DJ Hostettler

Recent Articles

Radical marching band, radical noise

Radical marching band, radical noise

The Milwaukee Molotov Marchers are looking to shake up your next protest… if they can find some drummers.

Motionary Comics returns — with costumes in tow

Motionary Comics returns — with costumes in tow

Real Life Super Heroes (and Villains!) are expected at the second annual improvisational mural-painting event. Will sparks fly?

Earth’s Mightiest (and most accessible) Comics

Earth’s Mightiest (and most accessible) Comics

A new South side comic shop hopes to be a less intimidating option for the casual or new comic book fan.

Cultural Zero: Strip Touchdowns and the ’96 Packers
Cultural Zero

Strip Touchdowns and the ’96 Packers

The year: 1996. The school: UW-Oshkosh. The idiots: DJ and his friends, who worked a bit too hard to make the Pack's Super Bowl-winning season extra-memorable.

Brewcity Bruisers 2011 Preview: The Rushin’ Rollettes
Brewcity Bruisers 2011 Preview

The Rushin’ Rollettes

With ten new rookies and two star blockers gone to the Crazy 8s, is this the same team that's dominated the league since 2006?

Brewcity Bruisers 2011 Preview: The Shevil Knevils
Brewcity Bruisers 2011 Preview

The Shevil Knevils

Team Captains Moby Nipps and Anita Bier hope to utilize multi-league experience to take "Team Pretty" to the top.

Brewcity Bruisers 2011 Preview: The Crazy 8s
Brewcity Bruisers 2011 Preview

The Crazy 8s

Brewcity Bruiser announcer DrAwkward previews each BCB team before the 2011 season opener on January 8. Today: Last year's cellar-dwelling Crazy 8s.

Derby Little Secrets 2011 Preview: Maiden Milwaukee
Derby Little Secrets 2011 Preview

Maiden Milwaukee

Will the "workin' class, kicking ass" blue-collar Maidens finally break through to their first championship? DJ speaks with team co-captain Bionika.

Cultural Zero: In Hollywood with Faith No More
Cultural Zero

In Hollywood with Faith No More

ROAD TRIP! DJ heads to L.A., sees one of his all-time favorite bands, loses his mind.

Brewcity Bruisers announce 2011 home schedule

Brewcity Bruisers announce 2011 home schedule

The 2011 home season of the skater-owned and operated all-female roller derby league will be played in its entirety at the US Cellular Arena. Oh yeah.

Cultural Zero: Inhumanity and The Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt
Cultural Zero

Inhumanity and The Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt

America's self-destructive hubris laid bare, or just a huge glob of fried cheese? Either way, DJ is down.

Five big years for the Brewcity Bruisers

Five big years for the Brewcity Bruisers

Before the Bruisers' 5th anniversary party Friday night at Turner Hall, DJ chats with a pair of rollergirls about the league's beginning and its bright future.

Cultural Zero: Anatomy of a Meme (and another fun excuse to bag on Weezer)
Cultural Zero

Anatomy of a Meme (and another fun excuse to bag on Weezer)

When James Burns offered Weezer 10 million bucks to disband, the internet went bonkers. But why?

Review: The Thermals @ The Annex, Madison
Review

The Thermals @ The Annex, Madison

“This guitar was too sensitive. This isn’t a sensitive show,” said Hutch Harris after he'd broken a string. It couldn't handle his Mighty Rock Power.

Review: Drugs Dragons, S/T
Review

Drugs Dragons, S/T

The 11 tracks that make up Drugs Dragons' Dusty Medical release recall nights spent in strange foreign rooms fighting off nightmares.

Cultural Zero: Dear Superchunk
Cultural Zero

Dear Superchunk

Because not enough people have gushed about how awesome it is that 2010's Album of the Year is by one of the best bands of the 90s.

For the love of Buzzo, go see Helms Alee tonight if you know what’s good for you

For the love of Buzzo, go see Helms Alee tonight if you know what’s good for you

If Fan-Belt goes down in history for one thing, let it be that it got you out to this show.

Review: Gospel Gossip @ Cactus Club
Review

Gospel Gossip @ Cactus Club

Two KISS references and a Preacher reference! This review *is* about Gospel Gossip, right?

Review: The AFrames’ opening shot in the upcoming Seattle Invasion
Review

The AFrames’ opening shot in the upcoming Seattle Invasion

Milwaukee's getting lots of visitors from the Pacific Northwest in the next couple weeks. DJ recaps the AFrames and previews Unnatural Helpers and Helms Alee.

WMSE’s Radio Summer Camp Symposium: FREE on Saturday
WMSE’s Radio Summer Camp Symposium

FREE on Saturday

After showcasing the best of Milwaukee's local scene, WMSE strives to make the local scene even better with a ton of fascinating panel discussions.

Cultural Zero: Tila Tequila Attacked By Juggalos!
Cultural Zero

Tila Tequila Attacked By Juggalos!

Because coming up with a witty title for this is completely effing unnecessary, DJ ponders what this story means for America and YOUR CHILDREN.

Reviewed: Torche at the Borg Ward
Reviewed

Torche at the Borg Ward

As I pogoed with abandon to "Across the Shields," I thought back to Jeb's Lightning Bolt review and thought, "man, it must have been a lot like this." Nope--apparently, this was hotter.

The Cougar Den is closed

The Cougar Den is closed

One of Milwaukee's smartest and more interesting hardcore bands packs it in Sunday at The Spot.

Camping with Ryan Schleicher and WMSE

Camping with Ryan Schleicher and WMSE

Man, are we psyched for this weekend. Fan-Belt chats with WMSE's Ryan Schleicher about the second annual Radio Summer Camp.

Cultural Zero: Your Band Will Never Be Your Job
Cultural Zero

Your Band Will Never Be Your Job

...and that's ok. Should Summerfest (and for that matter, local clubs) pay local bands more? Yes or no, it ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

Cultural Zero: Requiem For a Band Van
Cultural Zero

Requiem For a Band Van

After three national tours, countless weekend trips, and even countlesser hijinks, DJ toasts the memory of the dear departed band van.

But what if I want to hear music that’s NOT at Summerfest Saturday?

But what if I want to hear music that’s NOT at Summerfest Saturday?

Then we've got you covered with the Pabst Street Party in the afternoon, followed by drunken noise at Y-Not III.

Fan-Belt @ Summerfest: Fri 6/25
Fan-Belt @ Summerfest

Fri 6/25

DJ gets to the Big Gig in time to catch Surgeons in Heat and PUBLIC FRICKING ENEMY. Stupid tire shop taking forever with his car.

Downloading “Shaky Advice from Samwell” a not-so-shaky proposition

Downloading “Shaky Advice from Samwell” a not-so-shaky proposition

The "What What (in the Butt)" guy is now available on your iPhone, thanks to the gang at Milwaukee's Special Entertainment.

Cultural Zero: 25 Bands in 2 Days
Cultural Zero

25 Bands in 2 Days

DJ goes to both days of Verge, three other shows, and attempts to review every single band in the space of one column. He's an idiot.

Reviewed: Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band @ Circle A
Reviewed

Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band @ Circle A

Milwaukee's Prodigal Modern Machine visits from yonder north in Minnesota to treat the Beer City to his latest musical project.

Reviewed: Mono Pazza Milwaukee
Reviewed

Mono Pazza Milwaukee

DJ hops from Turner Hall to Stonefly last Friday to catch The Twilight Sad, Mono, and Mucca Pazza. Just another night in Milwaukee.

High Frequency Media releases Juniper Tar tour trailer

High Frequency Media releases Juniper Tar tour trailer

Not the trailer they're keeping their gear in, either. It's like a video thing.

Derby Little Secrets: Midwest Brewhaha rolls into Franklin Saturday
Derby Little Secrets

Midwest Brewhaha rolls into Franklin Saturday

Brewcity Bruiser fans experiencing roller derby withdrawal after May 8’s thrilling home season finale can rejoice, as they’re about get a heavy derby overdose.

Juiceboxxx to kick off tour with Public Enemy Friday

Juiceboxxx to kick off tour with Public Enemy Friday

Because we can't come up with a clever headline that could possibly be any more awesome than just spelling it out.

Reviewed: Murder By Death @ the High Noon Saloon
Reviewed

Murder By Death @ the High Noon Saloon

Bloomington, IN's hardest-working band brings their Americana-fueled, Southern Gothic tales of 19th Century woe to Madison.

Derby Little Secrets: We are the champions
Derby Little Secrets

We are the champions

Saturday was a history-making night for the Brewcity Bruisers as Milwaukee's derby queens packed the US Cellular Arena for the championship bout. Check out photos plus a bout recap from our own Dr. Awkward

Cultural Zero: Is Summerfest Getting Good, or am I Getting Old?
Cultural Zero

Is Summerfest Getting Good, or am I Getting Old?

Wow, Summerfest's lineup looks great this year! It usually just caters to middle-aged folk! HEY WAIT...

Pezzettino Goes to Camp (aka Brooklyn)

Pezzettino Goes to Camp (aka Brooklyn)

Milwaukee's most polarizing accordionist heads for the big city after a farewell performance at the Eagle's Nest Saturday.

Radio Milwaukee: Championing Milwaukee Music “Like No Other?”
Radio Milwaukee

Championing Milwaukee Music “Like No Other?”

Exiting 88.9 Music Director claims they are "the only [station] that gives Milwaukee artists significant, meaningful airplay." Um...whaaat?

Video: Canyons of Static — “Northern Highland”
Video

Canyons of Static — “Northern Highland”

Check out the new clip from local shoegazers Canyons of Static, courtesy Jack Packard!

“But to get back to your question:” Crispin Glover confounds and enthralls
“But to get back to your question

” Crispin Glover confounds and enthralls

Crispin Glover leaves the Oriental Theater giddy, exhausted and thoroughly disturbed.

Cultural Zero: In which DJ gets Revenge Rapped upon
Cultural Zero

In which DJ gets Revenge Rapped upon

Rap Master Maurice's $12 Revenge Raps are the most lyrical vengeance money can buy, as DJ learns first-hand.

High Frequency Media Will Make Your Band Look Awesome

High Frequency Media Will Make Your Band Look Awesome

Milwaukee music is looking a lot prettier thanks to a pair of filmmakers documenting the scene. Fan-Belt gets to partner with them! Hooray!

Reviewed: Meat Puppets at Club Garibaldi
Reviewed

Meat Puppets at Club Garibaldi

The thrill of seeing the country-punks live and up close is upstaged by a mind-blowing celebrity cameo.

Cultural Zero: Welcome Back, Fan-Belt
Cultural Zero

Welcome Back, Fan-Belt

Milwaukee's best local music blog is back! DJ Hostettler delivers the Mission Statement.

Cultural Zero at the Milwaukee Mad March Music Mini-Movie Festival

Cultural Zero at the Milwaukee Mad March Music Mini-Movie Festival

The inaugural event showcases a diverse cross-section Milwaukee musicians and filmmakers. Who comes out on top?

Cultural Zero: Holy crap, I crashed TCD
Cultural Zero

Holy crap, I crashed TCD

Remember how TCD's site was down for most of Wednesday? DJ says he's really, really sorry.

Cultural Zero: The Ballad of Johnny D
Cultural Zero

The Ballad of Johnny D

West Allis' worst comedian rocks Mug Shotz, and it's sort of perversely inspiring. Pro Wrestler comedian, take a seat--you've been upstaged. Sorta.

Cultural Zero: Amber’s $50 Challenge
Cultural Zero

Amber’s $50 Challenge

DJ's friend challenges anyone to decipher the video for the Pet Shop Boys' "Always On My Mind." DJ steps up to the plate.

Cultural Zero: Culture Jamming Karl Rove
Cultural Zero

Culture Jamming Karl Rove

A new Oakland-based compilation album featuring two Milwaukee bands seeks to spoil the coming-out party for Karl Rove's new autobiography.

Taylor Hicks’ seven minutes in Grease are phenomenal

Taylor Hicks’ seven minutes in Grease are phenomenal

And the rest of the show, now playing at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, is solid, too. DJ Hostettler has the scoop (HA!) from the Burger Palace.

Cultural Zero: There You Go, white, wrench, conservatory
Cultural Zero

There You Go, white, wrench, conservatory

February kicked their teeth in. DJ says goodbye to a soon-to-be-lamented Milwaukee band.

Cultural Zero: Samurai Cop and the perils of irony
Cultural Zero

Samurai Cop and the perils of irony

How a throwaway '80s crapfest made the ICP look...sigh...tolerable.

Derby Little Secrets: Wild at heart
Derby Little Secrets

Wild at heart

Dr. Awkward and Gloria Hole host TCD's webcast recap of every Brewcity Bruisers match. The season heats up as the Shevil Knevils upset the mighty Crazy 8s, newbie Skittle tears up the track and, of course, much more.

Recap: The 3rd Annual Milwaukee Air Guitar Challenge
Recap

The 3rd Annual Milwaukee Air Guitar Challenge

Can Sanjar the Destroyer defend his crown? TCD's DJ Hostettler finds out.

Cultural Zero: Heroes never die
Cultural Zero

Heroes never die

DJ makes his first-ever New Year's resolution.

Cultural Zero: DJ’s Top 10 Albums of 2009
Cultural Zero

DJ’s Top 10 Albums of 2009

Of course, every year, the problem for me is that I barely listen to 10 new albums every year, because most of what gets pushed on us by Pitchfork and other useless music blogs makes me want to set the Internet on fire (seriously, the next person who tells me Grizzly Bear is good is getting slapped on the head).

Christmas at the watering hole

Christmas at the watering hole

TCD's DJ Hostettler stakes out Milwaukee's barflies to see how they're handling the holidays and finds a glimmer of excitement himself.

Cultural Zero: V and Sci-Fi’s Purple Landscape
Cultural Zero

V and Sci-Fi’s Purple Landscape

CZ chuckles at the Right Wing as they crow about how ABC’s new sci-fi series is an indictment of the Obama Administration.

Cultural Zero: Balloon Boy, YouTube and Warhol’s Dystopia
Cultural Zero

Balloon Boy, YouTube and Warhol’s Dystopia

We all have 15 minutes of fame, but we don’t all get to choose which 15 minutes those are.

Cultural Zero: ZOMBIE THUNDERDOME!
Cultural Zero

ZOMBIE THUNDERDOME!

Two zombie movies enter the Thunderdome--only one will emerge!

MFF Preview: All Tomorrow’s Parties
MFF Preview

All Tomorrow’s Parties

Music fest documentary depicts community as the ultimate 'mix tape.'

Cultural Zero: Skirting Death with IfIHadAHiFi (Pt.6)
Cultural Zero

Skirting Death with IfIHadAHiFi (Pt.6)

In final entry, the band takes a realistic view of its cross-country tour that allowed for travel, friends, adventure and music in front of people who appreciated it.

Cultural Zero: Skirting Death with IfIHadAHiFi (Pt. 5)
Cultural Zero

Skirting Death with IfIHadAHiFi (Pt. 5)

The journey home begins. Denver! Wichita! Warrensburg! Energy drinks galore!

Cultural Zero: Skirting Death With IfiHadAHiFi (Pt. 4)
Cultural Zero

Skirting Death With IfiHadAHiFi (Pt. 4)

Tire troubles may have had band members on edge, but it didn't affect their onstage performance.

We Knew it When: The Globe East
We Knew it When

The Globe East

Memories of a long-lost rock club: All-ages shows, amazing bands and amusing drama.

Cultural Zero: Skirting Death with IfIHadAHiFi (Pt. 3)
Cultural Zero

Skirting Death with IfIHadAHiFi (Pt. 3)

The band leads the charge to San Francisco with 204,000 miles on the odometer and $302 in the band fund: better than ever. Will they make it to their set with Mount Vicious? FIND OUT!

Cultural Zero: Skirting Death with IfIHadAHiFi. (Pt. 2)
Cultural Zero

Skirting Death with IfIHadAHiFi. (Pt. 2)

Leaving Missoula with $94, a pocketful of memories and hope for the West Coast leg. Will our heroes make it to Seattle?

Cultural Zero: Skirting Death with IfIHadAHiFi
Cultural Zero

Skirting Death with IfIHadAHiFi

What did you do on your summer vacation? IfIHadAHiFi takes to the road - and gifts us with a tour diary. This is part 1.

Cultural Zero’s 2009 Perseid Recap

Cultural Zero’s 2009 Perseid Recap

A park on the lakeshore wasn’t going to cut it—with a quarter-moon rising at midnight, I wanted to be as far from city lights as possible.

The Wizard of Waukesha

The Wizard of Waukesha

Les Paul is forever.

Cultural Zero: CRABCORE!
Cultural Zero

CRABCORE!

Thanks, mid-00s hardcore kids! You’ve given us Attack Attack! And Confide! And their stupid layered hairdos! Get off my lawn!

Cultural Zero: Summerfest
Cultural Zero

Summerfest

A performer's insanely late recap.

Cultural Zero: Memo to MKE–It’s OK, you don’t have to support Chester French
Cultural Zero

Memo to MKE–It’s OK, you don’t have to support Chester French

This band is not very good. At all. In fact, based on their first single, they are horrible, boring, no-good limp-dicked tripe.

TCD Summerfest Group Blog: Day Three with Cultural Zero
TCD Summerfest Group Blog

Day Three with Cultural Zero

Those who wander around the Summerfest grounds near the lakeshore may happen across a tiny little stage that is getting no coverage whatsoever and isn’t even listed on the Summerfest website—the Refugee Stage.

TCD Summerfest Group Blog: Day One with Cultural Zero
TCD Summerfest Group Blog

Day One with Cultural Zero

Summarizing Summerfest's opening night with one easily-digestible anecdote.

Cultural Zero: Steel Bridge Songfest Night One–Of Laundered Beer and Cougar Dodging
Cultural Zero

Steel Bridge Songfest Night One–Of Laundered Beer and Cougar Dodging

(NOTE: It should be pointed out that while the Steel Bridge Songfest is overall a wholesome, family-oriented event, especially during the daytime, the following journal of misadventures is chronicling the activities of a bunch of scumbag Milwaukee musicians, and thus, should not be considered endemic to the Steel Bridge Songfest as a whole.)

Cultural Zero: Poster Children in Champaign, IL: On Vacation For Forever and a Day
Cultural Zero

Poster Children in Champaign, IL

It occurred to me during the drive down to Champaign that more than any other band, the Pkids are the band of my 20s. I saw them for the first time in early 1995, when I was 20; the last time I saw them, we were opening the Champaign record release show for their No More Songs About Sleep and Fire album in 2004, the year I turned 30. But instead of honoring that sublime piece of synchronicity by turning around and driving straight back to Wisconsin, we pushed on.

Emotional Pain is Relative: <I>Anvil! The Story of Anvil</I> vs. <I>Heavy Metal in Baghdad</I>
Emotional Pain is Relative

Anvil! The Story of Anvil vs. Heavy Metal in Baghdad

both films share a very important message for every struggling musician out there trying to keep the faith while grasping for the brass ring (be it rock stardom or the freedom to grow your hair long without getting lynched): stick with it long enough, and eventually, a documentary filmmaker will come along to tell your story and make you famous.

Tulip, Starbuck, and the Death of Chivalry (A Reaction to Peach & Sparrow)

Tulip, Starbuck, and the Death of Chivalry (A Reaction to Peach & Sparrow)

if the damsel in distress is going to suddenly fight back (Joss Whedon’s initial idea for Buffy the Vampire Slayer came from the idea that the classic hot blonde victim from every horror movie suddenly would turn around and kick the monster’s ass), she’s going to have to take some punches too.

Britain’s Got Talent, But Will You Care Tomorrow?

Britain’s Got Talent, But Will You Care Tomorrow?

I’d like to throw a wet blanket of cynicism over our little beach blanket party and ask the following question: Will the Susan Boyle story finally expose American Idol to the general populace as a complete joke?

The Dolls in Topher’s Fridge: the Nerdy Misogynists of Joss Whedon’s World
The Dolls in Topher’s Fridge

the Nerdy Misogynists of Joss Whedon’s World

Fig.1: You think it’d kill Joss Whedon to cast some pretty people on one of his shows? Just once? February 2009 featured the premiere of new TV series Dollhouse, the latest attempt by sci-fi hotshot and badass feminist Joss Whedon to teach the FOX Broadcasting Company what a “cult fanbase” is. Having once been burned […]

Quiznos and the Free Gay Marketplace

Quiznos and the Free Gay Marketplace

Fig.1: A Quiznos mascot distributes pro-gay propaganda at Christian music festival Lifest 2008 in Oshkosh, WI When Sean Penn accepted the Best Actor oscar this year for his portrayal of the title character in Milk, he unapologetically turned his acceptance speech into a political statement on the advancing of gay rights and equality (as Sean […]

Vamps Vs. Lolvamps: A Not-At-All Academic Comparision of <i>Let the Right One In</i> and <i>Twilight</i>
Vamps Vs. Lolvamps

A Not-At-All Academic Comparision of Let the Right One In and Twilight

Fig.1: Frodo of the Shire checks out Arwen Evenstar’s Elven tush (I think he’s on a footstool) When it comes to horror, I’ve always been all about the zombies. Until recently, my list of favorite horror movies was probably interchangeable with my list of favorite zombie movies: Dead Alive, Dawn of the Dead (the original, […]

For your consideration: the Comet (or Fuel, or Palomino, or wherever) “Rockstar Menu”
For your consideration

the Comet (or Fuel, or Palomino, or wherever) “Rockstar Menu”

Fig.1: Taking Back Sunday. Would you trust these douches to hire a marketing firm to design your lunch? Hola, amigos. How’s it going with you? I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya. I’d like to say that I’ve been putting off my first Third Coast Digest blog post because of […]

Yes, i CAN tell if a band sucks without hearing them, thank you.

Yes, i CAN tell if a band sucks without hearing them, thank you.

Fig.1: “Are you as confused by my success as i am?” Apparently there is this female singer by the name of—wait, let me check this again—Katy Perry? Yeah, that’s her name. Apparently she’s hot shit right now thanks to some single called “I Kissed a Girl,” and another called “Ur So Gay” (note: uh, wow). […]

Crooked X

Crooked X

With the demise of Atomic Records looming, now’s as good a time as any to re-examine the myriad problems that have beset the music industry as a whole: downloading, the collapsed economy, and most relevant to this review, the lack of quality in most major label product. With things so tough all over, I can’t […]

Betamax, you’re off the hook. The makers of Sparks, not so much

Betamax, you’re off the hook. The makers of Sparks, not so much

Fig.1: a fish killed by Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia, or VHS. This is not the “VHS” we will be discussing here, but as maladies go, it has a pretty cool name, don’tcha think? The era of VHS is at its close. Pop culture is finally hitting the eject button on the VHS tape, the once-ubiquitous home-video […]

HOLY SHIT METEOR!

HOLY SHIT METEOR!

So this happened in Edmonton, Alberta on Nov. 20th: Fig.1: Police dash-cam footage from 11.20.08. WTF WTF WTF WTF In the parlance of local hardcore bands named after exclamations, HOLY SHIT. How did this not make national American news? A huge white ball falls and explodes in a country right on our borders, and no […]

Apparently I Look Like Richard Gere (and Other Reasons Why I Hate Him)

Apparently I Look Like Richard Gere (and Other Reasons Why I Hate Him)

This weekend, while at a party at one Mike Shank’s pad, a young woman with whom i had spoken earlier in the night walked up to me while i was in a circle talking with Tea Krulos, J. Jason Groschopf and Mr. Dave Clay (names dropped to convey just how scene this party was. Yes […]

Quinn Scharber and the …

Quinn Scharber and the …

In one of his SubVersions columns several months back, our boy Matt Wild declared the basic guitar/bass/drums lineup of Quinn Scharber and the Electric Youth a refreshing novelty, or some similar turn of phrase — the implication being that bands in the Beer City have become so obsessed with attaching extra bells and whistles to […]

Chinese Democracy. LET’S DO THIS.

Chinese Democracy. LET’S DO THIS.

Fig.1: At least that godawful Asian-style font didn’t make it onto the album art, i guess If you’re on top of pop culture, you’ve probably already listened to the new “Guns ‘n’ Roses” album, as it’s been streamable on the “G’N’R” MySpace since Thursday. Me, i listened to it for the first time while at […]

The Milwaukee Music Scene: a Well-Intentioned Rebuttal (Or: Oh! Matt! Gimme a Hug!)
The Milwaukee Music Scene

a Well-Intentioned Rebuttal (Or

Fig.1: This image of a packed Cactus Club witnessing Call Me Lightning is sure evidence of a dying scene Matt Wild needs a hug. If you’ve read this month’s edition of SubVersions, Matt’s back-page column in the pages of VITAL’s print edition, you may have gotten that impression. Every year, to close the annual music […]

Libertarians: Weak on Facial Hair?
Libertarians

Weak on Facial Hair?

Former Republican candidate for President and avowed Libertarian Dr. Ron Paul was on Rachel Maddow’s show last night, and something struck my eye while he was on–something that made me squirm and rendered me unable to look away. I immediately texted K, my good friend and fellow political junkie in Chicago to ask, “Does Ron […]

Canyons of Static

Canyons of Static

The impression one gets from Canyons of Static is that their instrumental shoegaze jams would be perfect for a stylized horror film about hyper-fast zombies infected with rage. Sure, that’s a fancier (and nerdier) way of saying that they sound like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but after repeated spins of the disappearance, the new Canyons […]

Obamanfreude (Or: How I Learned to Love the Lunatics)
Obamanfreude (Or

How I Learned to Love the Lunatics)

The lunatic fringe right wing of America is eating itself alive, and frankly, it’s cracking me up. Whether it’s the old lady claiming Obama’s an “Arab” (because suddenly there’s something wrong with that), crowds in Minnesota booing McCain when he insists no one should fear an Obama presidency, or–for fuck’s sake–a Republican Congresswoman from Minnesota […]

What I Learned on My Autumn Vacation

What I Learned on My Autumn Vacation

Fig.1: Logan Jacobs takes really great photos of us In case you’re not paying attention, i play in one of those adorable “local bands” that practices in their basement and writes their own songs and tries so hard! and are totally gonna “make it” once we get in front of the right label exec when […]

“Why are You so Cool, Michael Gerald?” Or: In which I Attend the Forward Music Fest, Day 2, Part 2
“Why are You so Cool, Michael Gerald?” Or

In which I Attend the Forward Music Fest, Day 2, Part 2

fig.1: Droids Attack, attacking Here’s one thing i didn’t do all weekend during the Forward Fest that i feel should be pointed out—i didn’t get drunk once. There’s a reason for this; it’s because despite running into people i knew all weekend, i was essentially going it alone. And look; stories of romantic rock ‘n’ […]

“Paul Sanders is Charming!” Or: In which I Attend the Forward Music Fest, Day 2, Part 1
“Paul Sanders is Charming!” Or

In which I Attend the Forward Music Fest, Day 2, Part 1

fig.1: The two Nicks from The Box Social yowl some words or something I spent the night at my pal Norah’s place a hop, skip, and barely a jump from the Capitol square area, which was just too damn perfect. She had met me at the Corral Room Friday night and we stood outside and […]

“We have more hair than all of you Americans!” Or: In which I Attend the Forward Music Fest, Day 1
“We have more hair than all of you Americans!” Or

In which I Attend the Forward Music Fest, Day 1

fig.1: Screamin’ Cyn Cyn and the Pons tear it up at the Majestic Theatre So here i am, blogging for VITAL Source for some reason. Because, hey, i sure don’t do enough blogging elsewhere. Nothing like spreading yourself too thin, right? Look, i won’t lie—I’m not here to be entertaining, and I’m not here to […]

Static Thought

Static Thought

Here’s a secret about music reviewers: a lot of them are incredibly lazy. It’s easy to understand sometimes; there are only, for example, so many hardcore and street punk bands one can hear before one reads a press release with quotes like “this album is ultimately about unity [and] deals with a lot of important […]

The Scenic

The Scenic

A few months back, SPIN ran an article on what they dubbed “emo voice” – the nasal, artless vocal style of approximately 56,000 soundalike mallpunk bands whose sense of musical history goes no further back than Saves the Day and the Promise Ring. While Victory Records has been responsible for inflicting many a tuneless warble […]

Skybombers

Skybombers

What is it about Australian hard rock bands and aviation references? The Screaming Jets in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s? Jet (the non-screaming kind, apparently) in the aughts? Now Melbourne’s Skybombers, a band of fresh-faced recent high school grads, are playing a brand of hard-edged power-pop on their debut full-length, Take Me to Town. The sound […]

The Black Keys

The Black Keys

When music nerds think of Akron, Ohio, they usually conjure images of proto-punk college nerds as much influenced by neighboring Cleveland’s industrial wasteland as by whatever they were learning down the road at Kent State that semester — i.e. DEVO. But thanks to Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, aka The Black Keys, the new sound […]

The Felice Brothers

The Felice Brothers

Recalling early Dylan and Woody Guthrie is certainly laudable; vacuously mimicking them, however, isn’t. On their self-titled debut release for Team Love Records, the Felice Brothers craft laid-back, charcoal-mellowed drinking chanteys that recall the earthy backwoods Americana of Dylan and Guthrie, right down to the nasal whine of the vocalist. Unfortunately, instead of bringing a […]

The Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goats

There’s something truly romantic about the solo-artist-with-guitar archetype — the tortured balladeer who can only express feelings through song. Of course, the inherent populism of that simple formula (anyone can pick up a guitar and learn three chords — you can too!) attracts scores of aspiring amateurs who lack the personality to realize the conceit. […]

Bob Mould

Bob Mould

Singer/songwriter/punk icon/former pro-wrestling scripter Bob Mould has (obviously) worn many hats during his career. With his latest solo offering, District Line, the ex-Hüsker Dü and Sugar guitarist continues hisbalancing act between modern rock balladeer and DIY wunderkind. Mould plays every instrument on District Line besides the cello, provided by Amy Domingues, and the signature drumming […]

Bullet For My Valentine

Bullet For My Valentine

In the 1980s, it was demanded that metalheads swear allegiance to one subgenre and stick with it. Thrashers risked ridicule for owning a Poison album, and hairmetal kids couldn’t fathom the appeal of music so heavy that Aqua Net girls didn’t like it. So it’s amusing to listen to metal in the 21st century and […]

Bottomless Pit

Bottomless Pit

Could Bottomless Pit have chosen a more apt title for their excellent debut release than Hammer of the Gods? The songs on this eight-song disc pummel and crack with the deliberate force of Thor’s enchanted hammer, Mjolnir.

Enon

Enon

Enon waited only a year between the release of their sophomore album, 2002’s High Society, and their third disc, Hocus Pocus, and to a lot of fans’ ears, the lack of wait time showed. Perhaps the band realized this, because now it’s been a four-year wait for new material. The result, Grass Geysers…Carbon Clouds, is […]

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

They spend all of their free time lending their considerable talents to other people’s work, which makes one wonder how Sharon Jones and her backing band, the Dap-Kings, have had any time for themselves. Jones recently worked with Rufus Wainwright; the Dap-Kings can be heard tearing up pop radio as the backing band on Amy […]

Ministry

Ministry

Al Jourgenson isn’t about to be considered a politically-charged wordsmith on par with Bob Dylan. Still, this hasn’t stopped him from developing an antipathetic and personal relationship with Bush, Cheney and the Holy War on Terror. Starting with 2004’s Houses of the Mole, followed by 2006’s Rio Grande Blood, the Unholy Trinity concludes with The […]

Bad Religion

Bad Religion

“We’re animals with golden rules/Who can’t be moved by rational views/Welcome to the new dark ages.” Iraq’s a mess, our civil liberties are eroding and Scooter Libby was basically pardoned. Leave it to six years of an oppressive Republican regime to light a fire under Bad Religion’s ass. Anyone who’s heard a Bad Religion song, […]

Great Lakes Myth Society

Great Lakes Myth Society

“Girlfriends are leaving/new girls arrive/you open the circle/to be blinded by light.” This lyric from “Heydays,” the opening track to Compass Rose Bouquet, the sophomore offering from Michigan “northern rock” music “collective” Great Lakes Myth Society, perfectly summarizes the thesis being defended throughout – melancholy is meaningless unless it’s tempered by good spirits in the […]

Amandine

Amandine

Banjo. Strings. Piano. Guitar. Maybe the occasional trumpet. The acoustic over the electric; the organic over the synthetic. This is the shape of indie-pop today. From Songs:Ohia to The Mountain Goats to Paige France, Americana and folk have spread across the countryside in a blaze of unconventional instrumentation and unshaven singer-songwriters. If quiet is the […]

The Higher

The Higher

That maddest of alchemists, the music industry, has managed to seamlessly spin the two most popular genres from the two most dominant high school cliques (punks and preps) into SoundScan gold: the Mallpunk Boy Band, personified by fresh-faced and darling (but edgy and badass) kids like Good Charlotte and Fall Out Boy. And now, Epitaph […]

The Bird and the Bee

The Bird and the Bee

One can’t help but feel like the self-titled debut from L.A. duo The Bird and the Bee answers the question that’s burned in the minds of music aficionados for years: What would it sound like if Jewel and Stereolab grew up on Martin Denny and Herb Alpert records? The opening track (and first single), “Again […]

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead

Listening to the new album from Austin’s …Trail of Dead reminds me of a 1992 quote from Faith No More’s keyboardist Roddy Bottum, regarding their tour mates Guns N’ Roses, who had morphed from a gritty LA sleaze-metal band into a bloated juggernaut: “I’m getting more and more confused about who’s in Guns N’ Roses, […]