As always, to encourage the consumption of music that doesn't suck, I have provided -- wherever available -- links to free, artist-sanctioned MP3s of the songs.
Today's mix tape is a collection of the finest rock 'n' roll Wisconsin has to offer. I hope you discover a new favorite band or two.
(Questions? Comments? Want one of your band's songs to be considered for an upcoming awesome mix tape? E-mail mperrine [at] duluthbudgeteer [dot] com.)
1. Garbage - "I Think I'm Paranoid"
Hails from: Madison, though singer Shirley Manson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Sounds like: highly refined "alternative."
2. Brother Ali - "Truth Is"
Hails from: Madison (moved to Minneapolis at age 15). Sounds like: the best damn albino "indieground" rapper you'll ever come across. BONUS! (SCORE!): Click here for my review of Brother Ali's latest, "The Undisputed Truth."
3. El Oso - "Tonight's Now Tomorrow"
Hails from: Milwaukee. Sounds like: a lighter, fluffier Grandaddy (or maybe an American Gorky's Zygotic Mynci?).
4. Steve Miller Band - "Serenade"
Hails from: Waukesha. Sounds like: blues rock in the key of "classic."
5. Josh Harty - "Last Known Address" (listen here)
Hails from: Fargo, but his *ahem* last known address was Madison (Harty recently relocated to the Chicago area). Sounds like: folk rock with a hint of early gospel influence. BONUS! (SCORE!): As it turns out, Harty is also a very nice man. (He let me interview him.)
6. Violent Femmes - "Out of the Window"
Hails from: Milwaukee. Sounds like: hey, they could be Canadian (?).
7. The Buffali - "Sophie" (listen here)
Hails from: Madison. Sounds like: (I've said it a million times but...) deee-ranged indie pop.
8. Sleeping in the Aviary - "Another Girl"
Hails from: Madison. Sounds like: rambunctious indie rock 'n' roll not unlike Weezer's demos for "Weezer." Or, as the band puts it, "the best three-piece since Grand Funk." Amen.
9. New Sense - "What If I Get Sick"
Hails from: Milwaukee. Sounds like: a cross between Deckard and Deathray (aka music to drive to parties to ... whatever that means).
10. Youngblood Brass Band - "Culture:Envy:War" (some MP3s available here)
Hails from: Madison. Sounds like: Galactic, but more college-y/frat boy-friendly. (Hint: The group's original name was "One Lard Biskit.")
11. Five Mod Four - "I'm the Funniest Person You Know"
Hails from: Milwaukee. Sounds like: the Wrens (they did release a split with that group in '04, after all).
12. Citizen King - "Safety Pin"
Hails from: Milwaukee. Sounds like: half-annoying, half-brilliant space-cadet rock. Like a subdued version of the K.G.B., if you will.
13. Spill - "I Don't Mind"
Hails from: Milwaukee. Sounds like: umm ... an even-more-Americanized Bush? Good ol' earnest rock 'n' roll, I guess is the best way to describe 'em.
14. QuinnElizabeth - "Day You Die" (listen here)
Hails from: Eau Claire. Sounds like: if the walls of Red Mug could talk.... BONUS! (SCORE!): I too have an article on these three lovely ladies.
15. Rainer Maria - "There Will Be No Night" ("The Double Life" MP3 available here)
Hails from: Madison (later Brooklyn). Sounds like: a more-feminine Cheer Up Poems.
16. Northern Room - "We're on Fire"
Hails from: Milwaukee. Sounds like: extremely polished (but pleasant) modern rock. Funny fact: Has opened for Bon Jovi.
17. Decibully - "Penny, Look Down"
Hails from: Milwaukee. Sounds like: definitely not what you'd think (for some reason the Audio Bullys keep coming to mind...). The misleadingly named Decibully actually peddles a refreshing sound that's as invigorating as anything my beloved supergroup the New Pornographers has dreamed up.
18. Number One Fan - "Come On"
Hails from: Appleton. Sounds like: dreamy mall punk that somehow doesn't make me want to say "Ugh, gag me with a spoon."
19. Stephanie Rearick - "Hymn" (listen here)
Hails from: Madison. Sounds like: an oftentimes brilliant chartreuse (would make for a sufficient Julee Cruise replacement).
20. No Longer Micah - "Removal of Apathy"
Hails from: Milwaukee. Sounds like: I'm drawing a blank, but there are four groups Download.com is insisting they sound like: Pedro the Lion, Low, Death Cab for Cutie and Sunny Day Real Estate. I really don't hear the Low comparison, but the other three are fairly accurate.
21. Jerry Harrison - "Flying Under Radar"
Hails from: Milwaukee (though he later made a name for himself in the Modern Lovers and the Talking Heads). Sounds like: a bloated attempt at recapturing that Talking Heads magic -- though, somehow, his solo stuff kind of grows on you.
22. Maritime - "Calm" (download others here!)
23. The Promise Ring - "Happy Hour" (DL some classics here) (and here!)
24. Mark Mallman and Vermont - "Too Hot" (listen here)
It's the ... Davey von Bohlen trilogy! Something must be in that Milwaukee water (besides beer, asshole!), for von Bohlen's gone on to form a handful of the best bands to ever grace my awesome mix tapes -- even, strangely, singing on the Jimmy Eat World song "A Praise Chorus." (I just learned that today, so I hope it's true....)