Madison's Nellie Wilson and the Hellbound Honeys put a new twist on nasty underground country. The title of their new album “Taking the “O” Out Of Country” may raise a few eyebrows, but the lyrics are what set them apart from the dreaded manufactured Nashville sound. Nellie and her band came of age playing in various punk bands and that DIY vibe comes through in their performance.
At the band's recent CD release party, Nellie dressed in a purple hoop skirt and freshly cut hairdo, using her sweet powerful voice to keep the audience transfixed, while the Hellbound Honeys kept the old-school country sound intact. A sonic combination that creates authenticity few Madison bands can muster.
Nothing like a good blizzard to bring out the Madison indie rock faithful. Despite a ton of snow, the Cloud Cult show at the Majestic Theater was almost sold-out. Openers Dark Dark Dark returned to Madison with a mesmerizing set highlighted by the hypnotic vocals of Nona Marie Invie.
It was Cloud Cult's final show of the tour supporting "Light Chasers" and the band was pumped! The eclectic mix of art, violins, guitar dynamics and intricate harmonies culminated in an adhoc celebration of winter. Check out the video of Cloud Cult performing "Everybody Here Is a Cloud" for the final encore.
2010 was a great year for independent music, as many indie rock artists broke into the top ten sales charts without the aid of major labels or mainstream radio airplay. The Internet, via social media and indie music blogs, paved the way for a new approach to DIY promotion that leveled the playing field for many artists.
Locally, the closing of Madison’s Smart Studios signaled a changing of the guard, as the availability of low cost laptop-based recording software eliminated the need for large studios.
On the Rock of the Arts front, we saw over 150 indie shows in 2010 including multi-day stints at South by Southwest in Austin along with Pitchfork and Lollapalooza in Chicago. We wanted to come up with a list of our favorite shows. It was hard to narrow down the list to ten shows, but here we go:
Indie super group Middle Brother is the name of the new side project from Deer Tick's John McCauley, Matt Vasquez from Delta Spirit and Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes. We were fortunate enough to see the band's first performance at a small club in Austin, TX during SXSW earlier this year and caught the beautiful "Daydreaming" on video. The self-titled debut album from the three friends will be released on March 1, 2011 on Partisan Records.