Tenement, Kyle Kinane, Palehound, and more events of note in Madison this week, plus our live podcast at the High Noon. | By Joel Shanahan, Scott Gordon, Chris Lay, Erica Motz
THURSDAY JANUARY 14
Torres, Eternal Summers, Palehound, American Wrestlers High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m.
Mackenzie Scott, who performs as Torres, writes and sings with a sharply deployed volatility on her second album, last year’s Sprinter. It’s not just the occasional bursts of distorted guitar or the dark, conflicted lyrics: Scott isn’t afraid to confront us with uncomfortable pauses and raw breath, as on opening track “Strange Hellos,” or to build up the tension in a song only to end up on a strangely calm refrain, as on “A Proper Polish Welcome.” Another standout on this bill is Boston’s Palehound, which boasts versatile guitarist and singer Ellen Kempner. On last year’s album Dry Food, Kempner leads the band through furious post-punk jabbing (“Molly”), gently shifty chord progressions (“Dixie”), and nimbly flickering leads (“Cinnamon”), but it all hangs together thanks to Kempner’s shape-shifting songwriting skill and unforced but commanding voice. —Scott Gordon
Kyle Kinane. Comedy Club on State, through January 16, see link for all showtimes.
It’s honestly a wonder that Kyle Kinane is still coming to the Comedy Club On State for whole weekend-long runs when you’d think that he could handily sell out a single night show at a larger venue like the Majestic, if not the Barrymore. Then again, Kinane seems to genuinely relish performing in the intimacy of a comedy club. If you’re unfamiliar, Kinane has been grinding in the comedy world for 15 years now since starting out in Chicago but only really hit it big in 2010 with his first album, Death Of The Party. Even though he’s still still in his 30s, his densely spun yarns of material read like forgotten stories from the greatest uncle you maybe never saw that often (you know the one, with the faded tattoo of a naked lady peeking out from under his short sleeve), retelling beer-soaked exploits and regrettable decisions regarding fast food. While the grizzled grandpa gets a lot of the frontloading into the broad perception of Kinane, there’s a wonderful undercurrent of childlike wonder and earnest whimsy to be found, and the storytelling element of his act has grown progressively stronger as he released 2013’s Whiskey Icarus and last year’s special I Liked His Old Stuff Better. Look out also for this weekend’s host, Milwaukee’s Sammy Arechar, whose positive energy, inclusive warmth, and occasionally surreal antics make him a good stylistic match for Kinane. —Chris Lay
Ion, Mid Waste, Randal Bravery. The Wisco, 9 p.m.
Milwaukee producer (and Milo collaborator) Randal Bravery’s solo work spans hip-hop and a wealth of ambience and texture, never more so than on his most recent release, the continuous 19-minute exploration Ganymede Bartender. Read more about him in our interview this week. Mid Waste, the Madison duo of Spencer Bible and Epiphany Compton, use tape loops, samplers, and guitar to create abstract but engaged expanses of sound. Headlining the night is the dreamy but aggressive Madison/Milwaukee prog-rock outfit Ion, which also features Randal Bravery on vocals and synth. —SG
FRIDAY JANUARY 15
(Kyle Kinane continues on Friday.)
Tobacco, All Them Witches, Mild High Club, Wildhoney. High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m.
Black Moth Super Rainbow frontperson Tom Fec uses his solo project Tobacco to delve deeply into more gritty, visceral sounds. His latest album, Ultima II Massage, is a slow, fuzzy, sludgy burn, more drawn-out than earlier releases, but possessing the same backbone of satisfyingly filthy/creepy imagery and wobbling synth tracks that characterize Fec’s style in both Tobacco and BMSR. In my partner’s strangely accurate words, “It’s like being in a warped VHS of a ’70s anti-drugs after-school special.” Eric Wareheim evidently had a similar idea with the video he directed for Ultima II Massage’s opening track, “Streaker,” and I’d imagine the live show will be just as freaky. —Erica Motz
Tenement, The Hussy, Zebras, The Moguls, The American Dead. Majestic, 8 p.m.
Since forming in 2006 in Appleton, Tenement have elegantly mangled the pop-punk aesthetic and framework into impossible shapes. While the sugary vocal hooks, buzzing and jagged riffs, and meticulous songwriting chops showcased on last year’s Predatory Headlights leave more than enough to grab onto, we’re just as pulled in by the album’s uncompromising flirtations with twisting, jazz-inspired tangents, worldly psych experiments, and the band’s apparent refusal to walk the laziest path from A to B in the songwriting process. Since putting out Predatory Headlights, they’ve also reissued 2011’s album The Blind Wink. Madisonian garage-punk stalwarts The Hussy and sludge-punk destroyers Zebras will also be featured on this bill of Wisconsin punk outfits. —Joel Shanahan
SATURDAY JANUARY 16
(Kyle Kinane continues on Saturday.)
Rated Her. Frequency, 7:30 p.m.
The long-running female-centric stand-up-plus-acoustic performance showcase Rated Her is consistently a blast thanks to the free-wheeling atmosphere that founder and host Tulin Waters creates with her raffish, on-the-prowl energy. This evening will be focused on saying goodbye to local comedian Clare Dickerson, who is moving to LA next month, by way of a featured set. Also on the bill are comedians Dina Martinez and Shawna Lutzow and musicians Dana Perry and Bootsy La Vox. —CL
SUNDAY JANUARY 17
Hari Kondabolu. Majestic, 8 p.m.
Brooklyn-based comedian Hari Kondabolu takes on racism and other social inequalities with a dry, sarcastic wit—“I haven’t seen Making A Murderer yet. Is it about US foreign policy?” he tweeted recently. His comedy, as showcased on the 2014 stand-up album Waiting For 2042, is no doubt influenced by his academic and professional background in immigrants’ rights activism; his stand-up routine used to include just reading the U.S. citizenship application form. As a writer on FX’s Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, Kondabolu brought satirical reporting to issues like airport security, Columbus Day, and Sikh Captain America in his segment, “The Kondabulletin.” Readers familiar with the name Kondabolu might be surprised that such understated comedy comes from the older brother of Ashok Kondabolu (aka Dapwell), hype man for Das Racist. The group is perhaps most well-known for giving the world “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” but they also offer a number of other more serious commentaries on race and identity. You can expect the same element of critical, self-aware politically informed humor from Hari Kondabolu at this show, but with a touch less of Das Racist’s exuberance and showmanship. —EM
Greater Madison Jazz Consortium Benefit: Jan Wheaton Trio, Darren Sterud Orchestra, El Clan Destino. Cardinal bar, 6 p.m.
MONDAY JANUARY 18
Free Cake For Every Creature, Trophy Dad, Jonesies, Dash Hounds. Williamson Magnetic Recording Company, 7:30 p.m.
Philadelphia’s Katie Bennett performs minimal, conversational pop songs under the name Free Cake For Every Creature. As sweet and shambling as it sounds, Bennett’s frankness as a songwriter is what really ties it all together as she contemplates already feeling old at 22 on “Too Old To Be A Punk Rock Prodigy,” from last year’s full-band album Pretty Good, and the apprehensive thrill of moving to a new place on “Moo Moo Movin’,” from last year’s solo-format Moving Songs. New Madison trio Jonesies strike a similar balance with the jangly guitar-pop and blunt lyrics of a recently posted song, “Rental.” —SG
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 20
The Tone Cluster #3: Thomas Wincek, Samarah. High Noon Saloon, 5:30 p.m. (free)
For this month’s installment our live event series, The Tone Cluster, we’ll be chatting with and welcoming live sets from two veteran, Wisconsin-based electronic composers in current All Tiny Creatures frontman, Volcano Choir member, and berserker synthesist and composer Thomas Wincek and Fond du Lac-based IDM veteran, mood sculptor, and wizardly producer Samarah. While All Tiny Creatures has been laying low for a while now, Wincek has been working diligently on a new live solo set of heady and rhythmic counter-melodic synth pieces with sharply tasteful rhythmic programming. Samarah is currently finishing up a new album, which we can only hope will find her trudging deeper into her alluring, sculpted, and personal sound-palette, heady textures, and loose compositional flare—and hopefully we’ll get a preview of that in her set here. Tone Madison editor Scott Gordon will be hosting a short discussion with both guests starting at 6, and the music will start at 6:30. —JS
Nerd Nite Madison. High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m. (free)
Immediately after we wrap up our live Tone Cluster event (see above), our partners at Nerd Nite Madison will be hosting their monthly night of thoughtful but informal presentations. This month’s talks cover antibiotic resistance, alcoholism, and the concept of “hipsters,” and as usual we’ll be there recording the talks for our collaborative audio series. —SG