Lucid Culture


Album of the Day 5/11/11

Every day, our 1000 best albums of all time countdown continues all the way to #1. Wednesday’s album is #629:

Absinthe – A Good Day to Die

Sam Llanas may be known as the soulful baritone co-founder of Milwaukee roots rock legends the BoDeans, but this 1999 album by his other project Absinthe – with the Violent Femmes’ Guy Hoffman on drums and Jim Eanelli, formerly of the Shivvers, on guitar – is the best thing he’s ever done. Inspired by the suicide of Llanas’ older brother, this anguished, death-obsessed, semi-acoustic rock record follows the Bukowskiesque trail of a life in a long downward spiral so harrowing that when it ends with Time for Us, a surprisingly warm, comforting ballad that Llanas’ main band would pick up later, the mood still resonates. This guy just never had a chance. Bully on the Corner gets the foreshadowing going on early (although the narrator looks back and basically forgives him: his life must have been hell too). Defeat, with its mantra-like chorus, is just crushing; the title track is all the more haunting for its dignified treatment of the suicide. They follow that with the wistful, pretty Spanish Waltz, the unconvincing It Don’t Bother Me and then the two absolute masterpieces here, the down-and-out scenario Still Alone and the wrenching, Orbisonesque Messed Up Likes of Us. There’s nowhere to go from there but the bitter Dying in My Dreams, the denial of What I Don’t Feel and the paint-peeling noise-rock of A Little Bit of Hell, Eanelli’s great shining moment here. Surprisingly obscure, there don’t seem to be any streams of this anywhere, but it’s still up at the BoDeans’ site; here’s a random torrent.


May 11, 2011 Posted by | lists, Music, music, concert, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten Songs of the Week 4/27/09

We do this every Tuesday. You’ll see this week’s #1 song on our Best 100 songs of 2009 list at the end of December, along with maybe some of the rest of these too. This is strictly for fun – it’s Lucid Culture’s tribute to Kasey Kasem and a way to spread the word about some of the great music out there that’s too edgy for the corporate media and their imitators in the blogosphere. This week every link here will take you to each individual song.


1. Kerry Kennedy – More from the Mountain

Gorgeous reverb-drenched Nashville gothic with a psychedelic guitar edge. She’s at Zebulon on 5/4 at 9 with her band.


2. Itamar Ziegler – On Hold

Noir instrumental with more than a tinge of Big Lazy, with a balalaika – it builds marvelously.


3. Hard Bargain – Sitting on a Time Bomb

Oldschool Memphis style soul with tasteful horns, guitar, rhythm section and a real bonafide soul singer plus nice slide guitar solo! They’re at Ace of Clubs on 5/6 at 8.


4. The Shivvers – Remember Tonight

Not a new song but a new discovery! Gloriously jangly ELO-style powerpop from Milwaukee, 1979, Jill Kossoris’ sweet voice and incisive piano out front. Jim Eannelli would go on to lead guitar glory in Absinthe.


5. Diane Moser’s Composer’s Big Band – Triple Blues

Big, swinging, and Mingus-esque! Her quintet is at Galapagos at 2 PM on 5/2.


6. Scott Holt – How Do We Sleep

Buddy Guy blues guitar protege: Hendrix-style groove, soulful thoughtful lyrics. At Ace of Clubs on 5/6 at 9.


7. Brother Joscephus – Can’t Help Myself

Gorgeous old-school soul from this 13-piece band with horns, piano, organ and an impassioned vocal. They begin a May Wednesday residency at 7 PM at Sequoia, 89 South Street, Pier 17.


8. Jeanne Marie Boes – One Misstep

Noir cabaret: does anybody remember Gate 18? “One misstep begets one hell of a slow burn.” She’s at LIC Bar on 5/17 at 7.


9. Mistress Stephanie & Her Melodic Cat – I Hate Cabaret

Self-explanatory and hilarious.


10. Meta & the Cornerstones – Time to Fight

Smart, conscious African roots reggae


April 28, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Song of the Day 4/21/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Tuesday’s song is #463:

Absinthe – Still Alone

This bitterly and brutally evocative portrayal of life among the down-and-out and soon to be down-and-permanently-out is the centerpiece of the band’s one classic album, 1999’s A Good Day to Die, arguably BoDeans frontman Sam Llanas’ finest moment as a songwriter – and he has many.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Song of the Day 4/19/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Sunday’s song is #465:

Absinthe – Messed Up Likes of Us

Not the goth-metal band but the vastly more haunting solo project of soulful baritone crooner and BoDeans frontman Sam Llanas. The longing and anguish in this bitter, Orbisonesque breakup anthem is visceral. From the band’s lone, classic cd, 1999’s A Good Day to Die.

April 19, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CD Review – The Nice Outfit

We could go on forever about how gentrification has made it doubly difficult for a new music scene created by young people to spring up here in New York. But it hasn’t kept a vital, exciting underground from springing up in Milwaukee. Which makes sense, if you look at the trend nationwide: good bands whose members might have gravitated to New York ten years ago get priced out of the market here and instead head for regional magnet cities like Santa Fe or Houston, doing probably just as well or even better there than they would here. Case in point: the “Milwaukee pop underground” centered around Easter Records, a vibrant, collaborative network of musicians that, by comparison, makes the Broken Social Scene seem pretty kaput. The Nice Outfit is the best new band to spring from it to date.

Their myspace says they sound “like the Kinks on a coke binge.” Picturing a wizened little Ray Davies shoveling blow up his nose at this point in time is pretty funny, but the only funny thing about the Nice Outfit is that they aren’t more popular than they’ve already become in their hometown. Using tasty layers of both jangly Rickenbacker and scorching Fender guitar, their debut ep blasts a hole in your nose, woops, umm, anywhere you need a hole blasted. They’re an escape hatch from a boring day. The first song, Kissing Jocelyn is a fast, deliriously sunny Rickenbacker-driven janglepop hit, sounding something like the Church crossed with New York’s own Dog Show. Track two, This Time Next Year evokes nothing less than Washington, DC psychedelic punk legends the Slickee Boys, with its furious twin guitar attack, Terry Hackbarth and Paul Wall playing off each other with a serious chemical burn. The all-too-brief One Minute Forty-Five – “Summer’s gone in one minute forty five,” goes the chorus – is a scorching blast of garage punk with distant echoes of Aussie legends Radio Birdman. The ep concludes with He Don’t Want You Now, which starts out as the most Kinks-ish of all the songs and builds to the best chorus of any of them. The band brings in a 60s artifact, a repeater box, the second time around. Nice touch. This album just makes you want to head to Milwaukee for Summerfest in June and never come back. It’s early in the year but this may well be the best debut of 2008. Five bratwursts.

Several of the other Easter Records bands are worth checking out: garage rockers White Hot Tizzy, janglemeisters Trolley (also featuring Hackbarth and Wall) and Heathrow, who sound like Supergrass if that band had been raised on Lienies and brats

January 8, 2008 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment