Friday Night at Der Rathskeller: The Usual Things w/ Lake Avenue

Join us Friday night in Der Rathskeller, as Minnesota alternative rock takes over Memorial Union.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • As always, the show is free.
  • Both bands are based out of Minneapolis, MN.
  • The band interests of The Usual Things members is described as such: “Pop Tarts.”
  • This is their Facebook. This is their website.
  • The Usual Things just released a new album called “Sweet Home Alone.”
  • ‘Incredible songs and solid musicianship without indie haircuts or too-tight pants. Please God, send more.’ -Maximum Ink
  • This is their video for “Middle Coast”:
  • Lake Avenue just released an album called “You Can’t Take it With You”
  • This is their Facebook page. This is their website.
  • They put on a hell of a live show:
  • They have received international exposure in Germany.

This free live show will start at 9:30pm Friday in the Rath. Make sure you stop by and jam to some happy and infectious tunes.

Friday at The Rathskeller: The New Trust

Soaring vocals, earnest lyrics, and heartfelt melodies. These elements comprise Bay Area punk rock band The New Trust.

The New Trust, a coed band including members Josh Staples, Sara Sanger, and Julia Lancer, writes love songs. However, according to their bio, their love songs have nothing in common with “other sappy indie-rock bands pouring their hearts out.” Instead, they claim to “have more in common with bands like Shellac, Neurosis, or Party of Helicopters.”

Either way, their music is infectious, and they’re playing for free at the Memorial Union’s Rathskeller this Friday.



Check out the band’s Facebook here, or their official website here.

The band is bringing their hard hitting rhythm section and their endearing vocal melodies to UW-Madison this Friday at 9:30pm

We hope to see you there!


Friday at Der Rathskeller: Twin Peaks w/ Fire Retarded

Chicago Magazine calls them “the next big rock band out of Chicago.”

Windy City Rock describes them as “refreshing” and “bubbling over with reckless joy and seemingly boundless energy.”

Click to visit the band's Twitter page

Click to visit the band’s Twitter page

Twin Peaks will be stopping by the Memorial Union on Friday, and we certainly expect them to bring their “boundless energy” with them.

You might recognize them for their sound, which is both ethereal and anarchic. Or you might recognize them by their hit song “Stand in the Sand”, which goes “I’m just a pretty chill guy beneath a pretty pink sky in a purple stand in the sand.”

If you don’t recognize them at all yet, that’s all the more reason to show up and discover what the press seems to agree is the Midwest’s next big indie band.

Oh, they’re also with a local band called Fire Retarded, that plays “loud garage-punk.”

Click the photo the check out Fire Retard's Facebook page

Click the photo the check out Fire Retard’s Facebook page

Their music is rabid, driving, and chaotic–a straight ball of energy. It’s also super catchy. They’ll be opening for Twin Peaks, and thus, getting the party started out right.

As always, if you’re looking for free live music at UW-Madison and a great night out, make sure you check out the Ratherskeller at 9:30 this Friday.

Friday Night in Memorial Union: Purling Hiss w/ Spires That in the Sunset Rise + Claps

130219-purling-hiss[1]This Friday in Der Rathskeller, come see Purling Hiss, Spires That in the Sunset Rise, and Claps!  The highest temperature will be 41 degrees that day, so why not warm up with some fuzzed-out, psych rock courtesy of Purling Hiss and company.  Do your friends’ house party have loud guitars, a psychedelic folk band, and some synth pop all playing live?  If they do, invite me.  Otherwise, Der Rath is the place to be.

Purling Hiss is a lo-fi psych rock band out of Philadelphia that combines killer guitar riffs and hooks with a distinctive recording sound that, on their first few albums, sounded like it was made with microphones from the 1950’s in an abandoned basement. Their latest LP, Water On Mars, lost that aggressively lo-fi recording style, but kept all the catchy melodies and guitar lines.  Check out their song “Mercury Retrograde” below.

Spires That In The Sunset Rise is a psych folk band from Decatur, Illinois.  Consisting of Kathleen Baird and Taralie Peterson, they combine traditional folk instruments with experimental songwriting to create a truly unique sound.  You can sample their song “Morning Song” below.

Claps is a Minneapolis synth pop band with reverb drenched vocals and simple, but effective synths. Imagine if Joy Division decided it hated its guitars and traded them for analog synths. Claps’ songs are dark dreamscapes filled with ominous bass lines and sullen rings of electronic music. Check out their song “Strain”, off their album Glory, Glory below.

Purling Hiss-“Mercury Retrograde”

Purling Hiss-“Run From This City”

Spires that in the Sunset Rise- “Morning Song”


Monday Feature: Glocca Morra


Madison weather remembered it is the middle of April, and finally stopped keeping the temperature in the 30’s.  There is no better way to celebrate than opening your windows, listening to the steady dripping of rain drops, and then turning up your speakers to LOUD and blasting punk rock.  Show nature who is boss.  She can’t do anything now, it’s spring.  People usually assume “oh it’s so purty outside, lemme just put on dis quiet, pretty Bon Iver song on and then take a nap.”  No.  Stop that.  You need to drive cars at high speeds (only five miles above speed limit. Safety!) and jump around excessively.

“But,” you might argue, “all of the songs I listen to never exceed noise levels around the same volume as a solitary singing bird!” Well then listen to Glocca Morra, who’s music makes me want to run around outside and yell.  According to their Facebook page, there are four guys in the band; their names are Zack, Arik, Nate, and JP.  They happened to make two of my favorite albums from last year with their LP Just Married and their EP An Obscure Moon Lighting An Obscure World.  It’s on their bandcamp.

I have no idea how to describe what they sound like, but they make some of the best indie/punk/rock/whatever music on the planet.  And they pass through Chicago on the twentieth, so if anyone wants to give me a ride…


Monday Feature: Johnny Foreigner

Let me tell you about the greatest band you’ve never heard of.  Johnny Foreigner is a Birmingham, England based indie rock band that, for once, isn’t just trying to soundtrack every nap I’ve ever taken.  They also happen to be COMING TO THE SETT NOVEMBER 16th, so pay attention.

I suppose you’d like a description, yeah?  Well the band’s music is a bit bipolar.  One side is filled with hyperactive guitar riffs and lyrics that are yelped out like there are only three minutes left until the world ends.  A perfect example of this is perhaps their most famous song, “Our Bipolar Friends“.  Frontman Alexei Berrow and bassist Kelly Southern trade lyric lines back and forth over virtuosic guitar lines, while drummer Junior Elvis Washington Laidley plays drums and keyboard at the same time.

The other pole of Johnny Foreigner’s musical spectrum is best shown on an EP called There When You Need It.  It’s filled with mostly acoustic songs that would fit more in a playlist full of Elliott Smith and Bright Eyes than it would with punk music.  Doesn’t matter though, because the EP is fantastic.  In between these two types of music you can find songs like PS, Not Soon Enough, which combine slower, sadder elements of their acoustic songs with overdriven guitars they otherwise use.

They write like they mean it, and they play like it might be their last night on earth.  How is that unappealing?  They even like vocal harmonies!  As a punk band!

It’s been a very busy year for my favorite band.  Nearly a year ago, November 7th, they released their third album Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything.  Since then, they’ve added a second guitarist, their friend/visual artist Lewes Herriot, announced and begun only their second America tour, and released a new EP titled NAMES, which you can find over at their bandcamp page.  One song directly lifts a line from “Airplanes” by B.o.B.  That has to be a little convincing, right?

Which reminds me of their lyrics.  They’re all about girls or family or Birmingham.  They’re basically all relatable on some level.  Just trust me.

Just listen to them.


but i worked it out: the last however many months of fleeting friendships, goodnights and good nights, on that beach under those stars i would have spilled everything to the first pretty face i fell across. and, at least i picked the prettiest

“Things We Should’ve Left On The Beach”

“With Who, Who and What I’ve Got”

And because it’s close enough to Christmas, “Santa Fucking Claus”

Friday: Shonen Knife w/ White Mystery

Hello there, Madison. We’ve got some pretty exciting news about this Friday: Shonen Knife and White Mystery will be taking control of The Terrace, starting at 9:30pm. You may ask yourself, why is this so exciting? What a valid question. Let us tell you why…

Shonen Knife is not just any other energetic punk rock band. Not only is this band from Japan, but the band members are also three rockin’ girls who have released countless tracks and have received plenty of positive feedback. Formed in 1981 and inspired of The Ramones and The Beach Boys, Shonen Knife certainly has created a unique interpretation of punk rock. Back in 2006, their release of Genki Shock! caught the attention of Pitchfork where the album was given a 7.6 out of 10. Pitchfork enjoyed the vocals on the album, saying, “The band’s familiar, three-chords-and-no-frills guitar chug is typically offset by entertaining lyrical subversions pushed through the Japanese cultural filter.”  Have a listen to their latest LP, Pop Tune, at their Myspace. There is no way that while listening to their spunky guitar tones and their 60’s pop feel one could stay seated.

White Mystery will kick off the show at 9:30 p.m. Although they are not from across the world, White Mystery is a Chicago brother/sister duo that is far from lacking in the ability to rock out. This band is so full of energy, you can feel their excitement through the guitar riffs and crashing symbols. Their album White Mystery was given a 7.2 by Pitchfork, who asserted, “These songs beam with a sincere sense of pride.” White Mystery’s video for “Birthday” was chosen as #3 on MTV The Hive’s “Hive’s Weird Video Premieres – Best of 2011” list. That song came from their sophomore album, Blood & Venom. In April, the band returned with People Power, which the band describe as “a floor-stomping, fist-pumping EP.” Who doesn’t love to floor-stomp and fist-pump? Preview all their releases at their bandcamp.

Moral of the story: come to The Terrace this Friday night to rock out and appreciate the unique qualities of these bands. Check out the video for “Pop Tune” by Shonen Knife below.

Thursday on the Terrace: Smoking Popes w/ Trapper Schoepp & The Shades

Smoking Popes

The one and only Smoking Popes is playing the Terrace this Thursday night along with the utterly excellent Trapper Schoepp & The Shades. The action kicks off at 9:30 p.m., which is valuable information because judging by the lineup you won’t want to miss a minute of it.

Formed in 1991 in the ‘burbs of Chicago, pop-punk band Smoking Popes is sure to deliver the all-around fantastic performance one might expect from this rather legendary band. Core members (and brothers) Josh, Eli and Matt Caterer have cranked out six studio albums since the group’s formation around two decades ago. The band’s most recent full-length album This is Only a Test was released in 2011 through Asian Man Records and was the first to feature current drummer Neil Hennessy. Delivering both teen-themed tracks with a punk-rocker twist, This is Only a Test depicts adolescent life in a silly kind of way. In May the band released Complete Control Sessions, a five-track EP on SideOneDummy Records. Having performed with bands such as Green Day and Bayside, and at various festivals including Lollapalooza in 2006, it’s safe to say Smoking Popes is a talented band that will rock the Terrace.

Milwaukee’s own Trapper Schoepp & The Shades will indulge us this Thursday evening with some of the heartfelt rock/country/pop that they are just so good at creating. Recently signed with SideOneDummy Records (Flogging Molly, Big D and the Kids Table), Trapper Schoepp & The Shades’ debut album Run, Engine, Run is scheduled for release this September. You can preview the track “Tracks” and pre-order the album over at their bandcamp. Before the big release and tour thereafter, the band plans to perform with Minneapolis rock band Soul Asylum at the Troubadour in LA on August 2.

This is an opportunity you won’t want to miss! Rock out to Smoking Popes’ “Need You Around” below.


Friday on the Terrace: Royal Headache, Heavy Times, and The Lonesome Savages

Let’s take a moment to appreciate what it took to make it possible for the fine fellows above to be appearing on the Terrace tomorrow night. First, the meteoric rise: Hailing from Australia, Royal Headache had to gain a large enough following in the U.S. while based on a different side and hemisphere of the globe to be able to have a successful American tour. The fact that they were able to do so is all the more impressive when considering that their debut self-titled LP wasn’t originally released outside of Australia when it dropped in 2011. Despite that fact, the album managed to make such a buzz in the U.S. that it was re-released here last month after being one of the most highly-anticipated releases of the year. The critics have been overwhelmingly positive, including Pitchfork who gave it an 8.0.

Having gained an audience in the U.S., there was an unexpected obstacle that could still stop the band: visas. All packed and ready to go for this tour, they received notice that the State Department needed extra time to review their application for visas, which forced them to cancel the first dates of the tour. Thankfully, they were able to sort it out and make it out here and have reportedly been destroying at the ensuing shows.

So now they’re closing in on the isthmus, but you should in no way feel obligated to see them just because they came all that way… you should see them because they’re awesome. They deliver energetic, lo-fi garage punk with jangly guitars and catchy hooks. Listening to five seconds of “Girls” (mp3 and video below) will undoubtedly convince you that it’s going to be a party, but if that’s not enough then consider that each of the members goes by a different one-word nickname: Shogun, Shortty, Law, and Joe. Could a frontman who goes by “Shogun” possibly be boring? I didn’t think so.

Using logic, you’d probably assume the supporting bands would also be energetic, fun dudes. You’d be absolutely right, so you can tell your dad to stop telling that joke about “what assuming makes out of ‘U’ and ‘Me.'” HoZac Records describe their own Heavy Times as “Chicago’s most lethal band of fast-rising noise pop neurotics.” When you listen to “Skull Hair” bowl you over with sound, you definitely know what HoZac is talking about. Madison’s own The Lonesome Savages will supply punk-infused rockabilly that makes you want to move, even if you’re unsure whether to shake your hips like Elvis or stage-dive like Iggy Pop. Check out their bandcamp page for evidence.

This will be a fast-flying show you surely won’t want to miss. It starts at 9:30, free as usual. In event of inclement weather on the Terrace it will be moved indoors to Der Rathskeller. Download “Girls” and check out the music video below.

Download Royal Headache’s “Girls”

Friday at Der Rath: Lower Dens w/ Yellow Ostrich + Grace Weber Band + 1,2,3

Baltimore’s Lower Dens formed in 2009 and hasn’t stopped makin’ music since. Vocalist Jana Hunter was previously known for her folky experimental work as a solo artist. However, the quartet of Lower Den is something more along the lines of drone-pop/ post-punk. Hunter is known for her haunting and enthralling vocals that are backed up by echoing guitar and bass. Their second album, Nootropics, is set for release on the first of May off of Gnomonsong Records, and with the growing craze over their mesmerizing single, “Brains” (released back in January), it’ll be awesome to finally hear what other alluring beats the band has in store for us. They’ll be at Der Rath this Friday so come hear them play for free!

Formed in Brooklyn, Yellow Ostrich is currently made up of three very talented musicians: Alex Schaaf, Michael Tapper, and Jon Natchez. However, Schaaf started Yellow Ostrich independently back in 2009 as one-man-band project. They just released their second album from Barsuk Records this past Tuesday (March 6) available on iTunes or at your fave record store. On the same label are indie legends Death Cab for Cutie and favorites such as Rilo Kiley and Phantogram.  On the new album you can expect to hear upbeat rockity rhythms that are a bit different from their 2011 album, The Mistress, but excellent and catchy all the same. “Strange Land” will get your head bobbing and heart throbbing so come be one of the lucky few to hear it live at Der Rath on Friday! Also, want a sampler of 9 Yellow Ostrich tracks for free?! Click here!

Did you hit up Starbuck’s sometime this past January? Of course you did—who can resist those holiday-friendly beverages of the gods? While you were waiting in line for your caffeinated goodness you may have heard Grace Weber’s track “Baby Come Down” off her self-released album Hope & Heart. A Milwaukee native and past member of the city’s Inner City Youth Gospel Choir, Weber’s music is both soulful and poppy. With the release of Hope & Heart back in September, Weber made a top ten spot on iTunes singer/songwriter charts and was Billboard Magazine’s “Artist to Watch.” She’ll be hitting up Madison after a show in Milwaukee in which she’ll be opening for Men at Work / singer-songwriter legend Colin Hay at Turner Hall. Weber describes her musical output as a “modern version of soul, in that I try to tell stories through my lyrics that I hope can touch people, and I always try to sing from an honest place.” You can read a full WUD Music interview with her posted earlier this morning by clicking here. With a presence and passion as fierce as Weber’s, it’s obvious you won’t want to miss her show.

Touring the country with Yellow Ostrich is 1,2,3. This up-and-coming band is comprised of four members: Nic Snyder, Josh Sickels, Mike Yamamoto, and Chad Monticue. Last June, the band released its first album New Heaven (it’s on iTunes!) through Frenchkiss Records. This label has discovered some excellent bands, such as The Dodos, Local Natives, and Passion Pit… I wouldn’t mind french-kissing them. Anyway, their music is both soulful and delicious— definitely worth being heard, so come see them along with Lower Dens, Yellow Ostrich, and Grace Weber Band this Friday 3/9 at Der Rath!

Check out a music video from each band below and check out Lower Dens, Yellow Ostrich, Grace Weber Band, and 1,2,3 in Der Rath tomorrow with a 8:30 start.