Results for Wisconsin

interviews

Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus, the alter ego of electronic singer/songwriter Nika Roza Danilova, has already released five studio albums, despite being only 26-years-old. While her first album The Spoils was a lo-fi effort recorded in her bedroom in 2009, Zola Jesus has since developed an expansive, orchestrated sound featuring gloomy synthesizers and string arrangements. In creating her atmospheric songs, she draws equally on her love of classical music, industrial and mainstream pop. Her latest album Taiga is named after the Russian word for“forest,”appropriate as the music manages to evoke the feeling of the deep, dark woods. The woods are, in fact, close to her heart – though currently based in Seattle, Danilova grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin. She joined Jim and Greg for a conversation and live performance at the Virgin Hotel in Chicago. Zola Jesus discusses the difficulty of seeking out transgressive music in an isolated community, her childhood love of opera, and taking inspiration from filmmaker David Lynch, who also remixed one of her songs.

Go to episode 497

Butch Vig

This week Jim and Greg speak with Butch Vig. The Wisconsin-based producer has worked on some of the most notable records in the past two decades including Siamese Dream by the Smashing Pumpkins, Dirty by Sonic Youth and Nevermind by Nirvana. In addition, he's a founding member and drummer for the band Garbage.

Go to episode 120

Dean and Scott Blackwood

One of the most curious stories in the history of American music is documented in a box set called The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1927, Volume 1. The set includes 800 songs, 2 books, 6 vinyl LPs, 200 original hand drawn ads of the period, all housed in an oak case modeled after phonograph cases of the 1920's. This collection is produced by Jack White's Third Man Records & John Fahey's Revenant Records, and brothers Scott and Dean Blackwood joined us to talk about the set which documents how a Wisconsin chair company, producing records on the cheap and run by men with little knowledge of the music business, built one of the greatest musical rosters ever assembled under one roof. Paramount had an amazing roster of performers including Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Son House, & Ma Rainey.

Go to episode 422
reviews
Ones and SixesOnes and Sixes available on iTunes

Low Ones and Sixes

Duluth, Minnesota trio Low has been making hushed, minimal music since 1993, leading critics to dub their sound "slowcore" over the band's objections. (Low stopped by the studios back in 2011). For their eleventh album Ones and Sixes, the band headed to the Eau Claire, Wisconsin studio of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. Greg cringes when people think of Low as mellow and soothing – the music may be quiet, but it's also disquieting, often reaching into dark, even apocalyptic, places. He loves how the band consistently finds new directions to take its sound even while working within the same palette, this time adding texture with electronic static and quaking bass lines. Ones and Sixes doesn't have the same amount of dynamic contrast as some previous records, so it took a while for Jim to warm up to it. But after repeated listens, he now counts it as one of his favorite Low albums. That makes it an enthusiastic double-Buy It from both critics.

JimGreg
Go to episode 512
rock doctors

Mark Crilley

Those of you lucky enough to be able to work to music know that finding a perfect soundtrack isn‘t always easy. There’s the matter of tempo, lyrics and beats. And for acclaimed comic book creator, children's book writer/illustrator and graphic novelist Mark Crilley, the challenge is“vibe.”His latest series for Dark Horse is Brody's Ghost. It follows a serial killer hunter, and the material is much darker than his Akiko and Miki Falls series. Dark art calls for dark tunes, but Mark is a self-proclaimed musical“softie.”So he contacted the Rock Doctors to get a prescription for albums that are edgy, but still full of pop hooks and melody.

Dr. Kot prescribed Stridulum II by Zola Jesus. The Wisconsin native combines an operatic voice and Gothic keyboards to create musical psychodramas. After taking his medicine for a week, Mark decides that a couple of the tracks will make his playlist, but for the most part this album was too dark. Dr. DeRogatis prescribed The Haunted Man by Bat for Lashes. This is Natasha Khan's third release, and Mark fell in love with moody lyrics and surprising production. The Haunted Man worked like a miracle pill, and he‘ll be going back for this one while working on the 4th installment of Brody’s Ghost. Look for it next spring.

Go to episode 358

Surgery Soundtrack

surgery-tools "Physician heal thyself," the adage goes. But, sometimes even doctors need some outside expertise, especially when it comes to music. That's where the "Rock Doctors" come in. Every once and a while, Jim and Greg don stethoscopes, un-shutter the Rock Docs clinic, and help a listener in need of musical assistance. They've suggested music for shopping and music for training, but this time the stakes are high. Dr. Michael Frumovitz is a surgeon and the associate professor of GYN oncology at MD Anderson in Houston, TX. He submitted a new patient form asking Drs. Kot and DeRogatis to prescribe new music he could listen to during surgery.

Dr. Frumovitz shares his musical preferences (melodic indie pop ala Wilco and Vampire Weekend without a lot of dirty guitars ala The White Stripes) and explains why traditional pop music provides a better background than ambient music. He also admits that surgery is a team effort, so the prescriptions can't be too abrasive. So much for the surgeon ego myth.

Jim prescribes a self-titled album by Phox, a self-described“gaggle of goofy wizards performing minor illusions and bigtop music”from Wisconsin, while Greg prescribes Atlas by the indie rock quintet Real Estate. Dr. Frumovitz is instructed to put these records to work in the Operating Room, and after a couple of weeks they see how the medicine goes down. Unfortunately, he and his team found Phox a little too sleepy for surgery, save a couple of tracks. But Real Estate was a real winner.

Do you need to see the Rock Doctors? Or know someone who does? Fill out a new patient form and send to interact@soundopinions.org.

Go to episode 445
news

Music News

Second only to file sharing, Apple has been the biggest force driving digital music distribution. It's the culprit killing CDs, but now they are trying to make nice with the record labels. First they raised prices, and now they have set a plan to expand album downloads. iTunes is mostly all about the singles, but they are helping labels entice people to download multi-song packages with lots of extras– liner notes, pictures, video, etc. Gregis not sure we can blame digital music entirely for the death of the album. He also wonders if quality has something to do with it.

Jimand Greg have been reporting on the proposed merger between Ticketmasterand Live Nation for months, and now our lawmakers are urging for an accelerated investigation. Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl, chair of the Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee, is calling for closer scrutiny of the deal and questions how it will benefit consumers. Fifty members of the U.S. House of Representatives have also signed a letter to the Justice Department expressing concern about the deal.

Jackson Browne and John McCain make for strange bedfellows. But that didn't stop the Republican candidate from using the famous lefty's song "Running on Empty" in a campaign web video. Browne subsequently sued, and now a settlement has been reached. There are no details on how much money was exchanged, but McCain apologized and stressed his respect for intellectual property.

Go to episode 192