Gran Fury.

    Read More...


    The Coffin Daggers - Aggravatin’ Rhythms

    The Coffin Daggers - Aggravatin’ Rhythms

    The Coffin Daggers

    Album title: Aggravatin’ Rhythms
    By Sal Serio
    Posted: Mar 2016
    Label: Cleopatra Records
    (2103) Page Views

    I present to you the most happening soundtrack to the hippest parties across the nation! Reverb drenched, punchy and energetic, fun and frantic, pure honey-dripping rock and roll in it’s most undiluted essence. Beach blanket surf music with ample nods to sci-fi and western movie-themes, and the dance crazes that made the 60s so gloriously swinging.

    The Coffin Daggers sound is highlighted by band leader Vic Venom’s driving guitar rhythms and crisp in-your-face soloing, as well as Rob Morrison’s organ, which has that retro sound like it must be a Farfisa. This is the third full-length release from the New York based group, but their first for a label with major distribution capacities. The Coffin Daggers also have a handful of 7” single releases to their credit.

    What’s really exciting about this music is it’s immediacy. The album was recorded live in one room, with a minimum of overdubs, onto a 16 track analog tape machine. That approach is evident in the cohesion and urgency of the performances, and the organic sound of the recorded document. Trust me! You want this CD to play at your next cocktail party or clam bake!

    Read More...


    Haliwel - Pandemic

    Haliwel - Pandemic

    Haliwel

    Album title: Pandemic
    By Laura Sorensen
    Posted: Feb 2016
    Label: Burn United Records
    (1650) Page Views

    A new lead singer, a new CD, Haliwel is launching forward undaunted in their mission to bring some great new hard rock to their current and potential fans.  The release of “Pandemic” with Dax Roberts on lead vocals is a demonstration of the admirable talent and diversity of this group of musicians. Blending their instruments in perfect sync with each other and with Dax’s voice, using alternate styles of backup vocals to create various melodic effects for different songs, there is nothing but admiration for this five member hard rock band.  The theme of the CD varies from upbeat, inspirational tracks like the opening song “Firestarter” to no bullshit lyrics with “Truth Is” (you’re a bitch), to softer tracks like “Halo.” You have to really listen to the lyrics to understand the emotion behind each song. “Halo” may sound like a lighter, romantic tune but it really is about finding out someone has deceived you, “My little angel, gonna watch your little halo melt.”  “Sleepwalking” is a great tune with varied lead and backup vocal techniques.  Probably one of the band’s more popular tunes is “My Letter’ which again requires close attention to the lyrics to understand this is a person on the brink of suicide because “I can’t do anything right.”  Concluding with “Calloused,” the longest track on the album, you hear a combination of simple, melodic vocals, becoming more intense on the chorus, and an extended instrumental interlude with the guitars, bass and drums melding together as one fine instrument. 

    Pandemic is not for the faint of heart, but for the passionate, the compassionate, and the true fan of what modern hard rock is supposed to sound like.

    Read More...


    Tortoise - The Catastrophist

    Tortoise - The Catastrophist

    Tortoise

    Album title: The Catastrophist
    By John Noyd
    Posted: Feb 2016
    Label: Thrill Jockey
    (2049) Page Views

    Chicago’s eclectic post-rock messengers celebrate twenty-five years cross-pollinating rock, jazz and electronics with an album both playful and challenging, methodical and improvisational. Fusing Krautrock precision with jazz-splattered visions, “Catastrophist,” swings from elusive grooves bursting with frenetic energy to contrapuntal onions peeled in myriad layers of reckless dialectics. A cerebral hodgepodge built from serpentine designs weaving symbiotic labyrinths, Tortoise’s first album in over six years confronts an ironic paradox where their past innovations have become widely-accepted conventions. Possibly in acknowledgment of their far-ranging influence, Tortoise invited Dead Rider’s Todd Rittman and Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley to contribute vocals to two tracks on the album. Still pushing the envelope, the rabid dabblers play Madison’s Majestic Theater March 10th with sublime folk-drone harmonium proponent Mind over Mirrors.

    Read More...


    Basia Bulat - Good Advice

    Basia Bulat - Good Advice

    Basia Bulat

    Album title: Good Advice
    By John Noyd
    Posted: Feb 2016
    Label: Secret City Records
    (1959) Page Views

    Trading in her auto-harp and acoustic guitar for an assortment of colorful keyboards, Bulat’s self-professed break-up album sounds more like a declaration of independence than an admission of defeat. Dynamic, resilient and unsparing in clear-eyed resolve, the Jim James produced, “Advice,” sheds regrets and pledges respect to forge an iron-clad happiness with forward-looking lyrics, decisive insights and muscular arrangements supporting the Canadian song-thrush’s warm vibrant voice. Shining an inviting light on turbulent times, Bulat’s rousing counsel seeks the personal in the universal, connecting common problems to self-empowering solutions with commanding stanzas, steadily catchy melodies and rock-solid backing from a talented battalion of musical troops. An enchanting performer, Basia plays Madison’s High Noon Saloon March 8th along with fellow Canadian songwriter Tamara Lindeman’s The Weather Station.

    Read More...


    Paul Filipowicz - Rough Neck Blues Live!

    Paul Filipowicz - Rough Neck Blues Live!

    Paul Filipowicz

    Album title: Rough Neck Blues Live!
    By Laura Sorensen
    Posted: Feb 2016
    Label: Big Jake Records
    (1355) Page Views

    Over thirty years of fronting a band, Paul Filipowicz knows how to sing the blues. Recorded live at the Knuckle Down Saloon in Madison, WI this live version CD combines heartfelt blues and swing music with interludes of rock instrumentals. Down and out lyrics such as “Life is a crapshoot” (Gambling Woman) and “Most dogs eat better than I do” (Most Dogs) reflect a more traditional true blues sound and attitude. “Most Dogs” uses a strong, steady toe tapping drum beat throughout the performance .  Then break out your dancing shoes and prepare to swing your partner to the snappy track “Junk In The Trunk” with an upbeat Boogie-woogie style broken up with more contemporary rock interludes. No matter what you’re looking for, you will experience a multitude of variations of blues tracks as you absorb the sometimes raspy, often gravelly vocals of Paul.  The four piece band utilizes a combination of instruments ranging from the obvious electric guitars and drum ensemble to a traditional blues instrument in the harmonica and a more unique inclusion of a harp. The final track ends on a jazzy note with extensive use of the harmonica and sums up the whole theme very appropriately with the track “’Where The Blues Comes From.”

    Read More...


    Renaldo And The Loaf - Behind Closed Curtains

    Renaldo And The Loaf - Behind Closed Curtains

    Renaldo And The Loaf

    Album title: Behind Closed Curtains
    By Sal Serio
    Posted: Feb 2016
    Label: Secret Records
    (2095) Page Views

    Hot on the heels of 2015’s vinyl debut of the live 1981 Snakefinger concert in Melbourne, comes another rarity finally seeing the phonograph light of day, thanks to Madison’s Secret Records. This time around, we are treated to the elusive, unreleased first album, by U.K. avant gardists, Renaldo And The Loaf.

    Perhaps best known for their work on the Ralph Records label in the early 1980s, the creative forces of Brian Poole (“Renaldo”) and David Janssen (“Ted the Loaf”) are characterized by a desire to make synthesizer-type sounds by unconventional means. Often this meant tape loops and tape manipulation, back when that particular medium was still in its infancy.

    ‘Behind Closed Curtains’ was recorded in 1978, and was intended for release the following year under the band moniker Plimsollline. Shortly after, the group changed their name, and was picked up by the Ralph label after The Residents listened to a cassette dropped off at the San Francisco Ralph headquarters. Indeed, Residents weirdo attitude abounds here, in close proximity to a dreamlike style reminiscent of the ambient Eno albums. Or, you could say this music teleports you to the astral/aural equivalent of the Pee Wee’s Playhouse soundscape.

    Read More...


    Ches Smith - The Bell

    Ches Smith - The Bell

    Ches Smith

    Album title: The Bell
    By John Noyd
    Posted: Jan 2016
    Label: ECM
    (1929) Page Views

    A skittish persistence pitting meditative minimalism brimming in tentative collisions against fragile beauty infused with evaporating grooves, “The Bell,” plays with vacant space through mindful silence; dormant hand-crafted organics yielding a heightened sense of looming danger and eerie calm. Bringing a placid mastery to the sessions, pianist Craig Taborn, violist Mat Maneri and leader, composer, drummer and vibraphonist Ches Smith exude a stellar delicacy whose suspicious decisions erupt in sumptuous rumpus and cataclysmic synergy. A cinematic assault on the senses, each player’s shady chamber-jazz improvisations drizzle, dribble and sizzle in haunted autonomy to author an art-film murder mystery packed in intense suspense and peaceful release. Ches and company play February 21st at Madison’s intimate Gates of Heaven along with the Lundberg, Packard and Pireh Trio.

    Read More...

    View More

    Viewing Page 7 - of 35

    ‹ First  < 5 6 7 8 9 >  Last ›