The Sets List:
Tigernite, Mötley Crüe, Charli XCX and Bleachers, Diana Krall

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Thursday, 30 July 2015 08:09

Tigernite Album Release Spectacular 

9 p.m. Aug. 1 at Cactus Club, Milwaukee. $8.

The Sets List:
Dave Matthews Band, Hall and Oates, alt-J and more

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Friday, 17 July 2015 04:03

Dave Matthews may have skipped Alpine Valley — which he has called one of his favorites in the country — to play Summerfest last year, but he’s back in 2015 to a crowd that’ll surely be happy to see him. The jam band has been visiting Alpine Valley since 1999, building up a concentrated form of their regular devoted fan base in the Midwest as a result. Their two-night tenure at the festival will feature twice the DMB goodness, with one acoustic set and one electric.

The Sets List:
Blitzen Trapper, New Pornographers, Rickie Lee Jones, more

Written by Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer
Friday, 03 July 2015 06:19

Blitzen Trapper. — PHOTO: Courtesy

With Blitzen Trapper in town, it really will be a fantastic holiday weekend for Madisonians. The experimental country/folk act got its start in Portland, Oregon, and stayed there for a while, but when their self-released album Wild Mountain Nation went big in 2007, they found themselves sharing their gifts with the world and picking up influences from it too. New album VII carries on the tradition, with bluesy motifs lifted from their travels throughout the country.

Eaux Claires an ‘artist-driven’ festival

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 02 July 2015 08:34

Eaux Claires co-founders Aaron Dessner (left) of The National and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver want to build a whole new kind of festival in western Wisconsin.
— PHOTO: Courtesy

Why does the Eaux Claires Festival exist?

Singer/songwriter Paul Anka still does it ‘his way’

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 30 July 2015 05:15

Paul Anka, songwriter for artists including Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones and Michael Jackson, will perform at Potawatomi’s Northern Lights Theater.
—PHOTO: Annie Leibovitz

Every career has its watershed moments, times when the nature, direction and fortunes of a life change forever. Singer/songwriter Paul Anka says one of his was a 1968 meeting with Frank Sinatra. 

Music reviews
Tame Impala, RS, Nina Revisited

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 16 July 2015 21:55

A new collection of music is tied to the documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?{break}— PHOTO: Netflix

As the belated appreciation for Nina Simone's talent continues to grow, a new collection of interpretations of some of her greatest performances is tagged to the release of the powerful documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? 

New music:Kacey Musgraves, Neil Young, Leon Bridges, Miguel

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 02 July 2015 19:14

Kacey Musgraves’ unexpected Grammys last year for best country album and best country song were no fluke, and this album proves it. Ignoring contemporary standards for commercial country music, Pageant Material is a beautiful follow-up that will soothe with its melodies and delight with its simple, direct lyrics. Lead single “Biscuits” offers a tongue-and-cheek chorus line, “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.”

Grateful Again: The Dead perform first of final shows

Written by LISA LEFF
Associated Press writer
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 06:00

The songs still ran long. To the uninitiated, the communal rituals of the faithful fans probably looked strange. Was it trippy? Well, this was a Grateful Dead show, after all, the first in a handful over the next week that are said to be the last.

The four surviving members of the Dead, joined by a trio of well-versed companions, launched their “Fare Thee Well” mini-tour on June 27 in Northern California, where the legendary jam band got its start 50 years ago and almost two decades after the death of beloved lead guitarist Jerry Garcia.

New music
Jill Scott, the Bird and the Bee, Titus Andronicus, Benjamin Clementine

Written by Bill Lamb,
Contributing writer
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 20:04

The talented R&B vocalist Jill Scott has taken a long, roundabout path to her fifth studio album, Woman. But it is worth the wait. Never content with the grooves of conventional R&B, she smooths things out on “Fool’s Gold,” digs deep into gospel wailing on “You Don’t Know,” and explores Prince-influenced territory on the slinky “Beautiful Love.” “Closure” gets irrepressibly funky, a kiss off to a former love. If there is a thread that holds the entire album together, it is the exploration of love and sex in all its forms. Jill Scott is wise and experienced, and her voice is a treasure.

Country music struggles with its Confederate flag past

Written by Kristin M. Hale,
Associated Press writer
Thursday, 16 July 2015 11:43

The cover of an old Alabama album. — PHOTO: Courtesy

Country artists are struggling to articulate their feelings about the Confederate flag’s history and symbolism amid heightened debate following the recent massacre at a South Carolina church.

Rickie Lee Jones examines 'Desire' on new album

Written by Maddy Hughes,
contributing writer
Thursday, 02 July 2015 11:51

After a decade without writing a song, beat icon Rickie Lee Jones has returned with The Other Side of Desire, a brand-new album that takes its inspiration from her life of music and her new home city of New Orleans. She'll play at the Pabst Theatre July 16.

Our progressive, alternative guide to Summerfest

Written by Compiled by
Maddy Hughes,
Bill Lamb
and Matthew Reddin
Thursday, 18 June 2015 10:35

When they call Summerfest “the Big Gig,” boy, do they mean it. The 11-day event is the world’s largest music festival, bringing in more than 800 acts from across the globe.