There's a lot of music swirling around today and I must declutter my mind, so I'm unloading all of this stuff from my brain and onto your browser...
Detroit's The Go -- contemporaries of fellow Motor Citizens The White Stripes -- are still around (a fact that confounded at least one person I talked with today!) and coming to Milwaukee this week to promote the new disc, "Howl On the Haunted Beat You Ride."
Jack White, in fact, was a member of this psychedelic-tinged garage rock outfit before launching the Stripes.
Gritty and low-fi and packed with melodies, this new disc is perhaps the band's best since its 1999 breakthough "Whatcha Doin'," released on Sub Pop.
You can see The Go at The Mad Planet on Center Street on Saturday, Aug. 4.
After twice releasing Placebo's brilliant "Meds" record, Virgin Records now issues "Extended Play '07," an EP to accompany the band's current U.S. tour, which doesn't stop in Milwaukee, sadly. The band hasn't been here since playing at The Rave as openers for Stabbing Westward. Could that really have been in 1998?
Anyway, this EP has a track from each of the band's studio discs, alongside live versions of "Pure Morning," "Infra-Red" and Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill." It's not essential, but it's fun.
The second Editors disc is out in the States now and hearing it makes me wonder what the fuss is about in the UK. Some reviewers over there have panned it as taking a bad turn for the band, but, to me, it sounds pretty much like the first one, with some minor sonic differences. That is, it sounds like a band that loves Joy Division (see: Interpol).
That's fine and the record is listenable and OK, but while the band's first disc wasn't as brilliant as some would have you believe, the second one isn't as awful as some would have you believe.
It looks like Piedmont singer/songwriter Gianmaria Testa has finally ditched the day job. In his press materials it was always pointed out that Testa, despite his musical career, was still a station master on the Italian railways. Articles about his new record, "Da Questa Parte Del Mare" (Harmonia Mundi), describe him as an ex-railway employee.
That's good news, he oughta focus on his left of center folk infused music that is rooted in modern Italian traditions like the Paolo Conte-flavored cantautore style and in Piedmontese culture (although this disc doesn't have any songs in Piedmontese language).
Despite that, however, this is arguably the most place-specific effort to date from the Alba-based Testa. "Seminatori di grano" is about the men and women who work in the fields, sowing corn seeds; "Al mercato di Porta Palazzo" paints a picture of the hustle and bustle of Turin's street market; and "La nostra citta'" is a tribute to a (non-specific) hometown.
Bill Frisell adds some guitar to a few tunes, but Testa and his understated band don't really need him. They have enough personality, skill and good taste on their own.
Thanks for listening, I hope that wasn't too painful. I'm sure you'll let me know if it was.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.