Rick’s Unnumbered Notable Recordings of 2015
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This is just a sampling of the voluminous output of recordings in 2015. Every year there are well over a hundred releases (see the 2015 listing here). I still have a large stack of recordings to get through and there are still more being released so I’ll be adding to this list as I continue.
Meghan Rose – In Your Bones: I don’t know if anyone deserves Artist of the Year recognition this year more than Meghan Rose. The woman was all over Madison music in 2015. In fact she encapsulates Madison music: gutsy, no-prisoners rock; an in-your-face persona and a hell-yeah attitude; fearless confidence and sexual frankness; charity in her work with Girls Rock Camp. A multi-instrumentalist who is classically trained, In Your Bones showcases all of her musical sides and she’s just getting started. The unfortunate part is that she is planning to move to New York City, a reoccurrence that also encapsulates our city as our best artists often feel compelled to leave for better horizons. This is our task for 2016 and on: move mountains – bring the horizon here.
The Jimmys – Hot Dish – I don’t think anyone has won more Artist of the Year awards than the Jimmys and they’ve gotten lots of love from the WAMIs, too. This band is the real deal and Jimmy Voegeli is one of the best keyboardists to ever come out of Wisconsin. If this band can’t make you move, you’re dead.
Venus in Furs – Just Try it On: The female component of Madison music may be the strongest of any city in the nation. It’s simply incredible and crosses all genres. Venus in Furs’ punky surf rock is part and parcel of what defines the Madison sound. Since recruiting former Screamin’ Cyn-Cyn guitarist Cynthia Burnson, Venus in Furs have added extra heft that goes atomic with the in-your-face production on Just Try it On, which was recorded at Clutch Sound Studios by Meghan Rose.
Dolores – Peach Fuzz: Dolores called it quits in 2015 but not before they released this psych-rock funhouse of an album. This band wasn’t around long enough but just enough to leave a hole in our rock hearts.
Drive to the Ocean – Drive to the Ocean: Ross Benbow has been making waves for over a decade, first with similar-minded 8889 and now with Drive to the Ocean. Most of 8889 are on this sparkling debut, a melodic pop statement that seamlessly blends a lot of stylistic diversity into ten gorgeously crafted and exquisitely arranged gems.
The Getaway Drivers – Bellatopia: The sound of a band maturing and stretching their boundaries. There is not a weak song on this whole album. Bob Manor’s musings capture ordinary life and transform it into a thing of poetic beauty. Sheila Shigley’s gorgeous voice and violin add another dimension to the group’s winsome Americana sound. One of the most promising of our established bands, they sound like home.
The Family Business – Balls Pricey: The album title might be an inside joke but the Family Business’ no-apologies update of classic rock is damn infectious and this album rocks mightily. Band most deserving of more attention.
Anna Laube – Anna Laube: She might not have a home at all; the woman seems to live the gypsy life but Madison is where her roots and her heart live. This collection of folk songs reflects her worldly views and with such tasteful elegance. Worthy of national attention, Laube is one of our leading ambassadors.
Lords of the Trident – Frostburn: There are three Madison musicians who are doing it right: Beth Kille, Erik Kjelland of the Mascot Theory and Lord of the Trident’s Ty Christianson. I challenge anyone to find me a more entertaining live show than the metal ferocity of a Lords of the Trident show. Spiked with humor, audience participation, medieval costumes, props and a merch table than can be spotted by satellite, Lords of the Trident might first appear to be a parody band. But there is no joke in the massive chops this entire band puts on display and Frostburn is an extraordinarily fulfilling recording. They can shred and they can scream and they can make you laugh while you’re banging your head and raising your devil horns. You might need to beg for mercy in order to make it out alive.
Post Social – Post Social: One of things that makes Madison so intensely cool is the wealth of talent that very young bands like Post Social possess. Not even out of high school, this band has already been around longer than most. If you remember Ivory Library and like the sounds of the Cure, Sonic Youth and Lou Reed, you’ll dig this band. One of Ricky Reimer’s best issues on his Science of Sound label, look for Post Social to become a bedrock band in the local scene.
Lo Marie – Solid Ground: This is a truly impressive jazz album with vocalist Lo Marie making a solid case for Female Vocalist of the Year. A stellar collection of top-notch Nashville notables to interpret the six songs (two get alternate mixes) on Solid Ground, five of which were composed by Lo Marie.