Dave Benton on Spooner and the Garbage-Smart Studios mystique


Dave Benton may just be one of the most knowledgeable local music archivists.
If you’ve just arrived in Madison, maybe as a student or new Epic Systems employee, you’ve probably heard stories about the city’s grunge music past. Local residents are familiar with the Smart Studios saga. Producer Butch Vig starts a small recording studio with Steve Marker at the corner of East Washington and Baldwin Streets (The building is still there). He records demo tapes for an unknown band named Nirvana that eventually become part of the iconic album Nevermind.

Smart Studios becomes the epicenter for 90's alternative bands to record albums. Butch eventually starts Garbage with siren vocalist Shirley Manson, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker and the rest is history. Well not so fast. One of the first links in this story is a band called Spooner and guitarist Dave Benton who helps keep their record release output active.

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A.V. Club Milwaukee editor experiences the ultimate Onion moment

The Onion

It pains Madisonians to hear about the demise of The Onion. The news broke last week that The Onion would cease print publication in the only three cities left that were still doing it; Milwaukee, Chicago and Providence, RI. The final paper editions would come out on December 12.

While the national version of The Onion website will live on in digital infamy, the sad state of the print media in general led to Onion-less newsstands across the country. Matt Wild, editor at the Milwaukee A.V. Club, sits down with Evan Rytlewski of the Sheppard Express and Ryan Schleicher of WMSE on their weekly radio talk show to discuss how it all went down.

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Damsel Trash rocks Wendy Davis

Damsel Trash
Damsel Trash

Madison is known for its liberal politics and eclectic nature. Damsel Trash wants to add Wendy Davis worship to the mix. The Madison duo of Emily Mills and Meghan Rose are tearing up the local music scene with their stripped down guitar and drum delivery along with an ode to the Texas state Senator. Davis recently gained national attention for her women’s reproductive rights filibuster and candidacy for governor of the Lone Star State. What better city than Madison to spawn an anthem for a feminist folk hero?

Madison troubadour Dietrich Gosser tells all!

Dietrich Gosser
Dietrich Gosser is one of Madison's premier songwriters. Praised by peers and fans alike, the laid-back folk musician has been a fixture on the local music scene and is beginning to make waves nationally. American Songwriter recently featured a track from his new album Oh to Begin! raising the profile of this Madison troubadour. Gosser surprises too. Not content with the folk label confines, he branches out with fuller arrangements and additional instrumentation on Oh to Begin!, bringing an edgier view to his observations on life.
The list of friends who helped out on the new album is like a who’s who of Madison singer-songwriters; Jeremiah Nelson, Paul Otteson, Mary Gaines and Chris Wagoner along with the PHOX contingent of Monica Martin, Matt Holmen, Cheston Van Huss and Matt Roberts. Brian Daly from DNA Music Labs lends a hand in recording the collaborative effort. We wanted to find out more about this kindred spirit and how he sees life through words and music.

Interview: Hugh Bob and the Hustle's authenticity shines through

Hugh Bob and the Hustle

What do you get when you put together the Wildbirds, Jaill and the small northern Wisconsin town of Butternut? No, it’s not a Scott Walker indie band. It’s Hugh Bob and the Hustle. Guitarist Hugh Robert Masterson leads a veteran group of Wisconsin musicians who have garnered a countrified alternative sound they call "North Country" that's been raising some eyebrows on their home turf of Milwaukee.

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