All hail to Royal Blood! UK power duo delivers while Mini Mansions impress

There’s an old adage in rock n roll “blowing the doors off a venue.” In the case of Royal Blood, it’s blowing out the circuit breakers.

Bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher have been on quite a whirlwind since we saw them opening for the Pixies in Madison last fall. The duo won the Brit Award for Best British Group presented to them in London by none other than Jimmy Page. Their debut self-titled album released ten months ago just surged into the top ten in America, while their sold-out club tour is a warm up for dates with Foo Fighters. Hard rock fans with a liking toward blues-based influences flocked to the High Noon Saloon in Madison selling out the show well in advance.

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Brooklyn sax/synth wiz Jonah Parzen-Johnson melds analog sounds with Google Maps

Jonah Parzen-Johnson

Jonah Parzen-Johnson is a Brooklyn, by way of Chicago, purist who records live saxophone and analog synth on two track tape without loops or overdubs. The experimental soloist is on tour supporting a new album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow on Primary Records. Parzen-Johnson stops by Bright Red Studios in Madison on Saturday night for a musical conversation about the negative effects of nostalgia on creativity and his crusade to look to the future for inspiration. He refers to his creative energy as lo-fi folk with a minimalist synth attitude.

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Hanging with DMA’s, The Living Statues, Oh My Love


DMA’s were having a Spinal Tap moment. For some reason, their merchandise didn't make it to the venue and a fan wanted a t-shirt. “We’re waiting on an American company,” explains perplexed guitarist Johnny Took. The accommodating fan assures the band everything will be all right if they get the goods by their Bonnaroo gig.

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Courtney Barnett: Aussie with an attitude

Courtney Barnett

Maybe it's because the ozone layer is thinner over Australia that so many great rock bands come from Down Under. Too much ultra violet radiation can make you crazy. Take Courtney Barnett, the Melbourne rocker has single handedly reignited the torch for female guitar savvy heroics with witty lyrics and lots of attitude.

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Foxygen proves breaking up is hard to do


Foxygen have always been shrouded in controversy, whether it was backstage feuding, freaking out at SXSW or the recent declaration that the current ...And Star Power tour would be their last. Nothing like pumping up your ticket sales with a false impending final tour announcement, and the band wonders why their music takes a backseat to gossip fodder. Tonight, the capacity crowd at the Sett in Madison got a first-hand look at the chaotic live show that harnesses the friction, energy and unpredictability of the Foxygen ethos. 

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