Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cass McCombs played High Noon / PHOTOS and RECAP below

Cass McCombs is well-known to be a wanderer, a recluse, and sometimes a bit of an asshole to the press. He hates that he has to have a public persona, and so his public persona seems to hate everyone. “Thank god we don't know a lot about Shakespeare or Moses or Homer or LautrĂ©amont,” he said in an interview once. “These are the best guys we got, and their art is powerful because they're mysterious. Once biographical information contaminates your consciousness, it's impossible to erase it and look at someone's work the same way again.”

I’m as strong of an advocate for close reading as anyone, but I find this point a little suspicious. Biographical information contaminates the experience of the work? Most readers, when they try, can separate the two in their minds. Besides, couldn’t it also be argued that a conspicuous lack of biographical information is just as contaminating?

The reader can find all sorts of random things when they don’t know what they’re looking for, like seeing shapes in the dark. Maybe the experience is fuller––and I suspect this is McCombs’ deeper point––but it’s also vaguer. And it means that the onus is no longer placed on the artist; he’s free to coyly shrug at all your questions, free to cop out whenever he wants. All of which seems rather convenient for him.

I would say that it isn’t the mystery behind McCombs that makes him great, it’s that he’s really good at writing and singing songs. Amply evidenced by last night’s show, which was one the best I’ve seen in a very long time.

Monday, January 30, 2012

BOOKLESS happened at the Madison Central Public Library

If you weren't able to make it out to the "Bookless" art event at Madison Central Public Library on Saturday night, this video is a pretty awesome encapsulation of what it was like. The music is from a live performance by the Madison jazz-rock outfit Lovely Socialite, whom you are also encouraged to check out.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Announcing the winner of our Cass McCombs contest!!!

Okay, it's time to announce the winner of our Cass McCombs contest. You may remember that we asked you to send us an email telling us why you personally deserve to see Cass McCombs this Monday night at the High Noon Saloon. Well, we got dozens of entries, many of them long and thoughtful and well-argued, but unfortunately we could only choose one.

Now, without further ado, the winner is...

Thursday, January 26, 2012


(photo via)

The “________”-shaped Reading Series, featuring poets Brenda Cardenas, Roberto Harrison, and Tim Yu. (More info here.)
Avol’s Books | 7pm-9pm | Free

"Can't Spell This" Spelling Bee
Project Lodge | 8pm | $5

DIY Space Benefit: Wartorn (Appleton), No Brainer (Milwaukee), Pyroklast, Wife
The Wisco | 9pm | $$

The Hussy, Bird Sounds (MN), Dharma Dogs, Roboman
Mickey's Tavern | 10:30pm | Free

Black Bread + Catalunya Uber Alles (double feature)
UW Cinematheque | 7pm | Free


Los Campesinos, Parenthetical Girls
Union South - The Sett | 9pm | Free

“Bookless” : Party in the Stacks
Empty Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin Street | 7pm-1am | $12

Everything is Terrible! (DVD and live show based on the blog)
Project Lodge | 10pm | $10

Honor of the Knights + En Construccion (double feature)
UW Cinematheque | 7pm | Free


Project Lodge Benefit: Sinking Suns, Tiger Clutch, Venus in Furs, Dharma Dogs, etc.
High Noon Saloon | 7:30pm | 21+ | $6

UW Cinematheque Chazen Museum of Art | 2pm | Free


Cass McCombs, Frank Fairfield
High Noon Saloon | 8pm | $12

The Driver
UW Cinematheque Union South - The Marquee | 7pm | Free

Monday 1/30: Cass McCombs, Frank Fairfield @ High Noon Saloon ; CONTEST! WIN FREE TICKETS! ENTER NOW!

Cass McCombs in his living room

That's right. Cass McCombs, the critically acclaimed songwriter, homeless person, Satanist, Nietzschean, and all-around party animal, is performing this Monday at the High Noon Saloon. And in honor of such an exciting event coming to Madison (particularly at a time of year when most other big names balk at the snowy weather), Madison Yeah is having itself a little contest.

What’s the contest? It’s simple. Send us an email explaining in 25 words or less why you personally deserve to go see Cass McCombs for free. We’ll post the best response, then put you and a plus-one on the guest list.

Some possible examples of entries:
“My car broke down.”
“My natural gifts are undervalued by our materialist culture.”
“I’m a dinosaur.”
Star Trek: Voyager rules!”

See how easy this is? Send us your email by 8pm on Friday night and we’ll announce the winners on Saturday morning.

And if you somehow haven’t heard this guy’s music, I suggest starting with the most recent album Humor Risk. Here’s a great song from it, after the jump...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Julian Lynch played The Majestic / PHOTOS BELOW

Joel Shanahan and Julian Lynch
Last night's Project Lodge benefit show featured a fashion exhibit organized by the Good Style Shop, appearances by Common Council Alder Bridget Maniaci & Project Lodge Executive Director Bessie Cherry, and performances by local musicians Anna Vogelzang, Whitney Mann, Icarus Himself, All Tiny Creatures, and Julian Lynch.  If you didn't make it to the show, please consider supporting your local do-it-yourself, all-ages venue & art space by submitting a pledge on the Project Lodge kickstarter.

We unfortunately missed Anna Vogelzang and Whitney Mann's sets, but were told that they were great.  The $5 tall boys of PBR and occasional abuse of the epithet "hip" at times made the vibe a little shallow, but overall the discussion focused on Madison as a city whose residents actively support and participate in creating a sincere, homegrown culture in a way that distinguishes us from New York, Austin, Portland, and Los Angeles. As far as the music performances are concerned, the bands were fantastic.  It was a pleasure seeing & hearing bands that almost exclusively play in the Project Lodge in a larger venue with a great sound system.

More photos of Julian Lynch, All Tiny Creatures, and Icarus Himself after the jump.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Saturday 1/21: Julian Lynch, All Tiny Creatures, Icarus Himself, Whitney Mann, Anna Vogelzang

From left: Julian Lynch, Whitney Mann, Icarus Himself, and All Tiny Creatures.

With nearly every buzz-worthy act within a fifty mile radius on the bill, the Project Lodge Benefit Show this Saturday is shaping up to be the most memorable event of the winter. Anybody not going should expect lots of ridicule from their peers, including but not limited to flat tires and repeated flicks in the ear.

Show starts off with Anna Vogelzang, the tall and lovely country-flavored folk artist whose last name––fun fact!––means “birdsong” in German. Next up, Icarus Himself: probably the best all-around band that no one outside of Madison has ever heard of. Then there’s Whitney Mann, the farm-girl turned alt-country recording artist; the bearded, monkish, high-tech transcendentalism of All Tiny Creatures; and finally, critical darling Julian Lynch, whose music would require a whole essay to adequately describe and so for brevity’s sake we’ll just say is the best thing ever.

Hat's off to the organizers of this thing, and long live the Project Lodge.

Saturday, January 21. 6:30pm. The Majestic.

Videos of all the bands, after the jump...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday 1/13: Sat. Night Duets, Icarus Himself @ Mickey's Tavern

Sat. Night Duets
Sat. Night Duets are college students from Milwaukee who play '90s-style college alt-rock. Unfortunately, a lot of the buzz they've generated — strangely, from atypical sources for indie rock criticism like GQ and CNN — seems to be fixated on the Duets' superficial similarities to the band Pavement. On how they felt about GQ using a photograph of Stephen Malkmus for a writeup that was supposed to be about them, the Duets had this to say:
... as people who’ve spent substantial portions of our lives playing to no one, we’re incredulous anytime anyone feels compelled enough to write about it. It’s cool, but I think we’ve been conditioned to get validation elsewhere. I mean, the GQ blurb was over a year ago. At the time it was different, but our stance now is that if the Pavement-association is what got us into GQ, then the picture might as well be of Stephen Malkmus. We like Pavement, but eight years ago, before any of us knew what Stephen Malkmus was, we were losing to Phish cover bands in church-sponsored battle of the band competitions—and people still were like, “You guys are like Pavement.”
Pavement-comparisons aside, though, the Duets are a great act. In addition to being refreshingly competent musicians, these guys are honestly one of the few bands whose members play "musical instrument chairs" between songs in a way that isn't totally aggravating.

Head over to Mickey's Tavern tonight to see them perform.  Madison's own Icarus Himself, whose latest album Career Culture shows a huge improvement since the first time I saw them nearly a year ago, will also be playing.

Mickey's Tavern. 1524 Williamson Street. Tonight. 10pm. Free.

Music after the jump...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

THURS, FRI, SAT: Joe Mande @ Comedy Club on State Street

Comedian Joe Mande is performing at the Comedy Club on State Street this weekend. You might know him from a number of things... he's been on WTF with Marc Maron, some other podcasts, he started that silly website Look at this Fucking Hipster. As I remember, he jokes a lot about having bowel problems, which isn't to say that he's a crass or blue comic; he just really has bowel problems, and they make for some embarrassing stories.

Truthfully, he’s probably one of my favorite new comics from the past few years. Check him out.

Get your tickets here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

We’re Still Here

Hey folks. To everyone who’s emailed to complain of the infrequent posts this winter, all I can say is that December was an absurdly bad month for the Madison Yeah team, one filled with sickness, death, and applications to graduate school. The good news is we’re still here, and that we didn’t really miss much: the whole city has been more or less hibernating, if you haven’t noticed.

A couple links that were probably more relevant a few weeks ago: The AV Club made a pretty sweet list of the best Madison records of 2011, then they made another list of the best Madison records that weren’t good enough to make their other list. Also, local show-organizer-guy Patrick Ritt made a list of his favorite records of 2011 (irrespective of geographical location).

Yep, and, uh, let’s see....

Peaking Lights premiered a video directed by Cam Archer, featuring a cute but way-too-hip-looking little girl:

Other stuff happened, too. The Packers lost. The Badgers lost. We’re recalling our governor. There is not nearly enough snow on the ground right now. Got any tips for stuff to do in January? Drop us a line.