Saturday, December 31, 2016


December 1, 2016
"Turkey Lurkey Time" from the musical "Promises, Promises"

"Christmas" performed by Ann-Margaret, Oliver Reed and The Who
"Christmas Will Break Your Heart" performed by LCD Soundsystem
"Christmas Blues" performed by Big Joe Williams
"Christmas Tears" performed by Freddie King
"Mistletoe And Me" performed by Isaac Hayes

December 2, 2016
"Polly" performed by Whitney-WSPC PREMIERE
"Candy (She's Not So Sweet)" performed by Disq-WSPC PREMIERE

"Zombies" performed by Childish Gambino-WSPC PREMIERE
"Be My Beach" performed by Funkadelic
"Slow Love" performed by Prince

December 3, 2016
"1984" performed by Van Halen
"2+2=5" performed by Radiohead
"Sexcrime" performed by Eurythmics
"Barbarella" performed by Scott Weiland
December 4, 2016

"Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar"
"He Used To Cut Grass"
"Florentine Pogen" (live 1974)
"The Grand Wazoo"
"Zoot Allures"

"Power To The People" performed by John Lennon
"Uprising" performed by Muse
"Welcome To The Jungle" performed by Guns N' Roses

December 5, 2016
"Flash's Theme" performed by Queen
"Battle Theme" performed by Queen

"December 25" performed by Sloan-WSPC PREMIERE
"Join Together" performed by The Who
"Come Together" (live 1972) performed by John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band
"The Loving" performed by XTC

December 6, 2016
"Sayonara, Judge" (live) performed by Robyn Hitchcock-WSPC PREMIERE
"W.O.L.D." performed by Harry Chapin
"Year Of The Cat" performed by Al Stewart
"The Camera Eye" performed by Rush

December 7, 2016
"Wasted" performed by Brandi Carlile
"Brothers On A Hotel Bed" performed by Death Cab For Cutie
"Snowed In At Wheeler St." performed by Kate Bush with Elton John
"Do You Still Love Me?" performed by Ryan Adams-WSPC PREMIERE

December 8, 2016
"Stand By Me"
"Steel And Glass"
"Out Of The Blue"
"Look At Me"
"I Don't Wanna Face It"
"Oh Yoko!"

"Gimmie Some Truth"
"Cleanup Time"
"Bring On The Lucie (Freda People)"
"John Sinclair"
"Aisamusen (I'm Sorry)"
"Mind Games"
"Watching The Wheels"

December 9, 2016
"Super Mario Bros. Theme" (live) performed by The Roots with Shigeru Miyamoto
"Lucky Man" performed by Emerson, Lake and Palmer
"The Fear You Won't Fall" performed by Joshua Radin
"I Do Not Feel Like Being Good" performed by Ryan Adams
"Hello Like Before" performed by Bill Withers

December 10, 2016
"Winter Rose/Love Awake" performed by Paul McCartney and Wings
"River" performed by Joni Mitchell
"Come On Home" (acoustic) performed by Everything But the Girl
"Winter" performed by James Iha
"Winter" performed by The Rolling Stones
December 11, 2016
"Merry Christmas Baby" performed by Otis Redding
"Christmas Just Ain't Christmas Without The One You Love" performed by The O'Jays
"Gee Whiz It's Christmas" performed by Carla Thomas
"Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'" performed by Albert King
"Stone Soul Christmas" performed by Binky Griptite
"Santa's Got A Bag Of Soul" performed by The Soul Saints Orchestra

December 12, 2016
"Cautionary Tale" performed by Dylan LeBlanc-WSPC PREMIERE
"Can You Get To That" performed by Funkadelic
"Free Four" performed by Pink Floyd
"Noon Rendezvous" performed by Shelia E.
"As Hard As It Is" performed by Fine Young Cannibals

December 13, 2016
"Banks" performed by Dash Hounds-WSPC PREMIERE
"Theme From 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind'" performed by Jon Brion
"Gigolos Get Lonely Too" performed by The Time

December 14, 2016
"2000 Miles" performed by Pretenders
"I Believe In Father Christmas" performed by Greg Lake
"Fairytale Of New York" performed by The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl

December 15, 2016
"Dark/Something In The Water" (live 2013) performed by Prince

"In The Raw" performed by The Whispers
"Rikki  Don't Lose That Number" performed by Steely Dan
"Love Of The Common Man" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Alone Again (By Christmas)" performed by Isaac deBroux-Sloan

December 16, 2016
"Come Pick Me Up" performed by Ryan Adams

"Kids Come Back Again At Christmas" performed by Sloan-WSPC PREMIERE

December 17, 2016
"The Little Drummer Boy (Peace On Earth)" performed by Bing Crosby and David Bowie
"Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas" performed by The Staple Singers
"Purple Snowflakes" performed by Marvin Gaye
"Christmas In Hollis" performed by Run-DMC
"Christmas Wrapping" performed by The Waitresses

December 18, 2016
"Riu Chiu" performed by The Monkees
"Christmas Hurts" performed by Isaac deBroux-Sloan-WSPC PREMIERE

December 19, 2016
"Be Apart" performed by Porches-WSPC PREMIERE
"His Story" performed by Gil Scott-Heron
"Merry Xmas Song" performed by Pink Floyd

"Whatever Happened To Christmas" performed by Aimee Mann
"Thanks For Christmas" performed by XTC
"Christmas Day" performed by Squeeze
"All I Want For Christmas" performed by Timbuk 3
"Another Lonely Christmas" performed by Prince

December 21, 2016
"St. James Infirmary" performed by Cab Calloway
"Dead Flowers" performed by The Rolling Stones
"Peaches En Regalia" performed by Frank Zappa

December 22, 2016
"Burning Bright (Field On Fire)" performed by Nine Inch Nails-WSPC PREMIERE

"Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You" performed by Billy Squier
"The Road To Rock And Roll" performed by Joe Strummer ad the Mescaleros
"Sing My Blues Away" performed by  Cheap Trick-WSPC PREMIERE
"Jacked Up" performed by Weezer-WSPC PREMIERE
"Louis Sachar" performed by Trophy Dad-WSPC PREMIERE

December 23, 2016
"Give Me An Inch" performed by Robert Palmer
"A Small Plot Of Land" performed by Donny McCaslin-WSPC PREMIERE
"Sunrise (Eyes Of The Young)" performed by The Flaming Lips-WSPC PREMIERE
"Matilda Mother" performed by Pink Floyd
"To Be Without You" performed by Ryan Adams-WSPC PREMIERE

December 24, 2016
"Signs Of Christmas" performed by JAMES BROWN
"Christmas Is Coming" performed by Vince Guaraldi Trio
"Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)" performed by The Ramones
"No Room At The Inn" performed by The Staple Singers
"Mary And The Holy Ghost" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Don't Believe In Christmas" (live) performed by Pearl Jam

December 25, 2016
"Give Love On Christmas Day" performed by The Jackson 5
"This Christmas" performed by Donny Hathaway
"Someday At Christmas" performed by Stevie Wonder
"White Christmas" performed by Otis Redding
"Silver Bells" performed by Wilson Pickett
"Christmas Rappin'" performed by Kurtis Blow

December 26, 2016
January 23, 1963-December 25, 2016
"A Different Corner"

"Young Guns (Go For It)" performed by Wham UK
"Freedom" performed by Wham UK
"Freedom '90"

December 27, 2016
October 21, 1956-December 27, 2016
"Princess Leia's Theme" composed by  John Williams

December 28, 2016
"Walking Wounded" performed by Everything But The Girl
"Din Daa Daa" performed by George Kranz
"Pallas Athena" performed by David Bowie
"Lonely Soul" performed by U.N.K.L.E. with Richard Ashcroft
"Beach Scene" performed by Tangerine Dream

December 29, 2016
"Holy Hell" performed by Father John Misty-WSPC PREMIERE
"Dead Alive" performed by The Shins-WSPC PREMIERE
"Floating" performed by The Amazing-WSPC PREMIERE
"Frozen Love" performed by Buckingham Nicks
"Open Door" performed by Genesis

"1" performed by Weather Report

December 30, 2016
"Shine A Little Love" performed by Electric Light Orchestra
"I Know What I Know" performed by The Monkees-WSPC PREMIERE
"Daddy's Song" performed by The Monkees

December 31, 2016
"Be Thankful For What You Got" performed by William De Vaughn
"Mind Power" performed by JAMES BROWN
"It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night" (from "Sign O' The Times' film) performed by Prince

"Just The Time Of Year" performed by Peter Frampton
"The Last Ride" performed by Todd Rundgren
"Someday We'll Know" performed by New Radicals
"Life Goes On" performed by The Kinks

"Wake Up Dead Man" performed by U2

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


1. "The Deathless Horsie" performed by Frank Zappa
2. "Big Electric Cat" performed by Adrian Belew
3. "Union, Jack" performed by Big Audio Dynamite
4. "Beanie G. And The Rose Tattoo" performed by Daryl Hall & John Oates
5. "Black Again" performed by Stone Temple Pilots
6. "Top Of The City" performed by Kate Bush
7. "Rescue Me" performed by World Party
8. "Do You Still Love Me?" performed by Ryan Adams
9. "Darkness" performed by The Police
10."Across The Universe" performed by The Beatles

1. "Head Carrier" performed by Pixies
2. "Divide" performed by The Amazing
3. "I Have Nothing Left To Say" performed by Teenage Fanclub
4. "Lazarus" performed by David Bowie
5. "Clover" performed by Dash Hounds
6. "Burn The Witch" performed by Radiohead
7. "Mambo" performed by DJ Shadow
8. "Have Some Love" performed by Childish Gambino
9. "Birth Of An Accidental Hipster" performed by The Monkees
10."Whenever, I" performed by Wild Nothing

1. "The Christmas Song" performed by The Jackson 5
2. "Christmas In New Orleans" performed by Louis Armstrong and his All Stars
3. "Christmas All Over Again" performed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
4. "Father Christmas" performed by The Kinks
5. "I Wish It Was Christmas Today" from "Saturday Night Live" performed by Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan & Chris Kattan
6. "Christmas Is Coming" performed by Vince Guaradi Trio
7. "Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto" performed by JAMES BROWN
8. "Cool Yule" performed by Tony Rodelle Larson
9. "Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)" performed by Miles Davis & Gil Evans
10."Santa Claus Is A Black Man" performed by AKIM and the Teddy Vann Production Company
11."Christmastime" performed by The Smashing Pumpkins
12."December 25" performed by Sloan
13."Christmas Wish" performed by NRBQ
14."Step Into Christmas" performed by Elton John

1. "Gangster" performed by Electronic
2. "Temptation Waits" performed by Garbage
3. "Mofo" performed by U2
4. "Din Da Da" performed by The Roots
5. "Too Funky" performed by George Michael
6. "Lose Yourself To Dance" performed by Daft Punk with Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
7. "That's Why People Fall In Love" performed by Thomas Dolby
8. "Groovy Potential" performed by Prince

Sunday, December 18, 2016


The time of the year is upon us once again when all manner of writers, critics, magazines, and even DJs compile their top music selections released within the past year and I am, of course, no exception. So, at this time, I am very excited to present to you my personal listing of my favorite albums of the year 2016.

As with last year's list, the albums are not listed in any order--although, this time I do have them compiled alphabetically--with only a Runner Up and Album of The Year existing as any sort of numerically ranked titles.

And with that, let's place the needle on the record...


Although technically classified as an EP, the 5 song debut release from the collective of Madison, WI musicians Alivia Kleinfeldt (vocals, bass, guitar) and Brendan Manley (guitar, drums) was unquestionably one of 2016's most intoxicating, captivating and compulsively listenable works. With an artistic aesthetic that suggested an amalgamation of 1940's torch songs, 1950's girl groups, 1990's-2000's indie/alternative rock, and even Fleetwood Mac at their most experimental, Dash Hounds' "Eft" was a fearless work, completely unintimidated by songs of lengthy duration or the creation of music that was defiantly not immediate but rewarded patient listeners handsomely. These are haunting, bewitching songs that simultaneously soothed and unsettled, from the stunning, nearly 8 minute opener "Dreamboy" and the slowly rising storm of "Clover" to the disturbing Gothic underworld of the deceptively sweet titled "Pudding."  .

The legendary hip-hop trio returned to our earholes after an 11 year absence with a triumphant Kickstarter campaign, a fully rejuvenated and downright hungry creative spirit resulting in their finest, and again, most fearless work since their iconic first three albums, which consists of nothing less than "3 Ft High And Rising" (releassed Fabruary 14, 1989), "De La Soul Is Dead" (released May 14, 1991) and "Buhloone Mindstate" (released September 21, 1993).

Collaborating with their live touring band, De La Soul jammed and composed nearly 200 hours of instrumental music within a variety of genres from funk, soul, rock, metal, country, jazz, and even baroque chamber music alongside their musical bedrock of hip-hop to inspire the lyrical content and create the soundtrack through which the group sampled themselves, leaving any outside samples to an absolute minimum. Taking this new aesthetic and further collaborating with the likes of equally varied artists such as David Byrne, Snoop Dogg, Little Dragon, Damon Albarn and others, De La Soul has ultimately arrived with a thrilling, wide ranging, fully enveloping album of tremendous synchronicity and solidarity, all the while demonstrating exactly what hip-hop can actually be plus vibrantly displaying what De La Soul believes hip-hop already is.


I stumbled onto this release over the previous couple of weeks and was instantly blown away, so much so that it very easily found its way onto my personal list with supreme confidence!!

The Madison, WI. based band Disq, consists of solely two members: Raina Bock (bass guitar) and Isaac deBroux-Slone (vocals, guitars, drums, keyboards), both of whom entirely co-wrote and produced the eight stellar, melodically rich and often electrifying selections which stretch from power pop to full blown neo-psychedelia with unabashed purity, enthusiasm, energy and undeniable skill and astounding confidence.

Opening with the gloriously glam "Candy (She's Not So Sweet)" and flowing breathlessly through the bluesy grooves of "Neglect (Wondering)," the aggressive, full speed ahead 70's album rock styled "All I Do Is Nothing," the cheesy organ riffed garage rock of "Overloaded" and the epic finale of "I'm Sorry" plus four more multi-faceted songs that completely knocked me sideways over and again with all manner of musical surprises, What grabbed me so powerfully was that with this album, Disq arrives so fully formed, as if they were already seasoned professionals, but they still sound more than youthful enough to project an aesthetic that is as guileless as it is adventurous and, once again..fearless--an aspect that just may have something to do with the fact that deBroux-Slone has just turned 18, while Bock is only 16!

Just as with several of their contemporaries in the astonishing current Madison music scene, the ages of Disq is not considered to be a novelty for my ears. I know what I like and I definitely know what I love and do take my word for it, Disq has created an expansive work that at times suggested the roads of possibility as heard within something like the debut album from Tame Impala. Yes, they are that good, that skilled, that serious with their sense of songcraft, production and musicianship. Disq has demonstrated with their debut release that they are unafraid of approaching the creation of new music through various musical genres, sonic textures and even song lengths and armed with deBroux-Slone's spellbinding guitar solos, they are proving themselves to being a force to be reckoned with.

Trust me, you don't want to miss this boat!

If mainstream pop music sounded like this album, then I would easily listen to pop music stations easily, readily and daily. But since that is not the case, I excitedly turn your attention to the sixth album by songwriters/singers/multi-instrumentalists and brothers David and Peter Brewis, collectively known as Field Music whose "Commontime" is a four sectioned, double album's styled cornucopia of gloriously composed, produced, arranged and performed pop music that stretches from funk workouts, arcane sidesteps, stunningly orchestrated ballads, and elegant ear candy soundscapes that coalesce to a grand musical bouquet. If 10cc by way of Squeeze, The Go-Betweens, Prefab Sprout, and Steely Dan sounds like this is something that will race up your alley, then, do indeed seek this out. Even Prince was apparently a fan so what bigger endorsement could you need? 

Channeling the matter-of-fact yet seismically poetic work of figures like Bill Withers or Marvin Gaye, Michael Kiwanuka's "Love & Hate" is a slow burn of a album that takes the listener step by step in the shoes and souls of people of color, most specifically Black males in the 21st century, ultimately making for one of the year's most somber and undeniably powerful releases. Armed with the weary grit of his voice, the sting of his guitar work and augmented by Danger Mouse's mournful orchestrations and production, "Love & Hate" voyages from the opening 10 minute epic towards the aching finale, all the while blurring the lines between the blues and the operatic.

One of the year's most lovingly realized albums arrived from the very first band I was ever obsessed with. 

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of The Monkees' beginnings as a television musical comedy series, which then gave birth to the living, breathing band as we know it consisting of the wonderful Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith and the late, great Davy Jones, "Good Times!" is a blissful production from Adam Schelsinger (Fountains Of Wayne, Tinted Windows, Ivy) filled end to end with joyously composed tracks from the likes of Andy Partridge, Paul Weller, Carole King, Rivers Cuomo, as well as from both Tork and Nesmith, and sung heroically from the "pre-fab four" themselves. Dolenz remains one of rock's most expressive and underrated singers, Tork and Nesmith show tremendous life and light upon their selections and what a pleasure it was to hear the voice of Davy Jones again simply sparkling through my speakers. 

Beginning with the most luxuriously created musical bubble gum and moving towards selections of increasing psychedelia and poignancy, The Monkees' "Good Times!" not only beautifully lives up to the promises of its title, it exceeds them a gain and again. I do not care a whit if The Monkees are, were or have ever been a "real" band or not, because to my ears, they are as real as the endless sunshine their music conjures in my spirit. Don't believe me? Just listen to the album's "Me And Magdelena." There is hardly another song I heard in 2016 that was more graceful than this one. BRAVO!!!!


Madison's young quartet of Mitch Deitz, Shannon Connor, Sam Galligan and Brendan Manley, collectively known as Post Social arrived in mid-summer with their endlessly intoxicating and absolutely terrific third album which found the band operating at their finest to date. For me, this was the album where Post Social created their most fully realized musical statement with a beautifully sequenced collection of songs that congealed into an experience that often felt like one continuous suite as the hypnotic rhythms and most especially, the cascading melodies and guitar textures, unfurled luxuriously, all of which simply washing me away. With the stunning ballad "Idlewild," the Divine Comedy inspired "Ugolino," the six minute near Pink Floyd-ian odyssey of "Eyes Closed," the epic guitar fireworks of "Forester," the bouncy power pop of "Heat" and "In The Shade" plus even more, Post Social, already an exciting musical band of brothers, has now truly blasted into widescreen. 

For whatever reasons, I haven't written about this album as of yet but for the purposes of this list, now is the perfect time to do so.

Now truth be told, I do happen to have a certain prickliness concerning Radiohead from time to time. Or more fairly, I have a certain prickliness to the perceptions about Radiohead from the music press and the fan community. Basically, Radio head has been one of those rare acts that has seemed to received a certain "free pass" from seemingly everyone and in many ways, the proof is within the music itself which has often been thrilling, uncompromising and even shattering in its power, beauty, fragility and intensity. Yet, as with all artists, nothing is necessarily flawless, and not everything can possibly be a masterpiece, and for much of their career, I have had the feeling that Radiohead is that band that is perceived to  have no flaws whatsoever as if every singe note they record is a gold one--which is certainly not true. 

Sometimes, what the band has released has veered towards the side of art for art's sake. And yes, for whatever reason, Thom Yorke's tendency to mumble, slur and essentially have complete disregard for simple enunciation despite the gorgeousness of his voice and lyrics grates on me. So, when the response to Radiohead's "The King Of Limbs" (released February 18, 2011), a good album which I did happen to find to be a bit slight, remained grand and with very little criticism, I bristled a bit. Additionally, as the lines blurred between Radiohead, and Yorke's solo music and ventures into his second band Atoms For Peace, making the music between all three areas veer towards being indistinguishable from each other, I bristled even more, although all of the music contained all three fronts was uniformly strong and innovative.  

With "A Moon Shaped Pool," Radiohead's first album of new material in five years, the band whose quality bar has persistently remained unquestionably high, has delivered one of their finest albums to date--easily the equal of such landmarks as "OK Computer," (released May 21, 1997), "Kid A" (released October 2, 2000) and "In Rainbows" (released October 10, 2007)-- as well as being one of the finest albums of 2016. In short, the band has fully captured my imagination and admiration all over again.

As with the Post Social album, what Radiohead has achieved in truly one of their most seamless efforts to date, so much so, "A Moon Shaped Pool" feels like one extended musical composition that just happens to be divided into 11 songs. Musically, the band has merged the acoustic, electric, symphonic and electronic into a perfect tapestry where each element truly supports and compliments each other coalescing into an experience that is harmoniously glacial while not diminishing Radiohead's trademark sense of tension, displacement, urgency, anxiety, paranoia, and especially their tremendous sense of empathy and transcendence. Drum machines and synthesizers are surrounded by Johnny Greenwood's agitated string and choral arrangements and envelopments. Acoustic guitars are swirled away through electronically treated pianos. Slight samba beats become muted amidst Yorke's lyrics and vocals of loneliness. And all of those certain juxtapositions and more merge brilliantly, as never before for the band, into a shimmering, stunning wintry suite that feels tailor made for the aggressive uncertainty of life in the 21st century.

For all of my personal quibbles, Radiohead has consistently seemed to have their musical fingers on the throbbing pulse of society, and with "A Moon Shaped Pool," now (and possibly more than ever) the band has created a work designed to keep us all from sliding off into the void in isolation as the album serves to present a warm sense of emotional solidarity in an extremely cold world.

With most gracious thanks to B-Side Records' Steve Manley (get well soon, my friend), the latest album from Madison's very own  Squarewave has sailed to my list of the finest albums of 2016 after just one listen as the instantly captivating, engulfing and astounding textures of neo-psychedelia spoke to my musical spirit powerfully.

Long having risen from the ashes of the legendary Madison band Ivory Library, Squarewave's Jeff Jagielo and Patrick Connaughty specialized blend of folk, pop and rock influenced songwriting combined with the art/alternative rock textures of the likes of Pink Floyd and The Church, and even the atmospherics of Tangerine Dream and the quieter, moodier side of Nine Inch Nails, made for a listening experience that really felt as if it was delivered from its own universe into ours. Listening to the full and nearly 80 minutes worth of "A Tighter Knot," will make you truly feel as if you have ventured upon a long, dark journey to who knows where with Squarewave providing the compelling soundtrack.

I was absolutely enchanted and bewitched by the sonic textures the Jagielo and Connaughty concocted with warm electric pianos running side by side with dissonant guitars and synthetic backdrops. Additionally, it is extremely rare to hear a set of programmed drums sound so lifelike, so rich, so human and again, so very warm as they provided propulsive backbeats to the whirlwinds of sonic walls of sound built from Mellotrons, organs, modular synths and angry amplifiers. 

The experience of "A Tighter Knot" is fully immersive, akin to taking a long, slow submergence into a deep, dark pool while also becoming excitingly innovative as Squarewave delivered a sound unlike any other that I heard in 2016.    

Bassist/singer/songwriter Esperanza Spalding truly let her freak flag fly to its highest point and proudly so with her latest album, a defiant swan dive into more jazz fusion territories and a conversational lyrical delivery that eerily conjured the spirit of 1970's Joni Mitchell. Utilizing her middle name of Emily as the starting point of realizing an album through an alter-ego, Spalding's music seemed to reach backwards in time just to propel itself forwards with a musical dexterity and unabashed confidence that was remarkable to behold and find myself whisked away by. Simultaneously demanding yet wholly accessible, Spalding's "Emily's D+Evolution" is a heroically demanding experience that provides melodies bursting forth from a myriad of simultaneous melodies that intertwine, blossom and bloom into bouquets of sound making for music that blast from simply being an album and becoming something that works as manifesto.

With this concept album of summer love and loss, Weezer, with their fourth color themed self titled album and tenth album overall, is working at the peak of their powers as this was one of my favorite rock albums of the year. Combining power pop hooks, booming garage rock enthusiasm, glorious choirboy harmonies and aching lyrics, Rivers Cuomo and his band of merry men created a triumph of melodicism and storytelling that somehow made this veteran band sound hungrier and more energetic than ever. This is an album where the songs will definitely stick like glue even as they break your heart.

Certainly by now, you have been able to gather that the albums that moved me the greatest were the ones that were ones that blurred the lines between musical genres or the ones that were absolutely fearless with their conceptions and presentations. In 2016, an artist who proved himself to be especially fearless as well as exceedingly prolific was none other than pianist Robert Glasper, an artist who has gleefully and unrepentantly blurred the lines between jazz, R&B, soul, hip-hop, alt rock and more for the entirety of his career thus far and shows no discernible signs of stopping anytime soon. And trust me, we are all the better for it.

In 2016,  Glasper not only composed the score for Actor/Writer/Director Don Cheadle's wildly unorthodox and criminally underseen "Miles Ahead," the defiant non-biopic of Miles Davis, he also curated the film's soundtrack album plus devised the darkly distinctive collection "Everything's Beautiful" (released May 27, 2016) on which he is co-credited with Davis. This album, on which Glasper concocted and fully re-interpreted Miles Davis compositions into new material culled from Davis' original multi-track recordings combined with contributions from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Bilal, Hiatus Kaiyote among others, is truly one audacious listening experience. 

And then, Glasper reunited with his bandmates in The Robert Glasper Experiment to create "ArtScience" (released September 16, 2016), easily the group's most diverse statement to date blending prog rock and a greater political edge into their elastic proceedings and musical stew of hip-hop, soul, funk and classic R&B. Finally, Glasper's touch can be heard through the entirety of Common's latest album "Black America Again" (released November 4, 2016), as he performs keyboard duties from end-to-end.

Tirelessly inventive and curious, Robert Glasper's musicality is excitingly impossible to pin down, which makes his musical odyssey so very thrilling to behold. 

One of the year's greatest musical surprises was the fully unexpected late year release from the iconic hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. 

Billed as their final release and completed in full tribute to the their fallen comrade Malik Taylor a.k.a. Phife Dawg who so sadly passed away earlier this year after succumbing to complications from diabetes, ATCQ unearthed a collection of reunion, remembrance, renewal, and even a surprisingly furious sense of political resistance and revolution in our increasingly turbulent times.

"We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service" is A Tribe Called Quest at their most urgent, where issues of mortality, death, and survival of the African-American community, the world community and Phife Dawg himself are all weaved into the fabric brilliantly, all informing each other as we (the band and the audience) all determine how precisely to keep moving forwards on our collective paths of rhythm in our collective life experience. 

Poignant and powerful. 

I have honestly never heard a final act such as this one.

David Bowie's "Blackstar," his final album released to the world just two mere days before his passing in January, yet composed and recorded in secrecy and with the full knowledge of his impending mortality is unquestionably 2016's most stunning release. 

Weaving his personal tragedy into the art yet making the experience so inscrutably artful and undeniably as Bowie-esque as anything within his vast, iconic catalog made for a turbulent, seismically emotional ride which never for even one moment sounded like final breaths being taken. Quite the contrary, "Blackstar" is restlessly inventive, feverishly creative and filled with a tireless, lustrous and even macabre imagination and creativity that showcases the unique brilliance of David Bowie, what we were so blessed to have within our existence for these past nearly 50 years, and how music and art have been so beautifully and irrevocably changed just because of him. "Blackstar" is an astounding final testament.

Truth be told, I actually have not listened to the album very much since last Winter, perhaps due to not really feeling ready to undertake the experience of the album again so soon, and especially after enduring a year of so many deaths within our artist community as well as living through a dark year in general. But somehow, as I played the track "Lazarus" on my most recent Savage Radio episode, and even listening to the nearly 10 minute title track upon my head phones as I walked around my city, I found myself marveling at the musical magic at work as the songs themselves continued to stick like glue and in doing so, I could first begin to perhaps view the album as a gift from Bowie to all of us once again rather as something so unbearably sad. 

A remarkable epitaph that is as elegant as it is so rigorously impressive and exciting, David Bowie's "Blackstar" is a transcendent work that defies categorization and exists solely within its own universe, an environment into which we have all been invited--a universe that fully encapsulates the historic, complete experience of David Bowie himself.   

And there you have it. My favorite releases of the year,a year where music was considerably strong and inventive, exciting and full of an artistic purity that I feared had been waning in recent years. Here's hoping that music in 2017 can scale even greater heights. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016



Regarding the outcome of the year 2016, John Oliver was 100% correct in his passionately, profusely profane assessment. Honestly, it has just felt like 2016 was the year that music died.

Just a mere 10 days into the new year of 2016, we all faced our first surprising and seismic loss within our collective music community as we were forced to say goodbye to David Bowie, who passed away from liver cancer just two days after his 69th birthday. Seven days later, we said goodbye to Dale "Buffin" Griffin, drummer /co-founder of Mott The Hoople and then, the very next day, Glenn Frey, singer/songwriter/guitarist/co-founder and leader of the Eagles passed away.

And the deaths just kept coming, which included but were in no way limited to the following....

Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane/Starship)
Signe Anderson (Jefferson Airplane)
Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire)
Denise Matthews a.k.a. Vanity (Vanity 6)
Sir George Martin
Keith Emerson
Malik Taylor a.k.a. Phife Dawg (A Tribe Called Quest)
Merle Haggard
Lonnie Mack
Billy Paul
Henry McCullough (Paul McCartney and Wings)
Attrel Cordes a.k.a. Prince Be (P.M. Dawn)
Bernie Worrell (George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic)
Scotty Moore (Elvis Presley)
Alan Vega (Suicide)
Toots Thielemans
Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural Jr. (Buckwheat Zydeco)
Leonard Cohen
Leon Russell
Sharon Jones

and of course, beloved, beautiful, iconic Prince.

It is almost as if these people knew something that the rest of us did not...and of course, the election happened and while there's no need to go into that all over again, I can say that I am still in disbelief that we, in our collective history, have essentially returned to this dark place--a place that should have been long relegated to the history books with actions never to be repeated.

I sit here writing to you feeling more than disillusioned and confused and filled with more genuine fear than I ever have felt before regarding the state of the world. I am somehow able to keep the dark feelings at bay. Sometimes through the business of work. Other times through all manner of distractions. But, of course, reality sets in again and I am unable to help but to keep hoping for an escape hatch from our impending future, a hatch that will never be opened because it just doesn't exist.

So, what now? Yes, the world will keep turning and the sun shall rise again but honestly, what now? I have no answers. I just do not. But all I am able to offer to myself and to you is that however we do choose to love each other, to hold each other up and to keep some sense of solidarity, we should continued to love and hold and attain solidarity even harder than ever. And wherever we find that solace, treasure it even more deeply than before.

For me, solace is found through my family and the comfort and solitude found at home. Solace is found through having a sense of purpose through my career in the real world as a preschool teacher. Solace is found through the connections I have made with the people I see and know throughout Madison, WI on a daily basis as well as through the people I have forged connections with within the internet community, friends near and far, friends from throughout life to those I have never met face-to-face.

And of course, there is music. Music sweet music.

To think of all of the connections created just through music, I am humbled, even moreso that I am now a tad more aware of the small place I find myself within the Madison music community, which consists of musicians and recording artists to local DJs and radio stations as well as concert venues and most definitely, the record stores and their owners and customers. With music, for all of its losses this year, there were some wondrous grace notes I experienced as well.

I am endlessly thankful to Steve Manley, owner/proprietor of B-Side Records as well as Dave Zero of Mad City Music Exchange, for all of the music that I purchased, discovered and was exposed to solely through them and their gorgeous stores.

I am thankful to Kevin Peckham, Kevin Ruppert, Dave Black and the entire student crew of WSUM -FM, not only for again hosting the WLHA Resurrection Reunion weekend event this past summer, but for being the finest radio station in the city of Madison bar none as they consistently expose me to new, vibrant music and possess the programming and exciting voices that make radio such an incredible environment to be a part of just as a listener. And rewinding back to that WLHA weekend, I am forever grateful to Kelly Klaschus, Sue Grass and Lisa Grunenberg, all beautiful people I met during my college years within student radio--connections that mean even more with each passing year, the warmth of which I am certain is heard over the airwaves when we have gotten together these past few years.

I thank my friend Randy Ballwahn, WSUM DJ/host of "Freak Scene Radio" as well as drummer of Madison's German Art Students, for inviting me to take part at his birthday party earlier this year as one of a host of DJs. I am thankful to DJ Nightway, WSUM host of "The Mixtape," truly one of the finest shows I have had the pleasure to hear, as her luxurious voice and impeccable taste continues to push me to be a better radio host myself--and as we have connected on-line, her kindness and humor is endlessly appreciated and welcomed.

And of course, I am more than compelled to thank Tom Teuber and Lindsay Wood Davis for allowing me to become a part of WVMO and give birth to "Savage Radio," which saw its one year anniversary last month. As I announced on-air, as much as I treasured my time as a college radio DJ at WLHA, I know that for now, I appreciate the privilege even more because there are no guarantees and who knew that I would ever have a second chance at radio again. Each week is a highlight and my gratitude to them, to my fellow DJs like Jeff Perry, David Cobb, and Jim Gunderson and once again to Mr. Davis, who has elicited such unexpected praise towards me, is bottomless. And for those people who have chosen to listen to my show, even with the demands of their lives, I am speechless.

I have to thank the young musicians within the Madison music community from Post Social, Modern Mod, Dash Hounds, Trophy Dad, Slow Pulp, Wilder Deitz Group, Pollinators, Gloss Coats, the New York based gobbinjr and just recently, Madison's very own Disq and Thompson Springs, for all of their creativity as well as time, energy and friendship given to me through print and radio interviews, correspondence, sent demos and the like, and for just allowing me to gather a window into their respective artistic processes. You inspire me to no end...all of you!

And I have to thank Lara Mondae, overnight DJ/host on my all time favorite radio station WXRT-FM Chicago's Finest Rock, whom I heard for the very first time while in Chicago this past October and have struck up a correspondence with on-line. Her alluring voice is supremely inviting and as her time on-air encompasses epic 8 hour shifts, I am continuously stunned and amazed that she is able to keep her wits about herself. Her energy, enthusiasm and overall on-air warmth after such lengthy spells on-air to this peerless radio station is unquestionable as she moves brilliantly throughout the night for the city of Chicago and for anyone who chooses to listen outside of my home city. I sincerely hope that the "XRT powers-that-be appreciate her indisputable gifts for doing what she does, and for how damn well she does it, is no small feat. And yes, anytime that she is able to send me a line in response is appreciated more than I could ever tell her myself.

Looking at this listing, I realize that this is all possible solely because of music and for that, 2016 was not all bad and additionally, this is precisely what I need to hold onto even tighter in these turbulent times. So let us hold onto each other and onto all things wonderful as this year ends--and let the music be our guides.

What has music given to you this year? Why not make a list? You may be surprised at what you discover. And in doing so, listen to your favorite music...and as always...PLAY LOUD!!!!!!!