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4/25 Temples
5/2 Cloud Nothings

Upcoming Shows

Friday, April 18, 2014
Nathaniel Rateliff
Rathskeller at Memorial Union
9:30 PM; Free

Friday, April 18, 2014
Bass Drum of Death
The Sett at Union South
9:30 PM; Free

Monday, April 21, 2014
Lost in the Trees
All Tiny Creatures
The Frequency
9 PM; $10/$12

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Lydia Loveless
Rodeo Burns
High Noon Saloon
8 PM; $10

Friday, April 25, 2014
Jonk Music logo Temples
High Noon Saloon
9:30 PM; $13/$15

Friday, April 25, 2014
The Mowgli's
The Sett at Union South
9:30 PM; Free

Friday, April 25, 2014
Danny Brown
Lucki Eck$
Majestic Theatre
9 PM; $20

Friday, April 25, 2014
The Faint
The Hussy
Barrymore Theatre
9 PM; $22/$25

Friday, May 2, 2014
Jonk Music logo Cloud Nothings
Fire Retarded
High Noon Saloon
9:30 PM; $13/$15

Saturday, May 3, 2014
Downtown Boys
The Frequency
9:30 PM; $12

Saturday, May 3, 2014
Revelry Music
& Arts Festival

UW Campus at
Langdon Street
Noon-10 PM; $5-$30

Saturday, May 3, 2014
The 1975
Bad Suns
Sir Sly
The Orpheum
9 PM; Sold Out

Saturday, May 3, 2014
Mozart's Sister
The Frequency
9 PM; $10/$12

Sunday, May 4, 2014
Murder By Death
Those Poor Bastards
High Noon Saloon
8 PM; $15

Sunday, May 4, 2014
William Fitzsimmons
Ben Sollee
Majestic Theatre
8 PM; $18

Sunday, May 4, 2014
Patrick Park
The Frequency
8 PM; $10/$13

Monday, May 5, 2014
Scott Weiland &
the Wildabouts

Majestic Theatre
8 PM; $35/$37

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Fitz & the Tantrums
Night Terrors of 1927
Barrymore Theatre
7:30 PM; $25/$28

Friday, May 9, 2014
Timber Timbre
The Terrace at Memorial Union
9 PM; Free

Monday, May 12, 2014
Manchester Orchestra
Balance and Composure
Kevin Devine and
the Goddamn Band
Majestic Theatre
7:30 PM; $17.50/$22

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Eric Hutchinson
Saints of Valory
Majestic Theatre
8 PM; $20/$25

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Jonk Music logo Communion:
Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
Busy Living
Boom Forest (solo)
The Frequency
8 PM; $9.50/$15

Friday, May 23, 2014
Jonk Music logo Atlas Sound
Majestic Theatre
9 PM; $15

Friday, May 30, 2014
Jonk Music logo PAPA
The Frequency
9 PM; $10/$12

= Welcomed by
Jonk Music



Upcoming Madison Shows
Best of 2013
Best of 2012
Best of 2011
Best of 2010
Best of the 2000s


The Madison Podcast
Episode 27: Jonk Music
September 11, 2012 


Q&A with Temples' James Bagshaw

Photo by James Loveday

Temples began in Kettering, England (where Weetabix is made) when James Bagshaw and Thomas Warmsley began recording demos in their home studio. They posted the music on YouTube and attracted the attention of Jeff Barrett from Heavenly Recordings. Vocalist/guitarist James Bagshaw spoke with Jonk Music about the band's beginnings, their influences, and what goes into their songwriting.

Friday, April 25, 2014
High Noon Saloon
9:30 PM; $13/$15

What was it like when Jeff Barrett reached out to you?
“It was amazing. We didn’t really expect that. We were aware of what Heavenly Recordings had done in the past and what they’re doing currently. I don’t think anyone expects to get the phone call. You expect to be the one doing the calling, trying to sell your music. That’s the classic thing that bands do, send their demos through and rarely hearing anything back. We didn’t send any demos out. We just happened to have a phone call.”

Did you do the deal over the phone?
“We met up for a drink, he came to a couple of shows, and it was just a handshake, really, for the single. After that, we talked about doing the album. We had an extensive conversation to make sure that we were on the same page, which we knew we were. We wanted to make sure we had creative control over everything since it was the way we were used to working."

Have you spent much time with your label mates? (Toy, Stealing Sheep, Charlie Boyer and The Voyeurs)
“We’ve done a few shows together, kind of like a Heavenly road trip to Paris, which was really good. Most of the bands all together on a coach. It was like a school trip but with alcohol.”

How does touring America compare to touring the UK?
“It’s different. When we’re touring Europe, everywhere is slightly different. In America, it’s the first time that we’ve had a proper tour bus, where we’ve got beds. That’s all new and that’s quite nice. It’s nice having that home on wheels, instead of hotels. It’s quite nice. I’m sure we’ll be sick of it by the end of the tour and want to have a proper bed.”

Some bands want to create a sound in the studio and then just re-create the same thing live. Is that how you operate?
“We always want to approach live shows differently. We want to maintain the atmosphere around the songs that we’ve recorded. On certain songs, you don’t want to jam out because it would take the impact away from a short section that’s only meant to be a little interlude. Other songs are a bit more free. Songs like 'Mesmerise' we extend live and really take it up a notch. 'Sand Dance' as well. Sometimes you can’t get the exact sound that you want live, so you might orchestrate the songs differently. You take over a certain melodic part on a different instrument, or put it through a different pedal, just to create a different vibe from the way they come across on records.”

Are touring and creating new music separate for you? Do you ever get to create new music on tour?
“We haven’t had a chance to write anything yet. We get a chance to play around in soundcheck, but you never really have enough time in soundcheck to do anything new. You just try to make sure the sound is good so that you can have a good gig. We have some ideas floating around but nothing recorded. We’re just enjoying playing these songs, focusing on bringing them to life.”

You’ve talked about producers that you admire like Jack Nitzsche (Phil Spector, Rolling Stones, Neil Young) and Tony Visconti (David Bowie). What is it about their work that really draws you in?
“Just their names, you know straight away when a song has been produced by them. I think that’s a credit to a producer if they have their own sound. You’ve got that with Jack Nitzsche, Tony Visconti, Joe Meek, and Phil Spector. They have a strong statement from their way of recording. That appeals, in itself, that you can instantly tell. A lot of bands, you can listen to the song and you wouldn’t know who produced it, and it doesn’t really stand out. But when you learn those traits, you learn to love it, and you love the song even more because it’s portrayed in a more alien way and it’s not just standard.”

You guys get lumped in with other modern psychedelic bands. Were there psychedelic bands from the '60s and '70s that inspired you to write music?
“It wasn’t certain bands that made us want to write music. We were trying to write music that wasn’t within any type of genre constraints. I guess you write with your influences subconsciously — like, early Pink Floyd, David Bowie, King Crimson. There’s not just one artist. We never really wanted to sound like any of them because we wanted to do our own thing. You can’t help that your influences come out through your music. The Verve have been really important to us as well, and the whole twelve-string thing.”

What appeals to you about the twelve-string guitar as opposed to a six-string?
“They’re different instruments in many ways. Having an octave or a unison string for each string, you get a harmonic phasing of the strings which gives you a very big sound for one guitar. It’s very much like having two six-string players but with one with a capo on the twelfth fret. It’s quite a full sound. If 'Shelter Song' was on a six-string guitar, with the same riff, it wouldn’t have near the impact it has on a twelve-string.”


Concert Preview: Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks

Photo by Atiba Jefferson

Animal Collective have never been shy of side projects. The indie/experimental troupe’s singer/drummer Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) is as famous for his wondrous solo work as he is his exploits with Daft Punk. And singer/guitarist Avey Tare (Dave Portner) has released two interesting if not immediately captivating records of his own. With AnCo currently taking a breather after the 2012-2013 Centipede Hz album and tour, Portner and Lennox are back on the solo grind. Lennox is prepping a new album tentatively titled, of course, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, and Portner just released a new LP, Enter the Slasher House, on April 8.

Thursday, April 17, 2014
Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks
Dustin Wong
Majestic Theatre
8:30 PM; $15

Right. Now let’s breathe after all that jargony business and get to the point: Enter the Slasher House is super awesome and, omg, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks are coming to the Majestic.

So, if it’s not AnCo, who the heck are these ominous sounding Slasher Flicks? Portner’s band features keyboardist/singer Angel Deradoorian (formerly of Dirty Projectors) and drummer Jeremy Hyman (of Ponytail, Dan Deacon). Even in print they look like a kinetic group, and on the record Slasher Flicks sound electrifying. The band tracked much of the album live, and it shows. Portner’s jangly guitars mix with Deradoorian’s booming synth bass and Hyman’s spastic drumming for a lively, invigorating sound.

I send, per usual, unabated love to AnCo and mean no disrespect, but Slasher Flicks sound like more of a “band” than AnCo has since 2007. For those who disliked the hectic nature of Centipede Hz, Enter the Slasher House will probably not be an instant pleaser — but it rewards and rewards with subsequent listens. I’m an expert and I promise you.

With set design from the talented Abby Portner, this Slasher Flicks tour will likely be a visual delight as well as an aural one! Oohlala! And whether or not you caught AnCo at the Orpheum last fall shouldn’t matter for this show. Though there are obvious threads running through both Slasher Flicks and Animal Collective, I’d venture to say that live Slasher Flicks will give live AnCo a run for their money.


5 Questions with Corey Hart

Photo by Kyle Jacobson

On the third Wednesday of every month, Communion gathers local and touring artists together at The Frequency to present a showcase of the flourishing music scenes in cities across the nation. Along with an impressive repertoire of touring artists including Johnny Stimson (Dallas, TX) and Sturgill Simpson (Jackson, KY), Wisconsin acts this week include Hugh Bob & the Hustle and Corey Hart.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Communion Madison:
Sturgill Simpson
Johnny Stimson
Hugh Bob & the Hustle
Corey Hart
The Frequency
8 PM; $9.50/$15

Corey Hart is a name that has been around the local Madison scene for years. Winning various awards for his voice and written music at the MAMAs in 2012, he is no stranger to the local Madison music scene. I was eager to ask Corey about what this local music scene in Madison is like from an artist's perspective, and this was his take on it.

Can you talk a little bit about the Madison music scene as you see it in your eyes?
"The scene, like Madison, is small but very diverse. I can really only speak to the folky singer/songwriter scene because that's what I'm familiar with. The quality of the material that Madison's singer/songwriters is very high. I think that the general public is finally starting to catch onto that. The populous needs to embrace its local musicians to keep the scene healthy."

Which local artists have you really enjoyed working with and which would you like to work with in the future?
"It gets a bit incestuous, doesn't it? I don't think that's a bad thing, though. Everyone is so supportive of each other, it's great. I currently play with my band, Whitney Mann's band, and occasionally with Anna Laube. I have also done things with PHOX, Count This Penny, and Dan Walkner [Wrenclaw, Clovis Man]. I really enjoy writing guitar parts and singing harmonies, so I would like to work with more singer/songwriters in that regard. I also think it would be fun to collaborate with Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo. The list goes on..."

What's your favorite venue in Madison and why?
"I have a few. To play, I love the Shitty Barn! Technically not in Madison. It is like a home away from home for me. The Majestic Theatre is awesome to play a show in. Everyone there is very professional and nice. Plus, I love looking out onto that room from the stage. High Noon Saloon is always a great room, too. The vibe there is a perfect mix of professional and down-home. I've spent many hours in that room. To see a show, Capitol Theater is kind to the eyes and ears. I think it's the best sounding room in town. The Shitty Barn is easily the most fun place to see a show."

How do you think local artists differ from larger names connected to big labels?
"That's a tricky question. I am not very close with anyone on a major label. Also, not all major labels treat artists the same. I would assume that there is far more pressure to put out albums and tour the hell out if them if you are on a major label. The beauty of the local scene is that it's a community you can be a part of. It's more tangible. On a related note, I think the caliber of a number local artists is on par with that of many who are on major labels."

What's your favorite restaurant in Madison, and where do you think the best cheese curds are?
"I love Ha Long Bay and Forequarter. My family eats at Graze a lot as well. I don't eat cheese curds. Please don't hate me."


Concert Review: Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds

BY MAX SIMON | Jonk Music

Beyond one acoustic-to-electric transducer, a friendly mouth organ lived half of his life at The Frequency obscured. Saliva-drenched, beard-battered and hidden, the harmonica — let’s call him Franklin — soon thereafter muttered more than a peep. With 37 rectangular metallic buddies at his side, Franklin began to reed the crowd like a college girl on BuzzFeed. One might say that a certain musician was the puppeteer behind the magic, but Jackson Kincheloe blew it (the harmonica, that is).

Bouncing beside the rusty-wheeled harmonicrafter was Jackson’s mother’s daughter, Arleigh. With the spirit of a family of small passerine birds, Sister Sparrow had an unusual variety of bilingualism. She incessantly translated the language of funk into its neighboring dialect, the tushy-tickling-saul-sauce.

It was a case of mace to the face backed by a racy-paced bass (held and hit by Josh Myers). Downstage left stood two injectors of lax: Phil Rodriguez on the trumpet and Brian Graham on the sax. The venue’s flowing libations added to the baritone’s buzz, yet the tenor of the Dirty Birds’ wetness flowed out of Sasha Brown’s guitar. A third Kincheloe, Bram, kicked and hit things with sticks real good — fixing a neat stage arrangement with patterned personalities.

Sister Sparrow released every drop of her positivity throughout the 18-song setlist. From her choice cover, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” to a dozen other feet-knocker-offers, my favorite was “Mama Knows.” Almost everyone came from his or her mother’s womb, so it’s, like, relevant in today’s culture.


Interview: Phantogram’s Josh Carter


When you think of music, the first sense that usually comes to mind is hearing; there's simply no listening to music without having the ability to hear it. Electronic duo Phantogram, however, considers sight to be an equally pivotal sense when it comes to crafting jams.

In technical jargon, a "phantogram" is a class of optical illusions wherein a two-dimensional image appears to be three-dimensional, thanks to those ultra-tech, ultra-classic blue and red specs. Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel chose to fashion their band after this phantasm because, even at their inceptions, their songs appear to be something greater than mere music.


Saturday, April 12, 2014
Majestic Theatre
9 PM; Sold Out

Whereas other artists gather inspiration from their own life happenings or what have you, Phantogram has always been influenced by the optical. "We're very visual writers," Carter told me in an interview this week. "We're constantly talking about scenarios like short films or vignettes — and then we start writing music to what we're imagining." The band then takes those images and turns them into tunes, sometimes jamming "over a simple drum-machine rhythm for hours." Other times, Josh said they'll start with one of his beats, "chop up some samples, and write around that."

The first concoction to come out of these experiment-like sessions was the band's debut, Eyelid Movies. While its songs are heavily soaked in pop, hip-hop, and electronic stylings, Eyelid Movies also has a musically inexplicable element to it; as the record's title implies, closing your eyes to these tracks allows you the ability to see the music nearly as clearly as you can hear it.

In the four years that have passed since Eyelid Movies hit shelves, Phantogram has kept their visual aroma in tact. Their full-length follow-up, Voices, was released in February, and trying to spot the separate genres within each of the album's eleven songs is about as worthless as picking apart the particles of a sneeze. Each track is a tightly knit blend of various influences that culminate into a cohesive, well-constructed whole. Voices further showcases the band's signature twilight-tinged sound, bashing Carter's busy beats with Barthel's rippleless, astral vocals. And while Carter lends his voice to sing lead on a few tracks, he kept Sarah in mind while writing the words. "It's not really a coin toss," he joked. "Sarah sings on the majority of songs, but it's a natural thing."

The main distinguisher between Voices and Eyelid Movies isn't the music itself, but rather the brand they're releasing the music behind. "There was a bidding war. Every label wanted to sign us at once," Carter recalled. "Our heads were spinning, you know?" Ultimately, the duo decided to leave Barsuk Records and sign with major label Republic Records. As Carter put it, "We just love making music, and we want as many people to hear [it] as possible. If we can have that kind of platform with a different label, then why not?"

Amidst the chaos of deciding upon a new label, Phantogram also found itself with another exciting opportunity on its hands: recording with "one half of the mighty Outkast," Big Boi. As Carter recollected, "He [Big Boi] heard 'Mouthful of Diamonds' somewhere, and Shazam'd it." From there, one thing led to another until Big Boi flew the duo down to Stankonia Studios in Atlanta to work on his second solo record, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. "He's become a good friend to us," said Carter. Carter then revealed that Phantogram is currently mapping out an EP's worth of material with Big Boi, tentatively titled Big Grams.

Over the course of two records, Phantogram has shifted from an unknown duo to a major label band that dabbles in major rap collaborations. Yet they appear unphased by their rapid success, and unafraid that it may just be some kind of illusion or trick on their (or their audiences') eyes. "There are some bands that are comfortable with staying at a small club level," Carter said. "But I think we just want to get heard more — because we love what we do and have a really strong vision."


5 Questions with Sleeper Agent

Sleeper Agent

Photo by Phil Knott

Sleeper Agent visits the High Noon Saloon on Thursday night for their first headlining tour. The garage pop band from Kentucky (insert Badgers-Final Four comment here) has been touring relentlessly since their 2011 debut album, Celebrasion, including in support of such big names as Weezer, fun., and Grouplove.


Thursday, April 10, 2014
Sleeper Agent
Holy Child, Pagiins
High Noon Saloon
8 PM; $12

Their follow-up disc was released two weeks ago, and frontwoman Alex Kandel recently answered a few of our questions leading up to their Thursday show.

What has changed with your new record, About the Other Night, compared to your first album?
"A lot has changed. We changed our whole approach in making a record, I pushed myself to change and grow as a vocalist, and the songwriting became more complex. We set out to do something different."

How has touring shaped the progression of Sleeper Agent's sound? What's the best advice you've received on the road?
"When you tour you're put in a position where it would be nearly impossible to fail to become a technically tighter sounding band. You get show after show, night after night, to work all the kinks out. That being said, the best advice I was ever given was to not get too hung up on the technical sound of a show. It's called a show for a reason, and it's my job to put on a good one."

You played an acoustic set at the Tennessee State Prison a couple years ago. How did that come about, and what is something that you unexpectedly learned there?
"It came about through us searching for a cool location to film a session honestly. It's no longer a working prison nor is it a historical walking tour, so it wasn't like I had a guide. We kind of just wandered through the empty cell blocks. It felt very heavy."

Imagine you're attending a concert and one of the band members spontaneously combusts. It's very unfortunate except that you get pulled onstage to replace that person. Who is the band?
"The band is Steel Dragon. Oh, and in my fantasy I am also Mark Wahlberg."

When you hear "Madison" or "Wisconsin," what do you think of?
"I immediately think of the night before we played there for the first time. Our hotel was across from a Hooters, and we honestly had a great time. It was one of those band meals where you remember how much fun touring can really be, despite the sleep deprivation and workload."


Q&A with Dessa


Combine a philosophy graduate, a classical composer, and a creative non-fiction writer and you've got Minneapolis-based rapper and spoken word artist Dessa. If it sounds like a handful, it is — Dessa is currently touring her LP, Parts of Speech, which was released in June 2013. She will be playing at the Majestic Theatre on Thursday and took the time to talk with us about her philosophy major, her new projects, and the origin of her stage name.


Thursday, April 10, 2014
Caroline Smith
J Dante
Majestic Theatre
9 PM; $15

Let's talk a little bit about your album, Parts of Speech. It's been about nine months since you released it — how do you feel about the album this far out?
"I toured this album more than I've toured any other project in the past, so in some ways it feels more like a year and a half old rather than nine months. I'm more familiar with the material having played it so much. So it's a project that I'm really proud of, and we'll be touring it more in the spring. But my mind is definitely already turning toward new projects.

What new project are you working on?
"I've got two classical compositions actually; I'm working on my first choral and classical arrangements. I'd actually be working with a choir. I won't be performing — just serving as a composer."

You also write spoken word and narrative nonfiction, and it sounds like classical compositions as well. Do all these mediums that you work with blend together sometimes? Is your creation process completely different with them?
"Most of the time it feels like there's a single wellspring for the ideas. I have to decide what the best vehicle for expression for that idea would be. They all feel really connected to me."

How do you find time for all those different mediums?
"I don't put out records at a record pace. You know, some artists put out records every 18 months. I end up putting out a record every three or four years, so I'm not breaking any land speed awards. But yeah, I think working in different media and being challenged in a broad spectrum of disciplines is part of what makes me really like this job. If you're feeling burned out on any one front, there's another angle you can take. Sometimes I'm like 'Oh man, I don't know if I really have a melody in me today.' Or sometimes it feels like all your metaphors have been exhausted... And working in both music and the language arts, it feels like there's a way to stay productive no matter what."

Do you have a favorite?
"Creative non-fiction is probably one of my favorites. I find it challenging. While you're writing prose you have the opportunity to draft and re-draft, so that's to say that as good as you can imagine it is as good as you can make it. And that's not true in my performance, where your first try is what sticks — you don't have the opportunity to return and perfect your work!"

I know that you were a philosophy student in college — has your work in philosophy influenced your current work at all?
"You know, philosophy is a study that demands very precise language and I think that a lot of my writing skills were honed in philosophy. Some of the ideas that you manipulate in a philosophy class are really challenging, so the really good philosophers would depend on creative metaphors to express those ideas. The best communicators on the philosophical tradition were very often the best creative writers. I think probably a lot of my voice and my style, which can sometimes use informal language, was informed by my time as a philosophy student in college."

Why do you go by Dessa?
"I went by Dessa since I was a teenager and started singing underage at a karaoke bar!""

Do you have a favorite thing about the Minneapolis music scene?
"The music scene is very much a part of the social scene. In Minneapolis, if an attractive person were to approach you at a bar and ask you to go on a date, they would ask you if you wanted to go to a movie, dinner or a concert. And that's not true in every city, where local concerts are as abundant and are as well supported as they are here in Minneapolis. I think the reason we have such a vibrant scene here is because people are willing to part with their $10, they're willing to buy a little bit of merch at the table after the show. So, I don't think it's about the winters, I don't think there's anything romantic about the place, but it's the people that are willing to support the artists and stuff."

Madison is a relatively regular stop for you — what should folks expect when they see you at the Majestic on April 10?
"That will be our biggest room in Madison that we've played to date, so we're all excited because it will be a high water mark. And I'll be bringing the full band, so Aby Wolf will be there and all of the players live. And we've got a really awesome opener — Caroline Smith is a rising star in her own right will be opening the show. Please be sure to get there early and catch her act."


Q&A with Fanfarlo’s Simon Balthazar

BY LEE GORDON | Jonk Music

With its eclectic instrumentation and contemplative and earthly lyrics, London-based Fanfarlo is currently touring in support of its dynamic third full-length album, Let's Go Extinct. The five-piece indie band features the mandolin, trumpet, glockenspiel, saxophone, clarinet as well as a healthy dose of '80s-infused space-synth and on record.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Lilies on Mars
High Noon Saloon
6:30 PM; $12/$14

Lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Simon Balthazar shared his thoughts with Jonk Music on the band's new sound, the process of recording, and his views on Creationism, nature, and the future. Fanfarlo will be performing at High Noon Saloon tomorrow evening.

Your new album, Let's Go Extinct, seems to be very aware of your inner workings as humans, talking about cells and molecules and our place in the world and the future. Can you describe the inspiration behind the album?
"The approach is a bit like science fiction in that we present a different spin on things that are around us all the time and present them in an exciting, colourful way. I'm fascinated by different ways of looking at the nature the mind, the body, the evolution and future of life... There's no reason you can't put philosophy and science in pop music, right?" 

What are the most memorable moments from writing or recording the album?
"We did a lot of the recording in a house that had been sitting empty for 20 years but where we built a temporary studio and just lived together for a couple of weeks, cooking, getting drunk and recording, day and night. Many delirious late night sessions."

I've read that you think that Creationism is misguided and that you see some value in Christianity. What are your religious or spiritual beliefs? Did they influence the album?
"Ah yes, someone was asking in an interview specifically what I think about creationism. I mean, I personally don't put much stock in organized religion, whatever it might be. I don't think locking yourself into a belief system and into dogma is healthy. But, sure, I'm interested in what I see as the imagery and metaphors within Christian ideas.The problem with creationism is that it's a very flat, literal, and quasi-scientific take on something that is more interesting taken as metaphor and poetry.

"It's hard to sum up my own beliefs, but I do believe everyone needs to come at peace with their own understanding of reality and that there are no absolutes. I also think that the self is a very unfortunate side effect of consciousness." 

In addition to the horns that the band has traditionally integrated into the music, you added more electronic/synth sounds. What was the decision behind doing that? What kind of sound were you going for?
"Our music has always incorporated a dialogue between electronic and acoustic elements, but at the heart of it is songwriting and stories and ideas expressed through lyrics. We've started including more electronic elements over time for sure, but that's an intuitive, playful process of evolution and not really a 'decision.' You constantly pick up new influences as you go along and they end up in what you create." 

The lyrics of the new album talk a lot about possible futures. What does your ideal world look like?
"With the risk of sounding like a hippie: the world could do with people thinking more about each other and less about themselves. One of the more out-there scenarios on the record is humans mutating into a double person, regaining our lost half. Lonesome no more!" 

Your music has seemed to become more introspective compared to your earlier material. How do you think the band has changed since the beginning?
"We've matured as people and as musicians, and I think we draw on a much broader range of influences. I'm not sure if I feel we've become more introspective, though; I think we very much deal with the outside world rather than the minutiae of our personal lives. I guess it comes from a very particular point of view, though." 

What aspect of the album are you most proud of?
"Mainly that it feels like a very a honest record that expresses our ideas. But also they way we made it happen — we wrote it quickly, and we did so much ourselves in terms of recording and releasing it."


5 Questions with Typhoon

BY MAX SIMON | Jonk Music


Saturday, April 5, 2014
Wild Ones
Hollow Wood
The Sett at Union South
1:30 PM; Free

Typhoon is better than the Badgers at:

  • Cramming the starting line behind a tiny desk.
  • Performing live FO FREE.
  • Having fans in Kentucky.

The Badgers are better than Typhoon at:

  • Like, basketball.

WUD Music knows where you'll be on Saturday evening: elbow-tucked between 40,000 sweating Badger fans in your favorite bar. They also know that from 1:30 to 4:30 pm in The Sett at Union South, a certain sound will give you the evening boost you'll need. That sound will come from three bands: Hollow Wood, Wild Ones, and Typhoon.

Check out Hollow Wood's spirited jam "Little Bird." This piece opens and closes at a gentle pace with a precise orchestration, painting listeners an optimistic path with flowing colors.

Wild Ones transcends this concept of audible color with "Golden Twin," a track that could mask a Rubik's Cube in ultraviolet camouflage in the dark. And that doesn't even make sense!

But what is Typhoon all about? The collective's honcho, Kyle Morton, spilled the milk on the band's latest doings in a recent chat:

Who were you as a musician before Typhoon?
"Before Typhoon, I played in Salem, Oregon with some of the members from Typhoon — Toby, Tyler, Eric. We were a garage rock/punk band. Before that, I was in my high school band and was a guitarist in the jazz choir."

Does the vast size of your band make it harder or easier to write and make music?
"Both. It depends on when inspiration takes you. It usually starts with a simple idea but then we have to adapt things to a larger ensemble. There are limitless possibilities with all the instruments, but at the same time it can be daunting and paralyzing to have such a big ensemble."

I always wished I could play the sitar. What is one instrument you wish you could play? How would you fit that sound into your band?
"The cello… viola… violin… upright bass. I would sit in the recording room and create heavily layered string layers. Also the clarinet, but that's a whole different beast."

Do you feel the energy of Typhoon more in a tight environment, like when you performed at NPR Tiny Desk, or in front of a sold out crowd?
"It depends. The venue does affect our performances. We play to the room. We play louder in a larger room with acoustics. We played quieter when we were in a church in Austin at SXSW — some peace and quiet in the city limits. But there's something transcendent about a big rock 'n' roll show. Everyone goes crazy and I play my heart out."

What comes to mind when you think about playing at the University of Wisconsin’s student union?
"I picture there being a lot of intelligent young people. I'm excited to go back to Wisconsin. I haven't been back since I was a kid. I used to visit my uncle who has a lake house in northern Wisconsin. The Midwest has a certain milieu that I'm comfortable with."

Get comfortable with Typhoon on Saturday. The passionate ensemble will tickle each and every one of your fancies and round off the epic day for the Badgers. Did I mention the concert is free?


Essential Tracks: Against Me!

Photo by Ryan Russell

Against Me! exists in a perpetual state of unrest: over the last 17 years, they've tapped into questioning political powers, personal identity, and even the scene itself. Led by the tremendous Laura Jane Grace, Against Me! meshes punk ideals with catchy, shout along vocals that amalgamate into a sound suitable for any rocker ranging from middle school to middle thirties.


Thursday, April 3, 2014
Against Me!
Laura Stevenson
Cheap Girls
Majestic Theatre
8:30 PM; $18/$20

Luckily for us, the band will be gracing the stage at the Majestic Theatre tonight. If you're not already familiar with Against Me!'s tunes, here are five tracks that'll get you prepared for what's sure to be a smashing set.

"Thrash Unreal"

In 2007, Against Me! moved up to the big leagues and in the process added a little shine to their sound. I was just a freshman in high school at that time and arguments about selling out seemed pretty irrelevant. "Thrash Unreal" was my jam.

"I Was a Teenage Anarchist"

As much as I liked to believe that at one point I too was a teenage anarchist, I just wasn't; growing up in a west-central Wisconsin will do that to you, I suppose. During their performance at SXSW a few weeks back, this one whipped the crowd into frenzy.

"Transgender Dysphoria Blues"

The title track to the band's latest and greatest record, "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" comes across as a mission statement for Laura Jane Grace, who recently came out as a transgendered woman.


"Fuckmylife666" is a song about the inevitability of growing apart from people as we discover our true selves.

"Black Me Out"

"Black Me Out" is the punishing closer to Blues, a shout-out to all of the self-righteous asshats to whom Against Me! probably owes their existence.