More of the best things Madison musicians put out this year.
As we continue wrapping up the year in Madison music here at Tone Madison, there are a few things that aren’t on our top 20 Madison records of 2015 list, but still deserve some recognition. And some odds and ends that didn’t quite fit into a roundup of albums and EPs for one reason or other. A few words on some of the rest of the standouts, with other highlights listed below.
Christian Dior, Patriot Glass/Dioria EP (Kitschy Manitou)
Scathing, blasted-out guitar pop with an occasional swerve into shoegaze-y tenderness. The duo of Spencer Bible and Mike Pellino take turns putting lo-fi but resourceful production spins on these songs.
Me eN You, We Are A Mediocre Masterpiece. Now What? (self-released)
You could call this an EP or a three-song suite, but whatever it is, it captures a potent pileup of hip-hop, jazz, and R&B from this band, whose membership hovers somewhere between 12 and 20 depending on the day, and correspondingly overflows with the personalities of its singers, MCs, and instrumentalists. They basically sum themselves up on the second track: “We are a real piece of work, but that’s what gives us our worth.”
Cribshitter, Acapulco (Medicated G)
Cribshitter’s musical sick jokes also boast a ton of solid hooks and exuberant pop craftsmanship, and never more so than on this long-awaited quasi-concept album framed around a cheesy time-share pitch. Features a Steve Albini-approved cover of JJ Cale’s “Cocaine.”
Mesmerized In Madison (Bright As Night Records)
Vanishing Kids guitarist Jason Hartman curates a compilation celebrating the weirder reaches of Madison music, including DIY electronics maniac Kleptix and thrash monsters Panther.
Jampa Khedup, Healing Chants EP (self-released)
Khedup, a UW-Madison associate lecturer, son of Tibetan refugees, and former Buddhist monk, sings traditional Tibetan chants in a throaty yet supple voice, with gorgeously minimal accompaniment from flute, percussion, and upright bass. Sales of this release on Bandcamp will go to benefit a home for the disabled in Mysore, India.
Sinister Resonance, They Said… (Summit Records)
Jazz that embraces both stately melodies and dissonant experiments, with impressive original compositions and other source material ranging from Nels Cline to Henry Cowell.
Son Contrabando, self-titled (self-released)
A fertile collision of a half-dozen-odd Latin dance-music styles, with bits of rock and reggae here and there.
Toothtaker Vol. 1 and 2 compilations
Two compilation tapes accompanying the locally produced zine Toothtaker feature a lot of new tracks and demos from Madison artists including Wood Chickens, Double Ewes, and Gonzo Rongs, and contributions from out-of-towners like Arizona’s Numb Bats.
The Minotaurs, Secret Deals (Rare Plant)
3rd Dimension, Things Have Changed (self-released)
Samantha Glass, Entering The Visible Winds Of Spring (self-released)
Automatically Yours, The Trouble With The World Is Me (Rare Plant)
Conjuror, Black Velvet, Dead Flowers (Golden Cloud Tapes)
(This came out in December 2014, but after last year’s best-of coverage was already out)
Oedipus Tex, Silver Lion EP (self-released)
Silas Ritchie, Silas BeE.P (self-released)
Mal-O-Dua, Mahalo Dua (self-released)
House Of Lud, self-titled (self-released)
Coordinated Suicides, Life Is BeautifulLife Is Beautiful (Kitschy Manitou)
Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble, The Waiting Game (self-released)
Myrmidons, Swamp Cocktail EP (self-released)