Tag Archives: Wisconsin

To my Wisconsin brethren, via the Mountain Goats

Power In A Union from JD on Vimeo.

The Mountain Goats, “Power in a Union”

And while you’re listening, make sure to withdraw all your money from good ol’ M&I.

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Music from America’s Dairyland / Scott Walker: Governor vs. Singer

Before this month, I had never heard of Eau Claire, WI (motto: “Voici, l’eau claire!” or “Look, clear water!”), but two bands native to this clearly watered place have put out debut recordings that made their way onto my radar screen:

Revery is the debut EP by Johanne Swanson, who performs as Yohuna. True to its title, it’s a collection of contemplative-yet-catchy tracks. I keep changing my mind on which one is my favorite, but right now it’s “It’s All Yours.”

Yohuna, “It’s All Yours” [Buy].

You can also get this last track for free on yvynyl’s new mixtape.

Yohuna also appears in Moro‘s debut recording, “Embers.” Nolan Thomas and Daniel Smith, also of Eau Claire, have been performing as Moro for over a year, but they just released “Embers” this month. It starts with a soft, primordial howl, which leads into six minutes of melancholy-whimsical layers of sound. Lyrically, its childlike, escapist passages (“And when we hide away, We’ll find homes in rocks and clay”), are balanced by darker, more mature pronouncements (“We’ll break our bones again just to say: We’re embers caught aflame”).

Moro, “Embers” [Download free]

Addendum:

David G here. Seeing as this is a post about Wisconsin, it’d be a shame not to register a protest against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who is attempting to take away the bargaining rights of WI’s public employee unions (something Yohuna herself has protested against on her Tumbler). I can think of no better way to object to Scott Walker’s policy than with Scott Walker himself:

We came through
We came riding through like warriors from afar
Haunted by our visions framed in fire

Fire the guns, and salute the men who died for freedom’s sake
And we’ll weep tonight, but we won’t lie awake
Gazing up at statues dressed as stars.

Scott Walker, “We Came Through” [Buy]

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Things That are Unfair

I didn’t get to be a twin growing up, and I also didn’t get to be an indie musical superstar, as I used to fantasize I might when I was little and wrote music on my Casio. Apparently, the School of Seven Bells identical twins, Alejandra and Cladia Deheza, got to fulfill all of my secret dreams.

From the songs I’ve heard so far, the band’s sophomore release (the band is comprised of the Deheza twins + Benjamin Curtis, formerly of Secret Machines), Disconnect from Desire, builds on the last one, offering a layered, complex, gorgeous, melodic sound in the vein of Lush,  the Cocteau Twins, and others. My favorite track so far is the extremely Stereolabesque “Babelonia.”

Apparently, the band writes the lyrics first and then builds music around it, which is pretty much the exact opposite way I’ve always composed. I always like to learn about people’s methods, for making music, writing, and everything else. Are there videos out there of famous bands in the process of writing music together?

The band is playing at the Majestic Theater in Madison, Wisconsin on September 15, and I plan on being there in order to be lured in person by these ladies’ siren songs.

School of Seven Bells: “Babelonia”

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An Unswimmy Day with the Great Lake Swimmers

Sometimes in Madison, you get to see a great band for free, such as Toronto’s Great Lake Swimmers, a band I’ve been quietly following for a few years now and who played at the Marquette festival in Yahara Park. It was rainy today, but quite a few of us braved the stormy skies to get an earful of this charming little indie folk band. A highlight was when the lyrics spoke of the sun coming out and the sun actually picked that moment to peek through the sky, to great applause.

and then we ate ice cream:

mint oreo, to be precise.

It was a lovely Sunday.

Great Lake Swimmers: Gonna Make it Through This Year

Great Lake Swimmers: Everything Is Moving So Fast

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